Just as churches seem to be placing even greater emphasis on “community,” I and many of my fellow chronic illness and pain sufferers are gearing up and going inside before colder weather and cold and flu season. Indeed, for some of us, the sniffles can turn very ugly very quickly, especially if we are taking immunosuppressive drugs, which make us even more susceptible to infections.
But, wouldn’t you know it, we’re also moving into a spiritually potent time – ramping up celebrations and services of thanksgiving, Advent, and Christmas.
How do we handle the seeming divergence of “community” and the individual constraints put upon us by our illnesses?
I think that, first, we have to be both trusting (in God) and realistic (about our unique situations). In other words, God does want me to deepen my relationship with Him and do His work. He also expects me to be responsible when it comes to health matters, even if it means “staying inside and looking out.”
Yes, sometimes, people in church might view this as being aloof, or not trusting enough. But I must listen to the small voice inside, not to the louder voices outside that fundamentally do not understand the whole picture. And, I feel it’s important to help others understand that within “community,” there are individuals who might not all be able to “go with the general flow.”
Of course, staying inside and away from “community” activities does not mean twiddling my thumbs! The time is still to be used to grow spiritually and reach out in other ways (like this blog and other writing).
Yes, being “on the inside looking out,” is not optimal, but it is what it is. And, along with our more active and mobile brothers and sisters in Christ, we can still spiritually grow, contribute, and thrive…just in our own unique way!
Blessings for the day,