6 ways to see yourself as more than a diagnosis.
Doctors diagnosed me with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) about a decade ago and I have been thru most of the treatments, both alternative/natural or Western.
Early on, I joined many support groups both online and in-person and I learned that disease makes a very boring conversation. I also learned that I am not my diagnosis or disease. While the doctors have diagnosed me with a disease, I am not the disease. The disease is something that affects me but it does not define me.
In both my acupuncture and counseling practices I have seen people become their disease. They accept the diagnosis, invite it in and get cozy with it. They structure their lives, friends and conversations around the disease. It is very important to separate yourself from the diagnosis.
You are not your diagnosis or disease! You are a person with gifts, talents, and callings. The world along with your friends and family need you. Here are 6 simple things you can do to see yourself as something other than a disease or diagnosis.
1. Do not own the diagnosis.
While disease can greatly impact our lives, it is the least interesting part of us. We must let the Word of God show us who we are. Our identity in Christ is what defines us, not a diagnosis.
You are a person, not a walking embodiment of disease and disorder. Do not say ‘My disease, My pain, My headache or My cancer.’ Speak life over yourself, “I am loved, I am salt and light, I am chosen, I am appointed to bear good fruit”. Our Heavenly Father spoke the world into existence and what we speak over ourselves is important.
2. Talk less about the disease
Once I separated myself from the RA diagnosis, my friends changed. Friends developed around the conversation of RA did not want to talk about anything else. Conversations that once revolved around pain and limited range of motion no longer interested me. Our world becomes very small if we limit our conversation to disease and disorder. There is much more to discuss in life than disease.
3. See yourself as whole and healthy.
Seeing yourself whole and healthy may seem like a stretch for you but it is a powerful exercise. I visualize myself walking, running and cycling. I make an effort to remember how moving normally feels. Muscle memory is powerful and our bodies easily adapt to physical limitations – it takes work to fight it.
Instead of saying “I am tired and can’t do it”, say “I am going to do my best because I can do all things thru Christ.” I repeat this as I walk thru the parking lot to get into the grocery store or any other place. Before you know it, your thoughts are off of what you think you cannot do and onto The One who ensures that you can do anything.
First Thessalonians 5:23 says that the very God of peace sanctifies us wholly. We are amazing creations and we can do exactly what we think (Proverbs 23:7).
4. Think less about disease and more about others.
Philippians 4:8 says that we are to think about good things. It is very easy for us to become consumed with managing diseases and disorders. We think about our diets, our medication, our supplementation, our energy, our rest, our limitations, our doctor’s appointment, our exercises, and many other disease-related things.
We can easily lose sight that the world does not revolve around us! When thoughts about yourself consume you, start thinking about others. How can you help someone else? Does a friend need to talk about their problems instead of listening to yours? Does your husband need encouragement after a hard day? How can you take the focus off of yourself and put it on to others?
5. Change your vocabulary to eliminate ownership.
This is worth repeating. Stop claiming the diagnosis as yours. When you start agreeing with the diagnosis and owning it by saying, “My pain, My arthritis or my cancer”, you are claiming it as yours. I do not want anything to do with the diagnosis I was given. I have worked hard to separate myself from the disease and to see myself as a whole, healthy person that has a lot to offer.
I never think of myself as a disease. It is very common for well-meaning family and friends to declare things over you that do not speak life. We have to fight for our God-given identity, not our disease-created identity. I have hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11) and so do you! God has good things in store for us and we must believe that. God is good and did not give us a disease!
6. Focus on applying the Word of God to your life.
The Word of God has changed my life. Jesus died so we could overcome the world (1 John 5:4-5) and be healed (Isaiah 53:5). I believe the Word of God, stand on the Word of God and apply it like medicine. It is my Truth and a Light unto my feet.
Healing happens, forgiveness occurs, wounds mends and hearts change as we allow the perfect love of the Father to wash over us.
You are much more than your diagnosis. I see people every day that let their diagnosis define them. Our enemy uses the diagnosis against us by constantly telling us we are the diagnosis and there is no hope for us. Satan is a liar. There is hope for you and His name is Jesus. The word of God is true and healing does happen, I see it every day.