In the Fall of 2011, I had to wait over three months to get in to see a specialist. A reputable one.
Notice the word “wait” — it’s a pretty important word.
In that time I had no medications available because I didn’t have a solid diagnosis. I did a lot of research and decided to try a clean diet to see if it helped. I ate only lean meats, vegetables, nuts, and fruits for over three months.
The end result? No change. Zero. Zilch. Nada. Nil. And every other word you can think of that means the same thing. My pain remained the same.
What did I learn in those months of waiting to see a specialist?
- I learned to slow the heck down. My sister emailed me a link explaining The Spoon Theory about a year prior to my physical issues. If you haven’t read it — you must. It isn’t just for people with chronic illnesses, it is applicable for ALL of us. I noticed that I couldn’t keep up with the mad raced pace of society around me and you know what? I was TIRED of trying. I didn’t want to go to this party and that one, to this lunch, and that girls night out. I wanted to be home with my family! We started playing board games with our son, taking family walks, going to the park together, and more. The more time I spent with my family, the more I CRAVED it! I didn’t want to crowd them out again by filling my calendar with other things.
- All I needed, I already had. The biggest revelation came in the form of realizing I didn’t “NEED” people the way I thought I did. I had a husband, a child, two sisters, parents, four nieces and a nephew with whom I hardly spent any time. On holidays, I was more concerned about seeing my friends than I was about spending quality time with my own family. That revelation stung quite a bit because my husband had been hinting at it for several years but I just wasn’t getting it. I can appreciate that people don’t have family around them and their friends become their family — more power to you, seriously — but I didn’t fit in that category. I plain and simple had a family that I was ignoring.
- God was (and still is) in the details. While I was busy moving and grooving, I longed to see God in the daily things around me — but I didn’t have TIME to see God. I had things to do, people to see, emails to write, phone calls to answer, social events to arrange and attend, blah blah blah. The only way I would see Him in the details is when He would do things like this to get my attention:
But once I slowed down, I started seeing him in people at the grocery store. I saw Him in the mailman when he would bring all of our mail to the door along with a package. I saw my husband making room for Him in his heart and mind. I saw Him in scripture, in the abundance of food we have available to us, in the warmth of the heater, and in the clean water I took for granted. He was (and still is) EVERYWHERE. But I had been too busy to acknowledge Him.
- I needed church. I used to be someone who would say, “but why do you HAVE to go to church? I can worship and read the bible at home just as easily as I can in church.” But I never followed through. I never cracked open my bible before I started attending church. Pastors go through years of classes. They read books constantly. They have knowledge that I realized I could tap into! It was completely worth an hour of my time to listen to them pick apart scripture and to learn what certain things meant in the bible. I NEEDED that nourishment just as much as I needed food and water. When left to my own devices, well — that’s exactly what I would do — get on my “devices” (which is what the kids at my son’s middle school call iPhones, iPads, Kindles, and so on). I would easily fill my time with other things, none of which were God-centered.
- I had become selfish. I stopped seeing my husband’s needs and my son’s needs, and even the needs of people around me because I had become completely consumed with NEEDING an answer for my physical pain. I felt odd. I felt like I no longer fit in anywhere. But you know what? I did that to myself. I was thinking about my pain 24/7 – and if you’re in pain I know what you’re thinking: “How can I possibly think of anything BUT the pain that is agonizing me all day and all night?” Honestly? That’s something you have to figure out on your own. But I know it isn’t healthy for you. I wanted so badly to give God the glory by being someone He could use, even while I was hurting — but I was so inwardly focused that He could only use me in teeny tiny ways.
So how do you slow down and not become selfish? This is going to knock some of you off your rockers — so put your seat-belts on:
Resting, being with your family, and seeing God in the details
does not make you selfish – what you allow to consume your thoughts
and drive your motivations could be what’s making you selfish.
After reading this list – what is something that you know you need to change but you just haven’t followed through? Be Brave. I dare you.