I had every intention of not posting today. After all, I have the perfect reason not to. After getting back from a trip across the country to see family, I caught a bad cold that turned into a fever and an all-out-flat-on-my-back kind of sick. But as I sipped my tea and my fuzzy head felt a little more sane, I realized I had something to say from my spot on the bed after all.
Being sick tends to strip me of all kinds of things. While I hate it, I think there are parts of the stripping that are good for me. Perhaps similar to fasting, I think that if we are willing to look at what’s left when we take away the distractions, there is some good truth to be found. Truth that goes beyond the sickness of today, that encompasses the silly and the serious, and I found a little bit of both this week. So here’s a little of the truth I’ve found this time being sick.
Wear jeans and a nice shirt.
In college, I would often dress up on a test day. Sometimes my roommates would guess if I had an exam based on what I was wearing. (They were usually right.) I find that on sick days, it boosts my spirits a little to look nice. Today I put on a shirt I feel good in and jeans. Nothing fancy, but not grubby either. It may be all mental, but that doesn’t mean it won’t help. I think there’s more of a correlation between the body and the mind and the soul than we typically give them credit for. So, I’m showering and dressing up. I already feel a little better.
Wear sweats and a sweatshirt.
Two nights ago, I came down with a fever. I was burning up and freezing all at once. My body was begging to be comfortable and I wasn’t about to argue. I put on some of my most comfortable clothes and let myself be as sick as I was. I put up the hood on my sweatshirt and we made jokes about me being a “thug teen.” Sometimes it feels helpful to let yourself be as sick or as hurt or as upset as you are. Wear sweats and a sweatshirt. Have a hot mess moment if you need one. Crying it out or naming how sick you are doesn’t mean you’ll stay there. In fact, you probably shouldn’t. But you might need to be there as part of moving through it.
Don’t be a hero.
There’s nothing to prove. Yesterday my husband offered to stay home from work to take care of his ladies. I’ll admit, as wonderful as the offer sounded, I didn’t want to need help. I wanted to be able to do it all myself. But the truth was I needed help. I needed to be taken care. I needed someone else to be in charge of meals and diapers. My husband often says “don’t be a hero” in regards to working out, but I think it applies here too. You’ve got nothing to prove to anyone. If you’re sick, ask for what you need. If you’re hurting, ask for what you need. You’ve got nothing to prove.
The timing for being sick this time around felt rough. We’d been gone for almost two weeks and I found myself aching for a routine again. I was glad to be home and ready to get into a schedule. The last thing I wanted to was postpone that further while I laid around, drinking tea and taking naps. But that’s everything I needed to be doing. Our bodies weren’t made to go without stopping. If your spirit is tired, if your body is sick, if your soul longs for a slower pace, listen to it. Slow down. Take a nap. Rest. We were made to need rest. And as much as I fight it and want to prove my worth with what I can accomplish, I think being sick is the reminder my heart needs that I don’t have to earn rest. I was made for it.
I’m not alone.
There are so many people the Lord has given me to journey with me. People right here in front of me who are chopping sweet potatoes and giving baby kisses to my knees. People far away who tell me they are praying for me and they love me. People who speak truth over their computers or in the books they write, helping my heart to believe what is good and right. I’m so grateful for the many people Jesus gives me to tell me that I’m not alone and I’m loved.
(Speaking of which, here are a few of my favorites from truth-speakers that I read this week: The secret to get you through your hard thing, Being Brave Together, and Taming the Monkey Mind and Learning to be Present.)
Grace. It is all grace.
I think it can be easy to focus on what is wrong with our lives, whether it is a sick day or not. When my body doesn’t feel good, it can start to feel like maybe other things aren’t so good either. But the truth, whether it feels like it or not, is that everything I have, everything good in my life is a grace. It is all a gift. That doesn’t change just because I don’t feel good or have a bad day. Everything good in my life is a grace. I have done nothing to earn it or deserve it. It was simply given to me. As my nose is stuffy and my head starts to feel fuzzy again, I want to choose to look for grace. I don’t want to dwell on my aching head. I want to dwell on all the gifts that I’ve been given. And there are honestly too many to count.