Galatians 6:2 - Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
One of the synonyms for anxiety is “care.” It implies oppression of the mind weighed down by responsibility or disquieted by apprehension. Some people deal with their anxiety by walking around with a chip on their shoulders just waiting to lash out at the next person who crosses their path. Others, like myself, carry around a different kind of weight – the “weight of the world” on my shoulders. I feel it’s my job to try to fix all the problems around me. Anxiety rises within and weighs down my heart. But there is a way to lift that weight – kind words. It doesn’t take much to lift that chip off someone’s shoulders, or to set the anxiety free. It just takes someone who will stop what they’re doing, smile, and cheer us up with a few kind words and bring us hope. There may feel like there’s no hope when we’re filled with anxiety, but when someone sits down with you, places their hand on yours, looks into your eyes and says, “I know this is tough. But we can get through this together.” It can wipe away our concerns. Can you be that person today? Can you be the one to say a few kind words? Don’t think of it as a difficult task to do. You may worry you’ll say the wrong thing. But God can give you the words you need and the strength to say them. Make a difference in someone’s life today and help to lift off their burdens.
Exodus 18:17-18 - Moses' father-in-law replied, "What you are doing is not good. You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out. The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone."
When Christmas comes upon us, all of the shopping and cooking can feel like a giant wave catching up with us, and washing us into a storm of activities. This can be challenging even if you are healthy, but if you battle a chronic health condition it can quickly exhaust you. So you set a magic hat in front of you and reach inside to find reasons why you can’t do these things even though other people think you’re just making excuses. Your, “No,” is unacceptable to them. After all, Christmas only happens once a year. So you change your clothes, put on a happy face and head out the door to go shopping or attend a party. But what’s the result? Your chronic illness takes stage front and everyone sees you sinking into a couch with pain written across your face. There has to be a better way. How do you enjoy Christmas when you aren’t well? During the Christmas season we can all find ourselves swept up into the waves of all the things that “need” to be done. But that’s not healthy for anyone, especially for those with chronic health conditions. Don’t be afraid to say no to the many activities available and don’t be afraid to ask for help, like Moses’ father-in-law suggested in the Bible verse above. That way, you’ll be able to enjoy the season instead of dreading it.
Luke 12:7 - Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
Do you ever feel like people around you are trying to beat you down into submission either physically or emotionally? Are they so set in their ways and feel justified in their actions that they strike out at you every chance they can get? This is no way to live, either for the one being beaten or the one taking their pain out on someone else. You’re worth so much more than that. You can be strong and let yourself out of the cage that others have pushed you into. Be your own person. But also realize that you sometimes need someone to point you in the right direction without hurting you. They are like the shepherds in our lives. A shepherd never beats his sheep into submission. He taps them on the side to move them in the direction they need to go, or they raise their staff in the air as the shepherd himself guides the sheep to greener pastures. Jesus is our great Shepherd. He will gently lead us and he can steer us away from those who believe beating someone down is the only way to get them to do what they want.
2 Corinthians 10:5 - We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
In the beginning there was a thought. It wasn’t much really. Just thinking about what someone said to you that you thought was hurtful. All day you tried to push that thought away, but it kept knocking at your door. Pretty soon a friend called and you told her about that thought. Then a few days passed and someone else said something to you that you thought was hurtful. This time you skipped past talking to a friend about it. You took that thought and tied it around your neck, as if it were a necklace, with the two hurtful thoughts hanging down the front. Pretty soon you had so many hurtful thoughts attached to the necklace around your neck that it stopped being a piece of jewelry and it became a chain pulling you down. Pick up the key of taking your thoughts captive to Christ. He will help you take down those hurtful thoughts and help you forgive those who hurt you. Then you’ll be able to lift up your head and be free from what used to burden you. But be careful. It’s easy to hang hurtful thoughts around your neck again.
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.