“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
This clever little saying played through my mind as I spent the week caring for my husband, recovering from major reconstructive surgery on his nose. They had to break it to fix it – seems like an oxymoron, right? Let me tell you – nobody can prepare you for the varying degrees of pain and trauma that will result from breaking something in order to put it back together.
As his wife and helpmate, I readily embraced my role of meeting his needs while he couldn’t meet his own. In our 15 years of marriage, I can easily say that he has taken care of me many more times than I’ve taken care of him. He cares for me, and with his love and support, I care for everyone else. It’s a beautiful chain of command.
This week, as I watched him pass through varying stages of agony, it was shocking how insufficient I felt. My husband whose newest hobby is running obstacle races through mud and electric wire and who [very humbly] refers to himself as “the tank”, felt like he had been run over by one. I have no hesitation in saying that he is the stronger vessel. He is and always has been my protector. He felt awful and I felt helpless.
I did what I could. I cared, cooked, and pampered. I delivered ice packs, pain medication, and comforting words of encouragement. And about 3 days in – I was exhausted.
Call me a wimp, call my plight minimal in light of the path many walk, call it what you like – it was real to me and – I was plumb tired.
I sat on the couch with a cup of tea as he peacefully napped (and snored – oh, the snoring). I stole the moment in our quiet home to be still and reflect. I was doing good things – he was comfortable and cared for. Overall, there were no complaints.
But … all was not well with my soul. There was a stirring. A restlessness. Something was brewing. It poured out and over, nearly leveling me.
There was laundry to be done. Work that was waiting. There were dishes in the sink and I’m sure I saw some crumbs that needed to vacuumed. I hadn’t written a word in days. I was procrastinating. My was I lazy.
My son was playing video games and dinner hadn’t been made. The toilets could use a cleaning and certainly there was a cabinet or drawer that could be organized. How dare I be tired?
Maybe I should be starting that sewing project in these glaringly, unused moments of downtime. Piece together a quilt, perhaps? Emilie Barnes and Elizabeth George would be shaking their heads in disgust at my utter disregard for order in my home.
I was failing fast. I was a lost cause. A horrible wife and mom. Except – I wasn’t.
I could literally see the funnel cloud forming on the ensuing tornado in my mind. It took mere moments for me to spin from tea-sipping still into guilt-ridden stirred. What was that about?
It made me downright angry. I refused to sink into that guilt and I purposed to level it.
Being the tear-it-apart-to-understand-it kind of girl I am, analysis commenced:
- This guilt was not borne out of wrong doing. I wasn’t feeling the weight of unconfessed sin. High-five for keeping short accounts with God.
- This was the weight of unreasonable expectations. This was the burden of believing I needed to carry the world on my shoulders as some idolized mash-up of Wonder Woman and June Cleaver.
- This weight was disguised as condemnation and delivered in the form of lies.
And I was believing them.
We do that, don’t we? Especially we women. We believe the lies of guilt – and fear – and worry. Of doubt, inadequacy, and discontent. We feel guilt as women. We get married and feel guilt as wives. We have children and some chemical reaction occurs right after delivery unleashing a vicious form of mom-guilt.
We live our lives, read our bibles, sit in pews, and we walk intimately with God. We encourage, serve, work, and love. We spread ourselves thin spreading goodness all over the land, but we come home and we believe lies. We forget all about grace.
I can’t believe your fickleness – how easily you have turned traitor to Him who called you by the grace of Christ by embracing a variant message. It is not a minor variation, you know; it is completely other, an alien message, a no-message, a lie about God. Galatians 1: 6-7 MSG
The guilt that I was feeling, the chains that were tying me down, were lies the enemy was selling me – a false gospel in the worst form.
His whispers of “not-enough”, “you should do more”, and “how dare you” were virtually choking out truth. Rather than relishing the gospel of grace, I was entering into bondage to lies.
The enemy loves to spread his lies – most lavishly amongst the spaces in our life we hold dear. The things we want to control, wrap our arms around, and hold tight. The people and priorities that we often fail to surrender thinking that they are better managed in our hands than in Gods. Cracks in our foundation and weakness in our frame are a breeding ground for the enemy’s attack.
In the landscape of my lifetime, I have felt guilt both misconceived and totally irrational. Guilt because I didn’t measure up or because I wasn’t godly enough. Guilt over comparison, people’s opinions, ministry expectations, spiritual-gifts, and abilities. Guilt over time, how I spent it and how I didn’t. Was I wise enough, good enough, was I enough all together ?
All of it was bondage – captivity and slavery by an opposing force.
Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take a stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you. Galatians 5:1 MSG
That afternoon in my living room, in all my weariness, I took a stand. No more lies. I was shedding the yoke of guilt and confessing the misplaced faith in untruth. I was fixing my mind on all that was true, noble, right, pure, and lovely. I was remembering all that I am and forgetting all that I’m not.
I was resting in grace and relishing in freedom.
A free life is found in Christ. And I am His. Rest and peace are offered in the balm of grace. Truth and life are nestled in the pages of His word. Cleansing comes with willingness to confess. Growth through the teachable spirit.
Christ is truth. He is all-sufficient.
My perspective and resolve are renewed – but my enemy still roams. Guilt, fear, doubt and lies are his specialty and I’m certain that we will battle again. Oh, but what joy for those whose record the Lord has cleared of guilt, whose lives are lived in complete honesty. (Psalms 32:2 NLT).
Jesus is the discerner and cleanser of my heart. No more is the enemy entitled to filter my truth through his lies.
Because my gospel and my truth are His gospel – His truth. It is a gospel of grace.
And…if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.