Weak. Sickly. Puny. Fragile. Delicate. What comes to mind when you read these words? I can’t help but wonder how many of you thought about yourself and your chronic illness. We’ve probably all heard these words used to describe us and our health at least once; I know I have. Personally, I hate these words. I cringe whenever I hear them. I have been sick for almost eleven years, and I’ve lost count of the number of times these words have been used to describe me. Maybe one of the reasons why I hate these words so much is because of what our culture believes.
We Americans are taught at a young age that our goals in life should be to make money, become a force in which to be reckoned, and become a huge success. Yet living with a chronic illness changes all of that. We’re often too sick to work and make money, let alone become powerful or a huge success. It’s no wonder so many of us struggle with feelings of low self-worth! According to our world’s standards, we have nothing of value to contribute to society. But God doesn’t judge us according to what others say or think. When God looks at us, He doesn’t see sickly, weak people with no value. To Him, we are more than an illness and a broken body. Yet far too often, we forget this truth and judge ourselves in the same way the world does. We allow our diseases to define who we are and forget that a weak body doesn’t mean we have a weak spirit and mind. Yet some of the most brilliant minds in history came in the form of “weak” bodies. Beethoven was deaf and had an intestinal disease. Hellen Keller was blind and deaf. Stephen Hawking, who is considered to be a modern-day Albert Einstein, can’t even speak without the aid of a computer. Yet in spite of every challenge and obstacle these people faced, they chose to persevere and become more than the world said they could be.