With the diagnosis of a disease comes numerous fears and worries. Sometimes we feel sorry for ourselves and have the attitude, "Woe is me." People always ask us how we are doing. Doctor visits become a normal part of life. Every day has to be thought out and planned. And with all these changes, life quickly becomes all about "me."
Often, those of us who are sick don't even realize what we are doing. We don't want to be self-centered, yet it's hard not to do so with our thoughts dominated about ourselves and what we are facing. With thoughts about our situation controlling everything we do, not only are our friends and family affected, but so is our relationship with God.
It's hard to bring honor to God when we think more about our difficult circumstances than we do on Christ and others. Jesus reminds us in the Beatitudes how important it is to think and care about others. "You're blessed when you care. At the moment of being 'care-full,' you find yourselves cared for." (Matthew 5:7).
After several days, I realized that although it wasn't much, there were some things even I could do in my weakened state. I could use a telephone and call others who were sick and try to encourage them. I could mail cards to people who were going through a rough time in their lives. And I had a talent to make blankets, something I enjoyed doing that could bless others. So, I began making prayer blankets for people who were sick. Each blanket I made went to someone who had troubles of their own, and I prayed for them while I made the blanket.
As I began to implement my new plan, I noticed something. My situation hadn't changed in the least, but I was changing. My spirit was lifted as I tried to encourage others in similar situations. Honestly, before I started trying to encourage others I thought if I poured into people while I was going through a difficult time I would become drained and burnt-out. But truth be told, the exact opposite happened. My spirit was filled with a joy and hope that I can't even begin to describe.
This is such an important lesson I learned. I'm still sick and have a hard road ahead of me. And every time I become disheartened and discouraged, I'm reminded of the truth found in Matthew 5:7. When I care about others more than I care about myself, I will find myself blessed beyond measure.
"God keeps track of the decent folk; what they do won't soon be forgotten. In hard times, they'll hold their heads high; when the shelves are bare, they'll be full." ~ Psalm 37:18-19 (The Message)
(c) September 14, 2011