Monday, April 28, 2014

Taking Inventory

The semester has culminated in a finale of sicknesses, each building on the next until the final diagnosis Friday afternoon:
Mononucleosis. 

Mono has no magic pill to take to get better. I am on steriods and antihistamines for allergies, but they don't directly fight mono, they're just helping with seasonal allergies and easing the symptoms.

The only cure for mono is to drink fluids, eat healthily, and rest.

The way it has been working is that I'll feel fine and have a mini-energy surge and start to be productive. A few minutes later I feel like falling over wherever I am and falling asleep.

The past few months have been a whirlwind of work I've gotten swept up into. I've been acting as if my energy bank has boundless credit (and that I'd never have to pay/face the bill)

Looking back, I'm not sure how I juggled all that I did.

This post isn't to self-congratulate, by no means. Rather I hope it'll serve as a reminder to myself in the future.

I admit I've been pushing myself hard.

I've somehow found ways to be completely and utterly busy since January. Like, every minute of the day, something to do.

Friends and family warned me to slow down.

I kept going.

I burnt the candle at both ends, so to speak. This makes for a brighter flame, but why have two flames when one will do?
It's wasteful.

...it's also terribly hard to hold a candle burning at both ends anyways.

My days this semester would usually start at 7 am, and I wouldn't typically get home until 10:30 or 11 pm. I usually didn't have much of a food break during the day either...I didn't eat with healthy regularity.

All of this came together in the perfect storm.

Early in March I came down with the flu.
I was out of commission for a week, but as soon as I was fever-free, I jumped back in.
Then allergy season hit hard. All of the pollen at once. My eyes were swelling shut, I was sneezing and coughing.
Still going.
Then came a bout with strep.
Still going.
Through this, I worked on. I really tried. The doctor gave me a cocktail of medications to enable me to keep working through the semester and to push through the strep and allergies.

At first, the meds worked. I was great, even better than before, but then... everything got worse. I woke up one morning covered in itchy red hives. I started having vertigo, shortness of breath, and a sharp headache.
I went to the doctor again, thinking that I was having a reaction to one of the medications.

She ran a panel of blood tests.

It was a positive for mono.

Now I sit here, sapped of energy and struggling to study. I am blessed I only have one legitimate final, while the rest are just papers and reports.

But I am annoyed at my past self for thinking I was able to handle and do so much.

I'm paying for overdrawing my energy bank now.


But this experience is a perfect learning opportunity.
Through this experience I was reminded that I had been neglecting the biggest and most important thing in my life: my relationship with God.

I was so busy working on things or running around, that I didn't have much more time than for a quick prayer here and there. I started to feel like God didn't care, I started to put God in a box and limit Him to human characteristics and give him human limitations.

Red flag: never put God in a box.

I didn't take time to be still and remember that I'm connected to GOD. 

The most vital part of my being was being repressed. I was spiritually malnourished.

And to what purpose? To have a longer list of human "accomplishment"?

Sure I prayed about the big things in life, but I didn't think God needed to be bothered with the details.

"didn't need to be bothered"?

God is the God of the details.

Matthew 6 popped into my mind:

26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[e]?
28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. 

Over the past few months...I hadn't been seeking Him first.

I had to confess I was acting as if my own purposes were all that mattered. I acted as if I had all of the answers and was capable. (though I secretly struggled with the fear I wasn't capable, I wasn't enough. I feared that everyone would see me for what I was. I was worrying)

So while this sickness is a setback, it's also a blessing in that it has put things into perspective. It has pulled me back in to seeking God first and foremost. Because ultimately, everything else will pass away, but His words remain forever.

In the end, it won't matter that I had straight A's or that I received certain honors.
It won't matter what university I attended.
It won't matter how esteemed or famous I am in my field.
It won't even matter what jobs I held.

In the end, all that matters is Christ.

I have nothing else to boast in.

This semester I was putting my hopes all on myself and relying on myself to carry through. My foundation was not what it should have been.

I am resolving to no longer putting my hope in myself, for I'm proving to be weak. It took this semester to really realize how weak I am and how much I need Christ and His strength.

As a Christian, God promises that He'll direct my paths, but He's not going to force my hand. He gives me the free will to trust Him or not.
(tip: it works out better to trust Him)

And this is what I must remember as I strive towards completion of my education and as I continue down the path of life.
All that I have is thanks to God. He opened the doors for me to be in the successful position I am in. He has given me the abilities and talent to succeed. But I cannot allow my own ego to get in the way. I can't forget where all of the good things come from.

And I'll finish this post out with Philippians 3 (I do need to go study, but it feels good to blog):
12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
15 All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. 16 Only let us live up to what we have already attained.

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