A few years ago a section of road on the way to and from town to my house was under construction for several months. The detour route was not completely out of my way, but it was different than my normal route.
It took a little while for me to remember the detour was there and ended up making U-turns the first several times on my way to town. The detour route was on a road that has a significantly slower speed limit than my normal route so it increased my drive time too.
This detour was a bit of an annoyance, but it really wasn’t that big of a deal. I really didn't want to take the detour, but in this situation I had two choices. I could chose to be frustrated at the situation, get upset and be irritated by the detour; or I could accept the detour and make the ride enjoyable for me and my kiddos. I chose to accept it, take it, and enjoy the ride.
Unfortunately, I have not taken this same approach to different area of life. If there is one thing that irritates me most, it's being sick or my husband and/or kiddos sick. I'm busy ya know?! I have plans, things that need to get done, things I want to do, and being sick or taking care of sick ones is going to mess all that up! The house chores will fall to the way side which means the house is going to become a complete wreck and I will mostly likely become totally stressed out. Ugh! Illness can be so frustrating! Can anyone else relate?
At the time the road construction was going near our home, my family had actually been sick on and off for several weeks. Thankfully, I managed to not get sick during that time, but emotionally I was down. I was tired and my patience was wearing thin. Being mom, wife, and nurse 24/7 to all members of the family is exhausting! Caring for my sick family stretches me beyond my capacity. This bout of illness though was different for me in that it brought awareness to my unhealthy attitude about sickness, really with life interruptions in general.
Here is what I discovered during this particular life interruption…
For some reason, I thought that the more areas of my life I can control, the better life will be. If no one ever gets sick, if all the chores are always complete, and if everything is in order and done efficiently, then life will be peaceful and abundant. Ha! Talk about wrong thinking.
Having this kind of expectation with life will leave us discouraged and defeated, which is exactly how I have been feeling for the last several weeks. There is no way anyone, especially one with little kids, can live up to these expectations, unless of course you have a nanny, personal chef, a housekeeper and maybe even a chauffeur. Not even close to realistic in my world nor for the majority of other people's world. Nor is it the answer to living a peaceful and abundant life.
When things don’t go the way I expect them to or have planned them too, I have a tendency to get upset internally and unfortunately, sometimes these emotions bubble over into angry towards others, specifically my hubby or our children. I can be short tempered with my loved ones, especially when I am overly tired. It isn’t their fault they are sick; they didn’t get sick on purpose. They certainly didn’t choose to get sick just so they could irritate me or make life difficult.
So how am I showing grace and love to them if I am taking out my frustration with sickness on them?? How am I glorifying God if I am caring for them with a hard heart and clinched teeth?? Plain and simple, I am not.
What I am doing is selfishly clinging to this idea that life fits in a perfectly size box during the midst of uncontrolled variables. I am making my ideals a hard and fast rule for life with no exceptions. This mentality is rooted in perfectionism and it is unhealthy. I believe ideals are good, but flexibility is a necessity.
Illness reminds me that life is not predictable, nor perfect. Illness reminds me that life cannot be controlled and that our bodies are fragile. It also reminds me we cannot do this thing called life on our own, nor were we meant to. We need help; we need the One who is in control of it all, Almighty God.
I read a book by a local pastor titled Addicted to Busy. I think it is an insightful read. Pastor Brady Boyd has logical interpretations about the cultural norms of today and brings a lot of things to light on the subject of ‘busyness’. The main idea is that our culture is so addicted to being “busy”, we don’t “have” or actually “make” time for rest, true rest—rest in God.
During this time of illness God has been telling me to “Let Go!”. To relinquish my obsession with control and perfection. He is telling me that I am focused on being “busy” instead of actually living in the present and enjoying the blessings around me.
He is telling me to acknowledge that sickness is going to happen. It is a detour from “normal” life and I have a choice of how I will approach it when it appears. I can either waste a lot of energy and make everyone’s lives, including my own, unpleasant by fighting against it or I can take the “detour” and make the ride for everyone involved as pleasant as possible. I didn’t realize I had been fighting so aggressively against the detour of sickness, but I do not want to make this choice any longer.
Do I really think that my reacting to illness this way would some how make illness magically disappear? Wow has my attitude been in the wrong place!
Illness can actually be an opportunity. This illness detour has given me an opportunity to stop, to retreat from the world, and to evaluate how I handle unexpected circumstances, such as sickness. It has also given me a chance to evaluate how me and my family spend our time. I have actually been thinking about this idea of rest for a while now, but this recent bout of sickness has given me even more understanding on the subject.
When we stop trying to control our lives and let God be our Conductor we will find peace. When we acknowledge circumstances for what they are we can gain a better perspective. When we rest in God, we find peace. A peace that passes all understanding.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. -Philippians 4:6-7 NKJV
Hubby and I are working on changing our family’s way of life to be less hectic, less “busy”. We want us to slow down, live more calmly and MAKE time to ‘rest’ in God on a regular basis. We are not to rest only when we get sick; but I think God sometimes uses things like sickness to help give us a little push in the right direction. Some of us more stubborn types need that extra push.
Side note: I actually began to like going down the road that was the detour road and now it's my "normal" route.
Peace be with you
Hi! My name is Mandy Jo.
Thanks for visiting my blog! Being a mom in this modern age is a blessing, but no cake walk. So many expectations are imposed on us and it can be overwhelming and often discouraging.