When God says “No”

Working on an Emmaus (Christian Retreat) Team is filled with leadership training, working with diverse populations, planning, executing and ultimately serving throughout the weekend.  It is also filled with the love of God and the willingness to serve Him and His children.  I love to serve on an Emmaus Team!  So, imagine my surprise and disappointment when halfway through the weekend I was unable to continue to serve.  I tried, really I did. I wanted to be a part of this group of women who came together for months to prepare and be a part of God’s Team.  I wanted to serve beside them; some facing health, economic, marital issues themselves.   Selfishly, I wanted to see the weekend unfold and watch how God works through the lives of those that were attending and those that were serving.  But it was not to be.  My back and hip began to spasm so bad that I was hardly able to drive myself home.

As I sat cuddled with my two dogs (serving as warm water bottles), anti-inflammatories, muscle relaxants, and ice packs; I asked God “why?”   “Why me, Lord?”  As I sat still, (It only hurt when I moved) I had plenty of time to reflect.

More often than not, I launch myself into a project giving 110% of my energy, going 80 miles an hour until I run out of gas.  In mathematical terms the equation might look like this:

110% @ 80 miles/hour x 24/7 = Crash & Burn.

Years of applying this equation have caused some physical problems within my body – specifically my knees, back, and hip.  They tell me a hip replacement is in my future.  It might be sooner rather than later, folks.  Simple tasks like picking something up off the floor (and everything seems to fall on the floor these days) to taking a brisk walk causes pain.  I walk with a decided limp unless I walk v-e-r-y   s-l-o-w-l-y.   I don’t do anything s-l-o-w-l-y.  Until now.

But back to the why?  A couple of thoughts come to mind.

  •  I was brought in to help train the dining room volunteers for this Emmaus Walk and this was accomplished the first two days. It was time for them to lead-not me.
  • God did not cause my hips, back and knees to degenerate. Misuse and ignoring my body’s messages caused these issues.  I need to listen to my body and respect its limits.
  • Each age brings challenges, lessons, wisdom and growth. I need not deny it, but rather embrace it.
  • I need to take care of my body so that I can utilize my gifts to serve God.
  • God is pruning and teaching me to grow in a different way. Perhaps to use my brain instead of my brawn.  Here’s a thought: to be a Mary rather than a Martha. Uh-oh! I had received that message before!
  • While I was unable to continue to serve on this weekend, its progress permeated my thoughts and I found myself in constant prayer for both attendees and servants. Prayer wasn’t the only thing left for me to do to; it was the best thing to do. 
  • I need a new equation.

Pain can be a great motivator and God uses all things in our lives to direct our paths.  Through adversity we have the opportunity to grow in Grace.  We have only to place our trust in God.

Since I have been immobilized, I have had the opportunity to formulate a new equation for my life.  It incorporates a slower pace, and more time with God.

100% @ Godspeed x 24/7 = Alive and Thrive!

Are you doing too much, too fast, for too long and feeling burned out?  What price do you and those around you pay for living by that equation?  Who and what is sacrificed by your need for speed and constant motion?  Are you defined by what you do, by your body or by your soul?  Will you take the time to pray and listen to what God’s message is for you? 



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