There are a lot of things I'm not good at.
Spacial awareness, for example. I tripped and punched myself in the chin this week with a 15lb dumb bell...while doing a leg workout.
I'm also bad at any math levels above basic algebra. I'm terrible at looking handsome men in the eye. I'm crap at flipping pancakes (my waffles are en pointe though). Mingling is another one...hate mingling.
But what I'm really bad at? Rest.
I'll take a Sunday, and find 12 productive things to fill it with. If I'm watching a movie, I've got to be multitasking, writing lists, or replying to emails. I'll bring stacks of books with me on vacations (nonfiction, practical books). And when it comes to pushing myself physically, I am so bad at resting when I need to heal. That is, until my body puts me on the bench.
I got hit head-on by a drunk driver back in 2012. Last year I woke up one summer morning unable to move without splintering pain in my neck and shoulder. It was a dormant neck injury from the accident that erupted and shifted my plates to take me out for weeks. Thanks to God's grace, and one heckuva Chiropractor, I regained full mobility with regular adjustments and a LOT of stretching.
Then I got into lifting. And it may be one of my favorite things.
I loved seeing how quickly my body changed, and how strong I felt. Ok...and how much I got to eat. Things I wanted to tone and 'build' for so long suddenly looked the way I wanted them to (hullo biceps!). It's an addicting sport, and that serotonin boost is pretty sweet if I'm honest. Because I have no chill, my former 60-minute cardio sessions transformed into 2-hour weight training circuits. I also suck at balancing my life and hobbies, as you have probably deduced by now.
My chiropractor warned me to take it easy and not lift too heavy, too soon. I (kinda) listened. He told me to stretch more, and I listened. He told me to take more rest days. I did NOT listen. I only took a day off when I ran out of muscle groups that weren't aching. That's resting, right? I loved it too much, and had set fitness goals (good things) for the next few months that would require much more of me physically than I was ready to give (bad thing).
The worse thing? I would go to the chiro, have my adjustment in my workout clothes, snap-crackle-pop, and then run to the gym for a 2-hour workout. "No restrictions, but be careful," my doctor would say. Yet, I didn't rest. I didn't heal. I undid all the work he had done 30 minutes after he was finished instead of letting the muscles around my spine get used to what had just happened. And then I got benched.
For the past two weeks, I have been in terrible lower back pain. I blamed it on tight lower back muscles, but when the pain zapped down below my knee and my leg almost gave out, I knew what it was. Siatic nerve. I had not let my last adjustment take effect, the discs had moved back, and now there was one pressing on my nerve. Sitting for hours was the worst. I could feel the plate resting in the wrong place, and twinging with every movement. I told my boss who was watching me fidget like a child "It feels like a saucer is buried in my back, like a foreign object, and its pressing on everything."
On Tuesday, I cried 'Uncle' and went for a tune-up. My chiro gave me 'that look.' "As your doctor, and as a former NCAA athlete, I am asking you to rest for a little bit. If you don't, you'll hit that nerve, and you'll be right back here, a mess. Rest, and slowly build back up."
So here we are. Resting. Stretching. And oddly....ok with it all. I wasn't day one, but when I hit the 72-hours-without-pain mark...? Oh yes. We're fine with rest.
The God who made my body, and saw that drunk driver swerve into my lane years before I was even born also knew that I'd need lessons in resting. I'd need to learn about Sabbaths the hard way because I don't like to take them. He knew I wouldn't listen unless he sat me on the bench and had my full attention. He knew I would tie my busyness to what I perceived as faithfulness.
So He benches me. My early morning gym time is now spent in the Word because...well, I'm still up at that hour. And when we can go back to eating clean/training dirty, it will be without the frantic idol of achievement breathing down my recently corrected spine. It will be with diligence, balance, and there will be rest. Because it needs to be, and I'm kinda bad at sitting on benches too.