Living with AutoImmunity: Imani Harris
I had just celebrated my 40th birthday and was still in awe that I actually made it to this age.
There was a time that I couldn’t even fathom making it to 21 let alone 40…
What Autoimmunity Is:
I was spending time with a friend and her kids when the unthinkable happened: I fell down 14 stairs and bruised myself up pretty badly. We spent several hours in the emergency room. While I was in so much pain, at the time, I had no idea that the following week the country would shut down due to the COVID pandemic.
While I sat at home recovering, I was so disappointed and depressed about my recent injuries and how my life has been so far living with several autoimmune illnesses. I was frustrated dealing with the limitations that came with them. And the isolation I was in since so many don’t understand what autoimmunity is. Not to mention, how to be supportive and caring for themselves or those they know living with the condition.
“The reason why I was still here because of the vision and purpose placed within me.”
As the pandemic continued, I stayed the course of living on autopilot and just trying to survive each day that I faced. I was negative with my thoughts, feelings, and perspective about myself because I was used to being misunderstood. I spent a great deal of time not heard, without guidance or support on how to live my life with autoimmunity. Without realizing it, I lost sight of who I was. And, the reason why I was still here because of the vision and purpose placed within me.
How God Loves Me:
It was during this low point that I had an encounter with God that will stay with me for the rest of my life. He let me know that I was not doing what I was destined to do. Of course, my reaction was like “what do you mean?”. I work in the very field that is unable to do anything for me. Let alone direct me on how to live my life.
He gently let me know that was not it at all. He needed me to love myself so that He can use me to help other women of faith living with chronic illnesses to do the same. Can I say wow! I was completed floored, but that was not the end of this encounter.
God took it a step further in letting me know that as I continued to live under the spirit of rejection and being negative towards myself, I was also rejecting Him who created me. Ouch! I had never looked at it that way. How I view myself is a reflection of how I view God and how others view me. This self-love thing is not just lip service.
“How I view myself is a reflection of how I view God and how others view me.”
I had to learn to love who I am and why I am here in order to be of great impact and transformation for others. I needed to intentionally love everything about me and get to know my authentic self, flaws and all. It is a daily practice of self-love because of the distractions, hindrances, and obstacles that come our way. As we build on our self-love, we in turn show others how to treat and love us, as well as give others permission to do the same.
When we are intentional in focusing on our self-love and self-acceptance, it provides us with more clarity, boosts our confidence, and enhances our consistency to show up as our audacious, authentic selves. The more we focus on self-love, the more hope, compassion, empathy, and understanding to the world.
About the Author:
Imani Harris is an autoimmunity advocate, accountability coach, and consultant helping women dealing with autoimmune and chronic illness have the clarity, confidence, and consistency they desire in every area of their lives. The 3-C framework helps them to go from just surviving moment to month, to fully thriving in the abundance God has for them.