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Making Plans for Life in the Face of Fear

Posted Jan 06 2014 9:00am

“All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14: 25-27)

Have you ever looked fear in the face and said “I just don’t care?” This is a lyric to a song that resonates with me lately. I realized fear sometimes creeps into my pours and tries to stop me from enjoying life. And with a chronic illness I think it would be easy to give way to the fear, but that is not how I am trying to live.

I was inspired after reading a blog about 18 months ago by a gentleman with a much more severe form of dysautonomia. Despite limitations, he seizes every second he has–even planning a Mediterranean Cruise a year in advance. It is his hopefulness that allowed me to believe that I could fly to Florida to celebrate my 25th wedding anniversary with my husband and children.

And after the trip was planned and I was told I needed a pacemaker, I chose to go ahead with the surgery. It was just six weeks before our flight but I thought it would improve my chances for increased stamina on vacation. It worked.

I type this from the balcony of our rented condominium looking out over the Gulf of Mexico. The sea air smells glorious. My family has left for a boat ride and day trip to an island; something my body cannot handle. I will relax instead at the beach and pool, swim laps and come inside as needed. Tonight we hope to have a celebratory anniversary dinner at an oceanside restaurant.

There have been challenges on the trip and in life. Some days are filled with physical exhaustion and uncertainty. And when fear seeps in I try my best to kick it out. Each day is a gift from God and I am choosing to embrace whatever I am given. After all, that is what life is all about.

Prayer: Dear Lord, Thank You for providing me with Your comfort to handle the fear that comes into my life. Help each of us see that You walk this journey with us Lord and provide our troubled hearts with peace. Amen.

About the author Laura Seil Ruszczyk lives in New York with her husband and three children. She is a retired elementary school counselor who discovered her love of writing about 35 years ago. Laura is the disability/chronic illness advocate for her church and also enjoys running a HopeKeepers group. She is writing a book about her illness, dysautonomia: the deregulation of the autonomic nervous system. She had a pacemaker implanted in October 2013 as a result of dysautonomia slowing her heart rate.

How do you handle the fears from your chronic illness? What decision can you make in this new year that will fight the fears and help you live to the fullest instead?

We all have times when we try to figure out what dreams to let go of and what dreams to keep fighting for. I love this song, “Never Gonna Steal My Joy” with Mandisa. If God really wants you to let go of a dream, it will hurt but you will also have a peace about it. Don’t assume just because you are chronically ill means you now must give up all your dreams. If I had done that Rest Ministries would not exist! (smile) -Lisa

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