goal: when our priorities get shifted by life and chronic illness

Life can be reduced to goal after goal. We can get so hung up on achievement and ticking things off our list that we forget to pause, breathe or appreciate it. It’s like a never-ending treadmill.

If we’re too goal oriented, our hearts can become frantic, our minds cluttered and our ears resistant to listening to what’s wisest for us right now. And it can happen without us noticing because we’ve failed to pay attention to the signals our bodies and souls have been frantically sending us. Then we end up in overwhelm, with no way out, or so it seems.

At that stage we have choices to make: do we pause/stop/reduce our expectations/stick with more manageable, achievable goals/reset our thoughts or move the goal posts wider apart than before? If we have chronic illness, then this kind of quandary occurs pretty frequently, if not daily, because the ability well runs dry with alarming speed. With relatively minor tasks, exhaustion and depletion set in and we are forced to pause.

Over the last few months, I’ve been caught up in completing and publishing my latest book. Fuelled by adrenaline. High on the rush of getting something done. Trying to drive this slow carriage of mine full steam ahead. But it soon protested.  And crashed. Just when I had completed the task… phew!!

As I saw the word for five-minute-friday, I smiled wryly. And searched out my folders for something to share because I’ve got very little fresh creative juice left. The poem that made the cut took longer than five minutes to write but it perfectly encapsulates what my next priority should be.


My worth and value
do not lie
in the words I write
or the thoughts I share
on social media,

or how I might
be perceived by others
who view my life,
my deeds and tasks.

But they are rooted
in my relationship with God
as he creates, shapes and takes
each thought
and provides the reassurance

that I need for strength,
as his cherished child
and his dependent, sufficient
beloved one.

So I will not blanch
or pull back
from what he asks of me
with quiet persistence
but offer him

my surrender willingly,
as he invites
me to pause again and taste
his holy rain.

Even though it hurts
to become invisible
to others,
I already know I can only
give of my best

when I yield to his grace,
accept this season
of online inactivity
and simply rest.
© joylenton

goal - pausing poem excerpt (C) joylenton @poetryjoy.com - girl at the beach - worth and value

“In the drivenness of our society, it’s hard to make time to relax our efforts and find transforming energy. That’s why we need this particular posture of waiting so much. When we sit in this way we’re relaxing the bow; we’re coming to rest in a very deep way in God, allowing ourselves to be cradled in the sighing mystery of Christ’s prayer.” – When the Heart Waits: Spiritual Direction for Life’s Sacred Questions by Sue Monk Kidd

I’m thankful for a stack of unpublished poems to draw from and the ability to join the fabulous five-minute-friday writing crew as we share our thoughts on this week’s prompt of “goal.” Come join us here and read the great variety of posts being aired.

Friends, sooner than planned, I’m needing to lay down my poetic pen here for a while to recover from my latest M.E relapse. I want to embrace a season of rest, coupled with the goal of paying closer attention to God, my health and family. I’m seeking to savour summer relaxation and sort out my cluttered soul and home.

PS: Any poetry shared over the coming few weeks will be on my Facebook page and/or my Instagram page. I’d love to connect with you in those places! 🙂 You can check out my new book, Embracing Hope: Soul Food to Help Chase Away the Blues in the sidebar here or on amazon. Sending you goodbye hugs until we gather here again. xo ❤ ❤

goal - If something is worth creating space for in your life, it’s worth your full attention #quote #openarms #sun #opendoor @poetryjoy.com

22 thoughts on “goal: when our priorities get shifted by life and chronic illness

  1. I’m so sorry for the M.E. relapse, Joy. I pray God gives you rest and strength in every way! My heart cried “Amen!” to the poem. We need to remind ourselves of that often, don’t we? Love and blessings to you!

    • Thank you for your thoughtful words and prayers, Trudy. They mean a lot to me as I seek withdraw here for a while and obey the call to rest. I’m glad the poem spoke to you. Its sentiments are a needful reminder for me too. Love and blessings to you, dear friend! xo 💜

  2. Your poem is a blessing, Joy! It is so easy to get caught up in thinking our worth lies in our achievements or in others’ opinions of us rather than resting in the truth of what God says about us. Praying for refreshment and restored energy as you take a break. I’ve liked your Facebook page so hope to keep up with you there!

    • Oh good! I’m so pleased the poem is a blessing to you, Lesley. And you have blessed me back by liking my Facebook page so you can keep up with any summer poetry I share! Thank you for your kindness and prayers. They touch me a lot. Keep resting in the truth of who you are in Christ, my friend, as I aim to do too! xo 💜

  3. Dear Joy, Sorry to hear of your relapse wit M.E. Will keep you in my prayers sis the healing power of the Lord to work, as you wait and rest. 🙏🏽🙏🏽🌷. I love what you have shared. I truly can identify with it. God is so good and amazing! Thank you for writing this lovely post full of encouragement. I myself had been working on 2 more books in 2015 and 2016 (one of which is hopefully soon to be released, by God’s grace), but certain life circumstances cropped up in relation to caring for sick loved ones and other matters and commitments, and so priorities got rearranged. Your words are so true concerning where our value lies. I’m so thankful for God’s promise that “He Who has begun a good work in us is able to perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” ( ). God hasn’t changed his mind about the gifts he has given us. You have shared so many wonderful blogs, there is much for us to look over and enjoy and I’m sure that in time you’ll be back on again. Thanks for always been so encouraging.
    Much love, Christine xx 🙏🏼🌷❤

    • Dear Christine, I can so relate to the way that “priorities get rearranged.” And I’m a firm believer in God’s timing being better than our own preferred timetable. When I was asked to lay aside my first book for several months, it was really hard. But during that time the title changed, new ideas came and it was a better work than I’d envisaged because God worked in me to alter it as He saw fit. I hope and pray your book gets released soon and that you will be at peace as you wait for it to happen.
      It’s good to hear you can identify with the thoughts here. I love it when God speaks to others through the words He gives us to write. May your own offerings be like manna for all who need them. Do make yourself at home in the archives here while I am away. You might also be interested to know that I have another blog at wordsofjoy.me which has longer, devotional style posts, as well as a sprinkling of poetry and prayer whispers that might bless your soul. If you were to subscribe there by email, instead of via WordPress, then you will receive a free mini ebook about helping weary writers to get back on track. Bless you for being here and for the lovely encouragement you always share! Love and hugs. xo 💜

  4. Good afternoon Joy,
    I will be in prayer as you heed His call to rest. Your words are gifts that keep giving. “To pause again and taste His holy rain”. I look forward to your posts in other areas, but if you need a specific prayer or just to chat while you are away my email is juliedibblespeaks@gmail.com. May He bless your body with peace that which goes beyond our understanding, dear Joy.

    • Good evening, Julie. I value your prayers. Thank you so much for them and your lovely encouraging comment, and the offer of being a listening ear for me if need be. Peace has been lacking in my life for several weeks and I look forward to its reappearance. Taking a break is a necessity for me but I also hope it will be a fruitful time spiritually. Bless you, dear friend. 😊💟

  5. So grateful that my worth is not found in other’s perception of me! I need to remind myself regularly just where my worth comes from….it will keep my goals in order, for sure!

    • Oh, me too, Jennifer! It’s a constant battle to overcome the negativity that has haunted me for years. But one that’s worth fighting for. I’m grateful you stopped by, and I pray you will grow in courage and confidence the more you appreciate who you are in Christ. Blessings on your weekend! 😊💜

    • Andrew, it’s always good to see you here. Your appreciation makes me smile, as does knowing how these words have impacted you. Thank you for spreading the grace- filled fragrance of Christ by your presence. You remain in my thoughts and prayers, dear friend, as you continue to struggle. Bravo for how you faithfully soldier on! 😊❤

  6. Joy, I really love this. I know what you mean about busyness and forget to listen to what our bodies need. But I’m sure adding the ME relapse to that makes it really, really hard. I pray that you will be able to relax and get some much needed rest. Your poem is such a beautiful picture of surrender and the healing that comes as we rest in Christ. Blessings, love and hugs to you, my dear sister! xoxo

    • Gayl, it’s sadly all too easy to get into burnout and overwhelm, isn’t it? I always seem to need a break every few months but don’t always allow myself that opportunity, unless I am really drained and depleted. Yet getting to empty before we stop is far from wise. I ought to know better, and I do, but the desire to press on is incredibly strong. Thank you so much for your gentle consideration and care. Relaxation and rest are my top priority even though I haven’t yet completed a sign off post for Words of Joy. And I still have tons of books to read and review for NetGalley before relaxation and rest are truly achievable. I might just have to revisit my poem as a reminder of what surrender, rest and healing can look like! Blessings, love and hugs to you too, my dear supportive sister and friend. xoxo 💜

  7. Dear Joy,
    These thoughts express so well where my own heart has been lately–needing that place of pause also. And may I too make this my prayer:
    “So I will not blanch
    or pull back
    from what he asks of me
    with quiet persistence
    but offer him

    my surrender willingly,
    as he invites
    me to pause again and taste
    his holy rain.”
    He knows that we are tired, even before we will admit it ourselves sometimes. And I am still astounded that at my worst and most worn out state, He still wants to be right there with me, in that place of quiet, giving the true rest that only He can provide. Oh, I will be praying for you over this time, my dear friend. May you be so refreshed over these summer weeks. Much Love & Hugs! xoxo

    • Dear Bettie, we travel a similar pathway and are both prone to getting more fatigued than is normal or healthy. I’ve seen the soul surrender described here in your own life, and it inspires me to do the same. It is remarkable how well God knows us, our weak, weary, depleted bodies and hearts. And I think He visits us most when our need of Him is greatest. It’s a gift, a treasure found in moments of desolation, darkness and pain and times of exhaustion. Because to have the sweet companionship and love of Jesus is to want for nothing else. The “true rest only He can provide” is what I seek and know I will receive. Thank you so much for your loving support and prayers, dear friend. Much love and hugs and seasons of refreshing to you too! xoxo 💜

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