Taking Action and Being the Change You Need

“It’s all in God’s hands". That’s what my husband and I told ourselves as we struggled with infertility. At the time, we had been together 10 years, married 4, and felt that maybe God didn’t want us to have kids. We couldn’t help but wonder if our past sins were the reasons why we had not been blessed with children. I found myself envious of other pregnant women and at times frustrated with God. There were many times I asked God, why he chose to bless other women with a pregnancy and not me. What did I do wrong? What did I need to fix? What was the purpose of all of this?  While I was not perfect, I still felt I had done everything God had asked of me. I was tired of feeling stuck and knew something needed to change. I just didn’t realize how much of that change needed to come from me.

Up until this point, my husband and I had only practiced natural family planning. After about a year and a half with no success, we stopped charting my cycles. We were encouraged to schedule an appointment with our doctors for further evaluation but never did. Neither one of us wanted to be the reason we couldn’t have kids. As crazy as it sounds it was easier to not know what was wrong and tell ourselves it was all in God’s hands than go to the doctors and find out what was wrong. It felt like as long as we put off this appointment and no one told us we couldn’t have kids, there was still hope. Looking back on it now, I realize how silly this sounds but I was scared and just wanted God to take care of everything. 

As someone who likes to advertise themselves as a problem solver, it was and still is hard for me to admit that I had done nothing to address a significant problem in my life. I was engaging in behaviors that I often found most irritating in others. I had identified a problem and was given an option but did nothing about it. I was praying to God asking him for direction but taking no steps. I was seeking understanding and support from those who love me but not educating myself on what my body might be going through. Essentially, I was searching for help through external sources, but doing nothing to help myself. I was attempting to cope with the situation, just not doing it effectively.

This way of coping is called active passivity.  This is when “you are active in seeking help from others but passive in helping yourself.” In many ways, it can be problematic. For example, if you are always relying on others, you never learn how to do things for yourself. This in turn can contribute to low self-esteem as you may feel inadequate or incapable of doing things. Over time if this behavior continues, you may also find that others are more reluctant to help you. They may even try to distance themselves from you.

While I know God never distanced himself from me, there were many times I tried to distance myself from Him. I was frustrated and confused. I questioned if He was listening to my prayers. Thankfully during this time, I continued to remain active in my faith and surrounded myself with a community of people who loved me and were not afraid to call me out. It was through this community I was encouraged respectfully to take some personal responsibility and set up that appointment I had been avoiding for years.  

In January 2021, I finally met with an OB/GYN. After telling her about my symptoms she diagnosed me with PCOS. As she educated me on the diagnosis, so many of the physical difficulties I had been experiencing over the years started to make sense. She talked about the importance of exercising and eating healthy and how PCOS could contribute to making these things harder. While I was thankful to finally have an answer, I was kicking myself in the butt for not having come in sooner.

Over the next year, I set myself up with a personal trainer and lost 30lbs. I noticed my confidence start to grow and not just because I was losing weight. I was learning how to cook new meals and was becoming proficient in weightlifting. I noticed a shift in the way I prayed and my frustration with God was almost nonexistent. As I took more action in my life, what seemed like an uncertain and endless number of possibilities became narrower. I felt like I was doing everything I could and leaving nothing to chance. I was living more in the moment. I trusted God more and I knew that regardless of what happened I was living the life He had intended for me and my husband. I was no longer passively participating in my life; I was fully engaged.

On January 11th, 2022 just one year after my appointment with my OB/GYN my husband and I finally got the news we had been waiting for. We were pregnant! It had taken us five years to get to this point and we couldn’t be any happier. Through my journey, I learned the only way to overcome active passivity was by figuring out what I could do for myself before turning to others, this included God. I know that ultimately everything is in God's hands, but it feels a whole lot better when I allow the holy spirit to work through me rather than waiting on the sidelines.  

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