My entire life I have battled illness after illness. Thankfully nothing too serious, but my immune system hasn’t exactly been perfect. When I was young, I would get fevers around 104 degrees every few weeks, and if anyone babysat me, they would have to have emergency phone numbers and contact information in case I spiked another.
In high school I didn’t miss much school other than when I would catch a real nasty infection like strep throat, a virus like the flu, or fever would return. I remember taking time off to get my wisdom teeth out, and that was rough in and of itself. Tonsils in college were hard too, but nothing compared me for the stress and repercussions of it in the real world.
When I graduated from college, I moved to Florida for a job. The climate change was fun because it was always warm, but my body quickly retaliated and I was left dealing with cold after cold every couple months. Because I didn’t have a primary care physician, I was stuck wandering from urgent care to medical clinic begging for a solution.
In Florida, I didn’t experience any sort of allergies so moving back to Ohio was crazy! Reaction after reaction smacked me in the face, and just a month before my wedding day, I was hit with a cough that wouldn’t go away. Literally the week of the wedding I began to feel better, and it disappeared the day before!
The reason why I share these stories is because, yet again, I have found myself struck by the flu. This is the second time this season I’ve caught it, and let me tell you, it isn’t fun!
In this time in my life, one quote has been resonating with me more than ever:
…in sickness and in health…as long as we both shall live…
These are the vows that Joe and I took on our wedding day, and they have still held strong six months later (soooo long, right??). Joe has been taking wonderful care of me, even when I poop out and act like a four year old because I seriously hate being sick!
Although I absolutely despise feeling this way, it’s made me think more about how I live my life. Are there any clues as to why this keeps happening? Is there another path I should be taking that doesn’t resemble the snow-covered roads we got this weekend?
I personally believe that stress can affect us from any age, and can manifest in all sorts of ways: a pain in our shoulder, a cramp in our back, a headache that won’t wean (an amazing fact I learned from the great Debbie Sodergren); and, when we learn to identify this and the source of where our stress is coming from and remove it from our lives, it gives us SO much freedom!
In light of this, I’ve been realizing that 2018 was so full of stress that my body is just now reacting to everything its been through and is exploding trying to get all of it out.
Friends, there is nothing the world can offer that’s worth putting your body through that much stress! Suffering for the past year and a half has taught me, through the grace of God alone, that I can’t keep living the life I’ve been leading. I need to learn the true meaning of self-care, to spend more time in the Word, and to refuse to chase after what the world offers.
If you’ve been struggling with stress, what do you think God might be calling you to give up? Is there anything in your life being revealed to be a source of your pain, anguish, or stress?
Take the first step: step into the presence of the Lord, breathe, and relax. Know that no matter what the world screams at you, God’s voice is bigger. His plan for you is greater, and His healing for you is coming. Just be.