Chronic Illness-When Life Challenges Our Productivity
Why is it, the times we most need energy, we tend to feel most fatigued? Or those days, when our increased, perhaps even “urgent” responsibilities necessitate efficiency, all becomes chaotic?
Is that ever true for you? Do you ever live in that tension of what you “must do” tempered by what you feel you can?
I suspect that’s everyone, during this C19 change where people juggle their workload with home educating and chasing little ones determined to pop into every Zoom meeting. This year has challenged, and perhaps for some of you, obliterated, any sense of predictability and control.
How do you respond to those periods? Do you try harder? Fill your mind and heart with guilt and condemnation regarding all you could’ve-should’ve done? Or do you choose to rest in grace?
We cannot simultaneously feed our self-defeating thoughts and live in Christ’s grace.
I’ve had to remind myself of this a lot lately. I’ve had to remind myself of who I am and who Christ is.
I am a deeply loved, completely accepted, and irrevocably called child of God.
And He is the one who loves me, who died to unite my soul with His, and who is, even now, on my hardest and most chaotic days, equipping and empowering me to do all He’s assigned.
I find great comfort in knowing God’s plans for me are so much greater than me. This has been a rough couple of months, with a consistently spiked pain level that keeps me up late into the night and often wakes me once I’ve finally crashed. As a result, sleep deprivation continually steals my focus and productivity. In the past, when a flare lasted days, or even weeks, I’ve managed to make up for time lost easily enough. Whereas once, these difficult moments used to lead to feelings of defeat and discouragement, now I hardly give them a passing thought. I simply view them as a temporary unexpected challenge I know will soon pass.
But lately, as my body’s rebellion continues, now into month three, the fight I thought I’d won, permanently has resurfaced, inviting me to anchor myself, ever-deeper in God’s sovereign grace. A grace that says I don’t have to perform or achieve. That assures me, while God will indeed use me, He doesn’t in fact need me. He invites me to serve Him not so that I can impress Him or in an effort to please Him, but rather to experience Him more fully. So that I can learn to yield more fully to Him and His Spirit stirring within.
What’s more, He knew precisely what every flare would look like and how long it would last—and He’s already worked out all the details. He fashioned my days, knowing where I’d be, in this moment. I have everything I need in Christ to do all He asks. Scripture promises: “His divine power has given [me] everything [I] need for a godly life through [my] knowledge of Him who called [me] by His own glory and goodness” (2 Peter 1:3).
I’m quieting my “inner enneagram 8” with this reminder: God will give me the strength, power, and perseverance to do all that He asks.
Even if, for today, that means setting my to-do list for a much-needed nap.
While you might not suffer from chronic illness, I suspect your daily struggles can easily challenge your sense of peace. I imagine there have been times when you’ve wrestled with feels of inadequacy, with a pressure to do or be more. If so, will you join me in leaning deeper into God’s grace, knowing, “[God’s] eyes saw [our] unformed body; all the days ordained for [us] were written in [His] book before one of them came to be” (Psalm 139:16, NIV).
If you do struggle with chronic illness, I encourage you to listen to my latest podcast episode where I discuss issues, questions, and emotions that arise when God doesn’t heal. You can listen HERE.
And, if you’re trying to juggle work demands with unexpected home educating, make sure to listen to my latest Faith Over Fear podcast episode with homeschool expert Jennifer Henn, titled: Courage to Face a Difficult School Year. Find it HERE.
Make sure to sign up for Jennifer's free quarterly e-mailing, which releases soon. Each edition contains a short devotional, fictional excerpt, recipe, and more. You can sign up HERE. As an added bonus, all subscribers receive a free 36-lesson Bible study (in ebook form, link to download sent separately) on 1 Timothy. She also invites you to visit WhollyLoved.com where you'll find additional faith-building resources.
Jennifer Slattery is a writer and speaker who hosts the Faith Over Fear podcast. She’s addressed women’s groups, Bible studies, and writers across the nation. She’s the author of Building a Family and numerous other titles and maintains a devotional blog at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.com.
As the founder of Wholly Loved Ministries, she’s passionate about helping women experience Christ’s freedom in all areas of their lives. Visit her online to learn more about her speaking or to book her for your next women’s event and sign up for her free quarterly newsletter HERE and make sure to connect with her on Facebook and Instagram.