f you have just been diagnosed with a serious chronic illness, or if you have been living with one for a long time, I just want to take time out to just say something, sister-to-sister: Please do not be angry with yourself if you find that you simply cannot do it all, like you think you used to be able to do! Instead, take good care – of yourself and your loved ones. Be kind to yourself, and let your Spirit catch those tears and transform them into comfort and calm as you rest more each day in God’s love and support.
Why do I write this?
Because I often heard, before and after lupus, that “women should be able to do it all,” or “as a woman, there’s no reason why you can’t have it all.” Usually, the “all” referred to having a career, satisfying relationships, children, a home, and probably even a small business venture on the side. But in life, rarely is it possible to “have it all” or “do it all” to the satisfaction of everyone and each endeavor. And, when you have a chronic illness, well, all “alls” are often even farther out of reach.
Having an illness brings more stress to a life that’s probably already laden with it. And having an illness brings to our bodies and hearts a vulnerability that is extermely sensitive to the onslaught of doctors, meds, tests, flares, and changes in appearance and abilities. Instead of striving (and straining) for “doing/having it all,” we often have trouble just getting the basics done without feeling fatigued or, at the extreme end of it, wiped out. I have witnessed many woman become even more ill when they try to merely add a chronic illness on top of the myriad other responsibilities that they already have. And I’ve witnessed this, and the frustration and disappointment, in my own life, too.
Yes, we fight against the illnesses that constrain us. Yes, we have deep dreams and things we would like to accomplish. But within these emotions, goals, dreams and realities, we have precious lives, we love precious people, and we serve a wonderful God!
Sister, we do not have to “do it all,” as our society would so frequently encourage or dictate. But that which we do, with our God-given treasure of talents, energy, and love, that, yes, that, will be enough.
Joy and peace,