Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.
An interesting thing has happened during these years of my physical affliction; my desires have changed. At one time, I had a strong desire to go back out into the workforce once our children’s needs didn’t require me to be at home full time. I had visions of contributing to our household income so that we could live the way we thought we wanted to live. The prestige of the positions I had trained for called me to keep the pace going by striving to attain even more. Requests from customers and previous coworkers for me to return to this course stoked my pride and kept my head turned to what seemed most desirable at the time. As a result, I didn’t see the alternative, cooking and cleaning at home, as something that would be satisfying at all.
The excruciating pain of a migraine, the endless hours of lying awake at night, and the disorienting and frightening sensation of vertigo have had a way of squelching my desire to go out into the world. At times, the level of disability prevents me from even leaving the recliner except to use the bathroom. As these problems continued over several years, I found myself happy to experience a day when I didn’t have vertigo but “only” a migraine. More recently, I have been relieved to not have vertigo or a migraine, but “only” be sleep-deprived as I stumble through trying to cook something for supper. For the last 3 days, I have been pleasantly surprised to actually have enough energy to not only fix supper without tripping over my feet, but also offer to do additional chores that have had to shift onto others for awhile.
I realized today that my hope that this 3-day trend might continue was in direct contrast to my thinking of just a few short years ago. The thought that I’m actually happy to be fixing supper and doing household chores is new for me. I have done these things for many years, but never enjoyed them, viewing them instead as necessary tasks to get out of the way so that I could get on to the good stuff each day.
What was it that changed my mind? Why didn’t I drift into bitter hopelessness under the cloud of my difficult circumstances? It was NOT the power of positive thinking for sure. Instead, it was the power of the Holy Spirit changing my heart; untruths have been replaced with truths in my mind as I’ve struggled to cope with my circumstances each day. As I’ve written in other posts, there has been much that I have learned about God through my affliction (Psalm 119:71). The most important truth is the value of my salvation; my lowest points taught me that this is there to cling to when it seems that nothing else is. The resulting trust in God has produced peace and hope. The hope is not dependent on what tasks make up the course of my day; the trust gives me peace in whatever situation I am in. I am learning to be content where I am.
The question that remains for me is: “Can I be content even if I spend the rest of my days physically unable to do daily household tasks”? I admit that this is a struggle for me to consider at this time, but I am content knowing that God would help me learn to be satisfied with Him alone even in that circumstance.
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.