As the old year ends and the New Year begins, society gears up to welcome in a new period of life. Parties and fireworks are often external signs of our joy and anticipation of a fresh start.
Many of us begin to make New Years resolutions… but the problem is these simply may not be applicable for you or your loved one suffering from a chronic illness.
Chronic illness and the New Year
The most common resolutions may seem:
Unachievable (because you have limited energy):
Learn a new skill or language
Organise your life
Ridiculous (If only you had these problems):
Get a better work/life balance
Only party 1x per week
Heart-breaking (if only you could!):
Be the healthiest you possible
Achieve your dreams
As a result, the New Year period can become depressing rather than stimulating. Chronic illness will not step aside to allow a fresh start, alienating you and your loved one from the rest of the world at the one time of year we all like to practice solidarity (even if it’s only in the lyrics of Auld Lang Syne!)
Oh friends, this is hard.
How to approach the New Year when it includes chronic illness
Consistency is not old-fashioned
There’s nothing wrong with continuing our day to day life! We all like the idea of jump-starting new rituals and revolutionising our lives, but there’s something to be said for consistency. If all you can do this year is maintain day-to-day life that is okay.
Fireworks are ‘overrated’
You don’t have to celebrate the same things as everyone else! It takes courage to accept that your life is different to that of those displayed on social media and the blogosphere, but it is worth it. There is actually plenty of other people whose New Years are not spent partying and perfecting their lives – there are millions in third world countries alone, who are not represented on the TV during this season, and have more important struggles than whether they’ll be able to watch the fireworks. You are not alone.
Whether or not you are looking forward to the coming year, if you trust God as Lord of your life, you have something to celebrate! God walks beside His people, and that does not change, however many times the calendar pages flip over. If you have nothing else to celebrate, you can rejoice in His faithfulness, and His presence. God is good.
When your life is full of struggles and hardships it can be difficult to rejoice in it. My plea is that even if you are ambivalent about this thing called life, stuck in the deepest darkest doldrums or terrified of the future, you will be able to celebrate that you are alive to think thoughts, to breathe, to be a part (however tiny or awful your part may seem) of God’s grand plan for the universe. You are breathing, friend.
We look forward:
Nothing stays the same – this is one of my favourite Truths. 2018 will not be the same as 2017, whether for better or for worse – and this is important. While we are alive, there is hope, because life is a constant state of flux, so look forward.
Years come and go, and ‘newer’ doesn’t necessarily mean ‘better’. Nevertheless, the years are counting down to the Day when Christ will return and all things will be made new. That is a New Year’s Day worth celebrating – and one that you will celebrate in all its glory! So if there are no joyous fireworks in your life right now, hold onto the reality that one Day there will be.
And so practically?
We rejoice as much as we can, and step into the New Year, trusting God with our tears and fears, our joys and our hopes.
// Do you find it easy to celebrate the New Year? Why or why not? Respond in the comments or join the conversation!
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