10 Ways to Help a Chronically ill Friend7:00 AM
She has been diagnosed with several things, but the labels only begin to tell the story. She lives in daily pain that most of us can only begin to imagine.
She doesn’t like it, but she struggles with depression and anxiety. People tell her they know how she feels, but she knows they don’t.
These are examples of chronic illness. I have several friends who suffer in different ways, in fact each of the examples above. However, I am finding that few people really know how to help them. They say things they think will help, never realizing that they are hurting them. This week, I would like to share 10 things you can do to help that friend.
1. Don’t give up on them. They are going to have a lot of friends who drift away from them because their illness, don’t be one of them. You might find it discouraging that they are not making progress and the friendship is strained, but remember, they are having a much harder time then you.
2. Send them reminders that you care. A note, email, or a small gift means the world and can make a dark day bright. It doesn’t have to be big, long, poetic, or expensive. They just need to know that you care.
3. Visit them. So maybe it isn’t fun to hang around them like it used to be, but they need you now more than ever. Sit on the couch and watch a movie with them. Tell them about your life, tell a joke, and just let them know that you’re physically there.
4. Speak to them as if they were normal. While they may not be up to a long visit, talk about normal things with them. If you are unsure if they would like a topic in their present state, ask them if they are interested in talking about (fill in the blank).
5. Remind them of God’s truth. I am not talking just about the sweet promises. I am talking about reminding them that God will never leave them. They may be struggling with believing a lie (like they are not valuable anymore) or worrying about things. Remind them of what the Bible says in a gentle way.
6. Allow them to change. Your friend make take up new interests and lose others. Allow them to change. It can be hard, but give them the room to change.
7. Tell them that you are not going anywhere. Of course, if you say this, you have to mean it. They need to hear that someone is not going to give up on them and will stick around. Will you be that person?
8. Make them laugh. Laughter is great medicine. Tell them a joke, bring over a silly movie, whatever you know that will make them smile.
9. Be real with them. Don’t think that you can no longer tell them about your life because they are having a hard time. Sometimes, the best gift you can give them is to not treat them any differently.
10. Pray for them. They need it! They need prayers for strength, peace, and so much more. Lift them up in prayer.