Refill Your Prescription
My body does not produce enough iron, leaving me feeling weak, shaky, and faint. I get dizzy, fall over, lose vision, forget seconds, sometimes entire conversations.
But mercy, am I good at hiding it. I’ve learned to always be sitting down, when I can help it. And when I can’t, to be leaning against something. A wall, a bench, a table. I’ve learned to hide my dizzy spells by the way that I run my hand through my hair, prop my head on my wrist, or by saying that I tripped or just lost my balance.
I have gotten very good at masking how incomplete I am. Most of the time.
There was that one day, several months ago. I was across campus with some friends in a worship service. I remember texting one of them saying “If I grab your arm while we are walking back, let me.” I remember leaning on someone else as we walked back. And I remember waking up on my dorm room floor twenty minutes later.
No matter how good I am at concealing all of this, the truth of the matter remains. I’m not okay. There is something else that my body needs that I can not provide for myself. I do not have enough iron in my blood, and I need to take a little green pill twice daily to make up for that. I can pretend to be okay, but eventually, my strength will run out. I will crack.
I’ve been off my medicine for a while and relying on my own strength, and it is beginning to show. I ruined a pair of red heels the other day when I fell up the stairs. I have a bruise on my arm from falling off my desk chair and landing against the desk. I have forgotten some conversations that I only know happened because everyone keeps referring to them.
But you see, I am not simply anemic. I’m spiritually anemic too. There is something that I need, that we all need, that I in no way can get from myself. I can pretend that I have it all together, I can mask the symptoms, but eventually, I’ll crack. I can’t do anything on my own, but I like to pretend that I can. I like to act like I can do life on my own strength. I go off my medicine without ever realizing it, and rely on strength that I don’t have.
But as Christians, especially in ministry, is there anything more dangerous? Is there anything more deadly and harmful to ministry than pretending that we can do it alone? That we rely on our own strength, not on Christ?
I knew all this, but it wasn’t until I sat at a small, four person table in our new Library that I was forced to realize that I was off my medicine, and had been for quite some time.
I was talking with my roommate’s friend, someone that I had just been introduced to. We both are missions minded, both ministry focused, so naturally, that is what the conversation very quickly turned to. It wasn’t long before we started sharing our hearts, and discussing common struggles. It seems that being off meds was a mutual battle.
He reached down from heaven and rescued me; he drew me out of deep waters. Psalm 18:16 That is where ministry starts! That is where true ministry starts, when we realize that we need Him, that it isn’t about us, that we can’t do it without Him. We may think that we are doing things for Him, but if it is not by His power, then we are nothing but noiseless chatter, wasting our time, emerging ourselves in sin. Even though I thought I was working for God, I was getting burnt out. I crashed. But once I stopped and surrendered, once it wasn’t me, I was able to do twice as much to further the Kingdom. And this time, it counted for something.”
When I was diagnosed with anemia, I had to get 9 vials of blood drawn. 9. Most of the time, a diagnosis is painful. It takes searching the inside of your heart, and looking beyond the surface. But it is so worth it.
If I am not religiously taking my little, green iron pills, I can not walk in a straight line. If I can’t do that on my own, why do I act like I can do life on my own strength? Do ministry on my own strength?
I think that it is time to get my prescription refilled.