Psalm 41:7-8 - All my enemies whisper together against me; they imagine the worst for me, saying, "A vile disease has beset him; he will never get up from the place where he lies."
When battling a chronic disease sometimes others believe you’ll never get better. But though the war on sickness is knocking at your door, hang onto the hope.
When you’re having a good day, others may still say that you might be a little better, but you’ll never get completely well. This is hard to hear and can cause the hurting to doubt themselves and that they can have a full life regardless of the chronic disease.
I have many good examples of people I know who are fighting the same war I am, and have somehow found a way of becoming a positive example to those around them. They don’t let anyone hold them back.
Another option is when the one hurting on the inside wears a smile non-stop. However, many times that smile is only for the sake of others and is really just a fake smile. Sometimes the one suffering may truly be having a rough day, but they don’t allow their face to show it. Regardless of both of these, if you look in the sufferer’s eyes you can see their true heart.
And there is a third option: dig up from deep within that struggling heart and bring up a real smile along with it. Sure, you may not feel like smiling; however, when your heart is honest with people you know and they give you the encouragement you need to be real, go ahead and smile. It will do wonders for you and for them.
The forth option shows not a smile, fake or otherwise, because there’s no energy left to smile.
This calls for patient endurance.
You must make it your goal to look for the positive around you.
One way to do this is if you’re well enough to do so, go outside and take a walk. This will give your lungs a chance to be refreshed as well as the rest of your body.
Find five other tips from lifehack.org on staying positive in negative situations, in their article, “5 tips to Stay Positive in Negative Situations.”
When it feels like people are whispering around you and not giving you the encouragement you need to live your life in spite of being sick, don’t give up.
Be honest that what they say hurts you, yet you can show them by example that you’ve learned how to find the good in your situation. Maybe even if it’s only to show you who your true friends are like the psalmist in the Bible verses above discovered. But he didn’t give up. He turned to God and found people who did encourage him to believe his life was full of good things, even if he was living with a negative situation.
Psalm 33:18-19 - But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love, to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine.
There are many different kinds of famine:
There are however, other forms of famine that are tied in with chronic pain and illness. There’s:
All of these, depending on what kind of disability or illness you have, cause us to have a famine that’s not just for a short period of time, but for the rest of our lives.
Whenever there’s a hole in our lives from things we no longer can participate in, we must find a positive way to let go of what we can’t do and fill that hole with something else that’s good that we can do.
Find some suggestions on marcandangel.com to let go and move on, in their article, “8 Effective Ways to let go and Move On.”
Remember: God will keep you alive in famine and give you the hope you need to fill in those holes created by chronic pain or illness and grow you into a new creation.
Famines are challenging, but they can also be used to shape you with the strength to jump into your future with the courage to accept change.
Jeremiah 10:19 - Woe to me because of my injury! My wound is incurable! Yet I said to myself, "This is my sickness, and I must endure it."
In previous posts, I wrote about being diagnosed with an incurable disease. This is where the battle begins to accept what’s happened to you.
So how do you endure a painful sickness for what may be the rest of your life?
One of the first things to remember is that there are other people who have a much worse situation to endure –
Second, find out as much as you can about your sickness –
Third, surround yourself with people who also are enduring sickness –
Forth, find a support group for living with chronic illnesses –
Fifth, find a physician who’s on your side –
Sixth, it’s important to keep your body moving –
Seventh, just because you’ve been diagnosed with a chronic illness it doesn’t mean that life has stopped -
And last, take a look at people in the Bible who had to endure sickness or pain –
The prophet Jeremiah in the verse above was one of those who suffered greatly. He acknowledged that he was in pain instead of covering it up. He knew that he had to endure his sickness, yet he never gave up on God. He knew God was the only one who could handle his emotional state and wouldn’t turn away from him. God will also never turn away from you. He can help you endure the disease and still flourish through pain.
Deuteronomy 30:15 - See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction.
So here you are again. You gained weight. You’ve worked so hard on your diet so why did you gain weight? Is it because you cheated from time to time and ate that candy? Or, can it be that you’re starting to receive complements and you start down a self-destructive road because you don’t know how to handle them. You might not even be aware of how you destroy your chances of a level, healthy eating plan.
Or what about this one? You’ve have a really good exercise regime. You workout after work or you workout at home with a video exercise program. You’ve started to increase your energy level. Your muscles are tightening up. You feel good about yourself. Then, you hit a rocky patch. Your body aches from all of the exercise so you decide to take a day off. It wouldn’t hurt to take just one day, right?
But then you get busy at work and get home too late to go to the gym. You look at the exercise video on your TV, but decide you’re too tired to do it. One-by-one you see yourself skipping exercise days. Then, you stop all together. And you might not be aware of it, but you’ve wandered into another self-destructive pattern.
The article, “12 Signs of Self-Destructive People,” onlifehack.org lists some signs of self-destructive people, such as they refuse to accept health and have a self-defeating mindset.
In all that we do, we have a choice as the Bible verse says above. We can choose to destroy our lives or choose life and find ways to enjoy life and find fulfillment.
Along that line, now that you know the signs of self-destructive behaviors select the link below and learn how to stop those behaviors.
2 Chronicles 20:17 - You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the LORD will be with you.
There are many battles that we fight every day.
We battle to make it through a pain day.
We battle with our bodies to make them move.
We battle to exercise when we really don’t want to.
We battle with our food choices.
We battle with our minds to believe we can overcome chronic pain.
We battle to open our hearts to others.
We battle finding encouragement to try something new.
We battle with our internal organs to function normally.
We battle with our mind and to not let the negative take over our thinking.
And we battle to stand firm and not retreat and erase what we’ve accomplished thus far.
Chronic pain and emotional pain often walk together. It’s a battle to take that next step in our healing. We may fear the future when we learn that this is not a temporary battle, but one that will last for years.
To lift us up out of the mire of discouragement we must push forward. We must give each day all we have.
So what are some things we can do to prepare ourselves for battling chronic pain and depression? Select the link that follows to watch a short video entitled, “Depression and Chronic Pain Video – Treatment, Symptoms and Causes.”
Also from spine-health.com, in their article, “4 Tips to Help Cope With Chronic Pain and Depression,” you'll find four ways to address chronic pain influenced depression.
As you step onto the battle field remember as the Bible verse above says, you won’t have to face it alone. God will be right beside you.
Karen Dalske is a freelance writer, public speaker, is active in her church and writes her blogs out of her own experiences of pain, illness and loss.