When you have a headache, do you:
a) lie down in a darkened room, doing your very best Freddy Krueger impression when the hubby dares to peek through the window, letting in a splinter of light;
b) soldier on - willing, with every fibre of your being, for the pounding to ease up just long enough to get the last chapter of your award-winning novel completed, at least semi-coherently; or
c) run straight for the medicine cabinet for 2 paracetamol; after all, the commercials all assure you that they will, "work rapidly, allowing you to get on with your day!"
I never used to be a paracetamol girl; no, for many years I trooped on like a martyr, desperate to prove that I was strong enough to withstand the stabbing pain in my temples, trudging my way through the day, barely able to concentrate, let alone actually stay awake on the 45 minute bus ride home. Woe was I, and subtly, I made sure that everyone was aware of the humble sacrifice I was making for the sake of my job.
The other reason I avoided taking the Herron Blue or Panadol was I had a deep-seated distrust that they would actually work. I don't know why I felt that way, perhaps it was because I just didn't believe strongly enough in their advertising campaigns. I mean, it's not like one could feel the effects of the capsules' contents weaving their magic immediately after swallowing them; who was to say that they would actually do what they were intended to do?
Funnily enough, becoming a mum was enough to tip the scales in the completely opposite direction! Suddenly pain relief was the number one item on my shopping list; adult strength, kids, (3 months - 2 years and 5 years +), orange, strawberry, banana or cherry, tablets, caplets, chewable and rapid release; you name it, we had it!
So, why the change of heart? Simply because I no longer had the luxury of allowing a headache to knock me for six; I had a mission, a job to do, and there was no one else better qualified for the role than me. That meant I had to take a chance, to believe that, even though I couldn't feel the medicine working in me straight away, it was in fact working and would make a difference in my body, or at least in my pain levels.
And the more I live and write for Christ, the more I realise two specific things.
Firstly - spiritually I will have days when I feel 'hit for six,' when I just want to stay under the covers and not go to church, or make that phone call . . . or write that blog spot. Ahhh, yes, you know what I'm talking about, right?! Every single one of us will have these 'blah' days, the 'it's all too hard' days, the 'I feel like such a hypocrite' days. The days when we have a spiritual headache and just want to be left alone.
Secondly - when these days come, we can do one of three things,
a) keep to ourselves, baring our teeth at anyone who dares to show us any kind of care or comfort;
b) muster up just enough energy and spirituality to do our ministry, quietly grumbling and groaning, just loud enough to be heard, thus garnishing just a little more 'martyr' status within the ranks of our fellow Christians; or,
c) we can admit that it's a tough day, that we cannot do it in our own strength, and we can kneel before the only one who can heal us, Jesus Christ. It is a step of faith, one that calls for us to believe that in spite of how we feel, the Holy Spirit is working in us, his beautiful soothing touch bringing us just enough strength to do what the Father has called us to do - just for that day. And as we worship God, we can rest assured that He has heard our cries and will most assuredly forgive and heal and restore us from the inside out.
Dear friend, I wonder; how are you feeling today?
He energizes those who get tired,
gives fresh strength to dropouts.
For even young people tire and drop out,
young folk in their prime stumble and fall.
But those who wait upon God get fresh strength.
They spread their wings and soar like eagles,
They run and don’t get tired,
they walk and don’t lag behind. Isaiah 40:29-31, The Message