The reality of healing means a bumpy, clumsy, occasionally depressing road. I believe it’s part of the process. Sometimes, I have had the tendency to think that things were easier when I was fresh out of surgery because I only had one or two big priorities: to be able to eat enough and make my minimum walk for the day.
But feeling better brings about a heightened awareness of responsibilities that I hadn’t been able to tend to. It’s like a sharp light when waking up. I get overwhelmed and irritable. I feel like I got better just so I can face worse things.
This is a sample of the low days, when we feel like today is a real struggle. If you’ve been there, you’re not alone. What works for me is to focus on the basics: Bible reading, work, simple foods and rest. For some of us at different stages in our healing, even that list sounds like a mountain of work.
Scripture is really important to me at those points because I only want to hear what God has for me. I want to distance myself from my own beliefs about my situation, especially if I’m comparing my circumstances to another time period in my life when I wasn’t as healthy or when my relationship with the Lord wasn’t as close. You know that saying to go with your feelings? Don’t do it. It’s better to see what God thinks, rather than what we want to complain about. Reading God’s Word will also direct our prayer, even though sometimes we pray for things that we wouldn’t dare tell our loved ones. But I want to reassure you that this is normal. The refinement of our trial is still working even at this stage of healing.
There are other things that I check, if my emotions or thoughts start plummeting and I need to reach for a reasonable appreciation of my life. Here is a quick list and you can do your own inventory for yourself. Just be sure to answer honestly so you have a truthful starting point:
Are you getting enough rest? This is different from, “are you sleeping?” Sleep is what our bodies do when we can’t physically stay awake anymore. Rest is all gears at a stop: mind and spirit. When I first went back to work, I pushed myself because I didn’t want to appear weak. But I really should’ve packed up earlier and focused on getting enough rest. Psalm 127:2 reads, “It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep.”
Are you eating healthy foods? Diet and nutrition plays a huge part in healing. Some foods can actually make us cranky. For me, I notice that if I don’t get enough fruits and vegetables, I will feel and react more slowly. Then it’s a snowball effect.The Bible cautions us about a “false balance” and that it’s “not good to eat much honey.” On my “struggle” days, I try to prioritize rest and then eat light.
Are you demonstrating love? This is probably the grittiest part of the curve on the “down” days. But I’ve found that if we reach out to demonstrate love to someone, it takes our mind off of our own situation. The exertion of effort to show love to another person, whether by a text message or a brief visit, remedies our own heart. When we direct people to God’s love, we end up travelling the route ourselves and discovering a new comfort on the way. “Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones,” is from Proverbs 16:24
Every healing story is unique and I found that it’s up to me to add to it. The hard days will come and facing them with the Lord as the “First Responder” is a way to bring us clarity, calmness and growth.
I pray that, if you come across a hard day like I did today, that you would look to God for the real and practical remedies from His Word, His Wisdom and His Ways.