On considering pineapple ranching as a career option.

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My ugly, sleeping giant got poked somehow last Monday night. I don’t know what happened – I was just walking across our tiny backyard to check on my pineapples when I felt the unmistakable sucker-punch. Bam. Just like that.Body-slammed back into my recliner. For most of a week.

I’ve tried to backtrack and figure out what exactly happened – but there’s simply no explanation. There never is. Lupus just does what it wants. When it wants. How it wants. It plays dirty and underhandedly ignores every single rule I try so hard to follow. It’s so exasperating. But I shouldn’t be surprised, right? Isn’t that what bullies do? Ignore all the rules?

Living through all the stops and starts of Lupus over the last few years, I’ve noticed one thing about myself: When forced to view life from my recliner’s perspective, my mind grows dark. Every time.

Doubts grow and confidence wavers in this chair. This is where pity parties live – the ones full of the “I don’t want this” and the “I can’ts. I really just can’t”. “I can’t handle this.” “I can’t handle being sick.” “I can’t stand being so weak. So unreliable.” “I have no strength.” “I need healing myself – how can I help heal others? How can I?” “How can I keep doing this?”

It just all feels like too much from this weakened angle.

So as I lie in this chair, I’ve found that I lie to myself. Actually, in my weakness, I’m allowing Satan’s twisted lies to take root in my heart. In my weakness – from my self-absorbed recliner’s perspective – I have rolled up into a tight, aching ball and I’ve closed myself away from God. I’ve stopped listening to him. I’ve stopped listening FOR him. I pretty much have just stopped.

If you’ve been following me for any length of time at all, you should be able to see a pattern here. I am constantly in need of reminding from where my help comes. Constantly. This is a real struggle for me – especially when I’ve been so sick. I’ve confessed this to God, and I confess this now to you.

For some reason it’s easy for me to consciously rely on Him when I’m strong, but shake my strength at all, and I quickly panic and forget that He’s even there at all. I realize this is exactly backwards from most people but, consider the source. I’ve always been just a little backwards.

So I’m scheduled to finally return to work tomorrow. I’m looking forward to going back, but I have to admit that these random sucker-punches take an emotional toll on me. They have a way of subduing me and just leaving a bit of lingering wariness in my heart. Can I actually do this? These flares are such darned graphic reminders of my own personal reality, they tend to rattle my everything.

So God is helping me work through this. Again.

I say, “I don’t think I can do this.”

He answers, “My grace is sufficient.” (2 Corinthians 12:9a)

I argue, “But I’m just too weak.”

He answers, “My power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9b)

I ask, “But what if I can’t?”

He answers, “Trust me. I am your strength and shield.” (Psalm 28:7)

In desperation, I even try throwing this one out there: “My pineapples. They need me.”

He reminds me of my calling, “Comfort, comfort my people.” (Isaiah 40:1)

I ask, “How do you continue to put up with me?”

He answers, “Because you are mine. Nothing will EVER separate you from my love.” (Romans 8)

So I head back to the hospital tomorrow ready to face whatever the day may hold. I am His. I remember that now. No matter how weak I may feel, He is always faithful to give me exactly what is needed to accomplish His will. Even when it’s yet ANOTHER reminder that He has important work for me to go do in His name. And with His strength. Praise be.

Thanks for growing with me.  

“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.”     (Matthew 4:19)

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