Friday, February 7, 2020

5 Letters To Anchor Your Life

Last October I experienced a severe bout of vertigo, so severe we called 911. I felt as though I was in the middle of a merry-go-round with everything spinning around me, totally out of my control. I could not walk. I became so nauseous I felt as though my body convulsed. My hearing was garbled.

That night I was treated with medication at an urgent care facility. It did not solve my problem, and I continued to have less severe attacks. I eventually saw an ear, nose and throat specialist who diagnosed Meniere’s disease, prescribed medication and put me on a low salt diet.

Probably a month passed before I felt like myself again. It was a long haul. And I live with the consequences. If you’ve ever monitored your sodium intake, you know this is no easy task. Everything from bread to milk contains sodium. Don’t even think about eating cheese, the love of my taste buds.

The vertigo experience left me shaken and leery about accepting speaking engagements. What if I suffer an attack “on the road”? Can I trust God that it won’t happen again?

Perhaps you’ve had a similar experience. Oh, not vertigo itself. But the feeling that life is out of control, spinning around you and you can’t do anything about it. You pray and pray and pray. You beg God to change your circumstances. Perhaps you face a dire diagnosis or a dim future after a major loss. How do you help yourself when you feel helpless? How do you regain trust in God?

You keep the FAITH. God has permitted this situation to touch your life. Yes, you may struggle, but struggles make you stronger. Faith is holding on to what you know is true when what you see as true contradicts it.

As I consider the letters that make up FAITH, they offer clues to developing a robust faith that anchors your life at any age, at any stage:

F – Forgiveness – We accept forgiveness from God, so we extend forgiveness to others. We are all flawed human beings. Whoever may have offended you is made in the image of God. Their action against you may have been intentional or unintentional. You may not be able to forget. And you may never forge close ties with the offender, especially if the hurt involved abuse. But as you consider why they may have acted as they did (perhaps they themselves were deeply hurt in the past), you will find God’s Spirit helps you shower them with grace. I’ve at times echoed Jesus’ prayer: Father forgive them for they know not what they do.

A – Attitude – Live with an attitude of humility. Realize you do not have all the answers or you would be God. Be teachable. When life overwhelms me, I seek advice from other Christians. I once visited a counselor when I needed help in dealing with a situation. The older I get, the more I know what I don’t know and the more I know God does not expect me to walk this path alone. He is with me, and He sends other Christians to strengthen me.

I – Inner Peace – Our inner peace comes from knowing Christ. Acknowledge him as your Savior. Look to him daily in prayer, and do what he puts on your heart. Accepting Christ was the best decision I ever made, and through Bible reading and prayer, He nourishes my soul.

T – Trust – “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6). When you don’t know which end is up, wait and trust that God will pull you through. Whatever has spun out of your control is under his control. I write this Bible reference on greeting cards and keep it in mind at all times.

H – Hope – Live with a hopeful spirit that tomorrow will be better. With hope in my heart, I asked my doctor if Meniere’s disease is manageable or am I bound to have attacks from time to time. He assured me if I stick to the plan, I should be OK. So I hope to manage the disease. No matter what we face on this earth, with God’s help, it is manageable. And no matter what we face on this earth, this is not all there is. You cannot even imagine the glories of heaven or you would be all too eager to get there. So settle down and hope for what is to come.  

Live in the moment with an awareness of God’s Presence. Let go of the past. Let God take care of the future. That’s FAITH. Faith is holding on to what you know is true when what you see as true contradicts it.


Photo by Firaaz Hisyari from Pexels

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