I believe that God whispers to us. We hear His voice through prayer, or heed it as a warning to trust our gut. If we surrender our egos, we hear it when we turn ourselves over to His power to ask for healing or strength. I’m convinced His whispers come in the form of lessons – some good, some painful.
I recently contracted shingles – an excruciating painful virus that manifests as a burning sensation confined to one part of the body. Imagine being in the center of what is conceived to be Hell – an all-consuming fire that engulfs your physical and spiritual being. The pain crawls through your body like the serpent itself creating blisters in its wake. This has been my life for the past month. I contracted the adult chickenpox virus through stress elevated since October when my dad was diagnosed with stomach cancer. In my efforts to help my parents cope with doctor’s visits, diagnostic tests, surgery, and post surgery care, I have become overwhelmed. I am not a calm person in general. I have anxieties about driving on crowded expressways or getting lost when traveling alone. Sadly, worry paralyzes me. When my twenty-one year old daughter announced she’d volunteered to do service work in Columbia, South America, I agonized for days, hoping she would change her mind or the trip would be cancelled.
When I became sick and had to spend days in bed on pain medication, I questioned God: Why have You sent this to me? Am I not a good person? What have I done to deserve this? Then I scolded myself. This rash is nothing compared to what my dad is experiencing. After some soul searching, I understood. God is telling me to let go of what I cannot control. He is whispering to me: “You are not in charge. I have another plan for you.”
There is a path defining my destiny, one that does not include fixing everything. I finally understand I cannot make my stubborn dad eat six small meals a day now that his stomach is three-quarters smaller than it was a year ago. I cannot ease my husband’s frustration as he struggles to convince European colleagues to trust his judgment on a two-billion dollar project. What I can do is control how I react to things. I’m working on “not worrying.” But of course as I write this, I worry it is not worthy of publication. But then I hear His whispers: “You are what you believe. And I have a plan for you.”
What can I do that that allows me to contribute my very best to the universe? I can stop being everyone’s caretaker and focus on my gifts. I can write and hope that my voice will be heard. And at this very moment, I feel my physical pain begin to wane as I embrace a new understanding – that something more fulfilling awaits me, but only if I listen closely enough to heed the whispers.
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