When Chronic Illness Challenges Productivity Header Image
Health,  Inspiration

When Chronic Illness Challenges Productivity

Guest post by author and podcaster, Jennifer Slattery on @deenamadams

I’m excited to introduce you to Jennifer Slattery, an online author friend. I pray her story of living and thriving with chronic illness will bless and encourage you.

Line Divider for Deena Adams Blog

Why is it, the times we most need energy, we tend to feel most fatigued? Or on those days when our increased, perhaps even “urgent,” responsibilities necessitate efficiency, all becomes chaotic?

Is that ever true for you?

Do you ever live in that tension of what you “must do” tempered by what you feel you can?

I suspect that’s everyone during this C19 change where people juggle their workload with home educating and chasing little ones determined to pop into every Zoom meeting.

This year has challenged, and perhaps for some of you, obliterated, any sense of predictability and control.

How do you respond to those periods? Do you try harder? Fill your mind and heart with guilt and condemnation regarding all you could’ve-should’ve done? Or do you choose to rest in grace?

We cannot simultaneously feed our self-defeating thoughts and live in Christ’s grace.

I’ve had to remind myself of this a lot lately. I’ve had to remind myself of who I am and who Christ is.

I am a deeply loved, completely accepted, and irrevocably called child of God.

And He is the one who loves me, who died to unite my soul with His, and who is, even now, on my hardest and most chaotic days, equipping and empowering me to do all He’s assigned.

I find great comfort in knowing God’s plans for me are so much greater than me.

This has been a rough couple of months, with a consistently spiked pain level that keeps me up late into the night and often wakes me once I’ve finally crashed. As a result, sleep deprivation continually steals my focus and productivity.

In the past, when a flare lasted days, or even weeks, I’ve managed to make up for time lost easily enough. Whereas once, these difficult moments used to lead to feelings of defeat and discouragement, now I hardly give them a passing thought.

I simply view them as a temporary unexpected challenge I know will soon pass.

But lately, as my body’s rebellion continues, now into month three, the fight I thought I’d won, permanently has resurfaced, inviting me to anchor myself ever-deeper in God’s sovereign grace.

A grace that says I don’t have to perform or achieve.

That assures me, while God will indeed use me, He doesn’t in fact need me. He invites me to serve Him not so that I can impress Him or in an effort to please Him, but rather to experience Him more fully. So that I can learn to yield more fully to Him and His Spirit stirring within.

What’s more, He knew precisely what every flare would look like and how long it would last—and He’s already worked out all the details.

He fashioned my days knowing where I’d be in this moment.

I have everything I need in Christ to do all He asks. Scripture promises: “His divine power has given [me] everything [I] need for a godly life through [my] knowledge of Him who called [me] by His own glory and goodness.” (2 Peter 1:3)

I’m quieting my “inner enneagram 8” with this reminder:

God will give me the strength, power, and perseverance to do all that He asks.

Even if, for today, that means setting my to-do list aside for a much-needed nap.

While you might not suffer from chronic illness, I suspect your daily struggles can easily challenge your sense of peace. I imagine there have been times when you’ve wrestled with feelings of inadequacy, with a pressure to do or be more.

If so, will you join me in leaning deeper into God’s grace, knowing, “[God’s] eyes saw [our] unformed body; all the days ordained for [us] were written in [His] book before one of them came to be.” (Psalm 139:16, NIV)

CLICK TO TWEET: When Chronic Illness Challenges Productivity by Jennifer Slattery on @deenamadams

Join the conversation. Has a chronic illness or other life interruption ever derailed your productivity? How did you handle it? How did God work through it to give you hope?

If you know someone who’d be encouraged by this post, please share on your social media.

Here’s another post you may have missed that offers encouragement during a medical crisis.

Jennifer Slattery is a writer and speaker who hosts Life Audio’s Thriving With Chronic Illness podcast and Faith Over Fear podcast. She’s addressed women’s groups, Bible studies, and writers across the nation. She’s the author of Building a Family and numerous other titles and maintains a devotional blog at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.com. As the founder of Wholly Loved Ministries, she’s passionate about helping women experience Christ’s freedom. Visit her online to learn more about her speaking or to book her for your next women’s event  and sign up for her free quarterly newsletter HERE  and make sure to connect with her on Facebook and Instagram.

Thriving with Chronic Illness Blog Header

Is it possible to suffer daily with chronic illness and also live a thriving life? Yes! Jennifer Slattery is your chronic illness coach and friend, walking alongside you with the resources and support you need to thrive in your life. Her podcast empowers listeners to see their illness through the lens of the gospel, using Scripture as a roadmap for navigating the challenges, loneliness, fatigue and pains of life with chronic illness, while also learning how to thrive. 

As a Jesus girl for more than thirty years, Deena Adams understands how important hope is to daily life, which fuels her passion to inspire others through hope-filled fiction based on true to life stories. She is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency and is a multi-award-winning writer, an active ACFW member, and ACFW Virginia president. Connect with Deena through her website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


  • Colleen K Snyder

    I do suffer from a chronic illness- a couple of them, actually. The frustration is real when you get up in the morning, ready to whip the day and the chores into submission – only to exhaust your energy in the first thirty minutes. Some days it’s in your face. Other days, it’s a culmination of little things: the “nibbled to death by ducks” analogy. It is then that I am most apt to crawl up in my Abba Daddy’s lap and simply be held and loved. I’ve stopped holding myself to that “higher” (unobtainable) standard. If I wouldn’t want or expect it for someone else, I won’t expect it from myself. If I can say, “Productivity is NOT the measure of your value” to someone else, I can say it to myself. Am I always listening? Um…weeeellll…no. But I’m working on it. (WIP!)

    • Deena Adams

      Colleen, we are all a work in progress! And I think you’re a mighty fine work of God. Thanks for chiming in. I pray you have more energetic days than frustrating ones, my friend.

  • Teresa Moyer

    I do not have a chronic illness but I do live with chronic pain (right knee and lower back). Pain can be discouraging and draining if you let it. I have osteoarthritis in my right knee to the point it is bone on bone. I can stand for only about 5 mins before my lower back muscles tighten and spasm. So going anywhere that requires walking/standing is not happening. But I can go places in my car and choose things that can be enjoyed from my car. At home I sit to do simple chores. Back in June I got gastric bypass surgery to lose weight to improve my health and mobility. I am slowly getting better and that give me lots of hope.

    • Deena Adams

      Thanks for reading, Teresa. Yes, living with daily pain can be so discouraging and draining. Thank the Lord you are getting better each day and have the hope for brighter days ahead! I pray you will continue to improve, sister.