We have the best chiropractor. He prefers to have his patients receive a massage before he gives them their adjustment. No arguments there, I’m always up for a nice massage. I was sitting in his office reading my Real Simple magazine in the lobby, when I heard my name called. I followed my massage therapist down the hallway, we exchanged the usual pleasantries. Once we reached the massage room, she asked, “What sort of pressure would you like today?” I really don’t like to pay someone to gently scratch my back, so I replied with “Nice firm pressure…deep tissue please.” She said that would be no problem, and she left the room long enough for me to get situated. Before I carry on with this story, there’s something you need to know about me. I’m one of those people who will not acknowledge that something is too hard for me. For example, if I am carrying a box that is far too heavy for me and someone offers to carry it, I will plant a fake smile on my face, and assure them that I am just fine, even though it feels as if my arms will dislocate and fall off my body at an given moment. I know, I know, it’s pride, I’m working on it!
Okay, back to the massage room. As she begin working on my neck and shoulders I tried to breathe deeply and relax. Suddenly something that felt like an iron fist moved along my back up to my shoulders. My eyes popped wide open, and my mouth gaped in a silent scream. What on earth?! Is this the same person who walked me down the hallway only moments earlier, she looked completely harmless! Maybe she had secretly been replaced by Attila the Hun? “Wow!” I thought to myself “she isn’t kidding around”. However, as you now know how prideful I am, you’ll realize that I am not one to back down. I decided that I was just fine, and just focused on breathing a bit deeper and focusing on relaxation. This was becoming increasingly difficult, on account of the fact that my sweet little massage therapist was evidently trying to kill me, one muscle at a time. With every movement she made, I felt as if I was being crushed to death. “How’s the pressure? Is it too much?” she asked in a sweet voice. With a slight grunt I said “hmph…nope! It’s great….hmph….perfect”. I wasn’t about to look like a weakling, I was going to handle this.
I did my best to hide my utter agony, wondering how much time had passed. I’m not sure how good I was at hiding my intense urge to scream “OH MY STARS, what are you DOING! Trying to KILL me?!?!” I felt like I was stuck in some crazy wrestling match, and I was fighting to not be the first one to call “Uncle”. I clenched my fists the entire time like a woman giving birth, and flashed back to the therapeutic breathing techniques I used when I was in labor. “Hoo, hoo, hee, hee”. After an hour of this torture, she whispered “Alright we’re all done, I’ll wait outside while you get ready”. I was exhausted. It had been one of the most unrelaxing massages I had ever had in my life! As I left, I thanked this “sweet” little powerhouse of a masseuse for my “delightful” massage and told her to have a great day. I could just imagine her laughing with her friends after work that day “…ha ha ha, and THEN she said she wanted DEEP TISSUE!! Ha ha ha ha”. I was the fool for sure!
After my adjustment, I was walking to my car and it dawned on me that I had simply been too prideful to tell my therapist that I just couldn’t take anymore, that it was too much pressure, and that I needed her to lighten up. As I thought more about this I realized that I often do the same thing with God. Have you ever felt in over your head, beat down, discouraged, and just out of ideas for how anything will work out or get better? Isn’t it amazing how long we sometimes wait to turn our eyes to Jesus? I know that I have been guilty of only turning to Jesus when I have run out of ideas of how to fix my situation. It makes me think of one of my favorite hymns “What a Friend we have in Jesus”. I am always convicted when I sing the words:
"Oh what peace we often forfeit Oh what needless pain we bear
All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer”
You see, Jesus has His hand on the switch and His eyes on us. He knows how much we can handle, and He will never give us more than we are able to handle. Ah, but here is the catch…us humans are true and complete weaklings! Contrary to what we think, we have no strength of our own, and any power we have comes from Jesus Himself! The Bible says that in our weakness, He gets to show us how strong He really is! (2 Corinthians 12:9) We so often don’t allow God the opportunity to show us His greatness because we are too busy trying to handle the pressure without buckling underneath it. Just like I was too prideful to admit that I truly felt like my massage therapist was trying to kill me like a boa constrictor kills its prey, we are often so prideful, or too caught up in ourselves,to admit that we need Jesus.
Friends, my heart’s desire is to lean on Jesus for everything. I want Him to be my light, my very breath, to live through me, and cause me to want to follow and obey Him! God’s word says in Ezekiel 36:26-27 that God will give us a new heart and new desires so that we will WANT to follow Him! There is nothing weak about letting go and allowing God to take up the slack that we cannot handle. He is a loving and kind God who waits to give us the strength we need to get through every day, every hour, every moment. His power is greater than any human strength we can muster. So, when you are beginning to feel overwhelmed, before you are just bursting at the seams with stress, stop whatever it is you are striving for, and turn your agenda over to God. His ways are perfect, and He will never steer you wrong. Your life is safe in His hands. He’s not only your life planner He is your life protector. When you walk with Him, you are safe, when you don’t you are easily crushed. So, if you’re feeling like you are in a vice, and having the life squeezed out of you, call to The Lord and ask Him for help. He’ll either tone down the pressure, or make you strong enough to bear it.