The Silver Lining

the silver lining of irritable bowel disease

In a small part of my heart, I have joy for my irritable bowel disease.

Radical thinking, I know. Bear with me. 

It’s a small little compartment, but it’s there. Romans 8:28 says that God works all things together for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose. 

As a child of God, I get to live with the awesome reality that my life is perfectly written: the ultimate cinematic feature with its own twists and turns. In any great film, typically the protagonist encounters a trial of some sort. We, as the audience, embrace their conflict because it draws us into a relatable character and provides a compelling story in which we hope for the best in the end. 

The cool part about my story? It’s not really my story at all, but about just how freaking awesome God is at redeeming the scariest plot twists of our own cinematic features. Learn more about my Crohn’s story here.

What Started It All

Furthermore, self discipline has been a personal prayer of mine since I entered college. It was during my  senior year that I slowly faded back into some bad habits. World War Lazy had begun. The snooze button became the bane of my existence. Procrastination crept into all of my assignments like a weed. Every time I tried to overcome it or destroy it at the root, procrastination would pop up somewhere else. I. was. lazy. 

My prayer has remained unchanged since graduation, “Lord, help me to be more self-disciplined. I yearn to take better care of myself and to have a well balanced life.” 

As the responsibilities grew and life continued, my anthem prayer became louder. Adulthood was knocking at the door. Any sort of accountability I had at college was now gone. It was time to let adulthood in and face it head on.

And Then I Failed. Miserably.

I really did try! Just like all of my attempts to do a push up. I tried to push the earth away, but the earth refused to relinquish its grasp on my body.  I would just lay on the floor face down. A stubborn and proud mess. I genuinely thought I could take on the world and adult like a champ. After running into the wall countless times, bitterness towards God began to sink in. I shut Him out for a time. The fellowship with my Savior began to dwindle along with my self discipline. The illusion of control held firmly in my grasp. 

“Lord, help me to be more self disciplined.”

Little did I know, God would answer that prayer by way of a chronic and incurable illness. Irritable bowel disease at it’s finest. Move over, Job. 

Serious symptoms began to pop up all over my body. These symptoms instilled a lot of fear in me. This fear began to weaken my supposedly firm grasp on control. God was slowly breaking down the walls of my pride. I found myself sobbing on the bathroom floor during the darkest hour. All the control I had on my life slipping through my fingers.

Moving Forward

I began to question the alternative. “Do I continue on this fools errand for control?” or “Do I relinquish my life, truly, genuinely, into the hands of my Creator?” Jesus commands us to perform the latter in Matthew 16:24. It was at that moment that I sought to deny myself control over my life. This is the complete opposite of what our culture teaches us.

I started to seek him more earnestly and with desperation. Therefore, Crohn’s strengthened my relationship with God as I began to lean on Him when I had nothing left. Through the pain, He was showing His faithfulness, pursuit, unconditional love for me.

Not only that, Crohn’s forced me to change my lifestyle for the better. I now have to be aware of everything I eat. I keep a food journal handy and plan my meals. It forced me to give up foods and habits I wanted to remove from my life for awhile. It challenged me in ways I never would have encountered otherwise. I had to start taking supplements and vitamins. Food is now a fuel/medicine, not just means of satisfying a craving.

I now have a better understanding of my body that a lot of other 24 year olds don’t possess. God has granted me wisdom about how to best take care of my body. I now have a deeper appreciation for how God designed my body to take on my irritable bowel disease like a BOSS.

How often do we view our bodies as temples and to be aware of everything we put inside them? Valuing one’s body is clearly an important topic for me so you will definitely see more posts on the topic.

The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m a work in progress. I still have really tough days where peanut butter m&m’s and Velveeta cheese packets cloud my judgment. 

And there are still some days where the abdominal pain screams louder than the progress. But overall, I’ve come a long way in my self care journey and in my relationship with God. 

All thanks to Him, who can redeem even the poopiest of stories …pun intended.

Is there a part of your life that God has redeemed? Are there any aspects of your life you would consider blessings in disguise? What are your peanut butter m&ms? I would love to hear your stories in the comment section!