The President and Dean of my medical school always says “look at the person or situation in front of you, and think ‘what’s possible.’” What a simple, yet profound statement. I have heard her say it about 100 times, and each times it challenges me to look at people, situations, disease processes, and even my problems from new angles.
Most recently, I heard her say it while giving a commencement address, and this time, I really zeroed in on the “what’s,” or “what IS possible.” Asking what IS possible, focuses attention on the positive and sets our sights on finding solutions rather than on the problem.
Whenever I am faced with a seemingly “Impossible” patient care issue—when I feel stuck, or stumped—I seem to hear that stately lady’s calm, southern intonation in my head: “Based on who or what is in front of you right now, WHAT’S POSSIBLE?” I regroup. I rethink. I refocus. I remember that I can do ALL THINGS through Christ (Phil. 4:13), and “all” does mean ALL!
So I start doing what I can do. If it is a surgery that looks “impossible” because of the size or scar tissue or level of difficulty, I start restoring the normal anatomy—just setting the tissues back into a logical order as much as possible. Most of the time, once I get done with this, the case magically starts to open up for me! I can see all sorts of possibilities that I did not see before, and my approach is more straightforward.
I believe that the same is true in our lives. When we are faced with the “impossible,” we cannot just accept defeat! Instead, we gotta find that part of “impossible” that is possible, and START DOING that. I know that God wants to bless us in whatever we do, but DO is the keyword here… If we never get off the couch, what is He going to bless? The HBO Fall movie line up?
Each of us has a purpose to fulfill. There was a thought that God was thinking when he formed us in the womb, and a calling that He breathed into us with that first breath we took (likely in the hands of a friendly OB/GYN). Now, I am definitely no Theologist, but I think that the dreams we have, the passions that stir us, our conscience, and “instincts” are the remnants of memories in our Spirit from when it was with God before he assigned us to a natural body. Then, I think, we knew our purpose and our power; but as we grow into adulthood in a physical world with limitations, we learn about “impossible.” We stop believing in the supernatural because we are often burdened by the natural problems, worries, sicknesses, and disappointments we face. We tell ourselves that we aren’t _______ enough: fill in smart, rich, attractive, thin, big, light, dark, male, female, loved, stable, “good,” whatever our insecurities are to live our dream. This doubt is often a bi-product of what people have said to us in the past… but what does God say? More importantly, whose report will you choose to believe??? (Rom. 3:4)
Often I am reminded of the story of Joshua and Caleb, 2 of the 12 spies sent to check out the land that God had promised to Israel after their miraculous delivery from slavery in Egypt. The other 10 spies reported that taking the land of Canaan was “impossible” because of all of the people and odds that were against them. Joshua and Caleb had a different report, though. They saw what WAS POSSIBLE. They reported about the richness of the land that had been promised by God, and reminded the people that there was no need to be afraid to take possession of God’s promise because GOD was with them! (Numbers 14)
So as July comes to an end, I want remind us (ok, really meJ) to boldly grab hold to God’s promises and trust Him to deliver on them. To do the “impossible,” we only have to start doing what is possible right now. I loved what Bishop TD Jakes said once: “If we do what we can in the natural, God will add His SUPER onto it so it becomes ‘Supernatural’.”
As the people of Israel prepared to claim the Promised Land, God told Joshua “Every place you set your foot, you will be on land I have given you.” (Josh. 1:3)
What if Joshua had just chilled out around his tent? Yes, he would have missed a lot of battles, but he would have missed more blessings and an entire Nation would have been lost.
What has God given you that has gone unclaimed? Who in this generation or the next is depending on you to do what has been weighing on your heart but seems “impossible?”
One of my fave fashion icons, Audrey Hepburn, said “Nothing is Impossible, the word itself says ‘I’m Possible.” When I read that, I took it apart just as I did my med school President’s statement—‘I Am Possible’ and I immediately thought of God as “I AM”—For He truly is the one who makes all things possible.
Possess you promise now by starting to do what you can, and add some SUPER to your natural!
At least once a day, I get the question: “Why did you go into OB/GYN?” Ninety percent of the time the question is posed by a woman, who can’t possibly understand why I enjoy spending my days (any many nights) doing what many would call the “gross” work of delivering babies, providing cervical cancer screening, and caring for a long list of other nebulous issues most commonly dubbed “female problems.” I will be first to admit that Obstetrics and Gynecology was not my original career goal. In fact, on my first OB/GYN experience as a 1st year med student, I was cringed so far in the corner, I almost became part of the floral print wallpaper. As a senior student, however, it dawned on me that everything I was most passionate about was connected to Women’s Health. So after some soul searching and a lot of prayer, I took the giant leap from General Surgery to OB/GYN. I couldn’t be happier with that decision today.
Coco Chanel once said “Some women are born with glitter in their veins.” I know this quote because my medical school roommate says it always makes her think of me. I am 100% G-I-R-L. Sparkles, lace and lip gloss. High heels, accessories, and nail polish. I love all things lady and lovely. I knew I would change my specialty when my Dean told me to be considered for a job, I should stop with the weekly baking of cupcakes in the General Surgery Department, and to tone down the pink. One practical reason I chose OB/GYN is that it embraces all things feminine, yet it’s filled with surgery and procedures. I have yet to have one patient complain about my penchant for pink, and no one complained about my weekly baking on Labor and Delivery once during my residency. We dressed well, and you might find someone having their hair flat ironed in the resident’s lounge in preparation for a Friday night out. OB/GYN was certainly the place for me!
There are other reasons that this field calls to me, though. I truly believe that women are the center of our world. Take a moment to reflect on that. Without women, where would you be? Would you be at all? Mothers and women are at the heart of families, communities, cities, states, and our countries. They are our first nurturers, teachers, loves, protectors, providers, cheerleaders and friends. If we consider all of the great leaders who have been and who now are, how many credit their success to the women in their lives?
Women are the guardians of life. The sacred Eden in which modern-day creation takes place is inside of our bodies, and women alone are entrusted with the task of carrying and delivering human life—how amazing is that?!
This is why I count it such a privilege to care for women: they are the epicenter. If I can help a woman have a healthy pregnancy and delivery, then she will be more likely to remain healthy and to have a healthy child who will grow up strong. If I can teach a woman with high cholesterol to make more healthful choices, then her husband and family will also be more likely to eat better and exercise as well. If I can encourage one woman to get her mammogram, she will encourage her sisters and girlfriends to have their mammograms. If I can breakdown what is really happening during puberty and the menstrual cycle for one teenager, she will break it down to her bffs so that one day, they will teach their daughters. If I can help one woman seek help for depression or mental illness, she will tell other women that they too can be free. If I can empower one woman, she will empower all those within her reach.
Well women will only improve the health and wealth of our communities and our world. And although I do like wearing all the pink I can stand, doing surgery, and catching cute babies; knowing that I am blessed to have the opportunity of making some small impact on the world—one woman at a time—is the real reason I felt led to choose OB/GYN
joy is a small-town OB/GYN
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