If this doesn't become a whole series, it will at least justify a sequel! It's important to me that I don't leave any reader doubting or questioning themselves after reading this blog. Yes, I have undergone a spiritual awakening, but I'm still human. I've come to know God better by starting a real relationship with Him, but I'm still a selfish companion. I've made a lot of progress this last year in my faith and my spiritual walk, but I still have far to travel.
I've spent far too many years wanting to feel how others looked. The last thing I want is for anyone to look down upon themselves because they don't write like me, pray what I pray, believe what I believe, or understand what I understand. We're each on our own journey. We've each been given different experiences and skills sets. Some of them good, some of them... not so much.
Regardless of your combo of gifts, all of them were included in you as choices for getting closer to Him. A menu of sorts! There are healthy selections for when we're feeling strong and disciplined. Praise. Humility. Gratitude. Service. There are options for indulging, when we're sad or overwhelmed. Self-Pity. Laziness. Entitlement. Selfishness. And then there are those menu options that don't initially engage our appetite, but we try sometimes, anyways, because someone talks us into it. Insecurity. Envy. Self-Doubt. Because we don't usually care for these entrees, we're almost always left feeling unfulfilled, wanting something else.
And every day, sometimes multiple times a day, we get to place an order. Am I going to have the "Praise-and Thank-You-For All-I've Been-Given-Today" or a serving of "Woe-is-Me-Why Can't-I-Don't-I-Won't-You?" One leaves us full and content, the other still hungry.
I've been starving the last two days.
I was bright eyed with optimism in my last post. This ACL tear wasn't going to get me down. Things could be so much worst. No complaining here!
Unfortunately, my thoughts and writings reach far behind my earthly followers. Upon reading, the enemy grew excited contemplating the ways he could distract me from glorifying God and basking in His grace. I didn't see him coming and I'm still recovering from the blow. I haven't been engaged in major spiritual warfare, fighting for my faith. There wasn't a single encounter that brought me to my knees. No, it was more cunning, less obvious. It started with a simple order of Woe-Is-Me before the food poisoning set in.
I spent this past Saturday, home alone in a chair with my computer. I wasn't bored or even lonely, necessarily. I was happy when the day started, but by the end of it I had spent many hours a lone. It was in that solitude that the ill feelings started rumbling.
"Why do the kids' tournaments have to be all over the city? I can't go and they'll be gone all day!"
"Why can't the kids clean up the way I do? Picking up is not cleaning up!"
"Why do I have to have an injury that prevents me from working out? I want to eat for comfort, but then I'll get fat!"
"Why can't there be healthier options when it comes to take-out food?"
"Why does everything have to take so long? I can't do anything efficiently!"
"When will I get to wear jeans again? I'm tired of leggings and a brace."
"When did playdates get so complicated? Am I seriously already having to negotiate with a ten year old...who isn't even mine?!"
I ended up eating pizza and cookies for dinner, binge watched mindless TV and went to bed full of contempt. Sunday wasn't much better. My parents came over, helped me get to one of Ben's games, sorted and started my laundry, helped with the kids, and even cleaned out my fridge. But when they left, I was aggravated I couldn't do more.
Monday came and went. More hours in my chair, drinking from glasses half empty. I just kept telling myself it had to get better. My introduction to the surgeon was scheduled for Tuesday morning. Surely he would have the answers! He would put some boundaries around this predicament, providing a timeline and a plan of action!
The next day, I was up early, showered, and eager to get ready for my big appointment! My enthusiasm was short lived. I had a total meltdown in his office and cried all the way home. He did NOT have all the answers. I was upset for being upset. I didn't have the right to be sad or frustrated.
Big deal, I need surgery!
Big deal, everything takes so much longer!
Big deal, I can't do all the things I want to do!
So many people have it worse than me. I'm not in any pain. There isn't any real suffering (yet). Just inconvenience. Why was I such an emotional wreck?! I certainly didn't deserve to be.
After many weeks of denial, I finally acknowledged that I still can't handle rejection. I still worry what other people think, obsess over other people's feelings that I can't control, and doubt my own worth. This is in complete contradiction to so many former posts. But, I have to be transparent. That's the mission here. I've never felt so convicted about anything, as I do in being called to expose my vulnerabilities and imperfections.
I recently started selling skincare products through a popular direct seller. Because I don't necessarily need a certain income from it, I haven't felt any specific pressure. I'm in love with the products, trust the company, believe in the doctors who started it and enjoy the other women I'm working with. I'm really enjoying it, so much more than I thought I would. It requires me to engage prospects and potential clients through social media. While I have not yet encountered any direct criticism, I sense the judgers and nay-sayers circling. No one likes being inundated with sales promos or advertising. Although I use the virtual platform to build interest and education in the company and products, I've only directly contacted a handful of people. I don't want anyone to feel pressured or harassed. I'm confident in my approach and genuinely enjoy what I'm doing, but I'm continually in fear that someone is going to complain or condemn me directly. Just ignore me! Please don't answer negatively! And that doesn't even come close to the fear that consumes me after clicking "publish" on these posts. I get an e-mail whenever someone comments on the page, and a rush of nausea washes over me every time. Will it be uplifting or critical?!
When I decided upon a girl I wanted to sponsor me in recovery, I couldn't ask her face to face. It didn't make sense, I was very comfortable with her. We'd talked many times, met at meetings and even had lunch. But when it was time, I was too worried she'd say no so I texted her! Um...she could very well be (probably SHOULD be) the most important person in my life for a couple years. And I couldn't start the relationship face to face!
Tuesday was yet another (although unexpected) example of my dysfunctional relationship with rejection. I realized I was upset after leaving the surgeon because he told me I wasn't ready for surgery.
Apparently I was too stiff and immobile. I had nursed this knee for 10 days to prevent further damage. As a result, I still winced with discomfort through all of his pulling and prodding. I couldn't straighten or bend it. All of that TLC got me a week of PRE-hab and a speech on needing to get my knee "ready." I was to endure more pressure and be able to get around better to allow more stability for operating, and ultimately a less painful recovery.
Insert sob. I still didn't have answers! I still didn't know the fate of my rehab and recovery. I didn't know what my spring break could look like, let alone my summer! How soon would I get to schedule? How long would I be immobile after? No answers. Just more waiting...and rejection.
That's how I chose to order that day. I didn't consider a serving of "Thank-You-God-For-A-Surgeon-Who-Is-Extra-Precautious", or some "Thank-You-Jesus-For-Giving-Me-Another-Week-To-Evaluate-My-Options," or even, "I'm-So-Blessed-It's-My-Right-Knee-I-Can-Still-Drive." No, I was all too eager to go against what I know to taste best and try the "I-Bore-Him-He-Doesn't-Like-Me-I'm-A-Wimpy-Patient."
I've since come around through prayer and conversation with people that understand and care about me. I've accepted that it really is out of my control. I can't change anything. So why get emotional and lose energy over it? It is what it isn't. I know God has gone before me and already organized the kitchen. He's purchased the ingredients and is ready with recipes in hand. I've done and continue to do everything I'm supposed to. I need to quit trying to manipulate the chef by customizing my order and just keep eating what I enjoy, what always fills me up. I'll have to trust that the server knows what I like and will place the order for me if I can't get it right for myself.
Complete surrender with gratitude on the side.
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