What Defines Me in My Illness

defineDoes your illness define you? Or does your testimony define who God is to you? S.L. asks.

“You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ” (Romans 8:9).

I’ve often just wanted to be “normal” and not to feel consumed with managing my illness. When so much of my day is spent trying to get healthy and stay as healthy as possible, it is easy to start to see myself as my illness, as if somehow, the list of illnesses I struggle with is like my resume.

I got into a habit of announcing my fibromyalgia in college at Biola University. While I needed professors to know that my getting very sick was a very real possibility, the truth is that the habit persisted and I let myself become defined by my sickness.

We are so much more than our physical bodies. When our focus is on the flesh, or sarks in the Greek, we aren’t living in the Spirit and in Christ. If we have asked Jesus for forgiveness and to be our Savior we are children of God. Jesus Christ has stood in our place and offered Himself as a sacrifice in our place.

Wow…

He changed the entire course of my life and somehow, I’m letting illness take center stage over Him as the defining factor in my life.

Illness is a hard road to walk since the impact is systemic and reaches to almost every aspect of my life. But, so much more does the impact of grace and my relationship with God.

It profoundly makes us into new people!

God uses all things for good and to define myself by being sick is to ignore the fact that God is using my illness for Himself and my good in ways that I never expected. Our stories aren’t really ones of sickness; they are about the amazing God we serve and how faithful He has been in everything. We should be defined by Christ.

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, thank You so much for making me into a new person through Jesus. Please give me the wisdom to see Your work in my life and illness so I can focus on You in everything. Thank You for Your gift of Jesus Who did what we could not in saving us from our sin and restoring us to relationship with You. Help us to be bold enough to share Your story so that others might come to know You too and be in Christ. Amen.

About the author:
S.L. Payne lives with her husband, three biological sons and foster daughter. She is thankful for God’s faithfulness in her illness as God has used to it help her see Him in everything; the three boys have supplied the humor! She loves writing, photography and laughing with her family. She also writes on her website, uncommongrace.net, where she hopes she can encourage others to live in grace. You can follow her on Twitter @saralynnpayne.

What would you say truly defines you? Are you living in the Spirit with Christ as the center of your story?

Our illness is a part of who we are and it can be an amazing testimony of what God can do through suffering and affliction. Are you just sharing about your illness or about what God can do through it?

This song is called “Testimony” with Anthony Brown & Group Therapy (what a name for a group, huh?). It is one of those great gospel songs and it speaks of how we all have a testimony and how powerful it is (or will be!). Enjoy this upbeat song. God is working on you today. -Lisa