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Overcoming Challenges

9 Life-Changing Tips for Living with Chronic Illness

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Welcome back to another guest post in our Stories of Overcoming Adversity Series.  Do you struggle with chronic illness? Today, I would like to introduce you to my friend, Angie Cleary from Resounding His Love. She’s going to help you by providing us 9 Life-Changing Tips for Living with Chronic Illness.

Have you met people who have a chronic illness but they don’t allow it to get the best of them? What’s even more inspiring, the individuals make a difference in not only your life but to everyone they come in contact with? Now, I realize everyone goes through various trials and tribulations but if we can learn their tips for living with chronic illness our lives would be drastically changed.

Tips for Overcoming Chronic Illness

When we’re living with chronic health issues in life I know without a doubt that God is using our circumstances to not only grow our faith personally but to those we come in contact with as well. In all honesty, I truly believe we learn much more in the difficult circumstances and trials we face than when things are going smoothly. Why? We can take our toughest trials and turn them into a much bigger testimony showing God’s glory in and through them. What a blessing and impact that we can make in so many lives of those who need to hear it most! But how can we view living with chronic illnesses in a positive way?

Inspire Others: Turn a Negative Experience into a Positive One

Recently I was introduced to a fellow faith blogger in a group I’m part of. I believe in my heart God orchestrated this to teach me some much-needed wisdom. That being said, allow me to introduce to you my friend Wendy Wallace who is by far not only is she living with, but she’s overcoming chronic illness and making a huge impact on those around her. Who is Wendy? I’m so glad you asked. Wendy is one of the most positive and inspirational women I’m blessed to know and call my friend. Wendy is the writer behind One Exceptional Life. I want to give you a few specifics about Wendy.

Maintain a Positive Attitude: Living with Chronic Illness

Back in 2011, Wendy developed a flesh-eating bacteria called necrotizing fasciitis. To this day, to my knowledge, she has no idea how the bacteria originated from. As a matter of fact, this bacteria left Wendy in a coma for 3 weeks. Furthermore, she was in the hospital for 3 months as well as providing the impetus for both hands and both feet to be amputated. Now, can you imagine being in the hospital waking from a coma and learning life as you know it is drastically changed?

Wendy lost both hands and feet and she told me that she often found herself saying “I can’t.” Her negative attitude affected her everyday life. Can you imagine the reminder of all the things you can no longer do on a daily basis? However, there comes a time in your challenges when you say enough is enough! Wendy could give up, but she doesn’t! This fearless woman keeps pressing forward not looking back. Many in her situation would sit back and feel sorry for themselves. She writes with a stylus attached to her arm. God purposely saved Wendy’s life for a purpose and that purpose is to inspire others to maintain a positive attitude no matter the challenge. In Christ, you will overcome anything!

sad woman, tips for living with chronic illness

Focus on the Eternal Reward

When we view chronic illness through spiritual eyes instead of physical eyes it helps us to focus on eternity in Heaven. Our worldly struggles are temporary in light of eternity. With that in mind, if we take our illness (whatever the situation may be) in life and look at them from an eternal perspective. As difficult as it may be at times I know faith can be hard to hold on to when living with chronic illnesses. However, in these times turn your eyes upon Jesus and let Him strengthen you. Remember, we can consider our trials as blessings to display God’s glory to others.

Trust God has a Purpose

Our Creator has a way of getting our attention through other people’s circumstances. God lovingly shows me that I can have it much worse than I do on a daily basis. How does God do this? God has placed me in a position to care for some very special people. I’m so thankful that God knows who and what we need more than you and I ever will this side of eternity. I work at a local Oncology office as a phlebotomist/medical assistant. Trust me when I say it doesn’t take long working with cancer patients to learn how much we take for granted.

Learn to Be Grateful

Allow me to share what I hear the most when a new patient comes to our office. They will ask me, “How can you work here witnessing this environment every day?” Upon waiting in the lobby to be called back you see a lot of suffering. What’s eye-opening in this is it teaches you quickly that someone else has it much worse than you do. Witnessing first hand what others endure with treatments is heart wrenching! It can pull your heart in all sorts of directions. The most valuable one being…YOU’LL LEARN TO BE GRATEFUL!Whether or not you struggle with chronic illness or any other challenge in your life, these 9 tips will help you overcome. #chronicillness #overcomingchallenges Click To Tweet

Tips for Living with Chronic Illness: Accept it and Move On

I’m gonna keep it real in saying that I have not always had this outlook towards living with autoimmune disorders in my own life. For starters, I have numerous autoimmune disorders that affect me substantially. For the longest time I, unfortunately, allowed my health to define me instead of allowing my identity to be firmly secured as a daughter of God. Let you give you some examples and this isn’t all of them. I just want to give you an idea of why I had the “feel sorry for Angie blues.”

      • Graves’ Disease

      • Meniere’s Disease

      • Vestibular Migraine Disease

      • Clusters of Deeply Rooted Plantar Warts

      • Immune Issues

      • Allergies

      • Irritable Bowel

All of the chronic illnesses such as these can get me down from time to time if I allow them to. For me personally the hardest to deal with is the drastic hearing loss and balance issues. I know how frustrating it is for others when I cannot hear them properly and they have to keep repeating themselves to me. Adding a little humor I avoid the phone like a plague! Some days my balance is so bad I struggle to stand up or walk straight. The main reason, I’m focusing on these two specific ones is they’re the most challenging if I had to pick.

Choose Better Over Bitter

The thing to keep in mind is that we can choose to let our obstacles make us bitter or better. For far too long I allowed my chronic hearing loss to make me bitter focusing on what I lost instead of being grateful. I could have NO hearing at all but I do and that’s something to be thankful for. The name of my blog is Resounding His Love…it holds a special meaning concerning my “hearing” issue. I may not be able to hear well, but you will still “Hear Me” RESOUNDING HIS LOVE (God’s Love) for ME and for YOU too!

Let it Go and Give it God

When you’re struggling living with chronic illnesses, try not to focus on the negative point of view in them. It’s of the utmost importance to focus on the positive. Find the good in all circumstances. I realize you may have to dig deep to find it sometimes but it’s there, I promise. Be the optimistic person in the room. Show others how strong you are. The most important tip of all is releasing your situation out of your hands into the One who is by far greater to carry the burden for you.

Quotes for Living with Chronic Illness

“Behind every chronic illness is just a person trying to find their way in the world. We want to find love and be loved and be happy just like you. We want to be successful and do something that matters. We’re just dealing with unwanted limitations in our hero’s journey.” – Glenn Schweitzer

“Sometimes the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the biggest step of your life. Tip Toe if you must, but take a step.” – Naeem Callaway

“Courage does not always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow.” – Mary Anne Radmacher

“Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.” – Dale Carnegie

“You shouldn’t focus on why you can’t do something, which is what most people do. You should focus on why perhaps you can, and be one of the exceptions.” – Steve Case

“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to just try one more time.” – Thomas Edison

“Believe in yourself and all that you are. Know that there is something inside of you that is greater than any obstacle.” – Christian D. Larson

“Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work; you don’t give up.” – Anne Lamott

 “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

 “You either get bitter or you get better. It’s that simple. You either take what has been dealt to you and allow it to make you a better person, or you allow it to tear you down. The choice does not belong to fate, it belongs to you.” – Josh Shipp

“Don’t forget you’re human. It’s okay to have a meltdown, just don’t unpack and live there. Cry it out and then refocus on where you are headed.” – unknown

In Closing on 9 Life Changing Tips for Living with Chronic Illness

Remember this above all else, we all have a purpose in life and God uses each individual for specific reasons. My “story” of dealing with the health issues I’ve been given may look different than yours but we can both use it for good and God’s glory. If you will take the tips for living with chronic illnesses and apply them to your life and live as a positive witness to those around you just sit back and watch God work and change lives.

smiling midlife woman brown hair gray jacket

Angie of Resounding His Love has a passion for sharing the unconditional saving grace of Jesus Christ. She encourages you through trials in Christian living as well as helping you cope with the loss of loved ones. She uses her personal experience of abuse to help you overcome domestic violence. You can connect with her on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, or Instagram.

I hope you were encouraged by Angie’s post on tips for living with chronic illness.  For other stories in our series, check out my compilation post, Powerful and Inspiring Stories of Overcoming Adversity.  Check back monthly for more additions to this series.

Have you struggled with chronic illness?  What are your best tips that helped you to overcome?  Which of Angies’s suggestions really resonates with you?  Please share in the comments below!  

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12 Comments

  1. Wendy, thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to guest post for you. Yes, you and I both face many challenges but by the grace of God, he carries us through them. As I tell my patients all the time be thankful because if it’s one thing that working in oncology has taught me…there is ALWAYS someone who has it much worse.

    1. Hey Angie, in spite of our troubles, I love that we can use them as an encouragement to others when we show them how we keep a smile on our faces and trust the Lord for strength and courage. Th thanks for guest posting. You have such a beautiful story to tell.

  2. Angie – such a beautiful post. I have never dealt with health issues like you and Wendy have and I admire you so much. I do live with the aftermath of colo-rectal cancer but that is nothing compared to you and Wendy. The two of you are definitely my heroes for your amazing attitudes, love, joy, and bright outlook on life. I’m sure it’s not that way every day but you are still amazing and thank you for this beautiful post.

    1. Thank you so much, Fleda. For me, it’s truly all by the wonderful grace of God that I can live with my situation. He makes all things possible.

  3. I live with chronic pain 24/7 and I came to the crossroads years back where I had to make a decision to either live or let this thing consume me. I love your sweet attitude and approach to life. Jesus has been doing an incredible inside out job on me. I am at a place now where no matter how my body hurts, I can say with a smile “It is well with my soul” and truly mean it from the depths of my heart. ❤

    1. You have such a beautiful attitude, Donna. Keep that beautiful smile on your face and your focus on the Lord and He will give you all the strength you need to help you live with your chronic illness.

  4. I love your attitude and the fact that your realize that God has a specific purpose in each of our lives. I’m thankful that I’ve not had to live with chronic illness, but my daughter does and I know some others also. They too are on the same page as you are and have chosen to trust God that He knows best. Another great book or series is by Kimberly Rae. You can look them up on Amazon. She writes “Why doesn’t God Fix It” and some others on sickness. Thank you for letting God make you a better person rather than a bitter person.

    1. I appreciate that, Ellen. We really do need to trust God and let Him lead. I also feel that seeking blessings every day is the best idea.

  5. I have been struggling with a chronic injury. I’ve had 4 surgeries and 4 dislocations and 4 protracted recoveries for my left hip in 6 1/2 years. I feel like all I’ve done is have surgery and recuperate for most of my daughter’s life. This child I waited for so desperately has seen me sitting on the couch for almost every day. Sometimes, it breaks my heart and then I remember that God sat me down for a reason. If I pay attention to what He has for me in this moment, I might realize I haven’t missed a thing. Attitude is exactly what we can control and the most important. Thank you for sharing.

    1. I’m sorry for all of your struggles, Jennifer. It took me quite some time to figure out why God allowed me to be a quad amputee. I would tell you to keep looking for blessings, inspire others as you can and love your daughter with all you have. Stay positive. Thank you for reading.

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