As I am training for my new position at work right now, I am reminded (in the most up and down kind of way possible), of what seem like some pretty tedious limitations regarding my mental capacity. As a now-menopausal woman who had previously been doing the same thing at work for the past ten years, this learning curve has been a wild little ride.
My previous job was not easy by any means – but after doing it for a decade, I had pretty much mastered it. Sure, there were always new things to learn, but I truly had that role down. I taught that role, coached others how to do it. I could do it backwards and forwards without a problem.
Add in the fact that when I initially had to learn how to do that work, I was younger, more “with it” and well, NOT menopausal. BIG difference, my friends – BIG difference!
This can instill fear like you wouldn’t believe into a type A person who has never really had to struggle very hard to pick up and master new things rapidly. It spells out a recipe for a reluctance to and fear of learning (something I have NEVER been wary of before) that doesn’t look too appetizing.
Just like with everything else though, we have a choice as to how to approach that fear. It all depends upon how we look at it and to whom we look when we deal with the frustrating aspect of it all.
Correct and healthy perspective…it’s a beautiful yet sometimes elusive thing, isn’t it?
One thing that really helps me in the face of the brain fog that seems to hinder me in learning, producing, grasping, communicating, performing in so many facets of my life, is to remember this……
Being or feeling ill-equipped can lead us to be stronger than we ever were when we seemed like we could “do it all.” We could even possibly excel as a result of the challenges we face. Did you know that?
I have really been struggling to find something positive about hormonally induced brain fog that I can look to and apply in my life. For a while now, the only positive I could come up with was that it does help me have more empathy for others who are feeling lost, bewildered, or like they are losing their ever loving minds (no joke).
I feel I can and will continue to be able to relate more now to those who have learning challenges, mental disorders, alzheimers, or even the beginning of senility (probably not a politically correct term, but let’s blame that one on my brain fog too, brothers and sisters).
Even normal human emotions or states of mind can fall into this category too – people who just feel confused, disoriented, grieving, generally stressed, and have consequently ended up with a blocked sense of perspective. I can think of lots of things that can cause people to not feel understood, not feel like they are up to speed, or feel just plain less than the best version of themselves.
That’s all good – being able to find that as a benefit of going through this junk (helping and relating better to others), but I have found also that there is one thing more that I can be grateful to the Lord for regarding this crazy and hazy state of mind and lack of mental clarity. I bet you can guess what it is……
The reminder to surrender – more, and more, and more. The awesome and divinely consistent revelation that it is not about being the best version of myself, but instead of being who Christ wants me to be!
I have concluded there is pretty much always more we can surrender if we are really honest with ourselves. Giving it all to God is just not part of our human makeup, whether we think we have “reached” that point or not. We can have the intention of doing so, but if we encounter a new situation or trial or challenge (such as my lovely brain problems), often we quickly realize we now have more we need to give over to the Lord.
I look back at my life and how truly easy it was to learn new jobs and master them right away and then I feel a sense of longing and loss. But then when I really stop to think it over and pray about it all, God gently and lovingly reminds me of the fact that I was doing it in my own power before. I was striving and achieving, excelling and learning, and it was pretty easy for me to be who I wanted to be when I had control over everything (or so it seemed).
I ended up achieving success by the world’s standards and gave some of the glory to God and some to myself. I certainly had less of a conviction that I needed Him in those matters than I do today!
It may sound funny, but it really is true – when you find you can’t even learn half as fast a job that is so much easier than the last one you were an expert at, it is a stark reminder of the need for humility and daily surrender.
God owns our next breath – our health, our wealth, our relationships, our jobs, homes, families, church, friendships, material goods, spiritual gifts, and yes, our puny little brains. He owns our sanity. He owns it all.
God owns ME.
It’s freeing to know that my Savior wants to put my gifts to use and that He can use this brain fog struggle to mold me into what He wants me to be, instead of allowing me to continue to mold myself into what I want me to be. How awesome is that? What seems like a limitation is actually probably going to end up being what helps me become the vessel He truly intends for me to be – all for the glory of His kingdom, and I am certain, for my own good too!
Yes, I’m grasping my training in my new job but not in the way and at the speed I would have ten years ago. But I am also reveling in the knowledge that my Jesus has my back – that it is by Him and His power that I even have a job. That He alone can equip me to do this job, and if He so desires, another – even way more difficult one at a later date if He so desires. If not, He will make me healthy and successful in the role that I am in – I just have to believe and be faithful. Our God is a mighty God!
It’s all Him. I just have to put my best foot forward daily while making sure it is stepping right into the footprint He left for me to follow. Through thick and thin, He will lead me and guide me – He will do the same for you if you wish to follow after Him, friends.
I won’t pretend that I have reached a place where I actually like my brain fog – no, I really don’t, but I actually might find myself there one day. But I can be grateful for it and I will do my best to cry out to the Lord to carry me through it. I can find a way to embrace my Savior through it all and trust in Him that all will be well.
Because along with all of those other things I mentioned earlier, He owns my heart and my soul too.
Just when I think I’ve lost it – the ability to function intelligently and effectively – He reminds me of the fact that while I am mourning the loss of my quick-witted brain, others around the globe are struggling to determine if they will even eat today. I needed that reminder – I still need it – daily. Maybe that’s why He brought me back to Compassion International – to continue to pop the other bubble of the perpetual brain fog I have been living in all my little life – the one that most of us live in here in the Western world (even when we try not to).
Like I said, it’s all about having the right perspective – you know…the true one? The one that comes from knowing Jesus and living the life He would have for us versus that of our own making.
And His light can and will cut right through any kind of fog.
May you have peace, joy, love, patience, and hopefully, moments (at least) of clarity today as you search for His light regardless of where you, or your “brain” might be.
Whether our bubble is thick or thinning out, He is always there ready to slice right through it.
Thank you Jesus….for the sharp, yet gentle truth that You faithfully provide to us…Your children.
In all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:6
It never ceases to amaze me (and delight me) that God puts us in positions where we have no choice but to lean on Him heavily for strength and direction. What a wonderfully safe place to be.
If I didn’t know better, I would think I must qave written most of this post myself. As a man in my fifties, I had been at the top of my game all my life – always the “head of the class,” leader of the pack, etc. etc. Then my own brain fog began about two years ago. I had test after test done with no medical reason found. I finally decided not to pursue it with the neurologist, concluding that it was almost all due to anxiety and stress, or else I was in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, in which case, I would have to learn to live with it.
The former is surely true, but if the latter may be as well, so be it. I am also trying to learn to surrender – a most difficult thing for me to learn, but the Lord has been so much better to me than I deserve, so I will keep trying, and see how he molds me. I thing I will be re-reading your post a few times. It touched my heart and kicked me in the pants as well! May God bless you.
Oh thank you so much for sharing this friend! I am blessed by your heart and your transparency. I promise to be in prayer for you – this is so very difficult to deal with, and then on top of it – the unknown of it all. Isn’t is so true that known or unknown, our God has the control – He deems when to tell us the reason and what, if anything, we can do about it. Even when we can take action, He is still the One in total control. Thank you for sharing and using this to bless me and others you encounter.
Thanks for your transparency. So many people are afraid to say it like it is. You are an amazing woman. God bless! 🙂 Dave
Awww thank you so much Dave! You are such a blessing in my life!
very good read Anne….I can relate to your experiences as I suffered a stroke a few years ago….leaving me unable to be the man I thought I once was….but God has restored me and through my new challenges…I am becoming the man God really wants me to be and I leave it all up to him as to what that will be and trust that he will lead me. As Paul once said……I am what God made me. God bless!
Oh thank you so much for sharing your heart with me dear friend. It is wonderful to hear how the Lord has worked through you and your pain and suffering. Thank you for being such a beautiful blessing!
Amen! And way to go on being part of Compassion International (they’re awesome)! 😉
Thank you so much dear friend! I love Compassion and am learning a lot!
That fog will lift and it will actually gets better! This is a great story
Thank you friend. I am going nuts!!!
Great post! I feel your pain!
I’m from FEBC, an established international Christian organization with a mission to share the Gospel. We recently started the Gospel Blog, a collection of posts surrounding the theme of living and sharing the Gospel, with topics on missions, evangelism, church, faith, and culture.
I read through a few of your posts and really enjoy your writing style and the thoughts you have to offer. We would love to have you contribute to our blog. I believe it would really benefit our audience, as well as point a lot of people back to your own website.
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Thanks and God bless!