Do you make New Year Resolutions or are you like me resolving not to make resolutions? LOL! Even though I’m not one to make resolutions in January that are forgotten by February I do try to set a goal I want to work toward during the year. In 2013 I worked on praying for people when I said I would rather than it being lip-speak. Being chronic sufferers of pain, we know all too well how catch phrases like, “I’ll pray for you” can be words quickly spoken to end a conversation about our ailments. Because I’ve been left dangling at the end of, “I’ll pray for you,” I wanted to make sure that when moved by compassion to say those words to someone, I wanted to follow through. Prayer is so important in my life and has really got me through some rough spots when my health has failed. It took a little practice to get use to praying right then and there vs. waiting until some later time and forgetting about it (which is what happens to most of the well meaning people in my social circles and probably yours). I find I listen fully with compassion before offering prayer and then I ask permission to pray with them in the moment if they are receptive to it. If not, I pray for them silently immediately after the encounter. Having been on the receiving end of such compassion and heart felt prayer I know what a blessing it can be and the healing peace it can bring to chaos. In turn I’ve been equally blessed by offering the same to others. If you are a praying person, I’d challenge you to try praying for others immediately vs. putting it off to a prayer time or using it as a catch phrase. You’ll be amazed at the peace it can bring to the life of the one you are praying for and for yourself.
In 2014, I wanted to work on loving people. I found that the daily grind of disease and the lack of understanding among laypersons had left me feeling judgmental and bitter towards others. I closed myself off from new people because I was anticipating rejection when people found out about my illnesses. It’s hard to plan social activities on a calender when you have unpredictable flares. In the past people have stopped asking me to engage in social activities after I’ve had to decline and that rejection hurts. I got where I just didn’t talk about my health outside the circle of people who already knew about my illnesses. In fact, I just didn’t let new people in and ended up being more isolated than ever. I pre-judged new people and rejected them before they rejected me. I had to ask God to change my thinking. I made a new friend last year and I do firmly believe God placed her in my life because four months into our friendship, she ended up being diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder. In fact, during the last year, FIVE of my acquaintances have been diagnosed with some form of autoimmune disease. I don’t think it was by chance that they came into my life.
In 2015 I’m going to work on reclaiming my joy. I’ve found that being chronically ill has stolen my joy. My mother told me I was born with a joyful spirit. Over the last six years I’ve allowed disease to crush my joy making me a grumbling curmudgeon. My Sunday School class just started a new study on joy which has inspired me to work in this area. Rather than focus on all the things that illness has taken away from me I am going to try to focus on the positive. Instead of worrying constantly about finances I’m going to focus on what treasures I do have that are not linked to monetary terms. I think that by choosing joy, I can continue to work on praying for others and loving others more effectively. Nehemiah 8:10 – The joy of the Lord is my strength.