The battle for joy

April 29th, 2010

During the first trimester of this pregnancy, my thyroid decided to go hyper, which meant that my motor was running on high all the time.  This created a lot of  “false” energy, or nervous energy, which burned out quickly, leaving me completely drained.  My blood pressure was too high (which is unusual for me).  The running motor made it difficult to settle down enough to sleep, and I was awakened easily, so I never seemed to get quite enough true rest.

Then a good friend told me what helped her when she went through the same thing last year.  I tried it, and it worked amazingly well.  Within two weeks, my thyroid was functioning normally.  My blood pressure lowered and I felt like myself again.  Before too long I was taking the normal energy levels for granted.  I quit keeping an eye on my blood pressure.

But for the past several weeks, I have been unusually tired.  I can’t get very far before my energy is gone.  This doesn’t usually hit me until the very end of pregnancy!  Come on, where’s that burst of energy I’ve always counted on at this point?

I began to worry about falling behind on tasks that need my physical energy behind them, and to focus on how to accomplish them anyway.

At the same time, something began nagging the back of my mind, making me feel unsettled and uneasy.

“What does it say about me that when my energy goes out the window, my joy goes with it?  Isn’t that the litmus test for a true follower of Christ?  Shouldn’t joy be there no matter what my circumstances are?  Including being easily exhausted?”

It seemed to me that plodding doggedly through each day, trying to keep putting one foot in front of the other, one thought in front of the other, was not exactly abundant joy.  What about the joy of the LORD being my strength?  What about Jesus’ joy remaining in me and my joy being full?  The fruit of the Spirit being joy?

I was purposefully praising Him, willing to be joyful and praying for help to be joyful, but I was not joyful.  I found lots of Scriptures on joy, but I can see now that the accuser of the brethren was using them to shoot lies at me, and I was listening to him.

“Oh yeah, it’s easy to be “joyful” when you’re not tired, isn’t it? God says He loves a cheerful giver, so why can’t you keep giving, giving, giving, and not lose your cheerfulness? Maybe what you thought was joy was just the normal human response to having the energy you want.  Where is the evidence that God is working supernaturally to put His joy into you?  Maybe you’ve been fooling yourself all along.”

Then God began slowly but deliberately interrupting this train of thought with the truth He wanted me to hear.

“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials.”  Maybe there is a place for deciding to see difficulty as joy, even when the feeling of joy is lacking?  He’s not telling them they are not true brothers if they are not feeling joyful.

“My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.  And by this we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him.  For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart and knows all things.” I’ve been believing my own assessment of myself.   What is God’s assessment of me?  The truth is that I am in Christ Jesus, and God is seeing Him and not condemning me.

A friend sent me this verse, “He will feed His flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and gently lead those who are with young.” That doesn’t sound like He’s telling me to buck up and get back into the fight…

Another friend gently rebuked my statement that I needed energy that I didn’t have.  What we think we need and what we really need are often very different.  God will give us what we truly need.  Don’t forget that REST is something a pregnant mother truly needs. Oh yeah.  Rest.  That should be on my to-do list.

Jesus said to me, “Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Rest? How does this fit with fighting the good fight of faith?  Running with endurance the race that is set before me?  What does it mean to take His yoke upon me and learn from Him?  What did He do?  Oh, He gave up His will and only did His Father’s will.

It’s not that there is no battle, it’s just that one of the weapons He is handing me right now is rest.  Yes, rest.  I began reading Scriptures on rest and was struck by how often God says He is the One who gives it.  It is His and He gives it as a gift to those He loves.  And I’ve been seeing it as an obstacle to the real goal of Getting Things Done.  An obstacle to my will.

My midwife told me that my blood pressure had dropped too low, and that I needed to cut back on the amino acid I was taking for my thyroid.  I have done that, and my blood pressure is getting back up to normal.  I have felt a few spurts of energy, but they seem to be of the nervous type and burn out quickly, leaving me drained again.  And that running motor inside me is interfering with my sleep once again.  I seem to have a choice between two kinds of tiredness!

So today, when I read this, “But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified,” how am I to take it?

Today, instead of prodding me on to force myself to keep working even when I am exhausted, it tells me to let go of my will to accomplish, and discipline my body to rest, in subjection to my Father’s will.

And trust Him with the to-do list.

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3 Responses to “The battle for joy”

  1. Joy Horton says:

    Oh, so true, Susanna! I, too, have a hard time with resting – it feels like such a waste of time <blush>. But I have had to really learn that it’s GOD’S IDEA!!! I need to understand that the way I was raised, at least in this regard, was wrong! It’s a battle for me. I even battle anxiety (though I’m getting better) when I think about taking a day off around the house and just resting. But we are learning gradually that it is God’s WAY.

    On another note – have you had your thyroid levels checked recently? Could it be that you’ve gone over to hypO – and that could be why your energy is sapped? Just a thought. Your symptoms reminded me of friends I’ve had that were hypo.

    Love you.

  2. Susanna says:

    Thank you, Joy, you are such an encouragement to me!

    I had the same thought about being hypo, but when my levels were checked 3 weeks ago, they were still on the hyper side of normal. ???

  3. Joy Horton says:

    Were they checked (and normal) while you were feeling this way? Then it could just be that you’re not sleeping well b/c of being hypER and the pregnancy is catching up with you. (((((hugs)))))

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