I have struggled with my health since I was a kid: ear infections, allergies, asthma, endometriosis…to start the list. Somehow through all of these, I learned how to manage the illness through working with my doctor and some minor life modifications. However, this past September, I contracted mono. If you have ever had mono, you know that one of the key symptoms is fatigue. I had struggled with fatigue prior to this for a variety of reasons including allergies, asthma, genetics, and if I’m honest, an achiever lifestyle. Mono exacerbated that to the point that I need to slightly modify my busy schedule.
Mono was tough, but I was unlucky enough to contract COVID in late November. A body recovering from mono does not do well contracting another virus that significantly reduces energy levels. I am now one of the lucky COVID long-haulers. Yes, it is real and it is not any fun. There are a variety of symptoms that this can include, but the biggest for me…extreme fatigue, headaches, and lots of anxiety.
I have gone from a busy and productive life schedule to barely being able to keep my head above water, seemingly overnight. The anxiety I experience over not being able to “get my stuff done” and meet my responsibilities is one of the hardest things to tackle. I’ve had to sit down and prioritize my life. What are the essentials? What can wait or just not be done at all?
But more than anything, God has given me a chance to finally realize some really important things I struggle to understand. First, I am not enough. On my own, I don’t have enough energy, intelligence, passion, etc., to meet the demands of life. God made me finite for a reason. Embracing my finiteness allows me to rest in him, trust him above all else, and know without a doubt that even though I’m not enough on my own, in Him all things are possible. Second, I am not what I do. I have intrinsic worth solely because I am God’s creation.
The Amplified Bible translates Psalm 23:1 as, “The Lord is my Shepherd [to feed, to guide and to shield me].” I must be honest with myself, I’m probably not going to get through this valley in life gracefully and without some resistance. I have a lot of deeply embedded habits, ways of thinking, and ways of doing that don’t support rest and trust in the Lord. But, rather than dig my feet in and get crabby about it, I’m trying to be grateful. Grateful that despite the longevity of the illness, I have hope for recovery. Grateful that despite my stubbornness, God hasn’t given up on shaping and molding me and he is using this illness to do just that. Grateful that God has chosen me, redeemed me, and loves me.
Contributed by Liz Hunt