Do you or someone you know have a chronic illness?

If you’re someone like me with chronic illness or know of someone who does. You know that some illnesses are invisible. Just because someone doesn’t look sick, doesn’t mean they aren’t. As with any illness, people need encouragement. Sometimes it’s just an ear to listen, even if you don’t know what to say. Sometimes just listening shows you care.

Nine out of 10 chances people with any chronic illness have heard all the negative and sometimes hurtful words from those who don’t understand. If you know someone who has a chronic illness, it only takes a few minutes to google a condition, and a few moments of your time to learn about your loved one’s condition. That way you won’t think that the person is just complaining, overreacting, faking, or attention-seeking.

 We have heard, and have tried

If you are the one with a chronic illness or the person who knows someone with a chronic illness. You probably have heard or said some words like the following— “ but you don’t look sick”, “ could be worse”, “ if you just moved more”, “ maybe you should exercise”, “ maybe you should change your diet”, “ you should push through the fatigue”, “ I know so and so who has ( said chronic illness) and they’re doing great”. These last two are kickers, “ maybe you should lose weight” and “ it’s all in your head”.

I’m sure there are more, words that you’ve heard or said to someone. Please understand that sometimes an illness is invisible. If we could move more we would and do when we can. Physical exertion one day can cause us to be down for days. Pushing through ‌fatigue is easier said than done— sometimes we can push through, sometimes we can’t.

When someone tells us about someone they know who has (said) chronic illness and is doing great, please be mindful that everyone is different. Most likely we have tried to lose weight. And, yes, it is in our head, most of the time people with chronic illness have anxiety, depression, loneliness, and more due to feeling helpless, and for some they have lost hope.

Some encouragement

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18— NIV
 
Sometimes it can feel like we’re being persecuted by those who care for us, or even us ourselves. Sometimes we’re hard on ourselves as well. It’s easy to lose heart and feel like quitting. Don’t let pain, fatigue, or criticism force you to feel like quitting. Renew your commitment to serving Christ. Don’t overlook today’s pain for your eternal reward. Your very weakness allows the resurrection power of Christ to strengthen you. 
 
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10 — NIV
 
One day God will bring all his faithful people together. We don’t need to fret because (1) God is with us; (2) God has established a relationship with us; (3) God gives us assurance of his strength, help, and victory over sin and death. Such comfort is knowing God is always with us; he strengthens us, and he upholds us. 
 
“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds,” Psalm 147:3 — NIV
 
Sometimes we don’t understand ourselves, what we want, how we feel, or even what’s wrong with us. Take comfort in knowing God’s understanding has no limits. He understands us fully and perfectly. Go to God in prayer. It’s hard, believe me, I get it. The more we focus on God, drawing near to him, the more we learn about his ways, and even develop more understanding of ourselves. 
 
Friends, I leave you with this
 
“I can do all this through him who gives me strength”. Philippians 4:13— NIV
 
We should rely on God’s promises and Christ’s power for strength. He will supply all our needs. But, in a way that he knows is best for us.

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