Saturday, May 26, 2012

Wrestling with Thoughts

Psalm 13
How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart?

Whether or not we are aware of it, we spend a lot of time wrestling with our thoughts. If we have chronic illness that wrestling sounds something like this:

I hurt. I am tired. What if this is as good as it gets? What if I become disabled or more disabled than I am? What if I can’t take care of myself? Will I lose my mind? What if my family puts me in a nursing home? How will I survive? And on and on…

We are so busy with our thoughts, that we would do not notice God with us all the time. Observe your thoughts. Pay attention to what you are telling yourself day in and day out. Sit in silence and notice the things you think. Sit down with a piece of paper and write down every thought that comes to your mind without censoring anything. What did you discover?

Awareness is the beginning of change. Carry this awareness of your thoughts with you through the day. Choose more positive, helpful thoughts to replace the negative ones. Instead of “I can’t do anything anymore” you might say “I can love” or “I have the time to really listen to others.” Make up your own new thoughts. One of the wonderful things about being human is that we get to choose what we think!

As the negative self talk subsides, you will find that God has been there all along.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Healing through the Psalms 1

Psalm 1

Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked

Or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers,

But his delight is in the law of the Lord,

And on his law he meditates day and night.

He is like a tree planted by streams of water,

Which yields its fruit in due season and whose leaf does not wither.

Whatever he does prospers.

Not so the wicked.

They are like chaff that the wind blows away.

Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,

Nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.

For the Lord watches over the righteous,

But the way of the wicked shall perish. (NIV)
When the psalmist refers to the wicked as chaff blown away in the wind, we judge ourselves as wicked. Illness has blown away our identity, hopes, and dreams and, in fact, our very selves. Surely we brought about our condition because we were not good enough, we made poor choices or we failed to do the good we should. Guilt and blame add insult to injury for the person who has chronic illness. We long to be like the tree planted by streams of water. We want to bear fruit, to be productive. Instead, we wither.

People who are healthy need to reassure themselves that they are the righteous ones and are therefore safe from our plight. They are more afraid than judging. Yet, we feel judged and we judge ourselves. We want to know why and find an easy answer in judgment.

God does not send illness to people. Illness happens. All creation is striving for perfection, but has not yet arrived. No one is perfect. No one is truly righteous. We all fall short every single day. Think about it. If God makes bad people sick, how then, are brutal and murderous dictators living healthy lives?

You are not bad. God is not punishing you. In the desert void created by your illness, God will indeed bring streams of living water. The only thing in the way is the dam that you build out of blame and guilt. Let go of the judgment. Let go of the blame. Let the river flow. You still have much fruit to bear.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

World Lupus Day May 10

A post today read, "Celebrate World Lupus Day by raising awareness." Celebrate? Really?  Raise awareness? I can do that. I can celebrate my chemically induced remission. I can celebrate the great minds that developed medications that allow me to keep my kidneys. But I won't celebrate lupus.

My observance of World Lupus Day is renewed determination: determination to find the cause and cure by supporting research, determination to be a voice for lupus patients through advocacy, and determination to help people with lupus live their best life.

But the best celebration by far would be a world in which there was no need for a World Lupus Day.

Please join me in supporting the Lupus Florida Lupus Walk

Saturday, May 5, 2012


Why me? Why not me? When we are sick, we ask why. When we are healthy we do not ask. We ask because we are trying to grasp the incomprehensible. We have to make sense of the suffering. Somebody or something is to blame. We have to know. If we knew, maybe we could do something about it. If we knew, this would all make sense. But we don’t know and it doesn’t make sense. I can use my energy to ask why or I can choose another reaction. I have that choice. I choose to manage my disease today.