“Fall seven times, get up eight.”
“Though the just fall seven times, they rise again, but the wicked stumble from only one mishap.” Proverbs 24:16
The hard part of living a Christian life isn’t when we make mistakes or find ourselves struggling. It’s regaining the will to try again. We live in a society that sells this illusion of unattainable perfection, that we can’t let anyone see our problems or else end up being mocked and ridiculed or worse, written off as a lost cause.
But this particular station shows us that as human beings, we are bound to fall down at one point or another. Sometimes, we fall constantly. But the important part is getting back up again. Having perseverance and the conviction to press on in spite of the constant struggles and trials that we face isn’t easy.
It’s especially hard for those who have anxiety, depression, or a disease that can’t be cured overnight such as fibromyalgia or MS. People who have mental illnesses, neurological disorders, and chronic diseases are often looked down upon by society as being weak and not normal.
This particular station, however, reminds us that, like Jesus, these supposed outcasts are just as human as everyone else. When I was in college, I started having anxiety attacks whenever I found myself in highly stressful situations. I struggled to understand my anxiety for years and I’m still trying to figure out how I can present myself as “normal” when everyone around me wants to define me by what many considered to be a “liability.”
Whenever I have an anxiety attack, my mind becomes an ocean, creating wave after wave of negative thoughts, lies about myself, and temptations of having an attitude of self-pity. As much as society praises people who are supposed pictures of perfection, there’s also a good portion of the world that loves to give attention to victims who thrive on self-pity. There are so many people who blame the world, blame society, blame people for putting them into unfortunate circumstances.
It’s so easy to be a victim because it gets attention. But I didn’t want to be a victim. Instead of giving into my desire to nurse my self-pity, I found a group of friends of young adults who also had anxiety and learned a lot of good things from them. I learned more about what caused my anxiety. I learned ways to deal with my attacks by practicing some grounding exercises. There are a lot of grounding exercises out there, but my personal favorite is prayer.
I always went into prayer whenever I had an anxiety attack. Even if my prayer was something as small as “Jesus, I need you right now,” it made a big difference. My prayer for this particular station is for all those who struggle with a mental disability or illness, neurological disorders such as autism, and chronic illnesses. I pray for people like me who struggle with anxiety. I also pray that the world will have more compassion towards those who don’t obviously have everything altogether.
1.What kind of “chronic issues” are you dealing with? Are you constantly anxious? How do you think God can help you with these chronic issues?
2.People with chronic illnesses often identify with the sufferings of Jesus, saying that it’s their cross. While the sufferings from chronic illnesses are a great testimony of Christ Crucified, how can they also represent strength?