Love is definitely not a word that comes to mind when I think about living life with a chronic illness.
Hate, cheated, guilt, isolated, sorrow, depression, loath, anger, lost – those fit on most days – but LOVE – nope, it usually doesn’t fit.
But it’s February, right? So I wouldn’t be a good blogger if I didn’t write something about LOVE during the month of red hearts and chocolate kisses.
But seriously now, as we’ve been going through the book Choose Joy by Sara Frankl and Mary Carver, God’s been really convicting me about my attitude toward my life.
I’ve mentioned before that my natural tendency is to be pessimistic and cynical. (I have my ideas on where this habit comes from but I’ll save that for a therapy session someday. 😉 )
I’m a type A person and seem to always be in “fix-it” or “progression” mode. There’s always something in the back of my head that I just have to work on, improve or fix. But the more I dig into this book the more other things are popping up to re-iterate the fact that I do have a choice in how I see my life. (Don’t you love the way God just can’t seem to let an issue go at times?)
Constantly looking at life as something that is broken and needing fixed causes you to miss out on all the joy in the day to day.
In Chapter 5 of Choose Joy, Sara shares the list of Life Goals she clung to as she let go of her past life.
Sara wrote quite a bit about how her disease forced her to redefine her life’s goals. She made it clear that she wouldn’t have determined these purposes for her life without her disease. She pointed out that her new and improved goals were just that – a better version of the life she wanted to live rather than a lesser, second-place version of life. ~ Mary Carver, Choose Joy
LIFE GOALS by Sara Frankl
- To not be ashamed to stand before God.
- To fulfill God’s plan by living the best life I can with what I am given.
- To be aware and present in every moment.
- To love what I have and not yearn for what I lack.
- To spread the joy, not the fear.
- To be intentional in all things.
Let me tell you, reading those from a home-bound, severely pain stricken woman who could no longer open her window because the outside air made her sick, was humbling.
Then I ran across this great TED Talk by Phil Hansen, Embrace the Shake. If you haven’t seen it, you really need to jump over and watch it.
No, I mean it. Really. Click here to watch and I’ll wait for you……
….. It’s great isn’t it!
Can we really learn how to embrace our life with chronic illness? I don’t mean love the fact that we’re ill, just embrace the life we have. After all, we only get one.
Can we attack life the way Phil Hansen attacked his art? Embrace the limitations brought on by our illness and find that something beautiful can come from the midst of it?
Life takes us by surprise, and we learn to embrace what is meant to be, rather than what we meant to create. – Sara Frankl, Choose Joy
I know chronic illness brings about an entire company of issues that change the way we do life. It’s just a fact. Plain and simple.
This part of our life, namely our health, isn’t the way we planned or hoped. Chronic illness can monopolize our attention, our minutes, our entire life. But it’s a good idea to take a minute to step back and focus on the good things that are still available to us. I’ve said before, sometimes you have to search for the good and quite often the good can be pretty elusive.
So here we go – ready for a challenge?
You see, I was inspired to challenge myself to find the good/blessings/love/joy in each day from Sara.
If I judge my life against others’ – or even against the life I used to have – if I’m grading myself on a curve of normalcy, then of course I feel short-changed. But being normal is not the goal. The goal is to live the best life I can with what I am given. ~Sara Frankl
Social media is flooded with pictures of the perfect lives of others. Images that, quite frankly, make me jealous at times. My pastor even mentioned it in Sunday’s Sermon. He said that child in the perfectly posed picture with perfectly styled hair holding an adorable picture she painted (clearly a prodigy) was probably only “perfect” for that 1 minute her mom was able to snap the photo. The other 23 hrs and 59 minutes her mom was probably pulling her hair out, fighting to keep the child in her dress for more than five minutes, mopping up splattered paint off the kitchen floor (and ceiling) and stressed she wasn’t raising her kid as good as everyone else was. In other words, everyone can snap a picture to reflect the perfect life they want you to believe they have.
Don’t fall for it friends! Grab your phone and snap a picture of the moments in your day that show the good/blessings/love/joy and don’t take 30 minutes cleaning the room first! Snap your real life. Snap what makes you feel grateful. Snap something you love in your chronic life.
When you share the image on Facebook or Instagram, use the hashtag #loveinmychroniclife so I can cheer you on!
Continue reading the entries for the book club by clicking here: