Yeah, I’m a basketball coach again. Sure, I’ll do it. Maybe I trust God to get me through the situations He leads me into. But maybe I worship the idol of self-reliance.
Yeah, there’s a backstory. There was a period of about a year of feeling as physically bad as I ever had in my 48 years. Many many headaches, lack of focus and energy, minor bouts with anxiety and depression. The fight in me was gone.
“You’ll feel better if you get into an exercise routine”. No, this wasn’t the voice of my marathon running wife. This was my inner voice beating me with proven truth. So I started lifting weights and running on the treadmill. About 2 weeks into an actual routine, I started experiencing neck pain. But I continued to workout (because men are stupid). My wife noticed my discomfort as I ran on the treadmill one night. I told her, “it hurts when I run.”
“Don’t run!” Good idea. World of exercise was done.
Pain worsened. Problems from an old neck/spinal problem sent steady pain to my shoulder and arm. Sleep became more difficult.
Next problem. Family vacation. I only take one full week off each year, and dangit I’m gonna fish nonstop from the beach while I’m there. Cast after cast, many with 12 and 14ft rods, made things worse. Sleep became very difficult. I could no longer lay flat in a bed. Pain worsened. But I continued to fish, continued to cast (because men are stupid). My son and I were gonna haul in something big, even if it killed me.
Upon returning to work I have been too prideful to ask others to help me with things that I am used to doing myself (because men are stupid).
One month later, I still can’t lay flat in a bed. Sleep comes 30 minutes at a time sitting upright, and usually tops out at 4 hours a night.
Almost 3 weeks ago, I started another tour as a middle school girls basketball coach. Working 45-50 hours a week, plus spending 3-6 hours in the gym each night, sleeping 3-4 hours, and trying to keep young ladies excited about the game of basketball……….I was scared.
“I can’t do this”. My inner voice returned. The pain was constant. My movements became limited. My doctor and therapy visits didn’t promise any relief in the immediate future.
I struggled mentally, focusing on the things that I wasn’t able to do. I was no help around the house. I felt like a 100 year-old man raising a 10 year-old son. The idol of self-sufficiency was apparent even if I hadn’t struggled with living for achievement.
But the prayers were constant too. I received texts from my wife, “I’m praying for you right now.” I knew that others were praying also. I don’t know exactly what they prayed for.
I’m certainly not healed today. The pain remains a constant. But my perspective sure shifted in a hurry.
About a week into practice, I could see clearly that I am coaching a group of young ladies that will be a joy to coach. A feeling of peace seemed to arrive so suddenly coupled with the thought of, “this is where you’re supposed to be, this is what you’re supposed to be doing” (yes, my inner voice talks a lot).
And I soon realized that there’s a big difference in being uncomfortable and being miserable. Yes, I’m uncomfortable all the time, but I’m not miserable. Headaches are miserable. I’ve gone the longest period in my life without having one.
When God leads us to the mountain, He will also lead us over the mountain. He provides a way.
It’s all relative. Sure, I could be better. But I can see clearly now that I could be much worse. Seems pretty lame to complain about discomfort when I look at the physical problems and the absolute heartbreak of others. My eyes have been opened.
Maybe others have prayed for healing for me. But maybe God just wanted me to not be so stupid and whiny. And maybe He desires for me to be more compassionate toward the suffering and struggles of others. I’m getting there.
We don’t feel the need to change if we don’t feel broken. We don’t ask for help when we fool ourselves into believing we can do it all on our own.
Text from Kristy today, “How you feelin dear?”
“Hurting and overloaded, but in good spirits.”
Answered prayers. By His strength and not my own.
I’m not quite as stupid as I was yesterday. Trying to absorb those lessons in humility, trust, and surrender.
I’m not afraid anymore.