Many of you know that I had knee surgery a couple of months ago – I tore my ACL and had to get a replacement. Leading up to the procedure, I was super nervous. It wasn’t my surgeon – he’s one of the best in the Metroplex, by all accounts. And it wasn’t the fact that it was my very first surgical procedure ever. I wasn’t freaked out about going under anesthesia or anything like that.
What made me nervous was the recovery. They told me I was going to be non-weight-bearing for 6 weeks (it only ended up being 2, but I didn’t know that until I woke up). I had an idea of what non-weight bearing was going to mean – every single thing in my life, from showering and using the restroom to preparing food to doing work to sleeping – all of it was going to be harder than it used to be. (And I didn’t have a clue how hard it was actually going to be, which is probably for the best.)
I’m a really self-sufficient person. I don’t like to ask for help. (Can anyone here relate?)
And I knew that over the next couple of months, I was going to have to ask for help, to rely on other people for pretty much everything. And that level of debilitation was pretty scary for me.
Which, when I say it that way, sounds pretty stupid, doesn’t it? I was afraid to ask for help. Afraid to need other people.
I had seen over the last couple of years that this self-sufficiency was a problem in my life, a spiritual red flag God wanted me to address. So in my anxiety approaching my surgery, I made a decision to welcome my helplessness as a spiritual practice.
I need to learn to be less self-sufficient. To admit my need for other people. This is a spiritual practice.
In fact, though self-sufficiency is a deeply held American virtue, it is poison for our spiritual lives. God didn’t create us to be self-sufficient. God designed us to need and to be needed, to love and to be loved.
This is hard. Really hard. So hard that it might take a debilitating surgery to teach some of us that lesson.