There is a heaviness I can feel in my chest. I can’t point out to you where it is, but it’s a weight that I have been carrying for I don’t know how long. This past Lenten season has helped me to see it and feel it, but New York’s “pause,” during the Covid-19 outbreak, accentuated the details and movements of my interior discomfort.
Two things have trampled their way into the frontlines of my interior life:
- My chronic pain
- My lack of self-worth
In my ordinary oblivion, these two things met each other, face to face, and launched a war inside my heart.
Of course, I talk to God about my chronic illness (fibromyalgia) , but I am rather inconsistent in sharing my pain with him and uniting it with Jesus in his own suffering and death.
Of course, lacking self-worth is not a newfound discovery for me, so although I have wrestled with self-worth all my life, I’d like to imagine that God chipped away at least most of the remnants of this debilitating disease.
The two things I have given over to God are the two things I realized that I had only lived in the state of half-surrender. (There are a handful of halves and thirds surrenders in my life, but hey, one thing–or a pair–at a time)
Half-surrender+Half-surrender = 1 full surrender
Not at all.
With each incomplete surrender to my Father in Heaven, I remain hidden from Him–behind my pain, behind my shame. Giving him some while I clutch the rest to my chest. It’s impossible to embrace God wholeheartedly when my chronic pain and lack of self-worth are having a hella good time camping till daybreak in the evening of my life. And so that is where my attention rests on: my chronic pain and my low self-worth.
Collapsing into bed after a long day (or morning!), my pain steeps into my brain and tells me that I’m no good. No good because of what? Because I need rest? Because I’m overly exhausted?
Whether I am taking a break from sitting, shortening my leisure walk, or choosing to make a less time-consuming meal, my chronic pain has slowly befriended my already-existing negative self-talk.
These two things build on each other. If I don’t take care of my mind, my chronic pain will intensify.
If I don’t take care of my pain, my low self-worth will continue to wound my eyes.
To fully surrender both things to God…The two things I have trouble trusting Him with.
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