Sunday, October 7, 2012

Lay It At God's Feet and Leave It There

As a cancer "warrior" I don't always have a courageous smile on my face, I'm not always waving a victorious sword over my head. I do thank everyone for your awesome support and prayers and pats on the back, but I must confess that the reality is there are times when I am weary, discouraged, defeated.

I do believe in spiritual warfare and that it is going on around us all the time. Some days the enemy gets the upper hand and I feel really beaten down. I had one of those days not long ago. I came home, crawled into bed, pulled the blankets over my head, and just wanted to escape the world. It was one of those days. Those rare but really awful days. I was not just in a "funk" but really defeated.

As I retreated into bed, I could feel this heavy mood settling over me. Not one that passes after a good night's rest, but one that oppresses for days or even weeks. I didn't have the strength or the will to fight it off, although I knew I should.

Just then, the phone rang and it was a friend of mine calling to check on me. I didn't feel like talking to anyone, but I answered it anyway. She immediately picked up on the sound of my voice. "What's wrong?"

She listened patiently then said "Okay, here's what I want you to do!" She looked at the clock -- it was 20 minutes til 10. "I'm giving you 20 minutes to have a pity party, cry your eyes out, get it all out of your system. After that, no more. Lay it at God's feet and leave it there."

I hung up the phone, grabbed some kleenex, and did pretty much as instructed. I hadn't had a good cry in a long time and it felt totally cleansing. I poured my hear out to God, told Him my frustration, guilt, anger, fear, all of it and let the tears flow.

When I had gotten it all out of my system I opened my eyes and saw that the clock across the room read 10 o'clock on the dot. I sighed and felt a huge load off of my shoulders. I have often been told that to better fight the cancer in my body, I need to avoid stress. Stress would weaken my immune system. A recent study showed that stress hormones can directly support tumor growth and spread.  While I understand this, it's always seemed like a "Catch-22" to me. How do you eliminate stress in your life when the cancer is the main cause of it? I guess that means that those folks who annoy me with "Think good thoughts!" aren't totally off base after all.

I have found an occasional good cleansing cry to be very therapeutic for me. Just don't let that mood hang on to you -- lay it at the Lord's feet and leave it there!  Perhaps Augustine was experiencing something similar when he wrote the following prayer:
"God of our life, there are days when the burdens we carry chafe our shoulders and weigh us down; when the road seems dreary and endless, the skies grey and threatening; when our lives have no music in them, and our hearts are lonely, and our souls have lost their courage. Flood the path with light, run our eyes to where the skies are full of promise; tune our hearts to brave music; give us the sense of comradeship with heroes and saints of every age; and so quicken our spirits that we may be able to encourage the souls of all who journey with us on the road of life, to Your honor and glory."

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