And the Winner is: George! Congratulations George! I’ll be sending you your copy of When You Need A Miracle by Linda Evans Shepherd. Thank you to everyone who tossed their names into the drawing.

I fell off the treadmill a few weeks back.

Every morning, I use the treadmill at the little community gym in our neighborhood and on that morning, I wanted to adjust the lighting over me after I’d started walking. I hopped off the machine, went to the wall where the switches were, and went back to the machine. Who knows what I was thinking that was so distracting but forgetting the machine was still on, I stepped on expecting it to be still. My legs flew out from under me.

Crash! I fell to the floor onto my side. “How did that happen?” was my first thought. I was totally shocked and surprised.

Then I thought, “Oh no, I’m in big trouble.” Since my back surgery almost three years ago, I still get tweaks of discomfort if I do something I shouldn’t. Falling on my side is something I shouldn’t. Especially falling with force.

I nervously got up and paid attention to my body. I didn’t feel anything wrong. I finished my walk but later a huge bruise appeared on my thigh. Ew! And it was sore!

But what surprised me even more than all that was the next morning when I approached the treadmill in the gym. I felt nervous thinking of stepping up onto that machine. I stared at the walking belt to make sure it wasn’t moving. And then I grabbed the handles firmly. Only then did I step on the walking belt. 

And I could have sworn it moved! I held the handles tighter until I knew it really wasn’t moving. In that moment, I recognized that I was afraid and tense. Not only were there bruises on my leg, but a bruise on my spirit as well. 

Even though it’s been over two weeks since I fell, I’m still cautious about stepping onto the treadmill. And this morning, when I got off again in the middle of my walk to adjust the lighting, I felt tense getting back on. I was really surprised.

Thinking of this made me think again of how traumatic and painful experiences, especially in our childhoods, create tension and fear. We become hyper-vigilant. We watch closely to make sure something bad “like that” doesn’t happen again.

Although we should be cautious, we can too easily begin to rely upon ourselves for our protection, rather than turning to God. Our attitude is, “I’m going to make sure something like that never happens again.” But God wants us to trust Him. Even if it does, He intends to use it for our good. (Romans 8:28).

Psalm 11:1-3 gives a verbal word picture of what this self-protection is like:

In the Lord I take refuge;
How can you say to my soul, “Flee as a bird to your mountain; For, behold, the wicked bend the bow,
They make ready their arrow upon the string
To shoot in darkness at the upright in heart. If the foundations are destroyed,
What can the righteous do?”

Here the Psalmist is hearing from others to flee from the Lord and don’t allow Him to be his refuge. At times, we tell ourselves the same wrong advice. We react by spiritually flying away like a bird because we fear the arrows of pain. 

But verse 4 gives us the strength we need:

The Lord is in His holy temple; the Lord’s throne is in heaven;
His eyes behold, His eyelids test the sons of men.

God is on His throne and He is our refuge and our protector! He sees and knows and was there when we were hurt. But He wants to use that hurt to help us see that He is the only one who can help and protect us. What folly to think that we can protect ourselves!

I’ve noticed that over time, my tension and fear of stepping on the treadmill has diminished. I believe my eyes when they look and tell me, “It’s OK. The belt isn’t moving.”

And as we walk closer to the Lord over time, we believe the truth that no matter what happens to us, God is on His throne and loves us and cares about everything that happens to us. Our trust grows and our fears shrink. And we have the courage to believe God has the best intentions for us.

A useful reflection question might be: “What am I trying to prevent from happening?”