For the past month I’ve had some challenges with my back. So I’m working with several health practitioners.  One of them said something that really resonated at so many levels.  He said, “Healing always comes before . . .”

. . . strengthening.”

Healing always comes before strengthening.

We are a culture that values strength and power. Competition thrives.  Actions rule.  Winners are superior.

So when we’re in a place when we are less strong, less powerful, less competitive, or losing – in any area of our lives – that means well . . . we’re less . . . valuable.

If we’re not careful, recovery can be an insidious and painful place that can tear at our sense of well-being and worth.

Sometimes our instinct is to deny what is happening, override what we know to be true, or to push ourselves harder. This actually puts us at greater risk of injury.

Though, I’m talking about what happens to us at a physical level, I’m also talking about what happens to us at an emotional and spiritual level, as well.

We cannot move forward in our greatest strength if we have not done the work of healing. And sometimes that takes time.  I hate that I’m told to cut back on my activity for three weeks to allow my body to rest and reduce inflammation.  What do you mean, cut back?  I have things to do, places to go, people to see . . . blah, blah, blah.

I’m not always a great patient. Sometimes my doctor calls me non-compliant.  I’ve actually no investment in being difficult. What that means is that I don’t simply take what an authority tells me is so.  It has to make sense to me pragmatically, and it has to resonate inside – in my “gutometer”.

If, however, you explain to me (1) what’s going on, (2) what I need to do to change, (3) what are the options, (4) what are the risks, and (5) if it makes sense to me, I’m all in.

And well . . . then I try to be a patient patient.

So if you feel you need to gain strength in some area of your life – emotionally, mentally, physically, spiritually, relationally, or financially – strive not to be stronger. Rather, seek first to heal.