This is my view. Right now. As we speak – or rather as I tap my thumbs on this mini keyboard. There’s nothing special to see here. I see it every day. A dining table covered in life’s crumbs and activities. My husband’s stack of books. A mess I have been procrastinating sorting through. But all of this is in the background.
What I need to notice is me.
Tucked under an afghan.
Listening to my body.
Life seems to fly by too fast. Between school programs, holidays, work demands, rushed lunch dates, and keeping house the world takes over and I find that I am not the one living it anymore. No, instead it is taking the life out of me.
Before Christmas the thought came to mind more than once, “I need to stop or my body is going to make me.” I heard it and said, I’ll stop later.
I’ll stop after teaching this class.
I’ll stop after making this Christmas present.
I’ll stop after the kitchen is cleaned.
I’ll stop. I just can’t stop now.
Well, I’ve stopped. That prophetic voice was right, my body has made me.
Oh, I’ve tried to keep on. I’ve been on anti-biotics, cough suppressants, NyQuil, DayQuil and the like. I preached through bronchitis. I have carried laundry up and down stairs exhausted and congested. I have gone to meetings with medicine head. I have cooked meals, read stories, played games and have done all I can to keep on in the life that I expect myself to be able to live…
But I can’t. My body won’t let me. And my spirit is tired.
I have come to the end of myself and at this point I have finally, finally brought my condition before God. In tears, I pled for Him to step in.
And He said to me, I have not made you for this. This striving. This running after unrealistic, untrue expectations. You have been chasing after lies. Pursuing perfection that evades you, because it is not the perfect you were created to be. Come, you who are weary and heavy burdened and I will give you rest. Let me guide you in life so that you will live. For the work I have for you will be done with me and with me it is easy. I am with you always. I will restore your soul.
He has spoken these words over me before when I found myself carrying around the burden of perfectionism. Trying to complete the task of appearing perfect in front of everyone else’s eyes – or as I imagine they want me to be – only to lose track of who I am. And then, as now, I wound up overworked, overtired, and under-joyed.
There are so many reasons I have lived this way, but they all come back to believing that my value comes from what I produce. What I do. I fear not being good enough. Not being a good enough wife. Not being a good enough mom. Not being a good enough employee or coworker. Not being a good enough “housekeeper.” Not being a good enough friend. Not being a good enough follower of God.
God told me to stop. It was His voice that warned me I’d be on this couch today. And it is His voice that reassures me He is with me in this. It is only in stopping that I can see what I have been striving after. And it is only in stopping that I can hear His gentle voice inviting me to come with Him.
And I can go with Him because He loves me. He whispers over me Child, you are mine!
This is my renewed perspective. I am valued not for what I do, but because He said so. Not only did He say it, but He proved it when He died for me.
I remember, now.
So, I sit on this couch. Stopped. Unproductive. Healing.