Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Battle of Balance

A good friend loaned me a book to read called “Waiting For A Miracle” by Jan Markell. At first I was like, Oh, here we go, another name-it-and-claim-it I’m healed book. However, when I started to read it, I found the simple yet profound account of a woman, much like myself, struggling with chronic illness, and just trying to pass along some encouragement to others. Her honestly hits so close to home. It is as if she is in my mind…the same struggles, the same questions. But yet in her heart, and in mine, at our most basic level we just want to love the Lord and encourage others.

One of the most difficult concepts in dealing with chronic illness (and just plain old life) is balance. Especially when you never know how you’re going to feel! Do you make commitments?? Do you keep them at any cost? Do you never commit because you don’t know if you’ll be able to fulfill your obligation?

The following are excerpts from her book, a chapter titled “The Dilema of Balance.” Tears welled in my eyes and streamed down my face as I read words that have gone through my own mind a thousand times….

“Being ill is a full-time job without vacation or other fringe benefits. And it’s a balancing act of the greatest magnitude! Balancing activity and anticipation with a daily routine of needed rest and quiet is not an easy assignment….

We wonder if we should keep our dilemma private, or speak too often about it and risk the flight of loved ones. Should we ask for help and risk being a burden, or should we maintain some independence which can bring on isolation or other problems? Should we push ourselves socially in the interest of our mental health, or should we play it safe and virtually vegetate, thus allowing rest therapy a better chance of bringing recovery from our affliction?….

Letting go is one of the most difficult assignments, for it is not just the act of letting go, but embracing the mind-set of acceptance at the same time….

Living among healthy people who have no restrictions offers us overwhelming temptation to depart from a strict recovery program that includes a needed balance. Well people will want us to make commitments, which can be a double-edged sword. With commitment there is anticipation; however, there is also the dread of not being able to follow through with that commitment. Then anticipation turns to stress, stress to anxiety, and anxiety to even poorer health.

Even good stress needs balance. Good stress is an event or opportunity that involves fun, activity, and people we love. It involves fellowship, caring, sharing and love. But it also may involve too many people, too much talking, and too much activity. Then we’re back to square one.”

WOW. Everything I feel summed up in a few pages in a book. If you know someone with chronic illness, I hope you read this carefully….sometimes that person wants nothing more than to go out with you, to hang out, to go to lunch, whatever, but the cost of going is more than our bodies can pay that day. But more than anything, we don’t want to be isolated, so we push ourselves to the brink…and sometimes over it.

For our caregivers…God bless you. No really. God REALLY, REALLY bless your socks off. It is NOT easy taking care of someone who is chronically ill, because if you are the primary caregiver, you are in the balance battle as well.

Only by surrendering 100% of all we are to God can we even hope to begin to figure this out.


Leigh @ intentslife said...

I want to say this without it sounding trite - thank you for giving me a SMALL glimpse into what it must feel like for you and others who struggle with the day to day reality of chronic illness. God bless all of you for being living examples courage, strength, and perseverance to every one around you.

In the words of someone I love very much, "YOU ROCK!!!" :)

Young Wife said...

Thank you for this post! I feel the same way. Should we say yes to things? Should we say, "Yes, but we might have to back out last minute?" Balance is so hard! I used to think it was better to have people come to us, but lately I've been thinking that if we go to others, at least we can leave when we need to. You can't exactly kick people out of your home. Anyway, thanks for the encouragement.

Joanna said...

Um, you summed up a lot of what I'm feeling and I'm just a burned out homeschooling momma - who is stuck making casseroles. ;)

Kerri said...

But the kingdom of God....

Rachel said...

Yep, life with a chronic illness is definitely a balancing act!

I found your blog via SITS today (I showed up late for Saturday Sharefest, too). I think God probably ordained it that way. :) I have a chronic illness as well, and a three year old. Life is tough! I know you understand.

I don't have MG (was tested for it several years back, though, so I'm at least a little familiar with it). I have a bunch of stuff that falls under the category of dysautonomia.

It's nice to "meet" you. I'm going to have a look around your blog. :)

God bless.

Pam said...

Kerri, this is so true, it says so much of how I feel so often. Balance is the key. It is not easy...last week I went out two days in a row and the third day I slept almost all day and was on the couch resting when I was not sleeping. I know better but I put the needs of another in front of my needs the problem is my family does not like to see me suffer, so I need to remember them when I do things. So hard to see others running around, no limits on their health, I need to always be reminded not to compare myself with others. God has a plan for me and is able to use me right where I am. If someone does not understand that it is not my problem but theirs. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, makes me feel like I am not alone, someone understands. When I am having a good day I really give thanks and praise and enjoy it!
Thank you to for reminding me about our caregivers. Doug is amazing in so many ways. I am so blessed to have him in my life. I am blessed with being the mother of four children. One we will see someday again, and I am so thankful for the hope of heaven. She is safe in Jesus arms.
Thank you again for reminding me of how I need to be balanced.