I’m going to get a little personal in this writing, so please indulge me as I think it’s something I really need to be telling myself as much as writing about it.
As I was reading my devotional book and Bible today, God began to really speak to me – though it seemed He was shouting. If anyone reads this and does not know me or has not seen me for quite a while, I am partially disabled mostly with osteoarthritis in my pelvis/femur/back areas. I say partially because I still can use a walker, do my dishes, make my bed, do my laundry, and a few various other things. So, in my mind that makes me “partial.”
As I was reading my devotional book this morning, I came up with three things I believe God was telling me that I really needed to do. And since I really rather obey God than suffer the consequences when I don’t listen, I listened carefully today.
The first thing He spoke to me about was my body. Like many others, I’m sure, I’m having a hard time with getting older and not being able to get around like I used to. I can’t just hop in my truck and go shopping or to a friend’s house. I live alone now so I have to depend on someone to take me places I need to go in the winter during ice and snow days and I order most of my groceries through Amazon and Wal-Mart so I can have them delivered. Milk and freezer stuff, I again, depend on my friends to help out. So, I hope I have described my predicament enough that you get an idea of my life and from where I’m coming from. Here’s the kicker. When I say I’m having a hard time getting older and not being able to do things – I’m mean I try things before I ask for help, even if it means climbing up on a step ladder! (My balance is not that good but we won’t bring that into the subject today.) I’ll crawl on the floor if I have to, which is very difficult because I have my sweet best friend and protector, Buddy, my Chihuahua, giving me kisses in the face all the way – picture that! But it’s the getting up I really have problems with and must look quite funny. I’ll even stand at the cabinet or wherever and cry before I ask, trying to figure out a way to do what I need to do. Wouldn’t you say I was having a problem accepting this? It’s even difficult for me to look in the mirror.
I know there is nothing I can do and crying my eyes out doesn’t even bring 5 years back. I tell all the young people to have fun now because retirement is not what it is advertised to be for a lot of people and you don’t know which one of those people you might be – the ones that are having a blast or the ones like me! Ok, I digress here. I do tell myself every day that things could be much worse for me and I am very thankful for being able to live by myself and take care of myself and my apartment. But that twinge of depression of seeing people leave in the parking lot just willy-nilly and I can’t do that makes me a little jealous, wishing I could too. I’m not sure if any of you are in this condition but if you are you know what I’m talking about.
Getting back to my devotion, I read what Paul said in 2 Corinthians 12:9, a part of which says, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” (the Lord speaking there) really hit home. I think of all the things Paul was able to do. And then I thought of Franklin Roosevelt – he ran a whole country and through a world war at that! I see vets who have lost limbs running marathons. Helen Keller could not speak, hear, and was blind but all the things she accomplished in her life is amazing! Nick Vujicic is an evangelist from Australia who goes all over the world preaching the Gospel and was on Oprah and I don’t know what else, but he was born without limbs – that’s right no arms or legs. Look him up if you want to see the definition of amazing and what God can do with your own two eyes! I have heard him give his testimony and preach and he is awesome. I wish I had a nice framed picture of all of these people to put on my living room wall to look at every day and remind me of what God can do. Who am I to sit around and complain and be depressed about my life? I have said to myself, “Yea, but that’s those people, it’s not me.” So! God uses all kinds of people. He loves each and everyone of us and has something for us to do if we but listen. I’m not sure what He has for me to do at this point but I know at the right time He will point that out and I want to be ready to hear Him without Him having to shout at me. I want to be ready and listening so I don’t miss His call. Yes, His grace is sufficient. After all, if He can create a whole world, He can do anything!
Are you ready for number two on God’s list for me? It’s trust Him. Yep – two words – trust God. How can just two words – actual one word and a name – bring about so much difficulty in our lives? Where in the world do I start with this one? The first reason I thought of, and maybe you could say it’s the crux of the whole thing, is selfishness. I bet nobody reading this considers themselves selfish – I know I didn’t. But all of us are. When I think of selfishness the first thing that comes to mind is a bratty kid screaming in the department store because they can’t have what they want. And they want it right now! How are we different? We want things that we want, right or wrong, with or without trusting God. And most of the time right now. If what we want is wrong, we try to make them right by making excuses or talking our way into it and convincing ourselves it’s right. We want things our way. We’re controlling as we trudge through life, trying to make things go our way and when they don’t, we just take a different turn and go the back route to make a way where we can take control. I had to laugh about that because sometimes when God does give us the reins to see for ourselves what happens when we take control, it’s really like trying to fly a fighter jet with no lessons, get in the ring with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson without reading the script first, standing before a weather map for TV without knowing the first thing about weather. Ludicrous. Our lives are fragile and need to be handled with care and therefore need to be going in the right direction before they get broken because of our carelessness. Thing is, there is only one of each and every one of us. We are each unique, one of a kind. So, if we get broken, God can repair us, but we’re like a broken vase, we’ll never look or be the same again. After being broken and repaired most vases can never hold water for flowers ever again. That is a very sad place to be, being made for something, for a special job, and then not be able to do it.
The next thing I thought about was thinking about and keeping my mind on beautiful things. Now I know that sounds a little Pollyanna-ish, but hang in here with me and think how much better we would feel if we just took a mind vacation. I know there are bad things out there, I’m not saying deny those things and live in a bubble refusing to see the truth about “life,” I’m just saying give yourself a break and take a “mind” vacation. My goodness, we are bombarded more and more with ugly, inhuman, mean, vulgar, unthinkable things all day long. We have TV, computers, pads, and phones. How many people do you see walking down the street that are not texting or talking on their phones? It would be easy to count because there are not many. (I don’t do that because I have a hard time walking and chewing gum, much less trying to text and walk!) Can any of you remember when we didn’t do that? When we didn’t have cell phones? When we didn’t have portable phones? When we didn’t have phones? If you can, think about how much simpler life was and how much happier people were. I’m not saying we need to trash all our electronics because some of those things have allowed us to make progress in medicine, for example. I’m just saying give yourself a mind vacation – minimum 5 minutes a day! (Bet after awhile we start taking longer vacations.)
Some of you may not know what I’m talking about. I don’t know if I really do because I think it’s kind of like meditation except instead of thinking of nothing and clearing your mind, you think about something beautiful like a field of wild flowers moving with a light breeze, a beach with no one on it and the waves in such a repetitive way come to the sandy shore and then go out again, over and over and over, puffy clouds moving through a beautiful blue sky, or standing in the middle of the woods where all is quiet except the sound of little critters scampering here and there. To me, those things are relaxing as well. But you might want to go back in your mind to a memory of something you did that was fun and revisit that memory. After all, isn’t that what memories are for? Those are just the first things that came to my mind. Lean you head back and think of something beautiful and sweet, like the things God was talking about in Philippians 4:8 where it says, “Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” There should be something out of those seven things in that list that your mind can land on and think about.
So, to narrow it down, God told me to accept my body, trust Him, and think on beautiful things. How hard can that be? I’m not sure but like I said, if He’s asking me to do it, then He knows I can. I’m kind of looking forward to making these three things a habit in my life where they come second nature and see what He’s got next. Let’s keep in mind, He always and only has things for us to do that are right and we can do and sometimes should have already done!