Tuesday, May 13, 2008

A Tough Pill to Swallow

Last year during Pumpkindoodle’s three-year-old physical, I learned more than just her height, weight, and development level. By reading a poster on an exam room wall I discovered that for most children age five is a good time to learn how to swallow a pill.

As far as pill swallowing goes, I was not like most children. In fact, I was fitted for my first training-bra about five years prior to successfully swallowing a pill. While most 15-year-olds were able to take two Tylenol tablets for a fever, I had to chew eight little salmon-colored St. Joseph’s baby aspirin to reduce a temperature of more than 100 degrees.

Finally, in my Nana’s kitchen the summer before my sophomore year of high school, I accomplished swallowing a doctor prescribed capsule. Now, with nearly 20-years of pill swallowing experience, I still struggle to get those little buggers down my throat. I can handle the average pain relieving, fever reducing variety, but vitamins, antibiotics and larger pharmaceutical pellets invoke my sensitive gag reflex faster than the smell of sour milk. Whether the root problem is psychological or physiological swallowing pills is not easy for me.

I not only struggle with swallowing tangible pills, I have issues with the emotional ones. For me, the largest, most jagged, smelliest pill is pride.

Pride is the crux of perfectionism and to allow Christ to free me from its bondage, I first had to choke down that pungent pill. In my life, that meant cancelling my subscription to the Super Mom myth and allowing others to help me when I found myself in a room packed with mommy Kryptonite: a child’s terrible tantrum; misplaced guilt; lofty expectations; or a to-do-list that rival’s Santa’s. There are many other vices that can be listed.

While I am quick to bestow a heaving helping of mercy on a friend, I once viewed my own weaknesses as unacceptable. Admitting my flaws was hard enough, but to admit them and ask for help? Impossible. Or so I thought.

During a particularly difficult season in life, a sweet friend of mine called me and in a voice brimmed with concern, asked me how I was doing. She couldn’t see my red, swollen eyes, so I thought fooling her would be easy. Armed with a fake smile and syrupy voice I told her that I was fine, just a tad a tired. I was eight-months-pregnant, so tired was a plausible excuse for my broken demeanor.

“Angela,” she sternly responded, “I know that is not true.” Her voice softened. “Girl, I saw you in Bible study this morning, you looked spiritually defeated. Please don’t say that you are O.K. if you are not O.K.”

Through gulps and sobs I confessed my pain. Overwhelmed and exhausted, I felt a failure. And then, a beautiful thing happened. I realized that choking down the pill of pride allowed a healing truth to escape. The truth that pride doesn’t protect, it destroys. The truth that my confiding in a friend actually blessed her as much as it did me. The truth that I was not created for earthly perfection. The truth that there is no “Super Mom” with colic-curing hypnotic powers; but there is a super Savior draped in love and mercy and yielding enough power to calm seas and mend the wounded.

But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sale, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12: 9-10 (NIV).


Rebekah said...

I can really relate to your post. I struggle with showing my 'weak' side.

Over the years I have learned its ok to be emotional. Its nice to have one or two friends that I know will be there at those times. As well as Jesus himself

jen said...

Amen, girl.

We are THAT Family said...

Great post!

Mocha with Linda said...

Amen. It's so hard to let go of the perfectionist got-it-all-together pride. Thanks for sharing!

And regarding the pills:
When I was a kid struggling to swallow pills, I was astounded with how my grandmother could take 6 or 8 at once. Now I can do it, but then I thought she was pretty impressive!

Wanda said...

I'm not sure how you came to my blog, but I'm so glad you did, because I totally enjoyed reading yours!
I will bookmark you and come back and read your previous posts.

It's always a pleasure to find another lover of the Lord.

LOL:) Wanda

Becoming Me said...

Linda: I think you are amazing for being able to swallow a handful of pills at a time. Guess how many I can swallow at once? Yep...one.

Amy said...

I have had trouble swallowing that "Pill of Pride" myself from time to time. This was a beautiful post.

I just wanted to say hello and thank you for stopping by my blog.

God Bless,

Julie said...

Several things come to my mind as I read. One is my 14 year old son who still cannot swallow a pill. I just put two and two together. He was my child who spit up ALL the time. I never considered his inability to swallow a pill might be because of that gag reflux that he experienced as a child. Hmmm.. Thanks!

The other thing that comes to mind is that verse in I John. "He who walks in the light as He is in the light will have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus Christ will cleanse Him from His sins." (my paraphrase from my memory). It's true that as we walk in the light we have that fellowship and cleansing.

I heard it said once that to the depth we are willing to be vulnerable is the depth we will be healed. I have to say that the more vulnerable I am, the more I walk in the light, the more I find healing.

Your post was a beautiful picture of how much we need to be willing to swallow our preconceived ideas and pride and just be vulnerable, walking in the light.

Your heart is so precious!


elaine @ peace for the journey said...

Pride. The bigger the pill, the harder the swallow. I've spent a lifetime working to get over myself. Really, there's not much to get over. After 42 years of living life, God has allowed me some hard humblings. It's never been easy, but it's always been right. I praise Him for leading me to vision my life through his lenses...to find my shadow somewhere beneath his at the foot of his cross where sacred perspective can always be found.

Thank you for visiting my blog. You are a talented writer with a heart for our Father. May He continue to push your pen along for the sake of his kingdom agenda!

peace for the journey~elaine

Lisa writes... said...

This pill I must swallow daily, sometimes hourly...

SKY4KAT said...

Hard to swallow pills----and pride being the hardest. yep.
On several occasions and just last week, I have tried to swallow more than 1 pill and had them catch in my upper esophagus. My upper GI tract went into spasm trying to throw them up, cough but they were stuck for several minutes, even drinking a glass of water could not get them to move any faster. I was in acute pain living each moment of spasm and pain realizing my mistake to late.
your analogy to pride and pill swallowing made me rethink that experience.
Trying to swallow a handful of pills/ vitamins is like allowing unrepentant and/or unrecognized pride to choke me up and gag and have my body go into spasm. taken 1 at a time , recognizing pride and repenting with it as it is recognized is easier and less painful. On the flip side...the memory is so fresh and painful that I will not repeat that experience anytime soon.
Great post--good analogy and thought provoking.
Katrina in Colorado

Vintage Dutch Girl said...

Admitting the need for help is SO hard. I too struggled with that all through Bubbalu's first 5 months with colic. It was SO hard and I thought I was failing because he cried ALL.THE.TIME.

blue-eyedchick said...

Once again your post really spoke to me. Amen and Amen!
I too have had a REALLY hard time swallowing pills. I don't think I could swallow them until I graduatate High School.

Jenna said...

Thanks so much for your comment on my blog and for the congrats! I am glad you found me, too, and I am even more glad I found you because this post was awesome! Thanks for sharing. :)

Ashlee said...

I don't like to show my weak side to those around me. I feel it makes me less of a mom, wife, and woman. What a humbling post. Aren't you glad that we have God to lean on and remind us that we don't need to do everything ourselves?

Thanks for visiting my blog and commenting. It took me longer than usual to hop over and visit, but I will definitely be back! Hope you will stop by and see me again!

a Tonggu Momma said...


Oh, and this must be your month for awards -- I passed along another blog award to you (one of those "if you get one, pass it to three others"). Just wanted you to know about it.


Chris @ Come to the Table said...

We read this verse in bible study this morning...I love it when the Lord speaks to me concerning an area of my life over and over. His grace is sufficient.

As always, wonderful post Angela!

Irritable Mother said...

Absolutely beautiful!!!
Thank you for saying these things.
I spent an awful lot of time pretending to be "perfect" and that everything was fine. What freedom there is in taking off the mask - in swallowing the pill - and simply being real.
Becoming me. Yeah. That's it!

Tori Shelton said...

this is one of my favorites yet. it's a pill that i must often swallow too. in fact, i just might be ready for my daily dosage. thanks for your insight.

Darla said...

I swallowed my pill of pride this am and joined weight watchers. I cannot seem to get this weight off from the acual pills I have to ingest in my body to stay sane. *sigh*

Xandra said...

I can so relate to this post. I find that most of my sinfulness boils down to the root problem of pride. And I am so quick to encourage others but I often tear myself down....thanks for the words of encouragement!


Natalie Witcher said...

That'll preach.

Sharon Brumfield said...

It used to be that I was afraid to show my weak side because I thought people would just walk away.
But then I found a few that would stay--and so with those I open up.
I am glad you have someone who cares to put you on the spot.

And when it comes to pills Dad was and is a health nut so from the time I was very young we were given hand fulls of vitamins or minerals to take each morning.So I can swallow a lot at one time...but I would rather not take anything. ;)

Marissa said...

Beautifully written post. You do have a way with words. Thanks for sharing your story.

Kelsey Smith said...

Amen wonderful post!

Bethany said...

Thanks for visiting my blog... And thanks for posting about swallowing the "pride pill". It really hit home. Makes me very thankful for a patient Savior.

Carol said...

What a great post! And I was nearly a teenager before I learned to swallow pills. My mom used to pull capsules apart and dump them in apple juice. Ugh. I can still taste that horrible aftertaste if I think hard enough. Thanks for your sweet comments on my post at The Internet Cafe today!

Lynn said...

Very well written. Thanks for sharing this piece of your heart and giving us all something to think about.

A Woman Who is: said...

Thanks for dropping by. I see you have a Pumkindoodle. I have a Puddin Toes, my first grandchild.

I told another first time grandmother that I think my reward for being a mommy and raising three kids is getting to be a grandmother!

It is so much easier with the second generation. I don't sweat the little stuff; I know God's grace is sufficient even in the big stuff.

Great blog. Know God is with you!

realworldmartha said...

What a thought provoking post. I really enjoyed it. I can over from Surving Motherhood and will have to return.

Teri said...

Sometimes it isn't pride that holds me back...it is self preservation. Having had some deep stuff that I shared come back to bite me in the form of judgement has made me very careful of who I share my heart with! (AND my blog address!)

Mr. & Mrs. Naz said...

Teri, Thanks for commenting. I definitely agree that we need to guard our hearts and pray for discernment about whom to trust. I also love the song In Christ Alone and find so much strength in the last verse..."No power of hell no scheme of man can ever pluck me from His hand." Hanging hard to that truth has helped me cope with many human hurts.

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