If you knew that by being the way that you are ~ a deep thinker, someone who is highly empathetic, someone who cares to the point that sometimes they cross the line into worry or anxiety, would you have changed those things about yourself if you could have?
If by changing all of that you could have prevented this ugly illness (or depression, or whatever “consequence” you wish to list) from manifesting and taking tentacle-like root in your body would you have done it?
- If given the chance to go back in time would you have made that trade?
- Would you have become someone different if you’d been given the ability to do so to avoid the ugly that might ensue as a result of being the way that you are?
- Would you compromise who God made you to be inside to dodge the darts and arrows that would result from being that person?
- Would you trade the growth, the refining, the deeper knowledge of God and who He is that came from being who He made you to be and turning yourself over to Him for daily molding to live a life of greater comfort, ease, and vitality?
This is the burning question that keeps showing up in the ticky tape of my thoughts ~ over and over again, of late. I can almost hear the sound of it (am I hearing voices now?) in the background pretty much with me ~ all the time.
“Should I have changed the way that I am early on…as a young child… so I wouldn’t be dealing this this Fibromyalgia right now? Is this somehow my own fault?”
And I think that’s because I NEED to be constantly reminded of this question and the answer which is…………………
Yes and No.
There are times that if you were to ask me this question ~ last night was most definitely one of those times ~ I would be VERY tempted to say flat-out yes. But it is really yes and no. Yes, I should have lost the parts of myself a long time ago that did not serve God, but self. But NO WAY would I change the good stuff that God made in me in order to avoid the consequences those things bring about.
Honestly, it’s just that sometimes I am soooo sick that I find myself wishing I could be someone who could say a full-on yes to that. But I know in my heart that I don’t truly mean it. I know in my heart that the thought of that is quite laughable.
It’s just so much harder to have it be yes and no. It would be so much easier to just have it be all the way yes, or all the way no!
I know in my heart that I am filled with things that God made in me, and yes…..some of those things may have contributed to my Fibromyalgia (amongst whatever all else is going on with my body) to rear its ugly head in a major way in my life eventually.
- Being there for people in death and heartache – consistently – no matter how much it might hurt.That didn’t help my fight or flight issues.
- Showing up each and every day for a child who struggles with special needs and all the emotion that goes along with that. That’s gonna take a toll on a highly empathetic individual.
- Engaging the deep thinking and the soul searching and placing of self and ugly in the heart on the chopping block daily that comes as a result of searching to know God in a deeper and more meaningful way. Yah…that’s some intense stuff, folks.
- And just the way my brain and heart flat-out work ~ let’s not forget about those little contributors to all of this.
The world will tell us a version of the truth that can be distorted, you know. It’s not very often the WHOLE truth. But some of what we are told is true as long as we don’t lose sight of God in the midst of it all.
That little list I made above? That stuff came out of the bad stuff. That is the beautiful stuff that God made out of the selfish stuff that has been there from the beginning. He truly does work all things together for our good if we allow Him to be our God.
Yes. That list is what God did as He chopped up the parts of me that weren’t supposed to be ruling and reigning in my life in order to make me more like Him.
Self-reliance is maybe the biggest thing about myself I WOULD change if I could that contributed greatly to this monster that has shown up in my life.
But God DID change that for me through all of this! God is STILL changing my tendency toward self-reliance. And it IS making me more like Him every single day. Maybe that war that I have been waging all my life – the one we are all taking part in – the war between self and surrender to the Almighty One – maybe it’s that war that has taken the greatest toll but that holds the greatest reward for us all at the same time.
I do believe in making changes that line up with what God has for us, friends.
I do believe we should try to take care of ourselves – because our body is His temple. We can try to eat more healthy food, avoid the stressors and things that bring about no good especially when we contend with an illness like I might have, and change the things about ourselves that do more harm than good in our lives.
I do believe there are times we continue to show up for others, but times where dusting off our feet and moving on is called for as well. And I believe the Holy Spirit can and will guide us when we encounter such times as those.
I do believe in utilizing the tools and resources that we have been provided with to help ourselves get through the hard stuff – the safe ones – The heating pad, the essential oils, some Tylenol, etc.
But ultimately, this illness has caused me to press in deeper to God’s bosom – to take shelter firmly beneath His wing. I find myself crying out for His comfort, His mercy, His companionship, His authority, and His truth and love in a more raw way now, if you will.
- Nothing replaces that feeling of knowing that only HE can truly help us through something.
- Nothing comes close to be able to describe what it’s like to meet Him in the midst of our suffering.
- Nothing comes near to what we experience and how much richer we are when He shows up for us in a new way and reveals something magnificent about Himself that we never could see before.
Asking Him to tell us what to change about ourselves – and what to keep – well, that is something that we can do, you know. We are meant to be who God made us to be and the stuff that has crept in and tried to pretend it’s been there from the beginning is the stuff we have to allow Him to cut out and discard.
That’s what makes us more like Him – being pliable. Submitting. Being the clay.
Being more like Him doesn’t mean comfort, but it sure does mean blessings! Think about how Jesus was when He took His last breath on this earth. It wasn’t pretty and void of suffering by any stretch of the imagination.
But He didn’t leave this earth that way. He rose again after three days. He ascended to be with His Father in heaven. He lives! And He lives inside of us and is with us now.
Suffering does make us see Him in a new light, friends. And one day – one glorious day, all that suffering goes right out the window. Forevermore.
As we close our eyes to the pain and the ugly that our ailments, afflictions and sufferings reveal to us ~ we open them to our One True God.
The Almighty and Great Physician.
The Great I Am.
The Shepherd of our Souls.
He is the Potter Who is shaping our clay into a beautiful vessel!!!
So if you feel like a big lump of clay that has no form or purpose right about now – if you feel like you have lost direction, shape or meaning – if you feel like you have been ground up and left in the dust – turn it over to the One who promises to make it beautiful and right again.
Turn the lumps over. Let Him decide what to keep as part of his masterpiece and what to discard. Grieve if you need to for the discarded pieces – but turn to Him and allow Him to help you see the beauty of the creation He is making out of you.
And then…..you can give Him the answer to the real question ~ the one that really matters:
“if I could have allowed GOD to change me and mold me all along to be able to embrace any suffering that comes my way but be more like Him through it all, would I have done it?”
If your answer is “Yes, but it’s never too late”– well, then you are in a very good place, my friend.
It might hurt a little. But the rewards and the blessings that come as a result of it far outweigh any of that ugly stuff.
He has us in His mighty hands. Let us submit and allow God to be God. Let us say Yes day in and day out. Not yes and no, but simply….YES!
He most certainly has said “yes” all the way to us.