To set the record straight, I need to have full disclosure about my own personal process with pain. I do have chronic pain, but not to the degree that most people who struggle with chronic pain do. I have experienced enough to think about it a lot, learn a ton, and grow in some ways I would never be able to grow otherwise.
The things I have learned I would not trade to have a pain free-existence. I have learned to look on others with compassion that I can only know from what it feels like to hurt. To see others’ pain through my own is something to be treasured indeed. Do I envy those who seem to bounce through life unaffiliated by nothing except regular stuff like the common cold? Yeah, I really do. There are days I feel like calling “Uncle” to God, and saying “I’ve had enough, I get it”. But then I remember
Mostly I know that dealing with pain has taught me to think less of myself. Not in an unhealthy self esteem-ish way, but to lay aside pain when it gets in the way of caring for the needs of my family. I might hurt, but my kids still have to eat. I might be tired, but the laundry still needs to be folded. I may just want to lay down and read a book, but Isabelle wanting to play Guess Who? is much more important than me reading at that moment.
Caring for myself is a priority, but putting my needs and wants above those around me isn’t an option.
The entitlement mentality when you are sick or in pain is a very dangerous thing indeed. The “Me first” way of living begins to unravel quickly when you are married, have young kids, or have anyone depending on you for anything.
Having said all of that, do I put my needs above those of my family? Yep. Almost every day. I need to constantly keep myself in check, and with God’s help, keep my life and pain in perspective of His plan and purpose for me. I’m not perfect, but I’m learning and growing every day.