I made the decision to stay at home today. It was a hard decision to make, with voices calling out to me accusing me, guilting me into staying at home. Unfortunately, this is a left over response from years past when I used to have to defend my reasons for wanting to stay home, especially when sick. I can remember how I cried out and waited for permission from my then husband to stay at home. I am sure he doesn't remember it, but it was a constant in my life. I was working for a large database company, working far too many hours, and being taken advantage of by my supervisor (who always called me to work overtime). I was sick, and I needed time off, but the company frowned on sick time. They threatened to let you go if you took too much sick time. In my case, I really was sick -- pneumonia/bronchitis, etc. Yet, I slogged myself into work, and tried to do my job. If I stayed home, I would have rested, recovered, and kept my germs to myself. Oh well....those feelings of guilt still hang around, don't they?
Time zooms past, and I am now almost 50 years old. I have been a worker bee my entire life. I work hard, harder than most, and I don't usually laze around and take advantage of the freebies the job offers. My coworkers usually say "Stop working so hard, Carol -- you are going to make the rest of us look bad." I don't really think about the fact that I am working hard, it is just what I do naturally. I work very hard, and I do whatever the task is until it is done.
I have learned over time to rest, to take it easier, and to not get so zoned in so that I forget myself. In recent years, I have struggled with my Chronic Fatigue, and I have managed my episodes with working a flexible schedule. I need to be free to rest. I need to be free to work really hard when I feel good, and when I don't, I need the time off. I cannot do this at a normal 9-5 company. I cannot do this when my cycles hit, and I face the wall. I get stuck, and then I suffer horribly. Now, I know and understand that I need to be able to rest. I have always known this, for years really, I just never took the power back into my hand to say "I know what I need, and I am not going to wait for permission to get it."
I think it all comes down to power, and who has it. I have lived my life for the past 50 years feeling powerless. I was a child in my parent's home, and in that way, they had power over me. They told me what to do, and I obeyed. I then married, and moved into a home shared with a man who had power over me. Not that he took that power, mind you, but rather, I willingly gave him that power. This was natural for young girls who married straight out of their father's homes. I had no experience on my own, and had never come into my own as a powerful person. My husband, unsure what to do, did what he thought was best. I don't blame him anymore because in truth, he was just a young man who had issues with his power in the family (his parents), and he was ill-equipped to handle a needy wife. He did his best, I give that to him, but when the chips were down, he made poor decisions, and I let him to it. I never stood up for what was best, and in the end we both suffered as a result.
Now, I am older, wiser, and well-worn. I have had the power taken from me, and I have taken the power back. I hold the power now, with open hand, since I know that my personal power comes from the Lord, and I have a great responsibility in how I use it. I hold it carefully, thankful for it, but knowing that I will have to give an account to Him for the choices I make, and the steps I take. God is Good, and I am trusting in His Grace -- so I don't worry much about it. I understand though that God has given me personal power as a means to protect me. It is for my good. I am to use it for my good. I am called to submit to authority, and I am called to be an honest worker. Therefore, I mustn't misuse my power in any way to subvert authority or to disobey a master/supervisor/employer, etc. If there is injustice, I trust the Lord for His Power and Protection over me. I do honorable work, but my personal power is there to keep me safe (the me part of ME). This means that if I am unwell due to pressure headaches or a backache (both of which are chronic for me), at times I will have to choose ME before the company. I will do my best to work honorably, but when it comes down to it, right down to the bone -- there is only ME, and what works for ME.
Selfish, I know. It is a hard lesson for me to learn, but I refuse to feel guilty about taking care of my personal health and well-being. In fact, I am about to start a new health program that I am hoping will diminish a number of my health issues. I will blog more about this later on, but for today, I have written enough. I am going to rest now, to enjoy my personal day off without pay, but with the promise of a brighter tomorrow, and certainly a more pleasant next week (feeling stronger, better).
In Father's Name and in the Power of His Blessed Son -- Amen!