Because my life is an open book, you all probably know that I've been having some health issues lately, resulting in a series of tests in hopes of a diagnosis. So far, I'm as healthy as a lark, according to all the test results, so the mystery symptoms continue ... but that is not what this blog post is about.
I want to share with you what I learned on Friday night, during my 4 hour stay at the Emergency Room.
As I drove myself there, I found myself giggling the whole way down, partially because I was listening to stand up comedians as I drove, and also because I just found the whole situation funny. Here I was, at age 30, on doctor's orders, on my way to get a CT scan. I was supposed to go the day before, but I just didn't have time. I had commitments, school to teach, swim lessons for my kids, a house to clean ... and the list goes on. I was in denial. When my doctor told me to go to the ER, I went shopping instead. That's how stubborn I am! Finally, I gave in, knowing that if I didn't go, I would never get any answers. So I went.
In between waiting in the waiting room, being poked and prodded, being wheeled to and from tests, I had a lot of time to think.
I watched people come and go. All at the ER for different reasons. Some critical, some just nonsense (my favorite was the girl that said to the front desk, "a nightstand fell on my knee, I think it's broken", lol). And yet, one by one, each person got admitted, given a room, and excellent care from the trained staff. And I thought, what brings a person to the ER? They go to the ER, if: 1) They're in critical condition, 2) It's after hours and no one else is available, 3) They can't figure out their problem on their own enough to treat it, so they need a professional's help.
And I thought, "Is this how we treat God? Like an Emergency Room? Do we only go to him when life puts us in critical condition, or if we've exercised all our options and our friends can't help, or only after we've tried to deal with the problem ourselves? And when we finally realize we can't do it, THEN we go to God for help?" How sad. I dreaded going to the ER. I didn't want to be in the same room with the bloody, contagious, germ filled strangers. And mostly, I didn't want them to take a look at my symptoms and turn me away without checking me out. Do some people dread facing God? Are we afraid of who God might put in our path if we trust Him? Are we afraid that if/when we do go to God for help, He turns us away?
When I was admitted into my "luxurious half room" (a Brian Regan phrase), I shared the space with an elderly gentlemen. Only a curtain between us, I heard everything that occurred on the other side. He was in there because his wife thought he'd had a stroke. The doctors and nurses began the procedure to determine if that was the case and how they could help him. He refused several of the tests they suggested, and kept wanting a detail description of each one before it was performed. It was clear he didn't trust them. And he had fears. He kept saying, "I'm a healthy man, I've never had anything wrong with me, I don't see why I need these tests". And the nurse responded with a list of things the patient had wrong with him from his records, one of them being that he had a pacemaker. The nurse reminded him that they were professionals, trained to treat the critical. To deal with urgent life threatening situations and that they were trained to determine the situation at hand in order to fix a person, even save a life. And that if that man did not take their advice, he could have another stroke, or worse, a heart attack, and then it would be too late.
And I thought, "Here this man is, afraid to admit that he isn't perfect. That something is wrong. And his strong will could be to his detriment, and even cost his life, if he doesn't trust the doctors to do what they're trained to do". And I realized that I am that way. I try too hard to be perfect. To have it all together. I have to look perfect before I walk out of the house. I have to keep my living room spotless, just in case someone stops by, because God forbid they think I'm messy. I have make the best meal for my family, because I wouldn't want them to think that I am a horrible cook and never eat my food again. I have to be the best homeschool teacher there is, and tell the world about it, so they don't think I'm just watching tv with my kids all day in my pajamas, eating candy. When people call and ask how I'm doing, I always say, "I'm doing great", even if I just had a argument with my husband, or I broke my favorite wine glass, or got hit in the face with a soccer ball while playing with my kids in the backyard. I have a hard time trusting people or even letting people help me, that I'd rather burn out doing it all myself, because I know I will do it right. Pretty prideful, eh?
All that to say, God can use ANY CIRCUMSTANCE to speak to us, reveal our hearts to us, and learn lessons we may not have learned if everything was perfect. I am so thankful for those 4 hours of emergency room awkwardness. In the silence and waiting, God spoke to me, encouraged me, and challenged me. And I hope He will be doing the same to you as you've been reading this.
Here is the summary of what I learned:
1). Don't let your relationship with God become like a trip the ER.
2). Seek Him Daily and Trust Him Always.
3). It's okay to let go and relax a bit ... everything does not have to be perfect.
4). God loves me just the way He created me and in His eyes, I am perfect.
5). In the silence, God speaks.
How often do you silence your heart and listen?