Blessed by Autoimmunity
How often do we focus on our own fears and our own story of weakness, disability or deficiency in our autoimmunity? Once in awhile? Every single day? Multiples times a day? Pretty much all day long? Eek! That’s a lot!
In doing so, do we then miss out on the love and abundance that surround us every moment of each day? What if our main storyline is false?
Now that’s a scary thought.
In Luke 24:13, we read how the two disciples of Jesus were on the road to Emmaus “conversing and debating…about all the things that had occurred” after Jesus’ Passion and death such that they didn’t even recognize their resurrected Lord walking right next to them:
“Their [downcast] eyes were prevented from recognizing him.”
They were so caught up in their own version of what had happened to them that their eyes were prevented from seeing the truth.
Do we too prevent our own eyes from recognizing the Lord, the all-loving and all-merciful Creator of Heaven and Earth who always has our best interests in mind?
He didn’t make a mistake when he made you….but did he make a mistake in allowing you to suffer a chronic disease?
You may often wonder that as I did. After all, what good can possibly come from your daily suffering chronic pain issues? You have a life to live already!
Well, consider that the chronic disease is there to teach you another, better way of looking at the many roads and events of your life, if you allow it to, if you surrender your version of your own story and trust that God is in loving control and will see you through your autoimmunity to a bright new dawn.
What is the best way to befriend your autoimmune disease and become its student rather than its angry wannabe master?
How can we be blessed by autoimmunity, rather than cursed?
First, I believe we need to trust. You need to trust that your autoimmune disease is there for an important reason. Don’t fight your disease like it’s your enemy.
You may hate the way it makes you feel but realize that it’s not there to create angst, anxiety and self-hatred. Doing that will dig you deeper into your suffering rather than set you free.
It’s there to be your teacher. It is calling you to reframe the way you understand it and other significant challenges in your life (we all have them, sooner or later, and will continue to).
It is there to wake you up to a bright new vision and version of yourself. To see the blessing in the midst of suffering and also in the suffering itself.
What? Blessing in the suffering itself? What is this, some kind of twisted mental tactic?
No, it is the route to peace, happiness, and joy.
To see the blessing in the suffering of autoimmunity we must break free of the chains of our own stories of our broken bodies.
We will experience true freedom from our disease when we CHOOSE to focus on the things in our lives that are not missing rather than the things that we perceive are lacking.
This is what gratitude does for those of us blessed with autoimmune disease. Yes, blessed.
Autoimmunity is helping you to CHOOSE to focus on all that is abundant in your life that you missed out on before because you were so focused on what was missing.
On ALL of God’s blessings, manifested in so many ways throughout your present day:
your child’s need for your loving care and attention;
your friend or family member’s email or call to check in;
your spouse’s gesture of support;
in others’ smiles, laughter, acts of good-will, kindness and compassion;
in the sunrise or sunset;
in the bountiful rain and sun which nourishes the beautiful grass, plants and flowers just outside your house;
in the charming wildlife and melodic birds; in the lovely landscapes that surround you;
the cool and refreshing breezes on a warm day;
in the clean water and bountiful food you have at your disposal;
in the books and movies you have to inform and entertain you;
and in the gifts, interests and talents that He has bestowed on you, waiting to be used for the benefit of others….not by focusing on your own story of what is lacking.
But what about the AIP diet and lifestyle? Certainly we need to keep eating the AIP or low-inflammatory foods that directly impact our disease symptoms, and we need to exercise, implement healthful sleep habits, etc.: whatever measures we can reasonably fit into our budget and lifestyle without driving us nuts or increasing our anxiety.
These are what I would call the “outward” measures we wisely take to keep our disease in check and heal our guts so we can minimize flares.
But without “inward” work that brings about peace in your interior life, in the life of your mind, these measures will ultimately fail to put out the fire of physical flares, which have both mental and physical origin due to your human physiology.
Gratitude for life and the love that surrounds us every moment of each day is one of the greatest forces behind our healing.
We are called to focus on all that is lovely, holy, true, pure and honorable. If there is anything worthy of praise, we are called to focus on these things (Phillipians 4:8).
Through our brokenness, we can grow in humility and grace, welcoming the opportunity to allow others to serve us well at times so we can learn to better serve others.
Through this road called autoimmunity, we are blessed to become students of life.
How has autoimmunity helped you to be blessed? Comment below.