I can’t tell you that it’s gone. I can’t tell you I’m super happy about it.
I can’t tell you that my pain level doesn’t rest around an 8 or 9 on a daily basis.
I can’t remember the last time I woke up and something didn’t hurt.
I can tell you that I’m annoyed; but not discouraged. And I think that’s awesome.
I realized that as I was sitting here hoping that some medicine might take the pain level down a notch, that I didn’t go down the path of “why me, God?” or “how am I supposed to do anything for the Lord when I’m always in pain?” or “will I ever be low-maintenance so I can be used more by God?” or “Don’t you know how much I have on my plate this week? ” Nope. Those thoughts have been squashed.
My first thought was, “Wow, this is super annoying and distracting.” The fact that this is my first thought and not my man-up-face-the-battle second thought is huge. Working on our second thought is huge. But, when our first thought is more on target, this is progress!
That is Jesus. The God of the universe is at work in me! (Me?!?!) He is the one who transforms us by the renewing of our mind. But, the tinge of discouragement wasn’t taking over. The emotion and mental onslaught of crazy was held at bay. Who gets excited over being annoyed and not discouraged? This girl does!
This may seem insignificant; but let me unpack this a bit. There is a super-sized daily battle that faces anyone with invisible chronic pain. As you hipster kids say these days, it’s legit. The connection, it’s legit. The pain, it’s legit. I’ve shared with friends (who face chronic pain) over and over that half the battle is in your head. To have a stabbing pain in a part of your body and carry on a normal conversation is somewhat challenging. That’s a fact. It’s so easy to go down the trail of discouragement. To give up. Truly, it is. Anytime someone is overly tired or sick, we don’t feel that we are acting like our normal self. Physical pain does show real connections to mental pain.You don’t even realize how you are responding at times because you forget what it feels like not to be in pain.
But, here’s the deal. I’m annoyed; but not discouraged. I’d like this pain to go away; and when I get moments without pain, I’m as giddy as a 3 year old at Christmas. I don’t move. I just stand still or I over commit myself to new projects, either way. But, I digress…Truly, the point is: He’s got this. I can truly believe He will heal even though I’m still in pain and lots of it. He’s winning the war emotionally and mentally even when I physically might still be losing.
Sure, we have weird patterns, like taking a seat cushion with us everywhere we go. Sure, I have odd requests for where to sit in a room based on how I’ll have to hold my neck. Sure, I stack dishes and other things in our house in a pattern that will cause less stress on my hands and more chaos for everyone else. Sure, I ask people to wash dishes when my hands hurt. Sure, I might trip several times a month and twist my ankles often and leave my chiropractors in confusion by how exactly I managed to do that”.
I hope and pray for more grace to trust Him even more and the faith to keep walking. I pray that whatever mental battle you, as my friend, are facing, that you, too will remember that God is in the business of renewing minds and that’s where most of this starts. But, again, it’s not man-up or try really hard. It’s God, he’s the one who renews the mind.
It might sound odd to you; but being annoyed and not discouraged is a big step.
So, again I can agree with Ann Voskamp is so right: All is Grace