3 powerful shifts to help you take the next step
I’m excited to bring you a guest writer this week! I met Cassie through COMPEL, an online writer’s community. Cassie writes about her chronic health struggles and what the Lord is teaching her through the difficult road of perseverance. If you are finding yourself on a long road with no good answers or clear direction, I hope Cassie’s words today encourage you!
I blinked back burning tears and tried to swallow the lump in my throat as I finished answering the doctor’s questions and hurried to check out of the office. I fled to the nearest bathroom as the tears began to slip, and a man looked at me strangely in the hallway. In the safe confines of an empty bathroom, I let the salty ocean of tears release and my shoulders heave.
You’re probably thinking that I just got some horrible news or had an appointment with an unsympathetic doctor. Actually, in hindsight, it was a pretty great appointment. The doctor was caring and knowledgeable. No horrible news was given.
So, why all the tears? If I had to boil it down to three words, it would probably be control, trust, and perspective.
unexpected steps towards healing
This doctor, a surgeon actually, was one I had found online. She had the best of reviews and a great track record for helping women with chronic issues. I had mapped out the appointment a bajillion times in my head – how I would walk through my life story exactly, how she would affirm my suspected diagnosis of endometriosis and schedule a surgery to end all my woes.
Whelp, it didn’t exactly go that way. I only got through part of my story. Not because she wasn’t a good listener, but because she asked questions and was knowledgeable (and she couldn’t feasibly take the hours I had probably mapped out in my mind in retelling my tale!). She didn’t exactly affirm any diagnosis. Instead, she prescribed physical therapy, which I thought was lame (this turned out to be a miracle in helping to ease my symptoms!), and said we could pursue surgery with no guarantees. She was honest, upfront, and allowed me to make the decisions.
rethinking where we place our trust
This isn’t what I had wanted or planned. I thought I could control the outcome I wanted. I thought I could trust this doctor to give me all the answers. In that doctor’s office bathroom, tears streaming down my face, a shift began inside of me. I was tired of this. Not so much the not feeling good, although I was over that. I was more so tired in this moment of the emotional roller coaster that each doctor’s appointment or medical test brought. The anxiety and apprehension beforehand. The tears and disappointment afterwards. In that bathroom, the Lord began to do a work inside of me. He showed me that I had been putting my trust in doctors and answers instead of in Him.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I count modern medicine as part of God’s “every good and perfect gift” from above that He has given us (James 1:17), but there was a part of me that had begun to put too much hope, too much trust in things of this world. That’s why when doctor’s appointments didn’t go exactly the way I had pre-planned, I was crushed. I felt like I had lost control, I had lost hope.
rethinking our perspective
I greatly needed a perspective change. One like Paul writes about in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18,
“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”
I’m not going to have a perfect doctor, a pain-free body, or an anxiety free life this side of eternity. No one is. And while that might seem discouraging or pessimistic, for me, it was actually freeing to realize that. Instead of chasing the “one thing,” the “perfect appointment” the “ultimate cure” that could make me feel better, now I have the freedom to live each day as it comes, seeing the blessings, knowing that there will be hard and beautiful, and trusting that I have a God who loves me and will guide me each day from here into glory, growing me to be more like Him. Medical interventions, appointments, and test results are part of the journey, but are not the end goal – the “eternal weight of glory” is.
rethinking our need for control
Let’s be real though, this shift in perspective did not all take place in that bathroom on that one day. It was a process during which I underwent stressful surgery, medical frustrations, months of counseling, attacks of anxiety, and much time spent with the Lord in His Word, in prayer, and in just living life with Him beside me. It’s still a process of learning to release control and not jump on the emotional roller coaster.
But, I’m growing, and I’m loving my life where it’s at right now. And with God, I’m learning, inch by inch, to fix my eyes on “the things that are unseen.” For that is where the true Hope of life is, dear friends.
“…let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and ]finisher of our faith…” (Hebrews 12:1-2).
- Where do you put your trust these days? Really think about it. Examine what causes you to try and grasp for control or react emotionally disproportionate to reality.
- Is there somewhere in your life you need a perspective shift? Is there any place where you are exhausted from trying to navigate an area of life or control on your own? How can you align your perspective with Biblical scriptures and truth?
- Try spending some time this week meditating on who God is in regards to you. One of my favorite attributes of God is that He is our Shepherd. Make it a habit to take a few moments each day (this could be while washing dishes, stopping at a red light, walking to a meeting, etc.) to breathe deep and remind yourself of God’s love for you. Rest in that love.
- Read John 10 and Psalm 23 to guide your breath, rest, and meditation.
Cassie Herbert is a part-time English teacher, a yoga instructor in training, and an online encourager who believes that slow growth is beautiful growth. She has a heart for women, who like herself, face chronic health struggles and longs to share how to embrace the slow growth of a joy and pain filled life one inch at a time.
Cassie hails from Western PA and loves spending time with her dad and sister – they always make her laugh! When not teaching, learning, or posting, you’ll most likely find Cassie watching a cooking show or singing along with her favorite worship music.