How Great is Our God in HEBREW,

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Spirit over Body and Mind

You know the expression : "Mind over Body"? Well, it's true that to a degree a person can talk himself out of pain or fatigue and, by force of will, get things done. But there comes a point when the anguish of the body screams too loudly to be ignored or pushed to the background.

I've been at that point in the past couple of weeks. I have an aggressive case of a relatively rare form of psoriatic arthritis (PsA) and because of a potentially lethal set of side effects, I'd gone off of one of my medications that had been muffling my symptoms a bit. So my illness went unimpeded and it roared over me like a runaway locomotive. All I've been able to do is to go from my hospital bed to my recliner trying to get into a position where my body did not protest quite so loudly. My house has been unkempt as has my person.

If you've been following this blog you will realize that my own family has been going through struggles unrelated to me, due to my daughter's eating disorder. This has necessitated a LONG car trip to Philadelphia as well as the washing of many loads of laundry and going shopping to buy her the things she needs during her treatment. It has taken all of my willpower not to complain about the pain I've been in or not to refuse to get out of my recliner...and there came a time when my willpower and my "mind-over-matter" abilities paled and then vanished.

That's where my spirit, empowered by the Spirit of God, had to kick in and rule over my agonized body and my recalcitrant mind. It is that Spirit which enabled me to put my own discomfort into the background and to attend to my daughter's needs. Now I know, and she would loudly attest to the fact, that my attentiveness and energy was still limited...but I was able to not make MY needs the focal point and to not complain with every painful step I had to take. This limitation of my attention was also probably created by the limitation of my reliance on God's strength; but fully relying on His power does not always mean that our struggles will disappear or their effects be removed from us.

So, when the mind buckles; when the body protests too loudly to be ignored; when cirucumstances demand our full attention--these are the times when I must fully depend on God's Spirit... No, I want to amend that statement: If we are ALWAYS fully relying on God, then there will never come times when our progress depends on the efforts of our will, mind or body. As God says in His Word, "My strength is perfected in weakness" and therefore "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength."

So as parents of hurting children, beginning with the first "midnight cries" of our little bundles and going all the way through, in some cases, the first emergence of mental illness in their young adulthood, it is often necessary for us to put out more than we really have in ourselves. This is why we cannot not "trust (in) the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus' name."
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