Aug 22, 2009

God and My Arse...

I had a bit of a revelation today, and true to how God seems to work with me, it involved my butt. I seem to understand things better in terms of potty humor. There's a fine line though, because in this case it's less about poop and more about my sacrum, which happens to be located in my butt-region. Anyway.

With regard to my back issues, I have a tendency to fixate on getting everything in place and keeping it in place. My left SI joint is the trigger point, and I know there are certain actions which aggravate the problem, so I get in the habit of avoiding those things. Squatting down, for example, will get my rear end stuck outta whack, where it will remain until it is corrected. So I try not to squat; I kneel on one knee instead. Getting up from a chair can be a problem, so I put all my weight on my right side. With any weight bearing exercises I never let my knees bend past 90 degrees. Etc. etc. etc.--I have lots of little, minor moves where I've just gotten in the habit of favoring my right side.

Unfortunately, my list of don't's has grown a bit in the last few years, and it's getting harder & harder to not do them all the time because some are really simple actions, and I don't always have the time to think about foot placement when I'm running after the kiddos. It only takes one time to forget to evaluate the angle of my knee-bend, and boom--I'm back where I started. So it seems, lately, that no matter how much my PT's persuade my sacrum back into place, I manage to undo it within a couple weeks--at best--even though I'm doing well with the core strengthening program. It's discouraging because certain worriers start going, "Is it getting worse? Is PT not working for you anymore?" and I sit there wondering, "It's supposed to work, why isn't it working?"

But alas, I am the cause of this perpetuation. By favoring my right side, I make my left side muscles weaker, thereby making them less able to hold everything in place where it should be. By trying to avoid the problem I'm actually making it worse because my sacrum is less resistent to going out of whack, despite all my awesome strengthening efforts. I've worked myself into a bit of a vicious cycle this way, as my left side gets weaker and I slowly add to the list of "Things that make my butt go out."

So guess what? I'm going to butt bootcamp. Jamie (one of the PTs) teaches a strengthening program called
Sportsmetrics. It's a pretty intense strengthening program...aimed at soccer players for ACL injury prevention, but pretty good for most anyone, and likely really good for my behonkus. I was talking it over with Kathy (the guru of the PTs), and we determined that, at first, the exercises will likely send my arse straight outta whack. I will ignore the out-ness, however, for the six weeks of training. The hope is that after that time I'll have gained enough strength that they can fix it and it will stay put, and I can then live my life without constantly worrying about the state of my butt. So while I've been trying really hard to be not-injured, what I need to do is focus on getting healthier & stronger overall, and then keeping my butt aligned will take care of itself. It's a shift in focus.

You know what I think it's like? I think it's like when we (Christians) get caught up in the minutiae of performance-based living. It's so easy to try to organize life into little lists of do's & don't's, and to feel like we're going to be fine as long as we stick to the lists. We limp along, analyzing every behavioral option and potential pleasure, wondering "Should I stay away from that? Is that bad?" We start worrying about how we look to others, because we want them to see the fruit of our walk with Christ. Except different groups of people have different ideas about what's OK and what isn't, so as time goes on our ever-growing list of don't's starts bogging us down and we get weaker and weaker. Before you know it we're looking around, feeling rather scum-like, and wondering if there's anything we can do without hurting ourselves or "harming our testimonies" in some way. We have the best of intentions, but it turns into a vicious cycle of neurotic self-righteousness.

While we tend to want to be good, or at the very least, not-bad, what we need to worry about is trusting in God, and let him take care of the do's & don't's. He doesn't want us for what we do or don't do. He says some pretty nice things about us and our identity in him, it turns out. When we start believing those things it changes how we live. It's a shift in focus.

Don't thank me; thank my butt...


linda t said...

Wow... WOW... great stuff Kerri.
You better link this on facebook cuz this is so well said. And it came at a time when I needed to hear this. I will be rereading it again and again.
Thanks Kerri... I mean, I am thankful for your butt problems that have lead to some pretty serious analogies that, well, kicked butt! Sorry, I had to.

prochaskas said...

Yes! Dear butt: thank you very much.