“What strength do I have, that I should still hope? What prospects, that I should be patient? (Job 6:11)
One of the most problematic issues for people with disabilities and chronic illnesses is the “expectations game.” It is this endless game we can never win. When others, and even ourselves, have continued unrealistic expectations about our abilities, it often leads to disappointment and even discouragement.
I have tried hard to be realistic about my abilities and limitations due to illness. Yet like most of you, I want to believe I can do more, and accomplish more in spite of my illness than is often possible. I want to make promises, agree to do things that are often out of my reach because of illness. And when we make promises we cannot keep, we end up disappointing others and ourselves.
We are eager to please others, we want the approval of others, yet when we can’t meet their expectations, they become angry, we become angry, and we may even feel guilty, and no one is pleased with the outcome.
Perhaps one of the hardest things with our disabilities is to simply say: “I’m sorry, but I can’t do that.” Honesty may not make everyone happy, but you cannot afford to make promises your disability is unable to keep.
Jesus tells us that “the truth shall set you free” (John 8:23). And though it may not make everyone happy, including ourselves, I believe truth and honesty about our abilities is a much better policy that “wishful thinking” that will surely disappoint.
Friends, we must be honest about our illnesses, even when it may not be what others want to hear.
Truth is a better, more sure standard, to live by than unreasonable optimism. Let us be hopeful, let us push our limits where we can, but let us also be honest and truthful when it comes to our illness and abilities, and then let God take care of the rest.
Prayer: Dear Lord, how we hate our limitations, but let us always be honest about them. Amen.
About the Author:
Karlton Douglas lives in Ohio with his lovely wife. He has struggled with admitting the limitations involving his chronic illnesses and disease.
Do you struggle with being honest about your limitations? Have you made promises that your health could not keep?
Pain is exhausting! (I am sure you have noticed.) This lovely song by Yolanda Adams is a reminder to never give up. She sings about keeping the dream alive. It is possible to be both realistic and hopeful about our illness and the limitations it imposes. -Lisa