Kinks in My Neck, My Faith, and My Life
Is this almost 40?
About a year and a half ago, I started waking up with terrible neck pain. I sat up in bed, only to be unable to move my neck from side to side. The kink would last for days, sometimes over a week. I tried heat, ibuprofen, and rubbing my neck, but nothing alleviated the pain.
This went on for months; the kink would go away, only to return weeks later. Finally, I turned to Google to try and figure out why this was happening. The answer I found was not what I wanted to hear.
Sleeping on my stomach was likely the culprit.
I had given up my favorite sleeping position through three pregnancies, seriously considering cutting a hole in the mattress to put my belly in—and now, I couldn’t sleep on my stomach because of my neck?!
Once I let go of my disappointment, I pictured what my neck must look like when I’m on my stomach with my head on a pillow. The angle doesn’t look great. So, I decided to stop using my pillow. At least when I’m sleeping on my stomach.
I start each night on my right side, roll to my left side, and finally, onto my stomach. But as I roll onto my belly, I remove the pillow, tucking it at the top of the bed. And I sleep with my head directly onto the mattress.
I haven’t had a kink in my neck since.
At the end of December, I found myself in a spiral on social media and using my phone in general. I clicked obsessively from app to app, and my daily screen time was outrageous. (I’m too embarrassed to even admit to what the numbers were.) I felt terrible about myself and terrible about the way I couldn’t seem to stop checking my phone.
Days after Christmas, I deleted Instagram and committed to changing my habits with my phone.
At the beginning of January, I made a plan to use my phone less, and as of now, my screen time is down nearly 75% of what it was at the end of 2022.
Although I feel better about my phone usage and have accomplished many things—I read nine books in January and made my 2021 family photo album—things I wouldn’t have done if I was still using my phone the way I was. But I think I thought I would feel . . . better.
I hoped removing the apps and putting my phone away more would change me overnight.
Around the same time I became a mother, I felt like I should read the Bible cover to cover. I’m not one to make New Year’s Resolutions, but each January, for the better part of a decade, I’ve set a goal to read the Bible in a calendar year.
And each year, I’ve given up by mid-January. Which, honestly, is pretty weak if I do say so myself. I haven’t even made it through Exodus before quitting.
Of course, as a teenager, I read parts of the Bible and memorized verses in Sunday School and during Catechism. In 8th grade, I stood before my church family, repeating the verses and parts of Luther’s Small Catechism, proclaiming my faith and desire to be a church member. The words stuck with me long enough to sweat through reciting them in church; then, I promptly forgot many of them.
In college, my mom gave me a ‘one-year’ Bible, the passages broken up into daily readings. She had read through it herself, leaving notes in the margins. I never even attempted to read it in college, which I’m sure broke my mother’s heart, along with how I was living at the time.
Still determined, I set out to read the Bible again this year. This time, I found a chronological reading plan paired with a daily podcast to recap what I’ve read. And today, I finished my 41st day of reading through the Bible. I’ve read through Genesis and Job and am almost finished with Exodus.
And honestly, I see why each year I gave up in Genesis. It’s somewhat depressing, and a lot of weird stuff goes down. And I feel like I have more questions than answers at this point.
But when I think about why I wanted to read through the Bible, now I think the main reason wasn’t to be closer to God; I wanted to be like the other moms who seemed to have a relationship with Jesus. It seems like the moms who are patient, loving, and “good” are the ones who read the Bible daily. I wanted that for me. I want that for my kids.
I hoped that overnight I would be more patient, kinder, less irritable, and a better mom if I read the Bible.
Motherhood can be lonely. And I’ve found it incredibly isolating and lonely on our farm and ranch. Writing can be lonely too. But I’ve let the weight of comparison crush me in the last year. So much that I can’t even celebrate my wins.
I want to keep reading the Bible and have a better relationship with Jesus. I want to be able to use Instagram, connect with my friends there, and continue to make friends online. I want to write and share my work with the world without constantly comparing my work to everyone else.
Removing the pillow was an easy fix and has saved me a lot of pain in the last two years. And honestly, I hoped the other kinks in my life would be just as easily removed.
Swap out social media for the Bible.
Turn off my phone and read a book.
But now I see I’ve been trying to be like other moms/writers/wives rather than more like Jesus. And this isn’t something I can fix overnight.
I wish I could wrap up this post in a neat bow, just the same as I hoped I was able to wrap up the hard things in my life.
But I’m not sure faith or motherhood or writing was meant to be easy—like swapping out my pillow.
Even though I’ve never finished the Bible in a year, faith keeps bringing me back.
And that’s enough for now.
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Well. I’m tempted to drive two states over to give you a big ‘ol hug. I love this, and you, and feel so similarly about so many things.
Love this, lady. Especially the last line. 💛