The gentle rustling of leaves, the chirping of the birds, and the warmth of the sun peeking through the clouds – God has a way of reminding us that growth happens everywhere and often in the most unexpected places.
I kept reminding myself of this as I navigated through a tumultuous three-year battle with chronic illness and burnout.
My body was giving up on me, so I had to fight even harder not to give up on myself…. This season of life forced me to look inward and trust that God was working his plan for good. (Something I admittedly wasn’t always good at…)
“The world steers you towards your strengths; God steers you towards your weaknesses…. Human reasoning instructs you to know your limitations and live with them. God says he will do the impossible through you.”– Henry and Richard Blackberry.
Embracing My Weaknesses
For many of us, acknowledging our weaknesses feels defeating. Society conditions us to hide our vulnerabilities and highlight our strengths. But it was in the throes of fighting autoimmune disease and chronic migraines that I felt a deeper calling, a transformation.
It wasn’t just about the physical battles; it was about confronting the internal ones too – fear, uncertainty, self-doubt, body image, identity, etc.
I often found myself asking, “Why me? Why now?”
In a way, it was embarrassing that I was so sick, as someone who was a health nut and endurance athlete. It didn’t make sense?
But in these moments of vulnerability, I did find strength. It wasn’t always clear at the time, but the Lord propelled me to see beyond my immediate circumstances.
Now, I have a completely different perspective – a calmer, more appreciative and purpose-driven life that I wouldn’t have had without this awful wake-up call.
Anecdotes from the Trenches
One particularly challenging evening, as I lay bedridden with an excruciating migraine – ice packs covering my face – I found solace in the rhythmic sound of raindrops on my window pane.
For the first time, instead of wallowing in despair, I decided to meditate, turning my focus on each droplet, acknowledging it, then letting it go. The raindrops became my pain, and with each passing minute, I felt a release, a freedom from the pain dripping away.
This simple act of mindfulness was new to me – tears poured down my face like raindrops outside as I felt a peaceful calm wash over me.
While the outside world may have encouraged me to lean on my strengths – my resilience, my tenacity – it was God guiding me to confront and heal my weaknesses.
The Actionable Wisdom
Whether you’re a believer or not, there’s deep wisdom in embracing the season you’re in. Here are a few steps I want to share from my experience….
Feel Your Feelings
Yes, go ahead and give yourself permission to feel. Whether it’s anger, sadness, or frustration, remember that your emotions are valid and REAL. Your feelings can be a warning sign of something deeper that needs to be addressed.
Don’t ignore them – understand and confront the tough things you might be trying to avoid. They always have a way of coming back around…and it often shows up as sickness and burnout, ouch. (This is one thing that I learned from therapy I want to preach to the world!)
See the Silver Lining
Every challenge has a lesson. While it’s difficult to see the bigger picture when you’re in the midst of a storm, remember that storms too shall pass. Remain open to the possibilities that come from hardship and look for moments of growth.
Look at your situation by asking yourself, “What can I learn from this?”
Write down any lessons you uncover – sometimes, it helps to take a step back and look at the bigger picture.
And remember, it’s just a bad day, not a bad life 🙂
Find Your People
Reach out for help when you need it. Don’t be afraid to share your struggles with those who care about you – both online and off. You don’t have to go through it alone. Let me repeat that: you don’t have to go through it alone!
Connecting with people who understand can make all the difference in your journey, so find a supportive community or vent to a trusted friend. God wants us in community with each other praise🙌🏻
Btw, big thanks to everyone who called, texted, and visited me during my battle… I couldn’t have done it without YOU!
When life gets tough, usually the best thing to do is start with YOURSELF. So, how can we take care of ourselves and lift our spirits? Self-love is easier than you think….
Get back to those activities that you love and that make you feel alive. Whether it’s a hard workout for those endorphins, blasting your favorite tunes in the car, or simply basking in the beauty of nature, do whatever brings you joy.
For me, I LOVE to get out for an easy run in nature… there’s something about being out being out in the sunshine that always lifts my mood—every time.
When life isn’t going as planned, taking time to focus on yourself can be a great way to get back on track. Set boundaries, practice self-compassion and don’t forget to treat yo’self!
Take this moment to write down at least 5 things you’re grateful for in your life and spend a few minutes reflecting on them. (Go ahead, I’m serious!
Not to mention, practicing gratitude has been scientifically proven to improve overall wellbeing, so get into the habit of counting your blessings each day.
Don’t get me wrong, it might be difficult to find a silver lining when life throws curveballs, but there is always something to be thankful for; big or small. Whether it’s your health, family, friends or simply having shelter over your head—find something to appreciate each day.
I journaled every day during my chronic illness years, and it was one of the best decisions I ever made.
The Wrap – Growing Where I’m Planted
It’s been a journey of growth, both spiritually and personally. Through my trials, I learned that our strength truly grows out of our weaknesses. It’s where the magic happens…
As you navigate the challenges of your own life, remember this: every season has its purpose. Embrace it, grow in it, and most importantly, shine through it.
After all, it’s in the deepest valleys that the most beautiful flowers bloom.
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