“Mama always said, life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”
Those words resonate in my sleepy brain. Before my eyes even open I can feel it. Like those lead blankets that covers you for dental x-rays, fatigue crushes down on my whole body. Tingling, burning pain in my hips, thighs, shoulders, clouding my thoughts and stealing my focus. Ugh. Flare day. Rolling over takes a lot, feet on the floor takes more, and it’s evident that today’s agenda will need to be cleared.
Now more than a year and a half into my chronic illness journey, I’ve learned a lot about how to work with (and around) my particular challenges. One of the biggest of those challenges is the unpredictable nature of my energy and pain levels. I truly never know “what I’m gonna get” when I wake up in the morning.
If I’ve done all the “right things”- resting, sleeping enough, eating well, taking all my supplements, yoga- I can STILL wake up feeling like I’ve been hit by that bus that drove Forrest Gump to school. On the flip side if I’ve been “busy” and done a lot one of my better days, I can still wake up feeling ok the next morning. This is frustrating, but it’s taught me to make the most of things as I have energy rather than trying to “save up” for later.
It occurred to me recently that my energy level is like manna, the miraculous food God provided for the Israelites as they wandered in the desert. (Exodus 16) Every morning they were instructed to gather what they needed, a prescribed amount for each person for that day, and assured there would be more tomorrow.
They weren’t allowed to gather more than they needed for the day (except the day before the Sabbath) to save it up for the future. If they did it would spoil and be filled with maggots by the next day. This taught the Israelites to depend on God every single day for what they needed, their very food and their very lives, throughout their wilderness journey.
And He came through. Every. Single. Day.
Here’s what He’s shown me: God gives me the strength and energy necessary for each day. No more. No less. He knows what His agenda for me involves that day and I am
supplied with what I need- physically and mentally- to accomplish it.
Let me be clear- His agenda and my planned agenda often don’t mesh and I’m sometimes left wondering exactly why I’m laid out with a flare day when I had a to-do list a mile long. Didn’t He check my calendar? But I have to listen and pay attention to His agenda.
I’m learning that if I don’t have the physical or mental resources do something, clearly I don’t need to do it today. It can wait. He has other plans for me. Plans to be still and be with Him. Or to reach out to a friend. Or to knit all day and watch Downton Abbey reruns. Okay, that one might not be His plan.
I can’t save up my energy, so I do what I can with what I have on the “good” days. And I’m learning more and more to trust His agenda over my own, that He will supply what I need for my very life. Even when I don’t “know what I’m gonna get.”
And I’ve learned for myself that He comes through. Every. Single. Day.
His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.
2 Peter 1:3