Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Pain to Teach Me That My Strength is Not My Own

I sometimes forget that I deal with chronic pain. I know that sounds hard to believe when migraines often hit half the days out of a month. But somehow it does. From day to day, they don’t plague my existence. The pain doesn’t define who I am. I am in graduate school, studying to be a librarian. I like to cook and bake, bike along the lake, take close-up digital photos of things outdoors. 

But the days when I am experiencing the most intense pain are the days I would not be sitting down to write about these things. These are the days I would be hunched on the couch in front of a Netflix marathon or driving frantically around the northwestern Chicago suburbs in search of my pain-killer prescription from Costco.

My pain shouldn’t define who I am. But recently I went to see a neurologist and was prescribed a new medication--one that might hopefully prevent my migraines from happening in the first place. Instead of jumping at the opportunity, I was wary. The list of side-effects was long and scary. Things I already battle with, and things I often fear. Yet, I knew I needed to take a step of faith, a step in any direction.

It’s only been a few days, but the side-effects are true to their word. I am dizzy and weak, ill-at-ease, and on top of all that, dealing with regular-old-headaches from the transition. I am told these will lessen in a week as my body adjusts, and I am praying this is true.

This is certainly one of those thorns Paul was talking about in 2 Corinthians 12. But it has reminded me of a very valuable truth: my strength needs to come 100% from Jesus. And not just a “fill-’er-up” in the morning kind of strength, but every single moment throughout my day.

Isn’t it odd, that it takes pain to teach me that my strength is not my own?
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