POTS update: “Redeeming the Time”

One of the things I am starting to get used to with having POTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome) is the rapid change of condition that I often experience. I wrote previously of how I was feeling pretty well a number of weeks ago, and decided to run in to the mall quickly to buy a pair of pants, but after walking through the heat into the store, I got so woozy that I had to leave. Then I was “under the weather” for about 5 days afterwards. A quick reversal!
I have had a number of such episodes, and they are not always heat-related. I will experience several “good” days, and think that things are “really getting back to ‘normal'” — and suddenly I will start feeling poorly again. For example, a week or so ago I was in the church office studying for Sunday, and I got up to get a drink of water, and while I was getting my drink, my face began to feel warm and tingly, and that nauseated, carsick-like headache came on, and the room begin to spin. I packed my briefcase and left for the day. All of the sudden, my day was over.

I am starting to get used to these “sudden reversals”, and am making some changes in response to them. One thing I am doing is being very purposeful in my selection of tasks when I am in the office. I know I may be there for only a limited time, so I know I need to get the most important things done while I am there. I think I was pretty good at setting priorities even before I was diagnosed with dysautonomia, but now I know it is even more crucial. Now I know that whenever I go into the office, it may be for a whole day, but then it may end up being only a half day, or even less, so I must do the most important thing I have do, while I can do it. For me, that means the Sunday morning message — generally considered to be the single most important task of the senior pastor. When I go in, I am focused like a laser on getting that done — not as many breaks, no getting sidetracked on articles on the internet, even if they are ministry-related. I don’t have time. I must “make hay while the sun shines”!
This is what Ephesians 5:16 means when it commands us to be “making the most of your time, because the days are evil.” Many are familiar with the background of that expression, “making the most of your time”, that in the original Greek it means, “buying up the time”. The old adage is “time is a precious treasure, which attracts many robbers.” The truth is, it is always that way. We should always “make the most of our time.” None of us know how long we have to live, much less when an interruption will come which will totally disrupt our day, and decimate our best-laid plans. This is true for all of us, whether we realize it or not. But having something like POTS makes one realize how true that is on a daily basis. What’s the most important thing I have to do? I’d better do that first, while I can.
It’s funny, I had planned to write a POTS update on this topic this week anyway, and today proved to be another example of it. I needed to finish my message for Sunday, and do some work related to the calling of some staff members to our church. I finished the message right off, and then did the staff work I was hoping to do. I felt pretty good about what I had accomplished, and was pondering what I might do when I got back after lunch. But as on so many other days, there WAS no “after lunch” for me. Even before I went home for a late lunch (I try to work as late as I can before leaving, because I never know if I am going to get to come back!) I was beginning to feel poorly. And by the time I struggled through lunch, I was feeling very ill indeed. I was done for the day; back on the old “POTS roller coaster” as I have come to call it. BUT — at least I could say that I had finished the priority tasks for the day; those things which I had prayed about earlier, which most needed to be done. I feel like I did “make the most” of the time I had, just like Ephesians 5 says. I know I haven’t always, and still often don’t; but I am definitely seeing on a daily basis just how important that really is.
How about you? Are you making the most of your time? Are you doing the most important things while you have the opportunity to do them? James 4:14 says, “You do not know what a day may bring.” You do not know what might interrupt your plans — or perhaps even bring your life to a close. So pray about your priorities first thing each day — and determine to do the most important things first. That’s a wise way of living, whether you have POTS or not!

About Shawn Thomas

My blog, shawnethomas.com, provides brief devotions from own personal daily Bible reading, as well as some of my sermons, book reviews, and family life experiences.
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