From my friend, Peter Rosenberger on being a caregiver:
Posted in my high-school chemistry class, a sign ominously read “Flunk Now and Avoid the Rush.” The teacher, Mr. Faile (his real name), had a wonderful sense of humor—and while I didn’t distinguish myself as a chemistry scholar, he still remains one of my all-time favorite teachers. His sign seemed to stick with me, and has now become a life-lesson for me.
Recklessly hurling myself at serving as a caregiver through decades long medical nightmare, I’ve had ample opportunities to discover that failure is inevitable. Failure to be patient, failure to trust God, failure to live up to promises, failure to make good decisions; the list seems to stretch endlessly. I guess you could say that I’m the “crash-test dummy” of caregivers.
Admitting failure is never easy; nor is admitting that we need help. Yet, that admission is the starting point for a calmer, healthier, richer, and more meaningful life. The sooner we admit we are powerless and not the master of our own domain, the sooner we can accept our God-given role as a steward and not an owner. Feeling out of control is terrifying. But, learning we don’t have to be in control, is freedom beyond our wildest dreams. Yet, accepting that freedom is not a one-time event; it’s daily often hourly (sometimes moment by moment).
I still wrestle with trying to be in control, but now I possess better tools to push back against that belief system. I’ve learned that I don’t need God’s help simply to deal with my wife’s medical challenges, or dealing with financial pressures, or to achieve my personal goals. No, I need God’s help on all those things—and so much more. I need His help on a core level; the whole system’s out of whack. I’ve learned it’s hard to cry out to a Savior that you don’t think you need. I’ve learned that God allows us to collapse into a heap, in order to bring us to our knees. I’ve learned that I need a Savior. I’ve seen my work; I REALLY need a Savior!
The Apostle Paul displayed his profound understanding of this: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Gal. 2:20 NIV
Just that one scripture (and there are thousands more to reinforce the thought) frees me from the burden of it “being all up to me.” That belief that “…it is all up to me” is Landmine #7 in my new book, 7 Caregiver Landmines and How You Can Avoid Them. All the pressure is off, if I choose to accept His provision; if I choose to “flunk now and avoid the rush” by admitting I need a Savior.
The great news is our Savior did not fail. His victory over sin and death counts as ours— when we put our trust in Him. Resting in His victory supremely qualifies me for whatever task …including caregiving, because of His strength, His grace, and His faithfulness.
Once again, Paul clearly gets this when he declares, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13 NKJV
Flunk Now And Avoid The Rush wasn’t simply a funny sign in my chemistry teacher’s room, it’s a call to action for me as a follower of Christ to stop trusting on my efforts, and trust the one who did not …nor cannot … fail!