Endurance for the Journey, Featured, Hope, Perspectives

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses,
let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.
And let us run with perseverance the race that is marked out for us,
fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.
HEBREWS 12:1-2 (NIV)

Everything can change in an instant. We’ve all heard this, brushed it off, and thought it would never happen to us – until it did. Sometimes life can negatively change gradually though – the gradual change can kick you just as harshly as the instantaneous change. There is a quote from CS Lewis that says, “Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes but when you look back, everything is different?” This is SO true.

Living with chronic illness, I have experienced both instantaneous and changes in my body’s functionality, which as you can imagine has affected my physical abilities and lifestyle. Many times, people say, “There is no way I could go through something like you go though.” Well, you may not have a choice at some point in your life. I certainly didn’t have a choice when my body turned on me. So just how does one navigate a new physical normal when you can never return to the old you as much as you try?

#1 Know that you are so much more than your
physical disability or illness.

In God’s eyes, you are created in his image and His love can never be overwhelmed by mere physical status. Many times, when a disability is developed or illness occurs, unfortunately it is not the first thing that people notice and comment on. Questions like, “How are you feeling today?” and “Can I help you?” are the first things they speak combined with a certain look of pity in their eyes and their actions. While these questions and their concern are well intended and grounded in thoughtfulness and love, they tend to forget to see beyond your broken physical body and ask about life, family, friendships, relationship with God and whatever other challenges you may need help with or prayer for in your life.

This constant focus by others on our body’s ailments can be discouraging, drag us down, and morph our perspective of our identity. Yes, we have a disability or illness, which is a huge part of who we are – it guides our actions, words, interactions, acceptance or denial by others and abilities. However, the foundation of our identity must be found in the Scripture as in Hebrews 12:2. Fixing our eyes on Jesus is vital to remember who we are: a human loved deeply and created in the image of God with a soul, a personality, interests, passions, gifts and uniqueness. There is so much more to us than our physical challenges, and this truth must be clung to when our identity is threatened by our physical status.

The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them.
People judge by outward appearance,
but the Lord looks at the heart.
1 Samuel 16:7 (NLT)

(Written with permission from the blog of Abi Gordon)
(Sign up for Abi’s Blog at EphemeralandFaithful.com)

On the journey with you,
Jan & Dave Dravecky