Tuesday, March 18, 2014
How To Keep Your Faith When You Are Sick
Today, I'm not feeling well; but, I have FAITH. I have faith that one day I will feel better. I have faith that God is working through me, toward something remarkable. I have faith that I am dealing with my illness for a reason.
Now, I haven't always been this faithful. In the past, I have wallowed in my self pity. I have questioned God's motives and existence. I have allowed fear to cripple me. I have allowed the darkness to envelope me.
And, for what? Misery? Unhappiness? Fear?
Then, one day, I had enough! I decided to be thankful. I was thankful for the things I had. I was thankful for the time I had been given with loved ones who had passed. I was thankful for the loved ones I still had around me. I was thankful for the many blessings God had bestowed on me.
I decided to be giving. I volunteered at my church's resale shop. I volunteered to teach religious education classes as well. I donated, what I could afford, to charities and food pantries. I did good deeds on a daily basis. I offered compassion, empathy, and a listening ear for those in need.
And, then I got sick.
How do you keep your faith when you receive a life-changing diagnosis? You CHOOSE to.
I never questioned why God allowed me to get sick. I simply knew there was a reason. I CHOSE to live the way I thought God expected me to live. I CHOSE to use my illness to help others who were suffering. And, God CHOSE me to help them. My illness gave me a purpose.
Sometimes, it's just a matter of changing the way you think about things. I could easily have decided to stop teaching my religious ed class because I just didn't have the energy anymore. But, instead of thinking of myself, I thought of the kids. God would give me the energy I needed to continue to teach His children. And, He does, every other Wednesday.
Always see the little miracles. For those of you who have been following my blog, you know that I've been renting cars, trying to decide what car I want. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, go read my post titled Faith and A Fiat 500. Anyway, after driving the Fiat, I decided I wanted a Prius. The rental car I had after the Fiat was, very possibly, the worst car I'd ever driven. I was anxious to get rid of it. I poured through used car websites, looking for a reasonably priced Prius. I kept coming across reviews from Prius owners about the expense of replacement parts. It also seemed like the same issues were occurring over and over again. I started thinking a Prius might not be such a good idea. My husband agreed. So, I had to find another car I liked. Finally, I decided to take a serious look at the Mini Coopers. I had wanted a Mini long before the Fiat. Plus, there were quite a few used Minis available, at reasonable prices. Well, two days after that decision, my rental was up. I wanted to trade the car I had for another more reliable one. Unfortunately, they were out of other compact cars. But, he did have a Mini Countryman getting washed in the garage. My husband and I just looked at each other and busted out laughing. No way could this happen twice! It did. And, because they had no more compact cars, I was able to negotiate the rental price down to just $1 a day more. Now, I get to test drive a Mini for a month.
Understand that God will always give you what you need. Turn yourself over to Him. Trust Him fully. You will be amazed at how relaxed and comforted you will feel when you know everything will turn out as it was meant to.
When things are hard, ask God for help. I hate to complain. But, sometimes, I can't help it. When my hair was falling out in clumps, I cried. The pain, I've been able to handle. My hair falling out, not so much. That's when I asked God for help. I prayed like I had never prayed before, pleading for help. I know you're probably thinking I'm going to say my hair stopped falling out, and all was right with the world. But, that's not what happened. My hair is still falling out, although not as much. Instead, I became at peace with it. I can honestly say, I don't care about it anymore. I'm sick. This is what happens when you're sick sometimes. If anyone wants to make judgements against me and my thin, stringy hair, that's on them. I'm still alive. My life is worth more than my hair. I'm at peace. Don't be afraid to pray for help. God will not judge you for needing a break once in a while.
Vow to be happy. Yes, you've suffered a blow. Maybe, you've been told, as I have, that your disease cannot be cured. Or, perhaps, your chances of recovery are not good. Don't let that news define you. Miracles happen everyday! Why not to you? A positive attitude and faith can do your health a world of good. I refuse to let this disease get me down. I made a vow to be happy. And, darn it, I am happy! I make it a point to laugh every day. I choose to laugh at even the most annoying things. I live in the same world you do. It's not always rainbows and gumdrops! I'm up on all the politics, world events, and bizarre happenings going on right now. I choose to laugh at the ridiculousness of it all. Those things I can do nothing about, I don't let myself get upset about. The things I can do something about, I do. Once again, everything will work out the way it's meant to.
It's all about choice. You can CHOOSE to keep and grow your faith. As the quote above reads, you will see the light with your HEART, even when the darkness is in front of you.
Lastly, be kind to yourself. Forgive others and yourself, to release your burdens. Holding on to hate and regret will not help you to heal. Be at peace in the now. Let go of the past. Trust in the fact that God has your back in the future.
As always, I'd love to hear the ways you've kept your faith alive. We should all support each other in healing. Even though you may feel like no one can benefit from your experiences, someone will. You may be able to connect with someone, in the exact way, they needed at that moment. Your life is valuable. Your experiences are REMARKABLE.
Goodnight and God Bless!