The good Lord has been providing me with opportunities to practice patience and balance in my life. To be truthful, it’s an ongoing journey; having not reached the destination of being comfortable with setting an even pace in my life. I am an all or nothing, full steam ahead or devoid of energy, kind of person.
So why do I choose this way of life? Oh, I have the reasons (excuses, really).
“I come from a family of “Type A“, overachievers. “
“I give everything I have to everything there is.”
“I am an all or nothing type of person.”
“It is the mark of a good person who cares and is willing to do what it takes.”
“People will like me, respect me, and give me kudos and think highly of me when I am productive.”
“I am your go-to person because I know how to get things done. Blah, blah, blah and on and on and on…. “
Can you read the selfishness, the cockiness, and pride fullness in these statements?
But what does this behavior really create? I have had a lifetime of experience so I feel somewhat of an authority on this subject. There is a feeling that you have to give more than you have in order to be a good person. It creates a cycle of production to extinction, worthiness to self-loathing, and competency to fallacy. In the end, its one step forward, two steps back.
This has been made more clearly to me as I recuperate from a total hip replacement. If you have read my prior blogs you know that I awoke from surgery without pain for the first time in 10 months. I went home with 8 exercises, 10 repetitions each, to be done twice daily . I needed the exercises to build those muscles that had been stretched during the procedure and were not atrophied. I did them faithfully with some mild soreness, and quickly was able to discard the walker and then used the cane only when walking outside in case of uneven pavement.
I was gung ho and ready to go!
The home health physical therapist came to me the following week and seeing my enthusiasm assigned me 18 exercises to be done twice a day, each day increasing the repetitions to 20 each. The first day I did them I was mildly sore the next day. The second day, the soreness increased until two days later when I could barely walk. Getting off the commode was a herculean effort filled with pain. I was grabbing onto furniture and considering using the walker again because my leg felt was weak and unable to hold me up. My muscles were in revolt shouting “Heck, No! We won’t go!”
When I shared my decline with the physical therapist she stated that I probably was walking the dogs too long and that we would continue to move forward. Really?!? Since this wasn’t my first rodeo with medical adversity or physical therapy and I have no feathers on my tongue ( a product of being around this world for 60 years) I disagreed with her. I told her that the only variable that had changed was the progression plan she had laid out for me and that I would not be doing all the exercises and repetitions as she had designed. She would need to scale them back. No discussion seemed to make her veer from her progression plan regardless of how I was or was not developing. She had her exercise plan and she was going to work that plan even if the patient became incapacitated in the process! It was indeed one step forward and two steps back. Needless to say we parted company and I have utilized the exercises provided to me from the hospital coupled with pool therapy. I am gaining strength and improving daily-with some mild muscle soreness which is to be expected and normal.
It was this incident, however, that gave me a glimpse of what my being out of balance, excessive, obsessive, compulsive, over the top behavior looked like! I behave much like the physical therapist did – working my plan to the exhaustion, depletion, and destruction of my own self without regard to God’s plan for me. In the end, I am left sore, frustrated, and ill-tempered and of no help to any one – including me.
Have you been there? Have you ever been out of balance? Have you ever gone to the extreme? Have you worked a job until you were sick and even then, continued on as if you were the last man standing and the world would end without you? Or do you eat the cookies in your pantry, one after another, until the whole bag is empty. You know you will regret it in pounds, bloating, and malaise but you cannot stop….
Christmas is upon us and it is a time of celebration and often a time of excess overeating, overspending, over gifting, and overindulging. The season is fraught with the necessity and the challenge of balancing life.
I believe God does not wish us to run ourselves ragged for He has plans for us – “not to harm but to give us hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11. We must let go of the old ways of doing that can hurt us and reach out and hold onto ways that will help us as we help others. After all, it is the journey God wishes for us to savor even in those trying times. In that journey (trying times and good times) He encourages us to be living and breathing examples of Christ.
Christ came to us as a small child, born in a manger, to show us how to live. His ways were simple, loving, and patient. He balanced his gentleness with His strength, His love with His purpose, His position as God’s son with His place as teacher on earth. Let us put Christ back not just for the Christmas season but for the rest of the days in our lives.
IS NOT SOMETHING YOU
IT’S SOMETHING YOU
This year, let us promise one another to create balance in our lives.