Have you ever had an ongoing problem in your life you felt like just wasn’t fair?
Maybe it was something simple, like headaches, so that after awhile they became so commonplace, you just accepted them as part of your everyday life.
Maybe you’ve fought cancer, or you’ve been in multiple unhealthy relationships, or suffered from addiction, depression, a learning disability, anxiety. Even those battles have a way of becoming routine—don’t they?
It’s easy to think: “This is just the way it will be forever”
For me, the struggle has been with food allergies and digestive problems.
I don’t usually talk about it here, because it’s embarrassing, and it also because it feels off-topic. But recently I’ve been noticing my physical health is connected to my mental, emotional and spiritual health and I just can’t help but share what I’m uncovering as I walk this long, uncertain, foggy, road to healing.
When it comes to seeking “healing,” I go through phases.
There are times when I just try to accept my food allergies as a natural part of my daily life. I’ve found ways to cope—learned the restaurants where I can most easily eat, learned how to scan menu’s for potential threats, learned to flip packages over at the grocery store and read labels carefully.
I buy the same brands, eat the same foods, go to the same places, week after week.
I’ve learned to be efficient, so that this ailment I have doesn’t slow me down, doesn’t take me off track.
Then, I have moments.
Moments where I begin to question why I can’t process the foods so many other people can—good foods (tomatoes, carrots, honey, fruit). Moments when it all seems so wrong, so unfair, so out of God’s nature that, when people gather around a table, I can’t share their meal. And when these moments come, it makes me wonder if healing is possible.
It makes me wonder what my role might be in it.
Because, of course, healing is never easy.
It always takes us out of our path, off of our route, inside of ourselves, to the places we don’t want to recognize or see, and outside of ourselves, to the places we aren’t sure we’re strong enough to go.
The longer we seek healing, and don’t find it, the harder it is to keep hoping it will ever come.
Should we just go back to coping with the illness?
Should we just settle for being broken?
It’s easy to think we should. It’s easy to think this is just the way things are. It’s easy to just get used to it, get comfortable.
Right now I’m in a healing phase.
I’ve gone back and forth in the twelve years since I was diagnosed, but right now, this is where I am. I’m asking for help, seeking direction, taking steps without being certain they’re the steps ones to take. I’m even taking steps I’ve taken before—ones that didn’t work—but that I’m trusting this time could be different.
This time, it could change. Healing could come. You just never know.
And something really strange and wonderful is happening (which isn’t actually that strange at all, if you think about it).
My life is slowing down.
It has to. There’s no way for us to find healing without slowing our routine. Healing takes time.
These days, when I wake up in the morning, I don’t go straight for my coffee and computer. That’s what I used to do. These days, I walk to the kitchen. I warm some water. I make myself tea. I take vitamins and supplements. I sit, and wait and read and pray.
So much less is getting done, but so much more is happening.
Do you know what I mean?
And at night, when I used to be warming up leftovers or sliding something frozen into the oven, now you’ll usually find me chopping, boiling, mixing, stirring, crafting something beautiful that we can eat. It’s so much slower, but slow isn’t bad. That’s what I’m learning.
Slow brings healing.
Grace is raining down on me.
I used to think that my day was measured by how much I accomplished in it. And, in some ways, I still fall victim to that mentality. On days when I make progress, I feel a swelling of pride and energy. On days where I feel trapped or stalled, my mood plummets and I feel depressed and sad.
But these days, as I slow down and ask for healing, I’m finding so much grace in the waiting. I’m finding permission to move more slowly. Praise God, the guilt is fading away.
And when I slow down—when I go deep, rather than wide—I’m finding progress I couldn’t have made on my own, forward motion I couldn’t have navigated by my own strength.
I’m finding forward motion that I can’t see.
This post was inspired by a beautiful and brand new book by Tsh Oxenreider called Notes From A Blue Bike. Tsh is the founder of a website called The Art of Simple, and this book documents her journey to learning to living more intentionally (and slowly) in a chaotic world.
If you’ve ever felt like life moves too fast, and you wish you could slow down, get your hands on a copy of this book.