Feeling grateful for the right off-ramps and interchanges in life

Some of you may not know that I have fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. [I usually don't write about it here and choose to write about it on my health blog, Could Be Worse... Could Be Raining (click here to go there).]

I have days and weeks when I can accomplish more than others. This week is turning out to be in the "others" category.

When I'm facing a stretch of time when I'm physically unable to accomplish as much as my busy brain would like me to get done, the last thing I should do is to fret about what I'm not getting done. The stress from fretting can actually exacerbate my fibro/CFS and make it worse. So I have to get really "zen" and figure out other things to occupy my brain.

Fortunately, there's always plenty of great reading I can do. Because of my last couple of posts and the comments that followed, I bought a Kindle version of Barbara Sher's book Refuse to Choose: A Revolutionary Program for Doing Everything That You Love, and I've been reading it on my iPad. So far I'm liking the book. I still don't know if I fall into the category of personality type the book is geared toward, but it's always good to get a fresh perspective.

A while back, I wrote the following on my health blog. It's been something on my mind for over a week. I decided I'd republish it here... just because.
I've always loved maps, so a few years ago I came up with an analogy that I picture at times like this... 
I imagine a paper road map of the state of California all unfolded and spread out. I'm like an ant crawling along on the map, only able to see a giant ink line in front of me. Sometimes I can't even tell what that ink line's name is, but I just continue to follow it. Then there is God--the holder of the map. From His perspective He can see the map in its entirety and can see the things my ant eyes cannot see from my limited vantage point. He can see that the black ink line I'm following is actually a road--Interstate 5 to be exact. And if I continue traveling in the direction I'm headed, I will eventually reach a wonderful destination--Disneyland! My loving Heavenly Father can see each leg of my journey plainly. He knows there are off-ramps and interchanges I need to take in order to continue to head in the right direction. He knows there are some odd little towns I must pass through. He knows there are rest areas along the way. He knows there are incorrect off-ramps I could take if I'm not paying attention to His navigational guidance, and I can get lost. But if I'm ever lost and wandering, He's always there to navigate me back to the road I need to be on whenever I'm ready to finally listen again.
Since we bought our home almost 13 years ago, there were times that it seemed overwhelmingly urgent to do something that seemed completely out of sync with the monumental "to do" list of DIY projects we had in front of us. The tasks that leapfrogged ahead of the rest, always seemed rather "low priority" at the time they were being promoted to the top of the list. But looking back, I can see the map analogy in play. Every time I felt that sense of urgency, I listened. And each time, I had the energy and the resources to accomplish the task I was feeling needed to be done.

Some completed accomplishments have proven to be the things that have kept us safe like when I felt the urgency to tear out the sheet rock in the garage. To our surprise, we found the exterior load-bearing wall was so riddled with old termite damage only a few studs were holding our garage and second story up and the corner post holding up the front corner of the garage came off in my hand. Our good friend is a termite inspector. After determining there were no active termites, he was able to hook us up with a crew that came and put in a temporary bracing wall right away. Two weeks after that bracing wall was complete, we had an earthquake with an epicenter so close to us (only about 15 miles away) our friend told us had we not discovered what we had, our garage wall would have collapsed in the shaking and taken our newly remodeled master bedroom on the second story with it.

Some completed accomplishments have proven to simply be necessary for our contentment and comfort during the times when I haven't had the energy and resources to do anything but sit and enjoy them. The first winter we were here we discovered a drainage problem-spot in our back garden where water pooled. I felt the overwhelming need to go out and start digging with the shovel in the sloppy rain-soaked clay soil. All that digging ended up producing a 1200 gallon pond and was my introduction to water gardening. That pond soon became the central water source for our backyard wildlife habitat. Years later, the pond is full of naturalized water lilies, water grasses, hundreds of mosquito fish and has been the birthplace of many dragonfly and damselfly nymphs. Now, years later, when I don't have physical energy, I can sit at the pond's edge and just "be". The calming sound of the waterfall soothes me and my brain calms down. I don't fret about the tasks I'm not able to tackle.

Over and over through these last 13 years, I have been the little ant on the map. I've tried very hard to listen to what off-ramps I needed to take. Because I listened, my Heavenly Father was able to direct me on how to provide myself with the "rest areas" I would need in the future--the places of respite I need now. He knew I'd need them, even though I didn't.

When I sit my fatigued body in the chaise lounge under the shade of the oleander and wisteria and watch the birds coming and going from the bird fountain, I am reminded again. I felt so strongly we needed to put a bird fountain in the back garden last year. Despite Hubby's perplexed looks at my instance we needed one more water feature, we did. And the blessings are evident now.

I am grateful and hope that I can always be the little ant that listens to the One who holds the map.

I have no affiliation with the book mentioned in this post.
I don't receive any compensation for having mentioned the book.
I don't receive any compensation for you clicking the link 
that I've provided for your convenience.
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  1. I love this analogy. I've had to develop my ability to listen to my instincts, but when I do, I'm never led astray. When I look at where I'm living now and what my lifestyle is like, I feel like pinching myself to see if I'm asleep and dreaming.

  2. Carolynn,

    Your journey is a perfect example of that analogy, isn't it? I grin every time I think of where you've been led. It pays to listen to one's instincts. Those are really sparks from our soul hearing God's promptings.

    Hugs, Cindy

  3. I love your ant/map analogy Cindy. And of course, your photos are beautiful, as usual.

  4. Such a lovely post! I'm just now slowing down enough to read it... I've been *anting* along.
    I'm so grateful that you listen to those promptings. My first thought was the year you took out part of your driveway and replaced it with pea gravel. Thank you for being such a good example of listening to the Spirit!
    Hugs and love,

  5. Such an inspiring post, Cindy! However, I am so very sad to read about your challenges with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. In spite of this, you continue to remember the guidance you've received in the past and you surround yourself with beauty and count your blessings.


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