Here it goes. This year has been a year of weird and continual illness. You’d probably never know from social media apps or seeing me in passing, but yes, through traveling and working I’ve been constantly battling a sickness of some form. I’m not typically one to complain about being sick, nor am I seeking your pity, but underneath all my pretending that I’m fine, it has sucked. From Mono to head colds to Lyme disease to conjunctivitis to now bronchitis, I’m tired of being sick and honestly feel pretty defeated. Despite all my efforts—the medication, the heaps of daily vitamins, herbal teas, trying to stock my body with all the right veggies—I can’t seem to keep it off. Maybe I need to take better care of myself, maybe I need to rest more, I’m not sure. But I was hit in the face with a humbling realization recently as someone was praying for me—typical right?
A sweet friend of mine prayed for healing but also that I would have the strength to rely on my Savior. That simple sentence was all it took to spark a complete heart change. Sickness aside, am I relying on Jesus? No. One of my biggest fears and constant underlying voices in my heart is that I’m not enough. Of course, operating out of this fear translates into all sorts of unhealth, but mostly an excessive drive to do, achieve, and be this strong, successful woman—which I’m not convinced is all bad, but has somehow contributed to an almost complete reliance on my goodness and a hesitation to face my own brokenness. Because if I look at my sin with honest eyes, it may be true: I may not be enough. But I’ve been leaving out this whole part of the equation that makes that painful statement ok to bear. I may not be enough. There’s only so much I can do, only so much healing I can muster. But I’m not left alone in my inability. Jesus meets me there and graciously brings hope to my fears.
Some of you may know that I’m the Women’s Ministry intern for City Church this summer. When I first started, I felt really excited to bring Jesus to women’s lives by caring for them, connecting them to others, and reminding them of God’s grace. But what I didn’t realize is I was believing the lie that I had to have it all together to do this successfully. The Lord has gently humbled my heart through these illnesses to understand that His name is actually best glorified and His character best revealed by inviting others into our mess and letting them see the role He plays within it. In From Weakness to Strength, Scott Sauls writes:
“The once-crucified and abandoned Jesus—who is exceedingly able to sympathize with our weaknesses and who submitted to sickness, sorrow, pain, and death voluntarily—rose from death. His resurrection assures us that we, too, along with our other friends and loved ones in Christ, will rise in victory over death.”
You see, it’s in my inability that I get to experience this power, watch him carry the burden of my shortcomings, and rest assured that these things don’t define me. When I accept that I am broken and messed up, and go to those parts of my heart that I’m afraid of facing, I also get to accept the grace and love of the one who died for me. The one who still chooses me and invites me into glory despite it all. So am I sick? Yes. In many ways, actually. But I have hope in the steadfast presence of something so much bigger than myself, and that right there somehow still lends my troubled heart joy.