Backwards Living

“Why are you smiling?”

“Because I know something you don’t know.”

“And what is that?”

“I am not left-handed.”

High-quality scene from The Princess Bride. Ambidextrous sword-fighting is pretty impressive. I wish that I could switch from one hand to the other in any given task as smoothly as Inigo Montoya and the Man in Black.

What a hectic start to the semester. I feel like these first four weeks have been non-stop busyness.

For one, my course load is a little more challenging this semester. I’m taking more upper level classes, and I’m trying to learn a new language–Hebrew.

Which is a challenge in itself. As long as I’ve been reading, I’ve read from left to right. Now I’m having to reverse everything I’ve ever known by reading right to left. I think I’m used to it now, but at first, it felt so foreign to me. Now it’s become almost familiar.

Foreign to familiar. What do ambidextrous sword-fighting and learning Hebrew have in common?

They explain how I’m having to adjust to my latest injury.

Here’s my shortest and most boring injury story yet: My right shoulder (the one I didn’t have surgery on) dislocated in my sleep about three weeks ago.

The end. End of story. Not continuing that train of thought.

I can’t afford to finish that thought. I don’t want to deny what happened, but right now I can’t answer the question “What does this mean?”

I can somewhat answer the question “What now?”

Now I’m switching up some of my daily routine to be the exact opposite of what I’ve done over the past year. For example, I had to relearn how to put in my contacts after shoulder surgery. (Don’t judge- I flinch so much when anything comes towards my eye that I have to grab my eyelid to put in my contacts.) After surgery I began reaching with my right arm to open both eyelids. Now I’m using my left arm for both eyelids. For the past year I’ve been opening doors with my right arm. Now I’m opening them with my left. For the past year I’ve been carrying a bag on my right shoulder on the way to class. Now I’m carrying a bag on my left shoulder.

I’m so glad that I chose to have surgery on my left shoulder: Now I have a “good side.” At least my arthritic hand is on the same side as my now “bad” shoulder.

So basically, every day is a learning experience. No two days are the same. I’m learning how to adjust to what life (more specifically my body) throws at me.

Adjustment has also been necessary in my spiritual/emotional response to this new injury. My normal response would be worry. I’m not going to lie and say that I haven’t worried. But right now I can’t afford to go where the “what-ifs” would take me.

So I’m having to choose a response that feels so backwards to me.

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?[g] 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

Matthew 6:25-34

The few days after this dislocation allowed me to feel closer to the Lord than I had in a while. Literally everything I did those few days was preceded by the prayer, “Okay God–what are we doing next?” Dependence on the Lord is a beautiful consequence of not knowing the next step to take.

I have a choice: I can let my brain go to the “what-ifs,” or I can ask God, “What now?” If I’m following Jesus’ logic, going with the “what-ifs” doesn’t benefit tomorrow at all; it only detracts from what I could be discussing with God now.

I appreciate your prayers, as always. My prayer request now is that I will be faithful to seek the Lord for each and every step of this journey placed before me–not worrying about tomorrow but seeking Him first.

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