Hebrews 12:1 - Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
Every day we are being watched. Your neighbor next door. The cashier at the grocery store. The person sitting next to you at church. They all notice what you’re doing.
Then there are all of those pesky cameras set up on street lights or attached to buildings and even the one on your computer. They all have their sights set on you.
Does this make you feel paranoid? Do I mean for you to be paranoid about so many people watching you? Well, maybe just a little bit. You are an example to the world around you whether you want to be or not.
There are some people who have chronic pain or are very ill that actually do want people to watch them. Maybe they like the attention. Maybe they just need someone to pay attention to them. To acknowledge they exist even when they are excluded from so many normal activities because their illness prevents them from participating.
Then there are those of us who don’t want to be the center of attention. It puts a lot of pressure on us to try and look like we have at least part of a normal lifestyle. We don’t want to be seen just as the woman who “likes to complain” all the time.
What I want to be like is those I admire, and who have shown the world they have a lot to give no matter what their life looks like. Such as: Joni Eareckson Tada and the many women who go to my church that have Crohn’s Disease, liver disease and battling cancer.
These individuals shine like the morning sun. They wear smiles on their faces not because they’re trying to be something fake, but because they have a cheerful attitude and it shows on their faces. Yet, they are also not afraid to tell it like it is and ask for prayer when they battle through another flare-up.
To me, these people are like the Bible verses above talk about. They are part of the great cloud of witnesses that surround my life. They give me the strength to take that next step; putting one foot in front of the other and continue running with perseverance the race that is marked out for me.
We can become part of someone else’s cloud of witnesses. It just takes putting our self aside and seeking to be an encouragement to someone else. What do you want others to see in you? Do you want to be seen as the one who always wants to be in charge, or one who picks on others and finds faults in what others do?
One of the big ones for me is I want to be known as an encourager. Someone who can find good things in an individual and let them know you noticed their act of kindness. We all need leaders who will lead by example not by making everyone think the leader is better than his followers.
You’re going to be an example to someone no matter what. Either it will be a good example or a bad one. Which one do you choose? To leave a comment, just click on the blue “comments” below. I look forward to hearing from you.
Psalm 3:5 - I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the Lord sustains me.
One sheep, two sheep, three sheep … on march the sheep coming into the pen of your mind and hopefully onto a good night’s sleep. But sometimes, actually many times, the sheep won’t come through the gate, or they wander off to someone else’s sleep pen.
Sleep is an important subject to talk about. Sleep is when your energy is replenished and people with chronic pain need every minute they can get.
Sleep deprivation results in the following:
• Difficulty concentrating
• Lethargy – no energy
• Physical Complaints
Let’s talk about a few ideas for helping to help you fall asleep and stay asleep. First off you can’t go to bed at a different time every day. Our bodies like schedules so try to pick a time of day to go to bed and stick with it.
Second, going to bed angry whether you’re angry with your spouse or children, or even yourself will cause you to stay awake. Nothing is important enough that you have to “carry” it to bed with you.
Third, your mind has to believe that you will fall asleep. Try saying, for example, to yourself: “I feel safe. I’m going to fall asleep.” Or, you could repeat the Bible verse above. God cares about your sleep, too. He provided us with our Ultimate Hope which carries us through the anxiety we may have when we can’t fall asleep.
Forth, you may need to move your room around. Perhaps your bed faces your bedroom window and you can see the street light outside. The light will keep you awake so try moving your bed away from the window.
Fifth, turn your clock around so that you won’t see it. If you keep looking at the clock and the hours go by you may become anxious because you’re losing sleep.
Last, don’t eat in bed. It’s not just that the crumbs hang around on your mattress. Your body will associate the bed with eating so it may keep you awake thinking that it’s time to eat.
But if you still can’t fall asleep, don’t stay in bed tossing and turning. Get up and find something relaxing to do, like reading a book, and then try to fall asleep again.
I hope this post has given you some ideas that you can adapt to help you fall asleep. If you have other ideas to help you fall asleep select the blue “comments” below and tell us about it. I look forward to hearing from you.
Job 36:15 - But those who suffer he delivers in their suffering; he speaks to them in their affliction
Are we a collection of illnesses and diseases? Is this who we have become? There has to be a balance.
You have a choice, while living with chronic pain or illness, to see yourself in either a negative or positive way. Don’t see yourself as just a person defined by the pain or disease. Don’t surrender and focus just on your pain, but take back the ground you’ve lost and see yourself as a stronger person because of it.
You may have been told that you have a disability. That somehow you are weaker. But if you take the first three letters off of disability what do you have? Ability.
Every day that you go on despite of the pain is an achievement that you have accomplished. Take this badge of courage, but don’t just put it in the dresser drawer. Take that courage and make a difference by pouring yourself into someone else’s life.
They can learn from you and your experiences. Even if it’s a small suggestion, it has the potential to change another person’s life, as you show them how you balance a life of pain.
Though it may seem difficult, find a way to praise God in spite of the pain. He sees your suffering and if we continue to look to him, he will help us get through the pain. Let your focus be on him and he will give you the ability to go on.
Do you have a story about pouring yourself into a person with a disability? If so, would you be willing to share that story? Click on the blue “comments” below to respond. I look forward to hearing from you.
2 Corinthians 12:7b-9 - I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for 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.
Some of the hardest words to hear are, “There is no cure.”
Your heart stops. Whatever the doctor is saying after that begins to fade away into the distance.
Life as you know it will never be the same. And there’s no getting off this merry-go-round. It just keeps turning.
Often there is only management of a chronic pain or illness not a cure.
But for chronic pain and some illnesses being cured isn’t on the table. It’s something we’re going to have to learn to live with.
Each time the doctor has told me that he doesn’t know how to help me I felt helpless and alone. Friends and family can be there to comfort us, and I’ve always appreciated that when they have.
But I can still see just beneath the surface in their eyes a mix of frustration along with the sympathy. They want to help. It’s just they don’t know how. That’s when I’m so thankful that I can turn to God and his Word to help me.
Take a look at the verses above. Even the apostle Paul, prayed three times to be healed of his affliction. And even though we aren’t told what that affliction was, whether it was physical or emotional, we do know he turned to God for help and God chose not to heal Paul the way he wanted.
Sometimes that can happen to us. But I know for me, I don’t give up on seeking God. For, God will always answer our prayer with the grace to endure any pain or illness just as he did for Paul. God’s strength is sufficient for our weaknesses.
Have you or someone you know been diagnosed with an incurable pain or illness? If so what tips can you give to others that helped you? To leave a comment just click on the blue "comments" below. I look forward to hearing from 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.