Tuesday, September 10, 2013


A new friend recently referred me to a quote that has been forefront in my mind for the last week.  It concerns spiritual paralysis.  It's taken from a book When Life Gets Hard, written by Meg Johnson.

"Being spiritually "able" requires very simple steps - the kind of answers always given in Primary.  Praying, reading scriptures, and being nice to others all invite the Holy Ghost and spiritual ability.  Likewise, spiritual paralysis happens with similar simplicity." 

"Being spiritually paralyzed is not a disability I can handle."

"Those who are spiritually disabled look at us as "self-righteous" and "haughty" when we refuse to join them in their unfair judgements, gossip, parties, movies and every other activity that would numb us spiritually.  They wallow selfishly in their spiritual paralysis.  They know where the path is but choose to stay spiritually disabled.  They do not wish to join us, instead, despise us for our valiance and humility - and ability."

Last night, the kids gathered around my iPad and we streamed a Mormon Message.  I was struck at the parallel I found.  Brittany has organs inside her body that are paralyzed.  Watching her handle her condition is remarkable.
Every morning, she administers medications.  She makes her own food.  She can't eat solid food like everyone else -everyone around her is FINE to eat solid food.  It doesn't affect them like it affects Brittany. She makes her own food.  She has tubes attached to her.  All of her food and medicines are stored in a backpack and she wears the backpack with her wherever she goes. 
Because she packs her backpack, she is free.  Her backpack keeps her safe and able.  Because Brittany works so hard on self-care and packing her backpack, her mind and body are free to magnify her talents and give of herself.

Do we not all wear backpacks?  They might not be visible to the naked eye, but they are there.  Every morning, we fill ourselves with light: prayer, reading, music.  We strap inspiration to our backs, we put the Savior in our packs.  Proverbial feeding tubes keeps the nourishment coming constantly.
If we fail to do so, we will become paralyzed.

Meg Johnson goes on:
"As a modern-day Daniel, you have two places to pray- hidden in your closet or right in front of the window.  Sometimes it is right to pray in your closets, but in this instance, being subtle about your standards and still keeping them -  like closing your eyes during the bad scenes - may not be enough.  But if you "pray in front of the window" and stand up in the middle of the show to crawl over everyone in the audience to get out, people might not be so happy with you.

Sometimes when we "pray in front of our window", we're considered arrogant and self-righteous.  Sometimes our friends won't understand our standards.  Sometimes our family will be angry at us for reminding them of our standards.  God does not always close their mouths.

Sometimes those who see our righteous example are not softened, sometimes they are hardened against us."

"As modern-day Daniels, what do we say in our prayers?  Do we ask that the lions' mouths will be closed?  Or do we ask for thicker skin?"

"....courage is not the same as bravery.  When we're brave, we are fearless and confident.  But I rarely feel that way.  Like you, I know people who dislike it when I pray at my window.  I fear that those lions may eat me and that the fires will burn me - but I fear God more.  In my fear, I have little room for bravery.

But I have room for courage.  Courage is not the absence of fear.  Rather, it is the willingness and determination to do what needs doing anyway - despite how we feel.  With courage, we can fall down on our knees right in front of our window, standing tall in our commitment to righteousness, and let the lions eat us.

With courage, we can walk through the fires that burn, and as we do, we will walk with God.  As we are courageous, we will know that if lions eat us, we're going to taste good because the fruits of the Spirit are sweet!

So let the lions eat us as we bear our testimony with our actions and pray in front of our windows.  Let the fires burn us to a standard-waving crisp!  There is nothing on our trail - no lion, no fire, no rock - that we can't handle when we walk with God, even if we can't walk."

As I work to create new pathways in my life and brain, I know that I need thicker skin.
I know that I DO have the courage to fear God more than man if I will but to my feet into action.
I realize the importance of my feeding tubes.
I see the threat of spiritual paralysis -it's debilitating and very real.

And as a good friend once told me:
You work your life around recovery, not recovery around your life.
I might add: even if it means doing it in front of the window.

(Thank you, Jill, for sending me that amazing quote!)


  1. Wow. I love the comparison between bravery and courage! So powerful. Thank you.

  2. Thanks for the analogy. You are so good at making connections like that!