Recovery: Prayer and Pride

walking a path solo

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

My name is Jeanne, and I’m a very independent woman.”

If I was standing in front of a “recovery” group right now, this would be my confession. Because when I had surgery on my ACL five weeks ago, I had the mistaken impression that, sure, life would slow down for a little while. But I would saddle up and “git ‘er done,” and life would eventually begin to look normal again.

Crutches

Two weekends into recovery, I prayed a prayer I wasn’t truly ready for God to answer. I asked God to show me His plans for my day. My mental to-do’s ticked off in my mind, and I knew it was possible not all the items would be on His list for my day. But surely some of our items would intersect, right?

Let me just say now, don’t pray and ask for God to show you His plans for your day, unless you’re really ready for that to happen. I’ve prayed this prayer in the past, and usually God makes minor tweaks in my day. No big deal.

Braced leg

That Saturday morning, as I pulled open the blinds, there was a pop in my already sore lower ribs. “Crutching it” spiked pain into my side, stealing my breath with each step. The only comfortable place was on the couch . . . which meant I couldn’t do anything on my list.

I spent the next few hours having a pity party, and being irked with God. Thank goodness He’s big enough to handle my irritation. And He’s gracious enough to snap me out of it.

When I complained to Him about my plans being disrupted, He reminded me, “But you prayed for My plans to be brought about in your day.”

“But I didn’t mean for You to allow this pain.”

God used the pain to help me begin realizing a few things.

Trees standing sentinel

I am not Wonder Woman. Somehow, I still keep forgetting this. I need to remember I don’t have to be strong all by myself.

When I choose independence (depending on myself rather than God), I’m going to run out of strength pretty quickly.

I entered my recovery time with the mindset that I’d get through it and move forward. I assumed God would help me through it . . . on my terms.

What I didn’t prepare for was the mental aspect of recovering from a surgery like mine. I’m not strong on my own. Yet, who have I been relying on? Me. It’s left me discouraged and frustrated.

Fence standing tall

We all face things that are way bigger than ourselves. The question is, how will we face them? I had to repent of my own independence, my own desire to control this recovery process. God never intended for me (for us) to face this in my own strength.

When I maintain a “git ‘er done” attitude . . .

. . . when I press into the storm, head down and determination driving my every step forward,

. . . that’s when I will eventually be blown over.

Leaf standing overcoming trials copy

It’s only as we lean on Jesus’ strength that we can truly overcome in our trials. We will be changed in the trial. The question is, will the trial make us better or bitter?

When I realized pride was my driving force, I had to confess that too.

When we function in pride, God steps back. Any time pride is at the helm of our decisions, we don’t think we need Him. When we confess our pridefulness to the Lord He will step in and strengthen us.

Dried flowers

He makes us brave . . . but we first have to trust Him to do so. 

He strengthens us . . . when we see our need for Him. 

He holds us up . . . when we’re leaning hard on Him.

When we walk, depending on Jesus? This is when we can truly know His help in the storms.

What about you? When have you chosen to trust God to help you through a trial? What helps you come to a place of leaning on God rather than on yourself?

I’m linking up with Holly Barrett and #RaRaLinkup.

 

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29 thoughts on “Recovery: Prayer and Pride

  1. Oh, Lord, help Jeanne in this time of enforced stillness to turn toward all the things that will draw her nearer to you.

    Thanks for this honest post. I really struggle with exactly the kinds of questions you are asking. Sometimes it’s hard to understand what God is trying to accomplish, but I trust for grace to come back to the truth that whatever He has in mind is for my good and for His glory.

    Blessings!

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    • Michelle, yes, trusting God’s grace, and leaning into His plan—even when we don’t understand—are such important things to do. And yes, may we both remember that the things God allows into our lives are for our good and His glory. I’m so glad you stopped by.

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  2. I recognize that brace. Kind of constricting, huh. When I had my knee surgery I was laid up for 6 mos. and that Super Woman became Super Dependent Woman. But it also allowed God to bring people into my life that wanted to help; people who never occurred to me as helpers before. God has a way of making a way even when we fight it every step (or limp) of the way. Keep leaning. You’ll make it. Besides, look at how much more time you have to write. 🙂

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    • Oh yes, Lisa. Constricting is a good description for that brace. 🙂 Thankfully, the doc said I could take it off last week. I still wear it in crowded places because I’m not totally steady yet.

      I’ve had to learn to be dependent on others to help me, too, especially in the first few weeks. As I’m able to move about more, it’s too easy to just “do it myself” rather than ask for help. But when I do this, I always end up hurting in the end. There is a beauty in choosing to depend on others, and to invite them into our need. Leaning on God and others is a good way to limp through a season like this. 🙂

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  3. I pray you continue to heal just as intended–with rest and a peaceful spirit while doing so! I feel the tension between doing, leaning on my own understanding and letting go all the time. I continually have to confess my pride and know He is transforming me. And hold onto to His promises that He is our great healer and although His ways are not our ways, His plans are always to prosper us to become more in His image as He created us to be.

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    • Lynn, I suspected I wasn’t alone in the leaning/doing/letting go struggle. It’s hard to stay in a place of yieldedness. I’m thankful God is patient and gracious with us when we are acting out in pride. Thank goodness He continues to reveal it and refine us through situations. God’s ways are higher than our ways. I have to remember this always. And, often being conformed into the image of Jesus means letting go of what we think is best and leaning into what He knows is best.

      Thanks for sharing your wisdom here today!

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  4. Yes, this part is so important for me to remember:” When we function in pride, God steps back. Any time pride is at the helm of our decisions, we don’t think we need Him. When we confess our pridefulness to the Lord He will step in and strengthen us.” I catch myself here often and have to step back and let Him take the helm back!
    Thanks for these words!

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  5. Thanks for the insightful thoughts. I, too, understand the feeling of wanting to be independent and productive. These days I’m slowly beginning to realize that my fatal flaw is trying to control everything and everyone in my life so that I make absolutely no mistakes. All that does is put a strain on my relationships with people and my own energy. I need to learn to just let go of control, and let things be as they are, walking through them step by step.
    I hope that you guys are doing well. 🙂 It’s been so long since I saw you all last.

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    • Becca, there’s such a balance between being independent and productive and being right where God wants us to be, isn’t there? Confession: I like control too. Striving for perfection so we don’t make mistakes is a condemning struggle. We can never quite achieve it, can we? Learning to trust God has been a life-long lesson for me. As we learn to let go of control, we experience surprising freedom. 🙂

      We’re all doing pretty well. I appreciate your transparency, and I’m so glad you stopped by today!

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  6. I can only imagine all that you are learning, Jeanne. We often pray that God will lead us, but we’re hoping that He’ll do it on our terms. I’ve never recovered from a surgery like that, but have had a broken, twisted ankles (I’m a clutzy girl!), and God speaks a similar message to me each time.

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    • God has a way of teaching us through life situations, surgery or no surgery, doesn’t He, Betsy? 🙂 I’ve definitely learned some things and seen some things in me that aren’t pretty. God is working, and that’s the good thing. I confess, I grinned when you said you are a klutzy girl. I am too! I sprained my ankle when we went to Yellowstone a couple summers ago. I seem to have a pattern of injuring myself on vacation. 😉

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  7. So recognize your struggle, Jeanne (with pride). Hugs! It’s hard to admit that ultimately we are not in control, and that often our plans are in fact not His plans. Yes, pride can stand in the way, but sometimes this pride can be rooted in human experiences that have taught us that we must be strong to be acceptable and worthy of others’ love. Praying He would continue to use this time of frailty and frustration to bless you and bring healing to refresh and encourage you in His Timing.

    So true that when we confess that pride, like you shared of doing, He can build us up in His Love again and teach us to trust Him, the true and perfect God who will never leave or forsake us.

    As to your questions:

    When have you chosen to trust God to help you through a trial?
    When I gave up my teaching job to stay at home, when I was nearing a burn-out, following God’s leading (so much good has come from this).

    When I started therapy for PTSD with a non-Christian therapist because there weren’t any local Christian ones, trusting that God could use whoever He wanted (and He did: powerfully!! Still wonder about her: her name was Esther, so I suspect she grew up in a home of faith…makes me think God selected her to encourage her to question things again).

    What helps you come to a place of leaning on God rather than on yourself?
    – meeting the ends of myself through illness or fasting (PTSD taught me that ultimately without God there is NO hope, fasting showed me that comfort food had covered up grief I’d failed to let Him into)
    – conviction through Scripture
    – stepping into fearful situations led by His Spirit (offering prayer for people on the street, stopping to talk to people on the street He prompts me to, sharing vulnerably through my writing)
    – friends who aren’t scared to speak the truth to me, even if it hurts,
    – praise and thanksgiving (making Him big)…suddenly I realize just how little I am and how desperately I need Him!

    Think you’d find my latest post interesting: it’s on receiving Christ’s Gift of Trusting Love (it..always trusts: 1 Corinthians 13).

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    • Anna,I always appreciate your visits. Your honesty is a blessing and encouragement.

      I love how God showed up when you stepped out in obedience (even if it was with fear and trembling 😉 ). He is so faithful to guide us to the people who can help us, and in the decisions we need to make.

      Like you, I’m thankful for friends who speak truth to me, even when it’s hard to do so.

      Thanks for adding to the conversation here!

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  8. Beautiful, Jeanne. I hope you are feeling better. Oh, goodness … trusting God thru a trial. I’ve facing one now … do I go this way or that? And this way will be hard, but that way will be hard, too. Do I trust God to provide the way? Do I really trust Him? I’m praying for you. xoxo

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    • Shelli, I’m praying for you. And you ask the questions most of us come face-to-face with at some point in our lives. Is God trustworthy? Will I choose to trust Him? Thanks for the prayers. I got to stop wearing the brace last week and it’s nice. 🙂 Now to get my knee straightening out, and I’ll be a happy girl. 🙂

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  9. Oh, friend – the lessons He teaches. Stealing our pride can be quite sobering, but it’s a gracious God that strips us of all the nonsense so He can finally get us where He wants us. I always wonder what I would have gone off and done if He didn’t hold me down. It’s such a testament to His Spirit in you that you can draw the good out of the bad – even though I know that can be a bit of a wrestle to start with. Praying you are healing, resting, and depending on the dependable One!

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    • I agree, Tiffany. It is a gracious God who strips us of our pride and those other things that hinder authentic fellowship with Him. I’m so thankful (now) for the times He held me down, restrained me from getting something I thought I really wanted. He always know best.

      Thanks for the prayers. I am healing. Slowly but steadily. Rest comes when it can. 😉 And yes, I’m learning to depend on the most dependable One…even more. 🙂

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    • Thanks so much for the prayers, Bethany. I’m so blessed that people are still praying. God is answering, in His timing. Recovery is coming one small step at a time. 🙂 Yes, leaning on God is the best way to find relief. 🙂

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  10. I know where you’re coming from Jeanne. Returning to point where I could trust God again came only after realizing that my pride was standing in the way of my healing. It was after humbly laying my broken heart at His feet that He healed my broken spirit, making it possible for me to trust again. . . and live like I’d never lived before.

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  11. hi jeanne:) funny how our plans don’t always work out the way we expect when we are recovering from surgery:( ugh! blessings as you learn to take it slow for awhile. i know that won’t be easy. i know i’m slow getting my post up. didn’t make it until today:(

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    • Martha, please forgive the delay in my response. It was a crazy week. 🙂 Yes, recovering from surgery always seems to take longer than we expect, doesn’t it? I’m learning to take it slow, but it’s not easy for this do-er. 😉 Thanks so much for stopping by!

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