Monthly Archives: September 2013

My Ankle Hurts: An Analogy for life

It’s 1 am and I am wide awake…so I’m going to tell you a story. The story I want to tell you is about my ankle. Bear with me for a minute, even at 1 am, I know that probably sounds crazy…but I promise, I have a point.

For nearly my entire life, my ankle has been weak. But where did that begin? I’m really not sure. I don’t remember the first time I twisted/sprained it – I just know it’s ALWAYS been that way. Over the years, my ankle got more and more out of whack, but my body learned to adapt. So now, after many years of learning to adapt to life with stretched ligaments in my ankle – I’ve gotten used to it. It’s part of my life and part of who I am. My body still functions just fine and it doesn’t really prevent me from doing the things I love.

Until now.

Last week I went to the doctor for a severe pain in my calf. There were a few different possibilities for what it could have been – popliteal artery entrapment, compartment syndrome, or pulled/torn muscle. I never really gave any thought to my ankle being the root of the problem. As the doctor examined my leg, he also looked at my ankle. As he turned my ankle, a look of deep concern came across his face.

“Does this hurt?” He asked as he turned my ankle further than it should go.

“No. Should it?” I answered. “My ankle has always been that way. I hurt it as a kid and I have stretched ligaments in it.”

The doctor looked at me with a bit of frustration and relief. He chuckled as he said, “You know that’s something you need to tell me.”

“Yeah, my bad,” I laughed, “I’ve just always had a crap ankle, so I don’t even think about it anymore. It’s just kind of a part of who I am.”

The doctor’s original orders were to rest my leg for two weeks. No running. No working out. I had to take a break from running and Insanity classes – those were the only outlets I had for my stress and frustration and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to punch the doctor in his face for that.

It has now been a week since I saw that doctor. In this past week I have seen two other doctors, had an MRI done, worn an ankle brace, and seen a physical therapist. The final decision: the calf pain is still a mystery, BUT everyone is fairly certain that the root of the pain is the weakness in my ankle.

After 15+ years of living life with a weak ankle, my calf has learned to overcompensate and to support and stabilize my leg in ways that my ankle should be doing. In most people, this extra usage of muscular energy would be painful, but for me, it’s become normal. Really, at some point I just started to assume that my ankle would just always be that way, nothing would make it better, and I would just need to learn how to live with it. When I started running and doing Insanity classes though, my calf decided it couldn’t handle the extra work anymore and it started hurting.

Now, I get to pretty much live in an ankle brace as I go through physical therapy to strengthen my ankle and help take some of this pressure off of my calf. Wearing this ankle brace at all times, hurts! My ankle has been so used to being in a stretched position, that now it actually hurts for it to be in the anatomically correct position. And sometimes, the pain makes me want to give up this whole thing. But, I am frequently reminded that if I quit, I will go back to having that same, sometimes excruciating pain, in my leg. My ankle needs to heal CORRECTLY if I want it to function properly.

If you have stuck around and actually read all about my ankle/calf, you are lucky enough to find out WHY I wanted to share this story.

Because this is almost a perfect analogy for the “Christian” life.

Two years ago I was an unbeliever. I thought I was living my life the best I could. I thought I was free to do as I pleased. I thought I was just fine even though I was not very happy. I don’t really know exactly where the unhappiness began, it just seems to have always been there. Sexual abuse. Eating disorder. Self-harm. Abortion. Alcohol and drug abuse. Perfectionism. People pleasing. Control. It’s all just been a part of who I was. I hadn’t enjoyed it, but I had found my identity in it. The only choice I had after that was to cope – to adapt.

But then Jesus came into my life and flipped it upside down. Just like the doctor who looked at my ankle, Jesus looked at me with deep concern. Just like that doctor, Jesus needed me to be honest with Him about my past in order to heal me in the present. Just like that doctor, Jesus wanted me to get better so that I may live a full life. Just like I didn’t know my ankle needed healing until the doctor told me, I didn’t know my life needed healing until Jesus shined His light on it.

I fought at first; I was angry. I thought my life was just fine. I wasn’t happy, but I had learned to adapt. I had learned how to live my life with many spiritual, mental, and emotional wounds. Just like with my ankle, it wasn’t ideal, but I had gotten comfortable. I had learned to adapt because my wounds were just a part of who I was.

Luke 19:10For the Son of Man came to seek and to save those who are lost.

I was lost, and when you’re lost – you want to be comfortable. But Jesus came to find me and now that He had found me, He was telling me it was time to leave my comfort zone. He told me that it was time to quit living a life that I had just adapted to and that it was time that I learned to live life abundantly – something He promised He can give me. Everything I thought I knew up to that point didn’t make any sense anymore.

I felt like I’d gone too far. Jesus still reached out for me. I had trust issues. Jesus wanted me to trust Him. I had abandonment issues. Jesus wanted me to accept His love. I was scared. Jesus wanted to give me courage. I felt alone. Jesus wanted to be with me. I felt trapped. Jesus wanted to set me free. I felt weak. Jesus was strong.

It didn’t matter what my excuse was, Jesus had an answer for every single one. He really wanted me to let Him heal me, even though it was going to hurt. He promised me it’d be worth it and He promised me that we were going to do this together. He would be with me every step of the way – even when I want to quit. And in those times, He’ll remind me of why we are doing this – why the life He wants me to live is better than the life I was living.

Over the last two years, Jesus and I have fought, quite a bit, about whether or not I am letting Him heal me. And in case you are wondering, He always wins. He has given me a “treatment plan” and tells me to stick to it, to follow His direction and I will get better.

But, you see, my problem is this thing called stubbornness. I am stubborn and I DON’T like being told what to do – even when I know it’s what’s best for me. I often fail to follow His treatment plan and I go off and do my own thing. It never takes long though, for life to start hurting again and for me to go running straight back to Him.

On this side of Heaven, I will never be perfectly healed – but Jesus is continuing to heal me a little more every day…as long I’m willing to come to Him.

I’ll be going to physical therapy for the next 4-8 weeks in order to get my ankle back to where it should be.

Just like physical therapy for my ankle, I need to choose to go to Jesus, every day, to get my life back to where I should be – to where He made me to be.

It’s not easy. It’s painful. And some days, it just plain sucks. But it is my ONLY option if I want to actually live my life instead of just surviving it.

Advertisements

When I Grow Up

When I was growing up, I frequently got asked: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I always had an answer – astronaut, doctor, police officer…you get the picture. While this is something kids should think about, I’ve come to realize that what we want to be when we grow up shouldn’t be the focus of our lives. What’s more important, I think, is WHO we want to be.

I am 25 years old, and I still have no clue WHAT I want to be when I grow up. I have a criminal justice degree, I went to EMT school, and I have a passion for writing….I’m not quite sure where that gets me; but I’m not going to spend my life with a sole focus on finding the answer. An occupation is simply that – a job. Yes, it is where we make money to provide for our families…but it does not define who we are.

But let’s focus on the other question – who do I want to be.

I want to be a faithful follower of Christ. I want to love God with all my heart, all my mind, and all my strength. I want to trust Him with my life and my plans and allow Him to show me what I should be doing; that no matter what my job – He will provide for our needs as long as I listen and obey.

I want to be a loving and submissive wife. I want to love my husband only second to God and follow his lead of our family.

I want to be a patient and wise mother. I want to make good decision in guiding my children and point them to Christ. I want to show them grace and admit to them when I’ve done wrong. I want to show them that they are loved unconditionally, not just by their parents – but also by God.

I want to be a good friend. I want to love others and share the love of Christ with everyone I meet. I want to help hurting people. I want to show people, who think there is no hope left, that there is ALWAYS hope in Jesus Christ.

This is only a small glimpse into who I want to be. I’m not yet where I need to be in achieving this, but I’m no longer where I was.

So let’s stop focusing on WHAT we want to be or what our kids want to be. What we want to be doesn’t define who we are. Only God can do that. Instead, let’s focus on WHO we want to be.

Let’s teach our kids that WHO they want to be is more valuable than what they want to be. Let’s raise our kids to love God, family, and others. Let’s show them that they don’t have to earn love. Lets teach them the value of hard work but help them to also see the difference between work and identity.

What you do can be taken from you; but who you are is who you, no matter what you do.


No Looking Back

When I became a Christian, I wanted nothing more than to leave my old life behind me; but my old life was holding onto me with a death-grip. I really didn’t want to leave my past behind me though; after all, it was fun and I was in control, so what was the big deal? The big deal was that I was living behind a mask. I didn’t want my Christian friends to know about my struggles or the very “un-Christian” aspects of my life.

But apparently, God wanted me to trust Him and allow Him in to those scary, untouched parts of my life. He wanted me to share my life, my hurts, and my struggles with other believers. At the time, I thought this was the most ridiculous thing God could ever ask of me.

Nearly two years and lots of tears, emotional meltdowns, sleepless nights, anxiety attacks, and fear later – God had brought me through so much and it is safe to say that I am no longer the person I used to be. I have been set free from self-harm, depression, a love and relationship addiction, and the effects of abortion and sexual abuse. God has proven Himself, over and over, in my life. He hasn’t failed me yet; but somehow, I still struggle with letting God into all parts of my past.

Recently, I have begun a new phase of my recovery. A phase that, in all honesty, I don’t want to go through. I want change, but I don’t want to do the work required to change. I don’t really want to change my behavior, rather I’d just like to change the pain I feel while still doing what’s bad for me. Yes, I am fully aware how illogical that sounds. But that’s the problem, when our minds get distracted by things of this world and we lose our focus on God, things start to get illogical.

In the midst of my shame, guilt, anger, and self-pity, God gave me a beautiful gift today. He gave me a reminder of where my hope lies; a reminder that He loves me, that He cares about me, and that He will calm my fears.

I walked outside this evening and I was immediately blown away by the beauty of the evening sky – the way the light shined through the clouds and the sun’s rays beamed…it was, for me, just a small slice of what Heaven must be like.

20130903-221705.jpg

But in that moment, while I marveled at the beauty of God’s creation, I turned around. That’s when I saw the darkness of the storm clouds behind me.

20130903-221814.jpg

Standing in the same place, I could see two totally different perspectives – if I looked ahead of me, I saw light, hope, strength, and beauty…but behind me, there was sorrow, pain, and darkness. I saw all these things without moving an inch, it only depended on which direction I choose to look.

This is, basically, the exact definition of my life right now…I can look ahead at the light and hope that God offers me or I can look behind me at my failures and pain and be stuck in the darkness. I don’t have to move to be able to see the light, I just have to choose to look at it, it’s my choice.

You see, for the last few weeks, I’ve been looking back; looking at the depth of my sin and the greatness of guilt and shame. Looking back into the darkness had drawn me away from the light and the things I know to be true. I have felt like God was distant from me, and now I ask myself – who moved, God or me? Clearly, the answer is me.

I moved away from Him because I wanted control in my out of control life…even though I have a pretty long track record of not being able to control anything in my life and just creating an even bigger mess than when I started.

I don’t want to give up the facade of control that I convince myself that I had (even though I KNOW that’s a lie). I want to do things on my own without facing the pain. I don’t want to do what’s right because, right now, what’s right is also what’s hard…and I don’t want to deal with the hard part.

So here’s, yet another, giant leap of faith on my road to recovering from my past. I know that God knows better than I do; He knows the master plan while I can only see the small space that I occupy. I know that this new phase of recovery will be painful. It will hurt, but I’m trusting that it will be worth it. God hasn’t let me down yet, I doubt He’s going to start now.

I’m tired of looking at my past and feeling discouraged by the darkness that surrounds it. I will CHOOSE (yes, it is a choice…a painful choice…but a choice nonetheless) to look ahead of me, to look at God and seek the light. I will CHOOSE to keep moving, even when it hurts, trusting that Jesus is right there next to me. I CHOOSE to not beat myself up when I fall (because I’m sure I will fall along the way). I CHOOSE to place my hope in my Savior and not in myself. I CHOOSE to celebrate the little victories and not get caught up in the set-backs.

Philippians 3:13-14,16No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us…But we must hold on to the progress we have already made.

I CHOOSE TO STOP LOOKING BACK!


Best Race Signs

A collection of the signs that inspire us when we run races.

Bald Runner

My Journey In Ultra Running

The Daily Post

The Art and Craft of Blogging

Chris Martin Writes

Sowing seeds for the Kingdom

running in circles

it's more fun to run together

Breaking the Chains

Moving Forward in Life

Faith4TheJourney

And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. ~John 17:3

Our Life On The Border

Our life and ministry on the Border, The Baja & Beyond!

Jesus is for Losers

Really Random Thoughts From a Crazed Follower of Jesus

liveworship

ˈliv ˈwər-shəp - The collision of life, God, and the church.

ONE MOUNTAIN AT A TIME

Sharing stories. Encouraging hearts.

Grace Bible Church - Killeen, TX

Trust God's GRACE. Submit to the BIBLE in community. Be the CHURCH.