Sick & Tired : Chapter 4

“It’s Not Fair!”

Preparation: Read Chapter Four this week.
After reading, begin answering the questions at the end of the chapter. I will list the questions at the end of this post. We invite you to share your insights and experiences, and how you responded to the questions. We will encourage one another in the process. You may have chronic illness(es), but you do not have to bear them alone. Let’s be here for one another.

Note: Except for quotes in italics, words in the post are Marie’s.

Let’s be honest. Is there any one of us who hasn’t said “It’s not fair!” when thinking about our chronic illness? If we haven’t said it aloud, we probably have felt it in our thoughts and emotions. Some people seem to glow with good health, strength, and energy. Why, then, are some of us burdened with accumulated diseases, weaknesses, handicaps, limitations, and sufferings?

This takes us right back to Job, the Biblical model of suffering. Job was certainly verbal with his feelings about the unfairness of God!

Read Job 30:20-23:
I cry out to you, God, but you do not answer;
I stand up, but you merely look at me.
You turn on me ruthlessly;
with the might of your hand you attack me.
You snatch me up and drive me before the wind;
you toss me about in the storm.
I know you will bring me down to death,
to the place appointed for all the living.

Job actually asked God to come and explain His actions concerning his miserable life. Instead, God asked Job if he understood how the world works, or how to take care of it and keep it running. Job was left in a place of humility. He never did learn why he was suffering.

Most likely, in this lifetime, we may never know the reason for our chronic illness and suffering. Like Job, we see from a limited perspective. If we could see the whole picture of what God manages, perhaps we would understand why we are suffering.

In the meantime, we have several choices in how we respond to our suffering. We can say, “It’s just not fair!” or we can choose a better way. The choices we make will be determined by our faith, our attitude, and, like Job, our humility.

Here are some of Kimberly Rae’s thought about choices we can make:

“The way I see it, anyone unfortunately ushered into the world of chronic health problems has three choices:

1. Refuse to Accept It – Run away from the reality in protest, hide from people, complain, get bitter.
Result: You and everyone around you becomes miserable, and it still doesn’t make the problem go away.

2. Accept but Don’t Adapt – Decide to live with this new condition, but don’t change any habits.
Result: You end up even more unhealthy, you begin to feel like a victim and see yourself as helpless, and you and concerned loved ones are still miserable, but more of a confused miserable as opposed to an angry miserable.

3. Accept and Adapt – Recognize this is your new world and try to learn how to live well within it. You change things – some big, some small – to make the everyday struggles easier.
Result: You likely will never love having a health condition, but you will learn to live with joy within the condition.

So what do you think about these choices? Share your thoughts with us. No judgment here. We understand.

Group Study Questions

To make reading easier, kindly refer to the question number when commenting.

1. Do you believe your attitude is your own choice? Why or why not?


2. What would you say your attitude was when you first started having problems?


3. How would you say it is now?


4. Do you know someone who has chosen to become bitter about life’s disappointments? How do you feel being around that person? Does this attitude make anything better for the person or their loved ones?


5. Did you go through a stage where you accepted your condition but didn’t adapt? Are you in that stage now? Do you see how this is good, but not good enough?


6. How do you get from just accepting to accepting and adapting?

Activity

Find someone you trust and tell them about the three choices. If you are willing to hear the truth, ask that person where they see you right now. You may learn some things to help you move forward, or be reassured you are on the right track.

One thought on “Sick & Tired : Chapter 4

  1. 1. I do believe my attitude is my choice. Now, to be honest, I don’t always choose a positive attitude. When pain overtakes my will, I have my own pity party, and I’m sure I’m not pleasant to be around. My emotional response to suffering can also influence the depth and length of an MS attack. If I let myself be overwhelmed with negativity, the stress exaggerates my symptoms. An optimistic attitude helps makes the suffering bearable. I try to keep an eternal perspective in mind. This life is short. Eternity with my Savior awaits.

    2. In the early years awaiting diagnosis of MS, my predominant attitude was frustration. Medical tests kept showing “normal” results. Many doctors did not take my symptoms seriously. I wanted to be believed. After three and half years, a definitive diagnosis of MS was actually validation that it wasn’t all in my head.

    3. I think my attitude now is somehow on the border of acceptance and resignation. I don’t foresee complete recovery ever, short of a miracle of God’s healing. However, with acceptance there are necessary adjustments to my daily activities and plans. I have learned the limits of my strength and energy, and try not to demand or expect more of myself than my MS will allow. There is always a disappointment and sense of grief when I have to give up activities that I once was able to do with ease.

    4. I have know several people who are bitter about their losses with chronic illness. Their negativity influences everyone around them, causing people to avoid their company. Caregivers are exhausted and feel abused because they are not appreciated. It’s difficult to maintain a caring mentality when the bitterness causes explosive outbursts and combative arguments. It is sad to watch both the sufferers and their support people.

    5. I spent many years in the Relapsing-Remitting MS. For a time I would lose some functions, depending on which lesions in my brain were active. After the attack, I would generally regain abilities. At that point, I would be very excited, and almost always tried to do everything with vigor and energy. The problem was that I didn’t adapt to the changes in my body, and I would very soon fall into another relapse. It was a cycle that would was repeated again and again, and I paid a physical price for not adapting.

    6. Now in the Secondary-Progressive phase of MS, I have little choice but to adapt. I am steadily losing muscle tone, balance, vision, bladder and bowel control, hearing, and more. These are changes that I have accepted and made adaptations for. On our companion website, I have listed “LIFE HACKS” that are helpful for chronic illness sufferers.
    Read on this site:
    https://hopekeepersindy.com/words-of-hope-monthly-newsletters/

    ACTIVITY:
    I actually spoke to a suffering friend last Thursday. She commented that my attitude helped her cope with her own chronic illness. She asked me how I maintain a positive attitude. I had to be honest and confess that my attitude sometimes is full of self-pity. My heart wants to encourage others, though, and I believe the more we give glory to God and practice speaking with hope and optimism, the more our own attitude improves.

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