Ask anyone who knows me well, being still is not my forte. My parents had my big sisters and I doing chores and pitching in at young ages. We didn't get allowance. We were made to understand that this was simply part of being a family and it took all of us to make it operate well. I worked in the large garden we had, pulling weeds and gathering our little harvest in the hot summer sun.
Us girls painted the picket fence each summer, fed the horses, groomed them, fed the chickens, and gathered eggs. Mom taught me to cook at around age ten.
Work was (is) a part of who I am and it's always made me feel better about myself.
Back in 2005, when a team of four Lyme specialists told me I would have to leave my job at Hewlett Packard and go on disability- it was hard to let go. It wasn't enough for me just to stay at home.
"Lisa, if you don't rest through this process, you could die." they said.
Shortly afterwards, I resigned from singing on the praise team at my church in Denver. I missed it so much! It hurt because I felt utterly useless. Not being a part of ministry meant I wasn't contributing anything at all to my church.
God must be disappointed in me.
It wasn't enough.
No. I wasn't enough.
I was "less than." Just fill in the blank. I was less than whatever or whoever you could think up.
Then in 2017 just 3 months after being crowned Mrs. International Elite with Today's International Woman Pageant, I had to relinquish my title due to this illness. I felt embarrassed, guilty, and lost. (They broke the rules and let me keep that gorgeous crown though!)
Recently, I was admonished to step down temporarily as CEO of Little Glimmer of Hope Foundation, the charity I co-founded with my husband in 2014.
I'm letting everyone down. My clients. My board. Everyone, I thought.
Saying all of this has been difficult for me is an understatement. I would've never thought of it this way, but I've been in a grieving process over it. I simply could not let go.
I've felt tidal waves of worthlessness because a great deal of my worth was tied up in what I did or did not do. Resting just felt wrong. Whatever, "enough" was, I wasn't measuring up.
My board told me, "You have one job. Get well." My husband reasoned with me. My pastors counseled me. My best friend convinced me. Yet, I still couldn't let go and I couldn't figure out why. I mean I prayed and said "God, I'm letting go." I soon learned saying it and doing it are two entirely different paradigms.
Then, today while reading a book that a friend suggested entitled God's Best Kept Secret, I read this simple, yet profound truth.
"God does not determine who you are by what you do."
Whoa. Wait. Really? He doesn't? You mean to say He loves me just because I'm His child? I don't have to try harder, do better, make a difference, or go-go-go for Him to be my Father and adore me anyway?
"His mercies are new every morning," my husband said.
"You don't have to do anything for Him to love you. Lisa, you must let go! You'll only get sicker if you don't!" my best friend stated factually.
"You are loved unconditionally. You are safe." my pastors encouraged.
That seems too good to be real. But, please, God, let it be real.
"He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit." Titus 3:5
My worth is determined by so much more than what I am capable of.
When I wake up in the morning, it's often not up to me as to what I am capable of. If I have to be somewhere by 9, I make sure I'm awake several hours ahead of time. I've showered the night before. I've got to give my body time to let me know what it will and will not do that day. It's not unusual to have no more strength than to simply lay down all day.
This is my world now, and although it's 100% harder than life pre-Lyme, I am grateful for air in my lungs and the ability to still be capable of doing what I can do.
What can I do though?
I can write. I can read. I can laugh and give a listening ear to a friend. I can talk with my grandchildren on the phone and hear their giggles. I can be a loyal friend to many. I can be a good wife to my husband.
I can choose joy.
Most importantly, I can love. I still have that ability and no person, no hardship, no challenge, no sickness, disease, or demon in hell can take that away from me.
When I buy into the lie that I am what I do, I live in a state of identity crisis. There's so much more to every single one of us than what we can or cannot do.
"And now abide faith, hope and love; but the greatest of these is love."
I've lost the ability to do a great many things, but I have not lost the ability to love. As long as I have this heart beating, I still have the ability to love on this earth.
Giving it away, receiving it, basking in it. I have learned, Love is enough. It is the foundation and cornerstone of all that we are, because God is Love. Love overcomes obstacles you didn't even know you had. Love has enabled me to accept myself the way I am right in this minute, weaknesses and all. To love is a hard quest at times, but God's Love is a Comrade who will walk this life's cadence with you to a rhythm you can understand. And when you're worn thin and cannot walk, Love will carry you. When you're alone and lonely as if you're on the outside looking in, Love will invite you in with open arms and give you a seat at the most elaborate banquet table you've ever seen. Love will show you that you're accepted and worthy.
My fragmented heart is being made whole because of Love and it is enough.