Stuff I Wish You’d Quit Saying: You Don’t Look Sick
“You don’t look sick.”
And you don’t look senseless, still, here we are.
Yeah, that was harsh. I guess, in all fairness too tough as I assume most folks think, “You don’t look sick,” is a compliment.
But, if you are chronically ill or suffering it isn’t a compliment. And I don’t know why because I don’t want to look sick. Truth be told I have said this before to some sufferers. I imagine this topic could’ve been a toss up; I mean if you said, “OH MY GOSH! WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU??? YOU LOOK LIKE YOU MIGHT DIE!”
I might unleash a little snark on you.
But, “You don’t look sick?” has an accusatory tone. Like, “You seem fine? What are you whining about?”
I do have an autoimmune disease, and I do function several degrees below what I deem normal – or where I want to be performing – but for the most part, I don’t look sick. And I have a few friends that have chronic illnesses or chronic pain. I catch myself watching them closely. They aren’t complainers. They are spiritually in tune to their sufferings and the God that carries them through.
I have a beautiful friend who suffers from chronic pain. Xochi E. Dixon has a zeal for God and her people. She champions others who suffer and is a positive role model to those around her. Once in a group, she did candidly discuss her latest treatment option, and someone whispered to me, “What is she talking about? She doesn’t look sick?”
But she is.
She’s terribly injured.
I can recognize the look on her face, the exhaustive effort of being one step ahead of the pain, the importance to her that she encourage God is enough – even in unbearable agony, a monkey on your back, the elephant in the living room… her God puts the glow in her cheeks, the song in her heart, and the sparkle in her eyes.
No one wants to be a whiner. I know I try to avoid always complaining lest my husband begins to scream. However, usually, he can tell by looking at me. Too tired to function, the tender footsteps or the blatant cessation of the use of my right arm, and he may actually say, “Sweetie… not feeling well?”
Granted my hair and makeup might be impeccable. I might laugh or joke with the kids, cackle out a little praise and worship while making a pot of clam chowder. There are tactics, prayers, medicine, and cat napping in the pick-up line at dance class (please, lay off the horn.) But the illness impacts my life exponentially, and I know there will be several who identify with the defeat of being a chronic sufferer.
You don’t look sick.
Comparatively, there are those who are sick and look sick and experience the defeat of not pulling off the masquerade. The somber self-hatred or belief they have yet to achieve the spiritual awakening that would separate them from the pack. That Jesus is further from them, they need only try harder, pray more, sin less.
Certainly, just as there are different levels of illness and pain, there are days or weeks that are harder or easier than others. However, Jesus is consistently Jesus. The blood was enough, the sacrifice worked, and your 3rd and 4th discs maybe slipped, but He is no less or no more to you than anyone. He is all in, He is all yours and He sees you as blameless and perfect.
Furthermore, I beg you to listen, He isn’t teaching you or showing you anything. The devil is the bad news – he roams about seeking to destroy. First on his list, make you believe that Jesus is something He isn’t. Second, make you think you deserve to suffer or that you are being taught something by a bi-polar and wrathful God.
God’s wrath was resolved on Calvary.
Jesus came to heal, bind up the broken hearted, and give you life… ABUNDANTLY.
Unfortunately, words like, “You don’t look sick?” or “God won’t give you more than you can handle!” or “God is teaching you something!” to the sufferer is the damaging seed which flourishes under the category of “God is a horribly abusive parent.”
Reject that lie.
Embrace this truth.
He is crazy about you.
I wish I had known this sooner. A doctor once told me to “embrace this sickness from the Father who gives and takes away.” Only recently did I learn the God who “gives and takes away” was a reference Job made in the throes of his suffering. God didn’t take away from Job? Satan did. And God restored. Furthermore, God allowed Satan to mess with Job but not to teach him anything, but to prove him faithful.
Just because it was in scripture doesn’t mean it was intended to be distributed in any ole’ context.
God is Father. My dad is pretty fantastic, but even when I have needed correction he hasn’t broken my leg or covered me in boils. Those things are straight from the fiery depths. God in His goodness and communion might then walk with us and show us that which is beneficial, but he isn’t on high dishing out fibromyalgia or diabetes. And consequences for our decisions are fully the penalties of our humanness, but just like you wouldn’t chastise a child to the point of needing a wheel chair, God doesn’t teach you by designing destruction.
Stuff people say is just that – people.
And while He doesn’t think you look sick, He knows what you need, what you are missing, and how to help you. The deliverance might not look the way you want on earth, but the God of restoration has only good things planned for those who call on Him.
Ignore the fracas, the pompus, and uninformed… He moves how He moves, He saves how He saves. He is the Alpha Omega and the Great I am. The longer I have been sick, the more I have learned He isn’t in the business of offending or hurting me.
People say stupid stuff. Every word He utters is Love…
He alone knows every detail of what you look like… and He thinks you’re stinking outstanding!
May your floors be sticky and your calling ordained. Love, Jami
Psalm 18:2 (NLT) “The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety.”
Take a minute to read: Three Things Every Christian Must Stop Saying!
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