As I go through my own ups and downs in how I feel, I am reminded that WHAT I focus on is all important. I recently attended a medical conference, the first I’ve been to for quite some time. Last December, almost 9 months ago now, I cancelled going to an annual seminar that I haven’t missed for years. I was feeling so poorly that I was sure I couldn’t trudge the long walks from the room in Las Vegas’ Venetian to the conference center. My health seemed to be creeping downward.

As I tweaked my protocol and spent long hours in prayer, God spared me and I slowly began feeling better. “Maybe it’s time to get to another seminar,” I thought. It’s a mental wrestling match for me. Going to a seminar is equivalent to looking into the future, planning for growth, seeking novel ideas. My mental struggle is between these two opposing forces – my mind’s desire to learn, grow, and find new ways to help my patients (something that’s been rather an addiction for me throughout my career), and my body’s waves of pain and exhaustion.

“That’s it,” I thought to myself about 3 weeks ago. After my wife’s gentle nudges to get back into the game, I signed up for my first conference in over a year. Mind you, I used to attend 3-6 per year and speak at several others. I loved teaching other doctors and if I’m not learning something new, I feel like I’m dying. And that observation is what this brief post is all about.

The seminar was great – wonderful speakers and I was able to connect with colleagues I’ve not seen for some time. But, what was best was my personal wrestling match. On a quiet evening in my hotel, the Lord reminded me, as He often does, that my battle, my wrestle, my struggle, which has been causing me greater and greater grief, was because of my failure to turn it all over to Him.

Since this was only the 20,000th time He had to remind me of the same thing, you’d think He’d be angry. But He isn’t that way. He’s patient; He’s kind; He gently beckons, whispers, coaxes me to crawl up on His lap. Then, after reminding me of His love for me and that He chose me, adopted me, hand-picked me to be His special child, He revealed that my stress, worry, anxiety is inversely proportional to my dependence on Him.

My conscious, purposed, daily effort to give my problems to my loving Father is the only “work” that results in a fruit to my betterment. This needs to be my active wrestling match – turn it over to God; turn it over to God; turn it over to God! In this, and only in this, there is peace.

Ask anyone who knows me and they’ll agree: I don’t like accepting help from anyone. My, ‘I can do it myself’ attitude has gotten me far in life but this is NOT the personality trait of a mature believer. As I learn my lessons, ever so slowly, God reminds me that the battle is His and that nothing can separate me from the love that is in Christ Jesus, not persecution, not stress, not cancer, nor even death. For even in these things, as I lay hold of Christ, I can be more than a conqueror, for He will work it all for good and His glory.

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