I was about 25 when I first realized that could no longer stay up all night and just wake up the next day like nothing had happened.
Unlike college, it took DAYS to recover — if at all.
Two years after that, I had to stop drinking caffeine after 3 pm to avoid being up all night.
Though I have what some might call “grandma-esque” taste in television — I love me some Murder She Wrote and Matlock — I didn’t think my body would begin to mimic issues commonly attributed to that demographic so early on.
Those newfound limits were an especially low blow back then because I had just lost 140 pounds — after being overweight my whole life. I was “healthier” than I’d ever been, but my body was starting to show clear signs of aging.
What’s up with that?
More Than Just Age
Fast forward seven years, and I’m two years deep into a new physical limit — a weird immunity issue that most people have never heard of — Mast Cell Disease.
When I try to explain my current situation to others, it usually results in comments that jokingly — but somewhat accurately — reference The Boy in the Plastic Bubble.
It’s hard to admit we have — and live with — limits — physical or otherwise.
It’s painful to feel trapped in your home or your own body, and totally out of control of what happens next.
I don’t know about you, but I try to avoid pain and all forms of discomfort and this has been one of the most painful isolating things I’ve ever been through.
What are we supposed to do when difficult circumstances are thrust upon us? How do you live — or rather cope — when your body — or your life — fall apart?
“I Don’t Know About That”
My faith tells me to consider the difficulties I face as “an opportunity for great joy.” But, sometimes that phrase can feel more like Adele’s lyric “words made of knives” than an encouragement to my soul.
How can some of the most painful and frustrating experiences you’ve ever faced be an opportunity for joy?
While I don’t fully understand all complexities of this truth — aka it sounds kind of crazy — I do know that some of the most beautiful and inspiring people I know are those who have or are currently walking through unimaginably painful times.
Maybe a “good life” isn’t one devoid of pain and discomfort. Maybe a good life is a life you lead in the midst of those things.
Pain and Joy Aren’t Mutually Exclusive
One lie I often believed is that if I do good things or live a certain way, then God will give me — or even somehow owes me — a pain-free existence.
However, the God that the Bible describes, promises we will all experience pain and suffering in this life, and in the same breath that He will be with us in the midst of it.
Life is like a beautiful disaster* filled with moments of extreme joy and earth-shattering loss jumbled all together.
Sometimes we participate in and cause our pain and other times it’s just the result of having relationships with actual humans and living in a broken — yet simultaneously beautiful — world.
When Reality Bites
I have never felt closer to God in my entire life than I did when my life — and my body — really started to fall apart last year. In my sheer desperation, when all I wanted were answers and relief God sweetly and gently asked me,
“Deanna, do you want answers or do you want Me?”
If I’m honest I wanted both and often times I just wanted answers, but I’m so glad that I got Him.
Now, I have some answers, but I’m growing weary in this difficult battle with my body and really what I want and need is more of Him.
* Check out Beautiful Disaster by Kelly Clarkson. It’s bananas-good!!!