Chronic illness is exactly that; it is consistently vexing and continuingly troubling. I have lupus, a chronic autoimmune disorder that gifts me every few months with a new twist on its ramifications. Lupus’ symptoms don’t vanish with treatment, but ebb and flow depending on how diligent I am with self-care and how mercurial the progressive disease decides to be.

I can choose to accept lupus’ parameters or get caught up in angst, worrying what my new normal is going to look like next. Picture a seesaw on your elementary school playground with you and your chronic condition on one side and your joyful bestie on the other. Looped around your necks are lanyards labeling you as such. Who’s going to make you slam to the ground that day, chronic illness or joy?

Chronic illness sifts away the debris of life’s distractions. What’s left are the essentials: relationships and the love needed to grow these relationships. I can be immersed in joy, relishing in the give and take of enriching conversations, glowing from life-giving grandchildren hugs, and encouraged by fulfilling creative projects, while still dealing with the ever-present chronic illness. I refuse to give lupus total power, but instead, will choose to find joy each day somewhere, somehow, with God’s love as my anchor.

What chronic pain is twisting you up? Can you choose a morsel of joy today?

I am numb with pain and severely battered; I groan loudly because of the anxiety I feel. O Lord, you understand my heart’s desire; my groaning is not hidden from you.

Psalms 38: 8-9

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