Avoidance - of the past


In ME/CFS we have to try not to dwell on the past, on what has happened in our lives that has caused us stress, sadness and even trauma. Looking back with either longing or regret, will not help us recover. Of course, we should repent of wrong actions, but we must not necessarily see our state as a "punishment from God". It may acts as a kind a "warning" but then we can turn from our wrongdoing and guilt and find full forgiveness and full acceptance, at the foot of the Cross of Christ.

Rationally speaking, nothing can change what has so far happened to us. We have been subject to our own genetics and pressures outside ourselves. The idea that we have "free will" is only a liberal, secular concept: much of our life is predestined, very much outside our own control. Our lives lived again, with the same limited knowledge and conditions, might look very much the same. But we are responsible for our wilful, and even our involuntary sins against what we know about God and against our neighbours..

Refusing to live in the past means that we must draw from what is happening to us now, at this moment, the meaning for the present and make something out of it - for the future. The best way of doing this is to turn the present into a way of serving Someone higher than ourselves. There is a paradox in life: when we see our life in terms of "service" or "sacrifice", we reap a future reward from it. If is often when we "horde" experiences, that they can evaporate in an instant. Jesus explained this paradox as "He who keeps his soul will lose it, but he who loses it, for my sake, will keep it".

We are "called" to certain experiences in our lives (even through those written in our genes), as a test of our character, to remould, strengthen, purify, humble and humanise us. C. S Lewis in his book "Mere Christianity" noted that he felt his life being destroyed as soon as he took the step of faith. He later realised that he had lived in a "cottage" before becoming a believer. God was now demolishing his interior, apparently violently and brutally, and replacing it with "a Palace". We cannot come out of this fiery reshaping if we are determined to hold onto our "cottage" existence, always looking backwards to alternative, silly, self-seeking "fantasy lives" we think we would have enjoyed if we had not been ill with ME. This obstructs the building of "the Palace". ME can be fully redeemed, but only if we give it fully to God, looking not backwards, but upwards and onwards, asking for His will alone and not for our own desires. He promises to give us, finally, "the desires our our hearts".