I remember the first time was scheduled for a massage. Many friends had gone before me. They told me how relaxing the experience had been. Their posture even loosened has they spoke about the peace and tranquility of the spa. You can imagine how I much anticipated my visit.
It was just like my friends had described. The smell of scented candles, the aroma of relaxation filled the air. The music was soft and set the perfect tone. I could feel the stresses of life loosen as I waited to be called back.
The moment came, I heard my name. It was finally my turn, the one I had waited for and anticipated. As the masseuse poured the oil on my back I could feel myself unwinding. I had just closed my eyes and exhaled to soak-in the experience when I felt the twinge… pain. How could there be pain in this beautiful moment? No one had mentioned anything about pain. But yes, the relaxing, tranquil, unwinding, and peaceful experience hurt.
The masseuse explained that she would need to apply pressure to the knots in my back and neck so they could be begin to dissipate. She went to tell me what hurt today would feel great tomorrow. Honestly in that moment I found her words hard to believe. It turned out she was right. My back and neck did feel great the next day. My stress level was down and I felt more relaxed. The massage was good for me but it hurt.
These past few months as I have been giving permission to God to create in me a pure heart I have experienced moments like that of my first massage. The idea of God working my life was lovely. I imagined His love and grace loosening life’s stresses. The future was full of hope and peace as I anticipated what my life would be like at the end of 2013 after praying this verse over my life for 12 months. What I did not anticipate was the pain associated with saying to God, “Go ahead mess with my mess. Clean me up.”
Five months into this beautiful adventure I have learned two very important lessons. The first, holiness can’t be half-way. Allowing God to work to work in my life is all or nothing. And because I am stubborn and stiff-necked (no pun intended) this holiness adventure is going to take a lot longer than 12 months.
The second lesson? What hurts today, feels better tomorrow and even better the day after and the day after that. What is good for us sometimes hurts. However, if we ask for and accept God’s generous grace to get through it, the other side is beautiful. There is purification in pain. I can’t explain it, I just know it.