A few weeks ago I published a post entitled, "The Dos of Chronic Illness", and as promised, here is my personal list of "don'ts" for living with chronic illness.
These are things which I have come to learn, well, let me rephrase that, these are things which I am CONTINUING to learn on this journey of living with a chronic illness.
Many of them I surely have not mastered, but with God's grace, am making some progress! Step by step!
- DON'T put expectations upon others
A MAJOR downfall for me!
It's so easy for me to expect others to "get me".
To understand all about my illness, which is super insane since Brian and I can't even being to explain it!
EXPECTING others to know EXACTLY how I'm feeling.
EXPECTING others to know EXACTLY when I need a phone call.
EXPECTING others to know EXACTLY what words to say to encourage me.
Can anyone say,
Can anyone say,
Can anyone say,
Before I became a member of the "Chronic Illness Club", did I ever stop long enough to REALLY think of those around me who were sick? And yet here I am constantly placing expectations upon others.
Instead of placing expectations upon others, which I have no right to do, I need to constantly be putting into practice the following truth,
- DON'T compare
Oh this is another hard one for me. Yes, I admit the green-eyed monster raises its ugly head in my life way too often. I'm certainly not proud of my SIN, just honestly sharing my heart.
It hits me on social media as I stare at picture after picture, video after video of vacations, cruises, get-togethers, others enjoying the beach (my most favorite place to be!). All things chronic illness has stolen from me.
BUT, who really knows what's behind those smiles and laughter?
Yes, they may be at the beach, on a vacation or hosting a huge party, but we have no idea what's going on "behind the scenes".
The smile may be a cover up for a heart which is breaking into a million shattered pieces.
The laughter might be a disguise for the tears that are shed in the quiet of the night.
The grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence!
So as I scroll through facebook and see all those having the fun I once enjoyed, I will rejoice along with them, but also pray the "fun" is reality and not a masquerade for a mixed-up, messed up life and heart.
I'll give thanks for the many things which I can still do, especially since I realize how much worse things could really be.
I'll also rejoice in all the fun and precious memories I have stored in my heart from the past. Praise the Lord!
"But they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise."
II Corinthians 10:12b
- DON'T try to figure things out
Yes, another stickler for me!
I've been dealing with this chronic illness for fifteen years and unfortunately over those years I've attempted, one too many times, to figure things out, which was a huge waste of time and of no avail.
But the Lord certainly puts things into perspective for me!
"Why NOT me?"
"What's the purpose?"
"The Lord may be using the illness to teach me something. To draw me closer in my relationship to Him. To bring others to Christ. For the Lord's honor and glory."
"Some with chronic illnesses get better and some get worse, why?"
"That's the Lord's decision."
"Why can I no longer enjoy the things I once enjoyed? It seems so unfair!"
"Because the Lord wants to use me according to HIS plan and HIS purposes."
"Some days all that I can accomplish is staying in bed, what good am I?"
"Stay in bed with a good attitude, not complaining, praise the Lord I have a bed to stay in, pray for others as I lie in my bed."
- DON'T take to heart comments
If you deal with a chronic illness then I KNOW you've heard at least one of the following statements,
"You look so good, I just can't believe that you are as sick as you say you are!"
"Oh, it must be so great to lie around in bed all day and do nothing!"
"Have you tried taking such and such medicine or supplement?"
"You just need to get out of the house more often!"
"I'd give anything not to have to go to work and be able to stay home all day like you do!"
"Have you gone to Dr. So and So, he did wonders for my Great Aunt's second cousin's sister-in-law who had similar symptoms like yours?"
"You need to exercise more, I'm sure that would help you feel better!"
"If you had more faith, prayed more and got rid of the sin in your life, then you would be healed!"
And, oh, so many more!
Yes, I've heard my share of these statements over the years.
They've made me cry.
They've made me angry.
They've hurt my feelings.
My outward reaction?
I would normally just smile and not say anything while stuffing way down deep inside what I truly wanted to say!
BUT over the years, the Lord has shown me that 99.9% of the time, the things people say are NOT meant whatsoever to be rude or make us feel sad. People really are trying to be an encouragement in their own way, it's just very difficult to know exactly what to say to someone battling a life-altering chronic illness.
I know before I became sick, I would have been at a total loss for words when it came to talking to someone with an illness.
So, we on the receiving end, need to show love, mercy and grace to those on the giving end.
"And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you."
- DON'T lose your focus
Symptoms increase, new ones appear, and others fade away.
Another new medication is introduced into our body, and we pray against any allergic reaction.
Yet again a test is ordered in an attempt to answer unanswered questions.
A new physician is added to the already growing list.
Sitting on hold for hours on end trying to get through to a real person who can help with disability and insurance mix-ups.
In the middle of it all, it can be very easy to lose sight of many things.
To become frustrated, weary and worn. To feel as if you're at your wit's end. Oh, I've been there many, many times.
BUT then I "hear" that small still voice reminding me that He is with me in the midst of it all! Reminding me, that as a child of God, Jesus promised to never leave me nor forsake me!
a life void of
But, as a believer
in Jesus Christ,
He promised to
be with us!
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May God Bless You,