I have spent much of the last 8 years of my life fighting to be well. Trying to live a normal life, whatever that means. Around 2007 I began experiencing numerous symptoms which over the course of the next few years would increase in severity and frequency. The journey of that illness is a long story in and of itself, but the result of it, was a loss of self that was astonishing. I had no idea how much of who I am is wrapped up in what I do. What I do for myself and what I do for others. I cannot speak for men, because as you see I am not one, but as far as for the women I have spoken with, it seems that ill or not, this is very common.
As my illness advanced so did my inability to do the things that made me feel like I was a worthwhile individual. All of the responsibilities that included taking care of my children and husband, from doing the laundry, cooking and the multitude of tasks that kept it all in order, to working a full time job and even going to college to get my bachelor’s degree. Not much of an over achiever, huh? But as time went on and I became more physically challenged, so did my ability to keep up.
I remember one Sunday talking with a girlfriend at church about recipes and cooking. She was going on about all that she did for her family to provide them wonderful meals. When she was finished, I said I loved to cook but, because it was so hard on me that I did not do it much anymore. I will never forget the look of disdain that crossed her features. You see, not only do we view ourselves as unworthy if we don’t perform up to the expected standard, but we women, are also very hard on each other.
I have another friend who is working on a screenplay, she is a multifaceted individual who is truly gifted. However when an old high school rival published a book she felt threatened. She did not see the truth that if this woman who was no better than she was could succeed, then why not her? I think the truth of it is that if we have yet to succeed ourselves, it is difficult to encourage someone else. It is certainly beyond me to want another’s success if I have not found it. This may sound selfish and harsh, but I am loath to deny it.
I wonder if the answer may lie in this. That as an individual I must find a way to feel value and to know I am successful in my accomplishments, no matter how small or large I see them. To believe that I am worth IT, whatever IT is. If I can truly do this, I will want for others to feel and experience the same thing.
I find that value in the eyes of God. His opinion of me is the only one that truly matters. In and of myself, and in my own accomplishments I am not worthy anything. It is ONLY because He loves me that I am of value. Now that is a big, soak that in… if I am nothing, yet He loves me… I am everything. HUGE, right?! This helped me to realize that my value to those I truly cared about, my children and my husband was not in what I can do for them, but about who I am, or rather whose I am.
I am pleased to say that my health has greatly improved, and that I am much more able to do things again. But, as I move through life today, I do not try to make it about what I do or do not do, rather it is just about being. Being a child of God, and that is enough.