I had to admit this cancer happened while I was in charge. Searching for more truth, the question that came up first was “Why?” “Why did cancer happen to me?”
Now I have done some research on how the brain works and I know if a question is posed, the brain will try to answer it even if it’s a wrong answer or self-damaging. Asking “why” for life-questions seems self-defeating. It will lead down paths of shame, guilt, and blame. Either you will blame yourself for cancer or someone else. While there might be truth in finding this out, how helpful will it be in the short term? If you have cancer, working to fight back is imperative! It might feel better to blame someone or something, but it won’t help your outcome.
Let’s skip the “Why” question because you wouldn’t go up to someone who just learned they had cancer and ask them why they got it, would you? I decided, no, I wouldn’t. It’s hurtful and detrimental to healing. So why risk asking myself this question? It’s rude and disrespectful. I didn’t want to be “that person” to me or anyone else. Remember The Golden Rule: Treat others the way you want to be treated. If you would not like someone to say negative comments to you, don’t do it to yourself.
Mark 12:30-31 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.
Did you read the end part of that? …As thyself. It does not mean getting an ego and becoming obnoxious. It is simply taking care of the person God made you to be. Take care of your body, heart, mind, soul, and strength. The “heart” is your emotions. I had the opportunity to learn this year. God gave me the word for my year: ABIDE. I have witnessed Him showing me, literally taking me by the hand and leading me in how to abide in Him.
A better question to ask is “How did this happen?” Now the brain can work objectively with this. It can take out and examine the psychological, mental, physiological, environmental, genetic, nutritional, and any other factors that might be at play here. By asking this, I could maintain my dignity as a creature that God made, instead of tearing down the creation of God. Asking this question helped me to alleviate the shame and guilt that the “why” question brings. I could take out the problem and examine it without emotions this way.
The answers were a combination of these things that set cancer in a progressive mode. Stress is usually one of the main players. I asked most of the people at Hope 4 Cancer Clinic in Tijuana when I was there for two and a half months if they had any stressful situations before they had cancer. Each one did have a major stress event(s) before their diagnosis. Pressure is a factor that will contribute to cancer growth if it is allowed to stay in the game. What we do with these pressures is important. Directly addressing these circumstances was vital too. Asking myself questions about the emotions that I was feeling, and why I was feeling them helped. Writing them down and examining them opened some doors for me to step through.
When shame was exposed and brought to the surface, I was able to scrape it off. It was a tool used as a catalyst to effect changes in my behavior, emotions, thinking, and spirituality. Shame was a signal to me that I needed desperately to change my ways.
Remember who the accuser of the brethren is: Satan. He loves to keep us in a panic or being filled with shame and fear, which renders us in an unusable state for the kingdom of God.
God does not accuse us. He brings truth and His Spirit convinces us that we need to repent of things. God is wanting us to turn to Him at these times. Inquiring in His presence about what to do next. He never promised us that we would not suffer. He never said everything will always turn out for our preferred good, but for our best (in the long run) and for His glory.
If cancer needed to be there to help me turn my life around, then cancer was for my best.
Guilt usually follows closely behind or at the same time as shame. Guilt says “I did something wrong, and now I have to pay”
Guilt: the fact of having committed a specified or implied offense or crime.
Are you guilty of the crime of getting cancer? Did you willingly commit an offense against your body? Did you really want to cause this cancer? “NO!” Not usually on purpose! Even though slowly creating habits over time that might be detrimental to health, is a factor, usually, there is some deeper reason for allowing these habits to come in. I had to examine this too.
The guilt exists as soon as a crime is committed. Guilt renders a person a debtor to the law, as it binds him to pay a penalty in money or suffering.
If I am guilty then I must pay for my crime. I have witnessed a few people do this with their cancer. And maybe they are guilty, I don’t know. But my experience has taught me that cancer comes as an affliction that points to a better way: like treating myself better; talking to myself with love and not disgust or condemning, or being critical of my body for its shortcomings. In these things, I have been guilty. In Psalm 139 God talks about making me. He has a different opinion than I did. Having a negative opinion of myself, hurt me. I choose now to fall in line with God’s opinion of me, even if I don’t feel it.
Operating from guilt is a fruitless war. It is meant for destruction and not for victory.
James 1:2-8 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire wanting nothing. If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.
I choose to believe that God loves me, so when trials come, I’m on His side and we can work together. That does require faith.
If I’m not guilty then who is? “Someone has to pay for this crime!” This is usually the next phase if not part of the first phase. Blame is as old as the first story in the bible. When questioned by God, Adam blamed the woman that God gave him. Blame sees our side only. Blame says, “I don’t want the punishment, I have to find someone else to blame!” whether it is right or wrong, whether we are trying to avoid shame and guilt and the extreme penalties to be paid.
From Brene Brown’s book: RISING STRONG
“In research terms, we think about blame as a form of anger used to discharge discomfort or pain. The shame-blame combo is so common because we’re desperate to get out from underneath the pain of shame, and we see blame as a quick fix.”
Blame rarely works to save face. It takes no courage to blame another person. It usually makes the blamer look pretty ridiculous from everyone else’s perspective. But we usher it in to help us feel better about ourselves in the very short term; but in the long term, it brings guilt and shame to camp out in our head space. Blame doesn’t take responsibility for its actions. Blame thinks it’s so much easier to blame someone else.
Can you blame someone or something for your cancer? Possibly. There might come to the surface of your research a culprit that caused cancer. But my experience has taught me, that I’ve had a hand in this also. I still have a responsibility to myself to search my heart for my part in it.
· It could be something that happened to me at any time in my life that opened a door in my mental or emotional areas.
· I didn’t know I could set up boundaries or my boundaries were not there, or had fallen, or were broken through, my defenses were down
· I let my peace go and gave myself over to fear
· I sat down in unforgiveness and resentment and camped out there.
· I gave over my control, peace, and joy to something or someone else. (Again, no boundaries)
· Or I thought I was a god and gave of myself until I had nothing left. So, now I could blame those whom I served. (I did this, and have met many other cancer patients that did the same.)
And the list goes on…
Ephesians 4:31-32 Let all bitterness, and wrath and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: and be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.
(If God forgives you, why hold onto it?)
Do you think God expects this from you, but accepts your evil speaking, having anger, and/or bitterness towards yourself? Now, after reading this I don’t think it pleases Him.
I arrived at another biggie: FEAR. I allowed fear to dictate my life. I sought to appease fear with sacrifices that he gobbled up ravenously and still wanted more. Yes, sacrifices. I sacrificed my peace, my relationships, and my joy to fear. I paid dearly for this. Fear has no mercy.
I had been afraid of facing all of this.
I had hidden like Adam and Eve when they knew they did something wrong. Hiding felt right at the time. But it did nothing to help me. I had to come out from behind the barricade. I had to face the light. I had to admit my shame, guilt, blame, and fear and then had to use them as stepping stones to climb up out of the pit I found myself in. It was as exhausting as fighting the physical fatigue and daily pain from cancer and radiation treatments.
I slowly found that I had a battle worth engaging in. And the battle was for my life.
Is your battle worth fighting? Or should I say is your life worth fighting for? The next blog post will tell what happened to me after dealing with these lies. How I found out that I am worth fighting for. It still brings tears to my eyes as I write this. What I found out and what I know now, no one can steal from me, kill or destroy it.
Romans 8:38-39 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
I found that asking myself if I had hidden guilt or if I was secretly blaming someone else for my problems, was a very healthy and helpful thing to do.
How’s your self-talk? Are you being as kind to yourself as you would be to your best friend? Are you merciful and giving yourself the grace to turn it around? Are you inviting real help into your life?
I had to ask these questions, as I was processing all this, I found the answers were not to my good, but to my harm until I dealt with them. I was blaming certain people in my life for my problems, and attitudes. But I found out truths that saved me.
by Monica DuBois