I prefer a quick fix to my problems, don’t you? I am all about the prayer on the run, a Google search for remedies, a YouTube do-it-yourself video, or a pill to make me feel better in 30 minutes or less.
If I can’t find a way to fix it quick, then I assume I just haven’t looked in the right place yet. I haven’t prayed enough, tried hard enough, read enough information or asked the right people.
Yet, when I look around me, I repeatedly find few things of value or substance happen quickly. Healing almost never.
My mom had hip replacement surgery last week and I am in Texas right now attempting to be helpful. (Don’t worry, she is napping right now while I am writing, so I am not neglecting her.) The physical therapist was here a little while ago and reminded her several times she had many weeks, possibly months of healing ahead of her. Patience, he said, was her friend. Patience and, of course, her new walker which she absolutely must use for at least four weeks.
I needed to hear the word patience today. I have been struggling with some less daunting health challenges than a hip replacement recently and I find patience is not one of my virtues. I want to fix it and feel better NOW. As I look back over the last month or so and compare it to other times in my life I have had seasons of struggling, I see these familiar patterns:
- Deny I am struggling
- Admit I am struggling
- Get angry and offended by my problem
- Try multiple quick fixes to solve my problem, including demanding God fix it immediately
- Spend some time feeling sorry for myself when I can’t fix the problem immediately
- Look around and see others with much more difficult circumstances
- Feel guilty for and embarrassed by my self-pity
- Apologize to people close to me for struggling and being needy
- Realize my arrogance in thinking I shouldn’t ever be the needy one
- Do more research on potential solutions
- Get out of my own head for a while and do something for somebody else
- Cycle back through all of the above numerous times
- Pray for guidance, peace and patience
- Be still, breathe and listen
- Embrace Plan B
Ok, the last one I am still working on.
One of my dear friends who struggles every single day with a life-threatening chronic illness introduced me to the idea of embracing Plan B. Life has thrown her some pretty significant curve balls and she has had to do some major adjusting to find a new normal. She didn’t plan to live her life dealing with pain, infection, and constant doctor visits and she would prefer for it to be different. Yet, this is the reality of her life right now and she is approaching her days with a resilience I find stunning. As she inches her way slowly towards answers and potential treatments, she constantly recalibrates in order to find joy in spite of difficult circumstances. She is the bravest person I know. (By the way, I hope to be introducing you to her brand new blog very soon, dear readers.)
I talk a great deal about the many faces of being brave here on my blog. I recognize brave all around me and I am a fierce cheerleader of courage in others. Sometimes, however, I am embarrassed to admit I find myself somewhat lacking in the bravery department. While I am proud of the ways I have boldly stepped out of my comfort zone and tried new things and taken risks, I am also aware I am easily thrown off course by unexpected obstacles. I like life better when it is easily tamed and controlled.
Today, my brave task was to get something, anything, written down and put up on the blog. Here it is, in all its ambiguity and angst, a treatise of whining and noticing. Thank you, as always, for reading my musings and joining me here.
How about you? Tell me, to which part of my list above did YOU most relate? How do you deal with seasons of struggling?