Confessions of a Spiritual Hunchback with Lock Jaw

Do your shoulders hurt? Mine do. Partly it’s from carrying bags of books and files back and forth to work and partly it’s from carrying around the tension of my life.

It might be that if I only carried my own life tension I wouldn’t ache the way I do but I also tend to carry around the weight of the lives of those I love. That usually results in sore shoulders and neck and jaw (from the clenching). If you could take an X-ray of my spirit, you’d find a hunchback with lock-jaw. I was looking into how I could lessen my jaw pains, and I was told an option was to create a V shape jawline that could possibly solve the cause of the pains.

That is so not cool for someone who loves Jesus.

When Isaiah predicted the coming of the Messiah he said, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulders.” (Isaiah 9:6a)

His shoulders. He came to carry the weight on His shoulders.

Jesus affirmed this when He walked among us and said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

I’ll tell you, if anything takes a leap of faith to believe from the Bible, it’s THAT. We’ve made such a mess of communicating the gospel that nothing about following Jesus seems restful or light and most days it feels like everything rests on our shoulders.

But, Jesus was pretty firm about this message. Remember how Martha was bustling around the kitchen, going crazy with meal prep and complained to Jesus that her sister, Mary, should be told to get off her keester and lend a hand? Jesus told Martha that Mary had it right. MARY had it right. Mary was just sitting and listening to Jesus. MARY had it right.

Today I found a woman at my Y who was nearly asleep on one of the Nautilus machines. When I roused her and asked if she was OK, her eyes filled with tears and she talked about working and cleaning and shopping and cooking and more shopping and knowing she needed to keep up her workout but it was all so hard to fit in to her days during the holiday season. It took some talking but I was finally able to convince her that the healthiest thing she could do for her life would be to drive straight home and take a nap. Stop. Rest.

A moment later another member mentioned that I was rubbing my neck and shoulders. “You need to loosen up, Lori! Let go of that stress.” The speaker was one of my members but I knew that voice – it was my Lord. (He’s quite the ventriloquist some days!)

I used to have just a part of the Isaiah verse on my refrigerator “and the government shall be upon his shoulders.” as a reminder that He carries the weight of the world – my shoulders weren’t designed for that burden.

There is a lie at large in the world and it tends to grow during this season. It sounds like this: “Just a little more.” “Just do a little more, spend a little more, give a little more, shop a little more, plan a little more, smile a little more, exercise a little more, eat a little more, decorate a little more, visit a little more and then it will be perfect.” Refuse to listen to this lie.

Again, in Isaiah, we find this truth about the path to perfection: “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.” Isaiah 26:3

Listen to Jesus. What if we all celebrated His coming by taking a rest, by releasing our tension like a flock of doves, by sitting and listening to Him speak, by laughing, refusing to worry and even having the audacity to sleep?

All of creation waited for, longed for, ached for this time to arrive – the Messiah has come and the government shall be upon His shoulders.

Let it slip off of yours and rest in Him. Glory to God in the Highest and on earth, peace, good will toward men. Really.

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    The Conversation

  1. Lori,
    I especially like the way you fram the path to perfection as one of learning how to let go. So often we think that reaching perfection as one of striving and working harder. Thanks for these great words.

  2. dlynne222 says:

    Great post Lori! Very true! Thanks!

  3. Cheri says:

    I have to agree with Kelly’s comment above. Great job in bringing the truth into focus. The world would have us burn the candle at both ends and berate ourselves for not being able to burn it in the middle too. But Jesus would have us celebrate His birth by sitting at His feet. Funny how Christmas is a celebration of Him, yet we so often forget to invite Him to His own party!

    Thanks, Lori!

  4. Thank you, Kelly. I think often that striving most often leads me to fretting which is unproductive. Thank you for your visit and your encouragement!

  5. DLynne, you’re so faithful to drop by. I really appreciate you.

  6. Great line, Cheri! “We so often forget to invite Him to His own party”. I love that!

  7. Cheri says:

    I wish I could take credit for that line, Lori, but I know I’ve heard it before… oh well, it’s still a great line!