Today, I want to do something a little different. While this devotion is applicable to anyone in any stage or area of life, I want to specifically talk to those of you who suffer from chronic illness. Perhaps, like me, it's a joint disorder, arthritis, bursitis or other pain-related situations. Or maybe you suffer from an autoimmune disease like lupus, celiac disease or type 1 diabetes. It could even be you're many months into cancer and the various treatments related to that. Whatever the disease or illness, I want to speak to your hurting hearts.
It's bad enough to hurt on a daily basis, but what's worse (at least in my mind) is the constant feeling that I'm no longer good enough. I look at others (both those with and those without chronic illness) and compare my accomplishments with theirs. For example, do you know that some women with joint disorders are still able to maintain an immaculate home and have delicious home-cooked meals on the table every night? Not only do I not enjoy cleaning, but the simplest act of wiping down the counters can cause pain and even joint dislocation, not to mention the damage caused by more strenuous work like cleaning the bathrooms or running the vacuum. So, I compare and feel that I'm not good enough in the area of housekeeping and cooking. It's not easy to see others skipping through the day with seemingly boundless energy while knowing it took every ounce of strength I had just to get out of bed and get dressed this morning.
Not only do I compare myself with others, but I also compare myself with the "me" before the chronic illness. I catch myself saying things like, "I used to be able to. . ." And then I sigh when I recall how I can't push myself for more than a couple of days without paying a very heavy price. Of course, this leads to a negative train of thought.
I used to be a good wife, but now I'm not good enough.
I used to be a good friend, but now I'm not good enough.
I used to be a good Christian, but now I'm not good enough.
I used to be able to do so much for others, but now I'm not good enough.
Fortunately, during these times, God is with me, whispering in my ear, "My child, how good is good enough? You can't determine your worth by comparing yourself to others. You can't know your value by looking to your past. You cannot know what is good enough until you seek My approval, which you already have. The fact that you get up and face each day with a smile makes you good enough. That you press on despite the pain, frustration, and discouragement is a testimony to your willingness to serve Me. As long as you are seeking My face and doing My will with all your heart, soul and mind, you're good enough. Please don't belittle what you do because it doesn't compare to what you see others doing. They're walking a different road and bearing a different burden. If you're giving your all, I can ask for nothing more, for I do not ask of you what you are not able to give. Lean on me, child, and I will be your strength."
I'll be honest with you, I protested about writing this devotion. "God," I whined, "I don't want everyone to think I'm having some royal pity party because--for once--I'm not. Besides, I don't want people feeling sorry for me because I wrote some" poor pitiful me post" on my blog. It sounds so needy, so selfish." But, as typically happens, God had the last word. He told me to get rid of my pride and write what He told me to write because I'm not the only one who has pity parties, bad days or situations of not feeling good enough. I'm certain many of you can relate, and maybe, you needed this reminder today.
Don't let anyone (especially yourself) make you feel inferior or less than! You are you, and you can only do what God has called you to do. It does no good to compare yourself to others or even to a former "you." Make the most of today. If that means you get out of bed, spend some time with God, and get nothing else done because of lack of strength, so be it. God knows what we're going through, and He doesn't expect more from us than we can give. Besides, when it comes to determining how good is good enough, there's only one Judge, and while we may not be able to do some of the things others can, Jesus still thought we were worth dying for.