Monday, November 29, 2010

Education from A Kidney

Not long ago, a friend biblically pointed out the error with the statement, "Never pray for patience!" So, I took her up on it...and got a kidney infection. Was God tormenting me? Was He punishing me? Was He simply giving me the opportunity to grow in patience?

Honestly, I think I would have gotten that infection whether or not I had prayed for patience. But yes, I do think He was giving me a way to develop further patience (not that I had much to start with). That said, He didn't leave me high and dry to figure out this whole patience thing on my own. Instead, He lovingly provided the patience I needed to get through something so yucky. I really think He was answering my request for longsuffering, though in a way that took me by complete surprise.

When I woke Friday morning feeling as though I'd been steam-rolled by the million-pound Cab-Forward train from the Sacramento Train Museum, I knew the weekend wasn't going to go as planned. The fever, nausea, back pain, and every other unpleasant side effect were enough to do in anyone, and I was absolutely miserable. For some weird reason, I Thessalonians 5:18 popped into my head: "In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."

Really, Lord? I gotta give thanks for all of this? I whined as I shivered in pain. But then the most amazing thing happened. I started thinking of all the blessings that had transpired during the first few hours of my infirmity.

*First, this could have happened ON Thanksgiving instead of the day after.

*It could have happened on a day when Jon wasn't home to come to my rescue.

*It also could have been worse...honestly. I only had a low-grade fever and moderate back pain.

*It gave me a completely new appreciation for the man I married.

*It made me much more sympathetic to others who were ill around the same time (if patience isn't my strong point, I'm even worse when it comes to sympathy).

*It forced me to rest after being on my feet for two straight days.

*It caused me to greatly appreciate the previous 28 years that my kidneys have never once complained in such a fashion.

*It helped me to see how God was supplying the patience I needed to endure; it wasn't something I was doing of my own.

And there were other things to be thankful for, as well:

*An EMT friend happened to be online that evening and insisted I go to Urgent Care (otherwise, I probably would have suffered another night before realizing I had something more than just a stomach flu).

*I made it to Urgent Care within 30 minutes of its closing, after which I would have had to go to the ER.

*Urgent Care took me in right away, even before others who were there before me.

*The doctor was sweet, thorough, and efficient and took great care of me.

I don't think I'm necessarily thankful for the infection itself, but I have learned a lot through experiencing it. And for that, I truly can be thankful.

And in addition to praying for patience, I'll also pray that I never, ever get a kidney infection again.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Reflections on Revolutions

What??? A post about resolutions before Thanksgiving? I know, I'm crazy!

Or, maybe not.

Last year about this time, I started thinking about New Year's Resolutions and how the majority of them never become habits. While I did want to instill a few resolutions in January 2010, I didn't want my resolutions to follow the fate of most well-intended New Year's decisions. So, I decided to try something new.

First, I tried to avoid setting impossible goals - ones that were too hard for me to attain (such as running 10 marathons in 2010) or ones that I did not have enough desire to keep (such as cutting out any and all refined sugar - I love my sweets!). In addition, I limited myself to just 2 or 3 attainable goals.

Next, I tried implementing them as soon as I'd outlined them. I didn't wait until New Year's to give them a try. This way, by the time January First rolled around, I was already familiar with them and was comfortable with their partial implementation.

Last, I gave myself the entire year of 2010 to form them into habits. It takes time to permanently fix something into one's lifestyle, so why on earth do we suppose that instilling a New Year's Resolution into our routine will be a piece of cake?

The end results were well worth the time I spent considering and purposing the matter. I've been exercising 3-5 times a week since July; I've improved slightly on my nasty temper; I've had a little more patience with my kids; and I've read many of the books I'd hoped to finish by year's end. Am I completely perfect in each of these areas? Certainly not. But I believe that I've made further strides in each than I would have otherwise.

I'll test my theories again in 2011 and update my findings.

Happy New Year, everyone! (Okay, maybe that was a little preemptive, I admit.)