LIMITATIONS AND SURPRISING LESSONS
I’ve always enjoyed being busy. I think multitasking and trying to use every available minute is part of my makeup. However, this has changed with my illnesses. My body simply can’t keep pace anymore and I’ve been learning some surprising lessons about how this isn’t all bad.
I’ve noticed that I now prioritize relationships like never before. If I know I have a get-together with someone, I plan and prepare for it. I may take a nap or hold off on some cleaning so I can be fully present with the person. I never had to do this before and I took it for granted that I could just spend time with people.
The day my ladies’ Bible study is meeting, I prepare as usual (coming up with the discussion questions), but I also intentionally rest and ask God for His strength so I can be present with the ladies during our time together. I do what I can to allow my body to be at its best.
Sometimes, even with my best intentions, my body is still unpredictable but I’m thankful I have done what I can and left the rest up to God.
MY LIMITATIONS AS GOD’S INVITATION
Here’s the thing; I used to do most of my activities in my own strength. While racing from work to Bible study, I would squeeze in several additional visits with no thought as to the energy this would take. Yes, God was a part of this, but I was too self-sufficient to be aware of Him. Now, I have the incredible gift of recognizing I’m doing all of these things WITH God – in His presence and strength – more aware of my need for Him.
Throughout my life, I have sought closeness with God but now my illness moves me even closer to Him. His presence is more evident in all I do: praying that He would give me the patience I need, relying on Him to keep a smile on my face even when the pain and fatigue are overwhelming, taking thoughts captive when people say things that hurt, resting in full assurance of His love and purpose for me just as I am.
My gratitude has grown exponentially. I didn’t used to feel such thankfulness for a good day, afternoon, evening, or hour. My heart wells up with thanks when I return from a life-giving visit with a friend and know that God helped make it possible.
These verses mean so much to me as I realize my limitations have become His invitation.
Look to the Lord and his strength;
seek his face always.
(I Chronicles 16:11)
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
Thank you, Father, for showing me the things I never would have known without this illness. My limitations have become Your invitation to something fuller and richer. On those days when I forget to see this, open my eyes to Your grace. May I pour out praise that I get to see You more fully in my life than ever before! In Jesus’ name, Amen
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION
- Are you more aware of your need for God because of your illness?
- Has your intimacy with Him grown as you press into Him for His strength? Has your gratitude grown in any way?
- How is God your portion – the source of all you need?
Chronic Joy® Staff Writer and Prayer Team
Kara and her husband Conrad live in Calgary, Canada. After an almost 30-year career in teaching, Kara now enjoys leading ladies’ Bible studies, facilitating a chronic illness group, and helping new friends learn English. She loves the Word of God, and she loves encouraging others through her devotional writing. Kara felt led to write a book of devotionals (Searching for Sea Glass) when her journey with chronic illnesses pressed her into God’s arms of love more deeply. She prays that her journey and refinement will encourage you in your walk with God.
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