On Distractions

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There’s this fascinating dichotomy that happens when you live with chronic illness.

On one hand, we ignore major health issues that would send most people running for the emergency room. We can run a high fever, be numb on 90% of our body, bleed from all sorts of places, and be too weak to walk across the room. All at the same time. But we will question if we truly need to see a doctor.

What we live with on a daily basis is so confusing and constant, it keeps us blowing off all sorts of things that are normally warning signs that get people’s attention. The pain scale is a joke. If I’m sitting in the emergency room, you can bet your boots I’m at a 10 or higher. If I wasn’t, no power on earth could make me go in.

On the other hand, we are forced to dissect and analyze even the most innocuous of symptoms, ad nauseam. I have a shunt in my brain. Vomiting or fever could indicate a problem with a very vital organ. Dizziness and ringing ears can indicate that my pressures are raising. Eyesight issues can be a warning sign that I could suffer vision loss if I do not act quickly enough in getting to the doctor.

My body is also weird in the way it presents pain. Because I am so numb all over my body, pain will sometimes show itself as increased tremors. A migraine presents as severe earache. My arms hurt when I get cold. Basically, my brain doesn’t send or receive signals in a normal way, so I have to pay especially close attention to even things that seem to be no big deal.

It’s hard living with this dichotomy. It seems ridiculous that our bodies can contain such different aspects and needs. And it’s exhausting.

I was praying today about the different levels of tired that accompany chronic illness and disability. I was praying for each person I love, because I’m certain that there are aspects they have to carefully consider that I’ve never even heard of, much less worried about.

This praying led me to a particular verse. I love when that happens. Can I share it with you?

You yourselves know, dear brothers and sisters, that our visit to you was not a failure. You know how badly we had been treated at Philippi just before we came to you and how much we suffered there. Yet our God gave us the courage to declare his Good News to you boldly, in spite of great opposition. – 1 Thessalonians 2:1-2

The craziness of our bodies, the pain we endure, the extra scrutiny that is required of us, these are all things that I consider to be opposition. Great opposition. We have moments when we are treated so badly, by doctors or family or those we consider to be friends.

It’s a lot of distraction, isn’t it? I firmly believe that the enemy planned it just that way. He wants us distracted. He wants us focused on ourselves. He wants us discouraged by people’s reaction to our circumstances. He wants us suffering. Our oppression delights him.

One of the reasons I love this verse is that it straight-out states that we are not failures. They kind of sneak that part in, so maybe you were seeing the part about the oppression and bad treatment and suffering, and you missed the point.

Our visits were not a failure. God gave us the courage to declare His good news boldly. He still does that same thing today.

For we speak as messengers approved by God to be entrusted with the Good News. Our purpose is to please God, not people. He alone examines the motives of our hearts. – 1 Thessalonians 2:4

You don’t have to work on gaining approval of men. You don’t have to worry about whether or not your body is hiding a more serious condition. You never have to concern yourself with setting right bad treatment you receive.

God can give us the courage we need to speak the Good News. Our testimony will never be a failure.

In fact, somehow the fact that we are sending out hope and gospel in the midst of our overwhelming circumstances makes the testimony even more powerful. Isn’t that cool?

You have this weird body that requires constant monitoring, and you still remembered to smile and say, “God Bless You”, to that cashier yesterday. You are totally swamped with pain and can barely remember all the things to discuss with your doctor, but you didn’t forget to give God the glory for that good news he gave you before he left the room.

You are amazing. No matter how much the enemy piles on to distract us, we just keep doggedly pointing right back to Christ.

Shine on today, sweet Warrior. Shine on.

Dear God, be with each soul reading this today. Thank You for providing the courage we need in every circumstance. Thank You for each chance You provide in our day that we can shine Your light. In Jesus’ Name, Amen…

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May God Bless You,


7 Comments on “On Distractions

  1. Shelly thank you for sharing. Sweet Warriors is a great way to be when you deal with chronic illness. We need to be intune with our bodies every day. Thanks for making my load lighter today.

  2. what a beautiful testimony. This really touched me “In fact, somehow the fact that we are sending out hope and gospel in the midst of our overwhelming circumstances makes the testimony even more powerful. Isn’t that cool?” You are a provider of light, the salt we need to remember that what matters most is abiding in our maker, no matter our circumstances. He uses you well, amidst your pain and chronic illness.. he meets us all in our brokenness. Without being broken I would never have found Jesus. I’m blessed by your words. Thank you. Visiting from next door #RaRaLinkedUP

  3. My husband has a chronic illness as well as my son…thank you for a refreshing reminder of who is control, who we live for and who we need to point to-ALWAYS…our Lord, Jesus.

  4. Keep shining, sweet sister! Your sharing is always God-inspired and straight to the heart!
    Love you!

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