Saturday, August 31, 2013

Weekly Impressions - Pain and Grace

My greatest spiritual battle lately has been to keep a thankful attitude through my chronic pain.  I’m not sure about others, but my chronic pain seems to ebb and flow in different phases of higher or lesser pain.  This is a higher pain phase.  The game has changed, a little, too, in that numbness has entered into the equation, which I didn’t expect, as it hadn’t made a real appearance in the past twenty years.  I think it will be awhile before I’m really “used to” that in the same way that I’m “used to” the pain.  I know, though, that God is good through it all.

The easiest and quickest way to keep my thoughts from apathy has been to pull back and look at the Big Picture.  As FFH said it in their song “It’s a Good Day”:

Say, “Hey, it’s a good day.
“Even if things aren’t going my way.”
Jesus is Lord and I am saved, so
Say “Hey, it’s a good day!”

This helps me to relax and know that it’s in God’s hands - a very good place for it to be.  However, I then begin to dwell on whether or not I’m doing everything that I should be or need to be.  If I can come up with a plan, this isn’t a bad avenue to pursue.  Barring that, it often leads down the path of anxiety.  This is where the Rubber Meets the Road - I have to choose to focus on what I am thankful for, rather than try to take control.

I am thankful for this wisdom, but I pray for the strength and endurance to carry it out.  The beginning is always the hardest.  If I can get started down the right path (thankfulness), it will get easier as I continue in it.  Yet the reverse is true, too.  The more I let myself follow the path of anxiety, the harder it will be to turn away from it.

I find myself seeking Distraction a lot when I come up against the hard spiritual battles, like being thankful instead of anxious.  A little isn’t bad as a tool, but I find myself defaulting to it - and that’s just avoiding the issue altogether.  Being thankful won’t be any easier if I don’t practice.  So... here’s me practicing.  Even choosing to write my blog in the midst of this is practice.

I am thankful for My Husband, who cares for me; for Our Son, and the smiles he brings; for Air Conditioning, that I don’t have to suffer from the heat outside; and for Our Car, that we can travel to our in-laws for dinner and help with the little man (almost two now!).  I am thankful for Water and its cleansing of my body; for God’s Promises that I can lean on; for God’s Love, that He’s willing to do the hard things for our good; and for God’s Grace that He grants us to make it through each day.

My hope is not in healing and that I won’t have to suffer, but in God, who is willing to let me suffer that I might grow and bring Him glory through it.  His yoke is easy, and His burden is light (Matthew 11:30); all I really have to do is concentrate on Him.  He’s the one doing the hard work of the orchestration of each day for each and every one of His children, ever with the purpose of their good and His glory in mind.  This pain may not be “easy” to deal with, but God will never give me more than He can handle.

That’s part of His grace:  He will never give me more than He can handle.  He doesn’t leave me to handle it on my own.  He is right there with me, Teaching me how to rely upon Him.  I thank the Lord for always working on my behalf, right here with me “in the ditches.”

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