What is the Five Week Challenge? Diane shares how commitment isn’t the norm for the friends of those who are ill.
“He remembers His covenant forever, the promise He made, for a thousand generations.” (Psalm 105:8)
How good are you at staying committed to something?
I have a dear friend who also is chronically ill. We have had many discussions over the fifteen years that we have been friends about how grateful we are that God put us together. We have each made a point of reaching out to one another consistently, either by calling, visiting, or now texting, in order that we would continue to nurture our relationship. We have made a commitment to one another.
We have often talked about the fact that we have passed the “Five Week Challenge” What is the Five Week Challenge, you may ask? This is our own little timeline she and I had half-joked, half-seriously discussed about as the amount of time before individuals stop contacting you when you are chronically ill.
We have found that most people (not all–there are exceptions), such as friends, acquaintances, or church members, usually do not have the staying power to continue relationships with a chronically ill person that lasts past the five week point.
That’s not to say that they don’t try or don’t intend to. It is just that many do not know how to deal with someone who does not get well, when prayers seemingly go unanswered. They run out of things to do or say when they call. This often leads to a gradual reduction in their contact until the contact is very rare or none at all.
Until the last ten months, my life with chronic illness was one in which I would still have some points of recession, and could enjoy opportunities of feeling well, allowing for outings and activities at various intervals. But that has not been the case now for the past ten months. In this time God has shown me a new truth of the Five Week Challenge in my own life.
Yes, the typical loss of contact has occurred, but more importantly, God has opened my own eyes to my own lack of commitment to others. Though I am usually committed to praying for those who I feel I have a kindred spirit with, those who suffer with illness, He has asked me how committed am I to pray, call, and show my concern when I myself am struggling?
Or how willing and committed am I if it isn’t a health concern at all? One may be having a financial or an emotional burden. Does that make it any less important? No!
God has assured me, in every circumstance I/we must continue to be faithful, to be committed to those He calls us to love, support, and pray for. How kind He is and gracious to show me that the very thing that can sometimes cause me pain and hurt feelings, I too am guilty of. But being a God who is merciful, He gently uses every circumstance to show me how to learn and grow, that I might become a better example of His love to others.
Prayer: Dear Father, Thank You so much for the gentle way you teach us; for Your never ending covenant with us. I know, Lord, that You will always far surpass the five week challenge; help me, Lord, to be committed to showing Your love and faithfulness to others. Amen.
About the author:
Diane Kalata lives in Florida. She has three grown children, and a wonderful husband who offers much support. She enjoys leading a women’s bible study group as well as a chronic pain and illness support group. She enjoys art and writing as well. She is a colon cancer survivor, but deals with chronic digestive illness and pain. But her greatest joy is encouraging and sharing with others all that God has done in her life and continues to do.
Have you had people in your life who have stuck around past the Five Week Challenge? How does it make you feel when someone commits to being a part of your life, even though it is challenging?
There will always be people who disappoint us, because only God can fulfill all of our needs. And we will disappoint others. . . But that doesn’t mean we cannot try our best to reach out to others! Our experiences can always be used to offer others the compassion we ourselves would appreciate. I love this song by Brandon Heath, “Give Me Your Eyes.” He sings about how He wishes He could have the eyes of God for just a few seconds so he could be able to see who was hurting deeply and the people who need encouragement who he keeps missing. Beautiful song! -Lisa