I have been feeling very sorry for myself lately! Feeling rubbish all the time doesn't really help you to see straight. This week is reading week and so I am taking a break from independent living for a few days and have gone back home. I have still ended up making small meals and doing my washing but the strain of doing cleaning to other people's standards (mine is very low) and cooking main meals is relieved, along with the effort involved in going to lectures. Not entirely a holiday though, as I have a mound of work to get done!
I have been thinking about 3 things this last week: independence, humility and gratitude.
Coming home has meant that in a way I have lost some independence because my parents are helping me with things and I can pretend that university doesn't exist for most of the day if I wish. And in a way this is quite a nice feeling, but at the same time I do miss my independence, but I won't get all of it back when I go back to university. I can't walk for more than 10 minutes a day without a lot of pain, dizziness and nausea - and nowhere useful is within that walking distance, which means I either have to ask others to do things for me or ask others to help get me to the more distant places.
I have been getting to lectures by taxi which Student Finance have offered to reimburse me for due to my DSA. I calculated how much I have spent on taxis just this far and it came to £234!!
Disability can, in a number of cases, lead to people loosing at least some of their independence, and pride comes into it in that people do not like giving up their independence, being able to do things their way, and instead rely on others. Because really, how many people are truly reliable? If you muck something up and you end up suffering that's one thing but if you are relying on someone else to do it and they muck up, that's a whole different matter.
Personally, I don't think humans are naturally very good at this and humble people always amaze and inspire me. Jesus was a very humble person and He helps me to put things into perspective. Jesus was born to die for us, which meant that as soon as He knew what His calling was, His death was in sight. I think people generally think they have some great purpose, or at least they hope they do to make all the sufferings in life worth it, but what if your ultimate purpose was to die, and to be hated along the way? I think I would probably kick up a bit of a fuss and give up, but Jesus saw what was coming and yet still acted with great humility and grace. He didn't wallow in self pity (like I often do) and wonder why no-one was paying any attention to all the sacrifices He was making. God's approval was enough. That didn't make it an easy task, but as tasks go, it was pretty extraordinary.
I was reading the verse Phillipians 4:6-7 the other day:
'Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, with prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God, and He will guard your hearts and minds in Lord Jesus.'
I have always liked that verse but never really noticed the thanksgiving part, but it is so important went it comes to not being anxious. I can say this from experience. It seems crazy when you are truly anxious to turn around and say thank you, but if you start small and work up, you do find things that you can be thankful for. Somehow, God uses our thanks to 'guard our hearts and minds' which can mean different things I suppose depending on the situation, but when you are anxious and your mind just won't stop creating new worries, the thanksgiving can guard your mind against these new worries.