I recently shared about my experience with autoimmune disease, and today I want to share three lessons I’ve learned from chronic illness. I’m sure I will continue to learn more, and I’ll share as I do, but here’s what I’ve learned so far…
1. You never know what battles people are fighting.
I have found that cliche saying “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle” to be more true than ever over these past six months of diving into chronic illness. As I’ve shared my story, I’ve met handfuls of others who are struggling with health issues that are SO hard. And some of them are even acquaintances that I never knew struggled with these things! So I’ve learned the importance of extending extra grace and kindness since I really don’t know what people may be going through. This includes the person who cuts me off in traffic or the grumpy cashier at the store.
2. God gives grace for what seems impossible.
The first response I almost always get when I tell people how I’m eating (no gluten, dairy, soy, grains, nightshades, etc.) is “Wow! I could never do that! That sounds impossible!” I would maybe get annoyed to hear it so much if it weren’t for the fact that I definitely said that to people before I walked this journey myself! And although it was definitely very difficult in the beginning, more than two months into it now, I am mostly used to it, having fun experimenting, and most importantly, feeling better along the way. What seemed impossible at one time is now my daily reality, and God gives me new grace each day to face it.
3. The ways that you serve mean more than you know.
Food is love. The happiest I have been throughout my journey of dietary changes is those times when friends and family have taken on the challenge of cooking for me. I could almost cry when someone says that they would love to make me a meal, dietary restrictions and all. So if you have a friend with dietary or lifestyle restrictions, offer to do something for them that will bless them, whether that’s making them a meal, going somewhere they can eat, doing some housework, or picking up some groceries.
If you’ve struggled with chronic illness (or are close to someone who does), I’d love to hear some of the lessons you’ve learned along the way! Please share in the comments!
Love, Team Douglas