I was speaking to one of my brothers the other day. I mentioned that I had just completed the online class he recommended. I enjoyed it and hoped to take another when I had the time. He queried, what do you mean when you have time, unaware how I fill my days. It’s funny how time gets swallowed up with priorities no matter where we are in life.
Even though I am a disabled, I like to stay busy. A good percentage of my day is devoted to my therapy exercises and getting the proper rest needed. I once had a doctor tell me after brain surgery that just daily living was therapy. He was absolutely right. Everything takes a LOT more effort now.
My therapists have put me on an activity diet to curb my activity appetite. The brain does not function as efficiently or effectively as it does before a brain injury. I have to choose my activities wisely to hopefully prevent unnecessary symptoms and setbacks. I now have to chart every activity I do. From filling out a chart to getting dressed, making the bed, getting my lunch or talking on the phone as each and every activity taxes my system. The goal is to learn to take necessary rest breaks and spread a number of activities across a number of days, rather than trying to “push through” and get it all done at once as I was used to doing. I’m not very good at it. When the day starts, I’m like a puppy breaking out of the back gate for freedom. I’m in a race to experience the day and accomplish my goals for that day before I get distracted and, or, run out of gas.
There are times however, you may need to pull to the side of the road and check the map to make sure you are traveling in the right direction. I had to determine if there was any value in the things I spent my time on. It’s easy to neglect something that you don’t see a value in. I still enjoy painting when I can, but I told myself that no one is all that interested in what I have to say, so why waste the time and energy writing. I weighed the importance of chronicling my thoughts against all the other things going on in my world, and it quickly fell down my priority list.
My circle of influence may be a tiny dot, but that shouldn’t be the deciding factor. While I convinced myself that no one wanted to hear what I had to say, I found that the exercise of writing, like painting, can be very therapeutic and just may help someone else out. I decided that, no matter what is going on in the world, my healing requires me to keep moving forward as long as I pace myself properly. If someone else finds value in what I am doing, that is a bonus. I may not be able to paint or write as often as I used to, but I will do my best to share my thoughts on occasion.
When you go through personal trials your world shrinks, a lot. You don’t necessarily care about the same things you did before. It changes you. I am not the same person I was before 2017, 2018 and 2019 took a toll on me both physically and mentally. Then came 2020 when it seemed the whole world was in upheaval, not just my tiny corner of the world. I am much more selective with what I am able to, and what I choose, to give my attention to these days.
I decided that if I do anything with whatever time the good Lord has gifted me, my commitment to Him should be above all else. He is the reason I am here. So I had to ask myself, am I doing what God kept me here to do? Am I honoring him with my use of time? Jonathan Edwards the American revivalist preacher once said, “How can you expect to dwell with God forever if you so neglect and forsake him here?”
As long as we are alive, we have a choice. You can choose to spend all your time focusing on your own problems, or you can accept whatever challenges you have and make the most of your time by working to improve yourself to help the world around you.
Are you overwhelmed with the seemingly endless stream of negative news and hard stuff to deal with? Maybe you’re not sure if you are doing what you’re supposed to be doing with your life. Perhaps it’s time for you to take a time out. Give yourself a break and turn off the noise! If you’re not sure you are going in the right direction, pull off the road and check your map. Make an assessment of your gifts and what you have to offer. Ask yourself, what am I here for? What can I do to make someone else’s life better?
Several years ago I decided to do my best to live by Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. I chose to, stay away from, or limit the things which proved to be detrimental to my health. Purging anti-social media and news feeds were a great place to start. I challenge you to try it, it’s quite liberating.
Make a concerted effort to replace the negative with positive. Let God fill your thoughts rather than the media. As part of my physical therapy I was given a list of ways to rest or to pass the time. The list includes things like listening to music, podcasts and audiobooks. Their list did not include prayer so I added that to mine. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. Colossians 3:2 Listen to positive, healing podcasts or read a book. You’ll learn more than you ever would on twitter or facebook. Better yet, read the Bible and dwell on the hope for the future that God provides for those who believe in Him.
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9