written November 24, 2020
In December of 2019, I received a heart diagnosis regarding a condition I’ve probably been dealing with since birth, supraventricular tachycardia (otherwise known as SVT). Spending my childhood and early adulthood fairly healthy and asymptomatic, seasonal allergies, stress from a contentious divorce, weight gain, and a number of other miscellaneous common excuses for my type symptoms masked the source of my real problem until it no longer could. Let me tell you, waking with your heart racing at 170-200 beats per minute for 90 minutes is no laughing matter. You start to appreciate life differently: when folding laundry makes you tachycardic, when walking around the block at a turtle’s pace makes you feel like you’ve run a marathon, and when simple chores around the house make you dizzy because you turned your head too much to the right or to the left. Realization sets in. You see every breath as a gift. Every heart beat is viewed as an echo of God’s continued purpose for your life. No year has driven this home more than 2020.
The other day, I saw a quote on Facebook which read: “I’m not adding this year to my life, I didn’t use it.” Really? That saddened me. A whole year wasted? I couldn’t let that be. Not for me. Being the recipient of “lightning” always striking more than once, I’ve had the choice of succumbing to self-pity with COVID restrictions and social distancing due to being in the high risk category, or I could rise to the challenge and make this time count. I stopped and started making an inventory of all the ways I had chosen to live through a world-wide pandemic instead of throwing away such a very rich and rare opportunity, and I’m proud of how much I’ve grown and allowed God to lead me.
- Scrapbooking all the precious years of my children’s childhood I’ve been too busy to sit and reminisce on before now
- Singing with our online church choir, learning knew ways to praise Him in the storm
- Sending cards of encouragement to friends and loved ones
- Making thank you posters for our essential workers during lockdown
- Joining a year-long Bible study and actually bookending my days in worship
- Participating in a book club, making new friends via Zoom instead of isolating myself at home (I’m normally shy around new people—this was huge and outside my comfort zone)
- Starting a blog online for the first time, risking authenticity in public, hoping to inspire and encourage those who feel alone and lost
- Reaching out and asking for prayer when health challenges became too much—discovering independence can easily become a deterrent to blessings
You may not get to choose your circumstances, but you do get to choose your attitude. “Stuck” is a frame of mind, not an actual truth—unless you make it one—and God doesn’t want you to go about life being unfulfilled. “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10 NKJV).