Thursday, September 10, 2009

Letting go of lupus: reevaluate...

Here's another excerpt from my book, Despite Lupus. This post and many others from lupus bloggers across the internet may be featured during the upcoming Invisible Illness Awareness week, September 14th-20th. Feel free to stop by II Week's website to find out more!

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REEVALUATE YOUR METHODS OF GETTING WHAT YOU WANT

Since the day of your diagnosis, you’ve wanted one thing only: a life free of lupus. You’ve prayed and begged for your chronic illness to go away, knowing that would be the easiest way to regain your familiar way of life. You may even have made a few bargains along the way, saying “If my disease would miraculously go away, I promise I’ll never [blank] again.” But frustration has set in because your wishes haven’t been granted. In fact, it may seem like your pleas are being ignored. You wonder what part of “Heal Me” God doesn’t understand. Perhaps this is a better question to ask: what part of the puzzle don’t you understand?

Right now, you see a complete physical healing as the only assurance of regaining a life worth living. But what if a perfectly-functioning body isn’t yours to have at the present time? More importantly, what if it doesn’t solve the larger issue that looms over you – the long-term emotional effects of being diagnosed with a chronic illness? You’re a different person than you were before lupus arrived; denying that is ignoring the essence of who you have become. The remedy for the hopelessness you feel due to your physical ailments may lie in an emotional contentment you haven’t yet considered.

I found the same to be true in my struggles with lupus. Every day for years, I prayed that God would heal my broken down body. I wasn’t expecting a miracle, but I had come to believe that, if I were patient enough, I would get the physical healing I wanted. As the disease worsened, I grew more discouraged. Why wasn’t God listening to me? Maybe I wasn’t being clear enough. Or maybe it wasn’t a healing I needed, but an understanding of what was realistically in my future. By changing my focus, my frustrations caused by having made such little physical progress went away, replaced with an appreciation for the emotional acceptance I instantly was capable of achieving.

"Prayer is not asking for what you think you want, but asking to be changed in ways you can’t imagine."

Instead of perpetuating the short-sighted, limited notions of how you can physically mend your broken body, start working toward that which can be realized immediately – a healthy acceptance of where you are in your life today. You’ll no longer be chasing a hopeless, unreachable goal of living well without lupus. Your objective will become living well, despite lupus.

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Excerpt taken from Sara Gorman's book, Despite Lupus: How to Live Well with a Chronic Illness, available at http://www.despitelupus.com/.

Quote taken from Anne LaMott's book, Grace (Eventually): Thoughts on Faith, as reprinted in the “The Up Side” feature of the May 2007 issue of Guideposts Magazine.

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