I have a better notion now of what Stephen meant when he said to the Sanhedrin, “You stiff-necked people . . . You always resist the Holy Spirit!” Acts 7:51
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 ProgressLeave a Comment
Amy Hunt says
If ONLY we would just ask…He’s right there, waiting. What a great reminder today.
Rich blessings, Courtney, as you receive His Grace to step out of your comfort zone and trust Him…
Glenda Childers says
Wow. I love that verse from Psalms. It is quite a choice . . . a stiff neck or blessing. Why do I choose a stiff neck?
Amy Sullivan says
So fun to find you here!
Why is it that I’m looking every way, but up, and then, wondering why I’m not seeing life clearly?
Great take on this verse.
This is a great visual for me as I often have neck issues. Thanks for posting this and giving me a gentle reminder that God can handle all of my so-called emergencies far better than me.
Holley Gerth says
Oh, girl, I get a stiff neck and shoulders after I lift weights sometimes and I had never tied it to that analogy! I will from now on and let it be, like you said, a reminder to stop and soften my heart!
Beth Williams says
The busier people are the less they bow their heads & pray. The stiff-neck may be God’s way of bringing us to our knees. A trial does that for me, also.
Good post! Great encouragement and insight!
Wow, what great insight. I have to admit I have similar issues where the stiff neck if I am not careful will lead to a migraine and it all is due to stress. I totally understood the line “Instead, I plow forward in my own way, and the result is always the same: stiff neck.”
You would think by now I would understand the signs. Thank you for sharing and reminding me to bow my head and to seek Him in the good and the bad and especially in the “busy times”.
Linda Kelly says
Timely word….surfed my way over to your thoughts this morning as I was trying to rub away the tenseness in my neck and head. Lo and behold a fellow stress-ite. When I awoke I ran to my coffee pot, tv, computer….but not to God. Your honest reminder of how you “plow” ahead is so true. God says His mercy and compassion are new every morning and gently reminds me to come to him…first. Yes a timely word through you from Him…which is what I love about Him..He knows us so well….and connects us to others who help remind us of that… 🙂 ty
<3 this post… I can totally relate!
I can totally relate too and have often thought about my own stiff necks similarly!
Teri @ StumblingAroundInTheLight says
Ouch, Courtney, this hits close to home…errr, close to head…
How I miss Him, as I dig deeper in the mire of self-induced stress! Oh to live every day free & trusting!
Amy McCollister says
I hear this. I have a feeling that tomorrow may be one of those “stiff-necked” mornings for me. Trying to juggle so much, becomes so stressful after a while. Thank you for the reminder that He is there to help carry our load.
yes…this does hit close to home. To learn to come to Him in all things..loud and quiet. I caught myself the other day in the midst of what I thought might be a good idea…only to find myself an hour later asking Father what He thought about it..:)
Today, nothing started out the way I wanted it to. And my air conditioner broke, and let me just tell you, when major appliances break, I can turn into a mess. Knowing my limitations, knowing I was starting the day tired, knowing that my schedule would be all rearranged, I hit my knees. Literally. And I’ve made mistakes today, but that underlying strength from Him is there. It’s amazing what a little bowing can do for the body.
Dawn Bright says
There are days I wake up with a stiff neck. Thank God he loves stiff necked people.
Why Am I Such a “Stiff-Necked People” Sometimes? « Learning to Be says
[…] came across this great blog post and was reminded: “Stop looking from side to side. Bow your head. Come to me.” And this: […]