Self-Reliance

So, my husband has been gone now for almost 2 months, or 8 weeks, or 56 days or 1,344 hours….you get the point. It’s been a long time. He had to leave for work and was only supposed to be gone 3-4 weeks but nothing went according to plan, so here I sit counting done the hours till he comes home. I want to pause really quick here and give a shout out to our military. All the families that are separated due to deployments, I got a small glimpse of what that feels like. THANK YOU!!!

I’ve learned a few things about myself while he’s been gone, and unfortunately not all of them are good. The good stuff first, I still like my husband and miss him, even after 22 years of marriage. He truly completes me and makes life more enjoyable. Not having him here for all the little day to day events is one of the things I miss the most. I also learned that I’m capable of killing a copperhead, well with the help of my daughter. We’ve made an agreement, I kill the spiders, she kill the roaches and we take the snakes on together. But I digress. Some of the not so good stuff, I always thought I was the sane one in our marriage, that appears to not be the case. The longer he’s gone the more insane I’m going. Also, I’ve always thought of myself as self-sufficient, this has been a rude awakening.

Growing up I realized the more I could do by myself and for myself the less I had to interact with my family. The less interaction the fewer opportunities to get on the bad side of my parents, especially my mom. My dad was more level headed so we got along ok. The other thing being self-sufficient and a problem solver accomplished was a value and a place in the family. After I got married I still tried to be as self-sufficient as possible and not to “burden” my husband. I continued to work part-time after we had kids bringing in supplemental income and health insurance. As my health got worse I still continued to work but had to rely more on the kids and Daniel for help around the house. My folks, my aunt and close friends would step in when they saw a need, without being asked. If I did have to ask it was usually, ”They kids would like to spend some time with you, can you pick them up from school?” That way it wasn’t asking for help just an opportunity to spend time with my kids. Oh, the silly games we play! Because I wasn’t being honest with myself I avoided reality, until now.

With Daniel being gone, Justice living in another state, and Faith busy with school and softball my inability to be self-sufficient has becoming painfully obvious. I was doing better before the accident but I refused to see how far that set me back. I’ve talked before about how exhausting chronic pain is. It doesn’t just cause physical fatigue, but mental and emotional complete exhaustion. Stupid stuff like trying to figure out what to eat becomes an overwhelming decision. If that’s overwhelming you can imagine all the day to day decisions that need to be made can cause an avalanche of anxiety. I’m stuck in a crazy cycle cause the more I hurt the more I stress and the more I stress the more I hurt. I can’t just stop though because there’s no one else to take Faith to school and softball, do the dishes, grocery shop…the list goes on. The realization that you have to so heavily rely on your loved ones isn’t a fun one. To realize that you’re a ”burden” is heart breaking. I didn’t realize how much I’d come to rely on Daniel for everything.

Why do we feel like our value is attached to our physical capabilities? I don’t judge my family and friends that way. My dad is getting older and can’t do what he used to but I don’t see him as less valuable or a burden. When my husband was sick and needed me to wait on him I wasn’t put out or upset with him for his inability to make himself dinner. If this is the way I see others, and the way others say the see me, why is it so hard to believe? Why do we fight against needing help? Isn’t this the way God designed us? Even before sin entered the world Genesis 2:18 says, ”And the Lord God said, ’It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.’” God created us to need one another but our prideful nature rebels against the idea.

I think mine is twofold. As I was writing this a mom jogged by with her stroller. I can’t do that. I’m 41 and have the physical capabilities right now of a 60-70 year old. It should get better as I heal from the accident but I’ll never have the same capabilities of someone my age, my disorder won’t allow it. That sucks.

The other reason I believe is more universal. We are a prideful people. Especially as Americans. We’ve glorified the idea of ”pull yourself up by your bootstraps” and turned it into the holy grail of our lives. What’s the first thing you ask someone when you meet them, “What do you do?” We’ve built an entire culture around what you do, not who you are. Now I understand it’s an easy conversation starter but if you’re honest it’s become a measuring stick. This is so against what the Bible says about our value. Psalm 139:13-14 “For You formed my inward parts; you covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works and that my soul knows very well.” I had literally nothing to do with my creation. God’s hand was on me from the beginning and that is where my value is. I am His. My broken body is His design and His plan and my job is to praise Him. His job is to make it profitable. One of my new favorite verses, 1 Timothy 4:8 ”For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.” My value doesn’t come from what my body can or can’t do but on the way I use my life to follow Christ. That is something I do have control over.

As always, I’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to leave a comment below or send me an e-mail.

Blessings

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