Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Embracing life's yucky stuff

We seem to be living in a culture that embraces instant easy access to the things that are supposed to make us happy. We text instead of having those awkward conversations. We take a pill instead of taking responsibility for our own health. We look for instant gratification through online games and social media. We use TV to tune out the complexities of our lives. We reach for food so that we can enjoy something, anything, in our moment of distress.

We do our best to gloss over the yucky stuff, but is it working for us?

I'm not pointing fingers at anyone - I have done (and continue to struggle with) many of these things! Yet, my yucky stuff persists.

Yucky Stuff 101

Look back over your life. When did you experience the most personal growth? Was it when you were trying to avoid your problems, or when you dealt with them and learned from them?

This post from Toni Bernhard gave me a huge "ah ha" moment. She shares about her former need to fix things (her health, other people's lives, etc), and how she was stuck in her fix-it desires. I immediately saw that I had been doing the same thing. I also realized another thing - when I didn't want to face a problem, that was when I usually tried to fix yours. Needless to say, not only did I not avoid my problem, but I often made matters worse.

Spring - a time of new attitudes?

Today, I was able to get out of the house and go for a short walk... well, it was a long walk for me given I rarely get to leave the house anymore (thanks ME-CFS). After I pushed past my rising anxiety, wondering what I would do if my system crashed suddenly, I slowed down and drank in the sounds of spring. Every tree was filled with chirping birds, it was warm enough that I could walk with my jacket open, and I soaked up the warm sunshine. It was truly glorious!

Lately, I have begun to feel like I'm ready to accept my health and simply get on with living my life - in whatever form it presents itself. Yet, there is a part of me that refuses to give up.

There lies the crux of the problem

Notice how I equated accepting my health with giving up? What I am finally learning is that I can find joy and contentment today, even while my body rages at me. I can choose to search for the silver lining while searching for answers about my health.

Class is still in session

My greatest personal growth has come through the most painful times of my life. My faith has blossomed into the kind of faith that I desperately searched for most of my life, but could never seem to grasp. I have emerged stronger and better equipped to face future problems. As I gain more experience with God, I can see how His perfect plan for my life has worked out perfectly! When I start to stress over a yucky situation, I remind myself of this fact and I choose to trust God - again.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

When have you learned the most? Was it in good times or bad? What words of encouragement would you say to someone going through a tough time right now?

2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. 6 But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.   James 1:2-6