I am an enneagram 6. If you know anything about the enneagram, you know that’s the worrier type. There are also some amazing qualities that fellow sixes and I possess, like fierce loyalty and dependability, but worry seems to be the hallmark. I’ve spent a lot of time over the past 45 years worrying about loss, pain, heartbreak, what people thought of me, the well being of my kids, body image... you get the picture. But for some reason, even though I did worry about a lot of different medical conditions affecting me or my family, cancer was never something I focused on.
Over the years I had learned that my worry and concern were using this great big imagination that the Lord gave me, for bad. I had a choice to make and I could either imagine all of the terrible things that could happen to me or I could imagine the beauty that could possibly come.
When I heard the word cancer come out of my doctor’s mouth, it felt like all the years of worry were culminating in that one moment. Again, I had a choice to make. Focus on what could go wrong or what could go right.
Thankfully for my cancer battle, the treatment I chose was major, but quick. I didn’t have to do months of chemo or radiation. That treatment choice put me post-cancer very quickly, almost too quickly to really process all that I had been through.
So here I sit on the other side, a year out. I feel changed. I’ve really wrestled with the expectations I had of God. How I assumed my health would be good. How I never would have admitted to thinking that, or even knew I was thinking that until the days following my diagnosis.
I’ve realized this year that sometimes when I would put my trust in God, I would be trusting that he would keep me safe, healthy and free of pain. A year out I am understanding more how trust is about letting go of things you hold dear, giving up control, believing God is who he says he is and understanding that no matter what happens we are loved beyond measure by the creator of the world.
We are reminded in John 14:27 of the gift Jesus left us. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” Peace is ours for the taking, he already gave it to us. So I could sit and use my imagination to worry that the cancer will return and wonder if I will survive it next time. Or I can choose to be so grateful for every day the Lord gives me and use my imagination to imagine a beautiful future. I can sit in the peace of today that he offers so freely. I can take steps to keep myself healthy and lessen the chances of recurrence and I can trust that I am loved deeply by our Savior.
Is there something you are worrying about?
Practice using your imagination to imagine that situation going in a positive direction. Pray about what you are trusting God with. Are you trusting him to keep you from experiencing any pain in this world or are you trusting in who he says he is?