What I learned from breaking my hand.

I broke my hand right before Christmas.  It was my first broken bone of my life.  That fact in and of itself is pretty amazing.  I am a very active person, and admittedly have done a lot of silly stunts in my life in search of a thrill.  This break happened as I was playing basketball at the YMCA.  I was trying to advance the basketball after a loose ball and ended up losing my grip on the ball when an opposing player latched on to it.  The entire gym heard a loud pop as my second metacarpal snapped like a twig.  My hand was instantly numb and I knew that something was wrong.

Times like those make me so happy that my wife is a health care professional.  She actually set the bone in my hand while examining it, saving me from surgery.  I think she was more surprised that I was that it popped back into place.

The next day I went to go see the doctor.  The surgeon told me that since the break wasn’t displaced anymore they would just splint me and give me a protective cover for my hand.  I have to be honest with you, although I was so happy that I wasn’t headed for surgery and they didn’t cast me, having a splint was incredibly uncomfortable.  Through the experience I have 2 spiritual insights.

1.  You never know what you have until you lose it.  My hand was my right hand.  I had no idea I was so dependent on it.  It was terrible because I couldn’t write, or even open zip lock bags.  It was so humbling to not be able to do the smallest of ordinary tasks.  However, there was a huge silver lining.  I got out of all kinds of chores that I dislike.  Over Christmas break I had no dish duty!  That was amazing.  Spiritually, I think we take so many things for granted that God gives us.   We feel like we deserve only the very best blessings from God, although we really don’t even deserve the oxygen that God freely gives us on a daily basis.  Then when we lose them we sulk and claim that God is not fair and not kind to us.  I learned to be grateful for the limited use that I still had in my hand and am so grateful this is a temporary condition.

2.  It is easy to get complacent with less than God’s best.  I have been getting Stockholm Syndrome with my hand splint.  You know the condition where a kidnapped person begins to identify and agree with their captors.  After 4 weeks of having a splint on my fingers I am starting to feel like that it is normal to have my fingers immobilized.  Instead of my hand being strong and free, I am becoming used to my confinement.  When I first got my splint, I had actual feelings of claustrophobia when I was trying to move.  Now, it actually feels weird without it.  The spiritual truth I am learning is that so often I can feel comfortable with my life and not experience the freedom that God desires me to live in.  So often I settle for what is normal and comfortable instead of living a life worth living.

Someday soon I will be able to take off these restraints and really be able to use my hand to its fullest potential.  I will be able to play basketball again and even do dishes and chores I don’t want to do.  I really can’t wait for that day.  In an even greater way, I hope that someday soon I will be someone who is able to put off all things that keep me back from following God fully in my life.  I hope that you  as a fellow sojourner will examine what areas in your life you are allowing yourself to be bound.  Maybe today you will identify an area where you need to through off anything that holds you back from fully following Jesus.