It is with a heavy heart that I begin writing this month’s topic, “Back Posture And Spine Health.” I chose the title, “He’s Got Your Back,” just days before our beloved dog, “Selah”, took her last breath. If there was ever a time Lillian and I needed to know God had our back it is now (prayers graciously accepted!).
If you had the good fortune of reading April’s edition of HCTW in my article I mentioned a car accident where I went through the windshield of a car, breaking my neck as a result. Even though I was told I would never walk again God miraculously healed me completely and I walked out of the hospital three days later! Years later I took a fall down a flight of ice-covered stairs in Gatlinburg and I was rear ended by another car a few years later. Because of these injuries I visited a chiropractor once a week for a spinal adjustment.
In 1996 Lillian and I moved from Nashville, Tennessee, to Florida so I could take a position as an associate pastor and youth pastor in Coral Springs. Our church office was in a shopping center next door to a chiropractor so one day I walked into his office to meet him. The chiropractor was Howard Newman I shook his hand and said, “How are you?” his response, “Simply spine how are you!” I totally cracked up (no pun intended) little did I know that my former chiropractor in Nashville, graduated from Life Chiropractic with Howard and they were close friends!
Today, 17 years later, I am not only Howard’s patient I am Howard Newman’s friend and he has taught me so much about the spine, its function and the body’s need for alignment. Howard Newman is a wealth of information and his state of the art clinic in Coconut Creek Florida East West Physicians offers the best of western and eastern healing modalities.
One term I picked up from Howard was subluxation, which occurs when one or more of the bones of your spine (vertebrae) move out of alignment and create pressure on, or irritate spinal nerves. This can cause a myriad of issues as these nerves run through the bones of you spine thus subluxation causes those nerves to malfunction and interfere with the signals traveling over those nerves. This interference of signals to other parts of the body inhibits the body from operating at 100%.
It does not take much to subluxate your spine believe it or not it is often a little impact like missing a curb, bending over the sink while brushing your teeth, starting an old school lawnmower, bowling or even sneezing! The culprit or pre-condition should be no surprise to anyone…STRESS causes your muscles to tense and tense muscles make it easy for bones to become misaligned or subluxated.
One day while reading the bible I came across a verse I have read countless times Matthew 5:9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God” and it hit me…there is a big difference between peacemaking and peacekeeping just as there is a big difference between a chiropractor and a masseuse. On a recent trip to Minnesota a dear friend booked a massage for my wife and I and the masseuse would say, “how is that too much pressure not enough?” Although the massage made my muscles a little less sore it certainly didn’t help with my alignment. Yet one visit to the chiropractor and BANG alignment… no questions asked.
In the last 29 years of ministry God seems much more like a chiropractor than He does a masseuse He knows exactly what it takes to move me and bring me back into alignment.
Here is a working definition for alignment:
“The process of adjusting parts so that they are in proper relative positions or order.”
Have you ever driven your car when it is out of alignment? It makes a bumpy road bumpier, a crooked road more crooked and it takes a lot of extra effort and concentration just to keep the car straight because even on a smooth surface there is a constant pull to one side or the other. The problem is compounded when other people choose to ride with you in your misaligned car. And so it is on this journey called life. When your life becomes misaligned with God your journey becomes a perilous one at best things begin to wobble and shake, you are pulled in many directions and eventually you can completely lose control. When you are a leader (leaders are leaders because people are following them!) and your life is misaligned sadly the people who are following you are equally misaligned thus creating a fool’s parade that’s heading nowhere fast.
Sometimes the reason we continue traveling in the wrong direction is pride. I remember a friend telling me that her husband refused to stop and ask directions if they were lost he would say, “I’m not lost you’re lost I know exactly where I am going,” she said once he drove four hours out of their way because he had too much pride to admit he was going the wrong way until finally they ran out of gas!
When you look at the horizon it appears to be the line where Earth meets sky but as you move, the horizon moves with you it’s just an optical illusion. A man can miss his objective by hundreds of miles if he is navigating by magnetic north all the while believing he was following true north. In the bible and throughout history there are accepted terms for men and women who are aligned with God. In the Old Testament God’s criteria for kings was simple, he did what was good and right in the sight of the Lord or he did what was evil and wrong in the sight of the Lord. Words like upright, upstanding, stand up guy and righteous are just a few that are used to denote a person who is aligned with God.
Obviously people who don’t know God are misaligned but even the righteous have their seasons of misalignment I call this, “The horizontal conundrum of the upright man.” Proverbs 24:16, “Though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again, but the wicked are brought down by calamity.”
You can’t keep a good man down when a righteous man falls he is redeemed when a wicked man falls there is no redemption available for him. Look at the story of King David in Psalm 23, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters He restores my soul. He guides (aligns) me in path of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, (not death just the shadow!) I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod (correction) and your staff (guidance) they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
Sometimes God makes us lie down in the midst of our busy lives to align our souls (thought, will and emotions). Psalm 23 was written on a battlefield. God made David drop his sword and lay down on the battlefield in the midst of a bloody battle; to show David who was really in charge and to bring him to a place of trust and peace in the knowledge that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob HAD HIS BACK!
Remember dear reader it is usually the little things that remain secret that eventually lead to an obvious misalignment with God. Song of Songs 2:15, “Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards our vineyards that are in bloom” it doesn’t take much to get your life out of alignment and begin careening down the road to ruin. Friend, take a minute and get to a quiet place and do what King David did…ask God for a personal diagnostic test! Psalm 139: 23,24 (A psalm of David) “Search me O God, and know my heart; try me and know my thoughts and see if there be any wickedness in me and lead me in the way everlasting.”
God knows you inside and out He wants you to know yourself so you can make the proper adjustments to be aligned with Him. When your car is in alignment you experience a smooth ride because the car is already headed straight and the shock absorbers can more readily do their job. When your life is in alignment your course is set to the straightest road available, the King’s Way! Be advised being in alignment doesn’t patch the potholes or remove the bumps it simply allows the greatest shock absorber in the world, Jesus Christ to do His job, to carry you! No matter what life throws at you always remember, HE HAS YOUR BACK…
PERSONAL ALIGNMENT CHECK LIST:
- If you were lost on the road would you have too much pride to ask for directions?
- Who are you following?
- When was the last time you took a self-diagnostic test with The Almighty? What did He show you about you?