How do you respond when someone asks about your illnesses? With minimizing, detailed complaining, or do you have a good balance?
I once brushed it off in a small group setting, where we were supposed to voice our concerns, thus giving no credence to pain or illness. I later realized that because of that, keeping quiet was a negative. For example, some people wondered why my church attendance was spotty at best. I didn’t speak up.
Six years ago an acquaintance suddenly became ill with an invisible illness. She will still go into great detail while taking a “poor me” posture with anyone who will listen. That’s speaking up too much and too negatively.
When a friend of a friend discovered I have chronic illnesses, she matter of factly said, “Oh, I have MS.” That opened the door for us to discuss a number of things, including church attendance and Jesus in our lives. She is an example of properly speaking up.
These are small examples showing the importance of speaking up. So when someone asks me about my illnesses, I tell them. I try to briefly explain what they are. If they ask for more detail, I give it to them.
Questions about your life with illness and pain is an opportunity to tell people about your relationship with the Lord.
Perhaps when we speak up, it will appear that nothing was accomplished, when in fact, seeds were planted that came to fruition at a later time. It might help someone to understand what our daily life entails, or will help someone to understand how the other family members are coping.
I encourage you to avoid minimizing or maximizing. Negative circumstances can be presented with a positive attitude. There are appropriate times to answer, “I’m good today, thank you.” There are times when someone will ask, “How do you manage to get through the day?” There is your opportunity to say “without Jesus, I couldn’t.” With God in your life to rely on, coping with illness (weakness) shows His grace and power.
Prayer: Thank You Father for using me to show Your power. Help me understand what to share, who to share with, and how to find the right balance so that my illness always has the opportunity to bring You glory.
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About the author:
Priscilla Ervin lives in Texas with her husband of 35 years. She copes with chronic Epstein Barr, Fibromyalgia, and other health issues. She loves to travel when able, scrapbook and spend time with her granddaughters. She’s also learned to speak up.
Have you ever felt like you should have spoken up and explained about your illness a bit? Have you ever reflected and decided that you said too much? How have you discovered the right balance when discussing your disease or chronic pain>