By: J.A., Writer for Hope Instilled
There are not many things more powerful than finding a calling in life, a sense of purpose, or even that you are doing something meaningful. This is especially important for people who are chronically sick. Being chronically sick, dealing with mental or physical health battles, can attack one’s self-esteem. Some people may feel like society rejected them, many are no longer capable of holding regular jobs, some can’t even get out of bed. Many are on disability, some are incapable of doing hobbies or the sports they once loved, many people struggle to do chores and fully participate in family functions, many cancel plans often due to pain, and family/friends may hurt them and leave them. Some people lose their whole sense of self due to chronic illness.
This blog post isn’t quite focused on improving your self-esteem, but rather how believing you have a purpose and working toward it, may lead you to just that. Having a sense of purpose may also give you a reason to get out of bed in the morning, feel a part of society, keep fighting on, provide more joy in life, or a more positive outlook.
There are many ways to make an important impact on this world, and it doesn’t have to be at your job or through volunteer work. It could be through writing or speaking. It could be through an extra-curricular activity: working to save the planet, helping others spiritually, teaching the youth. Or it could be supporting and encouraging someone else who will go on to impact others. It could be influencing the world by teaching others about chronic pain/illnesses or mental health conditions. It may be helping other people through their chronic pain struggles, sharing wellness advice, or just providing a sense of hope.
We ALL have talents, strengths, and the ability to influence and make a difference in the world. Everyone was born with strengths, if you are unsure of yours try the test in the book StrengthsFinder 2.0. With strengths come talents, some may need to devote more time and experience to develop their talents, but we are all capable. Being chronically sick you might deal with the loss of a talent, but sometimes a stronger strength or talent may emerge. You may gain different knowledge, experience, or a new viewpoint on life from being chronically sick that could actually help you with a greater purpose. If you view your list of strengths, you may find there are still some strengths left to focus on, talents yet explored, and ways to find meaning in life.
Sometimes we might feel like what we are doing is small or insignificant, but the thing is we can’t always see the impact we make in this world. Just making a difference in just one person’s life could be helping hundreds of thousands. What if the one person we help goes on to do something amazing, which may lead to them to impact several people’s lives, and those several people go and make a difference in a bunch of other people’s lives, and one of those people writes a book that impacts thousands of people. Like a snowball effect, we can make a huge influence in the world and we may never even realize it.
You don’t have to be famous, have people coming up to you telling you how you changed their life to have an impact that is worth something. Being a celebrity doesn’t necessarily equal a greater impact either. You could do something for someone that may seem very insignificant, but for that person made a world of difference.
The person who has made one of the greatest impacts on my life is my husband. If he didn’t believe in me, help me with my health struggles, help me to be happy, and be willing to financially support all of my decisions with regards to my health and my business, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I would likely still be struggling in pain every day, and working a job that I hate, instead of working toward helping others. I have big plans and goals for myself, and I wouldn’t be able to do any of them without him.
Are you Searching for a HUGE, SIGNIFICANT Life Purpose? Read on!
I truly believe that being chronically sick actually leads to greater life purposes. When you have been through more struggles than the average person, more pain, you also become stronger than ever. You may learn more about life, learn deeper lessons about being human or living in a broken world. Your viewpoint on how to live, what life is all about, maybe so different from those around you, whether you realize it or not. You might also have developed a stronger and deeper connection with who you are and who you want to be. I’ve noticed a lot of people who have suffered from chronic illnesses over a long period of time also develop more empathy and compassion for others, oftentimes toward people who are strangers. With these experiences, qualities, viewpoints, or knowledge gained, you have way more to offer the world than someone who has lived an easy, carefree life.
This can’t happen though if you are lost in the darkness. If you are too trapped in a negative space, you will have to battle that first. Because I assure you that the greater purpose is not to spread and disperse doom and gloom. Of course, teaching the world how broken things are with healthcare, the food industry, and wellness overall is quite depressing.
When you overcome an epic struggle, you rise up like a phoenix from the ashes and become stronger than ever! You were not defeated.
My belief in doing something greater than myself is truly what keeps me going, knowing I can make an impact on other people’s lives through providing hope, inspiration, wellness information, alternative treatments, and more. There were signs from the universe that this was the right path for me; like meeting Jory, finding a naturopath – through a random acquaintance.
I believe I have been given a greater purpose because of all the things I have suffered through. Everything in my life changed with that new perspective. It is the only thing that truly helps me on the dark days when I still feel the pain of being chronically sick, the inconveniences, the struggles of continuously seeking treatments, taking pills, and dealing with the expenses of it all. I try to be grateful for what I have, but I ask why me? And the only thing that makes me feel better is knowing it is for a greater purpose.
We can all find things we enjoy doing that will make a difference.
At the church I attend, one of the most meaningful and memorable services I have heard was called “Underdogs.” The sermon was focused on the fact that God always chooses the underdogs for his greatest missions. He chooses people who have struggled a lot in life, people who are rejected by society, people who suffer from low self-esteem, people who are fighting large personal battles, and so on. He doesn’t choose the strong believers who have lived an easy life, the rich people, the people who have it all together. This spoke to me so much, because when I was younger I never felt like I fit in, and even into my adult life I feel I’ve faced a lot more struggles than the average person. So to think that God has chosen me is super meaningful. This message has been repeated in several more sermons since then, and that’s because it is an important theme throughout the Bible.
Here are some passages from the Bible representing this message:
God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. 1 Corinthians 1:27–29
Mary did not fit the expectations people had for becoming the mother of Jesus. She was an obscure, unmarried teenager with a low estate. The apostles displayed a lack of comprehension (Mark 4:13), little faith (4:40), hard hearts (6:52), competitiveness (9:34), possessiveness (9:38), selfish ambition (10:37), and jealousy (10:41). David was an adulterer, Abraham was a liar, Noah got drunk, Jacob was a manipulator. What all of these men had in common, ultimately, was faith in God.
Jesus spent much of his time with the losers and the outcast. He embraced the meek and the broken—the humble ones who felt swamped with heavy burdens.
These are just a few of the many examples of who God chooses for his greatest missions.
If you are in a dark place, you might also want to read my blog Overcoming 5 Common Chronic Pain Fears.