So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being;” the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. 1 Corinthians 15:45
Last year was an incredibly hard year for me. I found out that I had fluid around my heart, and that I had Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (T.O.S. – the thoracic vein running across my chest gets compressed whenever I raise my arms, blocking the flow of blood in both directions). That is the short version. But the long journey to find all that out, and to address it all, was a complete year of two to three medical appointments a week, umpteen tests and medication changes, blood labs every three to five days, talk of invasive surgery to remove ribs and resection veins, etc.
During all of that, I did my best to pray and turn to God, trying to trust Him to carry me through. But boy did I stumble. It seemed that with every step I tripped on anxiety and fell straight into fear. The worst part of it all was feeling like I had failed in my faith: that as soon as my struggles reached a certain peak, my faith wasn’t strong enough to get me through. I wasn’t angry at God for my situation; other people face far worse things than I was facing. Instead, I was deeply disappointed in myself for not being able to rise above.
Looking back now, from a good place (the fluid around my heart is gone and I am learning to adapt to life with T.O.S.), I see things differently.
Like Adam, I am a human being first, not a spiritual one. I am here on earth, walking an earthly road. I had no choice but to walk straight through fear and anxiety. Although, in my opinion, they are the scariest elements of this human condition, they are part of the package.
What fear and anxiety have taught me is that life on the other side of them sparkles. I have a friend who calls those brilliant rays of sunshine that stab through the gaps in storm clouds “rays of miracles.” That’s what it feels like when fear and anxiety part – like life, and everything in it, is miraculously shining. That’s a perspective I didn’t always have before this whole experience. That is the gift that God gave me in the midst of it all. It took the journey to unwrap it.
So if you are experiencing any kind of struggle right now that is so overshadowing it blocks out the light, be gentle with yourself. Recognize your humanness; it is how we were made. That needs to be honored. Once we accept that God made us living beings first, then we can begin the journey towards becoming spiritual beings.
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