The Story of the Green Cast

Once upon a time there was a young (yep, I said young…stop snickering) woman who loved to ride her bike. Actually she loved to be outside, period. She ran outside, worked in the yard, hung out in the pool, took her dog for walks, and planted flowers. A sun bunny to the max (with sunscreen and a hat, of course). This woman enjoyed being active, getting stuff done, and marking tasks off her to-do list. She walked fast, talked fast, drove fast, made decisions fast…I’m sure you get it. The bruises on her shins made the point clear that moving quickly was a priority over moving carefully.

While enjoying her bike ride one beautiful morning in May a battle between bike and sidewalk ensued with the sidewalk emerging as the clear winner. After checking to ensure her teeth were in their appropriate spots and holding pressure on her busted lip, she was able to ride home. I’ll clear a couple of things up right off the bat for you: No she was not on a mountain. No there was not a mountain lion chasing her. No she was not rushing to perform CPR on a choking child. She was just moving…fast. Bicycle fail. User error. #nooneelsetoblame

IMG_2187Cue green cast. After three rounds of negative x-rays and no perceived improvement of left wrist, the MRI finally showed the fractured wrist bones. A crack so hard to see had gotten this fast girl a place on the bench.  As the cast was applied, the reality of the doctor’s words pierced my heart, “expect a 3 month recovery”.  “Expect a 3 month recovery”.  He repeated it at least three times, my face must have shown my disbelief.  I’d love to say my attitude was great from the start. I wish I could report a positive mindset and trust in God to use this time to produce good things in my life, but I’d be lying. Instead, I stewed, felt guilty, denied my situation, and stomped my feet around a bit. I pouted and stressed. I felt anxious and disappointed. I felt bored and useless. I felt stupid. I felt sad. For a couple of weeks, not hours.

My response to the situation led to some introspection that was overdue. God didn’t judge me or tell me I was stupid for having an accident, and He didn’t want me to dwell on those emotions. He didn’t get frustrated with my pouting and struggling as I tried to resolve the feelings I was experiencing on my own, He was just there. I love God. He is my Father. I am a long time committed follower of Jesus who enjoys a precious, personal, and saving relationship with Him. I knew He was there, I just wasn’t ready to sit still with just Him. But He didn’t leave. Mentally I really struggled with being still, not accomplishing. I wanted to “do”. I would wake up and think, “What am I going to do today?” “What can I accomplish today?” “How can I fill this time?” I was a broken record. I knew I needed to be still with God, but I had forgotten how. It sounds simple, but just stopping and physically sitting still does not necessarily mean that you are emotionally or mentally still…do you get what I’m saying? Being truly still and receptive to His voice is a discipline that I had allowed to fade away.

It has taken several weeks, but I am getting the hang of it. The perks include peace, joy, and rest. Nice replacements for stress, guilt, and anxiety! As I stopped talking and trying to “do” the right thing, I was able to listen. I was surprised to realize the focus of my life had become my two-day a week nursing position. Two 12-hour shifts had become king. Not having them created a void that shocked and dumb-founded me, I was used to having 5 days off every week, why was this such a jolt? I didn’t think I was defining my life by my job until my job wasn’t part of the equation anymore. My job provided my purpose, my social outlet, my mental challenge, and my excuse to be a hermit when I wasn’t at work. My job is a blessing and I realize that so much more now than ever before! I miss my job, my friends, and my patients, but I needed to get my priorities back their appropriate places in order to serve them best. I am grateful for my broken wrist. Not because it is so fun to wear a cast in June in AZ, but because I am excited about this time to reset my daily living. Work will be a part of my life, not the hub. Christ is the center, the cornerstone of my foundation. When I tried to put other things there, I felt the instability and relationships suffered. God didn’t push me off my bike, as much as I’d like to blame someone other than admit my own error. But He creates beauty out of every situation I give to him, He promises to do that for all His kids. “For we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them” (Romans 8:28, NLT).

If we set our pace by the world around us, we are not encouraged to be still or quiet. Rather, a hectic schedule and fast pace is equated with success and importance. Technology reigns and connects us to devices rather than people. It is so easy to get lost in the tasks and the “doing” and slip into auto-pilot mode. That lonely, empty place where we just function without much thought. A healthy lifestyle involves creating space for inactivity and rest. We all need space in our days to unplug and slow our roll. It has to be intentional or it won’t happen. We need time to process emotions and events in our lives. We need a time to slow our pace and hear about the people we share life with. We need to slow down to take care of ourselves and model this practice in front our kids. It is hard to carry on a conversation while you are sprinting…you know?

Here are some things I’ve been reminded of as I’ve been re-kindling my relationship with God and learning to be thankful for stillness and quiet. Be sill for just a moment and consider these thoughts:

  • We benefit from coming to grips with enjoying free time and not feeling guilty. We need hobbies and ways to unplug and decompress, they are not a waste of time.
  • We are not as important as we think we are. (Surprisingly, the staff at work continues to function even when I’m not able to be there…crazy, right?)
  • We can relax and learn when we stop taking ourselves so seriously.
  • Perfection is not the goal…pursuing it is a waste of time and energy. Choose to pursue realistic goals.
  • Relationships are what life is about. Accomplishing tasks, mastering skills, making money…all good things, but relationships are most important. Relationships require a time investment and a mental presence to grow.
  • A solid foundation is critical for resilience. A reset is possible when our foundation is solid. Pursuing a lifestyle that promotes mental, spiritual, emotional, and physical health is a great place to begin.
  • We are going to fall. Getting up is optional. Get up.
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Chaos…BUT God

I woke up early this morning. My mind was busy processing the events of an insanely crazy shift at work yesterday. Anyone else relate? As a nurse, frequently shifts are chaotic and busy, but yesterday was different. As the shift started with a stressful and emotional crisis, we then moved from crisis to crisis, it was a day that seemed to move in fast-forward while being paused all at the same time. Our minds raced as we attempted to keep up with the needs put in our laps. BUT…(there’s always a big but) God was there.

I woke up this morning overwhelmed and humbled by the circumstances I participated in yesterday. Tears flowed as the emotion was finally able to come to the surface and be felt. The time for intense focus has passed and today, on this day off, the time for reflection is here. Reflection today inspires humility and gratitude. My God is big! His promises are for real. It is o.k. to trust Him, He is trustworthy.

As you may be wondering what transpired, I can’t really say due to patient confidentiality and the like, but please continue reading as I take a few moments to focus you in on the important details. #1 Be grateful. As you go through your day today, know that there are people who have studied and persevered through trials and difficulties to become experienced to serve you should you have a medical crisis. As I assembled with a team preparing for a critical arrival yesterday, I looked around the room and was humbled and in awe. Dedicated people, a wide range of knowledge bases, different ages, cultures, races, religious beliefs with one goal…service. Later as I dressed to attend an emergent c-section delivery, again I looked around the room in awe…same scenario, different floor. I am in awe and humbled to be a part of the medical field. Not perfect by any means, but devoted to compassionate care? yes.

#2 God is trustworthy. For years I tried desperately to get out of nursing. I spent the first decade of my career terrified that I would miss something and someone would be injured or worse. As my faith was wobbly I did not understand where the peace could come from when I knew that tragic events happened to Godly people. It seemed that God was wild and unpredictable, how could I rest and accept his word that he would protect my patients and me? Over time God has shown me that my perspective was misdirected. While I was focused on my performance, anxiety and worry overwhelmed my daily life. Yesterday was confirmation to me in so many ways that God is faithful and trustworthy. As circumstances were intense, I had the ability to see God’s hand moving and going before me because I was focused on Him. The emergencies still happened…BUT God was there. The loss was still real…BUT God was there. I still had to work and endure a draining day emotionally, physically, and mentally…BUT God was there. He provided the people who needed to be there. He provided extra hands that were a bonus. He provided opportunities to laugh amidst the seriousness. He provided opportunities for me to love, touch, and minister to hurting people. He went before me, with me, and continues to be involved in each scenario even though I have moved on to this day. He is amazing and you can trust him.

#3 Jump In. Over the past couple months a transformation has been happening in my mind and heart. I finally kicked fear to the curb and told God, “alright, I’m 100% in. I surrender and give you my whole life…now what?” It has been amazing! Idols are getting obliterated as I have eliminated my addiction to Diet Coke and also food. Addictions that have ruled for at least 30 years (wow I’m old). The weight has dropped off as I’ve accepted his plan for me which encompasses taking care of the blessings he has given me, including a body that can work and move. I have learned that I must still work hard physically, emotionally, and mentally, but his help and strength are real things when I stay close to him. And my biggest take away from yesterday is the blessing of being in at 100% when the rubber hits the road and circumstances and challenging…being a vessel for God’s love and mercy to others is amazing. Being able to serve others and focus on them instead of me and my weaknesses allows me to enjoy God working in the situation because I am freed up to see Him. It allows me to lay down my pride and need for approval and just be a piece of His glorious plan being fulfilled. He offers abundant living and it happens when I jump head first and remain focused on my role…which is surrender to Him. He has all the heavy lifting in this relationship!

Over the past couple years I have been growing in my trust in God. He has been faithful to show up and speak to me through his word, during my quiet times with him, and through other people too. As I’ve sought help with anxiety and fear, He has shown me the steps needed to overcome these very common obstacles. Surrender. Accept. Trust. Receive. These are the steps and they work every time. This year as I have a goal to stop striving for anything else before Him, I am living in freedom in a new way that is exhilarating. I share with you today because my heart is full and I am so thankful to see His powerful hand at work in the my small piece of the puzzle. IMG_0546 (2)The God who knows the number of
grains of sand on every beach just because he can and designs the sunrise and sunset every day in a glorious display no matter who is paying attention because He is worthy of glory and praise…this is the God that was present with little, insignificant me yesterday, all day, moving and working as I bumped into people who needed help. Amazing.

“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect his will really is” (Romans 12:2, New Living Translation). 

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