The Good Old Days?

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Ahhh. This morning I woke up to a raging headache. It wasn’t a surprise, as it had reminded me of its presence all night long as I woke up every hour upon the hour with reminders that it was there.

  • Right there with me in bed.
  • Right there with me upon waking.
  • And right here with me apparently to take up residence in my body and stay for a while.

So I woke up and, of course, I found myself thinking back on the good old days – the days in which I would wake up feeling GREAT!

The days in which I would not, upon my first waking breath, feel pain and swelling throughout my entire body. The days in which I would jump out of bed, in a phenomenal mood, because all I had to do was look forward to what fun was ahead for my family and myself.

  • Maybe some hiking today?
  • Maybe a fun, long jog to get that awesome endorphin rush my body so loves?
  • Maybe running around from place to place, touring shops and going to a movie and doing like, TEN things all in one day with reckless abandon?

The good old days?

Yes…I will admit there were good (GREAT) times when I didn’t have to pace myself from moment to moment lest I go into a full blown Fibro and autoimmune flare that puts me down for weeks to come.

There were beautiful and long seasons in my life in which I could bask in the abundance of great health and being beyond comfortable in my own skin.

I will admit it was nice to be able to just go along for the fun – whatever was suggested I had the choice to say “yes” if I wanted to – my body wasn’t going to dictate all that I could or could not do.

Yes…I have sweet memories and will admit that sometimes I find myself pining away for that feeling again – that body that is void of pain. That body that…if it DID have any remnant of discomfort running throughout it, I could actually pinpoint with magical accuracy EXACTLY what caused it and (wait for it) DO something about it and I would be in great shape the very next day.

Problem solved?

But I also remember that back in those days, I may have  had a wonderful situation physically, but I was in a daze of sorts.

Of sorts? No!

I was in a daze of all dazes!

  • I wasn’t hyper aware of how good we really do have it because through any and every situation – good, or bad – we have Jesus to carry us through it all if we only trust Him as our Savior and know that HE. IS. GOD.
  • I wasn’t focusing on how Great my Lord is, rather – what was next on the agenda of fun and fabulousness.
  • I wasn’t living my life with God at the center, rather trying to find the next awesome thing to go out and do to add meaning, purpose, happiness to my life.

I had it all. And I wanted….MORE.

And these days? These days, (we know it’s true) I am also in a daze. But it is one that is not being brought about by all the clutter in my life, rather it is mostly from the brain fog that my physical condition brings about on a regular basis.

Yet in the midst of the current glazy and dazy and murky and mucky days of my life now, there is a clarity that never leaves me.

It is the clear message that Jesus Christ sends to me each and every moment of every day:

“I love you, dear Annie. You are MINE.  I am never letting go. Focus on Me.

What peace! What joy! What beauty that cuts right through any and every ugly that besets me!

How Great IS our God?!

I won’t pretend I am different than I was before in ways other than what I just mentioned in regard to all of this. I still find myself wanting more much of the time, it’s just being brought about for a different reason. It will always be a battle we find ourselves in until we go home to be with Jesus – the fight to have it “all” when in reality, if we have Jesus and rely fully upon Him, we already DO have all that we really need.

Yes – sadly, the battle continues.

I still pine away for a body that feels good so I can be that exuberant person that loves to be around lots of people and commotion and is always filled with energy to give, give, give toward others.

I still want.

I still just want.

But I know in my heart that I have it all in Jesus.

The flesh is strong and it fights us – it is a formidable enemy to our spiritual contentment. So are our hearts if we don’t turn them over to Jesus daily for cleansing.

But He has already won!!!!

Yes. I have resolved myself to the knowledge – the absolute and complete fact that I will probably always experience some kind of daze as I walk through these earthly days of my life.

But I will take these days now over the others if I have to choose.

I will take the brain fog daze over the fog that ensues when I don’t have any physical limitations holding me back from seeking to fill holes in my heart that are there when I am not looking upon Jesus over self. The daze that comes about from going, going, going…..from looking for the next thrill, or fun adventure to make me whole and “happy.”

For those who can do both things – fix their eyes upon Jesus and seek out adventure and fun without allowing those things to take His place, keep it up, because there is NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT. (P.S. Can you tell me your secret sometime?)

But that’s not the way this girl went about things, friends.

Maybe some day I will be able to be healed physically, and out of this season in my life, I will have learned not to let the circumstances of my good health get in the way of relying upon and truly focusing upon Jesus.

Maybe it will never happen in this earthly life, either.

But guess what? I’m okay with that, friends.

Yes, I still find myself wanting it all – that want will probably never go away. But I can be okay with that because I know that He has allowed things to happen for His divine reasons.

How about you, dear friend? Is something in your current situation causing you to pine away for the good old days? Do you recall a better time physically, mentally, spiritually that you wish you could experience right here and now again? Why not take it to the feet of Jesus and ask Him to show you how He can make all things new in spite of what is old or cracked right now in your life? He can do it, you know. He can and will cut right through the haze and the daze. We have only to cry out to Him and trust in Him and His perfect timing.

  • I recall the good old days with mixed emotions, it’s true.
  • I reflect on the current days of my life with the same murky mixture of feelings as well.
  • Sometimes I find myself riddled with fear that I will never be “the same again.”

But God. God then tells me I need not fear. He shows me the obvious that I was missing as I was getting lost in the fog of it all…

I don’t WANT to ever be the “same again.

He makes all things new!

All in all, I have a joy that surpasses all of the mixed-up-stuff that puts me into a daze at times and tries to steal my focus.

In Him, as I gaze upon the face of my Jesus – I have clarity. So much more is revealed to me about Christ even in the midst of the daze that my physical condition brings about.

Cutting right through every last bit of it, is the peace of God.

Glory Be to God!

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. John 14:27

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Simplifying Is Complicated

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I haven’t written much lately, as I have been in a mode of making a SERIOUS attempt to simplify some things in my life. In particular, this involves my surroundings – my home environment has become all-the-more-important to how I function now that I work from home and cannot go out and about as much because of the Fibro-Monster.

What I have found over these past two months is that trying to simplify your surroundings is daunting, to say the least. When your brain is as foggy as mine can be because of the Fibro, anything that feels “cluttery” can make it so much worse. It becomes beyond difficult to focus when things aren’t right in your environment. This has a lot to do with what is happening in the nervous system regarding the senses – vision, sound, even touch become hyper-sensitive and can put you into a full-on fight or flight mode if you aren’t careful.

So simplifying my surroundings has become imperative, but it’s hard – it’s complex – the whole process of letting go. We have emotional attachments to things we have kept over the years, especially those that belonged to loved ones who have gone home to live with Jesus and are not here with us any more.

By the way: I’ve been at this for a couple of years now. My attempts before, however, were feeble. I would stop mid-process and not keep the momentum going. But in the last two months I have been tackling it hard core. From all that I have researched regarding the desire to truly simplify and declutter one’s life, it is clear that keeping the momentum is of the utmost importance.

I’m still not done.  But I am getting close.

When we get to where we are nearing our goal – it comes time to edit relentlessly and this is truly the hardest part. Letting go of a lot of this stuff in the first one or two rounds was not very hard. It actually felt quite freeing and I immediately felt lighter – more clarity – a sense of peace. It’s especially great to know that so many of my mother or father’s things will go on now to help someone who has less than we do. I like knowing that someone who needs something for a Christmas gift, or for use around their  home can get it for free now.

Another thing that makes the editing process difficult for me personally, is that I am not really a minimalist at heart. I just want to be. I do have to have a home now that feels clutter free, yet comfortable and still cozy. Friends, when you wanna get rid of clutter and have a space with, well – SPACE in it, that is beyond difficult to do if you don’t simply do a complete gut job.  I can’t do it that way and maintain the cozy vibe that is so important to me.

That’s what’s making it take so long. So I guess we can say I brought those complications upon myself because I forced the process to be this way instead of just gutting all of it.

I don’t know about you (all ye who have been through this lovely little process as well), but for me, the part that is the most difficult is not the emotional attachment stuff. I know that I know that I KNOW that I will see my loved ones again one day in heaven. So, letting go of stuff that reminds me of them isn’t so hard as I kept back the most important things and have a peace about giving away the rest. They would have liked that too, and that makes my heart happy.

It’s the sensory issues I have with regard to the Fibro and stuff that has made it the hardest for me.

For me, being in the home all the time entails a deep seated need to feel good in this environment. If I move one thing to gain a better sense of clutter free space, it has a rippling effect akin to an earthquake that will rock your world. Just ask my husband: One thing gets rearranged and it causes me to need to change all the paint colors and furniture arrangements in every other room of the house.

That is beyond frustrating. But if you are like me and  you start this “process” it is also beyond necessary.

But guess what? It is do-able. And we have done it. We are nearing the finish line and now it’s a matter of living the simplified lifestyle and maintaining that mentality. We are working on other stuff too – not just the clutter in the home. I have been streamlining how I do bills, email, clothing, laundry, cleaning. I have been limiting my social media time and not doing it all over the place, but in specific blocks of time. All of it is helping my crazy little brain. All of it is helping me embrace a simpler lifestyle. But I have a lot of work to do and a whole lotta surrender left to embrace to truly keep my life more simple.

Who knows? Maybe some day I will become a true minimalist, and another seismic sweep of the household will be called for if that happens.

But for now, I feel lighter. For now, I feel a greater sense of clarity through the fog. For now, I feel like there’s more room to focus upon Jesus, my family, and yes – the daily chores, but without the layers upon layers of that which is unnecessary clouding up my vision.

And honestly, that is the most important goal for me out of all of this. I want to help my brain and sensory issues as much as I can so I can focus on Jesus and family and all that is truly important in life.

We won’t be taking anything with us when we leave this world anyway. Jesus and heaven is all we will have then and it will be all that we need. Why not start now?

Yes….for now, he’s given us books and movies, couches and beds, dishes and pretty wall art to gaze upon. But it is my desire that none of that stuff takes the place of my own Savior and Lord Jesus Christ.

More than anything else, I wish to gaze upon HIM. And I don’t need a lot of stuff cluttering up my sight line.

But maybe I do need a reminder once in a while – so as I took away so many of the other nick-knacks and wall hangings in our home, I placed these instead in my bedroom.

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And these in my office.

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It boils down to that one simple fact for me, dear friends – that if I set my eyes upon Jesus, I can’t go wrong. And that if something gets in the way of that, I need to cut it out and discard it.

Wow. I guess it’s not really that complicated at all.

Hebrews 12:2 We must focus our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith

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