I sit here balancing my netbook on my lap. If I rest my elbows on the arms of my chair I can sort of type.
Both shoulders are throbbing.
Ache. Pause. Shooting pain. Pause. Throb. Pause.
They have hurt since before going to bed last night and did not improve.
But due to my jaw swelling shut the day before, I was too focused on the pain there. My head ached. This morning the head is somewhat better. But now I feel the shoulders.
Please, Lord, I cry out. Don’t let this be my day! I already gave Tuesday and Wednesday to my illness. I want Thursday!
I need to go and take a shower. Get dressed. But I can barely stand. I cannot reach my head to even pat down the bed head. How long until I can make steps toward being presentable?
I have had an abundance of pain in the last few days. I don’t want an abundance of hurt. I want the abundant life Jesus promises.
Last year at this time I had just started working with a Christian life coach. I had goals. I had fears. I had hopes.
She gave me tools. A new perspective. A time to learn. She made it a necessity to be “selfish” and think about me. But it was not selfish.
Because it was not about me. It was about Him.
What does God want my life to look like? What does God want for my husband? What are God’s plans for my son? How can I be in on that instead of a hindrance to that? How can we have an abundant life?
I didn’t see a spotless house or more video games anywhere on that list. Abundance is not about perfection. It is not about things.
Most people wait until January for new goals, resolutions. They cruise through the holidays surrendering their intentions over to . . . whatever. Whatever it takes to not have to face the consequences of their choices.
We can get caught up in the “November-I-am-so-thankful-for” moments and then the “December-let’s-just-be-cheerful” distractions.
But I don’t want to wait until January. I need change now. Life is too precious to wait.
And change feeds on itself. You make a change and you feel good about it. You want to make another one. You see that changing your life to more closely rememble that which God desires for you is not out of your reach.
True change is not the result of making big decisions; it’s about the million tiny little choices you make each day, sometimes when you don’t even realize it.
And I am learning I cannot change others. But I can change myself and I can change my surroundings. One of the ways I have been doing this is to declutter, in small little ways. Now, as I walk through my house, I can see space. No one else can see it, because it is still so full, but I can.
Space gives me room to breath. Room to see. Room to listen. If God is speaking to me, maybe now I can hear Him. Before all my things yelled, “Take care of me! Put me away! Dust me! Move me!”
I am letting go of some of my things. And with them go some of the frustration. I am seeing hope.
It is very hard to work on our emotional and spiritual growth when we physically cannot even lift up our arms to brush our hair. My illness does get in the way of my plans.
Yesterday I had an appointment to get a much-needed haircut and highlight. An “instant” perk-me-up! But I had to cancel.
Yes, my illness is an obstacle, but it is not a road block.
In the next few weeks I plan to share some of the little changes I have made. Change is hard. But it is so worth it. In John 10:10 Jesus says, “I came that they may have life and have it abudantly.” Do you have an abundant life. . . or just an average life?
It is hard to find the abundance within the chaos of illness, isn’t it? We have to dig a little deeper, learn to find contentment in the chaos. But Jesus didn’t say, “I came so that the healthy people can have it abundantly.” Abundance is for each of us.
Lord, remind me how You define abundance. Let me search for the abundance You desire so I don’t waste time, energy and even money on how the world define abundance.
When you think of an abundant life that Jesus came–and then sacrificed His life for. . . what do you see?
Lisa Copen is the founder of Rest Ministries and she lives in San Diego with her husband and son. She is gradually learning how to balance motherhood, family, illness, and ministry, but she still knows it will be a lifetime lesson. You can see the books she has written, including, Why Can’t I Make People Understand? at the Rest Ministries shop.
She is currently writing a book for Christian moms who live with chronic illness. If you are interested in sharing your stories, feedback and confessions for the book, visit her Facebook page at http://MomWithIllness.com .