Have you ever listened to a song that your soul connected with but your mind didn’t like very much? It was that way for me when I first heard Casting Crowns song “Thrive.” The song is catchy. The words are biblically solid. It’s a great song, except my mind took issue with it. Not the whole song, just the heart of it.
Imagine yourself curled up on the couch listening to the radio. A song comes on that catches your ear, so you start paying attention. By the time the chorus hits, you’re into it. Your heart is singing along to the words … Just to know You and to make You known / We lift Your name on high / Shine like the sun, make darkness run and hide … Oh yah, this is good. …We know we were made for so much more than ordinary lives / It's time for us to more than just survive / We were made to thrive … Wait. What?
That’s when the pain hits. Yes, you were made for so much more than an ordinary life. You were made to thrive. But you’re not thriving. Heck, you’re not even doing a very good job surviving. Stupid song!
But it isn’t a stupid song. It’s a song full of God’s truth. Friends, you were made for so much more. You were made to thrive. It’s time for you, for me, for all of us, to more than just survive. Now is our time to thrive!
Here’s where the rubber meets the road. How does one thrive while living with a chronic illness or caring for someone who is chronically ill?
It all comes down to freedom – freedom from fears and freedom from expectations.
Part of what keeps us in our prison is fear of man. What will others think about my illness? What will people think when I say I’m sick, but I look fine? What will my family think if I can’t keep up with the housework or prepare meals? What if my boss fires me because of my illness? What will the other parents think if I don’t attend all of my child’s activities? What if no one will want to marry me because I am sick? What if my spouse leaves me for someone who is healthy?
Then there’s the fear of the unknown. We don’t know how our illness will progress. We don’t know if it will kill us, or just torment us for the rest of our lives. We don’t know what horrible tests and procedures we’ll have to go through…and once we find out, we live in fear of having to go through them again.
As caretakers, there’s the fear of what may happen. There’s the helpless feeling of watching someone you love suffer and not being able to fix it.
There are so many questions, fears, and what-ifs. When we’re just trying to survive we need to stop, take a step back, and intentionally look to God. It is in Christ where we find freedom – freedom from fear, freedom from the world’s expectations, freedom from the lies the evil one whispers in our ears day after day. It is so important to remember the truth that we find in the Bible.
“Out of my distress I called on the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me free. The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” –Psalm 118:5-6, ESV
“So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed Him, ‘If you abide in My word, you are truly My disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’” –John 8:31-32, ESV
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.” –Romans 8:1-2, ESV
Even if your body is in a prison, your spirit and your mind can be free. You can live in the hope found in Christ Jesus. You can live with joy and peace that come from the Lord. You can know God and you can make Him known to others. You, my friend, can thrive!
Take a few minutes and watch the Thrive lyric video below. Sing your heart out and know that anything is possible. You were made to thrive. It’s your time. Let’s do this!
And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all He has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind He will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship Him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. –Romans 12:1-2, NLT
© July 8, 2014