Matthew 25:21 – His master replied, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!”
So you’ve been praying about an assignment, working your hardest to complete the task and provide the most accurate research.
You want to do well at your job so that you can be in line for a promotion. You work all day and into the evening thinking of nothing but your job. Finally, you’re done.
And to your great surprise, it mets your boss’ expectations. He even smiles at you. But what do you do?
No. You’re right back to square one thinking about the next assignment. That vision of your boss smiling at you spurns you on. Now, this may seem like a really good thing, and sometimes it is, but there can be serious consequences if you suffer from chronic pain. But, you don’t care about that right now. Well, maybe you don’t think of the consequences at all.
So you keep working all day and into the night the next day to try and get more praise from your boss. It’s a good sign of a hard worker to make sure you do everything to the best of your ability. However, if you’re not careful, your life will be only one assignment blended into the next one.
Your goal in this scenario is to please someone else. Is this to be your only goal? I’m not saying that we should be selfish and point the finger at ourselves and taunt our fellow coworkers about what “we” did.
I’m talking about a healthy acknowledgement that you did a good job, and it brought you pleasure to know you completed the task.
It’s okay to recognize your accomplishments and tell yourself that you did a good job. And it’s also okay to receive praise from others. It’s not always selfish. A healthy self-esteem can go a long way to carry you through difficult assignments at work and stressful situations in other areas of your life.
Inc.com posts the article, “3 Reasons Celebrating Your Many Accomplishments is Critical to Your Success,” describes how you can recognize what you’ve accomplished and benefits from doing so. An example is, “The act of celebrating changes your physiology by releasing endorphins inside your body and you feel incredible,” and, “Celebrating with colleagues and business partners tightens your network.”
Did you, also, know that God likes to acknowledge your accomplishments as well? Take a look at the Bible verse above. Here you read of God praising his servants by telling them that they did the job well done. So do it. Tell yourself that you did a good joy and remember it’s okay to receive praise from others as well.
Ezekiel 10:4 - Rise up; this matter is in your hands. We will support you, so take courage and do it.
When it comes to football, it’s important to not just defend your team’s position, but being on the offense.
“Hit them hard!”
“Let them know who’s in charge!”
“Give it your last bit of effort!”
Did you know that fighting a chronic health condition in many ways is like football? If you want to get a handle on your treatments, move into remission and stay there, then never give up on believing you can beat the odds. You need to:
“Hit them hard!”
“Let them know who’s in charge!”
“Give it your last bit of effort!”
You won’t win if you don’t go on the offense. What does it mean to be on the offense when fighting a chronic health condition?
Let’s take a look at some other ways to stay on the offensive. Aetna.com, in their article, “5 Steps to Living Well With a Chronic Illness,” has some suggestions. One of them is to use the buddy system. Find a trusted family member or friend who’s willing to be your co-advocate to come to appointments, and be another set of eyes and ears. Another suggestion is to manage your stress by listening to uplifting music, trying guided meditations and experimenting with aromatherapy oils.
With the suggestions I listed, and those suggested in the article above, you will be armed to stay on the offensive while living with a chronic health condition. Also realize that God will cause you to rise up, take your condition in your hands and fight. God will support you, so take courage and move forward one step at a time.
Psalm 102:13 – You will arise and have compassion on Zion, for it is time to show favor to her, the appointed time has come.
The sun’ll come out tomorrow so ya gotta hang on ‘til tomorrow come what may. Tomorrow! Tomorrow! I love ya tomorrow! You’re always a day a way!
And so the song says. When you battle a chronic health condition, sometimes we don’t feel like tomorrow is something to cheer for. We just feel like there’s no sense waiting for a better day that will never arrive.
Tomorrow you may be feeling better.
But tomorrow you may be feeling worse.
Tomorrow you may be able to finally get those chores done.
But tomorrow your body may be bombarded with spasms and you can’t do anything.
Tomorrow you may be able to visit with a group of friends and have fun.
But tomorrow you may have to spend the day alone longing for company.
Tomorrow other people will understand you’re in pain, even if you don’t look like it.
But tomorrow people may make fun of you and say you’re just faking it.
Tomorrow they may finally find a cure.
But tomorrow they may have no idea on how to cure you.
So, let’s all put on our bright and shiny faces and sing the song, “Tomorrow,” with gusto. What do you think? Can we find a reason to believe tomorrow will be a better day? And what about that cure? How can I get to a place where I’m able to move forward in life even without a cure? Even if they never find a cure?
While thinking about this I pulled up an article on kevinmd.com, titled, “Living with an Illness for Which There is no Cure.” One of the most amazing statements was made in the article: everyone knows we’re going to die, someday, but we still participate in life. We don’t think about dying every day. Every moment. And that’s how it is for someone who has an incurable disease or someone who is healthy.
I think it’s about living life to the fullest in the way that your mind and body shape it. You may not be able to do much because of chronic pain or you illness. Or you may have to stay where you live instead of traveling, because you need to be able to receive treatments that might save your life.
So instead of focusing on a cure that may never come, we can begin to believe that we no longer have to feel that being “cured” is the only way to lead a joyful fulfilled life. I know, it’s not going to be easy to do that, but God will arise and show you compassion. He will show you that the appointed time has come for you to resume living life the best way you can. And that, my friend, will show you that you don’t have to just stand on the sidelines waiting for a better day to come. You can make today that better day. And yes, the sun will come up tomorrow.
Proverbs 4:25 – Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you.
Motivation. It’s a subject that I don’t always want to think about. I’d rather sit in the pool of “feeling sorry for myself” than to do something about my problem.
Some problems are solved simply by viewing your situation at a different angle. But when you have chronic pain, it’s a whole different story.
It’s easy to lose your motivation when you have chronic pain. It takes so much effort to get your body moving in the morning that you may decide to just stay in bed. But even staying in bed holds its own pain. You toss and turn trying to find a position where it doesn’t hurt, but for the most part it doesn’t matter which way you lay down, it still manages to keep you up all night.
This doesn’t mean that you don’t want to take part in life; it’s just that it hurts so much it’s hard to do so. But there are things that you can do, while living with chronic pain, that help you perform tasks in a way that won’t cause more pain and will open you up to find the motivation you’ve been looking for.
Everydayhealth.com’s article, “10 Everyday Tasks Made Easier,” shows you how to perform tasks such as making your bed by only flattening out the top bed sheet and putting a comforter on top of it; help with bathing and grooming such as putting a towel at the edge of the bathtub and swiveling in and out; and getting dressed such as eliminating shirts with buttons and hooks. There are other tips in the article that show you how to complete difficult tasks with minimal pain.
Now that you have some ideas on how to do things with minimal pain, perhaps you can have the courage to get out of your house more frequently. But remember to be careful, as the Bible verse above says, keep your focus straight ahead. Don’t turn back and keep reminding yourself of your past failures. Look forward. Then you’ll find yourself getting motivated and staying positive about your future.
Isaiah 43:19 - See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.
It was over too quickly.
The presents were opened.
The dinner was great even if you ate too much.
The relatives have now returned home.
The tree is gone.
The decorations have been stored away.
The kids have gone back to school.
And you open up your checkbook to pay a bill and you write down the new year’s date.
The New Year. It stands in front of you, as you wait to see what memories will be made, what challenges you will face and how will you live your life.
Many people make New Year’s resolutions.
Take out the scale and say, “Oh, my!”
Put on your favorite pants and realize you have to move the belt notch one over.
What will you do with this New Year? Will you take a look at the weight you gained over the holidays and find the determination to exercise and eat healthier? Or do you decide to forget about it and just buy a new pair of pants.
So you take out a piece of paper and a pen and decide that this year will be different. You will write your New Year’s resolutions and reach them. But didn’t we say that last year?
The story seems to be the same: Buy a new membership at the gym. Go shopping for groceries trying to pick up foods that are healthy. Or maybe it’s a bad habit that you tried to break last year and weren’t able to do so.
There can be a lot of pressure at the beginning of a new year, as you wonder just how you’ll make it through all of those New Year’s resolutions and carry them out.
But something really does seem to stand in your way – your health.
I think that it can be very hard for a person with chronic health conditions to start a New Year wanting to meet those New Year’s resolutions. But it’s not impossible to reach them if we make sure that our resolutions are those that we can feasibly reach.
So what can we do to take the challenge, and in spite of our obstacles lean forward at the starting line ready for the gun to go off and run towards that finish line? Find some ideas on mercola.com in their article, “7 Psychological Tips to Make Your New Year’s Resolutions Stick,” such as breaking your goal into manageable parts. You’ll also find twelve best health goals for a healthier year.
God can do a new thing in us, as the Bible verse above says, and it can spring up like streams in a desert. Give it a try. When you make those resolutions, pray and ask God if they are goals he’d like you to reach. If they are, lean into them and race toward finish line.
Psalm 149:4 - For the LORD takes delight in his people; he crowns the humble with victory.
Your hands shake.
Your blood pressure is elevated.
You feel your heart beat racing through your body wanting to escape what is to come.
And what is coming? Another pain flare-up.
Sometimes there are ways in which we can make our pain worse like doing too much. However, chronic health conditions including pain can often attack when least expected. In your mind, it comes when it wants to and hurts you as it wants to.
In this case, you may find you’ve developed a victim mentality.
Here are a couple of other ways to think of victim mentality:
Victim mentality is an acquired personality trait in which a person believes that chronic pain is a force in itself as an abuser and we’re the victim of the negative actions of pain, and we behave as if this were the case in the face of clear evidence such as evidence of medical upheaval on our bodies.
The habitual or characteristic mental attitude that you’re being harmed, injured, tricked or duped by a medical condition constantly attacking you.
The mental attitude that you are helpless in the face of misfortune or ill-treatment.
These then determine how you will interpret and respond to situations especially when it concerns your well-being.
We can feel helpless and see ourselves as being chained to our circumstances. We may also see chronic pain itself as the abuser tearing apart our body.
We can begin to feel out of control of our health in a similar way as a victim of abuse may feel out of control of their life.
So how do we break free from a victim mentality of our health conditions? The article, “Victim or Victor?”, on healthcentral.com shows us we must take back the control we've allowed our health to take over.
As we have seen, just because you have pain doesn’t mean you have to be a victim of it. Take control of your attitude, actions, healthcare and ultimately your life.
And remember, God delights in you and in your efforts. He will bring you the victory that you are working toward, so don’t give up. The end result of your efforts will be that you are no longer a victim and you’ve become the victor.
Revelation 2:19 - I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance, and that you are now doing more than you did at first.
When suffering with chronic pain or an illness, it’s easy to quit. Throw in the towel and just give up on even the things we love, or having hope of ever being able to do them again.
But life, with all of its twists and turns, can lead you toward fulfilling your dreams if you persevere and don’t give up.
What it takes is finding your passion. Find something that when you do it, it takes your total focus.
I found mine in writing. When I write, I can be anyone I want to be. There’s no one standing over me telling me what I’m writing is only for me and will not help anyone else. It’s at that point that I must make a decision – do what I love no matter what others think of me or what I’m doing.
So here I am, typing this message from me to you. There may be a lot of things that you cannot do anymore because of your suffering. But there are so many other things that you can do.
At first, you may find yourself falling down. But don’t let that hold you back. Get back up again and try once more. With perseverance you will not only find that dream to move you forward, but the ability to complete it.
Find some tips from essentiallifeskills.net on developing persistence in their article, “The Power of Persistence,” such as preparing for obstacles and setbacks by anticipating potential problems and making a plan to overcome them.
Like the Bible verse above says, when you persevere and take one more step each day you will find yourself doing more than you were able to do when you first started. So keep going with passion and reach for your dreams.
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.