Slowing Down, Finding Healing, Uncovering Grace

Have you ever had an ongoing problem in your life you felt like just wasn’t fair?

Maybe it was something simple, like headaches, so that after awhile they became so commonplace, you just accepted them as part of your everyday life.

Maybe you’ve fought cancer, or you’ve been in multiple unhealthy relationships, or suffered from addiction, depression, a learning disability, anxiety. Even those battles have a way of becoming routine—don’t they?

It’s easy to think: “This is just the way it will be forever”

For me, the struggle has been with food allergies and digestive problems.

slowing-down
Photo Credit: DLSimaging, Creative Commons

I don’t usually talk about it here, because it’s embarrassing, and it also because it feels off-topic. But recently I’ve been noticing my physical health is connected to my mental, emotional and spiritual health and I just can’t help but share what I’m uncovering as I walk this long, uncertain, foggy, road to healing.

When it comes to seeking “healing,” I go through phases.

There are times when I just try to accept my food allergies as a natural part of my daily life. I’ve found ways to cope—learned the restaurants where I can most easily eat, learned how to scan menu’s for potential threats, learned to flip packages over at the grocery store and read labels carefully.

I buy the same brands, eat the same foods, go to the same places, week after week.

I’ve learned to be efficient, so that this ailment I have doesn’t slow me down, doesn’t take me off track.

Then, I have moments.

Moments where I begin to question why I can’t process the foods so many other people can—good foods (tomatoes, carrots, honey, fruit). Moments when it all seems so wrong, so unfair, so out of God’s nature that, when people gather around a table, I can’t share their meal. And when these moments come, it makes me wonder if healing is possible.

It makes me wonder what my role might be in it.

Because, of course, healing is never easy.

It always takes us out of our path, off of our route, inside of ourselves, to the places we don’t want to recognize or see, and outside of ourselves, to the places we aren’t sure we’re strong enough to go.

The longer we seek healing, and don’t find it, the harder it is to keep hoping it will ever come.

Should we just go back to coping with the illness?

Should we just settle for being broken?

It’s easy to think we should. It’s easy to think this is just the way things are. It’s easy to just get used to it, get comfortable.

Right now I’m in a healing phase.

I’ve gone back and forth in the twelve years since I was diagnosed, but right now, this is where I am. I’m asking for help, seeking direction, taking steps without being certain they’re the steps ones to take. I’m even taking steps I’ve taken before—ones that didn’t work—but that I’m trusting this time could be different.

This time, it could change. Healing could come. You just never know.

And something really strange and wonderful is happening (which isn’t actually that strange at all, if you think about it).

My life is slowing down.

It has to. There’s no way for us to find healing without slowing our routine. Healing takes time.

These days, when I wake up in the morning, I don’t go straight for my coffee and computer. That’s what I used to do. These days, I walk to the kitchen. I warm some water. I make myself tea. I take vitamins and supplements. I sit, and wait and read and pray.

So much less is getting done, but so much more is happening.

Do you know what I mean?

And at night, when I used to be warming up leftovers or sliding something frozen into the oven, now you’ll usually find me chopping, boiling, mixing, stirring, crafting something beautiful that we can eat. It’s so much slower, but slow isn’t bad. That’s what I’m learning.

Slow brings healing.

Grace is raining down on me.

I used to think that my day was measured by how much I accomplished in it. And, in some ways, I still fall victim to that mentality. On days when I make progress, I feel a swelling of pride and energy. On days where I feel trapped or stalled, my mood plummets and I feel depressed and sad.

But these days, as I slow down and ask for healing, I’m finding so much grace in the waiting. I’m finding permission to move more slowly. Praise God, the guilt is fading away.

And when I slow down—when I go deep, rather than wide—I’m finding progress I couldn’t have made on my own, forward motion I couldn’t have navigated by my own strength.

I’m finding forward motion that I can’t see.

_____

This post was inspired by a beautiful and brand new book by Tsh Oxenreider called Notes From A Blue Bike. Tsh is the founder of a website called The Art of Simple, and this book documents her journey to learning to living more intentionally (and slowly) in a chaotic world.

If you’ve ever felt like life moves too fast, and you wish you could slow down, get your hands on a copy of this book.

Take a minute to watch the book’s trailer. Then grab a copy! Happy reading.

15 comments on “Slowing Down, Finding Healing, Uncovering Grace

  1. Hi Ally 🙂

    I really loved this piece. I’m glad you’re slowing down and trying new things/re-visiting old things to find healing from your food allergies. I’ve been trying to slow down a little and give myself a margin to find healing from issues with anxiety and depression. Sometimes I feel a little guilty when I take extra time or spend extra money on something that may help (especially when I can’t be sure that it will make a difference in the end) but this is a good reminder for me that it’s okay to do that for myself.

    Thanks!
    <3 Stacey

  2. Allison,

    As I live with a handful of autoimmune diseases and other physical challenges (I totally get the food allergy thing), I love to hear what you’re saying about life slowing down. My favorite sentence here: “So much less is getting done, but so much more is happening.” So needed as an underline on what He’s been speaking to me regarding this subject. Thank you!

  3. Thank you for sharing these words today, Ally. I’m in the midst of seeking healing from multiple food intolerances and strange symptoms. It is hard and frustrating. I grow tired of not feeling well, especially this week. But I guess it’s a season to slow down and see grace in each day.

  4. Ally,

    Thank you so much for sharing this! This is something that I have journaling about for quite some time! “The longer we seek healing, and don’t find it, the harder it is to keep hoping it will ever come.” It has almost been 2 years since I have been diagnosed with cancer, and there have been many times where I lost hope in healing, but I have learned over and over that I need to focus on living in the now. Slowing down and enjoying every day, asking for healing rather than for worrying that it won’t. “I’m finding so much grace in the waiting.” Thanks again for your words! <3

  5. It’s like you write this post to me! I have Celiac disease, IBS, and am lactose intolerant. I also suffer from anxiety. My mental heal is directly connected to my digestive health, and you are right slowing down and letting God guide me through my days is what brings healing. Listening for his voice and gentle nudges allows me to do more, be more, and heal. However, I often need the reminder to slow down and stay open. I’m also beginning to see how God is utilizing my weaknesses in the world.

  6. Hi Ally,

    I always love your train of thoughts. A good, honest train. :). I’ll be praying for you. Healing does take time. Love takes time, too. And your post made me wonder if healing and love don’t go hand in hand. A thought I’ll be tumbling around today. If I see myself as God sees me, if I can love what I see in myself, then maybe I’ll rest and actually take some comfort in the long wending way of healing. I just love your posts. They bring good thoughts and new actions. Thank you.

  7. I like the freedom that an allergen restricted diet can offer. I hear you, and wholly agree that some days are just hard. However, I love all that I’ve learned abut my body, my spirit, the earth, and God, on this journey of living for nourishment. Healing is always possible, and where we’re at is always where we’re meant to be. Feeding our bodies and spirit with loving words and intention is equally important as properly sourced and lovingly prepared foods.

    Thank you for the awesome and inspiring post!

  8. “now you’ll usually find me chopping, boiling, mixing, stirring, crafting something beautiful that we can eat. It’s so much slower…”

    YES, and allows us to savor and sip, slowly. Love hearing how you’re doing this, and sharing with us:)

  9. I love this quote from what you wrote.
    “I sit, and wait and read and pray.
    So much less is getting done, but so much more is happening”.

    I have learned this this past year. Truly amazing. I am going to buy this book today! Thank you!

  10. Great post Allison! I recently read Packing Light due to my wife’s nudgings and it was excellent. Thanks for sharing about your food allergies. Alysa has Celiac disease and blogs about how hard it can be when it is so unrecognizable and your world looks so “perfect” but how much of a struggle it truly is. Thought you could relate.

    PS: She’ll be at the IF: Gathering this weekend if you happen to be going. (inspiredRD.com/Alysa Bajenaru)

    Jeff Bajenaru

    http://inspiredrd.com/2013/09/4-things-i-want-you-to-know-about-celiac-disease.html

    http://inspiredrd.com/2012/02/dude-this-is-harder-than-i-thought.html

  11. I resonate with so many things you say here. Having food issues is draining, even when you’re used to it. So glad you are finding a way to slow down and heal.

  12. Wonderful thoughts Allison. I have some medical issues I’ve had to deal with. Taking the time to do what you need to do to take care of yourself is important on so many levels…For you and the people you care about also. It’s a challenge, but it’s worth it.

  13. Ally–
    Just stumbled here from Tsh’s blog, and this post was perfect for me today. I GET this, so much. I’ve had so many chronic pains and food intolerances and I get that cycle of healing and resting. Praying for healing for you, and thank you for this post. So encouraging to read that someone else understands what I feel!

  14. Well damn if I didn’t read this at exactly the right time. Just this morning, I was struggling with feeling “trapped” in my own healing journey, wondering if I am doing completely the wrong things and feeling so, so depressed about it. This helps. Thank you.

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