Muscle spasms. Have you ever experienced them? They're awful.
They began Monday evening. A chronic back problem. I stretched, took a muscle relaxer, and slept. The next morning, they started up again. For me, they are worse than labor! At least, with that, there is the reward of a baby.
After a visit to the chiropractor, I kept an appointment to see a new massage therapist. One who specializes in backs and posture. As she examined her new patient, obviously in tremendous pain, she asked me a question. "Do you drink much coffee, soda, caffeinated drinks...?"
"No, none of those. But, I do love ice tea!"
I knew what was coming. As she worked to bring relief, she told me words I had heard before. Something about caffeine contributing to dehydration contributing to muscle spasms…"You need to cut down on your caffeine intake. Drink water, with lemon, instead."
As my muscles relaxed, at least for a couple blessed hours, my spirit did not. The therapist's words echoed in my mind. I recalled my internist telling me those exact words after my first bout of spasms, a dozen years before. The message came again through others. After one particularly bad episode, my "niece" prayed for me. When she finished, she asked if she could share something God had put on her heart. I shook my head, yes.
"You need to stop drinking ice tea!" She spoke with humble conviction.
Here, I must stop. For, in the past, God made it clear to me that I needed to quit eating sugar, as well as cut down on wheat. My body can't process these foods. What a struggle that has been. Over time, I obeyed. However, there is one thing I have begged God not to take away from me. "Lord, please don't make me stop drinking ice tea."
Yet for twelve years, God, in His infinite wisdom and patience, was sending me a message; My one vice, black ice tea, was contributing to my back problems and pain. I have not wanted to listen. I did not want to hear. So, because of my hard heart, my closed ears, I have suffered. Seeking relief through every other avenue, I have resisted the simplest one of all. Giving up my beloved ice tea!
God was speaking to me. People often tell me they don't hear from God. Yet, I believe God speaks to all of us, all the time! Rarely an audible voice, He often speaks through a friend, a pastor, a book, a doctor, an inner knowing, words from others, scriptures in the Bible, nature, pain, and so many other ways. Plus, when He speaks, He will confirm it.
The Bible is full of passages about God speaking to us, like Jeremiah 32:33b, "Though I taught them again and again, they would not listen or respond to discipline." And, John 10:27, "My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me."
This week, I listened. I gave up my ice tea! Ugh! Lord, Help!
Many times I am like a stubborn mule. But, oh how I long to be a sheep who follows her Shepherd. Not one who will not respond. Giving up ice tea is a small thing, but a hard habit to break. As I close, I wonder, dear reader, is there something God has been speaking to you? If so, will you listen? Will you follow?
Lord, I hear You! I want to obey. With Your help, I am resolved to give up my daily ice tea. I'm sorry it has taken me so long to listen to you! Forgive me! I love you, Lord!