“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)
Last time we were together I spoke about how God has reawakened a dream my husband and I have had since we got married. We have discussed it with our kids and they are on board too … now comes the preparation time as we wait and see if God continues to open the door as we think He will, or if He has a different door He’s waiting to open, both requiring us to spend time getting ready.
I also spoke about how we have stepped out of serving as a family at church during this season out of obedience to God, and the guilt I have been feeling about it, even though I know it’s what He said to do. I have the personality type that will participate in all activities because I want to serve, be a blessing to others, or have fun, even at the detriment of myself. Too busy? That’s okay. Who needs bathroom breaks or sleep?
It turns out, I do. I had a medical issue I’d been self-diagnosing at home for the past month and finally it was bothering me enough to get it addressed with my primary doctor. You know your schedule is out of whack when trying to find time to go to the doctor for an issue that should be checked out stresses you out. Seriously. My doctor is literally 5 minutes from my house and yet to find the time to go was stressful.
The results of the appointment were not what I expected. The issue I went for? Probably nothing (which is basically what I thought) but I still have to see a specialist for confirmation (another doctor’s appointment to schedule!), but my blood pressure, for the past four times I’ve been at the doctor in the past two years was alarmingly high.
Now, before you get upset at my doctor for not addressing this issue with me, or worse, get upset with me for ignoring my health, I own a blood pressure cuff and 95% of the time, my blood pressure is in the normal, healthy range. I have spikes in blood pressure that occur when I feel stressed. Even my doctor thinks the degree to which my blood pressure spikes is slightly weird. Regardless, though, of why my blood pressure spikes, it does and damage is being done unless I can work on ways to lessen those spikes or the amount of times I experience them.
God used my appointment for a relatively minor issue to get me to address a bigger issue that I’ve known about, thought I was dealing with but really wasn’t, but needs to be addressed. My schedule has to change. It’s becoming non-negotiable.
Part of the preparation our family has been doing in order to step into this new ministry opportunity has been addressing my health. Now I realize I need to take the necessary steps in order to be healthy to minister well. And I believe God called us out of the ministries (temporarily) at our church in order to help take things off my plate to have the time to relax and get my blood pressure (and body) in a more relaxed state the majority of the time. Time to take bathroom breaks. Time to relax for an hour at night. Time to stop running full speed ahead the majority of the days of the week. Time to realize I might need to make an adjustment to my personality type … and that’s okay.
I love that God started taking things out of my schedule first … to get me used to the idea, and then addressed my health so that I would continue to make the changes necessary in order to be the healthiest I can be for the ministry opportunities He has planned for us. However, none of that would have happened, I don’t think, if God hadn’t changed my mindset of unpacking my suitcase and embracing where He has planted me for this season. Because it’s easy to ignore problems if you think where you are is only temporary. However, six years? Not so temporary.
Come back one more time and I will show you how God took this invitation to clear my schedule one step further.
© Cheri Swalwell 2019