Today I heard lyrics on the radio that really bugged me. I was listening to Christian radio. I can’t remember the exact lyrics, but the gist of them were this:
Now that I know Jesus, I’m not the same person I used to be.
I have several friends who could belt out that song and really mean it, from the depths of their souls. They were saved as teenagers or as adults, and their lives took a true 180 degree turn. From promiscuous behavior to purity. From alcoholism to abstaining. They are living examples of the saving power of the Lord.
And then….there’s me.
I was practically born a Christian. My risk-averse personality led me to snatch on to Jesus tightly when I first learned of the existence of Hell, at the tender age of nine.
But did I make a 180 degree turn? Did I show through my actions that I was a changed person?
Nine years old was a million years ago. I’m pretty fuzzy about what happened yesterday, and my memory of me as a nine year old is pretty murky. I know I wasn’t perfect. I whined. A Lot. I refused to eat Mexican food and made the rest of my family miserable when I had a panic attack in the middle of a Mexican restaurant because I was afraid the food would make me sick. (This happened AFTER I was saved, by the way.)
The Nine-Year-Old me did not steal or cheat or hate. Being saved did not save me from becoming a self-absorbed, self-righteous know-it-all teenager…who grew into a high-strung perfectionist adult who never remembers people’s names and who would rather curl up with a good book than volunteer at the local food pantry.
So when I hear songs and sermons about changed lives, my heart prickles. I can’t honestly point to a time in my life where I made a 180 degree turn. I’m not saying that I’ve always walked the right road. Many times I’ve strayed from paths that I knew were right…but eventually the Holy Spirit prodded and convicted and otherwise made me so miserable in my choices that I repented and got back on the good road.
So does it matter that I don’t have a specific turning point? I continue to struggle with anxiety. There are Christian leaders out there who would say this anxiety is proof that I haven’t really been saved…that I haven’t turned my life over to Jesus.
This thought makes me weep. I don’t want to be anxious. I’ve given this over to the Lord, but here it is anyway, hanging over my head like an anvil waiting to drop. I’m at a place right now where I just want to give up. I spent a lot of time in bed today; my legs feel like they each weigh a ton. Depression is holding hands with anxiety, whispering ugly things to me that I do my best to ignore.
But here’s the unvarnished truth: my earthly body is a mess. I can’t eat any food without it later coming back to haunt me. I think I’d be better off swallowing synthetic motor oil. I can’t eat anything without feeling a side of guilt —
It’s breakfast time, and I’m eating two eggs despite the fact that my tests show eggs induce an allergic reaction. I’m also having regular toast — also a no-no as my tests show an allergy to wheat. But cereal is out because corn and rice are also on the no-no list, as is milk. I can’t eat soy anything, so soy milk or yogurt is out. Can’t enjoy fruit with my breakfast, so coconut milk is out. Later on in the day, I feel an uncomfortable heaviness and bloating in my gut that is a direct result (so they say) of me eating stuff I’m not supposed to eat. I had a piece of chocolate today even though it contains soy lecithin. Guilt again rushes through me as I experience pain under my ribs. My husband wanted to take me out to a nice dinner, so we drove to PF Chang. I discovered EVERYTHING there is cooked in soybean oil. So I sat and watched while he ate, much to his chagrin, and to my guilt.
My fibromyalgia pain flared up today, so much so that the blowing air from the AC was painful on my skin, as was the warm water from the shower, the shirt against my back, the muscles in my neck, etc. Leg spasms kept me up last night past 2am, and they have already begun the cycle this evening. I might just stay up all night on my feet, except that last night when I tried to stand, the leg spasms didn’t stop.
I’ve pretty much hit bottom with this health mess. The chiropractor can’t help me because the adjustments throw me into severe pain. The supplements don’t help me because they contain ingredients I’m allergic to. The H Pylori won’t go away because I won’t take the antibiotics because I’m still too afraid of what they’ll do to my body. The MRI showed NO MS, but it did show a slightly prominent pituitary gland and spinal stenosis — another odd factor that I’m not sure how to handle. Western medical doctors just want to give me drugs, drugs, and more drugs. Chiropractors want to poke and prod. I can’t get a massage to ease my tense muscles because the massage leads to a fibro flare up. I’m allergic to (sensitive to) so many foods that I might as well eat cardboard. It seems that everywhere I turn, I hit a brick wall.
But I still stand. I stand on the Name of Jesus, even if my life has not taken a 180 degree turn. I believe there’s a purpose behind my suffering — and any suffering I am presently going through is nothing compared to what he went through on the cross, right?
My turning point is coming. I just hope it comes on this side of heaven.