I never wanted to be that person. That person that always seemed like they were having some dramatic issue, that person begging for prayers from others, that person that could barely stand up on their own 2 feet.
But here I am.
I am broken. I rely on others more than I ever thought I would. I can barely manage to stand on my own 2 feet and, in the case that I make it to a vertical position, I don’t tend to last very long – or at least that’s how it feels. I have people surrounding me, lifting me up in prayer, and telling me that what I’m doing and who I am right in this moment is okay and fine. They say it won’t be this way forever.
But I don’t know. When you’re in the midst of chronic pain it can feel endless and dark. But this morning my Spotify was on shuffle and playing through a new playlist I had come across. As I was standing in front of my bathroom mirror, staring back at a tired and weary face that I barely recognized this song started playing:
And it occurred to me – maybe our battles aren’t meant to be fought from a vertical position.
In the past I have felt bad and guilty in sharing my struggles with others because I didn’t want to seem needy or be a burden to them. I thought I could only share the battles I had already fought and won – that way it would offer hope to others struggling with the same things I had already conquered. But isn’t that a bit unfair? If it brings me joy and happiness to share the battles I’ve already fought and won, maybe others would find that same joy in sharing with me in the midst of my pain.
We are wired for human connection. We are wired to fight battles from a place of surrender – down on our knees with our heads facing the earth and our arms open wide. I think I’ve been fighting this current battle from the wrong stance – vertical, facing the opponent and digging in my heels, refusing to allow others to see how truly detrimental this struggle has been…to my physical health yes, but mostly to my emotional health, mental health and many of my relationships.
On the other side of this triumph, on the other side of this failure, this sickness, this mountain, this heartache – there is more. There is Christ, Jesus. He sees us. He knows us. He waits for us. We have been adopted into His family. We are heirs of Christ.
Nothing in our lives gets lost – no battle goes unseen regardless of whether we let others fight alongside us or if we try to struggle through it alone. No triumph gets overlooked, no heartache goes unnoticed. No sickness lasts forever – because in eternity with Jesus there will be no sickness and no pain.
God blesses us so that we may be a blessing to others. And part of that blessing means allowing others to see us – in all our grit, pain, exuberance, and our triumphs and failures. Satan isolates us when we buy into the lie that we are too much, not enough, a burden, or not worth the time and efforts of others.
This whole process is teaching me to trust…to trust medical professionals, to trust my professors at school, to trust my boyfriend and my friends; to trust that if I become a burden to others they will speak up and say something. I’m learning to trust my parents with all the financial stuff. I’m learning to trust my tribe, these beautiful people in my life—to trust that they’ve got me. They are surrounding me. They are lifting me up. They see me. They care. And I am not too much for them.
This whole process is teaching me patience…patience with coming off of some medicines and starting new ones, patience with the slow process that involves medical testing and waiting for results, and phone calls with doctors and nurses, etc. It’s teaching me patience with myself – patience with the fact that things may take a little longer, be little tougher, and I may simply just get less done that I would prefer.
This whole process has been teaching me about surrender – I can not control any of what is happening to me. I can not control doctors schedules or testing schedules. I can not control how teachers and friends may react to my inability to simple show up at times. I can not control how much things cost or how my parents will handle the financial aspect of things. I can not control the days I have such excruciating headaches that I end up flat on the floor with my hands gripping my forehead.
There is so much that I can’t control. And so very, very little that I can. But what if the little things that I can control are actually the most important things for me throughout this process of dealing with pain?
I can control the stance from which I fight. And I’m choosing horizontal – down on my knees in front of the Lord, begging for healing, for mercy, for patience, for trust, but mostly for surrender. I don’t know what His plan is for me in all of this – maybe this was never part of the plan. Regardless, now it’s part of my story and I can choose to let it define my life and write my story or I can choose to surrender the pen to the finest author of them all – the Lord Jesus Christ.
In God, we are freed from our past. We are cared for in our present. We are assured of a future in eternity with Him. We should live out our faith boldly, love sacrificially, and treasure Christ greatly. All the things that I love and cherish doing to help others heal and to bring them comfort – maybe it’s time I allow others to do that for me. Maybe Christ is teaching me that I am loved, I can reach out, I can lean into others. Maybe Christ is telling me that I don’t have to do any of this alone – I am surrounded by a tribe of wonderful human beings and even more than that, I am surrounded by His love, His grace, His mercy, His unending power day in and day out.
It’s okay to not be okay, as cliché as that is. It’s okay to rest. It’s okay to question. It’s okay to lean into others and to allow them to see me as I truly am – pain, grit, dirt, glory, joy – all of it, the good and the not so great.
I want to use the pain of my past to help others heal in their current present. Maybe it’s time that I allow others to do that same thing for me.
Psalm 73: 26
“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
“And my God will supply ever need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”
“You have to thank God for the seemingly good and the seemingly bad because really, you don’t know the difference [until we get to heaven].”
― Jennie Allen
In all things, give thanks with a grateful heart!