Decision making can be difficult. I don’t know about you, but I can be pretty indecisive, especially when other people are involved. Perhaps it’s because in today’s world we are overwhelmed with decisions. There are multiple options for absolutely everything. However, it’s more likely the people-pleaser in me. I want other people to be happy, so whatever they want, I want. After all I’d hate to disappoint someone. I’m getting better though, really I am! As I find my identity in Christ, I realize that the only one I need to please is Him.
Everyone has to make decisions. There are only 24 hours in a day and most people take advantage of every single minute. Those of us who suffer from a chronic illness may only have a few good hours in the day, which can turn decision-making into a daunting task. It can be frustrating and even terrifying. We have to decide what things we will do with the limited amount of energy that we have each day. Can I get away with one more day without showering? Do I go to my friend’s birthday party or to that Bible study that is starting at church? Maybe I should save my energy for a weekend away with the family. What do you say no to when all of your options are good options? Like the cartoon above, sometimes we can get so overwhelmed with our options (or afraid of the results of a decision) that we choose to not do anything.
In some ways, having a chronic illness helps us make decisions. We have to be more careful than “normal people” when we are making decisions. We have to seek God for what He wants us to do because we know that we don’t have the strength or energy to do it all. I have started asking God for the energy to do the things that He wants me to do each day. I firmly believe that He will give me the strength and the energy to do the things that He wants me to do.
The Apostle Paul talks about this exact thing. He prays something for the Ephesians that we can pray for each other as well as ourselves. “I ask—ask the God of our Master, Jesus Christ, the God of glory—to make you intelligent and discerning in knowing Him personally, your eyes focused and clear, so that you can see exactly what it is He is calling you to do, grasp the immensity of this glorious way of life He has for His followers, oh, the utter extravagance of His work in us who trust Him—endless energy, boundless strength (Ephesians 1:17-19, MSG)!”
This prayer is amazing. We can ask God to make us intelligent and discerning in knowing Him. As we get to know God and develop a relationship with Him, we get to know what is on His heart and what is important to Him. We can ask Him to keep our eyes focused and clear so that we can see exactly what He is calling us to. It is easy to compare ourselves with others. When we live with a chronic illness, that comparison often leaves us lacking. We just can’t do all of the things that healthy people can do, and those things that we can do usually take us longer. It is only when we ask God to keep our eyes focused on Him, so that we can see exactly what He is calling us to do, that we begin to grasp the immensity of the glorious life that He has for us. When He shows us what He wants us to do, no matter how big or small it is, we need to do it. If we don’t, we will miss out on the utter extravagance of His work in us. We need to trust that He will give us endless energy and boundless strength for the tasks that He wants us to do. Verse 20 tells us that “all this energy issues from Christ: God raised Him from death and set Him on a throne in deep heaven.” You see, Christ is the source of this energy. It isn't something that we have to find on our own, Jesus gives it to us!
Isn't that amazing? It’s such a simple concept, yet it’s a challenge to live out. Can you imagine a glorious life full of endless energy and boundless strength as God works extravagantly in you? You don’t have to imagine it, you can live it! Will you take that risk? Will you risk saying no to the things that God doesn't want you to do even if it means that people will be disappointed with you? Will you say yes to what God wants you to do and who He wants you to be, even if other people don’t understand? Will you take God up on His promise to give you endless energy and boundless strength as you do the things that He is asking you to do? Will you stop comparing yourself to others and live in the freedom found in obedience to God? Don’t choose to do nothing. Choose to do the something that God wants you to do. God’s plans succeed when we do the things that He wants us to do, with the strength and the energy that He gives us. After all, it’s all about Him, not us!
“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for Him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what He wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.” ~ Romans 12:1-2
© October 30, 2012