Being unwell has certain advantages. In the Bible, James writes, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” Perseverance would certainly be one advantage. Another one that I have seen these past few weeks is that illness forces you to focus on what’s important.
I obsess. There, I said it. That’s my confession: I’m an obsessor. I obsess over my house and over my children’s behavior and over my weight. But being ill means I can’t obsess over any of that. Sure, there is some obsessing of my illness in my head, and there is lots of running around to doctors and tests and that can be obsession, but there’s only so much of that I can do. I can’t write my own prescriptions so I’m limited in what I can try. However, I’m obsessing less over my house. Who cares if it’s not immaculate? I don’t have the time or energy to expend on that. And my children’s behavior? They’re children; they’re allowed to do things I wouldn’t do. And my weight? I went 2 weeks without being able to eat. I had absolutely no appetite, and I can tell you that has never happened to me before. It was literally like the quote “turning to ashes in my mouth.” Trying to force yourself to eat something because you know you need to – it’s awful. So when I got my appetite back last week, I ATE. And I haven’t stopped eating. And I gained back most of the 12 pounds I lost, but that’s okay because I can enjoy food and part of that means I can enjoy life. Really, in the huge scheme of things, who cares if I am overweight? Yes, it would be healthy to lose some weight and when I am feeling normal I can focus on doing that the right way. But until then, I’m going to enjoy the fact that food tastes good and I’m alive and able to eat.
Of course, the most important things that my unwell-ness brought to the forefront were my God and my family. I’ve already mentioned how much bigger I’ve realized God is because He stoops to hear my prayers. But my family… spending time with them when I am feeling good is so important now. We’ve played more games, watched more movies together, read more books, hugged more, laughed more. We’ve done less school (though we have done some). Being together is so important. Being with my husband again after I thought I might never have a sex drive again was so exciting. Just gazing at him and admiring how handsome he is… I can now do that without guilt or without feeling like I should be doing something else.
Where before I might only see a sink full of dirty dishes, I now see a sink full of dishes that can wait until later. A floor that needs mopping is a floor that will need mopping again later. But a baby that needs holding will only be a baby that needs holding for such a short amount of time. Thank you, Lord, for a trial of sickness that produces perseverance and points me to what is truly important. I consider it pure joy!