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life

chronic pain: exchanging my brokenness for God’s wholeness

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There is something about suffering. For those of you who read this not near me on a daily basis, a little context: for 2+ years, I experienced constant pain in my neck. What began as a (surprising) pinched nerve after a 10k race resulted in a variety of doctors’ appointments, physical therapy sessions, x-rays, dietary changes, a steroid injection, and lifestyle changes, with no relief.

I have, however, become quite educated on the spine. (If you aren’t interested in the anatomical explanation, feel free to skip down.) Hereditarily, I have a more ‘upright’ neck where most are curved. I also have disc degeneration (which is not uncommon) and a bone spur on the C5 disc. The facet joints, in between each disc, are primarily long and flat, but with my neck’s lack of curve, around the lower discs, those joints are shorter and steeper, causing sharp pain and stiffness. (Let it be noted with joy that I am now seeing a chiropractor and experiencing genuine relief.)

After two years with no real change, I was in a pit and needed new vision.

My feelings and knowledge were at odds with each other, and the battle was exhausting me.

When we choose Jesus, a desire is permanently implanted in us to glorify God with our lives. But when suffering walks in and decides to stay for a while, weariness, discouragement, self-absorption, and a lack of glorying can mark the days. I’m sure everyone can relate to this.

How do I magnify God when I would rather stay hidden from the world and distract myself from the pain? How do I glorify God when my body isn’t what I think it should be, when every other movement hurts, restful sleep is a struggle, and giving of myself feels impossible?

My injury wasn’t debilitating, and didn’t call for surgery (for both I am deeply thankful), but managing daily chronic pain was new territory for me.

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asking God for the priorities I need

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Sitting around a living room with friends I have come to love, talking about God and the Bible, is one of my favorite things about church. The other week it was Matthew 6, next week it’s discipleship, and the next we begin looking at James.

The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being. Matthew 6:21 The Message

Treasure: something of great worth or value, a collection of precious things.

Lately I have been prompted to consider the choices I make. Choices that result in my personal collection of precious things. Does my collection please my Heavenly Father? Does the treasure I keep excite Him? I really want it too.

I think freedom is embracing how He wired me to be, and choosing accordingly, with no fear of how others perceive me or the perfectionistic pressure culture might try to place on me.

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Redefining Ordinary

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We need not be suspicious of what we feel in mountaintop experiences — but those feelings will fade. Instead, we must deepen our sense of wonder for the ordinary but uncommon gifts of God in all of life — especially the mundane. Ryan Griffith

I have a tendency to idolize excitement.

I love having good things to look forward too, whether it be lunch with a friend or a football game with family or a date night. Sure, that’s probably normal, but prioritizing only big, momentous, exciting things leaves out a lot of life.

Because let’s face it, the week is composed of a whole lot of ordinary.

And Satan is trying to beat me down with the lie that daily faithfulness, the teeny tiny choices I make, aren’t important.

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