It’s 2017, friends!
Can you believe it?
Back in June, when my health was the worst it has ever been, I couldn’t see past the day in front of me. I didn’t know if I would make it to the next day, let alone push through to the end of the year.
Now that we’re finally to January, I can look back and see some of the ways God has worked in my life over the past year to bring me to a better place on this chronic illness journey. I’ve recognized that there is hope!
Over the past few days I’ve worked on setting some goals (Read this post if you’d like tips for goal-setting with a chronic illness!) and have been thinking about what it means to live intentionally even when I can’t control how I’ll feel.
All around the internet, I see bloggers posting their lists of goals and resolutions or sharing their one word for 2017 that sums up their heart’s desire. I don’t know about you, but I enjoy hearing what others are planning or learning through the process of goal-setting. It can be inspiring to think about what could be.
But, those of us with chronic illnesses may feel discouraged because we think we can’t live up to a healthy person’s goals. After all, it might be a struggle for us to just get through the day.
As I think about being intentional in 2017, I am also choosing to be realistic and to give myself grace.
What I mean by this is that while I have some bigger goals and dreams for 2017, I am also mentally prepared for how my health can affect those goals. Lyme Disease and co-infections often keep me from having enough energy for the meaningful things I’d like to do. When symptoms flare or die-off reactions happen, I usually have to kiss my plans for the day goodbye.
While I used to find this part of my life extremely irritating, I now choose to see these setbacks as hurdles instead of complete road blocks.
I choose to still make plans and have ideas for what I would like to accomplish, but I also know that to get over the hurdles I may need to wait until I have the energy to do so. I won’t necessarily have to take a different path. I might just have to wait. And, that’s okay.
Right now, as I enter 2017, I am choosing to be intentional by filtering all of my goals through the lens of my hearts greatest desire right now.
My heart is craving true, authentic connection – with God, with friends and family in my life, and with blog readers and other chronic illness fighters.
Being sick with a chronic illness can be isolating! For months on end, I was barely making it out of my apartment except to go to work and to church when I could handle it. Some of you fellow chronic illness warriors can probably relate!
As I look back on 2016, I can see that somewhere along the way, even while spending time writing online, I began to lose connection with people. The neuro symptoms left me with crippling anxiety and brain fog that made connecting a challenge. Even though I still have a long way to go toward remission, I am seeking to connect so that we can encourage one another. God designed believers to live in community. It’s a beautiful thing!
This passage of Hebrews sums up my heart’s desire as I enter 2017:
“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
Because my heart’s desire is connection, I can intentionally set goals that will lead to the type of connection I believe God put on my heart.
I’m making goals about daily Bible reading and prayer, date nights with my boyfriend, outings with my friends, times with my family, and of course, the kind of content I’ll write for the blog and how I’ll connect with you wonderful readers!
Planning for an intentional year really just gets down to knowing what you desire (Psalm 37:4) and then seeking to align your goals and schedule with your main objective. If you have a chronic illness and desire to be intentional, the key is to give yourself grace and remember that your worth is not in what you accomplish. Continue to be faithful in what God has put before you even if that means waiting on accomplishing your goals.
I’m praying for you, dear reader – that you will love God more this year and will remember to press into Him as you face the burdens of chronic illness.
Lots of love,