Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A Breath of Fresh Hope!


Several months ago, an article by Wendy Ulrich appeared in the Deseret News entitled "How Can God Be Trusted? Some Lessons from Bones and Sinew." Normally I would just post a link, but because I want all of you to read her words so badly, I am cutting and pasting them here in their entirety. That's how valuable I think Ms. Ulrich's piece is. Read it and smile, because the knowledge that our bodies are constantly rebuilding themselves not only offers new hope for improved health no matter your age, but reminds every one of us that we can change ourselves spiritually, too.

Write on, Wendy...

I recently learned that all the cells in all the muscles in the human body are destroyed, hauled off, then rebuilt about every four months. Ditto with all the blood cells every three months, all the bone cells every couple of years. Who knew?

When we stress muscles with exercise, special wrecking-crew cells get a stronger-than-usual signal to come in and start tearing things down and cleaning things out. Rest after exercise cues another crew of cells to start building things back up again, just a little stronger than before. Without exercise, old cells don’t get taken down and recreated as efficiently; muscles and bones are rebuilt slightly weaker than they were, according to Chris Crowley and Henry S. Lodge, M.D., authors of "Younger Next Year."

This information gives me a lot of incentive to hit the streets.

It also gives new credibility to the notion that adversity might even be good for me. It makes me wonder if I’m using challenges, stress or threats to tear down old notions of who I am and what I believe, replacing them with something more accurate, strong and flexible.

I think of a friend who, with cause, concluded as a child that she could only stay safe through constant vigilance. People could not always be trusted. Ditto with God. As an adult that worldview often left her anxious, suspicious and grasping for faith. She wanted to relax and trust in God’s care. After all, sometimes things worked out fine. But sooner or later — usually sooner — they didn’t again. Was she not yet righteous enough to deserve more protection? Was she creating a self-fulfilling prophecy?

I will long remember the moment in the movie "17 Miracles" when someone who looks like a mountain man comes to a woman who has roamed away from her Mormon pioneer handcart company to search for fuel. He appears from nowhere and asks urgently how the company is doing. She clearly can’t figure out who this man is or where he came from, but she reports, "We are starving. We are dying. We are desperate."

His concern is evident. He thinks a moment. He wonders aloud if he might help a little. The question does not seem to be whether he is able to help, willing to help, or has the concern and compassion to help. For some reason the question seems to be whether he is allowed to help. Apparently permission is granted: He miraculously provides dried meat for her to take back and distribute, saving many lives. When she turns to thank him he has disappeared, along with the cave from which he produced the food. True story, it is claimed.

This is the message I got: God is absolutely aware, compassionate, concerned — and from time to time he sends some messenger or miracle as evidence of that love. But he does not pull us out of the game we came here to play. He respects and loves and trusts us enough to let us see it through, even when we are sure we are losing, even when we cannot for the life of us remember why we chose to play or what position we trained for. He remembers. He is true to his promise to let us have the experience we apparently signed up for: tearing down, rebuilding stronger.

Sometimes an experience tears us down so far we feel like there is no physical or spiritual muscle left to rebuild from. But he is the resurrection and the life and the God we can come to know “in our extremities.” He can be trusted, not because he will keep us safe but because he will save us. We are loved enough and he is good enough, and we can take that to the bank. The victory is his, but the spiritual muscle will be ours, forever.

Wendy Ulrich, PhD, MBA, psychologist, author and founder of Sixteen Stones Center for Growth (sixteenstones.net), most recently co-authored the New York Times bestseller "The Why of Work."

Thanks, Wendy!

And don't forget to leave a comment here so you can try to win the "I am still learning" plaque to celebrate my 1100th post! (Contest closes on Sunday the 11th.)

25 comments:

RobinfromCA said...

What a wonderful article. I'm so glad you shared it today. Now, I guess, I need to go exercise. :-)
Robin

verna said...

great article Sue, Thanks

anitamombanita said...

What a terrific article. I think the part about whether we ALLOW others to help is so true and important.

Sue said...

I agree Anita; and even more importantly, whether we allow GOD to help.

=)

Momza said...

I ♥ Sister Ulrich. Her husband was my son's Mission President but when my son came home--he went on and on about how wonderful his mission mom was... her book about forgiving ourselves is well-worn in my library. I got to hear her speak at Time Out for Women once and enjoyed meeting her. She is one of a kind.

As Sistas in Zion said...

We're so glad you shared the entire piece! Such a powerful thought, God can be trusted. In life it sometimes seems as if there are people all around us who let us down, or that if we want it done right we have to do it on ourselves because no one else can be trusted, but it isn't so. We can always trust in the Father.

Brian Miller said...

nice...some great teaching and i have def seen it play out in my life as well

karen said...

What a great article! I often forget about exercising my spiritual muscle so this was a great reminder.

Karen S. said...

Oh my, what an amazing read....

Darlene said...

I remember reading that article too, and was so impressed by it. I'm glad you printed in in whole so that your bloggers can read it.

It was so informative too. I truly believe in exercise, and am so looking forward to getting back to my treadmill and stationary bike, to say nothing about the pool. Those aerobic exercises for the pool that Dick and I do every day are wonderful. I will be so glad when we can turn that pool heater on. I have to wait though until I don't get chilled when I get out or I will get astma.

Did I ever give you a copy of those pool exercises? We do them five days a week and they are about 40 minutes long when we can do all the rotations. They actually excersize every muscle in the body. That gives me an idea. I should publish it. My good friend, Judy Risk, who is also now our new R.S. president, gave it to me years ago. She used to be President Ford's personal assistant and always traveled to Vail with them each summer.

I have also been happier to give than receive. It is so satisfying when I can do something for someone else, but for some reason, much harder to accept help, or even gifts. I must work on this.

Pondside said...

Thanks for posting that article Sue. That's another wonderful thing about blogging - being exposed to uplifting and helpful points of view/articles etc that one might otherwise never, ever find.

Ames said...

That was a wonderful and informative post Sue. Thanks for sharing. I especially did not know the part about our bodies renewing itself even with my medical back ground. Just never heard it put that way before. Very informative!~Ames

yaya said...

Great post and article that I will probably use in the future..if that's OK..I'm feeling the spiritual tear down and really need to read this. Thanks so much!

yaya said...

Great post and article that I will probably use in the future..if that's OK..I'm feeling the spiritual tear down and really need to read this. Thanks so much!

Stacy Crawford said...

I LOVE this Sue! Thanks so much for sharing!

Grandma Honey said...

So even when we are ready to give up, He isn't.

Grandma Yellow Hair said...

Something I really needed to read today Sue. Your mom sent me over after she left a comment on my sight. What a blessing the two of you are in my life.
I found out yesterday that my son Clint who is the father my my grand babies was diagnosed with Iga Nephropathy. I never heard of this until yesterday and it has be worried sick for him but then I read a email or comment from one of you and I realize how lucky I am to have such support. Because he reads my site I did not mention him. I don't think he wants me writing about him but I do need prayers for him.
Your post tonight is one that I think I should send to him.
Love you
Maggie

Dixie Mom said...

I'm so glad you pasted this article into your blog...you're right, I wouldn't have gone and read it otherwise.
I so need this.
I so need to have faith in this.
It's just really hard, that's all.

Amy said...

Wow. I am so glad you didn't just post a link, because it is late, I want to go to bed soon, and I wouldn't have read it. I am so glad I did! Funny enough, the part that stays with me, even now is the fact that he had to ask permission first. The Lord isn't going to help us if we don't allow him to. What a profound thought. Thank you again for posting this. I need it right now.

PⒿ @ $ € € ₦$ ₣®0₥... said...

AWESOME post, Sue! I believe the same things. She's a wonderful writer.

JDaniel4's Mom said...

This is truly wonderful. Thank you for sharing it.

momto8 said...

love all the thoughts and information in this post! thank you.

Terra said...

What a powerful story. Thanks for sharing!

Caroline said...

Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful!!
I am also thinking about parenting when I read this because as a newer parent (as you know mine are all still young) I often struggle with discipline and I must confess that early on I tended to go to easy on my children because I didn't want to see them cry in a time out. NOW, after a few years of trial and error it is SO clear to me that my rules and boundaries for them (which they don't always like) are GOOD for them. They grow and learn from this even though, at the time it's not fun.

Thanks for sharing this Sue. I loved it .

Mormon Women: Who We Are said...

Thanks for the heads-up about this article. I shared it on FB. It's got a lot of good insights. I've always loved the parallel between our muscles and the need for spiritual growth through some 'breaking down' experiences.

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