You are so much more than your diagnosis!

diagnosis rheumatoid arthritis autoiummeReading Time: 4 minutes

6 ways to see yourself as more than a diagnosis.

Doctors diagnosed me with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) about a decade ago and I have been thru most of the treatments, both alternative/natural or Western.

Early on, I joined many support groups both online and in-person and I learned that disease makes a very boring conversation.  I also learned that I am not my diagnosis or disease.  While the doctors have diagnosed me with a disease, I am not the disease. The disease is something that affects me but it does not define me.

In both my acupuncture and counseling practices I have seen people become their disease. They accept the diagnosis, invite it in and get cozy with it. They structure their lives, friends and conversations around the disease.  It is very important to separate yourself from the diagnosis.

You are not your diagnosis or disease! You are a person with gifts, talents, and callings. The world along with your friends and family need you.  Here are 6 simple things you can do to see yourself as something other than a disease or diagnosis.

1. Do not own the diagnosis.

While disease can greatly impact our lives, it is the least interesting part of us. We must let the Word of God show us who we are. Our identity in Christ is what defines us, not a diagnosis. 

You are a person, not a walking embodiment of disease and disorder. Do not say ‘My disease, My pain, My headache or My cancer.’ Speak life over yourself, “I am loved, I am salt and light, I am chosen, I am appointed to bear good fruit”.  Our Heavenly Father spoke the world into existence and what we speak over ourselves is important. 

2. Talk less about the disease

Once I separated myself from the RA diagnosis, my friends changed. Friends developed around the conversation of RA did not want to talk about anything else.  Conversations that once revolved around pain and limited range of motion no longer interested me.  Our world becomes very small if we limit our conversation to disease and disorder. There is much more to discuss in life than disease.

3. See yourself as whole and healthy.

Seeing yourself whole and healthy may seem like a stretch for you but it is a powerful exercise. I visual myself walking, running and cycling. I make an effort to remember how moving normally feels. Muscle memory is powerful and our bodies easily adapt to physical limitations – it takes work to fight it.

Instead of saying “I am tired and can’t do it”, say “I am going to do my best because I can do all things thru Christ.” I repeat this as I walk thru the parking lot to get into the grocery store or any other place.  Before you know it, your thoughts are off of what you think you cannot do and onto The One who ensures that you can do anything.

First Thessalonians 5:23 says that the very God of peace sanctifies us wholly. We are amazing creations and we can do exactly what we think (Proverbs 23:7).

4. Think less about disease and more about others.

Philippians 4:8 says that we are to think about good things. It is very easy for us to become consumed with managing diseases and disorders. We think about our diets, our medication, our supplementation, our energy, our rest, our limitations, our doctors appointment, our exercises, and many other disease-related things.

We can easily lose sight that the world does not revolve around us! When thoughts about yourself consume you, start thinking about others. How can you help someone else? Does a friend need to talk about their problems instead of listening to yours? Does your husband need encouragement after a hard day? How can you take the focus off of yourself and put it on to others?

5. Change your vocabulary to eliminate ownership.

This is worth repeating. Stop claiming the diagnosis as yours. When you start agreeing with the diagnosis and owning it by saying, “My pain, My arthritis or my cancer”, you are claiming it as yours. I do not want anything to do with the diagnosis I was given. I have worked hard to separate myself from the disease and to see myself as a whole, healthy person that has a lot to offer.

I never think of myself as a disease.  It is very common for well-meaning family and friends to declare things over you that do not speak life. We have to fight for our God-given identity, not our disease-created identity. I have a hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11) and so do you! God has good things in store for us and we must believe that. God is good and did not give us a disease!

6. Focus on applying the Word of God to your life.

The Word of God has changed my life. Jesus died so we could overcome the world (1 John 5:4-5) and be healed (Isaiah 53:5). I believe the Word of God, stand on the Word of God and apply it like medicine. It is my Truth and a Light unto my feet.

Healing happens, forgiveness occurs, wounds mends and hearts change as we allow the perfect love of the Father to wash over us.


You are much more than your diagnosis. I see people every day that let their diagnosis define them. Our enemy uses the diagnosis against us by constantly telling us we are the diagnosis and there is no hope for us. Satan is a liar. There is hope for you and His name is Jesus. The word of God is true and healing does happen, I see it every day.

Here is a wonderful blog post from Jamie, our friend over at about pain and praise.

Remember, you are much more than your diagnosis!!

Click to read more About Michelle and her Journey with Rheumatoid Arthritis.

To read more about why David and I do what we do, please click here.

13 thoughts on “You are so much more than your diagnosis!

  1. This is a great reminder! I, too, have struggled with many health issues…3 autoimmune disorders and a cancer survivor. I love the statement, “While the doctors have diagnosed me with a disease, I am not the disease. The disease is something that affects me but it does not define me.” Wow! I have tried to live above my diseases with the help of God. Sometimes I do things and pay for it later and sometimes I try, then realize I can’t do certain things. This is when I give myself the pep talk of being thankful for what I can do. I don’t like to be the center of discussions or attention and try to divert to how thankful I am because there are so many people who are so much worse than me. It took me a little while to find myself after having to stop working outside the home and receiving disability, but there are things I can do now that I didn’t have time for before. Looking for new opportunities of service and ministries has been a joy to my heart. I try to focus on living my life “above the sun” as we in Ecclesiastes and focus on Jesus. Thank you for these tips. A positive attitude goes a long way!

    1. Thank you so much for the encouraging comments! You are a blessing. 🙂

  2. Amen! I agree with you on all points. My husband has battled 2 cancers in the last five years. If you had not been close to him to know when he had treatments – you would not have known. He kept serving and teaching and working. The mind set that it was his issue to deal with rather than his fate in life kept him active and purposeful. I sometimes wonder if we curse ourselves when we “own” the disease. Thanks for saying things I have wanted to say!

    1. Thank you, Beth! What a journey you and your husband have walked. I am sure your steadfast support was so life-giving to your husband. Blessings to you guys!

  3. God has blessed you with Wisdom, Michelle. Thank you for sharing what you’ve learned over the past decade. I try to remember to be grateful for what I can do and not fret over what I can no longer do — as well. I look forward to reading future posts!

    1. Thank you, Jory!

  4. This is incredibly helpful. I have a child who struggles with severe anxiety, and we try to look at it as a condition she happens to have — not that SHE IS ANXIOUS, but that she has anxiety. Some people say it’s just semantics, but it makes a huge difference in our outlook.

    1. Thank you, Jessica! Yes our words are very imporant and your daughter is blessed to have a mom like you. 🙂

  5. Dear Michelle!

    The way you talk about the diagnosis in this blog posts gave me some new perspectives on this topic.

    I really liked what you said about focusing on more interesting parts of us and see our lives from God’s perspective.

    Edna Davidsen

    1. Thank you, Edna!

  6. This is such an interesting perspective, I’ve never thought that way before about claiming ownership/letting a disease define me. I am glad that we can, similar to Paul, still glorify God in the midst of our infirmities… when we are weak, He is strong.

  7. Great words of wisdom! There was a man at our church who had cancer and you would have never known if it wasn’t that his wife asked for prayer on occasion. He was such an encouragement and of course the church stepped in to help as best as they could during his trying time. But the beauty and the great lesson for me was that it didn’t stop him from sharing love, joy, and peace with all of us around him. As you said, he didn’t let the diagnosis define him.

    And I think your words can spill over into other areas. For those of us that have suffered traumas of other sorts, for example. Sometimes the things we suffered were so horrible that they continue to define us. But when we do that, we continue to let the enemy have a stronghold in our lives. By working to define ourselves as who we really are, children of God, we can begin to heal from those wounds.

  8. This is so true. Especially when disorders that are chronic with causes that are hard to pin down. I’ve had to learn to identify myself by what I chose to do about the disorder or disease – which is overcome! Thank you so much for sharing this part of your story!

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