I’m not sure if anyone uses the term “chill pill” anymore. I’m guessing probably not. So if any of you out there still had any questions, now you know. I am no longer cool. I suppose that’s what 5 kids can do to a guy.(That and a few extra pounds, and a lot less hair.) Well, now that this is confirmed, we can move on the real point of this post. The Divine Chill Pill.
So what exactly is a “Divine Chill Pill?”
Just over a month ago, life was as busy as ever. As I said earlier and as many of you know I have 5 kids. My wife and I both work full time, yet still can’t afford daycare, so we have to alternate our schedules. Between school, work, doctors appointments, and the occasional household disaster, life is tough. Stress is high. It is during these times that it is so easy to lose focus on what is truly important. I know we all have been there. I know I fall into this trap more times that I’d like to admit.
My wife calls me an “all or nothing” type of guy. Whatever I do I throw myself into it completely. Last year after returning to work following being off for about a year, I was excited to get back to the grind. It felt amazing to be back into the swing of things– being productive, doing something I’m good at, and relating to other adults on a regular basis. Slowly, my focus began to shift.(So slowly in fact that I hardly noticed) I had recently left pastoral ministry, a position that afforded me much time for study and prayer. In this new career, this wasn’t quite so easy. In the beginning I made conscious efforts to continue walking faithfully with the Lord. But slowly, after time, my spiritual life became more and more undisciplined. This is hard for me to confess…
As this was happening, things began to get harder. Not so much at work, like I said, I love my work. I’m pretty good at what I do. But at home things were a struggle. Of course, this is always the case, especially with a large family. The question is though, what are you doing in the midst of the struggle. Are you clinging to Christ? Are you keeping him squarely in focus? If you are going through tough times, yet following after Jesus…You are right where you need to be. Sadly, this was not me. My focus on the things of God was nearly gone. Sure I could give God lip service, but that isn’t what he desires.
But the amazing thing about God is this. Even when our hearts are as far as they possibly can be from him. He still wants a relationship with us. He doesn’t leave us in this place. We have a God who never stops pursuing those who are his. And the fact of the matter is, God is very good at doing his job. Though sometimes, we don’t always like his methods.
I spent about a week pouting as God decided to get my attention about a month ago. So how did he do it? I mysteriously tore a muscle in the upper part of my leg. I have no idea how it happened. I just know I woke up in the middle of the night with a cramp like I’ve never had before. For hours I tried to get this cramp to let go of my leg, but nothing I could do would ease the pain. (Now that I type this, this cramp kinda sounds a little bit like God and his refusal to let go, no matter what I do…) Finally after a few hours, either the cramp eased somewhat, or my leg just grew accustomed to the pain, I had some relief. But, over the following days, the pain kept increasing, to the point that I could hardly walk. I had major bruising all over my leg. I went to the doctor, had an MRI, and they discovered a partially torn muscle.
So, there I was…Stuck on the couch. I could hardly walk. I couldn’t get my own food, could hardly dress myself, or even make it to the bathroom. I couldn’t put my kids to bed, certainly couldn’t work. I was miserable. Like I said, I spent a good week pouting and feeling sorry for myself. Finally, I decided maybe I should get back to reading. My library consists mainly of books on faith, so this is where I went. I also, for the first time in a while spent time deeply studying the Word of God. The natural outflow of this was returning to talking to God in prayer on a regular basis. Finally, I began to see the purpose in everything that was going on.
God was telling me to slow down and focus on Him. He was giving me a “Divine Chill Pill”…
I think God often does this. Usually it isn’t much fun. I’m also well aware that in the grand scheme of things God was really gentle with me. I know many people that have had a “Divine Chill Pill” that I wouldn’t want to swallow. Unfortunately, these pills often taste a whole lot like suffering…But that is the purpose of suffering. To turn our hearts to Christ. While these times aren’t fun, they are certainly necessary. These pills are awfully hard going down, once we grasp the purpose of it all, the benefits are amazing.
“Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways.” Psalm 119:37