sprained ankle and the idolatry of doing. . .
A little over a week ago I sprained my ankle. Real bad. I was in my hometown, Greenville, South Carolina, celebrating my best friend's birthday at a place called SkyZone.
I had never heard of SkyZone before, and when another friend asked my about it a few days earlier, I thought it was some sort of indoor sky-diving place. An anti-gravity something or other. I was wrong but kept hearing about this place over and over. Then, my friend, Caroline, was talking about what to do for her birthday--she wanted something fun and playful; something to make her feel like a kid again since turning 26 is so super old. . .she's crazy. We all are. She mentioned SkyZone, an indoor trampoline park.
Cue angels singing Ahhhhhh. I.Love.Trampolines.
Growing up we had the little trampolines that are good for working out and/or incorporating in your dance routines that you perform for your parents, but my mom and dad were never too keen on the big ones, thinking they are dangerous and what not. I obviously disagreed and had years of track records jumping on friends' trampolines to prove they are safe. In fact, I have always said if and when I ever make it down to Nashville to live, my first purchase will be a big, outdoor trampoline because: Trampoline = Instant Friends.
So here we are at an indoor trampoline park with so many choices of where to jump. It was so much fun, and quite a workout. My friends and I were jumping and laughing and breathing super heavily. We were playing basketball and I was actually getting the ball into the hoop. We were jumping into the foam pit. We were playing follow the leader. . .uh oh. 30 minutes of pure child-like fun and then it happened. The fatal (okay that's dramatic--I'm alive and fairly well) jump. I landed only on my right foot. My ankle rolled. I heard something pop. I fell, yelled out that I was fine, and then my foot started shaking uncontrollably. I was not fine. My lovely, sweaty, and super strong friends carried me to the side where the guys took my info, took my picture (much to my chagrin) and iced my ankle.
That night I drank two glasses of red wine and took three ibuprofen. My dad yelled at me. Apparently that's not the greatest idea but hey, the pain went away for about 2 hours. The next day I went to the Doctor Express. Express is right. I saw him for a combined three minutes. He came in and told me I had to get x-rays. After he came in and said it was sprained. Well, thank you, sir. Here is my money. Have a great day.
That day I watched about 5 hours of the show Nashville and it was awesome. I thought I'd be up and at 'em within the next day or two. I was wrong. I had never sprained my ankle before so I had no clue what I was getting into. The swelling. The bruising. The inability to walk. I got a boot and it made things a little easier. My mom took me shopping and pushed me around in a wheel chair and we laughed.
But I wanted to walk. I wanted to drive. I wanted to be independent. I wanted to DO. I WANT to DO.
People have been very nice. Sometimes, though, for those of us that have an independent streak a mile deep, that niceness can just perpetuate the feeling sorry for ourselves that we are already experiencing. I went away for a weekend while I was in SC and my wonderful friends were so good about taking care of me and checking in on me, driving me, checking in on me. Thank you, but I'm fine--even though I wasn't.
I have been back in New York now for 3 days. Yesterday I walked to get a coffee and it wasn't easy. Today I had to turn down spending time with a baby friend that I LOVE because I can't really climb four flights. I've done a lot of sitting. A lot of listening to music. A lot of catching up on Netflix and Hulu. Some reading. Not that much praying. I'm annoyed. And who do I take it out on? God. It's not right. But it's the truth. I know He's going to tell me to depend on Him, that I'm fine, that this is part of His plan, to enjoy this opportunity to rest. All things I don't really feel like hearing.
But today I was reading today's Jesus Calling and it was so spot on, I had to give in. I know this is a very long post, but I will share the devotion and some thoughts I had while reading anyway:
"Do not resist or run from the difficulties in your life. (don't worry Father, I can't exactly run at all) These problems are not random mistakes; they are hand-tailored blessings designed for your benefit and growth. (what? thanks, so much, for this "blessing" Papa) Embrace all the circumstances that I allow in your life, trusting Me to bring good out of them. (okay okay, I DO trust You. . .for the most part.) View problems as opportunities to rely more fully on Me. (oh.)
When you start to feel stressed, let those feelings alert you to your need for Me. (if I just needed You, I'd be fine, but I feel sooo needy to everyone right now and I don't like that.) Thus, your needs become doorways to deep dependence on Me and increasing intimacy between us. (oh right. that's what You desire. intimacy. not me wallowing alone but wallowing to You. and You being able to comfort and use my time wisely because I am open to your Presence.) Although self-sufficiency (and constantly being on the move, on the go) is acclaimed in the world, reliance on Me produces abundant living in My kingdom. (huh, You're right. of course You are. I'm dependent on You whether I recognize it or not, so I may as well bask in the fact that You delight in taking care of me and giving me a rest) Thank Me for the difficulties in your life since they provide protection from the idolatry of self-reliance."
Thank you, Sarah Young, and Jesus. The idolatry to self-reliance. Hello NYC. The idolatry of doing. Hello Rachel Troublefield Nelson. I have found during this time that I want to be DOING stuff pretty much always. Going places, seeing people, working on things, moving, shaking, walking, doing, doing, doing. This isn't a bad thing. But many good things can become bad things if they become THE thing. Listen, I like to relax, I do. But when I have no choice but relax, suddenly it is my enemy. I want to be able. To make the choice: do or not do and I would probably always do.
This isn't the sort of time-out I would have exactly chosen , I'm thinking more stranded with a bunch of my family and friends in a fully functioning all-inclusive resort in the Bahamas, BUT I DO trust that God is using this time to teach me something about myself. Sometimes I need to take the pressure off of myself. And right now, I can DO very little, so I may as well just BE. BE still and know that He is God; that He will fight for me and figure things out for me and heal me and take care of me, I need only BE still. That He will defeat the DO Idol, if I will only let Him do His job. The job that only He can do. Be God. Huh, what a concept. Let God do what He does best: BE God.
We are Human BE-ings, after all. Not Human DO-ings.