My coach, Tasha, has an injury in her hip and I have one in my neck. I finally realized that my form while lifting weights and typing on the computer was incorrect. I hold my shoulders up (instead of sticking my chest out) while I write and lift weights, which causes my trapezius muscle (traps) to fatigue and become irritated. So we decided to go into the sauna at the gym to relax our muscles and ease both of our injuries.
As we were sitting in the hot water relaxing, we began a conversation with a young MMA fighter. I was easily able to talk with him (because of my experience as a MMA fighter), and I told him that I would be praying for his fight and the protection of his body. He seemed surprised by my comment, but he could see my sincerity. We told him about our injuries, and he said that we should go into the cold dip.
He explained that hot water forces blood through the muscles, breaking up the lactic acid, and the cold water then pushes the lactic acid away, thereby alleviating soreness and aiding in healing. The only problem is that the cold dip is like iceberg-in-Alaska cold. It is freezing, and you have to stay in for at least 15 seconds. Tasha has a hip injuring, so she had to place the lower half of her body in the water. I, on the other hand, have a neck injury. I had to put my entire body into the water up to my chin!
Not only that, you are supposed to go from hot to cold several times to feel the full effect on your muscles. We decided to go into the cold dip together. The first time, my breath was literally taking from me, and I counted off 15 seconds quickly, so I could hurry and run back to the sauna, leaving Tasha bottom deep in the cold water. However, I knew I needed to do it again or I wouldn’t have the healing result I was looking for.
We did it a second time, and again my breath was taken away. Tasha was a good sport–she clung on to the metal pole of the cold dip with dear life, gritting her teeth and closing her eyes to maintain focus. I stayed under longer the second time, but I realized the water wasn’t hitting my hairline at the nape of my neck, which is where a lot of my soreness was located. We ran back to the sauna, feeling our toes burn as we got into the hot water.
Finally, we decided to do it one more time. I knew this was my last chance to get my full neck under the water. The MMA fighter (amused by our antics by now) said that if we stayed in the water long enough that our bodies would eventually go numb. I was determined to submerge all of my sore muscles this time without going into hyperventilation.
Tasha and I made it into the cold dip a third time, and I leaned back allowing the my neck to be fully submerged. This time Tasha suggested that we pray for the other women who were training with us for the same body building competition. We have a private Facebook account for the 7 women training, and the other day one of the woman said that she would be praying for each of us during her 30 minute jogs. The first person she prayed for was Tasha, and Tasha felt so moved and honored that she would take time to pray for her and her family.
I thought praying was a great idea, so there in the cold dip in the middle of the athletic club I prayed for the Women of Strength (the name of our little group). Not only did I pray for each woman, I prayed that we would honor and glorify God. I prayed that we would take the humble seat, allowing God to establish His power and strength in our lives according to HIs will. I prayed that we would be a light of Jesus to people who didn’t know Him. I got so into my prayer that I no longer felt the cold. I had literally gone numb to the pain of the world when I focused on God.
When I said amen, we rushed back to the sauna, and I knew that we had given our muscles the help they needed to heal and strengthen. I also thanked God for our injuries since without the pain, we would have never had our cold dip prayer. I realized that God allows struggles and hurts in our lives because they cause us to lean on Him if we don’t give up. And when we lean on God’s strength, He supplies us with everything we need to live for Him (Philippians 4.19).
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen” (Ephesians 3.20-21 NIV).