Be Kind to Yourself When Chronically Ill

be-kind2Do you allow your illness to be. Reason to emotionally beat yourself up? Debs reminds us to be kind.

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience” (Colossians 3:12).

It can be such a struggle some days to do everything that I need to. I find I can get really down on myself because I can’t achieve all that I would like to.

I tend to place expectations on myself that are not achievable–“forgetting” that I have a chronic illness. I get so cross, angry, and really frustrated. I could so easily scream.

I was having a vent about all this to a close friend and she said “Debs, stop being so hard on yourself.”

She encouraged me to try to be kind to myself. The next day she sent me a text with the scripture from Colossians 3:12 which tells me to clothe myself with kindness.

Around this time Wimbledon was on the television and being from the UK, I am a supporter of Andy Murray. A journalist this year had posted a picture of Murray reading an A4 sheet of paper with 10 motivational phrases on that he reads during his matches. The first phrase on his list was “Be good to yourself.”

It’s all too easy to neglect ourselves, or feel guilty about wanting to be kind to ourselves. I tend to wonder if am I allowed to be kind to myself.

Then I read that I can clothe myself in kindness and I realize that I need to do this every day. It’s a choice I need to make.

A term used in the psychology world is “self-soothing” and this involves undertaking activities that use the five senses and which positively affect our mood.

I now choose to spend time enjoying a nice soak in a warm bubbly bath, getting a massage, eating my favorite food, watching a good television series or listening to some worship music (although not all at the same time!!) without feeling guilty. I have to say it does work, it does lift my mood.

Prayer: Dear Lord, When I am feeling down on myself prompt me to be nice to myself. Take away any feelings of guilt that tell me I am not allowed to enjoy myself whilst I am ill. Thank You that You lavish Your love upon me. Help me to clothe myself with kindness everyday. Amen.

About the author:
Debs Edwards lives in South Wales, UK with her husband Simon and her two children aged 9 and 14. Debs has had fibromyalgia and photo aggravated rosacea for 18 months. She is able to continue to work on a part-time basis as a health researcher for 2 days a week at Cardiff University. After being a busy person for as long as she can remember it has taken her a while to adjust to having to slow down and to allow herself to rest when she needs to.

Do you forget to be kind to yourself? Do you find that you are hard on yourself since you have become ill? What could you do to be kind to yourself this week?

This is “Your Grace Finds Me” with Matt Redman and Joe Castillo. It is a lovely worship song that reminds us that God gives us grace every day–it finds us–regardless of how hard we are on ourselves. I recently designed a necklace pendant necklace that says “embrace the grace.” I was just thinking of God’s enduring grace one day and that phrase came to mind. It was as if God said “I keep offering my grace to you, but it’s up to you to embrace the grace.” I hope this song blesses you. -Lisa