Belief, Spirituality and Health
Some people are skeptical about putting a lot of energy and attention into faith-based healing and coping, since it can lead to false hope for those with chronic illnesses like MS.
It’s true that favoring a religious approach over scientific evidence and treatment can lead to complications, but that doesn’t mean you have to choose science over faith. In fact, MS and faith go well together; those who seek hope and support in both their secular and religious lives can draw on twice as many loving, strengthening, and healing resources.
How Faith Can Help you Heal
Although your faith may not be able to eradicate all your symptoms, it can provide avenues to better emotional health, less stress, and ultimately, a higher quality of life. Several different aspects of your faith can help you rise above your MS challenges, but also teach you to cope with your symptoms and limitations more easily and comfortably:
- Certainty – Nobody knows what tomorrow holds, but those who can focus on a certainty amid all the uncertainties of MS will have an easier time staying balanced and motivated. Patients with a strong sense of faith can balance out their concerns with a sense of purpose: the belief that there is a reason behind your suffering, and that you will be given the strength to continue your journey. That sense of purpose is a powerful psychological tool to get through the rough patches.
- Support – When you’re battling a chronic illness, your surroundings can be just as important as what you hold in your heart. The church community is a strong social circle, with a lot of love and support to share. While MS flares can leave you feeling helpless and isolated, the helping hands around you can bring you back into a happy and healthy social interaction.
- Comfort – Some people benefit most from the security and comfort that faith provides. Your faith is something you can turn to when you’re emotionally distraught, something that can quickly restore a sense of calm. In this way, faith and prayer becomes a meditative outlet that factors into your wider MS treatment plan.
Overcoming Roadblocks in the Religious Community
Although faith can be a wellspring of support and healing, it can also lead to dilemmas, especially when your peers don’t understand your situation. You may be surprised when some of your fellow believers question your discomforts or hold back sympathy. In many cases, these are opportunities for you to educate those around you, and strengthen you own patience and sense of compassion.
Judgments of Your Faith
Sometimes, people unfairly judge your state of health and faith without understanding how you really feel. After all, if you truly had faith, wouldn’t God grant you the strength to overcome your disease? Aren’t you just seeking attention rather than a cure?
Those who struggle with the unpredictable pain and disability of MS know the issue is not that straightforward, but it’s important to realize that other people may be too far removed from your discomfort to share your deeper perspective of faith.