Monday, September 26, 2016

Made Well: Healthy and Healing are Not Synonymous

  I had the privilege of receiving an advanced copy of Made Well: Finding Wholeness in the Everyday Sacred Moments by Jenny Simmons. I tore through it in less than a week. I loved it so much. It spoke specifically to me about various experiences in my life now and in the past. I would highly recommend it to anyone who has suffered a loss or walked through a difficult path. Jenny is so honest in sharing parts of her story and does an excellent job of sharing the stories of loss others have entrusted her with. I am not sure how else to convey the pearls of wisdom and truth gleaned in these pages other than to share some quotes from the text that resonated deeply with me. If they strike a chord with you as well, I would recommend picking up a copy for yourself. It is officially available October 4! If you pre-order before it's release, there are some freebies to be had as well.

Healing happens all the time, even if a cure doesn't. I am invited to be made well even when the broken things don't get put perfectly back together.
  I think we all often struggle with wanting everything in this world to be made perfect by God. But he has not promised to restore us completely until we are in eternity. We must continue to trust in God's provision and his timing for our healing.

As if the physical body dying were not enough to contend with, there are other deaths in this life we must walk through as well. The death of marriages, friendships, dreams, careers, relationships, stages of life, sanity and health.
  It was actually encouraging to be reminded that we all experience a number of deaths in our lives. It is healthy for us to grieve the things we lose, but we should try not to allow our lives to be defined by them. Whenever we suffer a loss, God is there with us providing comfort and offering to bring healing however he deems best.
When confession and relinquishing control become daily habits, it becomes easier to live free. Each day we are learning to live under the grace of being sparkly clean.
  I am in the process of learning to relinquish control in various areas of my life. It is not easy and I will sometimes try to reestablish control multiple times, even though I know deep down that God needs to be in control. Giving things over to him and allowing him to be responsible does give me the freedom to walk in faith and trust.
 One can belong to everything and everyone, and most of us over-belong ourselves in our quest to find home. We belong to so many people and so many things that when we sit still long enough, we recognize the gnawing feeling that we aren't deeply known by anyone.
  I have felt this way recently. In my last season I was very involved in a number of things but still felt that I didn't really have a strong community. I was expending a lot of effort but the output was not as satisfying or fulfilling as I hoped it would be. I was still in want of a real community where I belonged and was known.

Belonging to all the things keeps us from truly belonging. I am endeavoring to live a life that does not come at the cost of frenzied fury. More often than not this is accomplished through intentional un-belonging. Un-belonging myself to the many things I yearn to belong to in order to consciously belong to the few. 
  This is my current season of life. Over the past few months I have removed a number of obligations from my schedule. I am trying to scale down to the essentials in order to determine what is truly needed and what I might add that would bring value and meaning to my life. It has been challenging and I am continuing to struggle through this process. I am trusting God's leading through this season and look forward to being on the other side and seeing what comes from this intentionality.
When the fear of missing out, the inability to say no, or the misguided belief that you must be everyone's savior causes you to perpetually accept opportunities and friendships you don't have space for, your road will become so crowded that you will find yourself wondering how you belong to everyone but don't belong to anyone. The gnawing loneliness and exhaustion will creep in.
  This paragraph defines how I was feeling before I began the process of "un-belonging". I have major FOMO and it still pokes at me but I am slowly learning that I cannot be part of every good thing. I am human. I have limits. My time each day/week is fixed. When I say yes, I am also saying no. I need to make sure my "yesses" are for something truly worthwhile.
The Western soul has been conditioned to fix itself. Self-reliance is regarded as a premium character trait. We do not know how to open our hands well and receive the gifts of others...We have forgotten how to graciously accept gifts. How to let love be lavished upon us. In a culture where we expect everyone to earn his or her own way, we must relearn how to receive. We must fight the voice that says we don't deserve it, we haven't earned it, it might come with strings attached, or it could be a con. It's a gift! Mutter "wow" and be in awe.
  I have struggled for years with self-reliance. I have hated asking for help with things. I dislike feeling like I owe something (even if it's construed as a gift I still sometimes feel this way). I have been learning that refusing gifts and refusing to ask for help keeps me from being in community with others. In accepting help and admitting my need, I am inviting others into my life to know me and for me to know them. I am learning just how important and valuable it is in receiving help (or gifts) from others.

Those are the big takeaways I received from the book. I hope the quotes encouraged and spoke to you as they did me. I would recommend checking out this book. It would make a great gift to people going through a difficult time as well.

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