Stop. {Day 2} (And opinions, please.)

{Jason and I eating take-out and playing cards with Shelly and George.}

Hello, sweet friends.

Here is Day 2 of the devotional I’m writing for the newly diagnosed.

And if you have no idea what I’m talking about, read this first: Preface and Day 1.

Blessings,

Dabney

{Day 2}

“Can any of you add a single hour to your life by worrying?”

~ Matthew 6:27 NLT

Stop.

This is what I wish someone would have told me to say during my down days, to audibly utter the word, “Stop” when I sank into sadness.

Here’s why.

We can often get discouraged when we obsess over what’s wrong. In moments like this we should try to silence the negativity swirling in our head. For instance, try to avoid calculating how many more months of treatment we need to undergo before our health rebounds, and replace this with ways to focus on the positive that’s happened so far.

(I know. What I’m saying doesn’t sound easy. Trust me. I’d also want to send the petite blonde a not-so-nice email at this point, too. But read on and see if this perspective helps.)

Maybe you have completed your first round of chemo, or you just got out of the hospital after surgery. In place of saying, “I have five more months until I feel better,” say, “One treatment’s done!” or, “My surgery is over! Hallelujah. I’m glad that’s behind me.”

Even if you were diagnosed yesterday, thank the Lord you have figured out why you’ve battled fatigue or pain or whatever odd symptom no other doctor could explain. You now have answers.

Any progress is key.

We all have days where our circumstances seem insurmountable. This is a normal, human feeling. So give yourself permission to question at first. Actually, take five minutes and pull out some paper or your journal and dump everything in your head as a prayer to God. I mean, write out all of your questions, your concerns, and theories you need to purge, along with any ounce of negativity. Get it out. This will help you to say “stop” the next time, because you’ve physically handed it over to Him.

Next, try something new, like traveling a different route in your town, taking the long drive into the office, or even your neighborhood. These small changes offer a change of scenery. Just try to do something different today. Live for the next 24 hours the best way you know how, remembering that worrying only depletes your time and energy.

Another suggestion is to contact that friend or church-member who keeps offering to help. You know the one. She repeats things like, “If you need anything, call me.” That’s who you reach out to unapologetically.

I often cringed at the idea of reaching out to people when I was sick because I felt like I was burdening them. That is until a sweet co-worker told me how much she wanted to help, yet didn’t know how. She gave me permission to ask and wondered why I hadn’t taken her up on the offer sooner?

Learn from my mistakes: Your friends may not know how to help if you don’t share your needs with them. Speak up, and fill them in on ways they can bless you this week to help silence your concerns. Maybe admit that today really would be a good day to have a change of scenery. If you can walk along the beach, the harbor, or some type of natural area, get out of the house and do something different. Visit a butterfly garden, or see a silly movie, complete with popcorn and dark chocolate, or any other out-of-the-ordinary activity.

And if you’re in a treatment center like I was for five weeks, and you can’t leave the hospital, then call a friend to bring the adventure to you. Ask them to throw a tea party in your room, even if you’re only sipping an herbal hibiscus concoction, and nibbling saltine crackers. Or if your doctor ordered complete isolation for now, call a friend, find an online support group, listen to an optimistic podcast, or an inspiring YouTuber who brings hope. Whatever your situation is, make the most of it by inviting someone into your healing journey.

Today, allow yourself to celebrate the good moments in life by hushing your mind with a, “Stop” when it starts tabulating the negative. Then try reprogramming your feelings with the positive.

When we focus on the uplifting things in life, surround ourselves with those faith-filled friends, and we do something wildly outrageous, our emotions change.

Try it and see.

I have a sneaky suspicion you’ll find that this verse in Matthew 6:27 rings true as you live, laugh, and make the most of the hours, instead of wasting them.

 

{On the next page, you’ll find suggestions to email to friends.}

 

Suggestions for Your Friends:

A Former Professional Patient encouraged me to unashamedly email this list of suggestions to you because you’ve mentioned if there is anything you could do, to ask. So, I’m asking for support, even though this is uncomfortable. Having you here lifts my spirit. If you have time today, or even this week, would you pick one of these adventures to cheer me?

  • Herbal Tea Party, complete with lighting a therapeutic candle, listening to a fun playlist, and sharing a plate of organic fruit (unless my white count is low)
  • Grab a few more encouraging friends to play 5 Crowns, Spades, Ticket to Ride, Scrabble, The Settlers of Catan (without the Robber) or Wits and Wagers
  • Walk on the beach, mountainside, shaded park, along the harbor, or take me on a long car drive to sightsee
  • Have a picnic, even if it’s in my front lawn or in your neighbor’s cabana
  • Visit a butterfly garden, a museum, an aquarium, or a free festival listed in the event section of the newspaper
  • Rent a comical movie and snack on popcorn and dark chocolate
  • Drive me to the mall so I can buy new makeup, or help me find a baseball cap
  • Plan a spa day either at home, or take a trip to the nail salon for manicures/pedicures, or let’s splurge on a massage (if doctor approved)
  • Watch a ballgame or fish from the pier
  • Watch a trilogy or a fun sitcom together
  • Watch the stars, sunset, or the sunrise
  • Make a meal together, order takeout, bake a cake, or grill our favorite meat/veggies
  • Drive me to a beautiful destination
  • Surprise me
  • Or if you can’t make it, can you drop off a pass-the-time bag, maybe with one or two of the following items: a crossword puzzle, magazine, your favorite candle, soft socks, healthy snacks, flavored bubbly water, or anything that brings a smile to your face? I’m sure whatever you like, I’ll like, too.

 

Today, I’d like to get away from my routine, and try something out of the ordinary. Will you help me celebrate the little things? Maybe remind me that this will pass? I just want to feel somewhat normal. If you have time, this change of routine would mean the world to me.

Thank you.

 

{Excerpt taken from The 30-Day-Devotional for the Newly Diagnosed, from (Former) a

Professional Patient}

What one sentence do you need to say, “Stop” when you hear it?

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Pray and ask God who you should reach out to today:

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

“The reality is that our emotions are a byproduct of the way we think. What’s

good about this news is that we can change our thinking.”

                     ~ Jennie Allen, Get Out of Your Head

 

 

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.

Today has enough trouble of its own.”

~ Matthew 6:34 NLT

 

 

“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.”

~ Isaiah 41:10 NLT

 

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As I said before, if you take the time to share a helpful tip on how to improve this devo, I’d love to include your name in the acknowledgment section of this book.

My heart is full. Love you all!

In His hands,

Dabney

  1. Brenda says:

    I love your suggestions!
    Your post is so uplifting…
    Thanks for sharing.

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