This has been an interesting week, full of new experiences.
It all started when we got the news that one of my mom’s very best friends (the pastor’s wife where we went to church while I was growing up) had passed away. So she and I headed up to Michigan on Monday so we could attend the funeral the next morning.
Even though we were there for a sad occasion, we took the opportunity to get together with some family and friends while we were in the area. Is it just me, or does it seem like the only time you see people, as you get older, is at funerals?
Anyway, we met with some friends at a restaurant which is where things went wrong. Right before we were going to leave, I decided to hit the restroom. I didn’t realize how literal that was going to be. On my way, I slipped on some mopped floor (no floor sign!) and ended up breaking my leg.
Yes, you read that correctly – I broke my leg!
I will be 46 next month, and this is my first broken bone. I have to say, I could have skipped this experience and been completely happy about that. While it certainly could have been much worse, it hasn’t been all that much fun either.
Fortunately, the break was not a complicated one. I broke my fibula up by my knee. Because it was a non-displaced break (that just means the bone never got out of alignment), my recovery is pretty straight forward – stay mostly off of it as it heals for the next 6 to 8 weeks. I don’t even have a cast or boot or anything.
But while I am super thankful that I apparently have the best case scenario when breaking your leg, that doesn’t change that it is very inconvenient and hopping around on crutches or propping my leg up while lying on the couch means I can’t do the things I normally do. Things like laundry and cleaning and cooking and grocery shopping. Things that are kind of necessary for our household to run smoothly.
And, even though I am not what you’d ever call domestic, I’m finding not being able to do those things much harder than I thought.
The thing is, it’s kind of hard to need so much help. Sure, if it was anyone else, I’d tell them that of course, they needed to ask for help, and of course, they shouldn’t feel bad for needing that help.
When it’s you, it’s another story, isn’t it?
When my 81-year-old mother had the orderly wheel me into the emergency room, I felt uncomfortably conspicuous, like I was making a spectacle of myself.
When I have to tell people I broke my leg, I feel kind of ridiculous. I find myself making jokes and explaining how it could have been so much worse (and it really could have been – see? I can’t help myself!).
I find myself downplaying the fact that I broke a bone – like it’s no big deal when it kind of is.
I find I don’t like being weak and somewhat helpless.
I also noticed something else. On about the third day, I realized that every single time I asked someone for something, I apologized.
My oldest son finally told me, “mom, you don’t have to say you’re sorry for asking for help.”
it made me wonder, why WAS I apologizing anyway?
It wasn’t like it was even my fault I had fallen. It wasn’t like I was doing something risky. I was walking to the bathroom, for goodness’ sake! I wasn’t demanding or asking for anything unreasonable of those around me, either.
And yet, I continued to apologize and I continued to feel like a bother – even though nobody was responding that way at all.
My friend and I chatted about this and she said in her own case (she has some serious chronic health issues that necessitate asking for help, too), God showed her it was pride.
I’m sure there is some of that in my own life too. I mean, don’t we all want to be self-sufficient? Don’t we all hesitate to admit we need help? I know I do.
And yet, when I really examined my need to apologize, I realized a lot of it has roots in fear. Big surprise, right?
My word this year is EQUIPPED – oh the irony.
God really does have a great sense of humor. It’s a brand new year, and I don’t feel equipped to even do the basics around my house.
But here’s the thing is, my fears were rooted in not being enough.
Not being productive enough.
Not being useful enough.
Not being good enough.
Just not being enough, period.
We live in a society that puts a lot of value on what we DO, not in who we ARE. This includes Christian circles too. Meet another believer and the conversation will soon circle around to what you DO as far as church and ministry go.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t mean we shouldn’t be serving the Lord.
But service is an outflow of our relationship with and our identity in Christ, not the other way around.
And I think we get that wrong. I certainly get it wrong, as evidenced by my overwhelming need to apologize for asking for help when I need it.
God is far more concerned about who we are and loving Him with all our hearts than in what we do. Case in point, those verses in Matthew 7:22-23, the ones that always make me shudder. The person stands before God and lists all the amazing things they’ve done in Jesus’ name and He looks at them and says, “Depart from me. I never knew you.”
He doesn’t say, “You never DID anything.” Nope, He says, “I never KNEW you.”
It’s not about what you do. It’s about who you know. I’ve been reading The Great Omission for a while now, and one of the things that has stood out to me so much is that God’s purpose for us is to become more like His Son, Christ. He wants to transform us into the image of His Son so that our thoughts, our words and yes, our actions look like Jesus.
It’s out of the outflow of that transformation that naturally comes service and good works.
This is definitely NOT the way I envisioned 2019 starting out, but I do believe God is fulfilling the word He gave me this year: EQUIPPING. He’s just doing it in ways I hadn’t imagined.
As Omigo Matoyo said in The Princess Bride, “I do not think that word means what you think it means.”