The Teeter-Totter That Won’t Go Away

If it’s not one thing, it’s another. That seems to be the banner hanging over my head these days. I have lived in a cycle of physical pain for some time now, haunted with the frustrating feeling that one cure only causes another injury.

First, severe arm pain, brought on by spinal deformity, body misalignment, and excessive, strenuous piano playing. I experienced daily, sharp pain for over a year, whether I used my arm or not. In an effort to correct this issue, I began a series of alignment exercises which would potentially address the spinal problem and restore proper functionality. A year later, I reached a point of success: the arm pain was minimal.

And a new problem had shown its face: severe back pain, brought on by the excessive alignment exercises designed to reduce the arm pain. I now experienced various sharp and debilitating pains in my back for over a year.

One end flies high. The other hits the ground with a dull thud.

Your teeter-totter may not look anything like my arm-pain-back-pain one. But maybe you can relate to this one . . .

do without hearing.

Years ago, I would say I lived the Bible. That I proved my beliefs by the Bible. I liked to think it dictated my life, gave me direction, and was the basis for what I did and how or why I did it.

Funny thing would happen if you asked me to tell you what the Bible said or what it meant: I probably wouldn’t know, because I hadn’t actually taken the time to plant it in my mind. To soak in it. To know it like I knew so many other things I loved.

How can I do when I haven’t heard what to do?

So, over the last two years, I have taken steps to grow in hearing, learning, and knowing what the Bible is saying and what it means by what it says.

Phew! Problem solved.

Until I found myself on the end that went down with a thud.

I hear without doing.

I say I have an idea of what the Bible says and means because I now spend a good deal of time in it. I dig deep, make observations, attempt interpretations, and discover applications. I carry on conversations about it, write blog posts, and create study helps. Living in the Word is at the top of my list of joys and consumes a good portion of my week.

Funny thing often happens when I close the notebook {my Bible in disguise}: I forget what I heard. What I read. What I learned. What was supposed to change me.

It’s like I got dressed for the day, but when I walked out the front door, I couldn’t remember what I even put on.

But if I concentrate so much on the doing, I might get so sidetracked with doing that I forget about the hearing again . . . and it’s necessary to hear in order to do, or the doing is in vain at best and misguided at worst . . . but then if I concentrate on the hearing so much that I forget about the doing, what’s the point of the hearing? . . .

If it’s not one thing, it’s another.

Yes, and the unsettling thing about these teeter-totters? They won’t go away. At least not until we’re home.

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear.

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For it anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.

James 1:19, 22-25

 [image credit: flickr.com & journeyoftheword.com]


8 thoughts on “The Teeter-Totter That Won’t Go Away

  1. I believe it is inherent to our human condition that we cannot maintain the proper attention to every aspect of our lives. We won’t ever attain perfection in this life, but we are commanded to aim for it and the teeter-totters are a natural part of growth and progress. We may strike the right balance in some areas (likely after experiencing some extremes), but in others we will continue to struggle and in some areas we may never realize what we are doing. Life is a constant process of trial and error, of expanding our vision so that we see our true position.

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  2. It is a constant pushing and pulling and tugging and bending of our wills to align them with His. It is the struggle of a lifetime. May we never give up, fueled by the blessing of mercy for every way we fall short and confident expectation of our glorious resurrection when we will finally be perfected! Thanks for sharing your words!

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