Posted by: Anne | August 13, 2009

what a toenail taught me

For a while now, my toenails have had problems – I’ll spare you further details – but I’ve always managed to keep them in check.

Until the Friday that I woke up with one side of my toe too sore to touch. Yep, an ingrown toenail. As in the past, I tried to deal with it, but this time my efforts proved to be in vain. I quickly decided that I would have to call a podiatrist. Fortunately one could see me that day, so that I wouldn’t have to spend the weekend hobbling around.

When I was a kid, I remember hearing that our neighbor had to go to the doctor for an ingrown toenail, and my sister and I had agreed that the whole thing sounded terrible, even torturous. That impression stayed with me for years, but as I drove to the doctor’s office, I wasn’t concerned. I reasoned that I was already in pain, so whatever the doctor did, well, at least it would be temporary, and then I could start to feel better.

As it turned out, the visit went very well. The doctor was very personable, and the whole experience passed with very little discomfort.

Lesson Learned #1: Many – if not most – of our fears are completely unfounded, and being troubled over them is a waste of our time.

While I learned that the podiatrist was nothing to fear, right after the visit, I became hypersensitive – not in my toes, but in my head. My toenails continued to have their occasional issues, only now the slightest twinge of pain would have me fretting, fearing that again I wouldn’t be able to fix the problem, the pain would worsen, and I’d be doctor-bound yet again.

This mindset vexed me for a while. Until one day, as I was about to start on another fretting tangent, it dawned on me that yes, things might eventually progress beyond my scope, but right now I wasn’t to that point. So what was I worrying for? Since then, I’ve found comfort in that several times, that right now I’m good.

Lesson Learned #2: Try to keep things in perspective and take them one day at a time. (In other words, don’t worry about falling off the bridge until you get there!)

Since then, I’ve continued to not fret. And one day I realized that beyond not worrying about the issues, it seems that I’ve learned what to do to handle them. I don’t even think about it now. It’s become almost second nature.

Lesson Learned #3: God can use anything to help us grow… if we’ll let Him! When troubles come, try not to miss the lesson.

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