used to feel like I could do anything,"
shares Sharon. "It was easy for
me to build myself up if I had a presentation
or walked into a roomful of strangers.
But now, I feel like I am not as worthy
as I once was. I look different, I cant
do the things I once did, and worst
of all, I feel different. I am not the
same person I was before my illness."
does a chronic illness affect a person's
self esteem? Chronic illness and daily
pain have a way of entering into our
life and draining us of the feelings
of worthiness we once may have had.
Some of us never really felt confident
to begin with. Now having to park in
the disabled spot despite the glares,
or use a cane causing stares, feels
like someone took a blow to what little
self-esteem we had. What is it about
pain that causes us to feel less of
a person that we once did and how can
we regain the confidence that we once
had in ourselves back? Body image and
illness is can cause great confusion
with our self-esteem. And we have many
questions: Will i lose the weight i
gain on prednisone?
expect a great deal out of ourselves.
Perhaps its just a matter
of perspective. Are you expecting
more out of yourself than is realistic?
Give yourself a break!
remember going to church one morning despite
horrendous pain. Before the service began
I just decided to go home and go back
to bed, but I shared my guilty feelings
with my girlfriend. "But my husband
didnt sleep much last night and
he has to stay (hes in the band)."
"And he doesnt have arthritis
flaring in every part of his body!"
she said. "Oh yeah," I thought.
"I guess its okay for me to
realize that I have nothing to feel guilty
about. I am in a lot of pain!"
12: 3 says, "Do not think of yourself
more highly than you ought, but rather
think of yourself with sober judgement,
in accordance with the measure of faith
God has given you." Are you being
objective about your abilities? My mom
always told me, "Youre just
as good as everyone else, and you arent
any better than anyone else!" She
had learned this from her mother who often
said, "We all put our pants on one
leg at a time."
it is healthy to believe in our abilities,
given to us through Christ Jesus, we must
also acknowledge our limitations and work
within them, not fight them. We are to
examine them with "sober judgement..."
are putting to much emphasis on our outward
appearances. I struggle with this fact
every day. Some people deal with great
weight loss due to illness. For me, the
effects of medications and lack of exercise
has not given me a body in which I am
comfortable nor proud because I've gained
weight. Oh, how I miss that old me who
once enjoyed shopping for clothes. Now
it even hurts to get dressed. Pain caused
me to quickly exchange beauty for comfortableness,
when it came to clothing, but along with
it I exchanged my pride with a lower self-image.
eager I am to make another exchange! "...Jesus
Christ will transform our lowly bodies
so that they will be like his glorious
body" (Phil 3:21). I know what its
like to live with a body that you do not
feel pride in, a body in which causes
daily frustrations. The only advice that
I can suggest is to pray daily that God
will restore your self-image into that
which he has given you through Him. Do
not be tempted to place your standards
as high as the worlds standards.
place our value in our accomplishments
rather than in God. "I used to be
such a busy-body," explains Tina.
"But after I was diagnosed with chronic
fatigue syndrome I let everything go.
I quit my clubs, I lost friends because
I kept canceling, I quit volunteering.
I also lost my sense of worth, though,
because I wasnt receiving praise
from anyone any longer."
loves us for who we are and doesnt
expect us to put our value in our accomplishments.
Eph 2:10 says "...we are created
in Christ Jesus to do good works, which
God prepared in advance for us to do."
Did you know that God prepared in advance
for this time in your life? Whats
your definition of "good works?"
God isnt relaying the message "Get
yourself out there and get to work!"
Rather, He is emphasizing that He has
planned for this time in your life, even
if it seems a bit quiet and unproductive.
He who began a good work in you will be
faithful to complete it (Phil. 1:6) While
we're asking ourselves, "What is
weight loss in an illness?" or "What
is the best prednisone weight gain prevention?"
we must try to forget what is behind and
strive for what is ahead (Phil. 3:13).
God has great things in store for you
and he already knows all your physical
a free download of 200 ways to reach out to
someone who is hurting from Beyond
Caseroles: 505 Ways to Encourage a Chronically
Ill Friend when you sign up for hopenotes,
a monthly ezine. Author of this article, Lisa
Copen is also the founder of Rest
Ministries and National
Invisible Illness Awareness Week.