I’ve been realizing how unsafe life is. There are always cons, risks, negative sides to any decision. It became clear to me as we were moving- choosing a new house- that I’m not comfortable with any risk. I seek stability. I struggle to risk because I do not like any negative factors.
I have not been comfortable with taking medicine, either, because of the possibilities of any negative side-effects. But I am learning right now through my daughter’s illness- two plus months of cough and congestion- It’s now time to take the meds. For once, I have peace about this. I remember my mom being in the hospital a couple of years ago. Her intestines had been perforated in routine surgery, leaving her with sepsis and pneumonia attempting to take her life. At that point she needed some intense, unpleasant medications. She eventually healed and got off of all medications. But the point is, that she needed them- they helped save her life. The benefits outweighed the risks. Every doctor or pharmacist will say that, but I tend to hyper-focus on the risks anyway. So God has given me peace to focus on the good and not to worry about about the risks as I give my daughter her medications. Hopefully, the medicine will help her to heal soon. (Please don’t be distracted by the meds/no meds debate here and miss the point). This has been a miracle in my heart.
My kids have told Siri that my name is “Cautious”. That is what she now calls me and it is fitting. But caution, like worry, can be detrimental when obsessing with it as I have. If I focus on the cons- the bad- I can be paralyzed in a world of worry: I complain- nothing is good enough because nothing is 100% guaranteed safe or perfect. When my children were younger we got our second cat, Eiffel. Our first cat, Momo, is always extremely worried and paranoid about everything: us, his shadow, any movement, etc.- even though we’ve provided a safe environment for him in our home for years. Our new kitten feared for nothing, even taking on her giant, 16 lb., new sibling. Since my then-9-year-old-daughter worries as I do (a lot), I told her to observe how Momo is so worried all of the time, yet see how we care for him and he really has nothing to fear- while Eiffel is fearless. “Why do you think Momo is so worried?” I asked. My then-7-year-old chimed in with wisdom, “He worries for his own protection.” True.
I am constantly trying to protect myself from anything that could go wrong. But God is reminding me to surrender my own protection and trust in His. He keeps reminding me- that that is His job.
Yet God does not always feel safe. He is not without risk. In fact, He is terrifying at times. If you have truly suffered anything horrific in this life, you know what I mean. Even though God is not the author of these things: death, sickness, abuse, etc., He still allows them. Yet He is good. I have suffered. My circumstances have not been all happy and risk-free, but when I invite Him into them, cry out in desperation, He comes and carries me through- daily.
So I have found that God is good. I’m praying that this new peace I have about taking medicine will seep into every area of my life. Putting my protection into God’s hands can be terrifying, but good. And perfect. Because He is. And that, ironically, yields peace. Taking responsibility for my own protection feels safer, but leaves me worried, sleepless, restless and paranoid- like my cat. As I tell my kids, “Don’t be a Momo. Be an Eiffel.” I think I’m going to give up my quest for safety and protection and leave it in the hands of “The Lord, the lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.” -Exodus 34:5,6