"For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." - Ephesians 2:10
Sometimes I refer to myself as an invalid, usually when I’m trying to cover the ache with a little extra biting humor. It’s probably obvious to anyone who hears that it’s just blatant cynicism. But I guess an invalid is what I am, right? “A person made weak or disabled by illness or injury.” But the connotation of that word, when I use it to describe myself, is that I’m not just an invalid. I am invalid. “Null and void”, “faulty”, “weak”, “wrong”, “having no force or effect”, “inconsequential.” Mostly… insignificant.
I used to be involved in so many things, every type of service I could get my hands on and I loved it. My drive was what made me involved in so many things, also a workaholic, and my heart for service is what made me a social worker and a frequent volunteer. I felt like I was doing something important, something that mattered. Part of it was my addiction to striving and proving myself but most of it was because I felt I had a heart that was created for service. There were people in need and I had something to offer so I did. I poured myself out; my abilities, my determination, and my heart. And then…
Then I got weak and faulty. I kept going because I thought I had to and people were counting on me. And, truth be told, I was addicted to my life. But then I realized I couldn’t be counted on anymore and I became null and void, having no force or effect. Just… wrong. At least that’s what it felt like anyway. And as much as I grieved losing it all, I never expected my period of invalidity to still have no end in sight over two years later.
I feel so insignificant. Useless. I sit here at home, day in and day out, rarely touching another life. Sure, people tell me I brighten their day online but somehow the intangible just doesn’t feel like enough. To my grieving heart, it’s not enough. In fact, it doesn’t feel much like anything. Useless. Insignificant. Having no effect. These are the voices in my head. My constant companions.
But you know who else is my constant companion? God. And His voice is supreme. He is significant. He is significant in me. I am not invalid because He is not invalid. I may be weak and faulty but He is strong so I’m allowed to be weak.
And tonight just as the voices got extra loud, drowning out my joy for longer than I would like to admit, I asked God for the truth. When I ask and really listen, He is so faithful with His truth. He reminded me how easy it is to see Him in the big acts of service, in the lives of the missionaries, in the gatherings of His community. There’s never a question that He is in those things. But you know where else God is? He is right here with me too. He is with me exactly as much as He is with the community gatherings and service projects. The same amount of His presence that is so clearly felt and seen in the big things is here with me too. I am breathless with the glory of this. How can this be? How can He love me that much?
I read stories and hear about God’s people doing big things and find my heart lonely, longing for that kind of life, a life saturated with God, a life lived and loved well. And then it hits me. I have the perfect opportunity to be saturated with God. We are one-on-one many hours of every day. And my fire burns. I know I loved Him well during my years of bigger service. But I want to love Him well now too. God was tangibly close to me for years when I could reach out and touch His people, but now I can reach out and touch HIM.
He has invited me to this Holy place and I am overcome. He invites me to sit at His feet and I pray that I eagerly do so, anticipating communion with Jesus Himself. I can feel Him here and I am deeply moved, humbled, and honored to be invited to sit with Him. I know He is in this. He is in the wrestling and the tearing down and the rebuilding and the growing. He is loving me now in such an extraordinary way and in this moment there is nothing more beautiful. I don’t want to miss another second of it by feeling invalid. If God thinks I am significant enough to meet me, just me, here day in and day out, who am I to believe that I am not? What could be more heart-melting than this intimate communion with God?
"As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, 'Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!' 'Martha, Martha,' the Lord answered, 'you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed - or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.'" - Luke 10:38-42
This is my time to sit at the feet of Jesus, giving Him my undivided attention. This is the good that God prepared in advance for me to do, the better choice that will not be taken away from me. I pray that while I have the body of an invalid, God will shape my Martha heart into a Mary heart. I pray that I no longer see this as invalid and insignificant, but the holy, sacred privilege God has given me in His perfect time. I pray that I love Him well here, and that I never stop being awed by the way He extravagantly loves me here too.