There is nothing easy about watching others struggle with chronic illness.
In watching, we suffer too. There are two answers,
one is community, the other is God.
Watchers, we are not Saints
“I’ve got this.”
“Honestly, it’s fine, I promise.”
Sometimes it’s easy to forget that we are only a Watcher and instead begin to think that we are (or should be) a saint.
This is what it looks like:
- …. feel guilty all the time? I’m not a good Watcher. Not even passable? Why can’t I do anything right?
- … gloss over your hardships and sacrifices? Oh, I don’t do much, not at all. Yes, I spent all day driving my loved one to appointments in the rain, but that doesn’t matter. It was nothing!
- … never share your problems? I’m fine. One’s got to do what one’s got to do! Other people have it worse, after all.
Why is it wrong?
- It’s a lie (some of the time at least). Either to ourselves or to others. After all, no one is fine every day of the year. No one is cheerful day in and day out.
- It squashes relationships. No one feels comfortable around someone who is seemingly perfect. No one is going to feel able to share their trials with you, if you never share with them.
- It removes the need for Jesus. If we have it all together, why do we need a Savior?
- It’s a burden and a stress on us. Relief is found in community. There’s comfort in sharing and admitting the truth and receiving help.
Why does it happen?
- It’s a pride thing: We don’t want to be seen as weak.
- We’re afraid: What if we admit to having problems, but there are no solutions? What if the Bible is not enough?
- Watching is our identity, so if we fail, we instantly become a less acceptable human.
- Jesus’ strength and grace is revealed in weakness. We’re not doing the gospel any favors by trying to be perfect ourselves. Instead we’re propagating the lie that humans can be their own saviors.
- Hardships and vulnerabilities make us more approachable.
- If we do not admit to needing help, we are refusing to allow others to demonstrate the love of Jesus.
How do we respond?
- Let’s practice talking about our struggles. This can be hard when we’re used to automatically replying, “I’m good.” But it’s worth it!
- We cultivate humility and dependence on God by admitting to Him that we need help. One way of doing this is praying before every task, however small.
- Let’s repent of our pride and acknowledge that we need Jesus.
Have you ever been tempted to be a saint? I have – and it’s never ended well.
My friends, we are Watchers, not saints, and so let’s not be afraid to fail.
EMILY works in healthcare and believes we are all called to love suffering people, because that’s what Jesus did. She is passionate about equipping and encouraging others to do just that, and is the author of the calledtowatch.com, a website for the family members, friends, spouses, neighbors and co-workers of individuals with chronic illness. There is nothing easy about watching others struggle with chronic illness. In watching, we suffer too. There are two answers, one is community, the other is God. This blog points watchers to both.
Emily also writes at GloryAfterwards and enjoys reading, running, writing fiction and reflecting on life.
Radical hope. Compassionate change. Equipping those affected by chronic physical and mental illness through community and education rooted in Jesus Christ.