It’s 9:00 in the morning on a Monday and already I am feeling dissatisfied with my life. I crawled out of bed (almost quite literally.) There is burning in my feet; my knees, hips, wrists, and fingers are extremely stiff and excruciatingly painful. Even after a full night’s sleep I feel completely exhausted; and my face is already only half working. I say my prayers asking God to guide me throughout the day and to keep me focused on Him. I thank him for all my blessings. I try to move to the kitchen humming random words from the theme song of Frozen…”conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them see…” As I start a pot of coffee I try to slowly stretch my body, thinking it will ease my pain and stiffness. And all of a sudden, it starts…
I once again get pissed and frustrated at this “new normal” that I am forced to live with – against my wishes and without my permission. Sadly, this has become almost a daily occurrence recently.
My husband is out to breakfast with a friend from church before heading to the airport for a work trip. I begin to wallow in self pity with the persistent thought that, I really have no friends to do these types of things with anymore. I blame the fact that a dozen years of disease has driven most of them away, although I know that my isolating his probably more at fault. I immediately am overcome with an overwhelming sense of loneliness. And a work trip? Only in my dreams. I haven’t worked in over ten years thanks to the level of disability my disease often causes.
My desire to be my “old normal” is very unrealistic for two reasons: 1.) My disease prevents me from doing 80% of the things I once used to; and (2.) my expectations are unrealistic even for a healthy person. But I stil have this ongoing and rather insane longing to be some kind of a superwoman. To achieve things that are far above and beyond the best of everything ever seen in movies or on social media.
In this fantasy where I am indeed Super Jenny, I obviously have already been at the gym, I’m all stretched and toned and glide out of the building looking like a fitness model. I’d skip off to the local coffee shop where I’d meet up with my girlfriends. We’d laugh and chat happily as we sipped out favorite morning selections. By this time I would be in a cheerful and optimistic mood – ready to greet the work day ahead. And of course, I would absolutely love my job because whatever it is, I’m certain it’s something I am passionate about and something that just comes naturally to me. The money I make would help to pay for our new, very roomy, perfectly decorated, clean and decluttered home, which we use as an inviting beacon of hospitality to the many friends and acquaintances that are always welcome here. A home where great food, fun games, witty and meaningful conversation, are always shared. I would always look rested, energetic, fresh-faced and happy. Wait…revise that. I wouldn’t just “look” that way, but I’d actually really “be” that way! I would spend time developing my creativity by finally accomplishing all the paintings and arts and crafts projects I have been planning in my head for years. Our yard would be like a destination vacation all by itself, full of magnificent beauty and fun-filled activities. I would always have plenty of time to volunteer and help those in need – always giving to others what had been so freely given to me. And I would glorify God through ALL of it – being a light and a message. Declaring to others what God has done, of his goodness, grace and mercy.
Yet…here I am…in mismatched jammies, socks and slippers, a running jacket over my shoulders to ward off the chills, greasy hair pulled back in a rubberband, body still refusing to cooperate. Pain is radiating throughout my body. I pause to stare out the front window, watching as the rest of the neighborhood goes about starting their daily activities. I have already finished my first cup of coffee and am now too damn nauseous to eat or take my handfuls of morning pills.
It’s a far cry from the exceptional life I just described in the above fantasy. But yet, today, even if my life is not as I envisioned…even with all of the physical and emotional symptoms I am currently facing…I will still choose to glorify God. To sing of his goodness, his grace and his mercy. I will believe HIS truths instead of what Satan would rather I believe. I will choose to be content with the mess and imperfections of my blessed life, believing it is exactly what God wants me to have at this very moment. I will use whatever abilities I have, however limited they may be at times, to perform the work that God calls me to. To love others deeply, to help where I can, and to carry the message of hope and joy that comes only from being an accepted child of the Creator.
For a brief moment this morning, the enemy got a hold and temporarily distorted my thinking once again. But greater is the one living inside of me – God wins! So today, I will choose to believe GOD and love myself right where I’m at instead of where I want to be.