Don’t Give Up Series Begins

A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” – Proverbs 17:22

I thought I’d start the holiday season with a series of blog articles about not giving up. So many have a profound sadness or depression around this time of year because it reminds us of who is no longer with us. It chronicles what we can no longer do or what we no longer have since last holiday season.

Most of those struggling with chronic illness or other chronic issues will come to a time of desperation at some point or another. We all get to a level of discomfort, overwhelm, sadness, or frustration (or all of the above) when we feel we can no longer go on or we no longer want to. In fact, it may happen several times over the course of your life. It certainly has with me!

There are times when I feel like giving up. I’ve never really been suicidal, but I have had thoughts along the lines of, “God, if I meet with an unfortunate accident, I wouldn’t be at all upset! In fact, if you’d hurry that along, I’d be grateful!” But so many with chronic illness or issues feel a deep depression or thoughts of wanting their suffering to end in any way possible. If that’s you right now, I’d like to speak to your spirit this month.

The first thing I’d like to share with you is not to give up looking for your joy. Joy is something that leaves you first when you are overwhelmed, frustrated, and saddened by the long, difficult road of chronic issues. I’ve talked about this many times, but the phrase, “There’s light at the end of the tunnel” really bothers me and angers some with a chronic journey because our tunnel doesn’t end this side of heaven. So, if your tunnel doesn’t end, how can you see the light at the end of it?

Why you should not give up looking for joy:
1. The obvious answer is that without joy life doesn’t seem worth living. Without joy, there is only misery inside of that chronic illness tunnel.

2. Believe it or not, there IS joy inside your tunnel! No matter how dismal, draining, or painful your tunnel is. The beauty that was there around you is still there whether or not you’re looking for it. The grass is just as green and peaceful looking. The flowers are just as vibrant. Your children are just as precious. Your spouse’s smile is just as soothing.

3. The more you search for the joy, the more of it you will find. The more you find, the more it will minister to your soul.

4. The more you find your joy, the more you can share it with others even though you are going through tough times. This ties right in with my article for next week on purpose so I’ll have more on that next week.

How not to give up looking for joy:
1. If you’re going to find the joy, you’ve got to actively search for it. Satan has a habit of hiding the joys surrounding those who are in trials or struggling with things. Depression moves us away from our joy and isolates us from others. Those of us who have chronic illness are isolated enough already.

2. Actively searching for something is very different from casually noticing things so you will need to be conscious of every opportunity to find the humor, the beauty, and the kindnesses as life brings you to them. You must keep asking yourself, “What joy can I see right now?”

3. They say it takes 21 days to make a habit. After a few weeks of actively, consciously searching for the joy, you will find yourself able to see it without being active about it.

4. So, challenge yourself to take 21 days to find the joys, the humor, the beauty in each place you find yourself. Here are some ideas for you: Write down what you are thankful for each day. Keep a journal of the beauty around your house, your family, your job, your church, and your situation. What’s funny about the ridiculous situations you find yourself in? What has made you smile each day?

5. And then after 21 days or a month or so, take out your notes and reread them. Take special note of just how many you were able to find.

A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” – Proverbs 17:22

Next week, I’ll be sharing about the next thing to leave those with chronic issues: a sense of purpose. Stay with me on this journey. Check back next week and please share this with friends and family.

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