One of my greatest challenges since becoming a quadriplegic has been feeling like I’m making a difference in this world. I was always one of those people that thrived on feeling needed. I enjoyed working and was always a very productive employee. If you praised me, I worked all the more diligently. I thought life was all about doing and not so much about being. Now that I am sitting still, living a full life has taken on an entirely new meaning.
John 10: 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
I used to think that life to the full was about being a giddy type of happy and being very busy. Even in my early days as a Christian, I would wear myself out trying to convince people to visit my church or to study the Bible. Don’t get me wrong, I think these things are fine, but I was trying to shake up the world with my own strength and power. And I thought God’s love for me was based on my success in these areas. I found I was disappointed in myself quite often and thought God felt the same. After several years of living this way, I finally burned out and returned to my former way of life – a very destructive, dark and empty existence. I lost connection with God and his grace.
Now that I’m unable to move and am restricted to my facility most days, I still find I can get disappointed in myself. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy… And many days, my heart gets stopped all over and my mind tells me I’m useless because I’m not doing something – like taking several classes, like writing a blog post every day, writing an autobiography in a month, and showing this world that, even though I’m in this wheelchair, I am the most faithful, exuberant example of someone who is overcoming hardship beautifully. This is the true definition of stealing, killing, and destroying my faith.
After three years of sitting in this wheelchair, I am just now learning that having life to the full is being filled up with God, friendships and family. It’s not all about being filled up with activities. I believe it’s about a spiritual and emotional connection and contentment with God that can’t be shaken. I am finally beginning to believe that God loves me when I sit still as much as he loved me when I was busy.
Ephesians 3:17 And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Nothing can separate me from the love of God. Not busyness and not sitting still. Not how I feel about myself or how I think God feels about me. Not my accomplishments or my defeats. God’s love surpasses knowledge – that means it’s greater than I’ll ever understand. And it is his love that fills me to the measure of all the fullness of God. And this is what creates my connection with friends and family and contentment with who I am. Nothing else will do. That sure takes a lot of pressure off of me. For that, I am grateful.