I read an article the other day that I felt the urge to share and comment on. It points out how subjective people can be when viewing another’s “invisible disability”. It’s almost as if someone has severe chronic-pain they should constantly live downcast, bed-ridden and barely existent lives. The article revolves around a lady that is denied disability because of her social media account as it revealed that in their subjective opinion she did not look sick enough. I am not naïve-I’m sure there is more to it than what is revealed in this short article. However, I believe this argument goes beyond just denied disability. We as a society have become so dependent on social media as counting that as the accurate depiction of someone’s life. I have personally experienced this with people thinking oh you must be doing better because you have make-up on and look really happy in your pictures! What?? It’s funny because if you honestly think about your social media account(s), do you think they accurately depict the total version of your life? Personally I know that I put up the best photos where my make-up looks on point, my hair looks great and my child looks like she dresses perfect 365 days a year with no stains and perfect hair. We don’t want everyone to know about our acne, crazy hair days and the stank attitude we just got from our toddler while putting on said outfit. Oh and God forbid any one find the pictures of our stained outfits with our “fat pants” on. Come on, you know you have all had them at one point or another!! We put our best foot or “face” forward on social media. It’s just like that happy couple you see on social media with loving romantic pictures where you wish you were them with status’ about how their spouse is the best in the world. Then out of the blue you see they are divorced. You never know the truth behind the veil of social media. I know for me, if I was truly honest with my Facebook status, almost every couple of days it would say “Feeling like a dump truck just ran over my back; Can barely get out of bed today, but I’m trying to fake it until I make it for my family since things still need to get done; My left arm is still swollen and I barely got sleep because it hurt so bad all night, but it’s all good.” However, no one…let me repeat…NO ONE…wants to read that everyday. They want to read-“I climbed a mountain today! I conquered such and such! I am happy and wonderful!” You know what I mean. I totally get it. I don’t want to read the negative all the time either. I’m right there with it. On the other hand, I do want to know when my friends need prayer, are going through a hard time, etc. But, you get the difference I’m sure. The honesty of our lives is not on display on social media and somewhat for good reason.
This same principle applies to when people view you out in public. I think for friends, family, acquaintances, etc. it gets hard to understand unless you have personally gone through it. There are times when it looks like you are doing excellent yet you are really dying inside. You desperately want life to continue on unscathed for those you love or even just for friends to not feel like they are at a disadvantage when they are with you so you try to overdo what you know you can. Then you are the one who has to lay in bed for days or go in a room by yourself and cry quietly because the pain is overwhelming. Those are the lonely times no one sees. Those are the times no one will understand except those who are going through it or who have been through it.
Pain is a balancing act that has to be mastered and continually re-mastered. It doesn’t go away no matter how much you “will” it away. That has been one of my biggest struggles. I don’t want to have live downcast in a cave somewhere because of it though. I also don’t want to live that way just because it will convince someone I am in severe pain. It is crazy that our society works that way with invisible illnesses. The way I see it is if I live a life the way some of the world expects and always live bed-ridden and looking sick I could be living for human approval instead of God’s approval. I could instead choose to take advantage of some of the good days I have and use some of the strong-will/power God has given me to persevere in order to live out my purpose. I know God has a bigger plan for me in all of this. I am not broken in my spirit. I just heard the song by Hawk Nelson “Live Like You’re Loved” yesterday. The lines “So go ahead and be who He made you to be; Live like you’re loved” really resonated. It’s just a reminder of the verse Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'” He knew this would happen to any of us that are effected by any invisible illness. He still has plans for a bright, hopeful future where you prosper through Him. No matter how the world views you or may judge you, please don’t let it discourage you. God knows your true heart and struggles. He is there to lift your spirits and hear your cries when nothing will relieve what you’re going through. Christ loves us more than we will ever begin to understand so our struggles and pain do not fall on deaf ears. Find your comfort in the true comforter who understands all struggles even if the world does not.
Article mentioned in text: http://fibromyalgia.newlifeoutlook.com/spoonie-denied-disability/?utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=Social