Recently, my daughter injured her back. The doctor showed us a picture of a nicely curved healthy spine. Then, he showed us my daughter’s x-ray. She and I both exchanged alarmed looks. Repetitive blows from years of gymnastics had created misalignment in key areas that were now affecting her body’s ability to regulate a number of important functions. A series of adjustments and exercises are needed overtime to correct her posture and restore her system’s trajectory.
As a therapist, this got me thinking about our mental posture and how it affects our resilience, and a painful memory came to mind. A few years ago, our family went through an experience that stripped us of much that we held dear. My response was understandable, but not helpful. Much like a driver bracing for a crash, I escalated control, tensed up, tried desperately to hold onto what I considered ours to keep. When that didn’t work, I obsessed about justice and contemplated our failures. My emotional posture was hunched, clinched, head down, muscles tensed, and ready to fight.
In God’s mercy, He sought to restore us. We received an opportunity with potential to heal us and in the process, a funny thing happened. My posture began to improve. I was so thankful for the unexpected gift, one for which I had ceased to hope. In my mind, our story had been forgotten by God – a neglected, moth-eaten coat in the hall closet not worth mending. I was filled with gratitude at being seen, remembered, and used again for His purpose. As I began to recognize the imprint of God’s sovereignty in the minute details of our lives, my grip loosened, my muscles relaxed and I assumed a posture of receiving. One that allows what He has for us to ebb and flow more freely. I realized that what we had now been given wasn’t mine – a thing to be held and guarded, but likely a temporary blessing to be enjoyed. It’s not my nature, but somehow I’ve been able to live in these moments, recognizing uncertainty but enjoying the sweet spot while it’s here. I think it’s this posture of gratitude that allows us to develop resilience – the ability to face hardship and recover.
One thing’s for sure: life will hurt us again, but as I know our God and trust His love, I gain confidence in His ability to see us, to hold us, and to get us to the destination He has designed to be our true home.