When I was in high school, I broke my ankle playing basketball, and the entire thing ended up being an ordeal. For context, I absolutely hated basketball. Not only had I broken the ankle, but I had broken it in the strangest way possible and needed surgery. But there was a catch. Because the brake was in such a strange spot, it took us three months to find a surgeon who would be able to fix it and be covered by our insurance.
Three months of unknowns, three months of stand still, three months of trying to plan around a surgery what we couldn’t even get on the calendar. Three months of being pissed off at the world, three months of anxiety, three months of depression, and three months of going, “God, what the actual heck?”
Needless to say, 15-year-old me wasn’t dealing. It didn’t matter what anyone said or how gratifying it was to look at my dad and tell him, “I told you so” when the X-rays showed it was broken, it sucked, and I was pissed. I was angry at doctors. I was angry at insurance. I was angry at opinionated coaches. I was angry at family that just kept telling me to go with the flow. I was angry with God.
Why would He make me wait this long if He obviously knew how upset this was making me? (Trust me. I wasn’t covering anything up.) Why would He dangle the carrot right in front of me and then jerk it away last minute? ‘Hot Mess’ was an understatement. I was acting like a steaming pile of crap, and the absolute cherry on top of the cake was that three months later we finally get to a surgeon who decides, “You know what? Since it’s not hurting you, (and at the time it wasn’t) I don’t see any point in doing surgery.” Seriously God? I spent all this time worrying about that only for you to say, “Never mind.”
Then it hit me, He absolutely did give me those three months, but not for me to worry. I believe whole-heartedly that whenever God puts you through a struggle, it’s for you to learn something, and if He puts you through the same struggle over and over again (Let’s say for, I don’t know, three months.), then you probably weren’t learning the lesson.
So what was God trying to teach me? For starters, patience. (That’s the ‘no duh’ statement of the year.) But overall, I think He was trying to teach me to be okay when His plans aren’t my plans. I got so wrapped up in the problem being solved my way, that I was genuinely upset when He said that I didn’t need the surgery. How crazy is that? 15-year-old me was upset with God for working a miracle in me. That’s crazy selfish.
Which leads me to where I’m at now. The dreaded problem is back. My ankle is giving me problems again, and as much as I’ve been able to see looking back at what 15-year-old me messed up, 20-year-old me can feel the old girl just clawing her way back out. My sister and I have this running joke that when one of us is being a turd, the other will say “Oh that was Patricia.” So for the purpose of this blog, we’ll call the 15-year-old me, just begging to make her come back, Patricia.
Patricia doesn’t like that the doctor’s office was closed on Memorial Day. How inconvenient. Patricia doesn’t like that she couldn’t get ahold of the clinic the next day. Patricia doesn’t like that when she got an appointment, she still couldn’t get the MRI for several days. Patricia is a self-centered turd who needs to be kept in her place.
Let’s face it, we all have voices inside of us that have to be kept in check, especially when we’re tired, hurting, or frustrated. It’s easy to listen to those voices, especially when you aren’t focused on God and what He is telling you. For me, going back to Patricia is easy, because she just gets me. She would never tell me to quit being so dang grumpy and to suck it up, but when you ask God to work in your life, you don’t get to pick and choose how He works in your life.
So while my 20-year-old self is working really hard to say, “God let your will be done in my life,” Patricia has to be told to sit her heinie down. That means that I need to be okay with however God decides to work in me. If that means He miraculously heals my foot altogether, great. If He decides to wait a bit longer before we fix it, awesome. If He decides to have surgery and get a doctor to fix it, fantastic. Whatever it is, He decides what to do with my foot . . . that is His foot, too.
The greatest threat to being content with His plan is focusing on my own expectations. Because, let’s be real, no matter how He decides to fix the problem, the Patricia in me would still look for a way to be upset about it . . . if I let her. This doesn’t mean that we should wash our hands and not do anything, because God is in control and take a vacation. It means that we have to be able to surrender our ‘foot’ to Him and be okay with Him changing our plans. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” When plans change, God stays the same. He will take care of us, He will love us, and He will always be with us.
So whatever your ‘foot’ is, give it to God. And whenever things get tough or scary or uncomfortable, hang onto Him. If He can create the entire world in 7 days, make every one of the dinosaurs that only my cousin Ben can pronounce, move mountains, or paint every sunrise, He can fix your ‘foot.’
The picture is Michaela making the most of the moment and not letting circumstances slow her down. She is getting ready to take care of the goats with a trash bag over her walking boot.
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