I Am Not a Hazardous Weapon

I don't know how many of you who read these diminutive posts suffer from chronic illness, but I do know that there are a few.

To begin this post, I'd just like to say thank you to those few in particular. Thank you for being the reason why I want to share my struggles with chronic pain caused by autoimmune disease. You are the reason I don't settle for the semblance of labeling myself insane. The support system I've found through YOU, others who experience this pain, has become such an essential weapon in my fight against this disease. There is just no possible way I could do it alone.

Today, I want to talk about the way I've been feeling in a way that I never have before. I don't know if I'll be able to find the adequate words to describe it, but I know there's a significant part of me that feels someone, somewhere out there, feels this way too...

I feel like a grenade, I guess. A ticking time bomb. As the possibility of inflammation spreading to my organs, joint replacement surgeries, and medications that'll make me lose my hair creep their way into conversations with my doctors... This feeling grows. It multiplies until it becomes overbearing. Now, I sit here typing, bruised, battered, and swollen from injections this week feeling trapped. Cornered. Completely ambushed.

In the past 6 months, I have felt and watched myself withdrawing from people who have been nothing but supportive since the day of my diagnosis. I have watched myself say "no" to hanging out with my best friends and hit the snooze button ten times because I am actually unsure if I can make it through another day without breaking down. I have watched myself neglect digging into God's word, singing worship songs, and even praying. My attitude has become one that says "save it." Don't save me, save it. Save yourself the hurt, because this disease...this pain...it is going to be the death of me one day.

I guess I feel wounded. Like I'm truly some sort of bomb waiting to explode. I can't help but imagine that when that happens, everyone around me is going to be left hurting and picking up the pieces. Blaming themselves for the tragic flaws within myself; things that were never fixable...and that devastates me to no end. That makes me want to unexist, if that makes any sense at all. It makes me want to minimize the casualties, per say.

I'm not depressed. I'm not suicidal. I just don't want to hurt people anymore. I want to lay in bed, listen to music, and read books. Occasionally, I want to go for a nice, long run. I want to pray and know that God will accept me into Heaven when the time comes. I don't want to be normal. I can't be normal when I feel like I'm some sort of hazardous weapon.

Truthfully, I know that no one else sees me this way. I know my friends would do anything at any hour of the day to make sure I'm comfortable. I know my team of specialists will do whatever they can to keep me comfortable. I know my teachers will sit and listen to me cry for a solid two hours afterschool if I need it. I know my family tries their hardest to understand the way I feel. I know all of that. But I don't feel it, I guess.

What I feel is as if there are constantly waves are washing over me and I'm left breathing...miraculously. Somehow. All the while, I'm watching everyone else go in and out of the water. They can walk. It almost appears as if they have received a choice while my feet are stuck in the submerged sand and the waves continue to rise and fall all around me.

I don't know when I started feeling this way, exactly. And I know it's a season that will pass. An insecurity the devil is feeding off of. My pain levels have been quite elevated and that always has a lot to do with my desire to step back from things. I'm trying so formidably to focus on the big picture. Thankfully, God gave me some vivid, definite hope last night when He spoke to me through a friend and said, "When you are suffering, child, you are so much closer to Me on the cross."

That reassurance is all I needed. I'm not some character in a book who suffers from a tragic flaw. I am not an unlovable or complicated teenage girl who comes with too much baggage. I am not a death sentence or someone who unpretentiously inflicts pain. I am not a hazardous weapon. I am a work of Christ, a work in progress, and He is far from finished with me yet.


I'm Glad It Hurts

Lately, I feel like life has been painful. I've been fearful. My arthritis flares. My injection to control those flares stings. People change. People lie. People walk away. I fail. I sin. I have a bad attitude. I pretend not to care. But, I do. Oh, I care so much.

All the while, I sit there and say, "This sucks. I'm scared. Life hurts." I'm ungrateful and ask God to make things better. To fix it. To magically make me happy again. I forget that times heals everything... And that time takes time. I forget to search for the purpose despite the pain and fear.

So, my injection hurts. But, it helps alleviate the pain for another week.
So, my boyfriend broke up with me. But, he got me through some of the tough things I had to face the past 5 months.
So, I sinned and messed up my relationship with God. But, I learned, and His mercies are new every morning.
So, I don't know what tomorrow holds. But, I know who holds tomorrow.

Notice how every. single. one. of those "pains" serves a purpose.

Similarly, for as long as I can remember I've been telling myself, "Don't be afraid." Yesterday, I realized how silly that is. "Don't be afraid" is just like saying "don't move out of the way when a car is coming" or "don't blink" or "don't be human." Realistically, I'm afraid. You're afraid. We're all afraid and we're always going to be because that's the point. When we are afraid, we run to Him. When we run to Him, our faith is strengthened.

While I was praying last night, I realized my mindset is so, so wrong when it comes to pain and fear. Yes, life can hurt, it can be scary, but it doesn't suck. Here's why...

Pain is proof that you went for something. Proof that you let go of all your insecurities, fears, doubts... What have you... And made a freakin' beeline directly towards something you wanted at one point in time. It's proof that you've that you've loved, learned, and progressed. It's proof that you've lived. The fear we feel is NOT a bad thing if we allow it to motivate us rather than consume us. Be afraid, but do it anyway. Fight anyway.

I don't know about you, but I would take the pain of experience knowing that I LIVED over lingering upon the dreaded "what if...?" question any day. God doesn't allow pain without purpose. I'm living, and with every hurt, I'm drawing closer to Him. Because of that, as crazy as it sounds, I'm GLAD it hurts.