Who Am I Now?--When Illness Takes Your Identity

Yesterday I heard from a friend about someone newly diagnosed with a lifelong condition. This person's future dreams and hopes have been crushed, and her whole world is going to change. Thinking of her, and you, today's post is a sneak-peek excerpt of Sick & Tired Book One: Welcome to the Unhealthy Club, due for release this spring by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. Click here to watch a video about this new series: Sick & Tired , or sign up for the newsletter here  to keep updated on release dates and special offers!

Who Am I Now?
 When Illness Takes Your Identity

            Whether you are newly ill or have battled chronic illness for years, you probably struggle with the fact that not only has your body changed, you yourself have had to change because of it.
            People who were big into athletics have to become couch potatoes (which is a way to stay big but not athletic). People who used to love cooking now hate it because they can only eat gluten-free. People who used to be exceptionally tolerant now find themselves irritated regularly, at others and even themselves!
            And some of us, who used to enjoy living on the edge, now start backing away anytime we hear a kid in the store coughing, and we see ourselves getting out our anti-bacterial hand soap even though we used to get annoyed at people who did that sort of thing.

            What has happened? Who have we become? And can we ever learn to like this new person?
            I don’t have a lot of big answers for that. In truth, I don’t have any answers for that.
            But one thing I do know is this: Even though I change, God does not. My identity is not in who I was or who I am, but in who God declares me to be. And when He declared me worth dying for, He did that knowing every stage of me—the healthy and the unhealthy. My worth to Him has not changed.
            You may be feeling a little lost right now. You don’t understand what is happening to your body, to your life, to your identity. You’re starting not to recognize the person in the mirror anymore. Where do you put the person you used to be, and how do you make room for this person you have become?
            Well, for one, don’t freak out. I know that’s not deeply philosophical advice, but it’s easy to fall into the I-can’t-help-it syndrome and let these new struggles take over. We used to never struggle with fear, now we’re biting our fingernails to the quick. We used to never avoid sick people, now someone with the hiccups makes us nervous. It’s easy to start saying we can’t help being nervous, or angry, or irritable, or afraid.
            We have been ushered into a new world where so many things are unfamiliar. And change is scary. But even if everything changes, God has not changed, and He will equip this new you just as He equipped and helped the you that you used to be.
            This series of books is here to help too. All your questions won’t be answered, because you probably have some questions only God knows the answer to. I can’t help with those, not being God, but I can let you know you’re not alone. What you’re feeling is not abnormal, and there is hope, even in this new and frightening unhealthy world you now live in.
            You may not really know who you are some days, but it’s okay, because God does, and He loves you—both of you.

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