Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Dreams and Reality - Bridging the Great Divide


“That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being revived every day.” – 2 Corinthians 4:16

I looked intently at the woman in the picture. Perhaps the photo was airbrushed, I thought. Or maybe the camera flash makes it invisible to the naked eye. But I could swear that the person I was looking at didn’t have an ounce of sweat on her, pretty remarkable for a 92-year-old who had just run a marathon. Pretty inspirational too, considering not only her age, but that she was a cancer survivor who had also recently lost her husband. Wow. She certainly deserved all the accolades she was receiving in the press.

If I am really honest, though, I have to admit that my reactions to stories come with a mixed bag of emotions. Yes, there is the warrior side of me that cries out, “Well, if SHE can do THAT, then I can certainly do what I want to do!” The courageous, determined inner me lines up with the famous Nike slogan Just do it, and I momentarily I believe I can, in fact, do anything! In my mind’s eye, I envision myself hiking across the Peruvian landscape to the top of Machu Picchu, high in the Andes Mountains. Next, I’m seeing myself white water rafting and kayaking the famous Snake River in Idaho. Oh, the exhilaration! Yes, with that extra bit of inspiration provided by someone else’s remarkable achievement, I’m ready to take on the world!

For a moment.

The problem comes after that first moment. It’s when reality sets in. Oftentimes, there is a gulf between what my mind wants to do and what my body is able to do. While I still have all the same dreams I had in my 20’s, and I certainly am willing to work hard at making many of them come true, I have to wrestle with the fact that a 50-year-old body with an autoimmune disease may not be able to keep up with all of those youthful fantasies created during a much fitter time of my life.

I know I am not the only one facing this situation. Age and experience takes its toll on everyone. A world-class athlete is faced with adjusting his dreams after a diving accident renders him paralyzed. A ballerina’s arthritis makes it too painful to dance, much less landing the starring role. A recovering alcoholic wonders how to rekindle the romance in her marriage now that the days of “red wine and candlelight” are over.

So how do we bridge the divide?

God’s word doesn’t pull any punches. Every day, we are one day closer to death. Our bodies age and there is not a thing we can do about it. Yes, we may be able to delay the effects a bit, with healthy habits, or perhaps we can try to cover them up with makeup or plastic surgery. God says there is an upside, however.

Today’s verse in 2 Corinthians that reminds us that while our bodies may not be what they used to, our spirits are being revived every day. And tied to that verse is the admonition to never give up! 

I had shoulder surgery recently and honestly wondered if I would ever be able to use my right arm again in the same way I used to. The pain of recovery and physical therapy was excruciating and my range of motion was extremely limited. Yet, every day, I would do the exercises with that far-off dream of being able to kayak again. Scripture-based Christian songs kept my spirits up, encouraging me to “press on” and reminding me that I was an “overcomer.” Progress was slow, sometimes just detectible in centimeters. But one day at a time, I grew stronger and more capable…and finally did it! The joy of being in a kayak again, four months to the day from my surgery, was immeasurable. It wasn’t the same level of kayaking I did before – my husband and I decided that going “tandem” on a calm lake, for just 45 minutes, was the best I could do for now – but just being in the boat with a paddle in my hands felt wonderful. The thrill of that small moment in time made the slow-going, painful process all worth it.

So it is with any of our goals. They seem far off and unreachable at times. Perhaps we have to modify them a bit or scale them down, and be content in celebrating just small victories. For me, that may be a short paddle on a lake. For someone else, it might be crossing the room without a walker. For another, it might be taking that first step to fight an addiction. For you, it may be something different altogether.

Tweet: No matter how small or lofty our dreams are, in the midst of our pursuit, God is our ultimate cheerleader. http://ctt.ec/957v3+ No matter how small or lofty our dreams are, in the midst of our pursuit, God is our ultimate cheerleader.

No matter how small or lofty our dreams are, in the midst of our pursuit, God is our ultimate cheerleader. That doesn’t mean He is going to grant us every wish. He sees the big picture and knows how to work everything for good, even when we don’t see it. But He has promised this: When we [first] delight in Him, [then] He will give us the desires of our hearts (Psalm 37:4). As we spend time with Him, He becomes our delight and plants new desires for us to pursue, right where we are at. And step by step, as we commit our way to Him, He charts out a path that leads to life abundant. Each day, He is there to revive our spirits and to give us the strength to go on, and out of that perseverance comes peace, patience and ultimately joy.

What are your dreams today, and how have they been affected by your present reality? Have you taken them to God? How has spending time with Him changed your dreams and how you pursue them?


Dreams and Reality - Bridging the Great Divide originally appeared on Spring Sight blog, by Linda W. Perkins.  Get even more encouragement by following me on FacebookPinterest, and Twitter.

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Today I am linking up with:

Intentionally Pursuing Intentional Tuesday   
purposefulfaith.com

9 comments:

  1. So glad that he always grants us more desires...desires from him! He is always our support, praise God! Visiting from #intentionalTuesday.

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    1. Amen, Kristen! Thanks for stopping by!

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  2. Hi Linda,
    Recently, it is my dream to write that had to be put on hold because of my present reality. I have started and stopped for a few years now due to the adoption and needs of my daughter with special needs. I know He is my cheerleader now and if this is the time for my writing to make a difference in His Kingdom, I believe it will happen. If not, the reality will stink for me, but ultimately I will be okay in the wait because I know He is there to walk me through it!
    Thanks so much for sharing your beautiful words and heart! I'm so glad I was your neighbor at #RaRalinkup!
    Blessings and smiles,
    Lori

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    1. I believe it is never an accident, Lori, when God puts two people together, even when it is as neighbors on a linkup! My daughter was also adopted and I could have just as easily written this piece about my dream of becoming a mother! I saw your brief bio in our #RaRa group and some of the issues you're dealing with. My heart goes out to you. Let's connect via FB and talk sometime. I'm here for you! Blessings.

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  3. Thanks so much, Linda! I look forward to a new friendship!!

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  4. Wonderful post Linda. It's good to find refuges for comfort and solace when you live with chronic pain; sometimes we feel pretty bent up and not fit for anything - that encouraging word from one who physically understands truly makes a difference. May God bless those of His who chronically suffer with a comforting touch from His mighty healing hand. {{Hugs}} :) Jodee

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    1. Thank you so much, Jodee. Yes, this is meant to be a place of spiritual uplifting for those of us with chronic pain/illness. When I was first diagnosed with RA last year, I couldn't find one, so I created one! My prayer is that it becomes a source of hope to many who are suffering, and that it points them to our Great Physician who is the only one who can provide true healing for the soul! God bless you and gentle hugs back! :-)
      P.S. - I just checked out your blog too and it's wonderful! Yes, authentic worship is what it's all about!

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  5. Linda, I applaud your efforts in the kayak, tandem or not those things require upper body work. I find as age progresses I have to find the balance between what I wish or even used to be able to do with my current limitations. But celebrating steps forward and leaning on God and seeking Him for wisdom helps me keep moving forward. Thank you, Linda, for sharing your heart at #IntentionalTuesday on Intentionally Pursuing. : )

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    1. Thanks, Crystal! I appreciate your encouragement and for inviting me to be a part of such a great group of Christian bloggers!

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