Ever had a knot in your stomach? Or one in your shoulder? Ever had that feeling that you were the knot, all balled up and tight and immovable?
Ever felt like, “If only I could get rid of this knot – life would be perfect!”
Whether a physical, emotional, or spiritual knot, feeling the tension of fear, anger, pain, or frustration can be horrible. And if it goes on for days or years, the tightness can build on itself, creating a ball of something hard that becomes an obstacle to much of what we want to do.
I’ve had knots in my shoulders that prevented my neck from moving fully. Knots of fear that were nearly paralyzing. Knots of worry that prevented sleep.
But there are ways of slowing unknotting the knots and rearranging them into more manageable things that do not impede us so much as instruct us.
For my physical knots, I’ve always worked with my doctor to determine what’s best – and this is what I tell anyone, too. Physical therapy, directed exercise, and other forms of intervention can be helpful, but we have to work with our doctors to know what will work for us.
For fear, well, I learned in horseback riding classes long ago – learning from the fear (what is it, what does it come from, why am I fearful?) and then re-approaching it can be very helpful. When we know we’ve overcome a fear once, it gives us tremendous self-confidence that we can use and improve on next time.
For worry, as with all challenges in life, I especially turn to God in prayer. He has bigger shoulders that I do – and no pesky knots on them! – and can carry burdens that anyone else might find too heavy. He also never sleeps, but is always watching and protecting us – so we can sleep. That is a powerful and comforting image!
Of course, we all have our individual ways of dealing with our knots. But it helps, I think, to know that many others each day are dealing with similar challenges. And, it helps to know that knots can be unknotted – and God is with us all the way!