“You are my hiding place; You will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.” (Psalm 32:7)
Certain symptoms of illness can make us want to hide away. Diane shares some tips on coping with her digestive system.
Living with a digestive disease can truly cause havoc on ones social calendar. When you are dealing with a chronic digestive illness–be it crohns, colitis, irritable bowel, or any other type of disease of the intestinal track–we are faced constantly with the issue of not being able to socialize with family or friends due to our illness.
Why? Because most social activities are centered around some type of food. It can be a church function, dinner out, or invitation for girl’s night out, but it usually includes food. In the last five years I have had to learn to majorly adjust my eating habits due to several digestive diseases.
As my diet became more and more limited I found myself beginning to hide away from socialization dealing with any type of food. I stopped attending functions at church, or going out with friends etc. I was basically hiding, not only from friends and family but from life.
That is until recently. God has showed me that hiding out is not the answer; that living with these diseases does not mean I need to hide .It means just the opposite!
I need to open myself up to His teaching and His counsel, allowing Him to grow me and shape me with his loving hands and to be an encouragement for others by showing His love within me. (Psalm 32:8) So if you find yourself trying to hide away from life due to your digestive disease here are a few suggestions that I have found to be helpful:
1. When making plans always explain that your “date” is tentative. It is subject to change depending on your tummy’s condition that day.
2. If possible choose the location, for example, a restaurant where you know there are options you can have. If that is not possible, go online ahead of time and look at the menu to see if there will be any meals for you. If not bring your own. This may seem a little weird at first but it still gives you the ability to visit and participate, and not have to suffer after wards.
3. The day before or the day of the activity, try to rest up. I have found if I deliberately make myself rest and conserve my energy the day before (if outing is early), or the day of (if is at night), it is very beneficial. When I am more rested my tummy is much more cooperative.
4. Most importantly, pray! Ask God to direct you as you choose which activities He desires for you to attend. When dealing with chronic illness we have to learn to be conservative with our energy and time in order to deal with the day to day issues at hand. Let God help you as you choose the activities to go to. Which activity will you be most encouraged by, as well as which one He will receive the most glory and praise by your presence there?
As we each go though our daily lives it is important for us to know and believe that God desires His best for us all. We know by His word that he will always surround us with His presence and at any moment in time He can and will be our ‘Hiding place” but let us not hide away from the life He has given us here on this earth, and the opportunity to share in the richness of His love and beauty of family and friendship.
Prayer: Father, thank You for each day that You give us, thank you that even though we live with a chronic illness You care about our life and want us to enjoy it to the fullest of our abilities. Help each one of us not to hide away from life because of our illness, but to allow You to teach us and expand our horizons as we give You control. Amen.
About the author:
Diane Kalata lives in Florida. She has three grown children, and a wonderful husband who offers much support. She enjoys leading a women’s bible study group as well as a chronic pain and illness support group. She enjoys art and writing as well. She is a colon cancer survivor, but deals with chronic digestive illness and pain. But her greatest joy is encouraging and sharing with others that entire God has done in her life and continues to do.
Do you deal with digestive issues? Share any tips you think may encourage others?
There are parts of chronic illness that are not fun and can even be embarrassing. We may not want to tell people all the details of what we live with each day, but the stress of hiding them can also build up. Thankfully we don’t have to hide from God. He sees us when we are suffering–even with those embarrassing symptoms or when we are sitting in the bathroom hiding and everyone else it outside of the door laughing, having no idea what we are dealing with. This song, “Hide” is by Joy Williams is a great reminder that we always can talk to God about it. He gets it. -Lisa