Let’s Talk About How we Talk About Diabetes

Let's Talk About How We Talk About Diabetes. Pictured: two women having a conversation.

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We’re going to talk about how we talk about diabetes? Yes! You read that right. The way we talk about things has an impact on us and others around us. So it’s important to talk about.

Before we go any further, think about how you talk about diabetes. What kinds of things do you think, and what kinds of things do you say? What generally causes you to say what you say?

How Do You Talk About Diabetes?

How I Talk About Diabetes on a Good Day

Even though this chronic illness doesn’t take a day off and there is no cure, I definitely have good days with diabetes. Good days might look like any of these (or more):

  • Not knowing carb counts for foods, but finding out with good blood sugar readings that I got it right. (YAY!)
  • Days I don’t have to change my insulin pump site or Dexcom CGM – a day with no needles! Is that possible for someone with diabetes? Oh, yes it is!
  • Level blood sugar readings before bed so I can sleep through the night and wake up after a good night’s sleep.
  • Getting a good A1c report or lab results from my endocrinologist.
  • Or just a day without big spikes or dips showing on my CGM.

On days like these, I typically feel better, and I’m in a better mood overall. If asked, I would probably speak of the positives of diabetes in conversation simply because of the frame of mind I’m in.

I might say things like, “diabetes is manageable, and I’m fortunate that the chronic illness I have is that way” or “the good days far outweigh the bad days.”

What do your good days with diabetes look like?

How do you talk and think about diabetes in positive ways?

The Other Way I Talk About Diabetes… sometimes

But I have to be honest. There are times I talk pretty negatively about diabetes. And I am especially negative about it in the case that I’m frustrated with something. Like, for example, any of these scenarios (that have actually happened to me):

  • When I go to meet friends at a one-off restaurant and have no clue the carbs in any of the foods. Cue the potential blood sugar rollercoaster that I honestly just don’t want to deal with.
  • The day when I accidentally snagged my insulin pump cord and it completely disconnected from me while I was getting ready to leave the house. (It doesn’t really hurt — it’s just annoying. I write about this frustration in my book: Devotions on Diabetes: A 30-Day Journey to Anchor Your Soul)

Insulin Pump Tubing Dislodged

  • When my Dexcom CGM starts showing a blood sugar trend going straight up for an unknown reason just before a meal.
  • When my insulin pump site needs to be changed on a day I’m away from home a lot or traveling. (I will typically change it the day prior to avoid this even. I dislike it that much.)

In any of these instances, I am more likely to talk negatively about diabetes. When I’m in that headspace or frame of mind, it’s just bound to happen. And it will happen to anyone within earshot who will listen. (Namely, my husband.)

On this kind of day, I typically say things like, “diabetes is just so unpredictable, I feel like I can’t be spontaneous” or “even when I try my best, I can’t control my numbers.”

What triggers you to talk negatively about diabetes?

What kinds of things do you say?

Having Good Days Doesn’t Mean Diabetes Isn’t Hard

All of those instances I mentioned above are very real — both the good and the bad. Let’s just start there. Because what I’m about to say doesn’t necessarily negate the fact that diabetes is sometimes challenging, stressful, inconvenient, and however else you may want to describe diabetes.

I would never want to suggest that diabetes isn’t hard. It is, and I have dealt with it for more than 30 years now. So I know first hand just how much of a challenge it can be.

But having diabetes for 30 years has also shown me that diabetes is a marathon, not a sprint. (My co-blogger did a wonderful job writing about this in The Long Race with Diabetes.)

I have found that I tend to be more negative when I think of the day-to-day (sprint) details of diabetes instead of the bigger picture. When I take a step back to get a wider (marathon) look, I tend to be more thankful, more appreciative, and more positive.

the long race of diabetes

The Real Issue is a Heart Issue

When we fall prey to negative words, the root of the issue is a heart issue.

Jesus was talking to the Pharisees about the issue of their words and the condition of their hearts in Matthew 12:

Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. 

Matthew 12:33-35

For the mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart. Matthew 12:34

King Solomon, Israel’s king who built the first temple in Jerusalem and was known for his wisdom, talked about this same thing:

Above all else, guard your heart,
    for everything you do flows from it.

Proverbs 4:23

Our words are a reflection of our heart. Our heart that is deep within us, firmly rooted, completely ingrained.

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. - Proverbs 4:23

Can We Change How We Talk About Diabetes?

If words are an overflow of the heart, then in order to change how we think and talk about diabetes, we must change the position of our hearts.

When I have a realization like this, my first thought is that I need to just try harder, change my behavior, choose other words, and things like that. I’ll just fix it. I can surely control what I say, right?

In an incredibly insightful book by Richard Foster, he says this about ingrained habits and trying to act on our own to remedy the situation:

“[It] may produce an outward show of success for a time, but in the cracks and crevices of our lives our deep inner condition will eventually be revealed… You see, by dint of will people can make a good showing for a time, but sooner or later there will come that unguarded moment when the ‘careless word’ will slip out to reveal the true condition of the heart.”

“Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth” by Richard Foster

So how do we change our hearts? That’s just it – we don’t. You and I don’t. That’s God’s work.

Now, that’s not to say we don’t have a role to play. There’s a middle ground between “I will work in my own power to make the change” and “I’ll just sit here and do nothing while God does His work.”

What role Do We Play?

Connect with God. Make yourself available to Him. This positions you before God so that He can do His work in you to create transformation.

How you choose to connect with God is a personal decision. I have known people to take varying approaches, but here are three of my favorites and some additional suggestions to consider as well:

1. Spend Time in Prayer

This is one of my favorite things to do to feel a connection to God. I will often prayer journal and write my prayers out by hand. Just the words and scripture that come to my mind as I’m praying over someone.

I honestly just use a lined notebook. As simple as that sounds, it’s a great blank slate to approach the Lord. I use one much like the one below — lined pages, manageable size, hard cover, lay flat design, interior ribbon, and a band to hold it closed.

2. Dig into God’s Word

This is huge in my opinion. I have seen and known God to work in people through His word over and over. And it’s exactly how my book and this blog came to be!

Hebrews tells us “the word of God is living and active” (Hebrews 4:12). Connect with God through His word and let Him work through it to help you.

Not sure what to read? Check out the Devotions on Diabetes Bible Reading Plans:

Finding God in Isolation - a Free Bible Reading Plan Download
Bible Reading Plan: From Chaos to Peace
Bible Reading Plan

3. Reach out to Community

Who in your family, friend group, church community, workplace, or neighborhood would be there to support you in this? Who can encourage you and pray for you?

I am often so encouraged by the people who tell me they are praying for me, or even send a photo of their prayer journal with the words God put on their heart to pray for me. We were made for community. We need it on a good day, but at an even greater level while dealing with a chronic illness day in and day out. Identify those people around you.

And if you’re struggling to identify them, I would suggest seeking out an organized group of people with diabetes who understand. Or join a life group at your church — these groups already exist and are available to help point you to God.

4. Other SUGGESTIONS

  • worship
  • silence and solitude
  • service to others
  • confesssion
  • spend time in nature
  • physical exercise
  • meditation

There are a host of ways to connect with God, and that’s the good part. We need only to make ourselves willing and available. He will do the transformation.

Reflection Questions

How do you typically talk about diabetes? What is your heart’s typical posture?

How do you best connect with God, and when will you connect with Him?

A Prayer for our Hearts

May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart
    be pleasing in your sight,
    Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.

Psalm 19:14

FOR FURTHER READING: Matthew 12:33-37, Hebrews 4:12-13,

PIN FOR LATER

How Do You Talk About Diabetes?

Other Posts You May Enjoy

How to Stop Being Angry at God About Your Diabetes
The Habits We Keep & A Circle Habit Tracker Printable
Health Envy: Does a Chronic Illness Make you Feel Jealous?
Looking for more devotions? Devotions on Diabetes: A 30-Day Journey to Anchor Your Soul is on Amazon

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Kaycee - Devotions on Diabetes

HEY - I'M KAYCEE!

Welcome to my Devotions on Diabetes website! Thanks for stopping by. I've lived with diabetes for 30+ years. And I'm here to provide you with a heaping helping of encouragement while you deal with diabetes and navigate this chronic illness with God by your side.

There are lots of goodies here: devotions, diabetic friendly recipes, Bible reading plans, and more. So grab your favorite (sugar-free) beverage and enjoy your stay.

 

 

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Want MORE DEVOTIONS?

Devotions on Diabetes: A 30-Day Journey to Anchor Your Soul is now available on Amazon.

Devotions on Diabetes: A 30-Day Journey to Anchor Your Soul by Kaycee Parker

 

 

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Diabetic Recipes
Devotions on Diabetes: A 30-Day Journey to Anchor Your Soul
Bible Reading Plans - Instant Downloads - Printable
Devotions on Diabetes devotional blog