Chronic Illness and Surrender
Oh friends, life is such a journey…. faith is such a journey. And I must admit that I get very weary. Like ground down to a fine powder kind of weary.
It is easy to say that God is in control. I know some who revert to that message like it is their refrain between sentences. We continue to push and plan and overcome, and then get angry at Him when WE fail.
When I was diagnosed with chronic pain in 2004, I felt like my adult life was just getting rolling. I had big dreams, and I was determined to keep moving forward with my own plans.
My body was deteriorating quickly, however. I was taking so many medications, doing bizarre and worsening treatments as an attempt to keep up with family, home, work, college, church, small group, and any of my spare time I spent in a zombified pain daze on the couch.
No matter what walking aids I needed, no matter the sickening treatment, no matter what the doctors said about “progression,” I WOULD NOT be diverted from achieving my original goals.
I was in control.
Though my body lashed back at me, I fought and squirmed and raged against it- to keep going on my path.
Surrender is a difficult topic or act for most of us to comprehend.
I have always struggled to relinquish control, so everything about the idea of surrender goes against my nature. I wonder if anyone else reading this can relate to the word perfectionist as much as I could?
Years ago, when I was having ketamine infusions to try to tame my RSD/CRPS pain, I would interfere with the nurse’s vitals setup. In my mind I was helping, but to them I was only getting in the way, of course.
“Do you want to do this yourself?” a nurse once snapped at me.
Oops, I thought. But then…I knew my answer would have been, “yes.”
Why? Why do I think I’m the one who will always be most effective at doing for myself, even when others have my very best interest in mind?
Then 6 years ago, after an experimental treatment they tried on me failed, I suddenly developed several comorbidities which have changed my life dramatically. My pain condition progressed far faster and worse than I ever imagined possible.
They say, don’t let chronic illness take over your life. But when your life becomes about: Breathing. Eating. Drinking. There is no “let” only “become.”
Illness can become your life if survival becomes your new goal.
There are some conditions you can’t fight through. You endure them. They change your body, and you are forced to adapt. You hit your “wall” every time you open your eyes.
Surrender is the choice that my body made for me. It tells me I don’t have another option but to bow to its wishes.
I lay here still and unspeaking, careful not to sway the already offset balance. But the moment I move or eat or swallow or make a sound, my flesh laughs at me. My already swirling, screaming, breath-begging body will burst into flames and melt into nothingness.
The world tells me to push, to fight, to Just. Keep. Going.
But I learn quickly that there is no push in this game. Only tricks, and cheats, and strategy.
It’s a chess match on a board I’ve never seen before, and my opponent is the only one with the rulebook.
Illness owns my body.
There is no free will flesh. There is no- push for one more minute. There is no- if I just take this pill.
This body has been exchanged, kidnapped, swapped for a rag doll.
Once, asking for help seemed an impossible exception only made in the most dire of circumstances.
Now, all of my physical and earthly necessities selflessly come from the hands of those I most admire. The eyes I have always looked up to- now see me at my worst. My body gives me no choice but to surrender to their gentle hands, but my heart is humbled and grateful to receive the gifts of their bottomless compassion. What better picture of mercy than this?
What better picture of grace?
Control freak. Feeling like a freak of nature. My natural systems are out of control. And nothing can be done, but wait. But pray.
Miss “plan for tomorrow.” Plan for your dreams. Dream big. Don’t give up. Your body gives up.
My body forces surrender on its own schedule- though my Creator waits patiently. While my body may act as a prison, forcing the white flag of my systems- my spirit goes of its own fruition. The more I relinquish control, the more grace is endowed.
God is in control, they say. They say it like an empty cliche.
Control is something I have owned. And something that has owned me. And God doesn’t control my will. I surrender it to Him. Child to Father. Tired, weak soul to loving, strength-lending Savior.
In this broken body, I see freedom.
(Re-posted from 2015)
Posted on August 28, 2017, in Being Myself, Chronic Illness, Chronic Pain, POTS/Dysautonomia, RSD/CRPS, Spiritual Journey, Uncategorized and tagged #chroniclife, Caregiver, christian, Chronic Illness, chronic life, Chronic pain, crps, Dysautonaumia, Fibro, healing, illness, POTS, rsd, Spiritual, Spoonie, surrender, The Spoon Theory. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.
I needed to read this today. I AM that person! I try to be in control every day,, but every day I have to surrender my body to its conditions….making it impossible to reach my goals. Still, I continue to try. I continue to fantasize that if I just do this or that I will become healthy again. I’d rather relinquish. I’d rather have peace. Thank you for re-posting this piece.
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I’m so sorry you are in that miserable yo-yo cycle. It’s awful to be up and down, always having that itching fear when the bottom might really drop out.
I remember how frustrated and disappointed I would get (at myself) when I couldn’t reach my goals as I’d hoped, as I’d expected.
Idk if you get that way also? Isn’t it terrible how hard we are on ourselves??
It’s the worst blaming ourselves when we are striving so hard
Really it’s an amazing success I was still up and going at all back then considering what my body was going through-but dreams will motivate you like crazy! Lol
Think of how much we are conquering every day! I’ll bet you’re amazing😊
You deserve a hefty dose of self compassion and a round of applause for all your silent successes no one understands.
Thank you so very much for your encouraging comment. It means so much to me that this touched you, and you could relate to it.
This is an older post from 2 years ago I decided to resurrect this morning. I think maybe it was meant just for you ❤
Just wow. Thanks for the repost indeed. That made me tear up many times reading it. Either from when I too was a prisoner of my bed, fatigue and pain so intense there was nothing else but to surrender. those days are not as drastic anymore but so many behaviors still linger because I’m still disabled enough to experience that perpetual loss of control, anger at life and events I do my darnest to achieve but still can’t make it, that sense I’mnever good enough cause tasks are always too tough if done long enough even though I’ve recovered a good chunk of health since my bed ridden days… Wht is it never enough? I was asking just that yesterday as we painfully and tiredly stained our deck. The weather made it so we are rushed for time now so we had to do it quick but the cost is high.
Your text also touched me for how my control freak side is still messing me up and not letting go when it needs to, fighting the river current instead of going with it. I know the feeling well, of hanging for dear life when all the signs are there to tell you to let it go and stop holding on so hard.
I already was like that as a kid but I believe long term disability and chronic illness will make that even worse. Because we keep losing control over such a high percentage of things other people don’t experience, and I top of that our conditions also usually dictate yet more constraints over things we would otherwise not care about but now have to (I.e. I used to not care at all if someone changed their time of arrival or asked to reorganize the day’s schedule but now my body will crash if they are late. Or I used to eat all sorts of foods but now my body can’t and it makes it look like I’m picky and impossible to cook for even tough I was someone who would eat whatever what put on her plate). And that results I even more frustrations of course. So again, that’s why I relate to your post so well from both my past and present health status even though they differ.
Thanks so much for sharing, I love how genuine you are. And also that you don’t preach that all is well if you believe in God cause we all end up swaying when we reach our limits. That is so human and we need to see that others too also struggle with that, and that doubt is not taboo to talk about.
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As I read your entire comment, I was saying, “yes, exactly, so true!” to myself. And then at the end, you made me tear up also.
You got me right back 😊
Thank you for that! Very wise, and poignant.
Hugs back to you, sister
These words touched my heart when you first posted in 2015 and still touches me now. I can empathize about wanting to be in control. I think that was one of the hardest things I had to give up.Thank you for reminding me about the grace of giving our “Tired weak soul to loving, strength-lending Savior.” Sending a gentle hug ❤ ❤
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