I am a person of faith that also happens to suffer from chronic illness. This is usually a big commotion with people. There are a countless amount of different beliefs when it comes to those two being paired together. There are those that express that if you believe in God you shouldn’t believe in the illness existing in your body (denial), those that say you lack faith if you think God won’t heal you, others that struggle with believing and then there are some that think like me. I am realistic of where I am in my journey of my conditions. I believe in the miracles that God does heal, but I also know there are some things that are not healed. (not saying you nor I won’t be healed. I am talking about this moment I choose to honor God’s time frame and learn to be content despite the storm.)
I have experienced healing in things that doctors said would never be healed. Miraculous works. I also have been suffering from multiple conditions for years. One of my most life altering conditions is Endometriosis. “With endometriosis, the disease commonly occurs on the pelvic structures (and sometimes beyond), causing severe pain, bowel, bladder or other organ dysfunction, inflammation, scarring and adhesions, and in some cases, infertility.” It also can potentially cause a lot of other health conditions. My case, I have developed other health conditions, because of this one condition. It has not always been an easy journey. It would be dishonest for me to paint a perfect picture for you. What I can say is that I have found different ways to manage and also thrive within those years.
Being realistic in what your temple can do
With your body changing or putting some possible limitations on your body, you have to relearn some things. You have to be more in tune with your body and what workload it can take on certain days. Some days you will have the strength of the machine and want to do everything. There are other days that you are limited because of pain, energy, weakness, and fatigue. I used to be able to work out 5 times a week and sometimes even twice a day. There have been days I couldn’t walk with my condition. I learned to listen to my body a lot more and pace myself. On my good days, be productive but don’t burn myself out. On the bad days, be honest with myself how far I can realistically push myself. Be kind and graceful to myself and my body for what it accomplished.- These days are not always easy.
You are loved by God
I had to learn that I was still loved by God. The negative or passive aggressive comments about my health were not always welcomed. Learning to tune out the negative thought and comments, and replace them with God’s word. I am not cursed, I am loved by God. He sent Jesus to die for ME. Despite the things I may think and what emotions say. God was and is with me throughout this journey. He doesn’t love me any less than his other children. “Isaiah 41:10 Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
Are you doing what you need to do to heal
Although we want to put responsibility on God or doctors, we also have tp do our part to heal or minimize symptoms. “James 2:14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them?” AKA faith without works is dead. God can give you a doctor or someone that gives a suggestion to you for a better treatment plan. This can be your diet, exercise, vitamins/medications, etc. you take in the information and do nothing with it? You are limiting your possibility of having more relief. Changing your lifestyle is not easy, especially when you are frustrated, but you have to put in some effort. You deserve to have some weight taken off your shoulders. I had to change my diet completely. I had to learn how to cook all my foods, gluten free, dairy free, and now vegan style. There were other changes too. I cried so many times because I just wanted to shove my face with some pizza hut- pizza or a chik-fil-a chicken sandwich. For years I fought the consequences of not sticking to it. It wasn’t until I slightly lost my vision for a bit that I took the process seriously. The last 2.5 years have been much better than the previous 6. The pain minimized (not always), reduced amount of flare ups, hospital visits plummeted, and I have a better quality of life. Do I have flare ups and bad days…. Of course, but the changes made me value and enjoy my life much more.
You can still accomplish goals -Be adaptable
Now, this is a tough one for my ambitious friends! Don’t give up on your dreams. I want your to still have goals, but be flexible on how you get there. It may take a little more time, because you may need more rest. There may be other things in the way, but you CANNOT give up. I know it looks impossible some days. There were times my old boss threatened to fire me because I couldn't walk fast enough. It took 2 years to get here, but I am thriving in areas that before I thought were only dreams. There were limitations that she haggled me about and with hard work, patience, a commitment to my growth and healing I am pushing the envelope. Write down your goals and plan how you can accomplish this with help. You don’t have to be a superhero.
This is BIG! To be honest, it is the one I struggle with the most. I have to repeat positive things in my head when my illness is trying to hack my life. Other things that I do, I surround myself with people that I can honestly talk to about my frustration without being judged, I speak to my therapist about it, I write….very passionately until I get it all out. You need to have an outlet that you can realistically get that emotion out. The change in perspective from lack/loss and to finding an opportunity to create new joys. If you stay stuck on what you can’t do anymore or wear your mind will go crazy. You will hit this intense anger or depression that will hijack your brain, in turn making your health worse. TRUST ME I know. What new opportunities and hobbies can you find. Slowing down can be frustrating, but take that time to tune into some other passions that were long forgotten. Find other things to learn that don't always require you going 1000 miles an hour. The internet is full of ideas! Dwelling on the condition 24-7 does not make it better or go away. I wish it could lol. We don’t want that to be the center of the show, you are. You're vibrant, kind, and have an amazing personality. Your willingness to keep fighting. You are a warrior even on the days you do not feel like you are. Find some peace to keep you held on to where you are at. “Phillipians 4:7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Put positive things on your mirror to help you in this process!
Celebrate the small things
Lastly, celebrate the small wins. I know this seems silly, but it helped my mental health a lot. There were days I could not walk, get out of bed, make my bed, or eat because I was having bad reactions to everything I ate. Telling myself good job for those small wins and many others, helped me be more grateful. It showed me how everyday is a gift and doing the small thing is a blessing. Our mind can attack us on all of the things we can’t do, but you have to fight it with some good. “Wow, you walked a mile today. I am so proud of you. Last week you could only do half!” “Great job for getting out of bed. You show incredible strength!” “Your positive thoughts today were fabulous. Keep fighting for your mental health. You are such an inspiration.”
Add in your other positive celebrations.
We are warriors not worriers. We will continue to fight to have a good quality of life. We are strong and powerful. I pray that you find peace knowing that you are not alone. You will get through today. You are loved, you are beautiful or handsome, you are worthy to be on this earth and to be loved for who you are. You are worthy to be loved, by YOU especially.
Sending you hugs and love!