Wednesday, September 6, 2017

The Plan

Julie Manning, author of My Heart, lives in heart failure. Her story, her perspective, her words are challenging me to the core. She has written things I have long felt but could never articulate until now. While our conditions are different, our realities are similar. We both live day to day not knowing. And while you can argue Ann Voskamp's wise words that we are all terminal whether we have a diagnosis or not, when you have one, facing your mortality is a bit more front and center.

I told a friend the other day that while my numbers are unstable I need to have blood work every two weeks, for three months, and then every month thereafter. Why? Because we need to make sure my kidneys and liver are functioning normally and that my CBC is not cray cray. What's most terrifying in this is that if the numbers come back unfavorable, I am at the mercy of the illness and my bodies ability to respond to the medication. This isn't like an ear infection or strep throat that typically responds to an antibiotic. There are truly no guarantees. And while I can do things to 'help' myself (keep my stress as low as possible, eat right, rest as much as I can, and exercise....even really modified workouts) you can't healthy lifestyle your way out of this.

That said, this is what I have come to understand are my greatest battles.

1. Being so afraid of losing my life that I forgo living my purpose.

2. Being so afraid of stopping for fear of not being able to restart that I avoid rest.

3. Being so used to waking up 'okay' that I take it for granted and end up with no intentionality at all.

I cycle through these three things constantly. I do what I think I need to do or desperately want to do but avoid doing what God is calling me to do. I get so complacent about things being okay that when they aren't I freak about what I should have done differently. And when I get a second wind or refreshed perspective I am like a tornado that just want stop and keeps picking up speed.

But as Julie talked about being dependent on God for everything and serving Him where she is in the way she can, I realized something about Jesus. He might not have had a chronic diagnosis, but He knew He was on borrowed time. Jesus wasn't the man with a plan, He was a man who sought the plan and followed through with it.

Our challenge in this life needs to be a move from future thinking to present reality with the end in mind. We have to stop being consumed by shoulds and instead be focused on declaring 'Here I am, send me.'

As a woman who hates to ask for help, as a mom who wants to do it all, as a wife who wants to give her husband everything, I have to either begin to trust God that the clothes will get washed and the food will get cooked or that someone else will make sure that those I love will know I loved them. Being there to hug, hold hands, and pray is signficantly more valuable than making sure my to do list is done. And the reality is that Jesus has promised that when we seekk the kingdom first and His ways first, everything else will be added. As far as I'm concerned that means one of two things. Either (a) He's going to help me get it done because He knows me well enough to know that it will make me crazy if it's not or (b) He's going to give me the grace to accept what I can not change or a new perspective on it. Either way, it's a win.

My hope and prayer for all of us is that we'll start to depend more and more on the one that woke us up today to write and read these words, and then ask Him to help us see the places in our lives that need some fine-tuning. Perhaps we can start by putting loving God with all we are and loving others as ourselves on our to-do lists and then writing our task list through that filter. My guess is that we'll not only increase our energy because we'll see more value in what we are doing, but we'll start to experience deep joy as we go about the doing.

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