So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. --2 Corinthians 4:18
I must be really hard-headed. Actually, I am really hard-headed... there's no "must be" about it. I've always been stubborn and unfortunately, always will be. Sickness or not, valley or not, wilderness or not, I'm still wired the same way I was when I entered this world. I've learned a lot over the last 15 months, but God hasn't altered my hard-wires and He doesn't intend to. If I was perfect, I'd be like Jesus and wouldn't need God. And so he made me, flaws and all, knowing that I will always be imperfect. There are many, many more imperfections, but hard-headedness is one of them and I get it honest (thanks Dad - love ya!).
And so as I keep longing to be "normal" again I realize there's a reason that I'm not. Last week I was out walking and thinking, "maybe by this summer I'll be ready to teach a life group again." And I felt God say, "2012 was your year of desperate dependence on me. You could do nothing on your own and you learned what it means to totally depend on me. 2013 will be your year of abiding. Abiding in me and learning everything you need to - new habits, new scripture, new ways to listen to and walk with me. Don't rush the ministry opportunities."
And that helps me understand some of the delay in full healing back to "normal." I believe God is trying to teach me habits that I will carry over into the "normal" days. For example, I NEVER in a million years would have prayed daily over the "mundane" activities that I had to do (laundry, going for a walk, cooking supper) but in the last 15 months there have been MANY days that I had to pray to get me through those very things. I used to pray over the big things I had going on (a big work meeting, a long drive, a hectic day running errands) but I've learned to pray over all the things I need to accomplish and I hope that I will continue this habit when I'm well.
I LOVE Andy Stanley. He's an incredible speaker and author; he's the pastor of North Point Community Church in Atlanta, GA. If you're not familiar with him, check out his church's YouTube site and some of his sermons:
One study of his is "The Best Question Ever" (SPOILER ALERT: The question is... "Is This the Wise Thing For Me To Do?" And he recommends going through this question and the potential outcomes and answers in making life decisions, big or small. Over the last couple of weeks God is teaching me to ask what I think is "The 2nd Best Question Ever"... "In light of eternity, does (fill in an activity) really matter?" For example, I was having a dizzy day a few days ago and soooo upset and thinking, "God, I don't want to spend another day doing nothing or laying around or...." and then I thought, "In light of eternity, is laying around today and not accomplishing anything really that big a deal?" Uh, NO! We have a mother/son night at our church this Friday and when I got the invitation in the mail, my heart just leaped into my throat and made me sick. I thought, "Another thing my kids have to miss out on..." But then I asked myself, "In light of eternity, is going to the mother/son night that important?" Uh, NOPE! But guess what? Staying home with Beau that night and making him feel special just might.
I hope that using this question to guide my thoughts and responses to activities will be one of those habits God is teaching me and allowing me to hone in this valley so that when I'm up on the mountaintop once again I will still follow it. If you've never asked yourself the question, I set the challenge before you over the next few days. When you're getting stressed over things or considering participation in an event or activity, stop and ask "In light of eternity, does (fill in an activity) really matter?" And don't just gloss over the Q&A period. Truly think of what it means to have an eternal perspective, think about all the things you can/can't take with you when you go, think about the legacy you want to leave and think about what answer God would give to the question.
I've had a couple of bad days since I last wrote but I've also had some INCREDIBLY GREAT days. I went to life group and church on Sunday and out to lunch with my family. I haven't been to life group and church on the same day in probably a year or so. YAY!!!! I'm trying to challenge myself more with driving to build up some confidence. I am becoming very aware that lack of sleep and stress definitely factor in to dizzy days. So, I'm a little more "old-lady-ish" (sorry if you're an old lady and this offended you) about my activities and resting more in between them. There are still days when I think I'm invincible and push too hard and pay for it when I lay down at night. God has definitely made us very wonderfully and so intricately!
Final thoughts and a summary of the Gregory household this week:
New water heater = $300+
Plumber = $400+
ServePro Water Clean-Up for 7 days = $homeowner's deductible
Both kids back upstairs in their own beds tonight = priceless