I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139:14
A few months ago, I learned that I have three compressed discs, two in my neck and one in my lower back. There are a host of other issues that are also going on health-wise with me, that it turns out are likely interrelated. I have discovered that our amazing bodies are created in such intricate, interdependendent, and interwoven ways that I honestly never really gave thought to until very recently.
Having a compressed disc in one’s neck is linked to many ailments, including headaches/migraines, neck pain (obviously!), arthritis, muscle strain and spasms, pinched nerves, carpal tunnel syndrome, TMJ, fibromyalgia, fatigue, numbness in hands, and low back pain. I have endured many of these issues over the years without knowing why they were happening, just that they were happening.
Having a compressed disc in the lower back can cause back pain (again, so obvious!), sciatica, leg pain, and nerve damage, along with contributing to bowel issues, like IBS. IBS and similar digestive issues can increase the instance of weight problems, like unexplained weight gain or weight loss. Both of these compressed disc areas can interfere with sleep, with energy levels, with mood disorders, and so on.
As I was thinking about all of this new information, and being thankful that I am able to get treatment for these issues in my body, I was reminded of 1 Corinthians 12:13-27, where Paul compares the human body to the Body of Christ.
Unity and Diversity in the Body
Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.
Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.
Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.
The suffering of one part affects all of the other parts! We need to care for one another as a part of the same Body. It is so easy to say, “I really don’t give preferential treatment to myself over others,” when in reality we do. We sometimes claim that, “I care for others, I just don’t care about myself,” which is also a wrong attitude. We are all important pieces of the whole. All the parts of the Body need special care and treatment, and all the parts of the Body are lessened when one part is ignored, hurting, in need, or glossed over.
Do this. Search out the hurting parts. They are interconnected with the Body. Befriend them, encourage them, help them heal. Search out the rejoicing parts. Befriend them, encourage them, celebrate with them. Get connected, get healthy, get real, get loved.