I was met with torrential rain and thunderstorms while driving home from work recently. Driving hunched forward, both hands tightly gripping the wheel, and straining to try to see the road through the sheets of rain, it was eerily similar to that evening months ago when I was rear-ended. Same weather, same roads, and I was even wearing a solid black dress—just like that memorable evening.
The moment that truck collided with my van I was thrust into a new and unexpected season of life. One filled with headaches, doctor visits, shaky nerves, and an inescapable brain cloud that followed me around everywhere. Now that I’m finally on the other side of it I can look back and see how poorly I really felt and how much even my personality was altered.
Over the months I got in the habit of telling myself and others that I was recovering from a concussion. It was how I helped remind myself to rest, take it easy, stop trying to conquer the world, etc. It was a mindset that was very hard for me to accept early on, but I got better at it as I acknowledged the need. Eventually the concussion practically became part of me. Hi, I’m Amy and I’m a recovering concussion patient. However, my post-concussion season is now drawing to a close and I must be intentional about letting it go.
I was having coffee with a new friend recently and we got to talking about her anxiety-linked eczema. It reminded me that once upon a time when I was a younger adult I also struggled with some health problems that I believe were related to stress. Over the course of a couple of years, with my mother’s help, I managed to get on top of the problems and start to be healthy again. However, one night before bed I had a sudden realization—I had never actually prayed for healing. I’m sure other people had prayed for me, and maybe I’d prayed for some symptomatic relief now and again, but I’d never actually asked God to take it all away from me.
There are a couple factors that went into this lack of prayer. The one that came first would have been a voice in my head telling me that somehow I deserved it. I wasn’t good enough in who knows what area and that meant that I deserved what I got and didn’t deserve help. That’s a terrible place to be mentally, but I was in a dark depression. The next reason I declined to pray for healing was because as time wore on with the illnesses it’s like they became a part of my identity. Of course I’d never admit to that consciously, but deep down I knew feeling sick was something I could rely on—like a crutch. So even after my first reason wore away and I stepped out of darkness I still needed my crutch of poor health potential.
So there I was, about to go to bed that night long ago, finally feeling convicted to ask for healing. Moments of vulnerability like that are powerful. The Enemy should be frightened when we identify something that we’ve been leaning on that isn’t God and decide we are ready to let go of it. My prayer at the time went something like this: Dear Lord, thank you for being good. Thank you for your patience with me as I’ve clung to something for far too long instead of you. I’ve never really asked you for physical healing and I’m not really sure how. But I’ve decided that I no longer want this in my life and I’d like you to take it away. If it is your will for it to remain with me, that’s okay. But I will no longer hold onto it as a part of me. I give this to you to do with as you see fit. It will rest in my open hand along with everything else I am and have. Please, Lord, let me be healed and let this no longer have power over me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
I felt peace and I think that was one of my life’s first true moments of surrender. A time to just totally have faith and confidence that God’s will was going to be accomplished and I was okay with it. My identity is in Him alone and has nothing to do with any part of me. The story does actually get cooler though because the next day I called up my doctor and asked her to do a blood test on me. I wanted her to check the levels of something the doctors told me would always be in my blood as a precursor to autoimmune disorders. She told me the test was pointless, but let me do it anyway. The levels in my blood didn’t decrease—they disappeared! A truly miraculous story physically, but I believe the lessons of surrender were of the most value.
Back to present day where sharing my story of prayer and healing reminded me that it’s time to let go of my concussion. I don’t need to pray for healing this time—it’s just a reminder of a need to surrender something that has become comfortable to me. If I didn’t know better it might be tempting to milk it and let it drag on. Use it as an excuse to not accomplish things or to gain sympathy. Fortunately I learned my lesson long ago that these seasons of life will not define me or become part of my identity. However, sometimes I still need a reminder to recognize the season change.
I know not every problem we have will be healed or solved overnight after one prayer. However, I do strongly believe that if we are in the habit of continually surrendering these things and letting them merely rest in our open palms then at the very least we will have peace. But wouldn’t it be a shame to carry something with you from season to season simply because you wouldn’t let it go? Maybe God didn’t intend for a certain burden to become a part of you but your fist is closed on it so tightly he can’t exchange it for a blessing? I would hate for you to hold onto something out of fear that you won’t recognize yourself without it.
That was my problem—I couldn’t envision a healthy Amy, so I was afraid of the possibility and subconsciously ran from it. Identity is a tricky thing. We all have a way we define ourselves, whether we’ve ever put it into words or not. But just like hearts and minds our identities must be protected. Do you know your identity? I fight to keep mine to the simple truth of “I am a child of God”. Everything else about who I am is held in my open palm, so that if those things are lost to me I still know exactly who I am: a child of God. All the other good things that people see me as are just fruit of my one true identity. Seasons may come and go with new challenges, but my identity remains firm on its foundation and I don’t need to carry around things that no longer have purpose in my life.