You could say that I’m a wimp. I don’t consider myself much of a fighter, and I try to avoid conflict as much as possible. But after my cancer diagnosis, I began to notice courageous words and phrases such as “the battle against cancer”, “you can fight this”, “working to beat this disease”, and “waging the war on cancer”. Battle. Fight. Beat. War. Strength. Enemy. Brave. Tough. Survivor. Words that didn’t describe or inspire me. And so I began to wonder if I wasn’t going to do well. Right from the start I didn’t feel as if I had the grit and determination to FIGHT this battle I had been given. My lack of fighting instincts actually frightened me. How could I take on all of the aggressive qualities that I needed to be cancer free?
Fortunately, over time I realized that the best way for me to face my cancer is to remain my authentic self. As much as possible, I should live each day as I would normally hope to live- and for me, it is to walk gently on the journey. The qualities that I admire in people- gentleness, humility, peacefulness, kindness and joy- are still the ones I can strive to have. I can continue to eat nutritiously, walk regularly, cherish relationships, remain aware of God’s presence and healing love, appreciate nature’s beauty, explore my creativity, and savor the moments of each day. I can see my cancer simply as an unwelcome guest that will soon be leaving, instead of an enemy to be defeated. The chemotherapy is doing the battle for me. I only have to keep walking the journey and living each day as abundantly and as healthfully as possible.
We can see how God created all living things with unique gifts to thrive in this world. Animals may have keen eyesight, the ability to fly or run swiftly, sharp claws, camouflaged bodies, or protective shells. Trees and plants may have strong limbs, protective thorns, or flexible stems. Each quality helps all of nature to endure the adversities that life brings.
God has given each of us unique gifts for thriving in this world, too. When we face troubles or adversity of any kind, we have an opportunity to truly discover our authentic selves and our unique gifts. The qualities we would like to emulate can be tested and strengthened as we endure and overcome our troubles. Whatever trouble we face, we can hone our personal integrity by discovering and letting our true selves shine. Is patience one of your strengths? Perhaps you will find it helpful when trials seem unending. Are you optimistic? You may be able to find the bright side of this trouble you’re facing. Do you wish to be more kind? Even in our trials, we can find opportunities to bless others.
We do know that when we encounter trouble- even if we use our unique qualities- we may not be able to control our outcome. But we are making the best of each moment we are given. We are living with the integrity of being the person God created us to be. I’d rather live this one day as my true self than to live a long but inauthentic, unfulfilling life. Wouldn’t you?
I hope you treasure this day as you savor each moment of blessing or trial; discovering who God created you to be, and living as your true, authentic self.