Stiff Necked

6:02 AMHeather

Some of the most memorable times from college was when a group of us sorority sisters traveled to southwest Louisiana for a mission trip.  We'd originally wanted to go to Mexico--you know, travel to the ends of the earth, a foreign country!  But our budget and God's providence took us to a rural area to serve at a youth camp and with a local pastor.  About twenty minutes after our arrival, we realized that we had indeed gone to a foreign country.  We had never before been exposed to the finer aspects of Cajun living.

When we walked into the dining hall at the camp, one of the local teenagers who worked there approached my friend, Leah.  He asked slowly and loudly, "How long have you been in this country?"  Leah said emphatically, "All my life!"  You'd really have to know Leah to realize how hilarious this was.  We still break out in laughter when we recall the look on our quite American (albeit of Hispanic descent) friend's face. 

And, this story came to mind when my physical therapist asked last week how long my neck had been stiff.  The appropriate answer was that the Botox migraine injections were given March 4, 2011, and the stiffness began March 10.   That was the beginning of this now nearly four month journey into the aftermath of what I now know to be an overdose of Botox.  But, the truth is that I have indeed, been stiffnecked, "ALL MY LIFE!"

My Wycliffe Bible Dictionary (a FAVORITE Bible study tool of mine) defines stiffnecked as: 

rebellious and stubborn, as in an ox that
refuses to receive the yoke...the expression
conveys the idea of stubborness or obstinacy
along with arrogance; and it is associated
with an unbelief in God and rejection of 
His revealed will

Yes,bloggy friends, that would well sum me up.  And leave it to our loving Father to flesh out this tendency in me by literally making me stiffnecked.  I can be stubborn and it's nothing but arrogance that leads me to attempt to do things on my own.  And yes, to be perfectly honest, I wrestle with God constantly to believe Him.  Oh, I believe IN Him, but all too often, I struggle to actually take him at his word.  Day after day, I seem to repeat the same mistakes, rejecting His call to seek Him with all I am, in all I do, wholeheartedly.

So, let me share with you a bit of what I have learned about being stiffnecked.  When your neck doesn't work, you can't hold your head up.  I am not kidding--I literally had to put my hand under my chin to hold my head up.  You can't turn your head one way or another to gain proper perspective.  This greatly impacts your ability to function.  Driving was out of the question, along with a random assortment of other day-to-day tasks.  Brushing teeth?  Really hard to not spit all over yourself when you can't look down.  And, the pain.  It's a constant pain in the neck (ha ha!).  You have to rely on others, and at times, I would panic thinking I'd never be normal again.   The paralysis of one neck muscle has caused a ripple effect like none I've ever experienced.  

INTENTIONAL challenge:  I don't know that this side of heaven, I'll ever realize the extent of the ripple effects from my stiffnecked attitude.  What blessings have I missed and continue to miss because I am so stubborn about surrendering EVERYTHING in my life to Him?   How has my walk with Him, my witness for Him, my love for Him been impaired because of this tendency?  What functionality in the body of Christ have I missed because I was stiffnecked?  About a month ago, a sweet friend told me that she hoped I'd be back to normal soon.  And, a gentle whisper in my spirit is gaining momentum as I am learning to shout, "May I never be 'normal' again!  May I be forever changed.  May my stiff neck help me surrender my tendency to be stiff necked!"

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