Lessons From Rehab- Volume Five

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The Value of Fellowship: Healing

I am now ten weeks post op (torn rotator cuff surgery). My progress has been slow and steady. This little journey has provided for me an abundance of insight regarding my inner thought process and I have stumbled onto some wonderful spiritual truth along the way. Carol and I spent the first part of August in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. We celebrated our 28th anniversary (8/3) in spectacular style. The mountain views were amazing and the Lord graciously provided rainbows just for us. The richest part of our adventure was the time we spent talking, laughing, and crying with our friends.
When we returned to Arizona I was anxious to see the physical therapist and have him appraise my shoulder’s condition. On our trip, I was deliberate about protecting my arm (no motorcycle riding, cliff jumping or handstands), yet doing the prescribed exercises. I was afraid that perhaps I didn’t do enough work, and that I had fallen behind in my recovery.
I would like to think of myself as a “positive person”. I try and spin things in a favorable direction looking for “the good in all things”. I wish this applied to how I view myself. There are times I feel that I’m chasing a ghost that I can not please. I am constantly pushing and pressing and I usually view myself as wanting, needy and inadequate. This tendency of mine has revealed itself again, during this rehab. I am deliberate about my exercises, yet I am always worried that I’m somehow failing or not making enough progress. As the therapist did his usual testing of my arm, it occurred to me how much we need each other. We need each other to help us have a healthier view of the world and ourselves.
In fact; our healing is a byproduct of fellowship. In the book of James, chapter 5 verse 16 says, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” The idea that we can be totally honest with one another and still be accepted is healing. It gives us the grace that we need to continue forward. Fellowship allows for His mercy to be transferred. When my therapist told me I was “right on track”, I was so relieved. It was the same feeling I had meeting with our friends in Colorado.
The obstacle that’s more difficult than “confessing our sins”, is confessing our weakness, our pain, our horrible thought life, our faithlessness, and our needs. It’s difficult being honest because we are never sure how we will be received. We have all been vulnerable at one time or another and received the trite responses of; “I’ll pray for you brother”, or “here’s a scripture to help you with that”, or “you shouldn’t feel that way because of blah blah blah”. Not one of these encounters met the need of my spirit, which was “you are ok”, “I’ve felt that too”, “that is so painful”, or “let’s work on it together.”
Three things come to mind as I reminisce about our healing time in Colorado. They are cornerstones of deep relationship and true spirituality.
1. Honesty: We were able to be extremely vulnerable in all that we were thinking and feeling. It takes great courage to dig in your soul and share the darkest parts of ourselves. True fellowship is found in those spots that we are genuinely afraid of. You discover who your real friends are.
2. Freedom: There was no judgement regarding our thoughts or emotions. Even though we were brutally transparent, no one took offense or criticized our condition. Sometimes when we bare our hearts there are no answers, there is just empathy. Entering into another’s hurt is the essence of ministry, no words may be needed.
3. Confidentiality: We know that our hearts are precious to those that love us and we were never in fear of having our honesty used against us. Some of us have been burned from time to time when we let our true selves be known. It’s comforting to realize that unconditional love……has no conditions

Jesus said “Come to me all who a weary and heavy 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.” Matthew 11:28-29. Jesus invites us to bring our baggage to him and he doesn’t shove it back in our face. He receives it, listens and brings peace to our soul. Amen!

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