Tenth Avenue North - Worn
Lately, I've been feeling worn. Beat up. Tired. Old. I've had more appointments in 2013 than I probably had in the previous five years total. Fortunately, nothing too serious, and it could be way worse than it is. I have no serious illness or injury, and consider myself blessed for sure. Generally I have the right perspective and realize that my issues are nothing compared to those of others with much more serious ones. But I have to tell you, today, for whatever reason, my perspective has shifted. I feel every bit of my 41 years and nearly 10 months on this earth.
Have you been there?
I struggle with depression, anxiety, and have a sometimes quick temper. When you're going through these types of struggles, you often feel alone. Like you're the only one in the world dealing with these kinds of issues. Well, I'm here to tell you that you are not alone. Since I started talking to people about my struggles, I've discovered that they are actually fairly common. But our struggles don't define us. They help shape us into who we become.
I think of it in terms of a skit that's been done at my church. As best as I can remember it, the characters in the skit are God and Brian (I'll use my name since I'm talking about me, but insert your name or anyone you know who has struggles). Brian is standing and talking to God, and saying that he's doing pretty good. God points out that he has some issues that he needs to work on, and God can help him with that. So God takes a hammer and a chisel and starts 'chiselling' away at some of these issues, and begins to mold Brian into the man that God knows he can be. It's painful and messy at times, but the end result is beautiful, exactly as God designed. As long as we are on this earth, the 'design' is not finished, but a work in progress.
The things I have been dealing with are really pretty minor.
Some are physical. I'm supposed to run a marathon in October, but running has become difficult because of a couple of balky knees. I went in to the orthodontist thinking I could get invisalign braces and wear them for six months or a year and be done, but came out needing a deep cleaning at a periodontist, four teeth pulled, and braces I will likely have to wear for three years - not to mention possibly jaw surgery and a much lighter wallet. I went to get tested for allergies, and it turns out I am allergic to everything - grass, trees of most kinds, weeds, dog and cat dander, tobacco (thankfully I don't smoke), mold, and a few others I am forgetting. I started allergy shots and am on a 'sinus cocktail' that involves more medications than I am accustomed to taking. Oh, and after a sleep study, sinus and allergy treatment, I still snore.
Some are emotional. I have been dealing with depression for a couple of years now. I have a temper that gets the best of me sometimes. I need to work on taming my tongue so that my words do not hurt others. Sometimes my stubborn pride gets in the way of my reaching out to people, especially those closest to me.
But you know what the really great thing about all of this is? I have a God who loves me no matter what. His love is forever and his promises are true. If I keep my eyes on Him, none of this stuff can weigh me down. If I listen to His voice, these are all minor blips on my radar screen. God is just chiselling away at me, making me more like Him. Sometimes it's hard. But if I keep His perspective in mind, it's really very easy. The bottom line is this - I am blessed beyond words. I have an amazing wife who has stood by my side through everything, an awesome son who makes me laugh every day, a wonderful family, great friends, a good job, nice house, and I could go on and on. And a God who sent His Son for me, with an amazing grace and love that nothing can compare to. The blessings far outweigh the trials. It really isn't even close. At the beginning of each day, I have been trying to thank God for all of the blessings in my life. It's really difficult to remember them all, there are so many. I want to challenge all of you to do the same. Just spend some time focusing on the amazing blessings in your life, no matter how big or small they seem. I'd love to hear some of them.
Have a great day!