Will your idle talk reduce others to silence? Will no one rebuke you when you mock?
Job 11:3 NIV
I can’t really remember where my head was at when the illness started, but I know that right now, my mind is somewhat blank. I’ve had so much time to think about things that I’m all thought out. Several weeks ago, I was working on several different projects. I was writing. I was publishing. I was taking care of several things at my “day” job. And I was helping my daughter with various things. I was busy. As we often are. But I wasn’t feeling very fulfilled. Things were getting to be stressful and before I knew it, the stress became a weakened immune system which then disintegrated into a full-blown case of bronchitis. Since I have fibromyalgia and arthritis and a genetic predisposition to immune disorders, I know that stress is a surefire way to invite illness in. I tried to keep going, but my breathing was seriously hindered by the bronchitis and my energy levels pretty much bottomed out. I was down for the count.
Right before this illness set in, I had met a major milestone with my writing in that I published the tenth book in the mystery series that I have been writing since 2005. My goal had been to write the tenth book and release it during the ten year anniversary of the series. I met that goal, but instead of feeling good about the accomplishment, I started to experience a bit of anxiety about what to do next. Although I have a list of story ideas that I am now free to start on, I’ve not been as motivated to write these things as I would have thought I would be. I tried to sit down and write some since I couldn’t do much of anything else, but all I could think about was why couldn’t I breathe? Why wasn’t I getting better? Was I ever going to feel good again?
Aside from the writing, up to about the last year or so, my life had been centered around getting my ministry going and stepping out and making a big difference. But suddenly, it was as though all the desire to minister had completely left me. I had begun to feel as though no one was listening anyway, so why bother? And now, when I had finally reached a point where I could begin to take my writing in a new direction without feeling confined to finishing out a certain series, I suddenly felt a twinge of hopelessness. The same notion kept rolling through my mind. No one was listening anyway, so why bother writing? It was happening at work as well. I wanted to step up and do some different things, but no one wanted to hear what I had to say. This point was being reinforced in everything I did. No one wanted what I had to offer, so why was I going after anything?
I had always thought that if I had something to say that might help someone else through a difficult situation, then God had given me the ability to say it for a reason. That was a good thing. But by the same token, my tendency to speak my mind has also served to drive a wedge between myself and others at times. Sometimes because I was being a jerk, but sometimes just because people didn’t want to or weren’t ready to hear what I had to say. In response to this, I’ve made some mistakes. I’ve either stopped trying to talk to some people, I’ve filtered myself when I do talk to them, or I’ve stopped talking altogether.
This, however, is exactly what the devil wants us to do. He wants us to either become so disgusted with the process that we become so negative that we are in no danger of speaking life or he wants us to shut up and say absolutely nothing. Our words have the power to build people up or tear them down and sometimes we may get so bogged down in our own misery that we don’t realize which of these things we are doing most often. Some of us never figure out how hurtful we have been and it all starts to pile up into an ugly mess. It is possible to clean that mess up. At least we can try to. But it takes courage and a desire to fix what was broken. It may take everything we’ve got, but the effort is worth it. When our defenses are down, we may believe that it is impossible to make things right again, but don’t ever believe that God can’t bring about healing.
Today, the illness is mostly gone and the feeling of depletion has dwindled significantly. There will always be challenges, but trusting in God’s healing process is the key. Illness may slow us down, but living in His strength is the greatest prescription. Nothing else compares to His healing power. I pray that your healing washes over you like a flood. That when it is all over, nothing broken will remain. Nothing you have been through will be wasted. He has a plan for it all and if we trust Him, there is no challenge that cannot be overcome.
“‘Nevertheless, I will bring health and healing to it; I will heal my people and will let them enjoy abundant peace and security. I will bring Judah and Israel back from captivity and will rebuild them as they were before.“
~Jeremiah 33:6-7 New International Version (NIV)~