But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—
and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. This is why it is said:
“Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”
Ephesians 5:13+14 NIV
I just recently overheard a conversation about the medical term “Do Not Resuscitate.” I didn’t have a lot of experience with this term, so I looked it up. This is the medical definition of DNR:
“A do not resuscitate order, or DNR, is a medical order written by a doctor. It instructs health care providers not to do cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) if breathing stops or if the heart stops beating. A DNR order allows you to choose before an emergency occurs whether you want CPR. It is a decision only about CPR. It does not affect other treatments, such as pain medicine, medicines, or nutrition.” (Medline Plus)
So it basically means if I stop breathing or my heart stops, I have a signed document that says “do not give me CPR; LET ME DIE.” That’s a pretty serious decision to make. The more I thought about it, the more I began to wonder if the concept of DNR ends up being applied to other areas of life. I wonder if I’ve ever been tempted to sign a DNR regarding my faith.
Have I ever consciously decided that, if my faith stops breathing,
I don’t want anyone to get in the way of its death?
DO NOT RESUSCITATE MY SOUL?
I don’t know if it was a conscious decision at the time, but there was a point in my life when my faith dictated as much of my life as my last name did – aka: not much. I was 22, had decided to drop out of college to find myself and was invested in some pretty poor lifestyle choices. I wouldn’t say I was trying to commit “faith suicide,” but I certainly wasn’t doing much to feed my relationship with God. The friendships I had were built on co-dependency; none of us functioned on our own anymore. My identity and worth were built almost solely on my ability to comfort and rescue hurting people. I was convinced that God made me to help save the lost and hurting in this world.
But for all my efforts, I ended up being the one that needed comfort and rescue. The times when I was unable to fulfill my duties as “savior” exposed my friendships for the farce that they were and they all dissolved, leaving me in a place where I was pretty much ready to sign a faith DNR. But then, something happened.
I went on a mission trip with my church. It was right around the time of Hurricane Katrina and we all took a bus down to Biloxi, Mississippi to help repair the damage. My parents were leaders on the trip and I was going as a volunteer and advisor to the high school students coming along. My goal was to keep my head down and lick my wounds. My plan was foiled within the first 24 hours when another advisor decided that she wasn’t going to let me sit by myself on the bus ride down. I am convinced that she was an answer to prayer. She sat down next to me and carried on a conversation saturated with silence and awkwardness as long as it took to get me to smile. I was angry and I didn’t want to smile, but her quiet joy and persistence made me slowly wake up. I remember feeling lighter than I had felt in years. Over the course of that mission trip, she read the Bible with me, shared her thoughts with me and made me feel like I could still be worth something even if I wasn’t saving someone. Even after that week, she would show up at my apartment with a big smile and the link to an awesome online sermon that I “just have to listen to! It’s only 35 minutes!”
One day at a time, God used that person to illuminate my world to His grace, mercy and truth again. One day at a time, God reminded me that I DO want to resuscitate my soul. I did not want my faith to die anymore. On the contrary, all of a sudden, I started being able to marvel at creation again. I was able to laugh at myself and my mistakes again without the heavy fear of it being the end of me. I started wanting to live. I felt ALIVE again. There were rough days still – don’t get me wrong – but when they happened, I had a reason to get back up and keep going.
I became awake and alive to the truth that I matter. My knowledge may fail. My abilities may fail. My friendships may fail. Yet I retain value. THAT is why I am AWAKE AND ALIVE. God’s truth uncovers every single lie I tell myself and exchanges them with grace and love. God says “everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light.” God exposed me to his light and let me become visible again. I was able to see myself as God sees me: worthy of resuscitating.
He said to me: “Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”
Dear Lord, I praise you for being the light in my life. Because of you, I can see. Because of you, I am seen as yours. Your grace covers over a multitude of wrongs. YOU are the reason I am here. “Saved” is my identity, not “savior.” Thank you for using the people in my life to illuminate your grace. Please let me be a light for you. Thank you for waking me and letting me live in you. Amen.
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/30051555@N06/5798555748″>Anxiety…</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a>