I don’t want to be seen as a patient or a victim of a disease. I want to be seen as a warrior.
So if that’s the case, I have to look at chronic illness warriors and what I admire about them.
Here are a few things I’ve found to be true when it comes to what chronic illness warriors don’t do:
- They don’t worry about what others think of them. They understand that no matter how genuine and truthful they are about their illness there will always be people who don’t believe them. What little energy they have is not wasted on trying to win over the cynical – instead, they focus on their own mental and physical health.
- They don’t expect life to be fair. They realize life is full of other flawed individuals that live together in a fallen world. Good, hardworking people can face a major catastrophe just as easily as evil, immoral people. Life doesn’t discriminate when it comes to who is struck with a chronic illness any more than it does with who is going to have a tree crash on their roof in the next storm. The difference is the chronic illness warriors take their circumstances and look for how God can reach in and make something good come out of their story.
- They don’t think their health is entirely out of their control. They understand there are certain things they can do to affect their health. Becoming an informed patient, maintaining a healthy diet, moving their body as able and taking their meds and supplements are just a few steps they control in the battle for their health.
- They don’t just let life happen. They understand setting goals is quite different for them now but they don’t just wake up each day without a thought for their future.
- They don’t expect healthy people to know how they feel. They realize most people will never be able to understand life with chronic illness unless they become ill as well.
- They don’t take prioritizing their energy lightly. Realizing there is a consequence to any amount of physical exertion puts them in a constant decision making process. Others won’t always support their choices regarding when they participate in activities and when they cancel plans but they view their decision as paramount to their self-care.
- They don’t think their useless but instead try to impact those around them. Have you heard of Joni Eareckson Tada or Nick Vujicic ? You can click on their names to read a bit about them but both of them have inspirational stories of how they have taken their disabilities and used them as a platform to impact the world for God and for the benefit of others that are also disabled. After reading their stories I don’t think any of us would be able to give an excuse of why we sit stagnant instead of figuring out a way to impact others.
- They don’t blame themselves but start each day new with better choices. We can beat ourselves up everyday for the bad choices we’ve made in the past. Chronic illness warriors aren’t paralyzed by regret but they understand the past is something to learn from, take the lesson learned and then move forward – even if their disease is directly related to something they did such as lung cancer from smoking.
- They don’t focus on the bad but try to find the good in each day. A few weeks ago a came across a YouTube channel called The Frey Life. This daily vlog is run by Mary and Peter Frey, a young married couple. Mary has cystic fibrosis and views her channel as a way to raise awareness and show the day to day struggles of a chronically ill woman. They emphasis finding the good in each day and remembering to laugh. This couple is truly an inspiration and I admire Mary as a true warrior.
- They don’t believe every emotional thought that passes through their mind. A life plagued by chronic illness is an emotional roller coaster. There’s no way of getting around it. The warriors understand this and battle their own negative thoughts as hard as they battle their illness. They understand there will be tears, pain and grief but they don’t let those emotions take up residence in their heart.
- They don’t give up. They wake up each day and enter the battle again. Whether it’s looking for a new treatment, doctor or support group – they don’t stop moving forward.
Who do you admire as a chronically ill warrior? Let us know in the comments below and also share what it is you admire about them!
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