After googling my leg pain, that I had ignored and tried to heal on my own for about a year, I could no longer avoid seeking medical help. I have the opposite of hypochondria, I will probably die of something rather simple because I figure my body will heal if given enough time, but this pain was not going away. I burn stress with running, well actually schlogging (shuffle+jog) and this was not option for me. I tried walking and resting, icing, lots of ibuprofen, but it just would not get better. (and yes for you oilies who are wondering… I did invest in some oils and tried that too.)
I finally made the appointment, and got the referral for my IT band. I had never heard of this now temperamental part of my body before. My shins and quads, hams, and other muscles had been sore, ached, or had issues, but IT band? This little band on the side of my leg was causing a lot of pain. I expected the physical therapist to stretch it and work on it, but instead she told me my core was weak. She asked me if I was a runner, and said it in a way that did not sound impressed or complimentary. She said I was a typical runner with a weak core and upper body. Well thank you, and have a great day. As much as I was offended, she was right, but what did my core have to do with my IT band in my leg. It turns out a lot. A weak core threw my hips off kilter and my legs. As I strengthened my core, and she worked on the IT band, it slowly started feeling better.
I was amazed at a few things during my time with the Physical Therapist. How much impact a weak or strong core had on my whole body was surprising. I felt like it was a great picture of the Body of Christ. As an individual, and as the corporate body of Christ, if the core values, the main part is weak, the rest of the body life will be off. We need to keep the main things, the main things. Without time in the Word, good theology, and doctrine based off of that, it will throw something out of whack. The Pharisees were a good example. They knew their Scriptures, but their theology was out of line. They thought their salvation was all about their efforts and following rules, and making more rules to help them obey the original rules. They missed the relationship piece, and therefore missed out on the Messiah. Sometimes we can follow their path, or we can go to the opposite and be so laissez faire that we compromise God’s holiness. The accountability I had with the Physical Therapist was so good. It kept me doing my exercises and she continued to help we fine tune what was going on. She could see things clearly and encouraged me in healing. How much more, as we are doing life do we need each other to point us in the right direction when we start losing strength in the core, when we stop valuing, or seeing the core beliefs as the main things. On our own it is easy to buy what we are selling to ourselves, and also what Satan is offering.
The other body reference that really hit home during this really long season, “If one part (of the body) suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.”( I Corinthians 12:26) I was amazed at how this comparatively small part of my body kept my whole body from functioning well. My whole body suffered because I was choosing not to take care of this injury. When one person in the church is hurting and suffering, it impacts the whole church. We need each other. The natural thing for someone who is suffering is to either mask it, kind of like I did for about a year, as I popped the ibuprofen and grimaced a smile and said I was fine, or to avoid situations and people, to slowly fade from the fellowship. We need to pay attention and reach out to those who are doing the slow fade. Although I have found that no matter what you do, some people are going to step out and go their own way. The sad part of this is, it usually leads to more pain for them and the body of Christ they are part of. They are missed and the body becomes weaker without that person. “Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ.” (1 Corithians 12:12) May we choose to strengthen the core of our physical body, as well as our souls. May we strengthen and encourage our brothers and sisters as we run this race. May we see those who are injured and suffering and take time to enter into their suffering and point them to the one who can make them well. If we are the injured ones, may we reach out for the help that will give us lasting health, not just a temporary fix that will only prolong the suffering. Trust me sooner is better than later.