Change seems to be the theme of my life lately and I don’t know how I feel about it. Actually, I take that back–I know exactly how I feel about it. I think I stupidly thought that when I got settled into my apartment a year ago, my life would then be all set and would go on to proceed just like I expected it to, with no deviation from my normal work or my current friends or my favorite hobbies. But life doesn’t really work like that, does it?
And now, after months of very little going on thanks to COVID-19, it seems like all of the aforementioned changes are happening at once. A major shift in our family dynamics and logistics alike; my health still in a bad place with new treatments and new doctors up in the air; trying to figure out how to handle some unexpected curveballs in my schedule in light of my poor health; and just observing all of the things happening in the world at large. Even my brother’s birthday tomorrow is adding to the overwhelm because it’s another thing that’s signaling change and new seasons of life. (He’s going to be FIFTEEN, people!) To top everything off, it’s been a year since I moved into my apartment and here I am looking at floor plans and calculating rent again. Not for anytime terribly soon, and I’m excited about the possibility–but it’s not something I expected to happen, and if and when it does, it’s going to be another big change.
Kenna and I are currently studying through Esther Smith’s new devotional Chronic Illness: Walking by Faith, and it is changing my life. I used to wonder in these exact words whether it was okay to “just live”–meaning, if it was okay to go about normal daily life and not be training for the Olympics or writing a 10-book series or feeding starving children in Africa. (It’s the choleric in me, what can I say.) In some way, each day of Esther’s devotional has reinforced for me that God doesn’t care about the things my body can or can’t do–He just wants me. And that’s so, so freeing. I feel so much less pressure, and I can also see how the Lord has given me outlets for ministry and serving Him that are doable with chronic illness–and, in fact, many of these doors have been opened because of my chronic illness.
Sometimes loss leads to gain–like how losing the things we could do prior to chronic illness can bring us closer to Christ, knowing our salvation is based on His righteousness alone. In one chapter of the devotional, Esther talked about Enoch and how God commended him not for doing any great works but simply for seeking God. God wants our faith, not our works. Physical strength doesn’t matter; fear of God brings Him pleasure. This line in particular is changing my life:
“If all that you ever do, all the days of your earthly life, is to walk with God, then that is a life worth living.”
God does not love me more when I do more. The work God has for me is to believe in the one He has sent (John 6:29). And that is such a relieving and freeing truth, I can practically feel the weight being lifted off of my shoulders. Chronic illness does not change our end mission–which is, in the words of the Westminster Shorter Catechism, to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. Trust in the Lord, do good, dwell in the land, enjoy safe pasture. That’s it. Trust, do, dwell, enjoy.
I don’t really have an eloquent end to this blog post; I just thought I’d share where I am these days. A life update of sorts, I guess. All kinds of changes, big and small, are happening faster than I can wrap my mind around. Most of them are good things–I just need the time and space to process them. But at the same time, I’m feeling slightly overwhelmed and out of my depth.
Through these things the Lord has been showing me, however, I feel peace at the same time. All of these aspects of life are changing–but it’s okay, because all I have to do is seek the Lord. I have so much peace from internalizing this message that has been on my heart: If all I ever do is walk with God, that is still a life worth living. I hope you can learn this truth, too.
I would love to hear in the comments what is going on in your life right now or what God is teaching you!