I rarely get sick. Habitual health tends to offer me independence and the freedom to fill my days with whatever I really want to do. I surround myself with people I want to be around, doing things I want to do, when I want to do it. I love my life.
The last couple weeks have been different. Starting the Monday before Thanksgiving I began to suffer some intense pain due to a kidney stone. I had always heard horror stories of grown men crying due to “hit the floor” kind of pain and I have come to find out that all the stories are true. After getting through Thanksgiving and then preaching on Sunday my body started to break down. . Other than one lunch meeting last week, my bed has been my best friend. My spot is actually sunk in where I lay and I don’t even have memory foam. On Thursday I had a procedure done that uses sonar to break up the stone, which was too large to pass. I was hoping to get through this and be back on my feet the next day. Not so much. I spent all day in bed yesterday fighting intense pain in my kidneys and a low-grade fever from a bladder infection. The pain hasn’t only affected me physically but emotionally as well. I have cried out to Jesus for relief of the pain as well as taking some pretty hefty painkillers. He has been faithful to me during this time but I have noticed the limitations this illness has presented me have revealed some things about my character that I would like to share.
1. I like to be in control. When I am not I get frustrated and turn into a victim. Part of this is the natural gifting God has given me to lead, but a real side of this is that I rarely see myself in need of others help and when I do I get frustrated if they don’t help the way I want them too. My wife has felt the brunt of this over the last week. Sorry baby! You are doing great. During this process of planting Good Life I must realize that though I might be the lead pastor I am not by any means in control. Though I have been called to lead, the most important prerequisite to doing that successfully is submitting myself to Jesus’s leadership in my life. He is in control.
2. Being led by the Spirit is impossible when you are under the influence of anything else. The last week I have been taking midlevel strength painkillers I have found myself clouded in my ability to control my temper, my tongue, and my patience. Self-Control is impossible when you are being controlled by something else. I do not currently struggle with any addictions, but I do now realize how important it is that children of God refrain from anything that would rival the Spirit for control over your life, decisions, and personality.
3. Revealing is more important than healing. As much as I have prayed for God to deliver me from this pain and illness, I am realizing that what God is revealing in me is more important than Him just just getting me back to normal. I am confident that Jesus can heal, but I am also confident that there are areas of my life that He wants more of me and He will keep me in this bed as long as it takes to get my attention… God, I am listening!
4. Good Life Church is God’s calling for us. The many hours I have spent laying and thinking my mind keeps taking me to a people I have yet to meet… A group of people who God has called me to lead in the Bradenton/Sarasota area. God confirmed this again this morning with an unexpected phone call from close friends that are praying through joining us on our church planting journey!