Speaking of Life 2032 | Believer’s Paresthesia
Can you relate to this unpleasant experience? You have had your leg bent in an awkward position for too long and your foot goes numb. You know your foot is still there. You can see it. You may even try to wiggle your toes. But it will not respond. In fact, if you try to walk you are liable to fall. Sound familiar? When this happens, we usually say our foot has “fallen asleep.”
But it’s far more complex than that. What has actually happened is a nerve has been compressed or pinched. This prevents proper communication between the nerve and the brain. Signals are unable to travel properly from the nerves, through the spine, to the brain, and back down. As a result, there is a disconnect between what our brain is thinking and what our body is doing…or not doing.
But having our foot fall asleep is not the unpleasant part. In fact, we don’t even know it has fallen asleep at first. But when we are made aware of it then things become…well, unnerving.
You know what I’m talking about! That tingling, stinging, ‘pins and needles’ feeling that accompanies our foot “waking up.” In medical terms, this sensation is known as paresthesia. We may not like it, but it does let us know one thing. Our nerves are reconnecting and regaining proper functioning. Soon, our foot will be fully awake.
I can’t help but think how similar this is to the experience of our Christian walk of faith. As believers, we know we have been freed from sin and we no longer want to walk in it. But then we have a disconnect from what we know and what we do. We seem to suffer from some form of believer’s paresthesia. We may not like admitting it, but our walk of faith seems to hobble along on feet still trying to wake up.
It may help to know that even the Apostle Paul struggled with believer’s paresthesia. He recorded his experience in the Book of Romans:
“I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” Romans 7:15 (NRSV)
Can you relate? We may be tempted in this experience to become discouraged. Maybe even to doubt that we are saved. Or maybe we tell ourselves to “try harder” or “get with the program” and we try to “pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps.” But this is not where Paul would direct our attention. He would have us turn our gaze from ourselves and onto the Lord.
The fact that we are uncomfortable with sin in our lives is not a sign that we are still dead in our sins. It tells us we are waking up. Like the unpleasant experience of paresthesia, we are being reconnected and made whole.
May this be a reminder to all of us that the Lord is “waking us up” and the Spirit is reconnecting us more fully to respond to the Father. And in his loving presence, soon we will be made fully awake.
I’m Michelle Fleming, Speaking of Life.