I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things
or that I have already reached perfection.
But I press on to possess that perfection
for which Christ Jesus first possessed me.
No, dear brothers and sister, I have not achieved it
but I focus on this one thing:
Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead,
I press on to reach the end of the race and receive
the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.
PHILIPPIANS 3:12-14 (NLT)
Don’t get dangerously caught up in reminiscing the good old times of the past. This is one of the most difficult action steps to implement. Grieving the old you or the you that will never be, can be immensely overwhelming but it is completely unavoidable. I struggle with this day after day. There are days when I will scroll through my photos or social media and get caught in a cycle of daydreaming of what could have been; what should have been; yearning to be the old me again.
I miss me, I miss all I could do, I miss my happier demeanor, I miss having the friends who bailed just because of my illness, and I miss feeling like I fit into society normally. Dwelling on these desires tends to cause roots of bitterness to grow within my heart and self-hatred builds quickly. Some days I despise who I am. In these times, God has to intervene and help me simply live in the moment and love the moment that He has granted me now.
One of the biggest pieces of advice I have for those who are new to a disability or illness, is to try to look back at when the disability or illness began simply to see just how far you have come. Don’t look back at life before your disability occurred or your illness worsened, because you will likely only see all you have lost. I often have to force myself to look at photos from past surgeries and hospital stays or read old journals from when I was at the low points of my life to compare to where I am now. For instance, if I am trying desperately to get back to my ability to hike mountains, figure skate, and test to see if I can physically perform any of the duties of my old job, then I will only frustrate myself, break my heart, and invoke feelings of anger and deep sorrow due to my loss.
However, if I back up and remember to where I was physically when I was recovering right after major surgery, then I can be encouraged by how far the Lord has brought me. I could not even sit up or get ready for the day independently but now I can do everything independently with confidence. I travel, cook and bake, work part-time, spend time with loved ones, and enjoy the outdoors in my wheelchair, all as a result of my efforts at rehabilitation, both inpatient and daily.
Allowing your mind to drift back and dwell in the past will cause you to lose your appreciation for today and you will miss all the potential that the present day holds. Live and appreciate one moment at a time. Allow yourself to be present in each moment and then press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.
Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs,
but only one person gets the prize? So run to win!
All athletes are disciplined in their training.
They do it to win a prize that will fade away,
but we do it for an eternal prize.
So I run with purpose in every step.
1 CORINTHIANS 9:24-27 (NLT)
(Written with permission from the blog of Abi Gordon)
(Sign up for Abi’s Blog at EphemeralandFaithful.com)
On the journey with you,
Jan & Dave Dravecky