Thursday, July 23, 2020
Qualified For, But Doing What's Right
To weary souls along life's road,
Help me, O Lord, to share their load;
To fallen souls enslaved in sin,
Help me, O Lord, their souls to win. —Jarvis
One of the buzz phrases of our culture right now is 'entitled to'. What is entitlement? "The concept of something being owed to or deserved of by someone," What are we entitled to and what are our motives regarding that? "Thomas Jefferson, who in 1776 wrote the first draft of the US Declaration of Independence, took it for granted that all of us possess certain God-given, “unalienable rights.” Yet, even in a democracy, there is fierce discussion about who is entitled to what rights. Christians can look at rights from another perspective. Instead of being concerned about ourselves, we can think about what others need." [odb.org] I don't want to get into a debate about what rights we have or do not have, but I want to share my thoughts, motives and entitlements that I did and did not use as an American disabled woman.
As I begin my story, I will be using the word 'qualified for' instead of 'entitled to', because of the positive and negative connotations with each respectfully.
When I was 12, I was correctly diagnosed at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN with the neuromuscular disease, CMT....Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease. "Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) disease is the most commonly inherited neuropathy and affects 2.8 million people worldwide and 1 in 2500 in the United States. The disease is named after the 3 physicians who first identified it in 1886, Jean-Martin Charcot and Pierre Marie in Paris, France, and Howard Henry Tooth in Cambridge, England. CMT disease is a motor-sensory neuropathy with multiple genotypes." At the age of 18, I qualified automatically for SSI disability income, because neuromuscular diseases fall under the government guidelines as disabled without question. That is because it is harder to find and get a job with my handicapped limitations, so its a small amount of money for necessities. I also qualified for college assisted funding, along with my academic scholarship I earned and received. My motives and intentions were never to live off of government assistance but to better myself with education and get a job. When I got married, I lost my SSI income and that was totally acceptable because we never had a desire to live off the government in any way.
After college, I seeked a job like anyone else would. I didn't look or ask for special favor or non-discriminatory benefits. I applied and interviewed for jobs that were no way suitable for me, like a health inspector job in a 30 degree chicken factory, just for the interview experience. When I did get my job, I started out as part-time and after 6 months went to full-time with benefits. Many people don't get that you have to work your way up, not start at the top.
When I moved back home at a few days from 30, I could certainly relate to Paul's feelings on his imprisonment, I called my new residence 'the dungeon'. Philippians 1:12 "Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel." My college experience and job as a Lab Tech2, I believe were God given times for me. I didn't change the world or move mountains, but God blessed me with a brain and enough ability to provide and contribute. I also believe that God gifted me with a new talent to blog the past 11 years that has had more of an impact on other's lives, than my paid job ever did. I get feedback from my readers occasionally that let's me know that they've benefited spiritually or in some other way and that makes my heart happy.
Philippians 1:19-26 "
I write this blog to encourage people to focus on what God has given you to use in this world. No one has all the pieces to play this game of life, but we are to make the most of our blessings and be purposeful and intentional with them. It irks me to see people with so much strength and energy to be living like sloths, looking for a free ride and only thinking of themselves. I don't want to point my finger but instead be an example of difference in the way I live and think. " First Thessalonians 2:4 says, “Our purpose is to please God, not people. He alone examines the motives of our hearts”. God is interested in our motives even more than our actions."
Takeaways from what I've learned along the way:
1] You are enough and are purposefully blessed.
2] Don't let weaknesses rule or control your life.
3] Use what you qualify for to make you better for this world, others, and yourself.
4] Loss isn't without purpose in God's perspective and eventually in mine too.
5] Redirect yourself in a new way so that you can continue to be a blessing to others, when God changes your path.
6] Do not ever give up on yourself because God isn't finished using you in his plan.
7] Tomorrow is a new day with new mercies and another chance to bless someone, including yourself.
8] Isolation is the devil's playground, where he feeds your wrong thoughts.
9] The Bible is your best source of encouragement..read and meditate on it.