Think things aren’t going to turn around? Think again.
One of the greatest aspects of life, that no one seems to realize, is the ability to think. There are many definitions, but one way to describe this action is, “directing one’s mind towards a specific person or thing.” Like everything, balance is key to thinking. When we think too little, we do stupid things. When we think too much, we become anxious about even the smallest details of life. This is one area of living that can be greatly altered when you become chronically ill, because everything comes down to a science. The supplements you take, the coping mechanisms you develop, what you ingest into your body, how you react to the trauma, how you let these events shape you, and lastly where you find your peace of mind. You will notice that many of these things are the same for someone who is fully healthy, just maybe not to the same extreme. When the mood in your household is happy, the temperature outside to your liking, and you are free of any stress or pain, you think clearer. You also tend to think less, because everything seems to be going as “planned.” However, when things take a turn for the “worse,” aka it gets cold out, your body is rebelling, and everything on your schedule is a strain, then your mind goes in overdrive, trying to put it all back into place. Allowing your mind to do this is only natural, however, in the end, it is is not right, nor does it help one iota.
The first signs of my illness began around the age of 12. Prior to then, I do not remember ever feeling bad for more than a week or so at a time. Once, before 7th grade, my mother was talking with a friend about a certain health issue. They proceeded to ask me if I was in any pain. After sitting there for quite some time, examining my body, and really thinking deep, the only answer I could come up with was simply “no.” However, as I grew older, this fact began to change. I started developing constant symptoms such as migraines, sinus infections, achey joints to the point where I couldn’t exercise, and loss of intestinal peristalsis which then created horrible stomach pains. Because I have always been more of a quiet individual, I did not complain or really think much of it. Inside, I believed that it was just an aspect of life that everyone around me was dealing with. If they weren’t saying anything, why should I?
2011, the year my immune system completely gave way and the symptoms got much more numbered and severe, I still kept it to myself. Of course now I had to tell my parents, their friends, and doctors what I was feeling, but I never got the sense that it was unfair. All those years before hand that I suffered from acute symptoms, had been perfectly planned out by God so that, when I became severely ill, my mind and spirit were more ready. As weeks turned into months, and months into years, I was able to “roll with the punches.” I didn’t know what was happening to me, why I couldn’t eat, go the bathroom, sleep, walk, talk clearly, or let alone think straight. This is probably one reason why I never saw my situation as being “unreasonable,” along with the belief that all have sinned, fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), and can expect to experience difficulties in life. That being said, after various ER visits, the reality of the situation finally hit me. Though I couldn’t communicate well to people, even my parents, have someone tell me what was wrong, or live like any other human being around me, my heart new one thing for sure. God was with me, whenever, wherever, through whatever.
Sleepless nights in a hospital room where the doctors told me I was crazy. My failed attempts to take the once-a-week bath, long waits in the doctors office, and the severe reactions to laughing gas that gave me horrible pins and needles throughout my entire body. Dozens of painful ultrasounds, lying down on a hospital bed for major surgery, inability to breath from such severe rib pain, and the list goes on. Whether minor, like not being able to eat out at restaurants, play tennis, sit at the dinner table with my family, or major, according to human standards, God.was.there. He never left, and because of that, I learned to talk to Him like He was sitting right next to me, just like a friend would.
Day to day, the struggle for life is still severe. Problems have been fixed, just in time for others to come around. When everything seems to be going “ok,” my thumb gets slammed in the door, parasites take over my body, or a severe skin disorder spreads throughout my hands, making me learn how to do everything left handed. This is where the title of my post comes into play, “think things aren’t going to turn around? Well I challenge you to think again.”
When we get so wrapped up in the situations surrounding us, we tend to start over-thinking everything, simultaneously stopping to remember the one most important thing in our life, God.
He is all-knowing, all-powerful, all-mighty. Everything, even the little events of life, like simply getting behind a slow truck on your way to work, is planned out by God. He knows why it is happening, even when we cannot even fathom why something so inconvenient would happen. We try and think of all the ways that we, or someone we know, can fix the issue. Yet, these man-made attempts to put our life back in order are in vain. They never work, but only leave us feeling more miserable, exhausted, stressed, and fearful. If you are anything like me, you know that, when something doesn’t go your way, you tend to “freak out.” Even if you don’t show it, your mind is freaking out, which then translates to your words, actions, and emotions.
So what do we do when our mind goes into overdrive? The answers is quite simple, first we must stop. Stop, not to examine our situation, but to give it to God. A simple prayer will calm your thought process, allowing Jesus to take control, thus giving you an abundance of overflowing peace. You don’t realize it at the time, but this event has a purpose. We cannot see the purpose, nor do we know how in the world the future will align with it. However, we must remember that there is a reason, which in the end will turn out for our best, another word for perfection. James 1:12 says that those who persevere under trials, are blessed by God. It is when we give up, lose touch with God, and walk away from Him that the blessing never seems to come. It is not God’s fault, He had it all aligned. But we doubted, tried to make things go our way, and didn’t let Him finish His perfect plan. Yep, that is right, perfect, again. When you fully grasp this truth, I can promise that you WILL experience a multitude of inexplicable feelings. The joy, peace, and gratitude overriding the life around you, are all due to you allowing God to flood your heart and fill the void we, as humans, are all born with.
I began by saying that we “first” must stop and give our situation to God. However, there are not truly any steps after this first one. Why? Because once we give our problem to God, everything else falls into place. Ultimately, we have no control over what is going to happen, how it is going to happen, or when it will come to place.
It is not to say that I did not realize this fact before I got very sick, however, when you are healthy, it is easy to just go through life without thinking of this truth. Since I have been sick, and my relationship with God has grown, I not only “think” on this fact, but I dwell on it. Some evenings, I sit outside and take in the amazing nature that surrounds me: the chirping of the birds, the airplanes high in the sky, and the fact that I can even see the differing colors all around me. I stop, realize how lucky I am, that everything is in control, and become filled with the greatest joy ever experienced in my lifetime. I become so thankful I could jump for joy, despite my pounding headache and sore bones. The realization that I have God, and therefore can sit back and watch everything fall into place before me is surreal.
Humans are born into a world that teaches every good aspect in life is by your own doing, and that karma controls the future. Truly, we are separated from God, yet given a chance, a choice, to become one with Him. When we do this, and obtain salvation with Him through faith, the lack of energy or strength you may experience becomes OK. Remember, you don’t have to lift a finger, God is taking care of it all. Yes, there is a difference between being responsible, and living completely carefree and up “in the clouds,” but there is no reason to worry over anything. If you quiet your mind, God will speak to you and allow you to think clearer than ever before. Though I could go on forever of examples of how God’s way is proving to be perfect in my life, despite my condition, the same can be said for you. No matter what is going on in your life, big or small, it is all part of His giant puzzle. As time goes on, and you give your life to God, the pieces will start falling into places. However, if we deny Him, looking back, we will not be able to see how anything has worked together for our good. But when we just stop, rest, and realize He is in control, everything in life appears to be perfect. Whether spotless by the world’s standards or not, your life is going perfectly. Don’t let your own opinions and thoughts create anxiety that override the everlasting truth that God is faithful and sovereign. Remember, the Father’s hands that hold you are bigger and stronger than anything you will ever encounter. Trust in God, cast it all upon Him, and He will sustain you.
Romans 5:1-5 “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have[a] peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; 4 and perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”