My mom’s mom taught me many things: when to say “shit,” how to listen, and the beauty of independence. She always encouraged her granddaughters to not ever have to depend on a man. I worked hard, got good grades, finished college, got a job, paid my own bills, bought a condo, and was pretty self-sufficient. Point being, I’ve always been pretty independent, many times to a fault (cue: “i’ll do it myself” meme).
This morning for worship, I was scheduled to lead the Gathering Music: two pretty upbeat, fun, peppy songs to welcome people into worship. I LOVE doing that kind of stuff. But with my allergies in full bloom, I went to bed last night knowing I was going to need to let go of leading singing. And at 11pm, 3am, 5am, and when my alarm went off at 6:30am, even my sleepless soul knew that the best thing I could do was to choose a few hymns and ask the choir director to lead the gathering music. (For some people, this may not seem like a big deal. However, for the “independent, do-it-myself, always be your best, suck-it-up-and-survive, fulfill your responsibilities” part of me, this is monumental.)
As I shared in a few recent posts, I preached this morning. I preach about four times a year (I’m usually teaching or assisting Sunday school). It went so very well. I had several compliments from various church folks and some who said I didn’t even sound sick when I was preaching. (funny, thinking back, I didn’t FEEL sick while I was preaching.) I call that “Holy Spirit Adrenaline” (which, when I googled, I found several articles/posts differentiating “adrenaline” from the Holy Spirit and bullet points on how to know which is which. *body twitch* I believe that when your body or mind is compromised and God is calling you to do something, adrenaline can be the gift of the Holy Spirit. Why do Christians always feel the need to separate God and science?). This morning I trusted the Holy Spirit to speak through me, and that’s exactly what happened. It’s really an amazingly awesome, humbling experience – kind of a mind out of body experience where you feel with all your being that God is working in and through you in that very moment and it’s like, wow, look at what God is doing through me.
The title of my sermon was “Resurrection Gifts,” looking at Jesus’ encounter with the disciples and later Thomas (John 20:19-31), where he meets them, transforms their grief and fear into joy, gifts them with peace and the Holy Spirit, and reminds them that they are entrusted with continuing God’s mission in the world. And that the Risen Christ meets us as well, transforms our grief into joy, offers us those same gifts of peace and the power of the Holy Spirit, and calls us to continue to partner with God in building the Kingdom here on earth.
In letting go of my need to be superwoman, and in asking for help from our choir director (who has awesome mad skills) with the gathering music, I was in a way letting go of my grief and worry, and accepting the gift of Peace. Somewhere early in life, I accepted this idea that I needed to be the best all the time, to over-perform, to hyper-function. It’s so deeply embedded in our American culture, so it’s really no surprise. But I often wonder, what if our best IS to let go? What if doing or being our best IS to be vulnerable and admit that we need help, especially when our health is at risk. I’m sure glad I did today.