A few years ago I got sick. Like really, weirdly, ugly-ill. I was thirtysomething and had always been healthy until then... I hadn't ever broken a bone or dealt with more than a flu. And then, BOOM - I found myself flat on my back in the hospital unable to breathe without help, my body ridiculously swollen and my heart racing for no apparent reason. I was a sweaty mess.
After MRIs, CT scans, X-rays, and way too many tests including a lung biopsy, I was released with a diagnosis (pulmonary sarcoidosis, a sneaky little auto-immune disease that has since quietened down in my system). I was sent home to recover and spent over a month out of commission, in hospital and then on my back at home.
The worst and best part of that whole deal was the fact that I felt useless. I couldn't contribute at home or at work. My husband and kids and parents and sisters and friends and colleagues held down the fort and picked up the slack. I was a responsibility addict suddenly dependant on everyone else, grateful yet sooo embarrassed. The ache of feeling like a burden was heavier than any physical pain. Until then I had been going hard, carrying commitment and duty like a champ. In fact I had ignored the symptoms of illness that had been creeping up for months because I was sure I didn't have time to slow down.
And here's what I learned when life knocked me flat: The world kept spinning without me. My sticky fingers were forcefully dislodged from trying to control all-the-things, and everyone did just fine without me. They all loved and cared for me, whether I was getting things done or not. I knew the Spirit, my Comforter, was close - even if I had absolutely nothing to offer in service. It was an experience that radically changed my perspective. I do life, sabbath, boundaries and relationships in a different way because of it.
If I'm honest, I need to remember and meditate on that revelation often. Like a lot, a lot... Now, years later. I need to be reminded that my worthiness is detached from my usefulness. I am not what I do. Jesus thought I was worth it before I did a thing to prove it. Gosh. The same is so true for you - it's too much, isn't it?
Recently the most stunning book, Worth Living, arrived in my mailbox from Ellen Graf-Martin and Ellen's Picks. Mary DeMuth addresses the shameful lies we believe about ourselves and pours God-truth all over each one of them like healing balm. Compassionate and challenging, replacing shame with hope. Seriously, it's good. Each chapter was a gift to me. The lies are familiar to all of us - I do not deserve love, I am what I produce, I should be ashamed of my weakness, and more. My mornings for the past few weeks of summer have included coffee and sunshine and this book, a reminder that the King is wild for us.
A quote that Mary shares in the book that I've written out for myself, because wow...
I am now utterly convinced that on judgement day, the Lord Jesus is going to ask each one of us one question, and only one question: Did you believe that I loved you, that I desired you, that I waited for you day after day, that I longed to hear the sound of your voice? - Brennan Manning