Sunday, March 24, 2013

Lessons Learned in the MRI Machine

Last Friday I found myself flat on my back in what I can only describe as one of my most hated places on Earth - the MRI machine. As someone who has been claustraphobic her entire life, let me just say that a closed MRI (for 2 hours!)  is about as torturous as I've had the displeasure of experiencing. Nevertheless, that's where I was Friday morning. But I had time to prepare myself mentally for the task at hand and I had developed a game plan that included praying, praying, praying, and some more praying. I figured nothing could be better for taking my mind off of my situation than keeping it focused on Jesus and lifting up those that I love to Him. Well... it was a good plan, but God had a better one.

Bundled up, tucked in, and blindfolded I made my way into the MRI tomb... I mean, machine. I breathed deeply, I started praying, and within 15 seconds I knew this was never going to work. The machine was so loud I couldn't seem to focus my thoughts. I literally couldn't hear myself think. No matter how hard I tried to pray for the long list of people I had mentally prepared to pray for, I kept thinking about the tightness of the enclosure I was in. I kept thinking about my itching nose or my suddenly sore shoulder or my desire to yawn really, really big. Frustrated, I mentally reprimanded myself and begged Jesus to help me focus on Him. Every time I lost my focus I felt more and more helpless. I knew I had at least 2 hours in this machine. My circumstances were NOT going to change. And I was not strong enough to overcome them. Even praying to Jesus could not keep my mind off of the situation I was in.

As I focused on my breathing I began to notice the patterns in the noises of the MRI machine and realized there was a rhythm to them. Instead of fighting so hard to ignore the machine that I hated so much, I started paying more attention to it. As much as I hated being encapsulated in the world's most annoying piece of brilliant machinery, I suddenly found the rythms somewhat soothing. The next thing I knew I was singing "Great Is Thy Faithfulness" and "The Wonderful Cross" to the rythm of the MRI machine (in my head, of course!) Take THAT Satan! Before I knew it, the kind lady eating her delicious smelling lunch in the little booth across the room from me was telling me that the tests were halfway done. As I praised in rythm with the massive machine, my body relaxed. I won't lie... I still had moments of slight panic in which I quickly asked God to grab ahold of me. But as long as I continued singing in my head, I was at peace. I even managed to simultaneously pray for my friends and family while keeping the praise songs flowing. By the time the end of my two hour tests had arrived, I was so relaxed I needed help sitting up. I walked out of that room feeling light-headed from the relaxation that had occured in my most stress filled situation. I was completely at rest in Jesus.

It was a great teaching moment for me... When God says to stay focused on Him, He doesn't mean that we should pretend the things around us don't exist. He means we need to see Him IN those things. Once I met with God in the noises, I was able to relax and it wasn't nearly as bad.

What noises are frightening you today? Is it the criticism of your husband? Is it the financial threats that the economy is screaming? No matter what noise the enemy is trying to use to block you from hearing Jesus, you need not worry. You can't always tune into Jesus in your own strength. But if you seek Him where you are, He will reveal Himself to you. He will meet you where you are. The scariest sounds in your world can become the hushed lullabies of our Savior. So cut yourself some slack. Stop trying to shut out the world. Invite Jesus to meet you right where you are. He never disappoints.