Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Life Lessons with Cicadas

I had an aha-moment recently while I was on a run with Leni. If you're in the northeast Ohio area, you've likely seen (or at least heard) the large amounts of cicadas that have overtaken sidewalks, front yards, and parking lots.

Side note: Leni is a huge fan and has decided the cicadas are a delicacy she must take advantage of before they are gone again.

Anyway, Leni and I were out for a run and I was attempting to pray. Running has always been a stress-reliever for me and a time that I could clear my head and pray. I had been really missing it over the past 9 months that I haven't been able to run, and it is super exciting to be slowly working back toward actually running again.

That being said, I'm still not back to where I was in my running ability. I have to focus on what I'm doing or it doesn't happen...literally, I have to think about putting one foot in front of the other. I know that sounds weird, and trust me, it FEELS weird. To not have the coordination to do something so basic 2 years olds can do it without thinking...yeah, there really isn't a way to describe how that feels.

Anyway, all that to say, running is not yet back as a stress-reliever, but sometimes, early in a run (before I REALLY have to focus) I can get some prayer time in. 

That was the case on a recent run. I've been having a bit of a rough time physically, and this time we're really not sure why. I went almost an entire week without leaving the house because I was feeling so sick. I am no longer working at my job because I kept having to call off because my symptoms were getting too severe to work through. The amount of medication I need just to get through the day is slowly increasing again.

One of the toughest things I deal with living with mast cell disease is that I feel like I live in an isolated bubble. What purpose can my life have when I don't interact with anyone? How can my life make a difference for God when I go days without seeing anyone other than Nick?

This was on my heart during this recent run, and I was crying out to God, just not understanding how my life could be doing anything that would matter for eternity. Even after this run, I still don't have an answer...at least not to that question...but God did show up to answer a question I had no idea I was asking.

Back to the run...Leni and I were dodging cicadas both on the ground and in the air, and I started thinking about the last time we had an insurgence of cicadas which happened when I was a freshman in high school. I told Leni (yes, I talk to my dogs...) that she better enjoy these few weeks while she can cause this might be the only chance she gets to enjoy the hoards of cicadas. And that's where the aha moment came.

For some reason, our incredible Creator chose to create insects that only surface once every 17 years. Think about that for a moment...Somehow, these six-legged, bug-eyed (not an insult, just fact) creatures serve a specific purpose, apparently known only to God, that requires their presence only once in the lifetime of an average household pet. WHAT??

If a cicada that only surfaces once every 17 years, mates, then dies, has purpose enough to be created by our infinitely creative and personal God, how much more purpose does my life have? Does anyone's life have?

I realized that while I might not see how my life fits into God's plan right now, that's okay. Cicadas probably have no idea they even exist for 16 years and 360 days. Then all of a sudden they are woken up, go crazy for a few weeks, and fulfill their purpose as 17 year cicadas. And can you imagine what goes through a cicada mind (just go with it okay...) when they surface to see the world we live in after spending over a decade and a half living in dirt and tree roots??

Even Jesus flew below the radar for 30 years before beginning his ministry. That doesn't mean the first 30 years of His life had no purpose. It just means that God's plan was bigger than Jesus' life as a 10 year old or 20 year old.

I might not be quite as big a fan as Leni, but thank you cicadas for reminding me that just because I don't see a purpose for my life right now doesn't mean I'm not a part of what God is doing. Maybe I have to wait 17 years to see, maybe it won't be that long.

Regardless of how long it may be, I just have to remember that even the seemingly "dormant" seasons of life may be preparation for something incredible that God may unveil in my life at a later time...and that my purpose in God's ultimate plan for eternity is so much bigger than specific moments of struggle in my life.

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