Strength and Weakness
By Tim Hudson
On July 28, I suffered a near fatal heart attack. I was in a coma for seven days and in the hospital for 23 days. Once home, I began physical therapy. That has been easy compared to the hospital. But it hasn’t been without problems: I push myself too hard; my wife Sheila needs respite; I have a nagging fear of another heart attack. I’m learning firsthand the truth that problems do not determine state of mind; our attitude towards them does. But “attitude adjustment” is easier said than done. Here are lessons I’ve learned that you might find helpful.
Maintaining your sense of humor when confronted with a problem automatically reduces the size of the problem. Giving into despondency is easy so I work hard to prevent negative thoughts. That means laughing at myself sometimes. It means remembering times that made me laugh. Energy and vibrancy come easier in laughter.
Determination can be cultivated and increased. When I feel like giving up, I know that it is time to pray until I acknowledge that my future is in God’s hands. Then I ask God for the determination not to let the magnitude of the task ahead worry me.
Resolve is maintained through inspiration. Scripture reading, inspirational stories, motivational movies and listening to other people tell their stories all let us know that our problems are not peculiar. I try to surround myself with as much inspiration as possible.
“I got myself into this mess so what makes me think I can change?” is a common thought, but negative self-talk like this is counter-productive. When it invades my thoughts, I know I need to believe in myself. However, belief in myself is a dead-end unless it is rooted in the fact that God created, redeemed and loves me.
I have never been this weak. But it is my very weakness that brings 2 Corinthians 12:9 to life for me: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”
I am alive because of the grace of God. While my circumstance is pretty remarkable the same truth applies to us all: We all live because of God’s grace.
The 2010 Rejuvenate Marketplace is the first post-heart attack trip for Tim Hudson, national representative and meeting planner for the Association of College Ministries. Read more about his journey and his insights on his blog, timothyhudson.com.