Saturday, January 30, 2010

Relax, Relate, Release

This afternoon I went for a massage. I love getting massages. I hate forking over the money for them. It's too easy for me to think of other things that I could put my money toward--gasoline, for example. Or heat. But every time I indulge in a massage I promise myself that I go more often than the one or two times a year that I've been going.

My need to get a massage more often than a lunar eclipse was evidenced by the enormous amount of tension in my neck and back today. Most of my work is done at a computer, so I spend many hours a week doing my best Hunchback of Notre Dame imitation. Needless to say, that makes for some vicious knots in my back that even Houdini would have a tough time unraveling. When my masseuse began working on my neck today, she felt along one side of it and remarked, "That ridge is outrageous." I don't think she meant that as a compliment.

I knew I was pretty tight in my neck and back, but it wasn't until the masseuse began working on them that I really felt the extent of the tension. I actually have a hard time relaxing during a massage. Crazy as that sounds, I have to remind myself to relax and let the masseuse take care of me. It usually takes a good twenty minutes or so into the massage before I can really feel myself relaxing and not tensing up when the masseuse begins to work on a new area.

One time when I was getting a massage, the masseuse began to lift my arm and reposition it. I instinctively moved the arm for her, trying to be helpful. She gently scolded me, telling me to just relax and let her work on me. I'll admit that that's not always easy to do, not because I don't want someone pampering me, but because I'm so used to taking care of myself that it's second nature for me to try to be helpful.

Sadly, my helpful attempts aren't usually limited to the spa. (I will say, however, that I have gotten better about allowing the masseuse to move me instead of moving myself.) More times than I care to admit, I struggle with relaxing and allowing God to work on me. I want to "help" Him out; unfortunately, my idea of "help" usually ends up causing a big mess and is often anything but helpful.

Sometimes it's hard to just relax and allow God to bless me without feeling like I need to be doing something to "earn" those blessings. Sometimes it's hard to accept the fact that He delights in me, not because of anything that I've done, but by virtue of the fact that I'm His. I find it interesting that rest is one of the things that Jesus promises when we come to Him, and yet many of us struggle so much with resting in Him.

I know that one of the ways that I could relax easier on the massage table would be to actually come in for a massage more often, so that I don't let so much tension build up in my body. Perhaps the same philosophy applies to my desire to rest in Jesus--seeking rest from Him more often may be the key to finding it altogether.

What are your thoughts? How do you find rest in Jesus? How do you resist the temptation to "help" Him out from time to time?


Margie Walters said...

Great Post and correlations, Lisa!

Donna G said...

Yesterday I was reminded of what happened to Sarah (you know old Abe's wife) when she tried to help God fulfill his promise. I am my help has also caused some of my feelings of pain and jealousy over the years.

These days I try to measure what God really wants from me. Sometimes I feel guilty because I am not busy "doing" but I think sometimes he wants me just to be still and WAIT!! That is truly a challenge for a take-charge kind of girl like me.

I probably need to get a massage. I have the same neck issues...but also the same inability to relax issues....which will win??