I have been on a bit of a journey of self-discovery. Unintentionally, but assessing myself just the same. This time last year I had just finished a 10K and all of sudden had pain and stiffness flooding my body. Fast forward six months into searching for the right physical therapy and steroid treatment to counteract what we all believed was an injury, I was diagnosed with an aggressive autoimmune disease, RA. It was during this time, when Paul was having to dress me, cut my food and I had to give up driving that I wondered who I was becoming. Inside of me I was still the same Jen; sassy, intentional and always thinking and planning for a new endeavor. Yet my body was making me stop and look at what was going on and focus all my energy on the fight to normalcy.
It was at those lowest places when the doctor’s prescribe low-dose chemo injections and aggressive dmard drugs that I really began to discover who I was. My identity could no longer be in what I did for other people, it wasn’t based on friendships, it couldn’t even be based on being busy. I began to get to know the real me within the fire and I had to learn to like her. God helped me get to know her this year. He has enabled me to sit still and dream big dreams in the midst of the most difficult times, while sharing with me that it was ok to not be ok. Isn’t that what it is all about? Being free and confident enough to say, “I’m not always ok, this is hard.” God gave me that freedom this year while teaching me to focus on Him loving me and not wallowing in the battle.
This self-discovery caused me to see that even in the midst of standing for a healthy body, we can be hard on ourselves. I was always looking for myself to push harder, not give in and sleep too much, bullying myself to go just a little bit further. The fighting spirit is good, as long as you aren’t fighting YOURSELF in the process. I had to be my own cheerleader, too. I had to be proud of myself and like who I was… no matter the stand. You aren’t your battle. I’ve said that before; meaning that you don’t have to let the battle/diagnosis become your identity, but I do think sometimes WE are our own battle. And that stopped this year. I am coming to love myself more and embrace the woman I have bullied at times.
These past two weeks caused me to have a pretty yucky flare-up and I spent the past three days on the couch or in bed, thankfully at a beautiful home with a view (due to a friend’s generosity). Usually I would have berated myself to stick to the schedule or the plan, but for the first time I chose me. I just chose to rest, to let my body fight in stillness. For two days, I slept in the clothes I wore during the day and shuffled between the couch and the bed. Not a great picture of victory, but in reality it was. Because my mind was peaceful and my strength was returning. God’s helped me be more ok during the times when I think I am not. Love you all. Thanks for letting me share.