Facing the Fear of Missing Out When You Have a Chronic Illness

Back in November there was a workshop for Hope*Writers. In the summer when I got the information about the workshop, I was in such a poor health and financial situation that I knew it wasn’t going to be feasible to go this time around.

The Fear of Missing Out When You Have a Chronic Illness

Knowing I wouldn’t be able to meet my writer friends in real life was a hard pill to swallow, but when I made the decision to instead purchase the online pass to watch the conference recordings I knew it was the right choice.

Fast forward a few months to the weekend of the conference. As I laid in bed in pain on the days my writer friends were meeting each other and delving into teaching that would spur them on in their callings, I was jealous.

I was frustrated and angry that a party was going on and I was stuck at home watching it from afar in a highlight reel on social media. It was another situation where I was invited, but I couldn’t go. This seems to be a common occurrence in my chronically ill life. If you have a chronic illness, you can probably relate!

As I scrolled through Instagram and Facebook on the days of the Hope*Writers Workshop, I grew discontent with my current life situation. I was tired of being sick. I didn’t want to miss out on fun and on learning the skills I needed to continue in my calling to write. Sure, I would eventually watch the conference recordings, but it wouldn’t be the same as being there in person. There’s energy and excitement that comes from connecting in person that can’t be replicated through online avenues.

That weekend, I got real with God about how I felt.

I prayed about how I wasn’t just missing out on the conference that weekend, but I was missing out on life.

The Fear of Missing Out When You Have a Chronic Illness

I wasn’t able to live the life I thought I was supposed to be living. My existence for close to a year now has been a routine of going from work (when I am well enough) to home during weekdays and then lying in bed or on the couch and attempting to go to church on the weekends. I rarely make plans; I’m in constant survival mode.

It works out that writing is one of my favorite things to do because it helps to pass the time and uplift my spirit (as long as brain fog isn’t too bad).

When I prayed about this feeling of missing out on life, God brought to mind Psalm 84:11 which says,

For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly.

I was reminded that my existence of being sick with chronic Lyme Disease and having to miss out on opportunities did not mean that God was withholding good from me.

This Psalm can remind us that God does protect us and guide us. He gives favor. And, He does not withhold any good thing from those who walk uprightly (from those who love Him and seek Him).

If you have put your faith in Christ and are following Him, then God is truly working for your good (Romans 8:28).

I was reminded that when we’re seeking God, we aren’t missing out on anything.

Being home with debilitating pain isn’t keeping me from my life. It is where God has my life right now, even if it isn’t pleasant or what I would have chosen.

It can be hard to wrap our minds around the fact that good could come from our pain. It’s doesn’t always make sense, and we may never know the purpose of our pain on this side of eternity.

But, here’s what I do know. God is faithful. He does love us and is working for the good of those who love Him.

So, instead of focusing on what I’m missing right now, I choose to focus on what I do have and what God is doing in my life. Through illness, I have come to know God in a greater way. I have a real hope in Christ and am learning how we can come together to encourage each other in our struggles with chronic illness.

Not being able to do things we’d like to do or that others are doing can be disappointing, but I hope each of us will remember that we’re not really missing out when we’re trusting in Christ.

Even though it’s something I have to choose over and over again, I am choosing not to fear missing out. Instead, I am choosing to embrace the place God has me right now.

How about you? Have you ever experienced the fear of missing out? How do you handle it? Share in the comments below!


Lyme Disease and Chronic Illness

15 thoughts on “Facing the Fear of Missing Out When You Have a Chronic Illness

  1. Thank for this post. I have been chronically ill since age 7. I am 26 now. I feel that I missed every major event that typically happens to some one (eg. learning to drive, dating, marriage, college, having children etc.). Thank you for this encouragement.

  2. I truly believe that with my sufferings I am able to help others. I have a better understanding of love and empathy. We see the world differently and tend to stay away from the negative. If I didn’t suffer how would I acknowledge these hurtles I face to help what others are facing? It’s all about perspective. You stay away from those who refuse to understand and you focus your energy on the ones who need you. Is it hard? Absolutely. But you have choices. You can focus on what you can’t do and have pity parties. Or rise above and do the things you can do each day. Even if it’s just picking up for 10 minutes. Sometimes we have to remind ourselves that it’s our body and we need to focus on ourselves so we can be there for others. Because if we don’t listen to our bodies then we are no good for anyone. We all face battles in life. But it’s your choice on how you want to handle it. I’ve had 15 surgeries. No longer work. Still do school for web design. Lay in bed for days.do a little each day. Suffer from ehler danlos syndrome. Fibermyalgia. Archanoid cyst on brain. Chronic fatigue. Degenerative disc disease. Herniation. And much more. I worked hard physical warehouse jobs because I liked it. Little did I know I was making myself worse. Ended up with CSF leak finally diagnosed with hEDS and past two years 6 surgeries. But I keep going. I have days where I’m just wishing I would die. (Not literally) make the pain stop. But I refuse I will fight until the end.

  3. I so relate to all this, chronic illness does make me feel everyone is getting on with life and I am at a stand still not able to get out of bed most days. I feel life is passing me by. I have a one year old grandson who I love dearly, but what I would like to do with him is so different to what I can do with him. Makes me feel so frustrated with my situation.

  4. I really identify with this. So often, I have said to myself (or someone else) “I am tired of missing out on everything!” I feel guilty every time I say “no”, and feel like I’m just being mean… this perspective helped me… xx

  5. Hello Emily and first off I want to thank you for your article & I’d like to wish you and all those sufferers of any chronic illness a happy holiday any way you choose to spend it.
    Wow, this is totally God’s timing that I would see this now. Last evening I was having dinner with family and relatives when my pains began to take over,sadness set in and I just had to remove myself. Nobody understood me,the just thought I was being anti-social or a jerk. I felt so lonely and filled with sadness as the pains took over. If anyone has experienced this how do you handle it or deal with it?

  6. Oh My! You ladies are all wonderful and very special aswell loving I’m sure in your on way’s.Hello! My name is Tiffany and I’m from Texas been here all of my life and was genetically passed Thyroiditist and dealing with cfs and peripheral vascular disorder aswell.Again! Y’all are amazing women because certain vitamins do help like Mood support vitamin D, K12, and iron supplements for me.Just a heads up is all!

  7. Wow, this is totally God’s timing that I would see this now. I’ve had chronic pain due to psoriatic arthritis for about 9 years now, despite all the surgeries etc I was beginning to finally get the hang of my new normal…… And then it happens, as disease changes you have another issue pop up, mine being knee replacements failing recently. Your article is giving me back the hope that recently was failing, thank you😀 It reminds me of the psalm, though my heart and body fail God remains my strength and portion forever… Loosely translAted

  8. This is something that I struggle with and I greatly needed to hear. Thank you for this!

    I love how you said that it’s not the same as being in person. Whenever I try to explain to people that missed opportunities aren’t the same as having it with the peers your age when they do it, (it was girl’s camp for me) they don’t get it.

    This is a good perspective. Thank you so much for this!

    1. Crys, I’m really glad that this was helpful!! Even if we recognize that God has a plan and a purpose in everything it is still really hard to miss out on things we had planned to do or hoped to do. Thank you for reading! :)

  9. This is definitely on ongoing battle for me. By nature I like to be busy and social, but my body won’t let me be that way. I’m constantly working on accepting that I’m going to miss out on things.

  10. Wow… This is just so spot on! Those times where I’m stuck at home while others are participating in activities that I’d love to be involved in… They’re the times I find the hardest. This line brought tears to my eyes: being home with debilitating pain isn’t keeping me from life. It’s where God has my life right now. Thank you for this post. It really spoke to my heart. Xx

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