Sunday 21 April 2013

In God's hands

Here's something I shared in church this morning:
Good morning.

For those of you who don't know me, my name is Heather, I'm married to Martin and we live with Sarah.

I have a medical condition called chronic fatigue syndrome.  It's a somewhat controversial condition.  Some medical people think that people with this condition have become convinced that they can't do things that they really can do - so to get better they need someone to make them do things that they think they can't manage.  Other medical people think that CFS people have got something wrong in how with how their body works, and that pushing them to do things they can't do actually makes their health a lot worse.  Probably they're both right - some people with these symptoms will get better if you push them, other people will get worse.  For myself, I've had this condition for 10 years and I know that I get worse if I push myself to do more.

Anyway, last week I went to see some specialists about a different problem. While I was there, they kept on talking about my fatigue and trying to persuade me that I needed to push myself.  They implied that my other problem wouldn't get better if I didn't do so.  I got really angry and upset: they weren't specialists in this area, I've been properly diagnosed with chronic fatigue by people who know about the condition - why didn't they just mind their own business!!!  And I was scared - I really wanted help with my other problem, but they didn't seem willing to help me unless I was willing to do things I knew would make me really sick.

After stewing about this for a day or two, I realised I needed to take it to God.

I started praying and acknowledged that I was in His hands - He is the one who is my real help, not the medical people.  As I spent time with God, I realised something else.  I was partly upset because I felt that the attitude of the specialists I'd seen meant that I might not be able to get any help from them with my other problem, but I realised that that wasn't the main reason.  The main thing that actually upset me was that they had offended my pride.

I believe that I'm a strong person who's coping very well with a really challenging illness and I'm proud of that.  When they seemed to see me instead as someone who's all scared and weak, I was offended and angry.  When I realised that, I had to repent of that.  Repent of the pride and also repent of putting my self-worth in their good opinion, rather than in who I am in God.

Having done that, God showed me something else.  The other reason I was so upset was because, whenever something like this happens, I have a sneaky fear that maybe they're right: maybe there isn't anything really wrong with me and I've brought all my problems on myself by just being too scared to push myself.  Ten years of my life spent mostly bed ridden for no good reason is a pretty scary thought!!  So I spent some time talking to God about that one, too - just acknowledging that fear and allowing myself to be reminded that, whether or not my CFS is 'real', it's God who's in charge of my life.

After taking all that to God and talking it over with Him I was finally calm again.  I may not be able to get the help I want from these specialists, but I know that I'm safe in God's hands never-the-less.  Whenever the upsetness has started to come back, I've reminded myself of that.

Thank you.

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