Back in May, my riding lawn mower (which I must have due to living on 13 acres, of which about 3 or 4 must be mowed) developed some major issues and ended up in the shop for over a month. Since no one told the grass to quit growing, out of desperation I took to using my little push mower to at least keep the grass mowed near the house. The weather was cool at the time and I felt comfortable with the idea.
I noticed the first time I mowed the grass that after about an hour, I started getting intense pain in the upper middle part of my back. Of course I quit mowing the grass and went inside. Each time I mowed, the same thing would happen at about the same time. My regular doctor said it was muscle spasms but I was a little leery of that diagnosis, so I asked my cardiologist about it yesterday at our every 18 month appointment.
After talking about the specifics of what I was doing and for how long I did it, he somewhat surprised me by telling me that it sounded like my body, and especially my heart was imposing limitations upon the level, type and amount of exercise I did. As we talked about the situation, it became crystal clear to me that at nearly 62 years of age, with a horrible history of heart problems going back 17 years (complete with 12 stents and a double by-pass surgery), I had to quit living in denial and understand and abide by the limitations my body imposed upon me for my own good.
Is it a mark of unbelief or lack of faith to abide by the limitations of one's physical, mental or emotional condition? Is it a sign of weakness or failure to not man (or woman) up but rather acknowledge and thereby abide by the restrictions our body or mind lays out for our own good? Of course anyone who grew up in the Armed Forces or participating in organized athletic competition would say of course it is a sign of weakness for you are supposed to play through an injury or walk it off etc.
It does not bother me to realize that I am no longer a spring chicken and thus I simply cannot do things I was still able to do only a few years ago. I am more than willing to accept what my body is telling me as far as how far to push it. God knows all the times in the past I did not respect the signs and signals my body was giving me and the results were catastrophic to say the least (heart attacks, etc).
When I first started having all my heart problems in 1997and 1998, I was in a state of flat out denial. Good grief, I was only 44 years old, so I continued doing all the things physically I had before. Is it little wonder I was continually rushing to the hospital for emergency procedures or treatments? In due time, the doctors involved laid down the law and forbade me from doing certain things. At the time, I looked at this as a failure of my faith and it depressed me. My relationship with God suffered greatly because I looked upon myself as a physically and spiritually disabled Christian (and so did many others).
In February of 2000, the doctors at Mayo Clinic told me I had six months to live unless I lost 100 pounds and got a heart transplant. Initially upon hearing this I freaked out and made a headlong dive into deep depression. But, after talking at length on the phone to my wonderful wife back in Missouri, my mother, my mother-in-law and the oldest friend I have in life; I perked up and decided to fight for myself instead of laying down to die.
Well, it is now 14 years since that time in Minnesota and I have neither had a heart transplant nor have I died. In fact, as I heard yesterday from my cardiologist, my heart is in remarkable shape considering all it has been through. He congratulated me for the weight I have lost and told me if I quit being stupid by thinking I am still 30 years old, I should continue doing fine for quite some time.
Never look at limitations imposed on you by God, your body or mind as a sign of weakness or failure. God knows everything about us and He is more than willing to share that information with us if we will listen. But, if we get stuck on stupid and stubbornly try to do things we should not be trying to do, we will usually live to deeply regret it.
One of the things we often fail to realize is that God put those pesky warning signals into our bodies for a reason. While a bit of discomfort might be necessary so we can build up endurance and increase our strength, we must be prudent about it. These are, in fact, warning signals and we are foolish to ignore them.
Over the past few years, I have had to accept that I have mental limitations. I have had to learn what I can and cannot handle mentally. I am 53 years old and yet yesterday, my mother took me to the Mayo Clinic because my husband couldn't go with me for an appointment I had. Why? Because I knew the noise, activity, the crowd and so forth would put me into what I call sensory overload. I would really struggle with trying to maintain my composure and could very well experience anxiety to the point that I would have a panic attack. I have learned this about myself since having my brain injury, therefore, when I know I am going to be facing this sort of thing, I take someone with me that I can lean on if necessary. Did I "freak out"? Well, yes I did, internally but oh, it was so much better with my mom by my side. I could remind myself that I was not alone and if I got overwhelmed and that makes all the difference in the world. We need to use the brains got gave us, eh?
Your heart story is amazing, I was saying this to your brilliant wife not so very long ago.
I am in awe of just how many people here on CB are truly here by the grace of God, bearing witness to His works in their lives.
As for the lawn mower ... well I suppose we all have those moments, and mostly all they achieve is making things worse
Yet if we can't learn from the Lord's clear messages - and you found a good name for this in "stuck on stupid" - then something will give, usually us.
I just know that a blog like this will be a clear 'Stop' sign to someone, especially considering your readership numbers!
Thanks - and congratulations on all the great reads you've given us, by the way. That's a breathtaking statistic John posted up!
Blessings to both of you,