Challenges build character, right? I try to remind myself of that every time a ‘crisis’ rises. But why are we so hard on ourselves when trials surface? Part of the reason is perfectionism. Impatience comes to play. Then anger seeps into the equation. With all these feelings spinning, we lose sight of how to get through it. God put us on this planet to teach us, to love us, and to get us ready for eternity. One of the ways He demonstrates His confidence in us is through grace.

The Cards

A few years ago I was talking with my husband about my physical ailments. You see as a kid, my deep desire was to achieve optimal health. I exercised, I ate well, and I wanted to run a marathon. Then disease kicked in. As a kid I got sick numerous times a year, as a young adult I fracture my hip which has left me ‘run-less’, and later in life my immune system attacked my digestive health; among other unforeseen troubles, my dream was turning into dust or was it? As I was going through my list of hurts, my husband said something I’ve heard many times but for some reason it struck a chord in me that day. He said, “You gotta play the cards you’re dealt.” It was a way of reminding me that I’m not in control, yet to trust the One who is; and that I have a choice to fold my cards or to keep on playing them.

Right now in this post, I’m probably supposed to tell you to not “fold your hand”; but it’s in the folding of our hands where we learn how to play. When we ask God for help in our hardships, He helps us find the right path to run down…if we’re willing to step in that direction. So yes, fold when you have to, not to get out of the game, but to study the game and learn a better strategy.

Grace wants to play

There are times when we need to be our own advocate when it comes to our health. I made it my mission to get healthy. With this quest, I tried a lot of things and failed. I’m not where I want to be right now, but I’m not giving up. This is where grace gets dealt into the game. When we’re in a swirl of emotions, it’s critical to get some space to find the grace. And it’s there in which all becomes clearer and we get wiser with our decisions.

What ‘grace’ am I talking about? The grace of civility towards ourselves; when we’re going through a rough season, remember to love-on yourself, not to punish or blame you. Be good to yourself, respect your well-being, and understand where you are and where you want to go; because it’s in those moments of grace, where the untangling begins, and where we see what cards to play next.

The mindset

camper with dog

One late August I rediscovered how to wrap myself with a little grace. To transition from a busy summer to starting the school year, my family and I went camping. We hooked up the RV (don’t judge me, we got our tent badge years ago) and settled in a wooded campsite. Faint smells of last night’s campfires drifted under my nose, the quaking leaves and distance boat motors rested on my shoulders. And the canopy of trees comforted my busy head. That weekend I made it a point to go for a walk at least twice a day, not for exercise, but for rest.

As I walked through the sun beamed shadows my mind went back to my roots. As a child I played in the woods for hours on end. My imagination soared between the branches. And my energy and creativity glowed with every step I took. It was there where I felt like I could accomplish anything, where I felt strong and confident, where I felt healthy. And here I was once again in the mindset I needed to continue to take-on.

The power of your refuge

My childhood goal for optimum health gave me a run for my money. My body has failed me over and over; funny how that works. If God wants me to have good health, He’s not going to give it to me on a silver platter; He knows I’m smart. He knows that if I want it bad enough, I’m going to use the gifts He gave me to figure it out. When I face a new challenge with my health, I head to the woods and fold my hands. I can’t stress enough of how many times I’ve heard Him speak and direct my path of who I need to talk to next, or what to try, or with even getting a last minute appointment. It’s been in my special sanctuary where I get instruction on what cards to play next.

God puts our special place of refuge in each of our hearts; mine is walking down a lined path of trees. Yours may be the beach, the mountains, the lake, the prairie, the park, the farm, or the river. Think of where you feel your best in nature, then go there for a dose of grace. You just may find your card strategy in reaching your goals and get a rekindle under feet.

By CT Copyright © 2019 More Than Existence All Rights Reserved.