Philippians 4: 13 (ERV)
“You’re afraid to die, and you’re afraid to live. What a way to exsist”- Neale Donald Walsch
Have you ever just had a bad day that you wanted to get away from? You know what I am talking about, those moments when you feel overwhelmed and you can’t see a way out of a dark cave even if someone gave you a flashlight. Life isn’t always easy, and life isn’t always fair. I have had some bad days where I just want to check out for a while since I have been ill but that’s not an option for me and it is definitely not a solution. In fact, that was part of the old me, I ran a lot. You don’t even have to be sick to have a bad day. Bad days can create feelings of helplessness at times, for anyone, but especially if you are ill. It can leave you with feelings of brokenness. Before you know it, your head is in a fog of worry and anxiety and you are feeling hopeless. I have been in this very place so many times in my life, from my abusive childhood right into my adult years with chronic pain and illnesses.
I have learned some things though. There are going to be some dark days. But, it’s up to me how I am going to handle it. When I am faced with a dark day, I am not going to run WITH my dark days, I am going take my dark days, straight to Jesus! I have learned that running only does one thing, it delays everything and gives Satan time to take hold of you. I have learned you have to face the dark days to solve them and you can not go at it alone. If you are ill, and you choose to worry about the what if’s, it’s still going to be there, in fact it might even be a little worse and you have wasted a precious moments of your life on things that you can not change.
Get this though, there is real power in positive thinking and the mind is an amazing tool that God gave us. If you have stinking thinking… stop it. It doesn’t help you and it doesn’t help your neighbor!! Your mind has a lot of control over how you feel. It’s not a cure-all but if you fill your mind and your spirit up with positive thoughts and positive vibes you can control how your body reacts and feels. And you can control how others respond to you!! Try it the next time you are with a bunch of grumpy people and you are not feeling overly well. Be nice on purpose, see what you get in return. Here’s the other side of that coin, if you allow yourself to think negatively and roll around in that, Satan will grab hold of you and bring you down right along with him and he will make you hurt and you will pay, I promise you that. If you’re thinking life isn’t fair today and you are in a dark place, do not pass go, do not collect 200 dollars, run to Jesus because he has the answers!
Romans 12: 21
“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
This passage from Paul requires action on our part! No longer can we be complacent, no longer can we say, “I just don’t want to get involved.” If we are soldiers of the cross then we need to act like we are soldiers of the cross. Not passive, no apprehensive but confident bold, strong. God told Joshua when he was to take over for Moses as leader, to be strong and very courageous (Joshua 1:7). So, you are the leader of your own surroundings, so I say, “Be strong and very courageous and over come evil with Good in your home, at your work, with your leisure time.” Let the Evil one know you are in the house and he needs to vacate. Today, be bold, overcome evil with good.
Romans 12: 18-19
“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath…”
Do you find it difficult to live at peace with everyone? After all people get on your nerves everyday. Like the guy at the traffic light with his music blaring so loud you can’t even think, or the guy who cut you off in traffic. Perhaps the co-worker that seems to always have an attitude or the boss who continually makes unreasonable demands. It is difficult to keep the peace with people that do not seem to care about you or anyone else for that matter. You cannot control people, especially people that do not share our faith, but what you can do is go the extra mile and YOU create a peaceful environment.
You and I are told to, “turn the other cheek,” (Matthew5:39) “Bless those who persecute you.” (Romans 12: 14) and still we ask, “why do I have to make the peace? Because you are not of this world, you are of a higher calling, you represent Jesus Christ every minute of everyday, there is no day off from Christianity. You live for God to the best of your ability and leave the rest to God, He will judge the righteous and the unrighteous.
2 Timothy 3:16-17
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching,rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
We have a lot of Christians that are saying the opposite of this scripture. Those people are saying that not all God’s word is God breathed (given by God through inspiration) and basically when the Bible was canonized that the men who agreed on the 66 books did not pick out the right books to be in the Bible. I realize that a lot of the old testament appears to be harsh, but it is still history and history has a way of repeating itself. More-over, we see the character of God in the scriptures and we see how much He loved His people by reading the Bible. Paul tells Timothy in this passage, ALL scripture is given by God through inspiration to man and the scriptures are useful for teaching, discipline, correction and training for the righteous. so, here is my question, if we don’t believe the whole Bible which pages are we going to ignore or rip out of the Bible? I, for one, believe the whole word of God, and the full gospel.
I am going to be honest, I don’t like receiving pity when people find out that I am sick but I do want to be understood and heard. I need to be loved and supported. I have struggled with this and so many others have too. I believe that even if you don’t have a chronic illness everyone can agree that pity is not endearing. I guess the question is how do I gracefully allow others know when I am hurting but still receive the support and love that I need without receiving pity in return. Often times, I get asked how I am doing and even though I may feel bad I will say I am fine. I think people do ask this question in passing and it’s OK not to go into the gory details of how bad I feel. However one of things I do, is I try to listen to others because no matter how bad I feel if I can help someone else it helps my spirit and ultimately it gets my mind off of my own pain.
However, I have realized the people closest too me really want to know how I am doing and by saying that I am fine when asked is actually doing me a disservice. With anything, there is a fine line between letting others in on your illness and not wanting to receive a pity party. What I really want is to gain understanding and support without the pity. How can I possibly, receive love and support if everyone always thinks I am always fine? How can anyone be in my corner praying for me when they don’t know how I feel? I don’t know about anybody else, but I never want to receive pity. I need support, love, and understanding. I want the people in my life that I really care about to know about my illness and my limitations but at the same time I do not want to be felt sorry for. I have realized what I can do is educate the people in my life, because sometimes the only reason people don’t understand is because we don’t tell anyone. Others do not have to be in my body to give me love and support. Even though I am sick and there are times when I have to push through just to get out of bed, I still want to be seen as strong because I am. I still want to be dependable, because although I have limitations, I am dependable. My illness may have changed my circumstances but I refuse to allow it to change who I am. I don’t feel sorry for myself and that is the biggest mindset that has gotten me through so much. I have accepted the changes that have come into my life over the last three years. If the relationships that I have, truly love and care about me then I will not receive pity. I will receive love, acceptance and understanding no matter how I feel and those are the relationships that I want to have on my journey of life.
Philippians 2: 14-16
“Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life.”
I have a sign on my refrigerator at home that says, “No Whining.” I’m convinced that people in the world are wanting to hear something different, something refreshing, something other than the same old thing, than they hear every day, whining and complaining. I’m convinced that people want to see someone positive, upbeat, cheerful and friendly. Don’t we hear enough whining and complaining on the news and from the people in the world who have no hope? If you call yourself a child of God, then be a child of God, live as a child of God, act like a child of God, reflect God. But for the Lord’s sake, Don’t whine and complain!
God is always near, even if we don’t see it in the moment. I can often look back after I am out of the moment and see God was close by all along. Being chronically ill, or just facing a trying time is probably the hardest time to remember that because you are literally fighting against fleshly pain and faith. For me, I get a reminder everyday that this “chronic” illness isn’t going away. My faith in God is constantly tested and believe me it’s not easy to stay strong. It’s in these times that I have to dig deep and my faith has to outweigh my pain.