Pain in the neck….

I can see her standing before me, all 5 foot nothing of her with her hands on her hips, oozing energy and fitness and a sparkle that inspires rather than drains me. My chiropractor and new friend.

She chides me that I carry all my tension in my neck. I want to follow every instruction and do what she says, but instinctively as I try to force myself to relax, I draw up tighter than ever.

Counter productive to the max.

She is good at what she does, and immediately breaks into a laugh and says, “And BREATHE!!”

I try to focus on relaxing my neck. I try to breathe. Why is it so hard?

And then, I read God’s word to the Israelites. He might have had His hands on His hips, but He wasn’t smiling.

“You are a stiff-necked people.”


I am a stiff-necked person. I don’t relax and I don’t breathe because I want to control it all. And by all, I mean the whole world as it pertains to me.

I jotted down a note about this meditation on the next section of the Ann Voskamp devotion (See post March 5th) on Friday. This morning as I went to look at the devotion, the accompanying picture was Abraham and Isaac on Mount Moriah. It is a painting by Caravaggio. Who says God doesn’t have a sense of humor?

In the painting, Abraham is holding Isaac down by the neck with a strong hand. His knife is poised inches away. Isaac is pictured straining against the hand with a look of terror in his eyes.

And my neck stiffens measurably just describing that scene.

I can feel the pressure of the hand. I can see the knife coming closer.

But if I am going to breathe, I need to recognize it is God’s Hand.

I need to release control of all things in the world – and honestly – ALL THINGS. Meaning those that pertain to me, and those that do not pertain to me.

I need to come under the Hand of God, look at the knife, and surrender.

To Him.

To Him who loves me and gave His Son for me.

To NOT stiffen my neck.

To breathe.


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  1. Yes, my friend. We are all guilty of forgetting to take a breath. When things seem insurmountable and anxiety sets in our body goes into “fight or flight” mode. Our sympathetic nervous system kicks in – -our heart races, our eyes dilate, muscles tense, and we hyperventilate. God equipped us with this amazing survival instinct! We are beautiful and wonderfully made but Satan can use this physiology in a way that makes us afraid and anxious. The truth is that most often we are NOT in true danger when we go into a “panic” or fight or flight mode. This survival instinct and adrenaline response is great if we are being chased by a tiger or about to fall off the side of a cliff. But, it becomes unhealthy when our sympathetic nervous system is on overdrive from small things like making it to soccer practice, dreaded meetings, making sure the house is clean or a social media post that we didn’t like. These are not situations where we are in real danger! The truth is that we are SAFE. When we start feeling those physical signs the best thing we can do is BREATHE (because often we are hyperventilating–not breathing!!). When we can control our physiology and acknowledge that we are safe — not only safe in the moment, but truly SAFE because we have God’s protection, there can be a peace within us . Our shoulders drop, our heart rate slows, our breathing becomes more regular – – it’s our parasympathetic nervous system kicking in (rest and digest). God does not desire for us to be in “survival mode” all the time. . . there is a reason he “breathed” life into Adam and we are all familiar with the term “breath of life”. . Breathing must be a pretty important thing. BREATHING. God (and Dr. White) prescribe it.

    1. Beautiful!!!! and written WAAAYYYY better than I write! Thanks for taking care of my back AND my heart!
      *****She’s amazing – and actually…..I underestimated her….5’4”

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