I’ve struggled with my health for practically my entire life. It hasn’t always been major things, but those gnawing little symptoms that leave you wondering if there is something wrong or if it’s all in your head.
And most of my life, I’ve lived with the “suck it up” mentality. My thoughts resembled something like: Everyone has problems. Mine aren’t a big deal. If I were just stronger, I’d be fine.
Now these thoughts got me through most of my adolescent life, striving to look fine and act fine. But they planted roots of deep brokenness both in my view of myself and how God could work in me as I tried to cover up my weakness.
In my early 20’s I was diagnosed with several different chronic health conditions which described my worsening symptoms. I am forever grateful that I found these answers because they have allowed me to care for my body in the way that I need to.
However, it only led to a different sort of striving. If I do everything I can and find all the knowledge and treatment ideas that I can, I will be able to live as if I don’t have a chronic illness. I can live normally. I can be normal.
This striving for normalcy not only led to bitter resentment towards myself and a broken sense of worth, but it led me away from God’s ability to work in my brokenness and shine his glory through me.
When we strive to be normal we forsake the opportunity for God’s glory to shine through our uniqueness, even if the unique parts of our lives are weakness.
Over time, God revealed this broken view of myself to me. He used some amazing friends, powerful mentors and my loving husband to show me that I didn’t need to live this way.
So today, I want to share with you some of the ways that we can live with joy and hope in the midst of struggling with chronic illness. Because let’s face it, whether you have a diagnosis or not, so many of us struggle with our health. We struggle with chronic symptoms that interfere with our life and the way that we want to live it.
But these things don’t have to define us and they don’t have to steal our hope.