Rehabilitation Basics

When I was a graduate student of physical therapy, we attended lab classes to practice what we learned in lectures. It was during those labs that I realized not one person in our class of forty students personified textbook ideals.

We were all flawed.

When we had a unit on posture, nobody had perfect posture. During exercise physiology class, some had excellent aerobic capacity, some anaerobic; some had great lifting strength; some good endurance—nobody had it all. We each had weaknesses.

Most of us weren’t even aware of our problem areas. Abnormal felt normal.

Our professors taught us that weaknesses often lead to injury or dysfunction; strong muscles tend to get even stronger, weak muscles get even weaker; when tasks are especially demanding those imbalances make us do compensatory movements that put us at greater risk for injury. We learned patient education and exercise techniques to activate and strengthen underused, atrophied muscles, and how to incorporate recovering muscles into whole body movement.

Since balanced strength minimizes injury and maximizes performance, our jobs as physical rehabilitation specialists were to identify patients’ problems and develop treatment plans to solve them.

Physical therapy image for blog

I consider God as a “whole person” rehabilitation specialist. He deals with us in entirety—body, soul, and spirit. He is infinitely more insightful than a human therapist, and knows what within each of us is well developed, partially developed, and what has yet to emerge.

We each have our fortes and flaws. One person has enormous self-discipline but miniscule independent thinking. Another has mastery of a vocation, but poor relational skills. One mind has a surplus of facts, but shortage of wisdom. Another sees the small picture clearly, but lacks global vision, or the even larger view from God’s perspective.

Our God understands our strengths and weaknesses. He knows what skills, behaviors, talents, strategies, and paradigms are over- or under-used, and plans our training programs accordingly.

So how does God, the rehabilitation specialist, develop each of us? Does he target our strengths or our weaknesses?

As much as we humans like to rely on our strengths, it is our weaknesses that God is likely to prioritize. It isn’t to criticize them, but to develop them. His goal is always to heal our injuries and maximize our lives. He orchestrates life circumstances to target liabilities, to develop them to assets.

A man I’ll call Jack, once told me about his “rehab” experience. Jack admitted that with the exception of his work life, he was most comfortable letting others tell him what to think. He didn’t view it as his mind being owned by others, but as it being “the right way”.

quicksand_705_300Though his life and mind were regularly trapped in quicksand, Jack thought outside factors were to blame. He never considered himself as bearing any responsibly for his frequent journeys into muck.

Frustrated, he asked God for help and ended up the recipient of “patient education”:  God had given him the right to think, to make independent decisions, to disagree with and even oppose his maker. Jack had allowed others to violate the free will God honors. He’d let people lead him down paths of sinking sand.

Soon after, came the “strengthening exercises”: Jack found himself in circumstances that called on his weakness. Initially, he felt insecure considering issues and making decisions at odds with majority thinking. Once he used what he’d not used before, Jack never returned to his imbalanced, atrophied ways. The sanity and positive outcomes that accompanied truth and righteousness were his ongoing motivators.

We all have a chance to become strong in every area we possess. It is possible to be well rounded and whole, not just over-strong in some areas and weak in others. There are countless programs and professionals available to help, but to me only one is 100% reliable —

Only God provides all-encompassing rehabilitation that is brilliantly personalized, always in our best interests, certain to avert injuries, and guaranteed to maximize our lives.

1 Peter 5:10 (New Living Translation) –  “In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation.”