My sophomore and junior years of college were brutal on my ankle.
First, I suffered a severe sprain when someone launched himself for a rebound by using my ankle as a springboard. That left me with severe damage—so much so that the doctor told me I would have been better off if I had broken it.
Then, after healing, (which involved wearing a special brace for months), I injured it again playing flag football on artificial turf. The short version is that my body went left and my ankle went right. I was left with such weakness that if I leaned on it the wrong way while talking to someone, I would fall flat on the floor.
But not altogether DIFFERENT from what I've witnessed in ministry for 30+ years since then. What I mean is, we often injure the same part of us due to similar mistakes or just by not giving ourselves time to heal.
I'm sure you've been through this. In fact, I'm sure we all have. You do something dumb and get hurt in the process. This could be a physical injury, like my ankle, or it could be an emotional or spiritual injury instead. Either way, we decide we're too busy, too tough, too proud, or too something-or-other to wait for healing to occur. Instead, we plow back into the same danger area and get injured again--even worse this time. Now we're "laid-up" longer with a more challenging healing process than before.
What's a better way?
Here are some tips I'll share as an injured party and as a pastoral observer over the past 3+ decades:
1. When hurt, ask God how long to rest and allow for healing.
2. While healing, pray over how to avoid similar injuries in the future.
3. Let God speak to you through people who've "been there...done that" instead of ignoring advice and re-experiencing the problem again and again.
4. When you start feeling better, proceed slowly--testing your progress and re-entering the field of play/battle SLOWLY to be sure you're ready.
5. Once you're "up to speed" again, praise God and use wisdom to avoid further injury.
I think of Elijah in I Kings 19. Read this story again today and look at how God uses time, sleep, good food and His creation to restore a wounded servant.
To that end,