June 11, 2007
I am not irreplaceable (and that's a good thing)
During the past few months I've started to realize that some of my scrabbling around the internet has been prompted by a desire to find some place that "needs" my comments and presence. Really, there's no such place. Even in in real life there's no place that wouldn't survive without me. A woman before 20-something weeks gestation is about as irreplaceable as it's possible to get. Does this mean that my husband and family don't need me? Of course not. But I'm not God to be irreplaceable in their lives. God is not optional. I am. This might sound bleak and harsh even though really it's just the opposite. Grasping at relationships and searching for personal significance in the comments section to a particular blog is suffocating, strangling, and life-wasting for myself and whoever I happen to be around. Learning to accept that I can be a true blessing in other people's lives without being absolutely essential to their lives and well being is freeing and life-affirming.....and really scary. If I'm not irreplaceable then I can, by definition, be replaced. If I can be replaced that means I might be replaced and that it might even be better if I was replaced. For anyone who's ever dealt with feeling/being rejected or has some lingering fear of rejection the idea of being replaceable is a pretty scary one. Sometimes it's so easy to jump in our minds from "can be replaced" to "will be replaced" even when we know rationally that it's very unlikely. Ultimately, as I mentioned above, the need to be irreplaceable is really a push to co-opt God's place in our relationships with other people since God is the sole originator of life and goodness. Yet in our drive to be needed beyond the possibility of rejection we demand people pay us the homage they owe God and in our hubris pretend that we are essential to the other person's life and happiness. As much as I would like to go gently on this because of the deep wounds that lead many of us here honesty compels me to plainly say that no matter the road that lead you here, if you are acting this way then you are in capitol letter SIN. Your wounds may be deep and your healing slow, but sin will not staunch your (or my) wounds for long. What does all this mean? In the end it means surrendering to trust. It means actually truly believing my husband when he says that he loves me more than anything else in the world and wouldn't trade me for anything he could name. It means looking my fears of rejection square in the eye and telling them where to exit is. It means rejoicing that God is God and that I am a little sparrow in the Kingdom of Heaven. Trust is the key. More than simply being trusting though this requires trust in God that even when your trust in other people leads to betrayal and pain that God is taking care of you. Even as we can't be God to other people we can't let them be God to us. Their betrayal will not kill us or take something essential away from us so long as we hold to God's sufficiency above all. As Jesus said, "Even a sparrow cannot fall to the ground apart from my Father's knowledge, and you are worth more than many sparrows." Let us confess our need to play God and admit to one another that we are not irreplaceable and that it's a good thing.