Healing Begins Outside Your Comfort Zone
I have always been a sedentary person. Never one for sports, my preference was the company of good books and a comfy nook. There’s nothing wrong with that, unless you let that preference lead you to a lifestyle of seeking only comfort and sedentary ease. Like I did.
The problem with a lifestyle characterized by comfort and lack of movement is that it inevitably leads to stagnation. Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever seen a pond of stagnant water, but it isn't a pretty sight. Its murk is filled with slime, algae, and God only knows what else – seriously. Not fit to drink for people or animals, stagnant water is a breeding ground for bacteria and disease. Not exactly what you want to be a picture of you or your life.
I didn’t realize this connection in a poignantly personal way until last semester. A constant barrage of projects, papers, and exams chained me to my desk and laptop, and my work schedule was significantly cut down, depriving me of the only real exercise outlet I had. Over the course of the semester, I noticed I was feeling very weak, achy, and sick – more than any previous semester. It grew worse and worse, and I felt like I didn’t have any energy even if I wanted to try walking or exercising.
One evening, my mom and sister decided to take our dog for a walk. They invited me along and I initially turned them down thinking I didn’t have the strength or energy for it, and that such physical exertion would only make my aching limbs worse. But at the last second, I changed my mind. I’ve never liked the idea of missing out on experiences and events that are happening around me – I want to be a part of it all. So I decided to go with them even though I physically didn’t feel up to it.
But, an amazing thing happened as I walked down the road. Instead of feeling worse, I began to feel better. The crisp, autumn air didn’t chill my lungs – it invigorated them. The circulation coursing through my limbs didn’t cause more pain – it released tension. The movement of my body didn’t cause lightheadedness due to fatigue and overexertion – it brought strength and clarity of mind that only increased as I kept walking and found all the fatigue and aches melting away from my muscles.
The very thing I feared would worsen my condition was actually the key unlocking renewed vitality, while the comfort I sought to make me feel better was actually the culprit of my hurt.
You and I, we were made to move. Made to live. And the thing is, “live” is an active verb. To live is to grow. To stagnate is to get sick and sicker. We’re like trees – if we’re not growing, we’re dying.
I don’t know about you, but whether it’s in my physical body, or my soul, or my walk with the Lord, or relationships with other people – I don’t want to stagnate and die. I don’t want spiritual, mental, or emotional sickness to consume me, keeping me from the life God wants for me. You probably don't want this either.
Hear me on this, Love: if you’re struggling with emotional wounds, mental illness, or spiritual darkness, healing will not come by remaining silent, alone, and withdrawn in the dark.
Believe me, I’ve been there; walked the bottom of those ravines of depression, addiction, and gnawing fear that pulls you further downward and in. The thing is, staying there, hidden, stagnant, where you feel it’s the only place you can stay safe and maybe find healing – it only breeds fear, despair, and hopelessness.
You have to find hope and healing by looking up and out of yourself, stepping bravely into the gentle breeze, and letting movement do its work.
It might mean being brave and baring your soul’s struggles to someone who can be the hands and feet of Jesus, bearing the load with you.
It might mean stepping out and doing something to help those around you – volunteering with a ministry helping someone in need, serving your church family, or setting up a coffee date with a friend you haven’t seen in a while and listening full-heartedly to her soul.
Whatever “moving” looks like in your life, do it. You’ll learn that this is the key to breaking out of the soul-aches and fatigue that have plagued you for so long.
And Dearest, if you need a safe place to cry, be vulnerable and find a listening heart, please don’t hesitate to email me. My personal email is firstname.lastname@example.org and of course, you can always email the Tirzah team at email@example.com.
With warm hugs and a heart that means every word,