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Archive for the ‘Endurance’ Category

Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these?
He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name.
Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.

We can recover.

The sun rises every morning and one day follows another.

We can be confident in that.

And as time moves forward, so things change.

Slowly at first, imperceptibly, until we gradually realise that we are changing too.

And hope appears on the horizon.

Norman Wright outlines 3 stages of recovery:

  • The Thinking Stage: This is when you face the facts. You put the pieces of your jig-saw puzzle together to try to make sense of the picture. You go over what has happened in minute detail, alone and with friends. You are a detached observer rather than an emotional participant. For me this was hours and hours searching the internet to learn all I could about breast cancer. I wanted to know every detail and I wanted to understand the numbers and the risks.
  • The Emotional Stage: This is when you feel the pain. Your emotions well up from deep within you and spill out in a stream, a river, a waterfall. There will be anger, anxiety, grief, fear, sadness. For me this was a constant leaking. I cried almost every day, many times a day, for three months. Tears welled up as I recognised the layers of consequences of what was happening to me. I stopped crying when I started the blog.
  • The Stage of Mastery: At the beginning you cannot believe this stage will happen but it does. Your perspective changes, you find value in your experience. You have learned things you could not have learned in any other way. You become a survivor rather than a victim, taking control of the direction of your life again. Your outer journey may still be very challenging, but you have found a strength for the inner journey which transforms your experience. Laughter can reappear, with all its healing power.

The stages vary in length for each person, and they can overlap.

Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

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You are right – it is all very well feeling happy on a sunny day when you can spend hours with friends, eat chocolate and cycle through the warm wind.

But what about when it is cold and wet and you have a heap of things to do as long as your arm?

What about when you are worried about your job, your family, your health?

If I can only be happy when things are going well, then I will spend most of my life feeling miserable.

BC and I were having one of our deep and meaningful conversations last week about what has happened to us since I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I asked him how he thought I was. He looked at me and said, “I think you are happy”.

“Tell me more” I asked

“I think you are happier now than you were this time last year”

Now that makes me very curious. How can I be happier with cancer than I was without it?

. . . Because my cancer has not become ME.  I am so much more.

And the part that is ME has been given something it needs – time to reflect on what is important to me and to make changes.

So here is a challenging question . . . Is what you are doing getting you what you want?

And to help you know what you want, ask yourself some more questions

  • If you had just 6 months to live, what would you do in these last 6 months?
  • What have you always secretly wanted to do, but never thought you could?
  • What single thing would you do in your life if you knew you could not fail?

Answering these questions gives you an idea of what your core values are. These are your principles, the framework of what you hold as most important in your life.

Living out your core values is the key foundation to happiness that endures. When values are crossed, then we experience conflict.  Think of the guilt of knowing we have told a lie when truthfulness is important to us; or think of the hostility that exists between those who believe abortion is murder and those who believe it is a woman’s right.

My cancer has given me time to think and examine my heart. J.I. Packer mentioned this as the first step towards knowing God. As I look into my heart I recognise that knowing God with integrity is a high value for me.

So what about happiness that endures? Is there such a thing?

As I draw near to God there is something deep in the core of my being that  feels good. I am me. I am closer to who I want to be and who I am meant to be than I was this time last year.

Don’t you know anything? Haven’t you been listening? God doesn’t come and go. God lasts. He’s Creator of all you can see or imagine. He doesn’t get tired out, doesn’t pause to catch his breath. And he knows everything, inside and out. He energizes those who get tired, gives fresh strength to dropouts. For even young people tire and drop out,
young folk in their prime stumble and fall.

But those who wait upon God get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles, They run and don’t get tired, they walk and don’t lag behind.

I love Lucy’s metaphor of a spiritual jet stream. We can explore how to get there and how to stay there as we learn more about knowing God.

What do you think about happiness – is it realistic to expect to find it when life is tough? Let me know . . .

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