I’ve been watching an unhealthy amount of Grey’s Anatomy lately.
BFF: “Is this any indication that you’re not doing so well?”
Me: “No. I’m fine. I promise.” (Slight eye twitch from staring at computer screen too long.)
BFF: “OKAY. Just making sure… I know that when you’re binging on Netflix it usually means something’s up…”
That being said, excuse my use of multiple metaphors referring to medical stuff I really have no clue about. (Cristina Yang, eat your heart out.)
Alyssa is the kind of person who, with one deep glance, can see right through you, see all of your hurts at once, and recognize that you need Her to Care. Really Care. About You and You alone for however long you need her to.
I think it has to do with her eyes. She has these distinctive blueish-green eyes that are large and bright and outlined with long, dark eyelashes, so long that she will never, ever need eyeliner to do the job. They’re the kind of eyes that appear kind and unique to behold, so you find yourself staring into them for a moment while she takes the liberty of seeing right through you—like an X-Ray machine working to find all your broken parts.
I locked eyes with her after our small group of “young-singles-looking-for-love-in-hopefully-the-right-places” had officially dismissed from bible study. After embracing in an long, overdue hug, I tried to ask her about her father, a man I had prayed for the previous week while she was visiting him in another state. But, it was no use. I might as well have been a trauma patient with intense bleeding from all of my extremities and signs of major internal damage (I can’t even pretend like I know what I’m saying) standing before a highly-trained surgeon with a small bandage wrapped around her foot.
Like a doctor with a stethoscope, without even hesitating, she took her hands and placed them flat—first on my wrists, then on my shoulders and neck, and then on my head and heart—as though she was searching for where my inner ailments resided most. She closed her eyes and began to pray over me, silently at first, like she was really listening for The Great Physician to tell her what was really wrong with her patient.
There is a question that has silently destroyed parts of me like a spreading, evolving cancer for as long as I’ve been self-aware, a question I didn’t realize I have been asking myself with such intensity until tonight:
“What Is Wrong With Me?”
What’s Wrong with me physically?
What’s Wrong with me emotionally?
What’s Wrong with my personality/ the way I do things/the way I think?
What’s Wrong with me spiritually?
What’s Wrong with me–and how can I fix it?
What’s Wrong with me–and how can I cope when I can’t fix it?
If you’re like me, you’ve asked yourself one or all of these questions at some point—not because you love to ask yourself rhetorical questions, but rather because you REALLY WANT TO KNOW.
You want to know what’s wrong with you the same way you would want a doctor to want to know exactly what is wrong with you if you are physically suffering. You want to know all the possible reasons for why you’re suffering. You want to know the actual physical cause of your suffering internally and the reason for your suffering in the first place–if it’s something you can control or not. You want to know if your suffering is something that can be fixed in one operation or with a planned series of operations of various strategies and methods.
If you think about how you’re spending your resources (time, money, energy, emotions, etc.), I would bet a particular percentage is spent on your “fixes.”
This summer, I thought I was just being a responsible adult by spending quite a bit of my resources on finding and implementing a variety of fixes, all geared to making me healthier, more attractive, and all-around better to be around. I thought I could identify my problems and take control of fixing them. Most of the outside world would respect and validate my approach here. Most of the outside world would also argue with each other about the “right” ways to go about spending said resources to fix said problems.
But, nonetheless, it seems like an obvious procedure: 1. Identify what is wrong with you using one’s resources. 2. Fix what is wrong with you using one’s resources. (Or, if there really isn’t a cure or “fix” for you, find a way to cope and live with the identified problem.)
Truthfully, I’ve been trying to tackle a few personal health issues with all kinds of doctors visits, prescriptions, regimens, and routines performed religiously. It’s been maddening to find no improvements despite my efforts, and so in recent weeks I’ve finally been turning to God with my questions of health:
What Exactly is Wrong With Me, God?
You know my body, its inner systems, individual organs, and hormone balances. So what exactly is going on?
And, will you heal me, please Lord? Will you heal me using modern medicine/methods? Without modern medicine/methods?
Is it wrong for me to ask for healing from this? Do you even care about this?
(Now, to note: I fully recognize my full list of health issues pale in comparison to those that others have to deal with on a daily basis. If anything, this recognition makes me feel worse for coming to God with my health questions rather than just trying to fix them or get them under control myself someway/somehow.)
And yet, the questions persist with greater depth as I realize the true toll of all of my fixes on myself: physically, emotionally, and spiritually. That’s what my wonderful spiritual doctor-friend reminded me of —there is a real inter-connectedness of my body, soul, and spirit. When one part suffers, it is very easy for the other parts to begin to suffer as well if you forget to go to the Healer for help. And, it’s very easy to not recognize the suffering of the other parts when that happens if you think God only truly cares about one part.
Alyssa spent quite a bit of time praying over me, listening to The Great Physician for where I was hurting, and confirming what she was hearing from Him with me. I was amazed as she spoke out loud some of my physical hurts and grumblings along with some of my emotional fears and woes. I was amazed, and then I was ashamed.
I was ashamed that I didn’t have the faith to believe God could hear my own voice about these seemingly petty problems and would be willing to fix them for me. I was ashamed that as a follower of Christ for nearly all of my life I did not have the faith to claim Christ’s power and care in all of my “What’s wrong with me?” questions.
After sharing several prayers of encouragement and love, Alyssa paused once more to use her spiritually stethoscopic hands on my body. After resting her palms on my shoulders, she closed her eyes for a moment. She opened her eyes again with a look of complete thrill and joy sparkling from them.
“You just need to focus on being Daughter. Just be Daughter. Isn’t that so amazing? That is a command from Father. Just. Be. Daughter.”
With that, I left Alyssa with a hug and a few tears/snot droplets wiped in her dark curly hair. (I’m half-kidding about the snot droplets. It probably did happen since I was such a hot mess from crying during her prayers.) I tried to think about what being “Daughter” had to do with my seemingly long list of personal problems. What would my earthly father say to me if I came to him with all of my “what’s wrong with me?” questions?
(In my home growing up, if there was a physical ailment that required more than a bandaid and Neosporin or a swig of cough syrup to fix, my mother was quick to say, “Your Daddy is the Doctor in the Family.” And so, my brother and I would be redirected to our father to answer our questions about splinters and sprains and swelling and anything in between. His knowledge came from a lifetime of experiences with sports injuries as a player and coach, and he was trusted because we knew he loved us and did not want us to hurt. Even if he could not take away the immediate pain for us, my father would tell us why we were hurting and how it could be treated. As his daughter, I knew my father cared about what was wrong with me.)
What’s wrong with you, you ask?
You’re a son of Adam. You’re a daughter of Eve. You’re a physical product of this world, of your culture, environment, and systems. Your physical body is a shell for your soul and spirit. Your body is a temple, not to be worshipped but to perform worship to Me. Your body is for My Glory, not yours.
You’re a soul with a personality, passions, and imperfections. You’re an emotional product of this world, of your culture, relationships, and emotional intelligence. Your soul is where you live out your worship to Me. Your soul is for My Glory, not yours.
And your spirit? It once was dead, but now it’s alive because My Spirit lives inside of you. I brought you back to life. I Am your Healer. I Am The Great Physician. My Spirit living inside of you is the fix of all fixes, the healing of all healings. I did this because I love you and for My Glory.
What’s wrong with you, you ask?
You don’t trust Me with all of you. You don’t give Me all of you to be your Healer and Great Physician and Lord and Lover. All of your scratches and scars? I want them. All of your grumbles and gripes? I want them. All of your laughs and longings? I want them. All of your cares and thoughts? I really do want them!
Be My Daughter. Be My Son. Be Completely Mine. Because there is Nothing Wrong In Me.