My fibromyalgia has unfortunately taken a turn for the worse over the past few weeks for some unknown reason and amongst other things, has settled in my hands. For the first time in the course of this disease, I have felt stripped bare, reduced to simply who I am and not at all defined by anything that I do since, with the loss of use of my hands, my ability to do anything has been greatly compromised. I can no longer play my guitar, turn the pages in a book and typing is now incredibly difficult with this post an incredibly long time in the making. I have struggled with this deeply since I love doing these things and have had many conversations with God over if not these things, then what does he want me to be doing?
Ironically, it is this being stripped bare of all pretense that has made me see more how what I do has absolutely no bearing on who I actually am. Rather, it is my character that determines what I do and it is my character that He is most concerned with. The verse in 1 Samuel 16:7 when Samuel was sent to find the next appointed king of Israel says, "But the LORD said to Samuel, 'Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.' ” (ESV translation) I think it is really easy to find our self worth in these outward things but our lives innately are valuable and we can't do anything to make us more so. In this humble position, we find peace and hope and ultimately, grace.
It is tempting to dwell on what I used to be or more accurately, what I used to do instead of who I am and what I need to be. Believe me, it has not been easy but I've realized, who I am impacts and influences my kids, family, friends and everyone I come into contact profoundly more than what I do. My actions, as much as I can do, flow from who I am and ultimately, who God is as I try to follow Him.
My fibro has definitely taught me so much as I've wrestled with it. Despite it and probably even because of it, I feel the grace of God in my life as I learn these lessons. Hopefully though, there will be an easier way to learn these in the future that lets me use my hands more!