Last December I underwent shoulder surgery, and ever since then I have been in physical therapy to regain my shoulder’s full range of motion. I don’t mind telling you that physical therapy is a major pain! Seriously, it’s painful, sometimes even verging on unbearable.
My therapist is a great person, but if you were to put a black hood over his head he would easily be mistaken for a medieval torturer! OK, maybe THAT is an exaggeration, and maybe the therapy isn’t AS painful as I’m describing, but it certainly is uncomfortable.
I know I’m being a baby! The truth is the physical therapy has been producing great results! I’ve also discovered that the results dramatically improve when I do my physical therapy exercises at home between sessions (imagine that!). However, even at home I have to be willing to push myself to levels of discomfort, not pain, but discomfort in order to get better results.
My therapist does not believe in the old adage “No Pain No Gain” but he certainly is OK with “No Discomfort No Gain!”
If my therapist doesn’t push me to discomfort, or if I don’t push myself to discomfort, my results will be severely limited and I may never recover full range of motion. I also may not get back to playing golf as quickly as I would like!
Today, when I went to therapy I walked through the door thinking how I was coming to that session to be made uncomfortable! Who goes anywhere to be made uncomfortable!? Yet, it’s in the discomfort of the stretching, and pulling, and pushing that my healing is taking place. The truth is my therapist would be doing me a disfavor if his greatest concern was trying to keep me comfortable.
Thinking about all this made me look at how we approach church. What if attending church was like attending a spiritual therapy session for the soul? A spiritual therapy session where we get challenged, stretched and even pushed to the point of discomfort? What if we came to this session having prepared ourselves by doing our spiritual therapy “exercises” at home?
Think of the spiritual progress that might be possible if we approached worship in this way? Real spiritual therapy, like physical therapy, is a challenge, hard, sometimes highly uncomfortable but being committed to it can produce unbelievable results.
If I would go to my physical therapy with the expectation of being comfortable I wouldn’t make the physical progress I need to make. I believe, in the same way, if we go to spiritual therapy with the expectation of being made comfortable we won’t make the spiritual progress we need to make on our journey.
Yes, there are times in our life that we need comforted because of the trauma we have experienced; however, more times than not we need the challenge of discomfort in order to keep growing as mature disciples of Jesus Christ.
This week when you attend worship think of it as attending spiritual therapy, and remember any discomfort you feel is actually good in developing the full range of motion for your soul.
I’d love to hear your comments!
Peace and Blessings,