Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Three C's

When you face a trial, a natural tendency is to blame yourself or feel guilty for getting yourself into the trial. With infertility, it's common to think thoughts like:

If I hadn't taken birth control pills for all those years, would I still have difficulty conceiving?
What did I do wrong to deserve this pain and suffering?
What more could I have done this past month to better track my cycle or time intercourse?
Why can't I do what so many other women are able to do with seemingly no effort?
What's wrong with me?
Why am I broken?

I could go on listing similar questions, but hopefully you get the idea. It's common to worry and dwell on thoughts like that.

But let's get one thing straight: infertility is NOT your fault.

You must accept the fact that there will always be certain aspects of life that are out of your control. And infertility is simply one of those things you can't control, so don't blame yourself for it.

Life is made up of choices, consequences, and circumstances. The three C's.

You have the freedom to make certain choices in life. With infertility, you can choose how much or how little you want to track your cycles, pursue medical intervention, be available for intercourse (but you only have control over your half of that equation; your husband has control over his half and you have to accept that it takes two to tango). This is the only thing you have control over, so I encourage you to pray for wisdom as you take time to decide on choices in your life.

You have control over the choices you make. You do not have control over some of the consequences of your choices. Your choices will naturally lead to consequences. Tracking your cycles excessively may result in feelings of empowerment, knowing how your body is behaving...but it may also bring added stress because you're focused on your cycle day in and day out. Pursuing medical interventions will certainly have consequences on your body, your health, your future health (increased risk of cancer, for example), your relationships, and schedule. Ask any woman who has been through IVF procedures, and she will tell you how involved and expensive the process is. Likewise, not pursuing medical interventions may lead to feelings of fear, like "What if I'm not doing everything I could be doing to get pregnant?" As I previously mentioned, you have to make certain choices about what you are or are not okay with, and then be okay with the consequences of those choices. All choices have consequences, good or bad. Since consequences are a direct result of your choices, this should motivate you to pursue God before you make a choice, asking Him for wisdom and guidance. Once you've made your choice, you are at the mercy of consequences that are out of your control.

You do not have control over your circumstances, and unlike consequences, circumstances are not a direct result of your choices. Circumstances are independent of your choices. You can choose to save up for a house, mortgage a small portion of it, and purchase home insurance, but you cannot control a tornado destroying your house and having to start over with a few belongings and the insurance money. You can make wise choices that hopefully result in good consequences, but your circumstances may affect your life dramatically without any input from you. The death of a loved one, natural disasters, etc. With infertility, you cannot control your circumstances like a close friend announcing her pregnancy, or you miscarrying your baby. You can choose everything wisely, and you can prepare and hope for good consequences to your choices, but your circumstances are independent and unpredictable.

So once you've accepted how much and how little control you have over aspects of your life, how do you deal with the things you can't control? Allow Paul to share some of his wisdom with you.

Philippians 4:11-12
11 Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. 12 I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.

This is the key to maintaining a heart of hope and joy in the midst of trials and suffering. God will grant you wisdom to make wise choices if You ask Him. The consequences to your choices or simply the uncontrollable will lead to your life's circumstances. God asks us all to be content no matter what our circumstances are. Whether your circumstances are good or bad, happy or sad, full or empty, bright or content. There is ALWAYS at least one thing you have to be thankful for. So dwell on that. Praise God for that one thing (and the many things). Be content.

Better still, LEARN to be content. Paul admits that contentment is something to be learned. When you learn something, you usually have to study it, ponder it, repeat it, and practice it. Do the same with contentment. Choose contentment, and your consequences will follow a heart of contentment. Choosing contentment will strengthen your heart for whatever circumstances come your way.

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