A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about healing. I sat and wrote that post through the sniffling and sneezing of a cold and declared in front of the whole internet (well…all 40 of my followers and whoever else happens along I guess) that I chose to believe in my healing rather than my circumstances. And the crazy thing is…it worked.
I picked up that cold from my parents. First my dad and then my mom had had it, and in my high-and-mighty “I-am-now-beyond-sickness” attitude, I assumed I would skip it altogether. But I did get it and, as I wrote about in that post, it nearly shook me. But I did something that I’ve never done before, and instead of getting frustrated with myself or God or the world at large, I chose to continue living life, keep loving God, keep believing that His promises are true and what He says about me is true. And this bugger of a cold ended up being merely a mild case of sniffles for me. I always get a lingering cough after a cold. I mean always. I could sneeze twice and get congested for 12 hours, and still develop a cough that lingers for three weeks. There was NO COUGH this time. After about 3 nights, I was sleeping fine, didn’t even have to keep my head elevated to prevent coughing during the night or keep my sinuses clear. This was a brand new cold experience for me.
What’s more, when I returned home, my allergy symptoms were largely gone. Pretty much every time I come home, I spend my entire stay sneezing. I don’t know if it’s the cold (I seem to always visit in the winter…why do I do that??), or that our house is a bit dusty (we’re still a bit of a construction zone, we have two dogs and a cat, and we live in the desert), or if it’s just Nevada, but home makes me sneeze. Bummer. But not for the past several weeks. I registered that all of the sudden a couple days ago as I realized there was no pile of tissues on my nightstand. There’s always a pile of tissues on my nightstand! Today, I pet a horse with nary a sniffle (I am, or have been, ferociously allergic to horses).
But healing isn’t the only promise of God out there. He promises us peace.
Isaiah 26: 3 (ESV)
3 You keep him in perfect peace
whose mind is stayed on you,
because he trusts in you.
He promises us joy.
John 16: 24 (ESV)
24 Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.
These are qualities that have been somewhat elusive to me for the past several years. Not all the time, of course. And not in any obviously (to the outside observer) earth-shattering way. But in my private life there was unease and discontent and a feeling of fragility. I was, deep down, not really sure if I could trust God, so I avoided Him. My subconscious logic being that if I wasn’t really all in and I was disappointed, then at least it was my fault. That was better than the potential alternative of going all-in and still being disappointed and having my whole world, a world which whether I liked it or not was built upon Christ, come crashing down around my ears. I genuinely didn’t think I could survive that. I realized and dealt with a lot of my relationship issues this summer during my DTS, but honestly it’s since I’ve been home, in a regular environment but still faithfully seeking God daily, that I’ve actually started to make real headway.
I have finally started trusting that this relationship I have with my Father isn’t tentative. I’ve stopped panicking when I go through a “dry spell” and don’t feel like I hear from Him for a week or two, or when I’m confused and not getting the answers I want, or when I’m frustrated with my present circumstances. He’s always been there on the other side of the frustration or confusion or questions, and I’m finally beginning to rely on that. I can finally be in the middle of my turmoil but still know it’s ok. I’m ok. God’s got me. Just the simple knowing of that robs all the turmoil of its power. It’s a mighty thing to really, truly start trusting in God. And so much more subtle than I would have guessed. It’s not a matter of forcefully turning all my mental powers to it. More a matter of letting go, resting, thanking Him for the things He says are true of me. Claiming those things as mine that I don’t in fact have yet. I may not have them in fact, but I have them in truth. And truth is more powerful.
I’m seeing it in a thousand tiny ways. I see it in my grad school applications. I HATE applications with a fiery passion. I inevitably end up feeling inadequate and under-qualified. For anything. I could be applying to fall backward off a log and feel under-qualified. And I felt that way as I started this round too. I couldn’t look at schools for more than an hour or so without getting completely overwhelmed and starting to question why I would even bother. But God has been working with me to just take one step at a time; just keep moving and He would provide the wisdom, the words, everything I needed when I needed it, which He has faithfully done. This weekend I finished my Statement of Purpose for my first school, then looked at some of the examples from other applicants and realized I had to completely restart. This would have sent me into a tailspin even a month ago. But this time, I just did it. It wasn’t fun, but I did it. And I didn’t freak out. It was really nice. I see it in the way I react to people. Things that would have had me gritting my teeth in anger a while ago I can suddenly see from their perspective. I see it in a reduction in road rage. We live up a rather long, winding road. It’s actually really fun to drive, unless you get stuck behind someone. God forbid it’s someone from California! (Little joke…I have nothing against Californians. Except that they do inevitably drive slow on the Grade Road.) But lately, instead of raging at them and yelling insults from the safety of my car, I’ve been praying for them. Much more pleasant.
It’s strange that I’m surprised by these things, since I’ve been insistently and intentionally confident in God’s faithfulness to His promises, but somehow it doesn’t seem quite real. I’m still tempted every day with those thoughts. “Oh, yeah, I feel good now, but this isn’t permanent. I always go through ups and downs, I’m just on an upswing right now. Give it a couple weeks.” I HATE those thoughts! Fiendish little lies. Because the truth is (maybe not the facts, but the TRUTH IS) that this is my reality. My bought-and-paid-for reality. And even if the facts don’t quite seem to line up, I believe that, as Dan Mohler said, “It’s just a matter of time until my body [or mind or emotions] say, ‘Yes, Sir!'” to my Lord Jesus Christ and begin to align with his version of my life.