For this post, I’m linking up with one of my favorite writers Emily P. Freeman to share what I learned this summer. Emily, along with an amazing team, runs the online writing community Hope*Writers. Hope*Writers came into my life at just the right time.
For the past several years, I have enjoyed occasionally blogging but never made a big commitment to consistency. Throwing health issues into the mix left me without an ounce of energy left for producing creative content. Now, though, even though by the end of the day I am usually drained to my core, writing gives me a breath of fresh air. It seeps life into me – life that had been lost in this dark season of health decline and the unknown territory of it all.
This summer has pushed me to my limits. On some days, I felt like I could do this. I could do this whole being sick and going through treatment to get better thing. But, on other days…I just wanted to give up. As sad as it may be to admit, I have had many days where I have wondered if life is even worth it. I know it’s the neuro Lyme leading to my emotional distress, but when I’m at my weakest, I can’t make rational decisions.
So, all this to say that this summer I learned a lot. Here are just a few of those newfound (or recently remembered) nuggets of wisdom.
1. Precious moments must be savored.
It’s easy to race through life. With to-do lists and appointments and commitments and deadlines, thinking of the next thing seems natural, but it’s actually anything but natural. We should remember that the only time we are guaranteed is right now. The past is finished and the future is not yet here. Moments where I am playing dolls with my two-year-old niece or enjoying dinner with my boyfriend are the ones that matter. Time with the people we love is precious and when I savor those moments I’m just a little more content.
2. Emotional attachment to food is a real thing.
I thought I ate a heathy diet before Lyme&co became an issue, but I began to eat even cleaner when I had to go on elimination diets and then ultimately found out I am intolerant to gluten, dairy, eggs, peanuts, and soy. I didn’t realize how much I clung to food for comfort. There are some things I truly enjoy that fall into my safe category of eating, but some of my favorites are on the banned list for now. This could all change as my body heals, but there are no guarantees.
Before I got the diagnoses and was just on elimination diets, I cheated a few times. Of course, my guilty conscience made me fess up to Jonathan who lovingly told me it was going to be okay, but I felt like an addict who just needed to get her hands on the goods. I never realized how much I relied on items like chocolate moose tracks ice cream to make me happy (or maybe I did, but just never wanted to admit it!).
3. Cheese substitutes are actually pretty delicious.
As I explained my dietary restrictions above, you may have wondered what I can actually eat now. In texting with my old roommate, I told her what was going on with my heath and she replied, “What can you eat now? Lettuce?” While it’s not quite that extreme, many of my favorite dishes were off-limits until I discovered some great substitutes.
A shredded mozzarella substitute is the perfect addition to a gluten free pasta bake! It makes me feel a little more normal to eat the types of foods I ate before.
4. Often, the best thing I can do for someone is to pray for them.
I’ve been learning this lesson over and over again. As a doer, I often try to pave out a solution amidst broken pieces of the struggle, but many times it’s better to wait for God to work. When I try to fix things that I’m not meant to fix, I get frustrated and it ends up making it worse.
I’m learning this in my relationship with Jonathan. His job keeps him on his toes with endless to-do lists and planning. When I look at what he needs to accomplish, wheels start turning as I see opportunities to implement different organizational structures and schedules. As much as I mean well, when he has to get things done on a deadline, the prospect of changing the way he does things doesn’t exactly get him all jazzed up. So, sometimes the best thing I can do is pray for him, get out of the way, and let him work.
5. We were meant to help carry each other’s burdens.
I’m not very good at asking for help, but Christians are supposed to help carry one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2). Admitting that I need help hurts my pride. It’s admitting defeat. But, you know what? It’s Biblical! God didn’t intend for us to do life all alone and be self-reliant. In this season of life, I can’t do everything. Admitting this and asking for help is both freeing and terrifying. Thank you to the many amazing friends and family members who have come to my rescue during this tough season!