Philemon 1:11 - Formerly he was useless to you, but now he has become useful both to you and to me.
Having too much to do is a normal part of life and isn’t a big deal. But for the person who deals every day with a chronic health condition, it can make us not able to complete even the smallest of tasks. You try to do something simple, but your body is too weak to complete it. You get angry, and feel like a failure. You feel weak and feeble. All you can think about is how you let everyone down. But even if you have let people down, it’s not everyone. There are those in your life that understand, at least in part, what you’re going through. They are the ones who see you at your worst, but also at your best. Cut other people a break and stop yourself from feeling like you are useless and will never be any good to someone else. The truth is you may not see the people who are in your life that feel proud to be a part of your life because they see you not giving up. God is proud of you, too!
James 1:12 - Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.
What is normal? That’s a heavy question. Normal to some is being free from pain, coming and going as you please, and feeling a sense of accomplishment at the end of a day. But that’s not what a person battling chronic pain looks like. Yet, here we are trying to be “normal.” It puts a lot of pressure on us to try and look like we have at least part of a normal lifestyle. Yet, for me, after battling chronic pain and illness for over twenty-six years I’ve learned there really isn’t a “normal” and if there was one, I don’t want to be it. What I want is to be an encouragement to those who are suffering. I want to minimize how much pressure I put on myself and be who I am. I want to show the world that there is life after an injury. And you know what? Life can be filled with blessings, joy and yes, fulfillment. But I’m not going to get there by myself. I’m going to lean into God and he will show me the way I should go.
Psalm 9:18 - But God will never forget the needy; the hope of the afflicted will never perish.
Knowing you have to endure a painful sickness the rest of your life is difficult to cope with. You try to stay closed up in denial, but it doesn’t change anything. Denial is not only fruitless, but can cause our illness to increase in velocity and strip away our inner strength. There are no easy answers here. There are no ways to deny it away. It’s here to stay. But that doesn’t mean our life is over. That’s right – our life isn’t over. When you accept even negative things in your life, hope begins to bloom. Sometimes that hope miraculously heals us. Sometimes it doesn’t heal us physically, but it gives us the strength to not just endure our sickness, but to bloom a rose garden of beauty in our lives.
Matthew 10:30, 31 - And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
Everyone wants to feel that they matter. If you don’t have the courtesy to pay attention when having a conversation, you can cause someone to doubt their worth in your eyes and in their own. Another way of feeding the fire of low self-worth is to continually turn down invitations to do things with your friend. If you truly are not available tell them in a way that will still make them feel they’re important to you. Only talking about yourself in a conversation and not letting the other person have a chance to speak their views can also hurt them. Look directly at your friend when they are speaking. Make the time to get together with your friend. And, stop talking so much and interrupting them and allow them to express their opinion. You never know, what they say may help you solve a problem you’re going through and will cause your relationship to grow. Do you struggle with feeling you matter?
Proverbs 15:30 - A cheerful look brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones.
Do you tend to see only the bad around you? A ridiculous political scene, hurricanes, devastation of our hearts and homes, family stresses, or a health crisis hitting your loved one can pull you towards the bad? There is always bad out there. But there doesn’t have to be only bad or anxious thoughts. What’s true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy is out there. You just have to turn around 180 degrees, see that God has blessed you with much more than the bad, and bask in the light of his love. Do you struggle with only seeing the bad in life? Turn it over to God and he will send you peace.
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.