For the last two days I've been sick with the flu. I'm talking about the hard-core, not-messing-around, oh-yeah-this-is-why-people-die-of-this flu. Since I foolishly did not get a flu shot this year, I have been in my bed for the majority of the last 48 hours. Like anyone else, I hate being sick, and in my particular case, my being sick seriously affects four other people: my husband and three small children. After a couple days of doing absolutely nothing (but watching movies and Magnum, P.I. episodes on my computer) I start to feel pretty guilty about not pulling my weight. Thankfully, my husband has the kind of job where he can work from home in situations like this, and has been faithfully doing laundry, making meals for the kids, etc., so I see that things are getting done that need to get done. But even after a relatively short period of absence from my usual wife-and-mother role, my thoughts begin to go down a dangerous path. I start to feel worthless. I start to think that if I can't be industrious and purposeful, I have no value. It reminds me of all the ways I already am not living up to my potential: Why don't I blog more? Why don't I create beautiful things out of household items and Mod Podge and put them on Etsy or Pinterest? Why don't I write songs? Why don't I serve the homeless? There are so many things I'm NOT DOING. When I die, will I have DONE enough with my life?
I say this is a dangerous thought path not just because it turns into a spiral of shame and self-bullying, but also because I believe this is the kind of thinking that leads to a disrespect for human life. This morning as I was contemplating all my deficiencies, I felt the Lord remind me that my worth does not depend on my activities. Like every other human being on this planet, my worth is rooted in the fact that I am God's creation, made in His image. If I don't believe this--if I choose to believe that my worth comes from all I am doing--then what's to say I wouldn't apply that kind of thinking to others? Wouldn't that make the elderly worthless, or the infirm, or anyone who can't contribute to society? There are those who do believe this, and much evil has come of it. Believing my value lies in my intrinsic humanity, that I am creatura Dei, isn't an excuse to do nothing with my life or my gifts, but it is a deeply reassuring reminder that in those times I cannot participate in my regularly scheduled life, I'm okay. I have value--and so do you. And now back to season three of Magnum, P.I. :)