Monday, October 11, 2010

Spreading The Sticky Note Love Part 2- You Are Good Enough


Following on from my last post Spreading The Sticky Note Love, I really felt that it was necessary to write an encouraging post and leave a sticky note on this blog as well, in the hope that whoever needs to read it will find it and be encouraged. So here it goes.

During Invisible Illness Awareness Week I was listening to one of the virtual conference workshops over at invisibleillness.com. Georgia Shaffer, an author and psychologist whose books include- Taking Out Your Emotional Trash, How Not to Date A Loser and A Gift of Mourning Glories: Restoring Your Life After Loss, was speaking on the topic "Living With Chronic Illness: Why It Hurts, How To Cope"; along side other guest speakers. One thing that she said hit me hard- "your good enough is good enough." At that point in time I had been feeling the exact opposite, that my good enough was just not good enough. The previous week I was informed that after nine months of supposedly living in remission, that my fibromyalgia in fact never left. I had been feeling as though I was just surviving each day, I wasn't thriving like my friends, family and doctors expected me to. I have felt like I am not trying hard enough, not fighting hard enough, that I am not a good enough daughter, sister and friend, that I'm not strong enough, not a good enough writer, that I don't read my bible enough, pray enough or attend church enough- generally just feeling not enough. After four years the weight on my shoulders that I wasn't "good enough" was becoming too heavy to carry and with the simple and yet profound truth of those words, something in me broke and I realised for the first time that my "good enough" is in fact "good enough".

It was in that moment that God revealed to me why I had been thinking that I wasn't "good enough". I was viewing my life from the human view point rather than submitting to looking at life from God's viewpoint. I was constantly comparing my life to what it used to be, to what I used to be able to do. I used to be able to study, work and maintain a social life and now some days are just a miracle if I get out of bed and get dressed! I used to be healthy, where did I go wrong? I have been focusing on the things that I used to be able to do and therefore the things that I am no longer able to do now and it was dragging me down. I was placing limitations on myself that didn't need to be there. I was also comparing my life to that of a healthy person, silly I know, but when you are listening to a young energetic person babbling on about all the things that they have done, are doing and are going to do and the inevitable question "what do you do?" comes up, "oh just a bit of craft every now and then when I can" *long look of confusion*- it's understandable that I and many others living with chronic pain feel that we just don't measure up. In mid conversation, I've had to literally bite my tongue to prevent my tear ducts from exploding with a catastrophic flood because all I do is focus on getting out of bed and surviving another day and to some people that just doesn't seem good enough.

From the human view point my life sucks- I'm a twenty two year old woman disabled by chronic pain who has been since the age of eighteen. I've had to give up my university studies, my job, my social life and according to the world I have very little that is good in my life BUT I do! I have God in my life. I have joy, hope, perfect peace and contentment. I know that He is in control and that He has a plan and purpose for my pain- a plan that is more than "good enough". God defines who I am. My current circumstances do NOT define who I am. I am so much more. Who I am goes way beyond what I can and cannot do. Sure, I have limitations but God sees that I have limitless potential. In the eyes of the world we may not measure up, but we are not called to be of the world, we are called to be children of God! We need to start seeing ourselves as He sees us- in His eyes we measure up! If all you can do is manage to wash the dishes, or put on a load of washing that is okay, "your good enough is good enough". Celebrate it.

A huge part of why we people with chronic pain view ourselves as not "good enough" could be attributed to a lack of encouragement. As I was listening to the broadcast a listener called in. She brought me to tears. She too was feeling like she just wasn't "good enough" because she couldn't hold down a job, she couldn't be involved in her church like she desired and was feeling so discouraged. Never so much have I yearned to hug a complete stranger. I wanted to cry with her because I knew her pain and she knew mine. Most of all I wanted to encourage her. I wanted to tell her that she was doing a great job. The sheer need and desperation for encouragement amongst the chronically ill is astounding and that is why I am so passionate about raising awareness and encouraging those living with invisible chronic pain. I have never forgotten the time when I heard the sweet spoken words "I really admire you, I think you are doing a great job". No one had ever said that to be before and those words have had such an impact on my life some what two years later. So, to you- yes you, who aches from head to toe, you who finds it hard to sleep at night, to you who struggles to get out of bed in the morning, yes you who cannot work because of profound pain and unrelenting fatigue; and to those of you who feel like you are not a good enough mother, father, daughter, son, wife or husband...whatever- I want you to know that you are doing a great job. You don't hear it often enough- you are good enough. You may think that you are not making much of a difference, that you possibly can't with how your life is now but "it is during adversity when one can make a big difference but making a big difference is not about being a big hero. It is simply about leaving the bathroom a little cleaner going out than when you came in"- author unknown (oh how my mum is going to use this against me!). So if cleaning the bathroom is all you can do for one day- that is okay, "your good enough is good enough"; you are making a difference- it may not feel like it but you are. Live in that truth.


God cares about the details of your life, no matter how small. "We can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good"-Romans 8:28. Know that you are God's child, adored by Him. He has chosen YOU. Following God's will isn't always easy but God doesn't make mistakes- He picked YOU for this task because He knew YOU could handle it. He knows what you are capable of. He sees limitless potential and He wants to use it for His glory. He thinks you are wonderfully special. You are precious in His sight. He thinks you are "good enough" and He doesn't just think it, He knows it.



© Emily Ruth 2010



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You can find all five free conference workshops at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/invisibleillnessconf

2 comments:

Tiff said...

That was a really good post Emily. Even though I don't suffer from Chronic Illness, there are times when i don't feel "good enough", myself. I get what you mean when you don't feel "good enough", having compared your life now to what you used to be able to do in the past. I've experienced that myself and that's what gets me down, realising the things i could do or that i used to be like, that made me happy back then have changed. It's hard to deal with change, i particulary don't like it because i was happy with who i was and now there are changes in my life, such as body changes (they developed really late and am not use to it lol), more stress, a boyfriend, family issues, moving homes, not seeing friends as much etc etc etc. I know it's nothnig compared to the changes in your life, they aren't are exhausting to deal with.

What you said about God defining who we are and just being good enough for ourselves of what we can do, not being a hero; I'll try to keep that in mind and ease the pressure of not trying to be good enough for others, but only for myself. It's too much to take on to make others feel like you are good enough and to live up to what they expect of you.

There are times when we just need to think of ourselves for a change and do what makes us feel content and happy with life.

Keep up the good work, you're inspiring heaps of people out there.

Love you always xoxo Tiff :)

Emily Ruth said...

Thanks darling! Yeah some changes can be really difficult but I'm learning to see them as a blessing-you can learn so much!

Just knowing that you are good enough even if you can't do much, really helps to get through the tough days.

Totally agree, you are not going to be able to please everyone and especially when you have a chronic illness- you can't, it's impossible! But living in the truth that you are good enough and that you are a blessing to people helps take that pressure off.

You are a blessing, you are doing a good job, and you are good enough!

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