Hi. My name is Alathia and I struggle with pride.
Honestly, I don’t know a single soul who doesn’t occasionally wrestle with pride.
In the past, I have struggled greatly with over-analyzing my appearance, specifically how I appear to other people.
As a young teen, I craved affirmation and acceptance that I thought would come from outward perfection. Recent circumstances in my life have acted as a harsh slap in the face to remind me that I still hold on to those things too tightly, idolizing an impossible put-together image.
Anyone who has followed my writing for the last few years knows that I have had many complications with my health. Chronic pain has been a part of my life for over two years now. Through the trials that come with that, I have realized my pride more acutely.
Being chronically ill is a battle I wish no one ever had to fight. It drains and takes and ruins. I won’t try to sugarcoat the beast of chronic illness.
I have spent so much time and energy faking smiles, holding back tears, and refusing help because I am both fearful and prideful. I grin and bear it, because I would not have a life otherwise. I have to push though pain on a regular basis to accomplish what others would not dream of attempting while in pain. I know that this is the story of so many individuals who struggle with chronic illness.
We fight, yes.
But that is not the point of my story today.
My point is that it is okay to be broken over painful things.
If this is resonating with you at all, I want you to know that it is okay to feel pain and grieve the loss that it leaves behind. If you feel the pressure of perfection, I want to help you see that it is okay to be affected by pain.
Human beings made in the image of God are blessed with feelings, touched by the fall and tainted by the brokenness of the world. Grief is a natural response to loss.
I have lost so much because of my illness. I have slowly watched many of the things that characterized my life before illness slip away. I have lost the ability to do things I am passionate about. I have lost friends. I have lost time. I have lost energy. And I will grieve the life I lost when I got sick.
But I am oh so grateful that I don’t need to end the story there.
I grieve, but not all is lost.
I hurt, but not forever.
I am often tempted to wallow in despair instead of grieving and accepting the loss I have experienced.
This is when my Savior gently whispers that this is not the end.
Glimpses into promises of purpose and beauty in pain begin to mend my broken heart.
As a Christian, my hope is not in my health. My hope is in a joy that cannot be taken from me. My joy is found is the arms of a loving, personal Savior. The comforts of His presence abound.
Sugarcoating human suffering only robs God of the glory He deserves. He gets the glory when a broken, pained, grieving soul looks up and says that there is still hope because of Christ.
This is why I will not hide behind my mask of pride.
I will not ignore my pain.
I will appropriately grieve my losses.
But I will never be silent about the hope I have despite them.
It’s okay to be shaken, broken, and bruised.
But please, friend, never stay in despair.
…in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him.
For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God
1 Timothy 4:10
But I will hope continually and will praise you yet more and more.