One of the worst aspects of battling an invisible, but-very-real-chronic illness (disorder, disease, condition – sheesh, don’t even know what to call it anymore!) is in the MIND.
There are lots of things about this subject that I could share with you, but today, I will simply share the part about feeling U-S-E-L-E-S-S.
It’s a very lonely feeling – feeling useless – and combating that takes a LOT of perspective -changing and hand-wringing and mind-tweaking and total-behavior-and-thought-reforming and (ugggg) submitting to see the BIG FAT lie the enemy tries to tell us about our contribution to the world when we are “sick people.” It’s a mess in and of itself, I must say – the entire “process.”
By the way: it’s never ending. Not at least while until we get OUT OF HERE and head onward to our eternal home. Just so ya know. 😦
Remember- feelings can trick us! That’s why this girl’s crazy mind has to be submitted to Yeshua on a DAILY BASIS. I will absolutely, and with no doubt at ALL, go cray-cray, otherwise.
The devil attacks my mind – a lot. This I know.
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7
I did not realize, until it was all stripped away, just how much I was still relying upon my ability to get out and about to serve my Lord and Savior, Jesus, in ways that seemed – well, just meaningful. Of course, walking around in a halfway healthy body made things a lot easier too!
You see – back then, I could see it – taste it – touch it, hear it – and I could feel it ! You know what I’m talking about – the fruit of it all. It was right in front of me and glaringly obvious.
I was actively fulfilling His purpose for me as one of His many disciples! And for a while there, when I couldn’t see it anymore – once I became trapped inside this messed up body and not able to practically ever leave my house – I started to doubt it all.
If we can get out and meet people face-to-face, serve at church and other places, be that light at the grocery store or toward that stranger we run into on the street, or interact with people in the workplace – well, we get to see at least SOME of the fruit that comes out of that! At the same time, we run the risk of thinking we are doing a good job of serving the Lord – and at least for me, well – I think I had to see that He had other plans in mind that would be just as USEFUL as those were back in the day.
But I didn’t see it right away. And sometimes, I still am plagued with doubt. Then I am reminded that God is bigger than all of it.
“But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth” (Exodus 9:16).
Now that I am in my own “prison” of sorts, because of my chronic disease – well, I almost never get out of the house – not very often, at least. And for a while there, I struggled to figure out how God may want to use me FOR OTHERS. I mean- how in the world does one go about being the light of the world when one can’t go OUT into that world? And remember those two greatest commandments? I can’t seem to forget them:
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31
The enemy gets into my MIND and tells me – “what neighbor?” “Who are you helping and loving right now, Annie?” “You are an isolated hermit unable to be any kind of light in this world because you have caved in to your selfish need to take care of your sick little self.”
Just being honest – that’s what runs through my head when I am under attack. And that happens a lot, friends.
That’s why I can write this and share it with you today – I am not immune to the attacks from the enemy – you may not see them, but they are very real. And my mind is where he knows to go to first and foremost. The sick, sore, worn out and messed-up body symptoms? Ha! Those are NOTHING (and they are kinda a big deal, man) compared to the attacks that my mind undergoes on a regular basis. I bet you know what I’m talking about for your OWN reasons, don’t you?
As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. Genesis 50:20
Here is what I have realized as I have spent a lot of time in prayer these past three weeks or so – and just so ya know – just because I “realize” this, it does not mean that the battle is OVER. Like I said, it’s a daily surrender and I’m fully aware of that!
But I have come to see that PRAYER is one of the best ways we can allow God to use us as His loving disciples in bringing glory and honor to Him and being that light in the world. And that INCLUDES those of us who have to pray behind closed doors.
Others may not ever see it – but it is very, very real. God sees it. It takes “us” outta the picture. And in some ways, that’s a really, REALLY good thing!
And prayer is powerful beyond measure.
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people. 1 Timothy 2:1
I had prayed throughout all my life about the fact that I didn’t think I was “very good” at prayer. I lose focus easily (the mind again, yo) and get distracted by all the racing thoughts and lists in my head that I can’t seem to rid myself of – no, not ever!
But ONCE AGAIN, God has made something good happen out of a seemingly “bad” situation. By being trapped in some ways because of my illness, I had no choice but to trust in Him that He would help me to learn to pray more diligently, be in His Word more deeply and regularly, and seek to become laser focused in praying for others in our world.
TRUST. IN. HIM.
God is SO GOOD, friends. He will make use of you right where you are at if you pour your heart out to Him and ask Him to do so. Sometimes, He does it in quiet ways that not a single other soul will EVER know about or see- but He knows and so do YOU.
- It teaches us to rely upon Him and Him alone in living out our calling to spread the gospel – not to rely upon getting to see the fruit of our “efforts.”
- It teaches us that it’s all about Him anyway – and that we can trust God to be GOD and that He will fulfill His purposes and bring about His will regardless of the limitations his disciples may face.
- It teaches us about humility and renews our ability to focus on our first love – HIM – and love others in these ways that before, we may have thought – “not enough.”
If you can still go out in the world and share the gospel of Jesus Christ with others, DO IT! But if you are someone who for whatever reason, can not do that and you are starting to feel like you are useless to God – lay that CRAP right at the foot of the cross and let God do His will through you.
I promise – He WILL do it!
For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. Philippians 2:13
Nothing can stop God from using one of His children in a powerful and effective way to bring glory to Himself! God is much bigger than all of the roadblocks, prisons, illnesses, ailments, sins, challenges, and attacks that try to stop us.
He can walk right through those walls. I’ve decided to follow.
Believe. Believe that He is bigger than all of it. Call out to Him and ask Him to meet you where you are at. Draw near to Him from WHEREVER you are – and He WILL draw near to YOU!
It’s all about HIM, anyway. Removing the ability to see the fruit from our “efforts” makes that come into focus very quickly. Praise the LORD!
Now go and pray. If you can do nothing else today – just pray. Because in doing so, you aren’t “just” doing something else that is a poor substitute for going out into the world to serve your Savior. You are doing what Christ Himself put above all else.
And that matters.
Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. Jeremiah 21:12