Thursday, October 20, 2011

It Took a Heart Attack

"I had a heart attack because I'm a control freak."

That's what I told some friends yesterday. My wife will tell you that I'm not your stereotype control freak. I don't rant or rave or try to get my way. My "freakiness" has expressed itself in having certain expectations about what I'll get accomplished in the course of a week or a day or my lifetime.

My heart attack, suffered a year and a half ago, has caused me to begin to learn to practice what I've always preached: It's OK to have an agenda, as long as you realize that it may need disrupting.

James writes in the New Testament portion of the Bible: "Come now, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a town and spend a year there, doing business and making money.' Yet you do not even know what tomorrow will bring." (James 4:13-14). Money has never motivated me, but I have fooled myself with the idea that I could "plan the work and work the plan." Life, it turns out, is messier and less predictable than that.

Planning is fine. But we need to be flexible about our plans. Some of those things that interrupt your plans may actually be part of God's plan for your day.

Having my agenda interrupted caused me stress and stress, when sustained and unchecked, can lead to heart attacks and other negative physical reactions. Stress, of course, isn't what happens to you. It's what you do in response to what happens to you. Stress is inevitable; how we handle it is optional.

Not to be cute about it, but I'm now learning that when "interruptions" to my agenda come along, instead of being stressed, I can feel blessed. Many interruptions are more than annoying occurrences; They're opportunities God gives us to love Him, love others, and be useful to Him.

I'm learning that it's better for my health, my character, and my daily walk with God to be interruptible. I've preached it for years. It took a heart attack to get me to start living it.


Glen A. said...

Point taken, and I think I've learned a lesson from you on this one as I reflect back on my life as it was 15 years ago when I had my heart attack, and what has changed today. :)

Ron M. said...

You have helped many on your journey including me! I also try to remember that things happen for a reason and when I feel I'm being shorted I think of Job.