Exodus 33:14 - The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”
To the person who suffers with chronic pain or an illness, each day can feel like a marathon.
To the healthy individual is not a difficult task to prepare to leave their homes. However, to the unhealthy person everything they do to get themselves ready to face the day is exhausting.
And then, after getting ready to leave, it may be that they’re just too tired to join the world.
I commend those who make it out the door each day, whether it be to a job or to a doctor’s appointment. Their energy level now, as the day passes, decreases with each step they take. Exausted, they return home and after some lunch they decide to rest for a while.
To the healthy person taking a nap in the middle of the day sounds like an excuse to be lazy, and that it will hurt their ability to sleep at night. But to the one in pain, without a nap in the middle of the day, we can’t make it through the day. It may be that the nap will affect their sleep, but they have to do what they have to do.
So, let’s take a look at why napping during the day can be good for you. Michaelhyatt.com, in their article, “5 Reasons Why You Should Take a Nap Every Day,” discusses the benefits of napping such as a nap restores alertness. The energy dip you feel in the afternoon can be combated with a twenty to thirty minute nap. Also, the secret to becoming more productive is not managing your time; it’s managing your energy.
We can see that with a person suffering from a chronic health condition a nap each day may be necessary to give them the energy they need to make it through their day. But we can also see the benefits of a healthy person taking a nap each day. Take a look at the Bible verse above. God not only supports our taking a nap each day, but it is he who gives us this rest and will go with us throughout our day.
Romans 12:15 - Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.
In the distance you see someone you know coming your way.
They’ve been suffering with a disease that causes great pain for some time. In the flash of a moment, your thoughts are running quickly into your head wondering if they saw you or not. Maybe you could just turn down the next isle, and get away without them seeing you and having to talk to her.
In some ways you want to know how she’s doing, but then, what would you say? You’ve already talked to her before and stumbled through trying to find something to say when you can tell, just by looking at her, that she’s hurting.
Put yourself in their shoes. Think about how you would feel if people started avoiding you because they’re uncomfortable around you. They know, just by looking into your eyes, that you’re at a loss not knowing how you could help them.
Don’t turn away. What you don’t know is a few kind words to someone in pain can bring hope and a healing balm to the soul. Keep walking toward them. You may be the only person they see all day that wants to at least try to be there for them.
Here are some ideas on what you can say to a person who is suffering and what not to say on medium.com in their article, “Say This, Not That When Someone is Hurting,” such as don’t say, “I know what you’re going through,” because you can’t know what they’re feeling. Also, never use the words, “It could be worse.” It may be true, but it’s also thoughtless.
When you have a friend who is in pain, it can be difficult to know how to start a conversation. You may even try to avoid your friend for fear of making things worse. Reach out to your friend anyway. Just like the Bible verse above says, we are to rejoice when our friends rejoice and mourn with them when they mourn. Just being with your friend may be the greatest gift you can give them.
2 Timothy 2:20 - In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for special purposes and some for common use.
Did you know that all of us are a vessel? Some vessels are made of fine gold, while others are made of clear glass. Gold is stronger than glass when a gold vessel is made, but the clear glass vessel can also become strong.
And here’s how that might happen:
At first you’re just an ordinary glass vase. It’s good to hold flowers from a garden or those sent from someone who’s in love. The recipient accepts the vase, and are proud of it, so they put it up on the mantle for all to see.
Later, they go to a store nearby and buy a different vessel. This one is round and is used to eat cereal out of in the morning. It’s made of glass, but not a particularily special glass. But it still does the job it was made to do. And, when it’s made, the glass is thicker than that of a vase, because glass bowls can sometimes find themselves knocked over onto the floor. No worries. It doesn’t break and lives to be used at breakfast another day.
That night, they open a cupboard and pull out yet another vessel. This one is a plate. Some plates in the cupboard are plain and made of simple glass, but others are delicately embossed with roses and tulips with gold paint covering its edges. The decorated plates are not always used, but brought out only for special occasions.
Then it happens – as they reach for a delicate, china plate it slips out of their hands and crashes when it hits the floor. What a loss. They sweep up the pieces and take them to the trash, because the plate isn’t good for anything. Or is it?
Do you ever feel like that shattered plate? Do you think that nothing good can possibly become of you because of the circumstances of you life?
Thoughtcatalog.com has some ideas on putting your life back together and becoming more than just an ordinary vessel, in their article, “26 Ways to Take Your Life Back When You’re Broken,” such as taking a course that teaches you something new. What we know changes the landscape of who we are. Also, learn to walk away from situations that are holding you back; break away from what you’ve known.
Back to the illustration above – After the broken plate had been thrown in the trash, the owner had second thoughts and so they dug through the trash and found all the broken pieces. The pieces were placed on a table next to them. They watched in amazement as the pieces were drawn together into a plate again.
Yet, I can’t do this and you can’t do this. But I know someone who can. God alone can put you back together again. And when he does, your vessel will be even stronger than before and much more than just ordinary.
Ezekiel 34:16 - I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy. I will shepherd the flock with justice.
Have you suffered an injury and thought, “If only I’d been paying more attention to what I was doing?”
Maybe, maybe, maybe …
You can examine every detail over and over, but to keep focusing on what you might have been able to do doesn’t change what happened. There is something you can do, though – be more aware of your surroundings and what you are doing.
These four ways are known to most people, but what about watching your surroundings to help you stay well and free of accidents?
As you read through the list you may have found ways that you’re not being careful, which could mean, that it was your fault when you got hurt or sick recently. Try not to be too hard on yourself. It’s not too late to learn new ways to prevent accidents. Washingtonnational.com has some tips on prevention in their article, “A Guide to Preventing Accidents at Home and in the Workplace."
One way is to manage your meds. If you take prescription or over-the-counter drugs ask your doctor and pharmacist about possible side effects, because they can alter your coordination, alertness and judgment. In addition, people of all ages are injured or die from falls. Be sure to check your vision regularly. Poor eyesight can lead to a fall.
Being more aware can make it less likely that you are injured or become sick and will help you see that not all of these circumstances are your fault. Be sure that God will bind up any injury you’ve experienced, and will strengthen you when you are sick. Also, remember that he’s not as judgmental and hard on us as we are on ourselves. I guarantee that he is a merciful God and will be with us no matter what.
Psalm 71:12 - Do not be far from me, my God; come quickly, God, to help me.
There can come a time, if we have a chronic health condition, when we can no longer function on our own. It can be especially difficult when we’re used to doing things our own way. I know it was for me.
The hardest part for us is to trust other people to fill in the gap for us. Trust can be a difficult thing for a lot of people, so even in this we need to believe people will help us and not feel resentful for doing so.
Yet, it is also our responcibility when asking for help to not seem needy. If you’re being needy, you can be sure you’ll get a lower response rate from your friends and family. They may see you as someone who is asking for something all of the time. This can wear on relationships.
Here are a couple of my suggestions and then I’ll share what others have suggested:
Take a look at some additional thoughts from, oneofmany.co.uk in their article, “How to Ask For Help Without Being Needy.” When you ask, don’t pre-empt a no. Don’t fall into the trap of assuming their answer will be a no. Also, receive the help graciously and when the other party has a need, be ready to help them.
It’s been seven years now since my health declined and I needed to ask for help from others. Though it was difficult to do so then, now I can see God’s handiwork upon my life. He has shown me that I don’t need to feel ashamed for asking for help. Ultimately even when asking someone to help me, it’s really like asking God for that help.
Joshua 6:5 - When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have the whole army give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the army will go up, everyone straight in.
Do you remember the days of watching old western movies where the town is in danger of being over run by bad guys? Then the town heard the sound of the trumpet blast and just above the next rise they could see them – the cavalry coming to save the day.
We still have a modern day cavalry. They’re dressed in white coats or a shirt and a tie. They’re our doctors. Having spent years to get to the point of being able to even treat a patient, they have done much to join the rest of the cavalry.
My doctor is the cavalry coming to my aid. She may not always tell me what I want to hear, but she will tell me what I need to hear. She is a rare combination of wisdom and compassion. She’s not seeing me just because she wants to pull some more money from my insurance company. It’s easy to see that because she always takes just a few more moments than they’re allotted for each patient, to make sure I don’t have any questions or other physical problems I need help with.
But some of you may have a physician who really isn’t in your corner. They’re always in a hurry, typing into their computer, not looking up at you and only trying to pass on a new kind of medicine a sales rep just gave to them to push. If you have a doctor like that it may be time to find another.
There are still those in the medical profession who are physicians because they do care about their patients. Seek one out. Also, try to remember – your doctor works for you not the other way around regardless of what insurance you carry. If you can get a handle on that in your mind, you may be less likely to feel intimidated by them.
Find other ideas on how to feel less intimidated and see your doctor as the cavalry coming to rescue you on psychologytoday.com, in their article, “Don’t be Intimidated in the Doctor’s Office: Six Strategies.” Here are a couple of their suggestions: Take someone with you to your appointments. They will help you feel like you have an ally when speaking to the doctor. Also, let the doctor be the expert but don’t be afraid to ask questions.
With the help of the ideas mentioned in the article above, we can change our way of how we perceive our doctor. Remember, they are there to rescue you from your affliction and find you the help you need. Their words can become the trumpet that signals the battle is about to be won.
They are also the sound of comforters ready to help you learn how to live with your ailment if there is no cure for it. God knows you need that city wall, (affliction) to come down and sends rescuers to march in. And he will also help you if the doctor you see doesn’t want to be part of the army to help you. Depend on God’s direction and he will send the right help to save the day.
Isaiah 64:4 - Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him.
The alarm goes off. I groan and roll myself toward the edge of the bed and sit up.
My eyes scan the room and latch onto my dresser and the clock sitting on it. I shake my head. I must be still dreaming, I’d thought. But I wasn’t.
The lines separating the dresser drawers instead of being straight were at a diagonal. So we’re the numbers on my clock, as if there was a shadow making the numbers three dimensional.
I’d staggered to my bathroom, clutching the door and then the side of the counter. As I tried to follow my morning routine, I knew I had to get to my optometrist, but I didn’t trust myself to drive, so I’d called my care giver and my doctor.
I’d been able to get an emergency appointment, and spent the next hour with my doctor running tests on my eyes. We discovered that the double vision was worse when I looked to the left while I faced straight ahead.
The doctor told me to go to the emergency room and get checked out, because though he knew what my eyes were doing, but he didn’t know why. In the weeks that followed I saw one doctor after the other.
Double vision can sometimes be caused by medications, migraines, failure of the muscles to the eyes and several eye diseases. Treatment can include strengthening the eye muscles through exercise, medications and surgery. Since I suffered from many of the causes for double vision, it became difficult to treat me.
It was something I had to learn to live with, but it didn’t come without changes in my life:
I could no longer drive.
Reading became difficult.
Even when watching TV I found it difficult to make out letters.
I had to retrain myself to perform activities of daily living.
Double vision can cause you to see two sets of everything. With time, I learned that I would have good days and bad days; and found my own way of moving through my world, and how to distinguish which of the two things I was looking at was real and which one was the double.
Medicalnewstoday.com in their article, “Why am I Seeing Double?”, tells us that double vision causes a person to see double images where there should be one, and that the double can be side by side, on top of each other, or both. The article also provides in depth causes and treatments such as using glasses with prisms in the lenses, wearing an eye patch, and surgery on the eye muscles.
Coping with double vision can be difficult, but armed with knowledge about the condition, treatment for it, and the right support system of people who understand what you’re going through can go a long way in helping you live life to the fullest.
Know also that God acts on your behalf. He can bring you through the turmoil of treatments, and can help you accept the way your life will be after all the treatments have been tried. You may feel like you can’t function in your world, but God sees your pain and will comfort you in ways that you can’t even imagine.
Exodus 33:14 – The LORD replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.
In many ways, emotional pain follows the path of chronic pain.
There are times when the pain you experience is just a light breeze. You know it’s there, but you’re able to function and be at peace.
This would include:
All of these could be resolved by Tylenol or Ibuprofen and a brief rest.
Then there are times when pain starts to speak into your ear and tell you, “It’s getting worse now.” It is at this point that you need to forcibly put your mind onto something else that will completely occupy your mind.
This would include:
All of these may not resolve with simply over-the-counter medications, and you need to see your physician especially if you think you’ve broken a bone.
But then there are times when pain has the audacity to walk right up to you and say, “You can’t do this anymore! Not again! I’m winning this war,” and it goes and grabs anxiety by the hand and marches into your every thought and action.
This would include:
All of these painful conditions need to be followed by a physician who is trained in treating them. It may include long-term medical care, because many chronic conditions don’t go away.
Whatever the depth and strength of the pain someone with a health condition experiences, it is indeed accompanied by emotional pain. The anxiety caused by meeting new physicians to join your team of providers alone can send you in a tail spin. There also can be an element of depression experienced when one learns they may never be the same again.
Healthtalk.org, their article, “Coping With the Emotional Impact of Chronic Pain,” provides video clip interviews with people who suffer from chronic pain and how they cope with it. One of the people interviewed had a difficult time at first with the idea of seeing a psychologist and wondered how he could help the patient through the rough times. But once the patient went, he discovered that it did help.
Once the pain or illness has taken such a toll on your life, you must realize that you can’t do this alone. And it’s there, at that point of surrender, that a psychologist can help and God can help you if you let him. And it’s there, at that point of surrender, that God picks you up, cradles you in his arms and says, “Pain and anxiety may think they’re winning the battle, but I will win the war for you. So rest. I’m here.”
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.
Jeremiah 30:6 - Ask and see: Can a man bear children? Then why do I see every strong man with his hands on his stomach like a woman in labor, every face turned deathly pale?
You clutch your stomach. The pain is back.
Everyone experiences a stomach ache from time-to-time, but there’s a big difference between a stomach ache and stomach pain.
A stomach ache can make can make you:
Stomach pain can make you:
When in doubt as to whether you have a simple stomach ache or if it’s real pain, it’s important to see your doctor. Only he can truly diagnose your problem and figure out if what you’re feeling is something to be concerned about.
Some of the things a doctor may do are:
Here are some other reason for your stomach issue and whether it’s serious listed on everydayhealth.com in their article, “9 Common Digestive Conditions From Top to Bottom,” such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or gallstones, and how to treat them.
Take a look at the Bible verse above; there are times when even a man can clutch his stomach like a woman in labor. Understanding the difference between a stomach ache and stomach pain is important to know so that a decision can be made if it’s something that should be checked out by a healthcare professional. If your pain becomes so intense that you can’t function, know that God can give you the wisdom you need and can point you in the right direction to get the attention to help heal your problem.
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.