Taking Action to Change the World when you are Chronically Ill, Disabled, or Housebound (Part II)

The Last Days 223

It’s time to get down to business, down to the nitty gritty, down to the actual hard work of sorting through the muck and taking action. We are answering the question, how much can you really do if you are chronically ill, disabled, or housebound? Can you still change the world? Can you still have an impact?

The foundation has been laid. If you are just checking in, take a look at part one where I review the book Overrated by Eugene Cho and lay the framework for everything that comes prior to actually putting an idea into full action. Before taking action to serve and pursue justice we take the time to pray, to plan and prepare, to become experts in the topic we wish to pursue, and to develop important qualities of perseverance and tenacity. We can easily see ways for those who are chronically ill, disabled, or housebound to take these initial steps. And then we get to the action part, and this is where we get a little bit stumped.

As I think through this topic, and I’m still in the beginning stages, I’m excited at the number of options I am seeing and discovering that are accessible to individuals of all mobility levels. I am inspired by the number of individuals online I have found who are doing so much, making a huge difference in the mist of their own hurt and pain. And I am excited by the number of opportunities I am finding, even as I do basic and cursory online searches. Here are my initial ideas, with much room to grow!

Writing, Connecting, & Building Online Community – This is what many of us are already doing. Through writing, blogging, social networking, and interacting in various groups we are supporting others by letting them know they are not alone and dispensing helpful and necessary ideas and advice. We are providing necessary support, encouragement, and community for each other, as we are all in the same boat. We all understand one another, and we all seem to find ourselves in the same place at some point during the day: sitting in our houses with our computers, heating pads, and hot beverage. Ideas really can change the world. So write that blog post or start that book. Send that encouraging comment and connect with that random person online who seems just like you even if it seems weird. It all begins here, because as we network and connect, we all collaborate together on everything that comes next. 

Supporting Those on the Front Lines – At times we will be much more helpful in behind the scene roles, supporting others who are on the front lines doing the work of change. We all have the capability to be supporters, encouragers, noticers, prayer warriors, listeners, and cheerleaders. And these roles are needed, as life on the front lines is tough, isolating, and oftentimes demoralizing. Who do you know that you could send a letter, package, email, note, or listening ear? What missionaries, leaders, teachers, organizers, support workers, or organizers do you know who could use your support? In addition to emotional support, some of us have the ability to support others financially. And this is where our research comes in handy. We spend the time to know where to donate, places that are using the money wisely, effectively, and for the good of those they seek to serve. Here are three places to support financially.

Kiva – Loans that Change Lives – “Empowering people around the world with a 25$ loan.”

The Fistula Foundation – “We are dedicated to ending the suffering caused by the childbirth injury of obstetric fistula. We believe that no woman should have to suffer a life of shame and isolation for trying to bring a child into the world.”

One Days Wages – “One Day’s Wages (ODW) is a grassroots movement of people, stories, and actions to alleviate extreme global poverty.”

Creating & Art – This is not my area of expertise, but I have observed so many others creating art and making things with their hands. At times this creates an income to help support their families or various causes. Other times it serves to encourage, inspire, describe the human experience and let others feel they are not alone. If you are an artist, consider submitting to one of these websites or find inspiration to create your own.

Broken Light: A Photography Collective – “Broken Light’s main goal is to create a safe and accepting environment where photographers of all levels who are affected by mental health issues can display their work, as well as inspire one another to keep going and keep creating, despite the dark or scary places in which they may find themselves.”

The Pain Exhibit – “The mission is to educate healthcare providers and the public about chronic pain through art and to give a voice to the many who suffer in silence.”

Volunteering Online – There are a surprising number of websites that connect individuals with online volunteering opportunities on a national and global level. Various organizations including non-profits, NGOs, small businesses, and various ministries post their needs and get connected with experts. Opportunities include writing and editing, graphic design, grant writing, legal advice, business, crisis and hotline support, and much more.

Volunteer Match – Virtual Opportunities

UN Volunteers

Skills for Change

Bring your Work Home – This takes volunteering online a step forward. It goes a step beyond searching a website for volunteer opportunities and creates a business, ministry, or service at home. Personally, my ultimate end goal and hope is to offer counseling services out of a home office. Others ideas that come to mind include providing childcare, hosting and leading a support group, mentoring someone in your home, or creating things with your hand that others might need. I am sure there are countless other opportunities that are not coming to mind, and this is why I need your help!

Eventually, I plan to take the information in this post and create a page dedicated to various opportunities that are available for individuals who have mobility and health limitations.

But, seriously, I need your help. I need your ideas, resources, talents, and brilliance.

What have you done to use your talent and resources from the bounds of your own home? I might want to share your story or website or services.

What organizations, websites, shops, business, or opportunities have peaked your interest that could be shared with others? I might want to add them to my list.

What stories have you heard, what art have you seen, what great ideas that might possibly fit into these or other categories have you found? I want to hear your ideas!

Please share in the comments or email me at lifeinslowmotionblog@gmail.com

**Update – If you enjoyed this post, consider joining our facebook group for chronically fabulous people who want to change the world.

13 responses

  1. This is such a powerful perspective. I look forward to reading more of your thoughts on this and hearing what others have to share about changing the world despite limitations. What a way for a difficult situation to become a gateway to purpose. May God continue to encourage you in this area and show Himself faithful.

    • Thank you Kim, I feel like I am at just the initial stages of thinking through all of this, and wondering what will come of it 🙂 Thank you for all that you do in caring for your family even in the midst of illness! Your blog is a great encouragement to other parents (or wives like me) to persevere in how we serve at home

  2. This is something I’ve been passionate about for a long time, so I’m thrilled you are writing about it and have plans to do even more!!
    Through my support group we discuss opportunities like this a lot.
    You have listed so many of the wonderful areas in which people can find new purpose and serve from their home. I believe that helping others is one of the most healing things we can do in this life, and it also can lead us to finding new life and value once again.
    Some of things that come to mind are:
    Knitting scarves for organizations like homeless shelters or charity groups that sell them for fundraising.
    Crochetting Prayer Shawls for church programs. They go to ill women and children. I received one and it is a treasured gift.
    You can volunteer to read for the blind and dyslexic by recording your voice reading books. I’m not sure which company does it, but I was looking into doing this at one point.
    One can volunteer to be an administrator for one of the excellent facebook groups or other online support groups that offer support and information to people struggling in different ways. There are thousands of these types of groups, and they are always growing. It is a wonderful way to be part of a community and help others.
    There are a number of various area non-profit organizations which people can volunteer for. For example, they can type the monthly newsletter, stuff envelopes, take meeting minutes through speakerphone, make phone calls, do administrative work from home, or ask if there is any work to do from home they can volunteer for.
    If one is truly willing to find meaningful work, often when they begin looking, opportunities present themselves. All they have to do is say “yes.”

    Great post! It’s a wonderful reminder to people that their value and purpose continues after chronic illness. Something we all need to hear.

    • Thank you for all of your ideas! They are wonderful – I can see you have spent a lot of time thinking about this. I’m working on putting the page together, so I might come back with more specific questions later. Thank you!

  3. After I had my surgery, I freaked out and wondered what would happen if I found myself unable to work at my current job. I ended up finding elance.com and freelancing like crazy, building a Plan B in case I had to work from home indefinitely. I ended up editing academic papers, serving as an editor for a financial news site, and preparing books for publication. Between freelancing and my blog (and my day job), I’m keeping busy.

    • Wow, that is so great! I currently use odesk, which I believe is similar to elance, and have found a few great, longterm freelance jobs that keep me busy. I love your attitude to keep moving forward. I would love if you would consider joining a facebook group I started recently – it’s all about doing what we can in the midst of pain and illness, and I bet you would be a great resource to give people ideas. Here is the link if you are interested, but no hard feelings if you decide not to 🙂 https://www.facebook.com/groups/906923442675408/

      • I think ODesk and Elance merged at some point. They’re both amazing. And now I’m able to hook up other people with remote jobs with the contacts I’ve made. It supplements my income, and I’m making enough contacts that if I ever do hit critical mass and have to quit my day job, I’d have enough to scramble and pay the mortgage. And of course I’ll join your Facebook group! I fully intend to take over the world, with or without this chronic pain. 🙂

  4. Hello, I hope you are having a lovely day. I feel blessed to have come a crossed your blog. I look forward to reading more of your posts and reading more about your beautiful story. I adore this blog post, it is extremely inspiring. Being home bound can be frustrating, overwhelming, and isolating at times. I have been off and on home bound the past few years due to my health. Currently I am on home bound again. Like you I began a blog and a Face Book to encourage people. I want to make a difference despite my illnesses. Though my blog isn’t as nice as yours and has a long ways to go. I’m hoping to encourage at least one person. I would be honored if you would glance at either my blog (https://chronicallyhopeful2014.wordpress.com/ ) or Face Book page (https://www.facebook.com/chronicallyhopeful17?ref=tn_tnmn ).
    I am excited to check out some of the links you included in this posts. If you need help with this project I would be honored to attempt to help. If you haven’t heard of Rest Ministries, I strongly encourage you to check it out, you might find some inspiration. https://www.pinterest.com/restministries/
    I noticed in your about section that you are a licensed councilor and I thought that is so awesome! I’m a college student working on earning my BA in Psychology then my goal is to eventually, hopefully become a Pastoral Councilor.
    Sending spoons, prayers, and hugs <3 Victoria

    • I will definitely be checking out your blog and facebook page 🙂 And yes, I have heard of Rest Ministries. They are definitely a great resource.

      I would love for you to be a part of this project. I actually started a facebook group for individuals with chronic illness and pain to encourage one another and talk through the things we are able to do in the midst of our pain. I would love if you would join. https://www.facebook.com/groups/906923442675408/

      That is great you want to become a counselor! It is a challenging job, but I absolutely love it.

      • Thank you so very much!! Thank you so much for following my blog. Health permitting I’ll be doing more writing & making it look nicer soon. That is awesome that you created a Facebook page. I’ll check it out, thank you so much!!

Leave a Reply