We don’t always feel like we measure up.
I am aware of that sense in my own life and, as one who studies other people, I see it in all of us. Sometimes we struggle to find our purpose, that sense that we are “enough.” This much-needed encouragement comes when we have a sense of our value.
This discouraging mindset can also soak in to the hearts of our residents, in our retirement campuses and nursing facilities. Some of our residents face physical or mental challenges. Some have few friends or family remaining. Many face various levels of change, transition, limitation and loss. It would be easy for any of us, and any of these residents to think “I don’t measure up.” And yet, this mindset does not have the final word.
I recently read some similar thoughts in a magazine: “God often uses the marginalized or “less likely” to accomplish his purposes. Each of us is tempted by the enemy, through our own attributes, to conclude that we are unfit for God’s use.”
One of my “less likely” friends is Elaine.* Due to some memory challenges, she isn’t able to drive any more. It breaks her heart when she can’t get to church. Elaine’s routines and social circle are probably much smaller now than they used to be. It would be easy to shrug her shoulders and think that she doesn’t measure up.
But Elaine doesn’t see life that way. She is always cheerful, laughing at herself and bringing joy to other residents and staff. She routinely walks the hallways- making it a point to get her exercise in everyday! We have had conversations about letting our light shine for Jesus. To much of the world, Elaine may have some limitations- but she knows the real truth- she still measures up.
Every so often, she walks into the Great Room at our facility and sits at the piano. There is one song she plays routinely, a beautiful hymn called “Day by Day.” It speaks about the moment-to-moment faithfulness of God, and the strength he provides to us.
If we were to consider certain circumstances, any one of us could find reasons why we don’t measure up. But the truth of the matter is, we absolutely do. We can always make an impact. We can always be a blessing to others. God takes our weaknesses and turns them upside-down for his purposes. I am so thankful for friends like Elaine and the communities at Heritage. Together, we find strength in our weaknesses, because God cares for us. We measure up. Together.
by Larry Petry, Senior Chaplain