Deuteronomy 32:10 - In a desert land he found him, in a barren and howling waste. He shielded him and cared for him; he guarded him as the apple of his eye.
We feel guilty about too many things.
Often that guilt revolves around our health. Whether it be chronic pain or an illness guilt can fall on us when most of our day is centered around taking care of ourselves. It is not a bad thing to do things that can lift pain off our body. But sometimes we still feel guilty.
Guilty. Guilty. Guilty.
We try to plea our case and explain that it’s not our fault that we can’t do more. But the gavel comes down in the hands of the judge as he pronounces the verdict.
Failure. Cry baby. Lazy. And the list goes on.
We do cry.
We do feel like a failure.
We do feel lazy.
But it’s not our fault that we have a chronic health condition. And sometimes our lives are simply out of our control.
Yet, remember: We are not God. The world doesn’t revolve around us. Not everything we do is wrong. We are capable of winning many battles even if no one sees them.
Sometimes, though, when we are labeled with a chronic condition it can often feel like somehow it’s our fault. Somewhere along the way we’re being punished for what we’ve done, or better put, what we haven’t done.
Listen to me, we do work and work hard. We aren’t lazy. It just takes more effort and time for us to get something done than it does for a healthy person. And sometimes, all we have strength for is just to get through the day taking care of ourselves. That’s not a bad thing.
It takes great courage for us to get out of bed each morning. We don’t want to face another day in sickness and pain. But still somehow we ease ourselves out of bed and move into our day.
If any of what I’m writing applies to you then listen carefully:
So if taking care of ourselves is our job, are there things we can do to take care of ourselves that we might be neglecting? Tinybuddha.com in their article, “45 Simple Self-care Practices for a Healthy Mind, Body, and Soul,” provides ideas to take care of yourself that addresses the mind, body and soul. Some of their suggestions include realizing self-care isn’t a one-time deal, go cloud watching and let yourself relax, get fifteen minutes of sun, and splurge a little by buying a small luxury as a way of valuing yourself.
Treating yourself kindly isn’t just something that another person came up with. God values you as the apple of his eye. You’re the center of his focus and love, and as such he will plant seeds of kindness into your very being. Let his love show you the way to stop feeling guilty for taking care of yourself, and let the self-care begin.
Job 10:15 - If I am guilty--woe to me! Even if I am innocent, I cannot lift my head, for I am full of shame and drowned in my affliction.
There it is again. Guilt. Yes, guilt. Guilt we feel because our chronic pain or illness causes us to no longer be able to do what we used to do. And, someone else has to pick up the slack. They have to do extra chores or even show up to family gatherings without us.
I know how that feels. It plagues me around every corner these days especially because a family member’s birthday is coming up and my family is gathering out of town. It’s difficult for me to travel long distances because of my health.
Sometimes my family is very understanding and don’t try to push me to attend such gatherings. But at other times, they think that I should and could travel out of town for events. In other words it’s all in my head.
Out comes the measuring spoon, no, out comes the soup ladle as I’m covered with a cloak of shame and guilt.
Have you been there? If so then you know what I’m talking about. So what’s a person to do? Should we “push” ourselves and go to events anyway? Yet, if we do, what happens? When we push ourselves when we’re really not supposed to, we end up with a pain flare-up right there. Right on the spot for all to see.
Then another series of guilt shows up as we quickly step out on the stage of pain and miss that last jump of the ballerina and fall flat on our face. It’s not something we planned. Not something we can control. We’re really not guilty of anything. We love our family and friends. Our hearts break to let people down.
And there we are just as the Bible verse above says, even if we’re not guilty of doing something wrong we become drowned in shame and our affliction. Thankfully God does not hold it against us when we must turn down an invitation to attend an event. If we ask him, he is quick to show us what we can and cannot do. He will never judge us.
So what can we do about this “guilt”? WikiHow gives us some tips on how to eliminate guilt in their article, “Eliminate-guilt,” such as understanding that sometimes we feel guilty for events out of our control.
There are many other good ideas to help with guilt. Just select the button below and read the rest of the article.
Finally, we all see things differently. It all depends on the circumstances. There will be times when events come around that you can attend. And on a good day, you might be able to do a few of those chores that don’t press your pain button.
Even if you fail, give yourself credit for at least trying. And as for your friends and family and how they feel about your limitations – show them grace. They don’t always understand what you’re going through and that when you miss events or doing things on your own it hurts your heart.
If they have an open heart, step-by-step we can gently try to explain what we’re feeling. Then we can take off that cloak of guilt and put on the joy that’s around us.
Have you ever felt guilt over your limitations? If so then you know what I’m talking about. Do you “push” yourself and do chores or go to events anyway? 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.