Contentment is a word that I have tried very hard to learn since my illness got so advanced.
I was always one of these full throttle, give 110%, push the limits type of person.
I was your typical type “A” , over-achiever, perfectionistic personality.
I didn’t want to settle. I wanted to be the best version of me I possibly could be.
Even after my diagnosis of Addison’s disease, I still worked two jobs and was in school.
I thought that resting and pacing myself was “letting my illness win.”
Fast forward two years later, I am no longer able to work or drive- at 25 years old.
I have to accept my reality now.
But am I settling or am I content?
Settling is a bad thing, but contentment is a good thing. right?
These concepts seem so similar…..
I was always taught to strive for greatness and to never settle for less.
I was also taught to be content with the blessings God gave me.
So where do we draw the line between these two things?
I have to accept the reality of my life now. I try extremely hard to practice what I call “acceptance and abiding.”
I cannot change the past. I cannot change my illness. I cannot get out of this sick body.
I can smile. I can lay in the sunshine. I can appreciate the blessings I’ve been given.
I have to make the choice every single day to NOT focus on the negative things. If I think about how I wish things we’re, I quickly fall into depression and sadness. Pity parties are not events I allow myself to attend. I choose to believe that I was “supernaturally sidelined” for a reason. I try to understand the lessons God is teaching me in my current state.
I have learned many important things in my time of being bedridden.
I have learned how to appreciate the little things in life! Sitting in the sunshine, a ride in the car, a trip to a restaurant, a hot bubble bath….these little things I never take for granted now.
I have learned the importance of rest. God commands us to rest over 300 times in his Word. I used to think rest meant you were lazy or unmotivated, but God showed me that even He rested on the 7th day of creation.
I have learned how to pace myself. As an all or nothing person, I quickly burned myself out many times throughout my young life. I truly think that contributed to my development of adrenal failure. Now, I know how to set healthy limits.
I learned how to pay attention to other’s needs. People may not always say they are struggling or hurting. As someone who has lost and suffered much, I can now recognize this in other people. A grimace, a silent stare, a vague facebook post….little non-verbal cues I can pick up on now. I can read and sense a hurting soul easily now. This is a gift I believe God taught me through my own suffering.
I learned how to accept help. I learned how to swallow my pride. I used to consider myself “Miss Independent.” You can ask anyone that knew me, I was stubborn…wouldn’t accept help and liked to be in control of everything. Now, I have had to accept help. When you are out of work and ill, your life literally depends on others. At first, I resisted help. I didn’t want anyone to do anything for me. Satan truly used my stubborn pride to keep me ill. I resisted the offer for people to take me to treatment or bring me food or help me. Then I realized I wasn’t getting better. Once I accepted the help to get treatment and nourishment- I felt better. I’ve been getting treatments once a week for a while now, I finally feel a little better…..No miracle cures of course. But I’m able to do little things again….
Pride gets you nowhere. I learned to accept help when I need it. There is nothing wrong with receiving the help you need. Don’t let your pride keep you from help.
I learned how to be thankful- truly thankful for the people in my life. I had always heard that when you are down and out it won’t matter what car you drive or what degrees you earned…PEOPLE are what matters. I feel like I am people spoiled. I may not have health or wealth or anything like that, but I have an absolute abundance of people that love, support and care for me. I have parents who took me in without a second thought. The best friends a girl could ask for that would do ANYTHING in the world I needed them to. I have a wonderful doctor that truly loves the Lord and is helping me get better. I have someone who loves me, no matter what. I am absolutely “people spoiled.”
I learned how to say NO. No its a complete sentence. I can say no without explanation now. Setting healthy limits is essential to a healthy/happy life. I learned I can do anything, but I can’t do everything.
Does this mean I am settling for the life I have now? NO! I am determined to get on the cortisol pump, go back to school, learn endocrinology and make sure NO one suffers like I did. I pray the Lord allows me to go on a “Cortisol Crusade” and educate people who are suffering with adrenal issues. My disease IS NOT RARE, it is NOT tested for.
I want to dedicate my life to helping others.
So, I am not settling…..
I am content.
11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.
12 I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.
13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
14 Notwithstanding ye have well done, that ye did communicate with my affliction.
I love this verse- I feel like the part about being full and hungry explains what I am trying to say. I am thankful for everything I have now, but Lord I pray you use me more.
I am content, but I am not settling.