Just two weeks ago, I thought I was driving up to Dallas to meet a girlfriend for brunch before picking up a suit for my then long-distance husband. Midway through my decaf and scramble, she bursts out, “There’s no suit! I can’t take it anymore…your husband has booked us massages around the corner in half an hour!”
Touché to my long-distance husband. He knew the only way to get me into a spa was to book the appointment himself, reel in a friend and task to get me to Dallas, and weave up a deceptive tale in order to get me there. If he had just presented me with a gift card for a massage to book at my leisure, well, it would probably still be in the envelope in a drawer awaiting a weekend that ‘doesn’t seem too busy’, aka never.
Now don’t get the wrong idea here. I LOVE massages. Out of all the spa treatments, they are, hands down, my favorite, probably because they’re the only thing I can’t do on my own. I can exfoliate my face and throw a clay mask on there, I can still plop my foot up high enough to paint my toenails, and painting my nails, even with a French manicure, has always been in my skillset.
But attempting to give yourself a shoulder massage just doesn’t cut it.
It’s something we must have someone else do for us. And it may hurt a little. It may elicit a few moans and groans of brief discomfort. Heck, if it’s a really solid massage it may leave us feeling a little tender and sore. But afterwards, we stroll out of there feeling utterly and completely relaxed, revived, and ready to take on the world, despite the small amount of drool that has usually collected upon my face after a massage.
After having the best (albeit only) prenatal massage just a few weeks ago, I started reflecting on how God’s love is a lot like my massage experience. Sometimes, I don’t want to admit that I need His restorative hands and His calming peace in my life, that I can just do it all on my own. But once I give in and admit my dependence upon Him, I am awakened and rejuvenated by His love, His peace, and His grace.
Let’s make us a mug of organic jasmine blackberry tea or whatever kind of elaborate tea they usually serve in the spa and talk about allowing our Maker to give us a spiritual massage.
Walking into the Spa Habitat in West Village, I was immediately impressed and knew I was in for a treat. From the calming yoga-like music lulling through the speakers to the whispered hush the staff seemed to speak in, this was clearly a place dedicated to relaxation.
After checking in, my buddy and I were escorted to the dimly lit waiting area, which was equipped with oversized armchairs each partitioned off with curtains to enhance your sense of escape from the to-do lists and hecticness of outside the spa. In addition, we were served a tea of our choosing and given a heated lavender neck pillow while we waited. Free organic tea? Lavender neck pillow? Cucumber-citrus water? Yup, I wanted it all.
When it was finally time for my Earth Mama massage, I gleefully waltzed on back with my technician and let her work her magic upon my cranky hips, back, shoulders, and joints. As some of y’all know (or could imagine), even us health nuts get achy joints after carrying a baby for 32 weeks.
Now during the massage, some drooling did occur. I’m not ashamed to admit it (and if you want to try to convince me that you don’t drool or at least doze off in your massages then I say you’re a liar, liar, pants on fire). In addition, there was some discomfort as she worked through some knots throughout my back.
And the physical benefits from the massage were just what this preggo lady needed: increased circulation (thus helping prevent swelling), muscle relaxation, anxiety reduction, lowered heart rate and insulin and cortisol (icky stress hormone).
In addition, when walking out of there, I felt completely at peace, completely rested, and completely ready to take on the rest of the day.
Isn’t God’s love just like that?
God’s love is like a tender, comforting massage, constantly enveloping us in His intimacy and care. Like a massage, we have to break down and admit that we need someone else to work on us, that we can’t completely relax and stretch out our souls and work out our spiritual knots on our own. We need His hands on our hearts in order to do that therapeutic work.
And like any good massage, this practice of submitting, of acknowledging dependence, of surrendering our schedules and lives and relationships, can be a bit painful or at least uncomfortable at times. However, once we release it all to Him, the spiritual benefits are tremendous.
Through His love, we are able to release the tension that darkens our lives and live more freely knowing He unconditionally loves us and will always care for us, no strings attached.
The tricky part, gang, is giving your heart over to Him. Like my husband had to trick me in order for me to set foot into the spa, we sometimes need to force ourselves into submitting to God’s masterful hands in our lives.
God’s love for us is so far beyond my understanding. He is so gentle, so patient, so brilliant. And He never stops striving to be the master of our hearts. As we’re reminded in one of my favorite bible stories, Hosea, He will never stop pursuing us. Mirrored through Hosea’s struggles with his unfaithful wife, God reminds us, “How can I give you up? My heart will not let me do it! My love for you is too strong” (Hosea 11:8).
When we catch ourselves trying to take on too much ‘fixing’ in our own lives, trying to turn around and give ourselves a back massage so to speak, we shouldn’t be discouraged. I constantly battle with this soul-surrender process daily, and I’m so grateful I have a God that never gives up on me and throws in the towel because I keep trying to do His job for my life.
Today, this week, ask yourself are you in need of God’s massaging influence on your heart? Have you been trying to relax and heal and deal with the stresses and anxieties of this life on your own? Do you need to submit them to God and let Him work through those knots for you?
Give Him your heart, y’all. Live each day through faith, opening yourself to receiving His peace and grace and serenity that only He can provide.
Today’s Challenge: Make yourself a cup of spa-rrific tea (peach hibiscus or lavender mint sound like appropriate spa flavors) and have a little soul spa time with God. Be honest with Him about areas of your life that have been carrying a little too much tension. Ask Him to work out those spiritual knots that have been pestering you for far too long. You can journal these things or just chat with Him about it. The communication and conversation is there, either way. Therefore, healing is there.
Today’s Prayer: Father God, Healer of my soul, forgive me for trying to fix and relieve the tensions of my life on my own. Only You can bring me true peace and relaxation and tranquility that my soul craves. Work in me to remove these aches and pains on my soul. Strengthen me as I move forward in my day and week so that I may continue to seek You for healing instead of looking to myself and others to solve my problems and resolve my pain. I am Yours, Lord, and I praise You for never giving up on me. Your love is amazing. And I praise You for it.
Healthy Happy Texan
I'm a Foodie, Fitness Instructor, and Follower of Christ. Add a passion for teaching others, dark chocolate, bacon, and dogs -- and that's me in a box.
Come on, let's live a little!