It is a difficult thing to feel hopeful and positive when we feel poorly in our physical bodies.
However, feeling "bad" is not an excuse for hopelessness.
This was a hard lesson for me to learn when I first started feeling the physical effects that would later be diagnosed as fibromyalgia.
My body was in so much pain that I was grumpy, cold and harsh to others. In the beginning, I saw no reason to push myself to be pleasant. It just took too much energy.
I've learned, though, that Jesus would not have me live that way. I don't want to be a grouchy, cantankerous person.
I want to be happy, positive and easy to live with.
I want to be this way, not just for those who have to live with me, but for myself.
When we are filled with negative thoughts, harsh judgments and bitterness, we are only causing further damage to our physical body. God did not make our bodies to harbor these emotions.
Medical science has proven that angry bitter people are more prone to illnesses and will stay sicker longer than those who have a positive outlook on life.
Unfortunately, some of the most negative people I have ever met have been my fellow Christians. Sadly, sometimes, I have numbered myself with them.
Paul gives us the secret to moving beyond our feelings – whether they are emotional or physical – in this short little verse:
Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. Philippians 4:11
To live out this verse, it is necessary to believe that everything in our life is allowed by God – on purpose, and to trust that He can work it all out for our good.
This includes our physical ailments. God can and will use them to make us more like His Son, if we submit our will to His.
It is not an easy thing to be in physical pain, especially when that pain lasts for many hours a day, or when it is uncontrolled by medications or is especially severe.
Sometimes it is necessary to draw away from others to rest ourselves, to be alone with God and to regain our perspective. Sometimes, we just need to take some medication or herbal remedy and sleep. We need to take care of our bodies as best we can.
When we leave the sick room, though, or when others come to visit us there, we can be pleasant. We can be positive in our words. We can point others to our God Who is helping us through our pain.
Often, hope is a very positive emotion that is birthed from very negative circumstances.
We can hope in God's plan for our life, even when that plan includes pain, in spite of our feelings.
Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope.