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I can’t believe it has been over a month since I posted my first blog piece about chronic pain and hope. Suddenly, it is the Fall/Winter season, and I’m wondering where the summer disappeared to because I can feel the cold in my bones already. It’s just too soon! I don’t care for cold weather because I grew up loving the beach. Having chronic pain has made me dislike the winter season even less. The cold seems to magnify my discomfort, and I let the dreariness of too many sunless days in a row deflate my joy.
When I end up flat in bed because the pain is debilitating, I usually become bored with television, reading, and playing on my phone very quickly. I was able to crochet while laying flat for awhile but eventually, that became boring too. Over time, you just run out of things to do to keep the mind busy. I don’t know if you are the same, but that’s when the negative thoughts start running amuck in my head. You can’t do ANYTHING anymore! You have to always cancel, and you disappoint friends and family! There is no more joy for you! You’re a burden on your family! Why can’t I have my life back? How long do I have to endure this God?
I have to say, I did a lot of talking at God, but I had forgotten to listen… until recently.
A few months ago, I was talking with someone about how my life had gone in such a downward spiral because I couldn’t do the things I wanted to anymore. I was in a very negative frame of mind at this time. My friend wouldn’t accept my “pity party” and challenged me to find positive things to focus on; to reframe my perception. I knew that the most important thing should be God and I will admit, at the time, God wasn’t my complete focus. I was so zeroed in on the negative things that my pain had become a prison of self-absorption.
I picked my Bible back up, and after meeting God regularly, my negative thoughts slowly began to fall away, and even in the midst of pain, I also found some precious joy. No, I wasn’t out of pain physically, but I think some of my raw emotions were being healed through scripture and prayer. The Psalms in the Bible are a great place to start studying because it describes David crying out to God many times and how God answered David. You can also pray these prayers and promises from the Psalms and find joy and hope.
In the Bible, when David was hiding in a cave from Saul, he literally cried out to the Lord, and that is what we need to do when we feel we have nothing else on the impossible days.
A maskil of David. When he was in the cave. A prayer.
1 I cry aloud to the Lord;
I lift up my voice to the Lord for mercy.
2 I pour out before him my complaint;
before him I tell my trouble.
3 When my spirit grows faint within me,
it is you who watch over my way.
In the path where I walk
people have hidden a snare for me.
4 Look and see, there is no one at my right hand;
no one is concerned for me.
I have no refuge;
no one cares for my life.
5 I cry to you, Lord;
I say, “You are my refuge,
my portion in the land of the living.”
6 Listen to my cry,
for I am in desperate need;
rescue me from those who pursue me,
for they are too strong for me.
7 Set me free from my prison,
that I may praise your name.
Then the righteous will gather about me
because of your goodness to me.
I just need to remember where to look. I’m trying to make the conscious decision that I shouldn’t let things or other people or even the weather dictate how I feel emotionally. But when you feel awful because of physical pain due to the weather like this recent season change, that can be a tough thing to do.
Now that I’ve been reading God’s Word, praying, and trusting God for my joy, I found that it makes all the difference in the world! See, when I got my focus back, I discovered that I can claim God’s promises for joy.
When I figured out that I had to purpose joy in my soul, some things became mentally easier to handle. My pain isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, I’m pretty sure of that, but when my attitude is full of joy because of God’s promises, I can endure the pain easier.
To help, I decided to make a little Focus Book. My Focus Book holds scriptures, quotes, and prayers. You can call your book anything you want and put anything you feel is important to remember when you are down physically or mentally. You can make a quick one or two sentence cards of things you want to remember when you are feeling down and call it your Gratitude Book. I found a cheap and small one at Walmart. (I am not getting any compensation for any of my links.)
It’s about 2 inches by 3 inches. You can also use index cards. They come in all sizes. Just punch a hole in the cards and keep them together with a ribbon but not in a knot so you can keep adding new cards when you find inspiration. Mine is small enough that I can easily carry it around with me.
When I feel like I just can’t keep going, I pick up my little focus book and start reading until I feel my mood lifting. Some days it works fast. Some days it doesn’t; it comes slowly, and some days, it just doesn’t work at all, and I know that God’s Grace covers me on those days.
My challenge to you is to find joy through reading scripture and prayer and pull yourself up to the light and away from the darkness.
Need some help finding God’s promises in the Bible? Try www.365promises.com. They have a promise for each day of the year.
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