“We can change the homes we live in, the friends we’ve known and the clothes we’ve worn…
“We could fly across the world, visit new places or investigate new planets; but no matter what our minds sought after, our challenges remain the same; to accept what it means to be human…
‘To embrace our strengths, our weaknesses, our dreams and to learn how to walk away or fight our battles”
– Yinka, 2010 Cancer Survivor.
I’d really been looking forward to vacation and wanted a-me-time alone to relax. I had also purchased the most practical swim suit to gracefully show off my post-cancer surgery scars that I have been battling to accept for years and also to shame the after-effects of thyroid imbalance!
As I sat by the shoreline, chilling out, and soaking in the sun with my family, all I really wanted was to enjoy and take in every moment of creating fond memories, not chase after or flick uninvited ants away from my towel and off my legs.
But as it seems, all of the ants on this Island had arranged a massive dance party and had failed to inform me ahead of time. Literally, I missed the battle-memo!
I was un-invited and I had to leave.
I’d surrendered, not because I was weak and frail or couldn’t indulge my very-zealous 7-year-old in spraying a dozen-can of insecticide, but…’I was learning to let go and embrace my inner peace!
How do you pick your battles?
How do you fight your battles?
Through praises or lamenting?
These ants didn’t want me to join their beach party and I didn’t want to be there either. I walked away discouraged and disappointed as I threw a little tantrum in my head. Why should I have to leave? I’m the human here! I paid to be here! Shouldn’t these ants be out there in the dirt? why here? why me?
Not today, I muttered as I adjusted my plans, packed up and gathered my family and went to the indoor waterpark pool instead.
Here, I allowed myself to lounge on the lazy river pool tube as I was selflessly carried through with the tides from the waves.
Mission Accomplished: Battle won!
So, there are times in life when things don’t work out as planned. Times when our expectations go unmet and we have to move on or make major adjustments.
Moments when we are unexpectedly approached by life’s challenges and we must decide on which battle is worth fighting…
You might feel like you’re spinning your wheels in a relationship right now. Or the word “cancer” just reminds you of a hopeless ailment that leads to tortured death? a word never to be mentioned, again?
Or maybe you haven’t moved on from something because you don’t like to quit, even though your time and energy might be more effectively spent elsewhere?
Perhaps, the recovery process of a situation is just too painful and overwhelming for you or the caregivers? Or you have a scheduled medical test coming up and you are in dire need of hope to sustain your doubts?
Oh goodness! There-is-indeed-a-battlefield of un-reconciled, unresolved thoughts going on in our minds as we anticipate how to deal with it, what’s next? and what if?
You’re not alone.
It might feel like you are surrounded by raging battles, but really…
And still, we all have to wade through stormy waters at times, just to understand why it all started.
I don’t know the particulars of your delayed blessings, unmet expectations or beach-ant frustrations, but God does. Even if you haven’t talked with Him about them yet.
It-is-not-every-battle-party we are invited to that needs attention or attendance!
Proverbs 19:21 says, “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.”
But how can we know when to stay and when to let go?
How can we know whether we should say yes or no to that opportunity?
How can we know when our uncomfortable situation is to Refine us, to Rebuke us or to Re-route us?
There’s no simple answer, but there is a simple action:
PRAY. Ask God for direction. Be still before Him and listen.
Be faithful to go where He leads… even if it means that you need to change your plans, your attitude, your location or vocation. Just surrender to His infinite mercies!
So, as we celebrate OCTOBER – Cancer awareness month, I am hoping we all can do more than just wear pink, look cute or display our external compassion on all our social media platforms!
This is deeper especially when you have lost someone to cancer, and still dealing with the pain of accepting it and moving forward!
Today, I am hoping we can Call up, Visit or Engage with a cancer survivor, take them out to watch a silly comic relief movie and laugh-out-loud together like there’re no scars visible on or within their bodies!
Tomorrow, I am hoping we can Pamper the ones currently going through treatment – Be an escort to one going for chemo or radiation treatment, schedule a spa treatment or visit the children’s museum together and find humor together in the simple things of life!
As always, I am hoping we can Encourage and Pray with the one who’s lost a family member or friend to cancer by just being there for them emotionally….and then only can we confidently carry the banner and campaign for awareness, intervention and erase all hopelessness.
Yours in HOPE as I share Michael Smith’s “Surrounded – Fight My Battles”
Yinka. (Team: Greater Than Cancer)