>Last year during Pumpkindoodle’s three-year-old physical, I learned more than just her height, weight, and development level. By reading a poster on an exam room wall I discovered that for most children age five is a good time to learn how to swallow a pill.
As far as pill swallowing goes, I was not like most children. In fact, I was fitted for my first training-bra about five years prior to successfully swallowing a pill. While most 15-year-olds were able to take two Tylenol tablets for a fever, I had to chew eight little salmon-colored St. Joseph’s baby aspirin to reduce a temperature of more than 100 degrees.
Finally, in my Nana’s kitchen the summer before my sophomore year of high school, I accomplished swallowing a doctor prescribed capsule. Now, with nearly 20-years of pill swallowing experience, I still struggle to get those little buggers down my throat. I can handle the average pain relieving, fever reducing variety, but vitamins, antibiotics and larger pharmaceutical pellets invoke my sensitive gag reflex faster than the smell of sour milk. Whether the root problem is psychological or physiological swallowing pills is not easy for me.
I not only struggle with swallowing tangible pills, I have issues with the emotional ones. For me, the largest, most jagged, smelliest pill is pride.
Pride is the crux of perfectionism and to allow Christ to free me from its bondage, I first had to choke down that pungent pill. In my life, that meant cancelling my subscription to the Super Mom myth and allowing others to help me when I found myself in a room packed with mommy Kryptonite: a child’s terrible tantrum; misplaced guilt; lofty expectations; or a to-do-list that rival’s Santa’s. There are many other vices that can be listed.
While I am quick to bestow a heaving helping of mercy on a friend, I once viewed my own weaknesses as unacceptable. Admitting my flaws was hard enough, but to admit them and ask for help? Impossible. Or so I thought.
During a particularly difficult season in life, a sweet friend of mine called me and in a voice brimmed with concern, asked me how I was doing. She couldn’t see my red, swollen eyes, so I thought fooling her would be easy. Armed with a fake smile and syrupy voice I told her that I was fine, just a tad a tired. I was eight-months-pregnant, so tired was a plausible excuse for my broken demeanor.
“Angela,” she sternly responded, “I know that is not true.” Her voice softened. “Girl, I saw you in Bible study this morning, you looked spiritually defeated. Please don’t say that you are O.K. if you are not O.K.”
Through gulps and sobs I confessed my pain. Overwhelmed and exhausted, I felt a failure. And then, a beautiful thing happened. I realized that choking down the pill of pride allowed a healing truth to escape. The truth that pride doesn’t protect, it destroys. The truth that my confiding in a friend actually blessed her as much as it did me. The truth that I was not created for earthly perfection. The truth that there is no “Super Mom” with colic-curing hypnotic powers; but there is a super Savior draped in love and mercy and yielding enough power to calm seas and mend the wounded.
But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sale, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12: 9-10 (NIV).