August 18, 2018 marks five years since my injury. I posted what I’ve learned on Facebook (in italics below) and wanted to share some of the lessons in a blog post and add some meat to it with Scriptures and additional thoughts.
Today marks five years since my injury occurred. I’ve learned so many things that I would like to share with you. I’ve learned that losing all my possessions was not such a bad thing, because I gained so much more in return by sitting in this wheelchair. It made it worthwhile.
Philippians 4: 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
I believe there is a huge difference between happiness and contentment. I believe happiness is fleeting and contentment is a deep acceptance of where you’re at in life – whether you’re suffering physically or emotionally, or everything is going great. Philippians was written while Paul was imprisoned. Conditions were very poor and yet he was still content with that stage of his life.
Over the last couple of months I let my contentment slip away. I stopped reading the Scriptures and praying on a regular basis. Instead of having my daily quiet time, I found myself reading the news and doing lots of crossword puzzles. I kept thinking, I will get to my quiet time later. And later never came. I certainly had nothing to write about in a blog post because I felt so numb. I have a prescribed narcotic for pain, but I found myself taking it when I had no pain. It seemed to soften the sharp edges of my life.
When I don’t put on the full armor of God, I am fresh meat for the enemy. This drifting off course started very gradually and became something ominous in the blink of an eye. That’s just the way the devil works. He wants us to feel that certain behaviors are harmless, when they are building blocks to turning our back on God. Paul said he could do everything through him who gives him strength… I am an example of NOT being able to do anything without his strength.
Ephesians 6: 10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
I’ve learned humility creates more respect from others, and trying to be right or better than, drives people away.
Proverbs 18: 12 Before a downfall the heart is haughty, but humility comes before honor.
Proverbs 18:2 Fools find no pleasure in understanding, but delight in airing their own opinions.
My pride has always made me defensive, quick to correct others, and desperate to prove to people that I’m smart. It was only recently that my CNA pointed this out to me and I’m so grateful she had the courage to do it. I now pray about it regularly, ask God to fill me with the fruits in the spirit, and think of this quote below by Bernard Meltzer:
“Before you speak ask yourself if what you are going to say is true, is kind, is necessary, is helpful. If the answer is no, maybe what you are about to say should be left unsaid.”
I’ve learned my value comes from God, and not from boyfriends or bosses or any other external thing.
1 Samuel 16: Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.
It is good to be set free of the things that this world values, and to hold on to what’s really important: friendship, love for o thers, love for God… I can’t even name everything without this post going on forever. But you get my point.
Matthew 12: 30 ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.