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Progress

Progress

February 12, 2019

If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Frederick Douglass

Groundhog’s Day in the desert was unusually stormy and gloomy. Normally I enjoy the rare change in our rather monotonous weather. But on this day, the battleship gray sky mirrored the internal struggle raging in my heart.

The cause of my angst? A house littered with Christmas decorations. In February! 

Let me put this in perpective.

Six months after I broke my right heel (you can read about this here), the doctors cleared me for a trip to Europe. (I will share more about this incredible experience in future blogs.)

The additional walking took its toll on my left leg which continued to compensate for my healing heel. So with the help of French Ibuprofen and a walking stick I purchased in London, I essentially limped and hobbled all through Europe.

Back in the states, the doctors diagnosed my knee as badly sprained (but thankfully not torn), and gave me a round of steroids to reduce the inflammation. Within days I joyfully began walking without a cane.

Unfortunately, steroids have the disagreeable side effect of reducing our immune system. I immediately fell prey to the flu. On the heels of the flu (pun intended), I caught a stomach virus.

These January trials reminded me of an ancient story of a frog who tried to climb out of a well. For every two steps forward, he fell back one. Although he eventually gained his freedom, his progress is described as arduous.

And on this rainy Groundhog’s Day, I struggled to appreciate arduous progress.

Jesus teaches us how to stand firm through the storms of life:

Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. (Matthew 7:24-25 NIV).

Often during a storm, I do stand firm. I lean into Jesus and His promises. My real struggle begins as I deal with the havoc the storm has left. Maybe you can relate.

Those pesky Christmas decorations symbolized all I am still unable to do:

  • like kneel down and speak with small children at their eye level
  • or walk at a pace faster than that of a turtle
  • or climb a ladder (to take down those decorations)

In fact, since my accident I live life at a much slower pace. Aesop teaches us: Slow but steady wins the race.

Maybe. However, slow but steady doesn’t fit my personality. Industrious by nature, I love to get things done. As in right now. This new reduction in my productivity frustrates me. Yet the Lord seems intent on teaching me the value of slowing down and doing less. So I am determined to learn this lesson.

Upon reflection, I realize my slower schedule allows more time to connect with the people in my life. And no surprise, the Lord pressed the word connection on my heart for 2018. Seeing His hand at work brings me peace, even in the midst of arduous progress.

Even so, as the battle raged on that stormy day, I caught myself praying, “Lord please help me learn this lesson quickly, so I can go back to my normal life.” To which I hastily added: “At my new, slower pace, of course!”

Progress, arduous or not, is still progress. Wherever your journey takes you today, I pray you, too, may appreciate your own (arduous or not) progress.

Progress

February 12, 2019

Progress

If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Frederick Douglass

Groundhog’s Day in the desert was unusually stormy and gloomy. Normally I enjoy the rare change in our rather monotonous weather. But on this day, the battleship gray sky mirrored the internal struggle raging in my heart.

The cause of my angst? A house littered with Christmas decorations. In February! 

Let me put this in perpective.

Six months after I broke my right heel (you can read about this here), the doctors cleared me for a trip to Europe. (I will share more about this incredible experience in future blogs.)

The additional walking took its toll on my left leg which continued to compensate for my healing heel. So with the help of French Ibuprofen and a walking stick I purchased in London, I essentially limped and hobbled all through Europe.

Back in the states, the doctors diagnosed my knee as badly sprained (but thankfully not torn), and gave me a round of steroids to reduce the inflammation. Within days I joyfully began walking without a cane.

Unfortunately, steroids have the disagreeable side effect of reducing our immune system. I immediately fell prey to the flu. On the heels of the flu (pun intended), I caught a stomach virus.

These January trials reminded me of an ancient story of a frog who tried to climb out of a well. For every two steps forward, he fell back one. Although he eventually gained his freedom, his progress is described as arduous.

And on this rainy Groundhog’s Day, I struggled to appreciate arduous progress.

Jesus teaches us how to stand firm through the storms of life:

Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. (Matthew 7:24-25 NIV).

Often during a storm, I do stand firm. I lean into Jesus and His promises. My real struggle begins as I deal with the havoc the storm has left. Maybe you can relate.

Those pesky Christmas decorations symbolized all I am still unable to do:

  • like kneel down and speak with small children at their eye level
  • or walk at a pace faster than that of a turtle
  • or climb a ladder (to take down those decorations)

In fact, since my accident I live life at a much slower pace. Aesop teaches us: Slow but steady wins the race.

Maybe. However, slow but steady doesn’t fit my personality. Industrious by nature, I love to get things done. As in right now. This new reduction in my productivity frustrates me. Yet the Lord seems intent on teaching me the value of slowing down and doing less. So I am determined to learn this lesson.

Upon reflection, I realize my slower schedule allows more time to connect with the people in my life. And no surprise, the Lord pressed the word connection on my heart for 2018. Seeing His hand at work brings me peace, even in the midst of arduous progress.

Even so, as the battle raged on that stormy day, I caught myself praying, “Lord please help me learn this lesson quickly, so I can go back to my normal life.” To which I hastily added: “At my new, slower pace, of course!”

Progress, arduous or not, is still progress. Wherever your journey takes you today, I pray you, too, may appreciate your own (arduous or not) progress.

2 Comments

  1. Jody R on February 13, 2019 at 11:11 AM

    Oh Shirley! I love this and so needed to read your words of wisdom. Progress, however arduous (GREAT word! and loved the definition link!!) is still progress. Yes! Yes it is! Amen friend!

    • Shirley Desmond Jackson on February 13, 2019 at 7:44 PM

      Thank you so much Jody! As always, I treasure your feedback and encouragement.

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