Constant, aggravating pain is the worst. It tries to suck you in and turn you into a weepy, angry, selfish ball of frustration. It tries to take away your joy. It wants you to put an Eeyore spin on everything. Feeling constant pain throughout your body, for no reason other than the food you ate or the weather outside, is not something I'd wish on anyone. But it's part of my life right now. And as much as I am tempted to fall into the traps I just listed, I'm not doing that today.
I always try to be proactive about my health, and think about what I can control that may help my day to day life. So I took a few minutes to ponder what I ate yesterday (nothing that's caused an arthritis flare before), to think over my stress level (I can't pinpoint anything bothering me), and then it dawned on me. It's the weather. Yesterday was sunny, blue skies, and 60 degrees for the first time in a long time. Today it is overcast, grey, and COLD - it got down to 38 degrees last night.
So today I am not blaming myself for eating something "bad" or getting stressed when I shouldn't have. I am not in charge of the weather, or the way my body reacts to it. All I can do is do what I can do. (That wasn't a riddle... but it sounds like it!)
Encouraging other people always brings me joy. So I spent some time this morning texting and messaging whoever came to mind, writing whatever thoughts came to mind. I love doing this from time to time, and wish I could convince everyone to do it. Encouraging someone takes the focus off of me and my problems, and points my focus onto loving others.
This is one of those hidden blessings of chronic illness, once you grasp it. Being forced to slow down (or stop altogether!) and not being able to control how you feel physically, you are given a lot of free time to think. And if you learn to direct those thoughts in a godly, positive way, and reject the Mind Monsters that try to creep in, I believe you can make a difference even through your pain. You don't have to have a perfectly functioning body to use your voice. You can always speak into a life, vocally or through the written word, and impact people and situations for good. I have hard days mentally, like anyone with chronic illness, but I'm thankful today isn't one of them. Today, I'm remembering to believe that no matter the challenges we face, God still has a purpose for us if breath is in our lungs. And I will do what I can to make a difference, even if it has to be from the couch in my living room!