Every few months, I wake up with a stiff neck. I can feel it coming. The knot in my right shoulder returns to poke me. It is my physical reminder that life can sometimes be stressful, and that I carry my stress in my neck.
I rub and I apply heat, but it grows. I try to avoid the inevitable, but who can do that? I wake up one morning and I cannot turn my head. Looking down is the only thing that feels good.
Besides being the perfect excuse for a massage, I have come to think of my occasional stiff neck as a reminder from God. When I am busy, when my thoughts are racing, I become stuck. Literally! It is as if God is saying, “Stop looking from side to side. Bow your head. Come to me.”
I can do that during my morning quiet time. The world is still and it is easy for me to pray and rest. But at 10:00 a.m. when the kids are fussing, the phone is ringing, and I just remembered that I was supposed to answer that email by yesterday, I do not bow my head. I do not come to him. I forget. Instead, I plow forward in my own way, and the result is always the same: stiff neck.
Moses called the complaining Israelites “stiff-necked” (Exodus 34:8). I can sympathize. Proverbs 29:1 gives a stern warning, “A man who remains stiff-necked after many rebukes will suddenly be destroyed – without remedy.”
Yeowzers. I really want to loosen up.
Thankfully, there is also this: “Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you; who walk in the light of your presence, O Lord.” Psalm 89:15
Through many stiff necks, I am learning to acclaim him. I am stubborn and I resist, but God is persistent. When life happens, I am learning to bow my head first, instead of turning this way and that. Even better, I am learning to remember God when life is loud, and not only in the quiet sanctuaries. My prayer is that when I bow my head, I will remember those stiff necks, and how God is always with me, ready to zap that knot and lighten my load, if I will just ask.
By: Courtney Buxton, A Work in Progress