Sickness can break you if you let it. Cancer and chronic pain can kill your perspective and suck the life out of who you are. I know. I've lived with chronic pain and I've helped others through it. You can live life to the fullest while grappling with disease. Here are a few simple things to keep in mind.
1. Keep believing God heals.
It's always been God's plan to heal and it will always be so. Don't allow your faith to be swayed by sickness. We live in a fallen world that has introduced sickness into our lives, but God is still the healer.
When things look grim, you must remain grounded on this fact. Your healing can happen now ... or even miraculously at the last second ... or after the last breath.
Don't lose your faith. Keep believing God heals.
2. Don't give up.
You know those mornings when the pain seems unbearable? When you feel like you just can't make it through another physical therapy session, another treatment, another day ...
That's when you must not allow yourself the liberty of three little words: I give up. Or: I can't do this anymore. Erase those words and thoughts from your mind with words of faith that are backed by Scripture. With God you can. With God there is always hope.
Start speaking faith-words and nullify the whispering voices of defeat. Don't give up.
3. Surround yourself with life.
There may be days when all you can do is lie on your bed or a couch. Those are not the days, though, to allow the world to overtake your room.
The last thing you need is a Dr. Phil or an Oprah talking about the ravaging effects of cancer ... or someone's depressive story of ruin ... or even to watch the latest TV cop show with all its grim and gore.
You need life. You need joy. And if it's one of those days when you can't cultivate it yourself, at least be wise in your choices. Watch a good comedy that will make you laugh and get those endorphins flowing or choose music that feeds your spirit and brings you back to center with a God-focus instead of an "I'm sick and in pain" focus.
Whatever it is, find something that will positively help you through the "bad" days. Surround yourself with life.
Despite the pain, despite the diagnosis, you've got to find a way to keep hold of God's purpose for your life. You can do this, even on the toughest days.
Find ways to stay connected with what God has called you to. You may not feel well enough to choose something intense and complicated, but find something to help you remember who you are and what you're all about.
Your identity is NOT in your sickness. Your identity is in who God has called you to be—despite the circumstances, despite the pain. Keep your life purpose alive.
Are you walking through a valley of sickness, disease or pain? Does it seem like death is hunting you down? Despite the fear, hopelessness, doubt and even anger you may feel right now, there is LIFE in this valley.
You can regain control of who you are and improve your quality of life. Read on for Part 2 of how to live victoriously despite the pain.
5. Maintain your routines.
Routines are good. They help you feel normal. Sickness can introduce a brand new regimen of doctor appointments, medications, restrictions and treatments that make you feel anything but normal. For yourself and your family, you must strive to maintain a sense of normalcy.
There's something reassuring about routines, even when they have to be adjusted to accommodate this moment of your life. Cut back on your Bible reading plan—but keep reading. Shorten your walks—but keep walking as long as you can. Find ways to adjust as necessary but maintain your routines.
6. Ask for help.
You should do as much as you can—as long as you can—before you ask for help. You'll maintain a healthier frame of mind if you do.
The flip side to this is to be smart enough to recognize when you DO need to ask for help. Maybe you can still cook, but it completely wears you out. Errands leave you useless for anything else.
Don't be stubborn about this. Be wise and prioritize, conserving your strength so you can keep your physical therapy appointment or enjoy sweet moments with the kids. Ask for help.
7. Don't live in denial.
Denial is not faith. Denial is a paralyzer. It keeps you from taking action. Faith, however, looks at the facts and believes that God can intervene and do the miraculous.
If you've been given a bad report or symptoms seem to be worsening, these are the times to own the little phrase: "but God." The report looks bad, but God is my healer ... I'm feeling horrible, but God is the keeper of my soul.
Don't live in denial. Take action with your words and live in faith.
8. Never lose hope.
The situation is dire. Perhaps a timeline has even been determined of how many days or weeks or hours you have to live. Now is not the time to give up hope. Hope is what will help you live out those last breaths to the fullest.
With God, nothing is over until the body's dead and in the grave ... but even then your spirit lives on! For those who have a relationship with the living God, death has lost its sting. It's not the grim reaper so many make it out to be! Life continues beyond the grave as your spirit soars into eternity with God.
Don't give up hope! Yes, you may have to make funeral plans, write your will, say your goodbyes and be prepared for the worst... but you must hope for the best. Hope for the 11th-hour miracle.
Otherwise it's going to be obvious who has won this battle—and it won't be you. Never lose hope.
In closing ...
Pain and sickness is part of this life we live. It doesn't come from God; it comes from the evil that is at work here in the earth. If you're grappling with sickness and disease, live life as fully as you can. Keep your perspective hopeful and fight for your healing. God's purpose for your life hasn't ended. There is still life to be lived.
Laura Woodworth is a screenwriter and producer with Source Entertainment and director for Steve Gray Ministries, a ministry focused on touching Israel and the Jewish people.
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