When I Wasn’t Looking
I was living on adrenaline, caffeine, sugar, and only a few hours of sleep a night. Paying attention to my health and wellbeing felt like a waste of time. I began to experience a variety of strange health conditions. Until then, I took pride in my high pain threshold. When I wasn’t looking, cancer broke that threshold, and soon I was doubled over in pain each day. I didn’t know I’d still be facing pain for almost six years post-diagnosis, but here we are. (It’s not as severe as when cancer was the cause) Our hardships contain the profound potential for a positive life change. Mine did. I found the goodness of God in a way that I never have.
The Delicate Flower and the Lionheart
My rehab specialist, Terra, calls me a delicate flower (a reference to how fragile state of my body) with the heart of a lion. The Lionheart part of that description always makes me smile. Since cancer/chemo, I gained the ability to hurt myself with disturbing ease. If I exercise too hard or lift a hefty 10 lbs, I can pull muscles I didn’t know I had. It can result in weeks of rehab. Working too hard at rehabbing hurt this fragile flower and can result in a surprising muscle, ligament, or bone injuries. We all have our battle scars, but they aren’t all physical. We may be sensitive, wounded in an area of the heart instead. Others may wonder why we overreact or get hurt so quickly; it’s likely a fragile area that could use some emotional or mental rehab love. There’s much more to come on emotional and mental rehab in the future.
We’ve All Done It
For over a year, I’ve done the prescribed exercises for my injury du jour, with added pushups. When I began, I couldn’t do a single pushup with my knees bent. I’m only up to two sets of five bent-knee pushups after almost daily workouts. I could feel like a failure every day if I compared my progress to that of anyone on the same workout regime. I heard this word that I thought it was slang, but “Comparisonitis” is legitimate. Its defined as, “The compulsion to compare one’s accomplishments to another’s to determine relative importance, etc.” We’ve all done it. Reading that definition drives the tragedy of anyone judging their value and importance, according to someone else. Comparisonitis is toxic. Whether we feel on top of the comparison foodchain or it massages that familiar voice of the self-critic, both positions are destructive.
I tell myself, my kids, and anyone else who will listen (and even those that won’t) how important it is that we learn to love ourselves. A religious spirit may say that’s a form of humanism, but I rely on scripture for spiritual matters and not people’s assumptions. In Mark 12:30, Jesus himself commands us to love others as we love ourselves. What if we don’t love ourselves properly, we can’t love others properly. If we aren’t grateful for the body, the mind, and heart he gave us, how can we be grateful for others without comparisonitis eroding our self-confidence? God is just as displeased when we mistreat ourselves as when we harm others. We should stop judging a person’s (and our own) value by comparison and especially by the public response. This is easier said than done.
Fame and Favor
I see favor doled out to my daughter, based solely upon what people see and her fame. Most people don’t know her from Adam, but they’ll ignore everyone else, even their relatives, for her attention. God doesn’t love Debby one bit more than any of us. (By the way, she’s lovely.) People don’t see the heart but will judge the value of others based on the outer trappings or by what they can gain. God sees through our fronts and facades clearly, yet he loves us perfectly. I wish we could live the ideal stated by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. If we could only judge others, “…By the content of their character,” and not by what we see. Until then, we have a God who sees us clearly yet loves us perfectly. He doesn’t measure any of us compared to others, he looks at our hearts. Meditate on Lauren Daigle’s song, “You Say” for a dose of God’s love!
1 Samuel 16:7 English Standard Version (ESV)
7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “… For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”