Friday, April 21, 2017

When the race seems hard and quitting's not an option

This past week I've been doing some testing for my doctor...take 2 pills for breakfast, note results. 3 pills for lunch, note results. 5 pills for dinner, ditto. For 2 days I did this.

The results were supposed to note whether or not I experienced anxiety. Heart palpitations. Any irregularities.

I almost told my doctor, as I was mentally rolling on the floor laughing, that we can save the money on these babies...I already know I am anxious! But I smiled and paid and did what was required.

All to say, the tests showed nothing...I guess he will have the last laugh.

But I'm not laughing.

You see, for several years now I have been experiencing worsening health conditions. My previous doctor put me on a gluten-free diet to help, and I guess it has to some degree. But in the meantime, my autoimmune disease has been playing hide and seek...popping up in the strangest ways...causing my body to go rogue on me.

I am not happy with my disobedient body.

So, recently I signed on with a new functional/wellness doctor who specializes in Thyroid Disease and all that means...and it means a lot.

Before our first meeting last week, I spent a lot of time studying health...specifically my health, and what the options were to ever live an energy-filled, optimistic life again.

So, I shouldn't have been surprised when during our hour long session, after diagrams and explanations and more explanations, he trounced me with the Big Remedy Plan...

No Gluten. Ha, got that down pat! No grains. Okay, that doesn't sound too hard. No sugar. Um, not sure how that's going to work. No Dairy. Wait just a you have gone too far!

Knowing I should be saying, "Wow, you are so right and I will do whatever it takes to get well again," instead I found myself saying, "What?? No cheese? I love cheese! It is my comfort food of choice!"

And from there it half and half for my coffee? No more gluten-free bagels with cream cheese? Or gluten-free noodles drenched in cheese sauce? No more popcorn and cheddar cheese and milkshakes on Sunday nights?

I do not like you, Sam I am. At all.

And that's been my attitude all week as I've sought to find an exemption clause in all my studying. Surely somewhere in this world someone has recovered from all my crazy health issues and still has been able to eat dairy? Someone? Somewhere?


You see, what I have learned is that dairy, sugar, and grains are the worst foods for causing inflammation. And inflammation is what triggers not only my autoimmune symptoms, but so many other people's diseases as well. And, if I don't put a stranglehold on these foods now, they will continue to make me sicker and sicker until there is no more sickness...if you get my drift.

So, to sit me down and shut me up, God has allowed a nasty cold into my life this week. I've had a lot of time to process things...pray about things...get a hold of myself.

But I still can't get excited about this...and this is the reason...

What if I fail?

Sure, I want to live to see my grand-kids grow up Yes, of course I want to feel well again...have energy and do the things I used to be able to do...grow old along with my husband, etc etc etc. Heck, I'm not going before I get to England!

But I've never been good at self-denial. I like my life the way it has always been...predictable. I don't do change well. I'm a creature of habit and I'd like to keep it that way.

It's just that now I must develop new habits...make new choices...look at life through a different set of lenses.

And that's where the battle will be...not with the food, but in my head.

And isn't there where most of our battles lie? In our heads? Mind over matter and all that?

I need to realign my thinking and recognize that change can be can be a gift...but only if I embrace it that way.

I read this today in a devotional...about a young man with cerebral palsy who has not allowed his disease to keep him from running, for running is what brings him joy...

"Ben Comen has been running all his life.  Not from something, but towards something.
At each race the starting gun sounds. The race begins. And the pack pulls farther and farther ahead while Ben falls farther and farther behind. He slips on the wet grass and falls forward (it's a good race if he only falls once). Often when he falls, it hurts. He is sore and bloodied. But he gets back up and keeps running.Why? Ben won't quit. Even when the pack is out of sight and Ben is running alone. 
Something amazing happens after about 25 minutes. When everybody else is done with their race, everyone comes back to run with Ben. Ben is the only runner who, when he falls, someone else will help pick him up. Ben is the only runner who, when he finishes, has a hundred people running behind him. Why? Because he's not there to beat anyone but himself. And that brings out the best in every one."
"It's sometimes hard to keep going when I'm all by myself." Ben admits.

Ain't that the truth!
Like the Little Engine That Could, who needed the help of another engine...I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.

Like Ben... I can't do this alone, not without others behind me. 

None of us can do this crazy journey of life alone! Well, I guess that's not true...we do do a lot of things without help...and maybe even in those we miss the blessing.

But it's the big things...the ones that threaten to sink us, or choke us, or send us to our knees that finally make us realize we were meant for community. For encouragement. For one-anothering.

God, who knows my bent towards fear and anxiety, has seen fit to give me a great team of supporters...a faithful husband who is coming alongside me and joining me in what will be a forever and ever amen change of eating (and it's going to help his arthritis too, I'm sure!)...

Children who say they are proud of me and know I can do it...

Supportive sisters and friends who will run behind me in this race...picking me up and setting me back on my feet when I fall.

But I've had to make myself vulnerable...honest, open, and transparent...otherwise people can't see that I need help. That I need them.

We may not have the same issues in our lives, but I'm betting you do have issues. We all do.

Be encouraged, dear one...there is a hope set before us...God-given and God-empowered...for good and not evil, no matter how difficult the issue that presents itself.

And that hope looks like you. Like me.

Find someone, or a bunch of someones, that can be your cheer leading squad...who can help you get where God wants you to be. And, until you tell others, only you know where that is.

Let me be the first to say, "I can do it! You can do it! Yes, we can!"

If you're undertaking a journey, and you need someone to encourage you, I would be honored to pray for you...

"Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary." 
Gal. 6:9

photo credit: MTSOfan <a href="">We Need Help</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">(license)</a>

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