Do you Identify Yourself as a Disease?

Our identity is very unique, each of us has a different way of identifying who we are.  People who have suffered or have gone through a challenging illness sometimes let that experience define who they are. They let the experience take ownership of their identity even though they are completely symptom free of the illness.  Eric Nelson, a syndicated writer, a Christian Science Practitioner and colleague, shares his own spiritual insight on how to redefine who we are and how we see ourselves.  Perhaps our focus has to move from the challenge of the cross to the freedom and joy of the renewal of life.  Join me and read what Eric has to say about life and identity from a spiritual perspective 

checklist glow images sig“Get down off your cross.”

Harsh words, perhaps, especially when you consider that the one who said them is a longtime hospital chaplain, and the woman she was speaking to had just learned that a year after going through chemotherapy, she was still cancer-free.

“Within two minutes, she started retelling the story of her diagnosis and her surgery and her chemo, even though as her chaplain I saw her every day,” recounted Debra Jarvis, an ordained minister affectionately known as “The Irreverent Reverend,” during last year’s TEDMED conference. “She was using words like suffering, agony, struggle. And she ended her story with, ‘I felt crucified.’”

It was then that Jarvis asked this woman to do what would likely require more of her than anything she’d done before: “Get down off your cross.”

Something Jarvis has observed during her many years working in an oncology care unit is the tendency to “identify ourselves by our wounds,” as “survivors” of something that, although significant, does not and should not define us. “What if people decided to claim their trauma as an experience, instead of taking it on as an identity?” she said. “Maybe it would be the end of being trapped in our wounds and the beginning of an amazing self-exploration and discovery and growth. Maybe it would be the start of defining ourselves by who we have become and who we are becoming.”

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Kate is interested in sharing blogs about the impact of prayer and spirituality on our health written by her colleagues.  As a Christian Science practitioner, Kate has experienced the power of prayer in her life as well as in the lives of others.  She is the media and legislative contact for Christian Science in Maryland. Kate can be contacted through Twitter @CScomMaryland and email at: maryland@compub.org