Serenity, Courage, Wisdom

For years I suffered with migraines and tension headaches. Every ounce of stress in my life made its way into my jaw and then into my temples. Some of these headaches were debilitating. I could spend 24 hours in bed with my eyes closed and still they wouldn't resolve. I took every know pain medicine for headaches, including some very strong prescription medicines, and yet my ears would start to echo the marching of toy soldiers, I would have stars in my vision, my temples would throb, and I prayed someone might drill a hole in the top of my head to let some of the pressure out.

I was told that these headaches put me at higher risk of having a stroke. The marching I would hear in my ears was symptomatic of rising blood pressure. That, coupled with the headaches, were warning signs.

I have not had these headaches in a while. I still have garden variety headaches from time to time, but the "stop-the-world-I-want-to-get-off" headaches of my past are gone. What changed?

My attitude.

I know I'm not the only one who does this. Many children with a mentally ill, addicted, or compulsive parent take on the attitude of needing to fix things. I loved my mother so much that even when she drove me crazy, I would bargain with her, God, and anyone else who might listen to fix her. I wanted her to be whole and healthy, although I didn't really know what that was. I was far from healthy myself.

And because my relationship with my mother shaped how I viewed the world and how I interacted with others, I tried to fix everyone else too. Although ironically, I could not even fix myself. So I spent lots of time and energy trying to counsel others, lean on them, manipulate them until things went "the way I perceived" to be best.

I think the greatest illustration of how much of my life had been overtaken by a need to control was revealed to me when I first began to date my husband. We had gone to the grocery store, and we were returning to my house. He was at the wheel. Now mind you, it's not a long drive from the grocery store to my home, but I clenched the door handle and proceeded in tension to tell him where to turn.

There is no right or wrong way to get to my house. My husband is a very conscientious and safe driver. But neither of those things occurred to me. I had to tell him how to get there!

That was a problem, and I realized it almost immediately. I started taking my hand off the door and placing them gently in my lap. I chose to enjoy the scenery around me and let him make his own way. This was my first step in realizing I could not do or fix everything; in fact, much of what I was trying to fix was never even broken!

Today, I start the day on my knees asking God to be with me each and every moment. I need Him to guide me and counsel me. I need Him to bless me with serenity over the things in my life that I can't change(external). I also need Him to give me the courage to change the things that I can and which need changing (internal). And most of all, I need His wisdom to discern where something falls--changeable or constant.

Some days are easier than others. Some days are down right hard! I want to change and fix everyone and everything I come in contact with. But God is always faithful when I ask Him to point out what reality is to show me lovingly where I fail and where I can excel.

The awesome thing about God is that He does this for anyone who asks Him...will you?


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