Hebrews 12:1 – Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great crowd of witnesses, let us through off everything that hinders and the sin that so entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
Like a kitchen sink when it begins to drain slowly, you know that you’ve got to unclog the drain.
It could be that you forget to turn on the garbage disposal. And things begin to get stuck in the sink.
In our mind, we also have mind drainers where your mind begins to process more slowly. Things begin to slow down your thinking process. It’s time to turn on the garbage disposal; it’s time to get rid of things that drain your mind.
Here are a few things that clog up your mind:
And on it goes. Sometimes I can see the clog before it completely occupies my mind and turn on the garbage disposal and get rid of things in my life that are out of control. But you need to do so quickly. Otherwise, you’ll have no time to enjoy life. You’re too busy being clogged.
Let’s look at an article on radiomd.com that discusses foods that drain you and brain boosters called, “Top brain boosters to add and brain drainers to drop from your shopping list.”
I found this article quite intriguing about what I eat and those things I don’t. For example, you should add nuts and seeds, blueberries, broccoli, fish and avocados. Some of the foods that are mind drainers are added sugars and saturated fats.
Also take a look at the Bible verse above. We are surrounded by people who are watching us, thus the verse advices us to throw off everything that hinders us. This could be how people pull you into the wrong direction and how what we eat hinders our journey as well. It may not be easy to cut off those things that drain us and pay attention how we act around other people, but it’s worth the effort.
Mark 14:37 – Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Simon,” he said to Peter, “are you asleep? Couldn’t you keep watch for one hour?”
There are times, when you suffer from chronic pain, that you catch yourself falling asleep even when it’s time for you to be awake:
Many of these cases can cause hurt and pain if it’s a person or meeting you’re listening to. Find some tips on how to avoid falling asleep when you need to be awake. On webmd.com in their article, “How to Stay Awake Naturally,” discusses ways to help you not fall asleep such as get up and move around to feel awake, take a nap to take the edge off sleepiness and give your eyes a break to avoid fatigue.
Making sure you get a good night’s sleep is also important. I know that when I’ve had a restless sleep it can be difficult to keep my eyes open the next day. Take a look at the Bible verse above, Jesus had gone a little away to pray and when he returned, he found the disciples had fallen asleep. Even they battled trying to stay awake when Jesus was about to be arrested. As you’re praying, you might find yourself falling asleep. It’s times like these when you need to fight sleep to stay awake.
Philippians 4:6 – Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
Here we are at another Thanksgiving. Preparations are being made for a family dinner with all the trimmings – turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, salads and desserts. But for the one battling chronic pain preparing a meal and having guests arrive at your home, can push you over the top.
It’s hard to clean that turkey and lift it into the oven. You cringe as your back fills with searing pain. And, just the thought of having a lot to do, can put you over the top.
This year, you want to have a joy-filled, thankful day. But you’re having trouble finding something to be thankful for this year.
Your family knows that we aren’t well, but they want you to at least act like you’re happy to see your guests.
So, you push yourself and push yourself until the meal is done. Now it’s time to put out the food and sit down to eat it. From somewhere comes an internal cry from the amount of pain you are in. Would your family understand if you tell them you’re not well?
I think it depends on how to balance showing your love and wanting to retreat to your bed that’s calling your name. How did you get to this point? Why did you volunteer to make the meal this year?
It’s because you want to find a way to be thankful and show it. How can this pain you feel make you more thankful? I think it all boils down to perception. Even if you want to run away to your bedroom and lock the door, so you won’t be disturbed.
Let’s find something to be thankful for in the midst of your pain:
Migrainemantras.com posts in their article some additional things to be thankful for when you have a chronic illness, “8 Reasons I’m Thankful I Have a Chronic Illness,” such as knowing your body causes you to be more focused on what your body is experiencing. In addition, learning how to set boundaries and learning to say, “No” sometimes causes you to have a more balanced life.
In closing, look at the Bible verse above. It admonishes us to not be anxious, which would include chronic pain and, in every situation, not just some situations, pray and give thanks to God when you’re asking for him to help you get through one more day. It won’t be easy but learning to be thankful can be just what you need to live your life despite chronic pain.
Jeremiah 33:6 – Nevertheless, I will bring health and healing to it; I will heal my people and will let them enjoy abundant peace and security.
Why do I cringe at that? It’s something I drum up when my pain level is at an 8 or 9. I try to convince myself that it’s possible to be healthy and that I have all the energy to get done what I need to do.
So, I burst out of my house and head to the office. I haven’t been there for weeks, but I believe I will be able to complete what needs to be done. That’s not a bad way to feel. It can give yourself some energy, but it doesn’t last for very long. True chronic pain seeps in and takes over.
Before it’s lunchtime. You find yourself in so much pain that you can’t even use your keyboard. Your hands hurt with each word you type. You’re back is screaming at you, “You can’t keep sitting like this!” But there are those pesky deadlines. If you’re back to work, you’re expected to do this work and meet those deadlines.
So, you swallow your pride and knock on your boss’ door, and as you wait for him to say, “Come in,” you wonder what you will say.
Here comes the conversation you dread. But it isn’t all that bad. Your boss understands your predicament and tells you that you’re too good of an employee to let go. So, he offers you a way you can do your job, but also takes care of your health. There are many people who now work from home. That way, if you’re tired you can lay down for a while and then get back at it. And the more you do this, the more the work once again, helps you meet your deadlines and the excited of working on this project energizes you instead of trying to bury you.
Here are some of the things you can do from home, listed in bankrate.com, in their article, “The 20 Best (and real) Work From Home Jobs.”
Customer service representative, and tech support specialist. Both you may recognize but are unaware that the person on the other side of the line is sitting at home in their jammies. These jobs involve some training, but the jobs can be your link to the outside world. There are more types of jobs in the list and more are being added each day.
Still, it is good to tell yourself that you’re healthy and can get done today what you need to do. In order to bring full health in all areas of your life, you must believe the Bible verse above. God can bring health, healing and abundant peace and security, when we put our trust in him.
Revelations 21:4 - He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.
Sometimes, when we’re in pain, we want to escape the world we’re living in. But there’s a difference between imagining yourself on a beach, and just wanting to run away from life.
But we don’t have to run away to find peace. We can use our imagination to meditate and find ourselves walking through an open door to the beach. This can be a good thing. Breath deeply and:
However, it isn’t a good thing if we let our imaginations take over life.
Do you see the progression? Where once your imagination was used to help you relax now, we can’t pull ourselves away from it.
What are healthy ways of dealing with pain and wanting to escape?
Here are a few ideas on psychologytoday.com in their article titled, “Escaping Reality to Heal”:
Find the complete list in the article. It will help you to find relief in a healthy way. So, be careful, though, how long you stay in your imaginary place or it can lead to wanting to escape completely from life.
Find comfort also, in the above Bible verse. Know that your pain will not last forever. Someday God will wipe away your tears and there will be not more crying or pain. Focus on this verse when you’re meditating, and you’ll find it penetrating your soul
Matthew 9:12 – On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.”
When we go to the doctor, they expect us to arrive before our appointment, but if we’re late more than 10 minutes, they cancel our appointment.
So we arrive on time and they finally call our name and put us in a room, where we wait and wait. We might get angry, but sometimes doctors are forced to double book the appointment. So much of it isn’t their fault.
On top of everything, I read an article today stating that a local medical group, Dignity Health is cutting 1% of staff. Need to be angry? But at who?
It would do you no good to be angry. Yet, I know so many who are angry at our medical system. But it also points to us, do we really need to see a doctor for every little thing? It would depend on what we need addressed. Remember, as the Bible verse above says, “It’s not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.”
I’m not saying that you should ignore warning signs that might point to a larger issue. If there’s any doubt on whether you should go in, you should get checked out. But as you wait, try to think of the main issue that you need addressed and what you would like the doctor to do for you. Houstonmethodist.org list when you should see a doctor in their article, “10 Signs You Should go See a Doctor?” Some of the signs are you have a persistent fever, your cold becomes unusually bad, you’re short of breath, and you develop unexpected symptoms after a procedure or starting a new medication.
You may find yourself becoming angry when you must wait to see the doctor, but be careful of what you tell yourself, major symptoms and incidents aren’t the only reason to go see the doctor as I talked about above. Whatever your situation, remember that for many conditions early detection can lead to better outcomes.
Psalm 77: 3-5 – I remembered you, God, and I groaned; I meditated, and my spirit grew faint. You kept my eyes from closing; I was too troubled to speak. I thought about the former days, the years of long ago.
If you have a long-term illness, or a disability, there are things that you just can’t do:
And this lack of being able to do things can lead to severe depression and loss of a sense of self-worth. No matter where you turn, with time, even more areas of your life feel impossible to do. Even making decisions can be difficult.
But if you need a caregiver, whether it’s a family member or one from Social Services, all is not lost. With the help of a caregiver you may find your needs being met, and your sense of self-worth raised. It takes a person with much patience and a kind heart to help someone in need.
Some people seem to be born with the ability to see and feel the hurt in another’s life. And if you’re the one suffering from a disability, you have a unique viewpoint. Don’t stay shut up in your own little world. Reach out and you may find someone who needs your viewpoint and it may help them move from being shut in to reaching out to the world.
Take a look at the article, “A Point of View: Happiness and Disabilty,” on bbc.com. The post talks about how people with disabilities can still lead a life of happiness. There’s a difference between being born with a disability and those who become disabled. People born with a disability have nothing to compare with their existence. Whereas someone who becomes disabled can feel profound depression. Quality of life can still return to a place where you were before you were disabled.
Keep your focus on the good things in your life and you can find the depression that chases after you dissipates and you’re left with joy in your life once more. Find things that you can do and you’ll stop focusing on what you can’t do.
The Bible verses above speak about how the psalmist thought about his former life and groaned as he thought about them. He felt that God had forgotten him. We too can feel like God isn’t caring about us anymore, that the years of long ago joy won’t come back around, but they can. You can mediate on the good things in your life and find yourself enjoying today more. Even if you need help from others to do for you the things you can no longer do.
Mark 5:26 – She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse.
I have to admit, that sometimes I villainize a new physician – he’s the bad guy and I’m the victim. Ever feel this way? With all of the tests and trying new medications can be tiring.
Your doctor says, “I’m not sure if this will work, but let’s give it a try.” Ugh, I’m circling the drain as the side affects of a new med makes me nauseous and gives me a headache. Sometimes we do need to stop taking a new medication if the side affects are more powerful than the help it brings. But sometimes you have to stick it out because side affects can decrease the longer you take the medication.
So here you are, wanting to scream, because you have to see yet another specialist and you have to explain your symptoms and your medical history one more time.
Do you ever wonder what a doctor is really typing into their computer? Perhaps is something into your record. But, what if he’s really just playing a game? In a way wouldn’t that be funny? So on he goes typing on his computer waiting for you to hurry up and finish your story.
The problem is that there are fewer doctors than there are patients. Many times doctors over book and he only has few minutes to give each patient. But just because he doesn’t have time, don’t let this give you one more reason to villainize your doctor. It’s all about perspective. So the next time you feel stressed as the doctor spins through your appointment, think about things from their perspective and try to be as concise as you can and explain why you are there. Give the doctor some space and you may find that he calms down as well, and is glad to have a patient like you.
Here’s an article on psicinsurance.com, titled, “Overbooking and Double-booking: What’s Acceptable,” which talks about double booking patients or having a primary care doctor who treats in a patient focused organization. It also talks about the difference between overbooking and double booking.
In closing, look at the Bible verse above. Here was a woman who’d spent all she had seeing many doctors. I wonder if she felt like a victim, or was she just trying her best to find a way to relieve her pain and sickness? I believe that it’s all about perspective. Ask God to show you whether the doctor is taking advantage of you for their gain, or if they feel like a victim, also, but of the expectations that are placed upon them? Sometimes they are also just trying to do their best to help you.
Guest Blog: by Aly J. Yale: Updated on 05.10.19
Credit and Debt
Home » Guide To Combating Medical Debt
Overwhelming medical debt is the No. 1 reason Americans file for bankruptcy. In fact, according to a study out of the City University of New York, 66.5 percent of bankruptcy filings cite medical expenses as a contributing factor.
These expenses often stem from unexpected emergency room visits or surgeries, costly bills after life events (the labor of a child, for example), or treatments for fertility or chronic illness. Regardless of their source though, they pose a serious financial burden for the everyday American.
Not only can costly medical debt make it difficult to pay household expenses, like rent, utilities and grocery bills, but getting behind on those bills can mean a lower credit score, a constant barrage of calls from collections agencies or, in dire situations, even a filing for bankruptcy.
Are your sky-high medical bills forcing you to consider bankruptcy? This guide can help you find medical bill assistance programs, walk you through the bankruptcy process and help get your credit back in good standing.
Dealing with Medical Debt
Having a solid emergency fund or Health Savings Account is vital in the event an unexpected medical cost arises. Unfortunately, most people don’t have these funds at their disposal. According to the Federal Reserve, nearly half of all Americans don’t have the cash to cover a $400 emergency expense. And many of those people said they’d need to finance the bill in order to pay it off.
If you’re currently without an HSA or flush emergency savings fund, it’s important you take steps to prevent unexpected medical costs where possible. To do this, call doctors and hospitals ahead of time to confirm they’re within your insurance provider’s network. You should also ask about how the charges will be coded at the doctor’s office and connect with your insurer to be sure these are covered expenses.
When a medical bill does arrive, take this step-by-step approach to tackle it:
1. Make sure you understand the bill.
First, is it a bill or an Explanation of Benefits? An Explanation of Benefits (EOB) is simply a statement from your insurance company explaining what medical services were covered (and how much they contributed.) Since you’ll be responsible for any remaining balance past that, you will usually receive an EOB first, and then the actual bill later. That bill should come directly from the provider or hospital system they work for.
Second, look at the line-item charges and be sure they’re accurate. If something looks off or says it was not covered by your insurance company, call them up and get the details.
2. Negotiate the debt.
The best time to try and negotiate your medical costs is before any care has been provided. If you don’t think you can afford the full cost of the services you need, ask early on about reduced costs or some sort of payment plan.
Providers may still negotiate with you after the bill is issued. Consider asking for a reduced fee in exchange for paying the bill off ASAP or setting up a repayment plan that spreads your costs across several months or years.
Other tactics that might work:
3. Consolidate the debt.
If your medical debt has started to become overwhelming or you’ve fallen behind on your bills, it’s time to consider consolidation. This combines all your debts into one single account, allowing you to pay just one bill per month, ideally across many months or years.
You can do this by putting the debts on a high-balance credit card or taking out a loan. Keep in mind that even if your credit score has dropped due to your unpaid debts, there are bad credit loans that can help.
4. Consider an income-driven hardship plan.
Income-driven payment plans are available to Medicaid participants with low income. They function like standard re-payment plans in that they spread your medical debt across smaller monthly payments over time. In some cases, providers may even reduce your debt if you’re on one of these plans. Because of this, you’ll want to consider an income-driven hardship plan immediately — as soon as your medical bills arrive.
There are many programs and providers that will provide medical assistance for free or for reduced costs to those with financial hardship. The United Way can help connect you with some of these services in your area, or you can look to the National Association of Free & Charitable Clinics or NeedyMeds.org, which details medical assistance programs by state. Many of these programs also offer bill advocacy to help reduce and negotiate existing medical debts.
Sight for Students
New Eyes for the Needy
Donated Dental Services (DDS)
Partnership for Prescription Assistance
The Assistance Fund
Good Days from CDF
Patient Access Network Foundation
Hearing Loss Association of America
Rehab Equipment Exchange
US Department of Health and Human Services / 1-800-311-BABY
Other forms of assistance you might want to consider include:
Medical bill advocates.
A medical bill advocate is a person who works independently of any insurance agency or healthcare provider. They work on your behalf to analyze your medical bills and negotiate them directly with providers and hospital systems. They usually come at a fee (a percentage of the amount they save you, in most cases). Popular options for medical bill advocates include the National Association of Healthcare Advocacy Consultants and the Alliance of Claims Assistance Professionals.
Help from family and friends.
You can also ask loved ones for assistance. If you’re not comfortable asking directly, consider setting up a campaign on a crowdfunding platform like GoFundMe or PlumFund.
If you still can’t pay your medical bills
Despite all these sources of help, you might still be unable to pay your medical bills — and you wouldn’t be alone. Medical bills are one of the most commonly collected on debts in America. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 52 percent of debt collection actions in our country contain some form of medical bill.
Unfortunately, if you’re unable to pay your medical expenses, this likely means you’ll have collections agencies at your door as well. This isn’t just annoying, but it can have a serious impact on your credit score, too. Having a single debt in collections can ding your credit by 100 points or more.
Dealing with Collections Agencies
If you’re dealing with debt collectors, make sure you know your rights.
You should also record every call you have with a collector and get other communications in writing if possible. If you ever feel your rights are violated, consider enlisting an attorney to represent you.
Filing for Bankruptcy
In the event you’re unable to negotiate or settle your medical bills, filing for bankruptcy may be your only financial option. And the sooner you file, the better. Bankruptcies stay on your record for seven years, and they can have a significant impact on your financial options during that time period. The quicker you’re able to file, the quicker you can get on the road to recovery, financially speaking. In medical debt cases, Chapter 7 bankruptcy is often the best route to take. This allows you to wipe medical bills and other unsecured debts clean, while still keeping the majority of your property and assets intact.
Recovering Your Credit
After you’ve filed for bankruptcy and eliminated your medical debt, you’ll need to work hard to get your credit back in good standing. That means paying your bills on time, every time, and avoiding big purchases or risky new debts. You also might consider:
Finally, just give it time. It takes a while to build credit, and even more when your credit has taken a major hit. Pay your bills on time, avoid expensive new debts and commit to long-term fiscal responsibility, and your credit will recover in no time.
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Isaiah 40:1-2 - Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed, that her sin has been paid for, that she has received from the LORD's hand double for all her sins.
It’s another one of those days. You stayed up late working on a project knowing full well that if you did, you’d receive what was coming to you.
The pay you’d receive isn’t something you earn at work like overtime pay. It’s also not the pay you’d receive by way of complements and the words, “job well done.”
The “reward” I’m talking about can’t be taken to the bank to save up to spend on something you really want. The “reward” due to you would be how your body reacts to work those long hours. To be more specific, it would come in the form of a pain flare-up.
A pain flare-up can come in the form of muscle spasms, deep bone pain, loss of strength, inability to function on a daily basis and the guilt that would follow knowing that you had caused harm to your body.
But don’t stay put in guilt mode. Sometimes we have to do what we have to do. Life expects us to sometimes step up to the plate and give it our best shot. Our team is counting on us. All the bases are loaded and we’re up to bat. We can’t just put down the bat and run away. Right?
Not all is lost though. There are things you can do to quench the flames of a pain flare-up before the fire gets out of control when you must push yourself at work or home. Here are a few:
These are are just some of the ways that I use to help me make it through a difficult pain day. Painpathways.org, in their article, “Preventing and Recovering from … Overdoing It!” provides us with several ways to cope with a pain flare-up. One is to, “schedule a rest period mid-morning and mid-afternoon. A half-hour is usually effective, but some people take an hour or longer.” Another way is to, “do light stretching and petting your dog.” Animals can make a big impact on how you feel on the outside as well as the inside.
Though going through a pain flare-up can seem all consuming, with the right knowledge, help from coping skills and the support of others, you can get through the flare-up easier and faster than you may have thought you could.
In addition, take a look at the Bible verse above. Sometimes we may indeed feel guilty that we caused another pain flare-up, but God is ready to comfort you and speak kindly. He knows the price you’ve paid, and will wrap his arms around you, hold you and tell you that you’ll get through the pain together.
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.