How I apply Scripture

A story

I don't normally post about my day to day life on the blog because it's not that kind of blog.  However, if I describe what happened between the time I decided to post on Philippians 4 last week and the time I'm actually writing this post, I feel my experience may help by way of illustration of applying the Bible to daily life instead of to nice, neat hypotheticals.  If we're going to say the Bible is applicable to life and godliness, then we should really apply it to life and for godliness.  If you want to bypass my boring story, though, you can skip to the end, and that's fine with me.  The short version is that I had a bad week.

Sometime last week, my life got a bit more stressful, and my TS symptoms got worse. So I took TS meds, which is something I haven't done in a good while. Then my knuckles started swelling and were really painful, which made it hard to type. I thought I was having a reaction to the meds, and I spent 2 hours at the hospital on Friday. Then Sunday I went back for the most painful blood test I've ever gotten. (Still have the bruise.)

Additionally, I had a sore throat Thursday and Friday, the kind that hurts from your tongue to halfway down your esophagus.  Monday I woke up nauseated and dizzy; I skipped class but didn't get any better. Tuesday, I was even more nauseated, and the room still spun a bit. Wednesday, the nausea lessened but I still couldn't eat much more than rice. Thursday I was nauseated but mainly just really hungry because I hadn't really eaten for a few days.

I have a 14 page paper due next week. Being nauseated and dizzy isn't good for productivity, and neither is having swollen joints that don't cooperate when you type.  Not eating isn't good for productivity, either. Being sick leads to physical stress and non-productivity leads to psychological stress, and stress of any type leads to more TS symptoms. Then the TS worsens get the idea.  The room may have stopped spinning, but between my flu and the TS and the swollen joints, my entire body hurts, and I'm just plain tired.

Stepping Back

I say this not to complain or to get sympathy- there are a lot worse things going on in the world right now.  I, myself, have been through a lot worse.  But the point is that God meets us where we are, in whatever circumstances we are facing.

Though life itself is stressful, and my body is under a lot of stress, I, personally, am [trying to be] not all that stressed.  And the reason why I'm not stressed [or at least somewhat successful at it] is because I've been meditating on this passage all week.

Joy, reasonableness, prayer, and peace

I'm rejoicing in the Lord.  Why?  The real question is WHY NOT?  If I understand what I have in the Lord and what he's given me- if I understand the all-surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, rejoicing is the reasonable thing to do.  It makes sense, and it doesn't matter what else is going on in my life.  When the room is spinning or when each letter typed burns through my hands or if I'm in class trying to suppress the TS, or if I'm worried about how I'm going to finish my paper on time given all of this- God is bigger.  God is better.  God is greater.  God is good, and He has shared His goodness with me.  I preach the Gospel to myself and force myself to listen.

We react to the things in our lives; that's natural and probably healthy to do.  But we don't let them control us.  External circumstances are just that- external.  However, internally, we have the Spirit.  We learn not only to rejoice, but to rejoice always.  We learn not only to not be anxious, but not be anxious about anything.  We learn not only how to pray, but to pray about everything.  We learn to give thanks while we give our supplications because there is always so much to be thankful for.  And when we know that we have things to be thankful for, we have peace that the God who gave us so much will give us also what we need.

Philippians 4:4-7
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.