Everyday Miracles is a very personal column for readers who want to explore the deeper meaning of life.
I mentioned in my first postthat subsequent posts would be shorter, but here is what poured out of my brain this time. Thanks for staying with me.
I’m tired. Yes, tired in so many ways. Physically, my strong lithe body has been whipped as my hormones rebalance themselves to a new normal.
But I’m tired mentally, too. I never thought I’d say any of this, as I’ve been moving at the Energizer Bunny’s pace for most of my life, but the last few years, I’d been crying out to God to help me slow things down. To slow life down. I was careful how I worded this request should, God forbid, I be struck with some serious illness or disease. What God did instead was speed up the onset of menopause and all the debilitating symptoms that go with it. As I mentioned in my first post here, I officially entered “the change” at age 48, meaning my periods stopped at age 47. That seemed young to me. But, God knew what he was doing. He was answering my cry. My prayer. And it wasn’t until months later I realized His plan in all of this.
By having my body affected by nearly every symptom of menopause including fatigue, achy joints, migraines, hot flashes, fuzzy brain…did I mention fatigue?…I was forced to slow down. As much as I tried, I simply couldn’t fight my body anymore. I let my gym membership lapse for the first time in my adult life choosing instead to focus on the three Pilates classes I was teaching a week. That would be enough exercise…for now. (Teaching Pilates was a gift from the Lord so ordered at the right time; I’ll leave that miracle for another post.
I could not figure out how to get off lifes treadmill…
Before I go any further, I don’t want the male readers of my column to feel uncomfortable reading this or feel left out in receiving a message here. There are nuggets here for you too. I’m watching my fit late-50s husband going through similar life changes. He can no longer eat all he wants and not gain weight; he’s more forgetful; he requires steady regular sleep. He’s asking the big questions, too. I joke that he’s going through man-o-pause.
While I considered hormone therapy to manage my symptoms, my “natural” lifestyle dictated otherwise. My doctor told me “it gets better.” Really? That was a year and a half ago. She was right. It does.
I could not figure out how to get off of life’s treadmill without affecting all that Id gained in life. I was “cursed” with the Schmitt energy passed down from my always-busy, always-doing mother. My three A-personality-type sisters and I all suffer from it. We’re overachievers to the detriment of ourselves.
I remember driving home one day from town about four years ago with my mind all twisted up in some mental crisis created by myself. Tears were streaming down my face. I lifted my right hand from the steering wheel lurching it upwards while I cried out to God, “I can’t do this anymore! Please! Help me! I’m tired! I don’t want to do this anymore!”
I laugh to myself now over the drama of it all. I can’t dowhat anymore? My life? Yes, I suppose that was it. Isn’t that crazy? I have a decent life, a good life, and my own business. What the heck was my problem? What was I bellyaching about? At the time I must have had a reason.
Our minds have a way of creating chaos. Fortunately, I’ve known my whole life I could reach out to God when the going got tough. I believe we all know that we can do that deep down inside of us. Think about what happens when there’s a national tragedy like these crazy shootings, or the devastating tornadoes and hurricanes. There’s always talk of praying and healing. When the going gets tough and we’ve nowhere to turn, we naturally turn to the one who created us for answers. It’s how we’re wired. Doing otherwise goes against human nature. To deny the urge to let go of control means death. And many people do die, literally, because they can’t fight anymore. Others are walking dead.
For some of us it takes the death of someone we know; for others it might be a serious illness, injury or disease that wakes us up to the realization that we can’t do this life on their own. We’re not supposed to. And we don’t have to. Did you hear me? We don’t have to!
I was tired of the impulse way my mind
would move through a situation…
While my body was wallowing in fatigue, those lightening fast brain waves of mine started slowing down as well. The brain chatter got less and less and eventually this realization came to light: I was downright tired of fighting. Fighting to keep up; fighting for approval; fighting to try and be pretty; fighting to be right, even if it was just in my own mind. Fighting to have the last word, if just in my mind. Fighting to have all my ducks in a row all the time. Fighting to “know” everything, have conclusions to everything and every situation—my own form of self-help.
I was also tired of the impulse way my mind would move through a situation, learned behavior patterns that quite frankly were in need of some revision. I was tired of myself…all right, parts of myself. I was tired of relationships that were sapping my energy. I’ll leave that thought for another post.
I was also tired of being the person I thought I was supposed to be, the one that was shaped by the world and by flawed individuals. I was, and still am, in search of my authentic self, the pure, true form that emerged from my mothers womb before this sinful world impressed itself on me; the self that God intended for me to be when he “knit me together in my mothers womb,” the God that knows “how many hairs I have on my head.” Quoted phrases are directly from God himself.
I knew God had already started a transformation in me the day I asked him to take over the reigns of my life at age 30 while living in Los Angeles working as network television producer. But now, in my late 40s, I was so ready for him to kick me out of the front seat for good and strap me to the passenger seat. I think my highway meltdown a few years ago secured the deal.
Have you let go yet? Are you still fighting those mental wrestling matches with yourself, the ones no one sees but leave you feeling emotionally, and eventually, physically exhausted? As my spiritual mentor, Joyce Meyer, says, “Are you tired of going around the same mountain?” I sure was. I had to get so physically tired—and tired of myself!—for me to finally figure out I wanted someone else in the drivers seat, and I would only entrust that to the one who created me. Not another person. Only God.
The small still voice deep inside of me, the one that was there when I finally slowed the mind chatter, spoke the truth. Not my warped truth, your truth, or the worlds truth. THE truth. This truth: “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self.”
This is truth that resonates! This quoted statement is the modern day version of what Jesus, the Son of God, our creator, said to his followers when he walked this earth. I love the driver’s seat analogy. If that’s too much for you, here’s a more traditional version: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?”
The thing is, my habit as I go about my daily life is to hop right back in the driver’s seat, momentarily forgetting that yesterday I let God lead my day and the day was pretty good. I was able to surrender control, let go of some aspects of my life and miraculously that day went smoothly, or rather my perception of the day indicated it went smoothly.
I relish in the peace that bathes my being, and marvel at the everyday miracles that happen when God is in control of my moments. Dots connect. Divine appointments are made. New revelations come about on deep-seated things only I know and that could never be put into words. God things. Ah-ha moments.
I don’t know about you, but I want more peace, true peace, not some warped worldly picture of peace. I want all of what God promises and then some, consistently and with consistency. But I, and suspect some of you, have this little problem where we keep hopping in that driver’s seat out of habit. It’s a daily challenge to remind myself not to do that. But guess what? The one who created me, who wants the best for me, tells me—and you—that we don’t have to “fight” this challenge alone. We can ask for help to combat our own self-destructive nature for it says in the Bible, the book that God had people write on his behalf, “I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.” The Him referenced here is God.
Really? All I have to do is ask Him—God—every day to help me. That’s it? Yes. Just ask. Go to a quiet place, look up, and start talking. He’s there, deep down inside. You know it.
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Turning 50: Opening Up to What Matters Most
Limiting Distractions to Receive the Miracles