Worst Case Scenario

We have consulted physician after physician in vain, till we are quite convinced that they can do nothing for us and that we must trust to our own knowledge of our own wretched constitutions for any relief.

{Diana Parker in Sanditon, by Jane Austen}

Jane Austen gave me my first look in to the mind of a hypochondriac.  I was amused by the Parker family and their ailing constitutions, on which they blamed just about everything.  It wasn’t until I began to recognize some of their behavior in myself that I gave their condition more than a laugh.

I may not be a Susan or Diana Parker, but I do tend toward medical anxiety.  My aches and pains speak loudly and they generally shout the worst case scenario.  Migraine?  I must have a brain tumor.  Chest hurts? Probably early signs of cardiac arrest, regardless of the five minutes I spent on the rowing machine yesterday.

The Unresolved

I’m in the throws of waiting on test results for symptoms that could be serious or could be absolutely nothing.  Having unresolved health issues is giving my anxiety levels a run for their money.  Some days I am confident that my symptoms are a product of stress and other days I’m sure they are life threatening. (Laughing is acceptable here.  I laugh at myself, too.  But if you’re a medically anxious person, you know that I’m totally serious about my train of thought no matter how ridiculous it sounds).

For whatever reason, God broke through my medically wound-up heart with this round of health anxiety.  He’s shown me the path to take and this time, I’m choosing to take it.

Live Like You Were Dying

I don’t really like the ubiquitous platitude, “live like you were dying”.  It just seems pithy, like a truth, but twisted.  The fact is, we all are in the process of dying, just, for some, it’s not as imminent.

However, internalizing the reality of death from life on Earth does help keep priorities straight.

Even though I’m probably exaggerating my near death state in my head, being forced to contemplate what really matters in light of how fragile this life is has been a good dose of reality and perspective.  I don’t like to think of the time I’ve wasted hating winter, feeling fugly (fat + ugly, don’t we all have those days…) or dwelling on any number of other unimportant things that can suck the joy out of life.

My hope isn’t in the here and now, but I marvel at the good things God has abundantly given us to enjoy while we are here.  Should I be distracted by the negatives and not enjoy the bounty and good set before me?

What a direct slap in the face to God if I let past relationships inhibit loving my husband, and receiving his love fully; to let winter weather stop me from enjoying the natural beauty of Northern Idaho; to let worldly beauty standards shape the way I think about and treat my body.

I believe the earthly pleasures found in love, community, and nature are but shadows of the pleasure we will have worshipping God in Heaven and the new Earth; but, the potential of losing these pleasures, however slim, makes me realize how easily I spurn them under selfish pretenses.

What does that say to the God who so lovingly provided them? How does that effect my relationships?

If medical anxiety is what it takes for me to not sweat the small stuff, then I guess, I’m more like the Parkers than I thought.


Missional Women

2 thoughts on “Worst Case Scenario

  1. I’ve been kind of the opposite–I feel pain or suspect something might be wrong, and then I try to ignore it as long as possible because I’m sure it’s not really significant. I’ve been so wrong. Now I joke that I keep the medical professionals well fed in Denver.

    There are plenty of things that could rob our joy in the day to day. I like your idea that there are plenty more to enhance it–if we take the time to consider them.

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