I had an itch on my neck. Which turned into a painful rash. That turned into a doctor’s appointment. Leading to a diagnosis of shingles.
I’m a 37 year old, professional, living the dream, what do you mean I have shingles?
What do you mean this rash that burns all the time is going to scab over and continue to hurt for 10 days to two weeks? What do you mean the nerve pain might take even longer to heal? What do you mean it’s caused by stress?
Shingles, one little word that created a turmoil of emotion in my world.
I wasn’t sure what to think in the exam room with the urgent care doctor, as we discussed how the dormant chicken pox virus, that same virus that had ruined my Halloween from my freshman year of high school, had decided to rear its ugly head and make war with my nerve endings. Considering the recent weeks with longer hours of work, I didn’t feel any more stressed than what I considered normal. It was a sobering reality check, that although I couldn’t identify a change in my tension levels, my body did. And my body had, had enough.
This was about three weeks ago now. Although the rash has healed, I continue to struggle with lingering nerve pain. And the pain is a reminder to give myself margin to rest. As soon as I feel it coming on, I retreat to our bedroom. Once there I turn down all the lights, lower the volume on the TV, and watch something life affirming (Hello Hallmark Channel) until I fall asleep. This is a completely new pattern of behavior that is exhausting all on its own, because breaking routine to turn off the to-do list in my mind is not how I define normal.
The last fifteen years, have been a mix of work and fun, and my life has been so full! Without children in my life, I’ve become very driven by my career. We have a saying at work, “Ill bleed for you”. It’s a rally cry, expressing a sense of loyalty and determination to our team when we are in the throes of product development. Sometimes I feel the need to bleed out, so that my team, my boss, and my career are successful. In an effort to do it all, my body shuts down and demands rest.
What do you mean I can’t do it all? What do you mean I’m not Super Woman? What do you mean I’m not as young as I once was? What do you mean I need to change?
I feel like these 4 questions constantly plague the women around me, it’s the attack of the enoughs: Not young enough, not smart enough, not strong enough, not enough…
And that’s when I am reminded that I am enough because of the salvation, the love, the grace found in my Lord who is more than enough. I find rest in that,knowing that beyond my career, beyond my failures, beyond the rash that burns. I am enough.
One last question: What do you mean French fries don’t cure all that ails us!