2 Cor 12 (Diabetes Burnout Ch 11, Made to Crave Ch 10)

2 Corinthians 12

English Standard Version (ESV)

Paul’s Visions and His Thorn

12 I must go on boasting. Though there is nothing to be gained by it, I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord. I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows. And I know that this man was caught up into paradise—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows— and he heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter. On behalf of this man I will boast, but on my own behalf I will not boast, except of my weaknesses— though if I should wish to boast, I would not be a fool, for I would be speaking the truth; but I refrain from it, so that no one may think more of me than he sees in me or hears from me. So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations,[a] a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Concern for the Corinthian Church

11 I have been a fool! You forced me to it, for I ought to have been commended by you. For I was not at all inferior to these super-apostles, even though I am nothing. 12 The signs of a true apostle were performed among you with utmost patience, with signs and wonders and mighty works. 13 For in what were you less favored than the rest of the churches, except that I myself did not burden you? Forgive me this wrong!

14 Here for the third time I am ready to come to you. And I will not be a burden, for I seek not what is yours but you. For children are not obligated to save up for their parents, but parents for their children. 15 I will most gladly spend and be spent for your souls. If I love you more, am I to be loved less? 16 But granting that I myself did not burden you, I was crafty, you say, and got the better of you by deceit. 17 Did I take advantage of you through any of those whom I sent to you? 18 I urged Titus to go, and sent the brother with him. Did Titus take advantage of you? Did we not act in the same spirit? Did we not take the same steps?

19 Have you been thinking all along that we have been defending ourselves to you? It is in the sight of God that we have been speaking in Christ, and all for your upbuilding, beloved. 20 For I fear that perhaps when I come I may find you not as I wish, and that you may find me not as you wish—that perhaps there may be quarreling, jealousy, anger, hostility, slander, gossip, conceit, and disorder. 21 I fear that when I come again my God may humble me before you, and I may have to mourn over many of those who sinned earlier and have not repented of the impurity, sexual immorality, and sensuality that they have practiced.

 

This passage keeps coming to me this month!  Over and over again, I am reminded that it is NOT my strength, but HIS that gets me through.  His grace is sufficient for me.  It sweeps over me as I choose to make healthy choices (like checking my glucose levels, playing with my son, eating freshly popped popcorn instead of chocolate) and face the battles present in my life.

Made to Crave Chapter 10 was about facing food temptations.  Oh, as a person with Diabetes, do I face food temptations!  Not only do I face the limitations of limited carbohydrate content, I also face the limitations of a slow metabolism and a life-long struggle with weight.  At Christmas, I faced sweet temptation after sweet temptation.  And I ate MOST of them!  It is so hard to say no to chocolate, home-made cookies and pies, Calico Bean Casserole, chocolate (again), cake…Oh so hard!  My son’s 1st birthday is next week, and we are having cake on Sunday.  Guess what I probably won’t be able to turn down?  Hopefully I can talk my will power into just a tiny piece.

Lysa writes that “Temptation doesn’t take kindly to being starved.”  So true!  It keeps rearing it’s ugly face!  It reminds me of how many times before I have failed!  It tells me, “you’re not strong enough and you know it.”  “You deserve that piece of chocolate, because you had so few sweets as a child!”  “Just one piece of cake won’t hurt you.  Heck, two pieces won’t hurt you either!”  Or how about these:  “You don’t need to check your glucose level.  It will just make you feel rotten.  If you know what your level is, you won’t want to eat that cake, so let’s just keep ourselves in the dark.”  Or “Just take extra insulin and you’ll be fine.”

I am made for more that that!  I am made for God’s power to shine through the circumstances in my life!  I am made to glorify Him!  Lord, help me to cling to you when I feel weakest!  When I want to stuff my face, may I fill my heart, mind, and soul with your Word, with your presence, with your PEACE!

It is so easy to write that prayer, and so hard to live it!  I desire to live it, and yet I struggle.

I have struggled for so long: not only with my weight, but with having diabetes.  Polonsky writes of this cyclic struggle in Diabetes Burnout in chapter 11.

Did you know that the average person has a 5% risk of experiencing major depression?  And did you know that the typical Type 1 OR Type 2 diabetic has a 15% chance of experiencing that same major depression?  Milder forms of depression thrown into the mix make it 25-30% of people with diabetes facing some form of depression.  Of that group, approximately 80% of them will have multiple recurrences of depression (Polonsky 117).  Well this explains a lot!

Elevated glucose levels over time create fatigue and lack of motivation, and it is just a downward spiral to depression from there.  “The ongoing emotional struggle of coping with [chronic illness] can also lead to depression.  When you feel that you are constantly failing with your diabetes, when you feel hopeless in the face of long-term complications, when you feel alone with diabetes, these are all feelings that can lead to diabetes burnout and, eventually, depression” (Polonsky 118-119).

Of those who are both suffering from depression and diabetes, less than one-third of them are actually diagnosed and treated for depression.  Seriously?  That’s just not right!  I am so thankful for Dr. Karas, and the time I was able to be her patient!  Truly, I am sad I moved away from where her practice is.  She saw the struggle with depression and diabetes, and her patients had support and encouragement from her and from support groups!

In hindsight, I have probably struggled with depression since I was 12 or 13.  I was afraid of how I was feeling though, and never spoke up.  I never knew how to reach out.  I knew I was struggling, and I even struggled with suicidal thoughts on and off over the years.

All of that pales though when I look at the emotional mess that formed on December 3, 1999.  That is the day my younger sister chose to end her life.  Erin died by suicide that day, and I was out of town.  I didn’t get home and find out until the next day.  Talk about spiraling into depression and out of self-care, and this is the situation it happens.

For years, I would struggle with grief, self-image, self-care in every sense of the word, emotions, depression, suicide, relationships….you name it, I struggled with it.  Except drugs.  Drugs never played a role in my tool box of coping skills.  Alcohol did though.  Definitely NOT good to be a heavy drinker and a diabetic.  Trust me on that one.

I have been in and out of counseling over the years.  I miss my sessions with Kate.  She is a fantastic counselor!  She also works with Dr. Karas to provide support for a number of women who are diabetic.  I have been on and off anti-depressants over the years.  My most recent struggle has been post-partum depression.  I love being a mom.  But, being a mom and being diabetic has its challenges.  So, I am taking the anti-depressants again.  I think I will just stay on them this time.  I hate the roller coaster ride of depression, so I would rather just keep my chemicals balanced from the get-go.

Since we have moved, I do need a new support network of doctors and eventually a counselor.  I am starting with the doctors.  You all know I meet my new endocrinologist the first week of February.  I’d like to ask her about a support group or who she recommends for counseling/therapy.  Maybe the clinic has something and someone in place already.

Well, this is a lot to take in.  These two chapters were pretty hefty for me, and probably hefty for you as the reader of my reflections on them!  Thank you for letting me share my struggles and my battles with you.  Somehow, I don’t feel as alone as I did before.

James 1:2-4

Testing of Your Faith

Count it all joy, my brothers,[b] when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

 

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