“Hero” was a difficult topic a few weeks ago, and “Nemesis” seems even more daunting. But I want to give it a go. I was traveling the past two weeks so had a lot of time to think about a lot of things, especially during my 24-hour train ride, and 30-hour bus ride, and a few other assorted adventures. But, I have not had consistent access to a computer.
I think that my biggest Nemesis, the thing that I fight against the most, the one that will bring me down, is actually me. I continually work on my weaknesses, so that they aren’t my undoing, choosing to focus more on my strengths, and learn what I can do to minimize my weaknesses. For my insecurities, I am reminded of God’s faithfulness and his provisions for me. He supplies all that I need. He constantly affirms who I am in Him, the gifts that he has given me, and what he has called me to do in this life.
For my struggle with boundaries, He is teaching me healthy and safe boundaries. I have been through the “Boundaries” book by Cloud and Townsend. And I am currently going through it for the third time (OK, the other two times were many years ago, but it still bears repeating). I still have difficulty, though, in setting boundaries with patients, or potential patients. I work best with a schedule, as it helps me to get into a rhythm for the day, and with each patient. The problem occurs when I hear of someone who is hurt and I know that I can help. I try to remember, however, that their lack of planning (scheduling) does not constitute my emergency. Like two days before I was to leave on this trip, two women called me for appointments. Both had been having problems for 5-6 weeks! And they called me, eager for me to treat them before I left. When someone is hurting, it is difficult for me to say, “no”, even if it would be harmful for me to do so. It was very difficult, but I did manage to hold to my already hectic schedule and not see them. This is most often a problem in that I want to help everyone, but don’t have the time, or physical resources to do so. So, while difficult, I was actually successful in holding my boundaries in this instance. Now if they will all go just as well…
When I lack strength, I try to remember, “when I am weak, He is strong”. Joni Eareckson Tada said, “Deny your weakness, and you will never realize God's strength in you.” A Uigher woman once called me a ‘paper tiger’ -- outwardly a tiger, but it is made of paper, unable to withstand the wind and the rain. Last week with tears in my eyes, I told her that the tiger is gone, and that my strength now only comes from the Lord. I am weak, but He is strong and will carry me through.
And for loneliness that tends to plague me so often and that desire to be married... this is part of the struggle that goes on here. I love my job and what I do to help others, and especially when I have the opportunity to teach village health care workers. I can keep very busy during the day, but it is when I go home at night that it really hits. I am not alone in this, and many people have returned to their home countries because of the loneliness out here. But what to do, especially when it has been made so clear to me over and over that I am to be here? I guess I have to trust the Lord to supply for all my needs. Maybe my faith is not so strong…
Are these the things that will be my undoing? Or is it my lack of confidence in confrontation. I recently had to confront someone over a very difficult matter. I sought counsel, and the confrontation took place. The end result could not have turned out better. Because of this positive outcome, it gives me the confidence to continue to help right wrongs (though not all the time -- I am not a superhero!) But the stress of the situation was almost unbearable. I ended up with a wonderful chest cold -- at least it is better than the head cold that I started out with.
So, when I look back at all these weaknesses of mine, I think that each one of them is being worked on my by the Master Craftsman. He is making me into his masterpiece. He is showing me how to overcome, not just ‘cover-over’ my insecurities and weaknesses. They will never be my strengths. And they are still part of His creation that he just isn’t finished with yet.
To read about another Nemesis, go here.
“Atlas” painting by Teodoru Badiu