She swallowed them. Swallowed ‘em right down.
My daughter Kaley and I were working on a book together. I traveled the four hours to her place, and on day two of hunkering down in her apartment for a week of writing, I came down with an ick flu bug. A fever-running, cough-your-head-off, whine-for-days, eat-up-your-writing-time, will-I-survive-this flu bug. Also I sounded like Batman. My doctor assured me I would survive and told me what to take for the fevering, coughing, whining, and Bat-voice. He was no help at all with the writing, but I appreciated him anyway.
Day three of hunkering, day two of fevering, it was so sweet when Kaley brought my meds to me in the big comfy chair I’d curled into. I hadn’t even lit the Bat-signal. I took the meds, then watched as she melted onto her sofa and slept. For four hours. Four hours, people. Her, not me. I thought Oh man, she’s caught this bug.
I finally saw one of her eyes open about halfway and asked her how she was feeling. She didn’t lift her head at all, but raised one index finger and said, “I have a confession. I may have accidentally swallowed your medicine. I was holding the pills and a glass of water and I kind of…auto-swallowed them.” She accidentally swallowed my medicine.
How? Just…how? How? I laughed so hard. It’s ironic that laughter is the best medicine. I near-about overdosed on that. Kaley didn’t get to fully enjoy any of the laughter, of course, because she slept for another two hours.
Isn’t muscle memory a curious thing? I can testify that Kaley Rhea takes her vitamins. In a disciplined and intentional manner. Every day, there’s the taking of the vitamins. Pills in the hand? Swallow ‘em right down. Brain-ingrained muscle memory is tricky. Sometimes it’s healthy.
In Philippians 2:12-13, Paul said, “Therefore, my dear friends, just as you have always obeyed, so now, not only in my presence but even more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God who is working in you both to will and to work according to his good purpose” (CSB).
Paul is not talking about putting our muscle to work for our salvation. Our salvation was purchased by Jesus’ death on the cross, once and for all. There’s no saving work to work that God hasn’t already worked. And yet, by His grace, we can, in essence, let the Jesus muscle memory kick in. “Work out your own salvation” as God is “working in you.” We can let Him empower the working out and the working in. It’s beautiful when we let His Holy Spirit make obedience become our natural way of life, disciplined and intentional.
Paul is encouraging the Philippians to obey the precepts he passed along to them, asking them to follow those instructions whether he’s there or not, whether they’re feeling it or not—in sickness and in health—living the disciplined life of intentionally pursuing spiritual maturity. I love how the Amplified Version expands on verse 13. “For it is [not your strength, but it is] God who is effectively at work in you, both to will and to work [that is, strengthening, energizing, and creating in you the longing and the ability to fulfill your purpose] for His good pleasure” (Philippians 4:13 AMP).
God is pleased as we allow Him to do that working out and working in. Nothing to do with our strength. Everything to do with His.
Some might find that hard to swallow. Not Kaley though.