Medical Mondays--They Make Me Sick!

Those of us with chronic illness know that stress affects our bodies in a negative way. When the body is stressed, it has less energy to deal with the chronic illness. Thus, the body weakens, becoming more vulnerable to more sickness.

Less strength for the body also results in less strength for the emotions.

I don’t know about you, but the worse I feel physically, the worse I feel emotionally. I struggle with thinking rightly, having a good perspective, not snapping at people.

Recently I read about an acquaintance who was struggling through a legitimately difficult time. There’s no question that she was being treated unfairly. However, her statement that those people were the cause of her stress, and they were the reason she was more sick, was not correct.

As much as I want to believe that because I have a stress-affected disease, people should treat me well and not add to my stress level, the truth is that life is full of stress. It is also full of sinners. If I allow myself to feel the victim whenever someone mistreats me, I will be a victim the rest of my life, giving in to a perspective that breeds bitterness—which is a very bad thing for your health. In fact, studies have shown that thinking negative thoughts produces results in your brain something akin to a black hole. It really does eat away at you from the inside out.

Does this person have the “right” to be stressed and unhappy? Yes. Will it help her? No, not a bit.

We are the same. There are many times we cannot change our environment or the things (and people!) around us who trigger stress in our lives. However, we can never say, “They are the reason I’m stressed. They are making me sick.”

Why? Because the Bible says, “Great peace have they that love thy law, and nothing shall offend them.” (Psalm 119:165) The verse that means the most to me in this area is Colossians 3:15. “Let the peace of God rule in your hearts...and be thankful.”

God commands us to be ruled by His peace. If that peace is interrupted by stress, it is because we have chosen to let it be so. Yes, I know that sometimes it is SO HARD to not allow yourself to be stressed by others, but no matter how hard, it is still a choice, whether consciously or unconsciously made. (Kind of like it’s easier to gain weight than to lose it, but you still make choices that lead to either one.) We always, always have the option of the peace of God ruling our hearts.

Impossible? Yes. Or at least it feels that way at the time. It sure did for me this past weekend when a glitch resulted in me eating late and thus messing up the rest of my day. My blood sugar went off and was off at various points throughout the rest of the day, and some of the symptoms include being irritated and stressed. So I wanted to blame the person responsible, but me staying upset only hurt me and made the stress worse. At the time, my body says there's no choice but to be upset, and physically in some ways that is true, but had I allowed God to be in control of that day rather than me trying to get the person to understand what a big deal this was (that was important, but should have waited until another day when I wasn't feeling so awful), my symptoms would have been much less. So the original problem started with them, but the continued problem was me.

So it is really impossible? No, it’s not. I know this because there are believers in prison today, being tortured and unbelievably mistreated, who are at peace. There are cancer sufferers at peace. There is at least one victim of the Colorado shooting who chooses not to hate, but to forgive and be at peace despite his bullet wounds.

And here is the main point: How you respond to the stress triggers, to mistreatment, to injustice matters. You have two choices—to honor yourself by declaring what you deserve and opening the door for anger and bitterness, or to honor God by refusing to give power to the stress and choosing peace despite it.

It’s easy to see which one pleases God the most, but just thinking practically, which one do you think will do your health better in the long run? There’s a certain energy that comes from being angry, but it fades, and weakness and emptiness takes its place.

God wants abundant life for you. The way to live it is to choose His peace, and leave the stress behind. (Or, if the stress won’t get behind, at least to mentally reject it!)

Your day is full of the goodness of God. It can also be filled with His peace, if you choose it.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.