Thursday Health Thoughts: "The Code"

April 7, 2016

These past few weeks I have been reminded of how important "the code" is to my life. And why I need "the code". When you are healthy you need to have "the code" but when you are dealing with an illness this becomes an even more profound need. So what is "the code"? "The Code" has been referred to in a number of different ways but the key part of it is the idea of boundaries and what you will and will not allow into your life. Or more accurately who you will allow in your life. I have talked about this before on the blog but I have received so many emails, facebook messages, and phone calls recently that are related to this issue that I knew that this is such an important topic to discuss again. I know for myself that I am constantly and prayerfully working through this.

The last thing that you need is a harsh word or criticism about what you should be doing to get better. I understand. Truly I do. I have heard everything from being told that I need to have more faith to get better or that I shouldn't do this or that, or most recently that I should not be getting a port for treatment. 

Enter in "the code". My code is pretty simple: If you have love and hope you are welcomed into my tribe, anything else is not accepted. End of story. No exceptions.

I love how Kristian Anderson states his "code": "When you come to me or my family, there is now a dress code in effect. Come to us wearing Faith and Hope, you will be warmly welcomed. Come to us wearing Fear and Doubt, and you will be politely asked to leave. This dress code will be strictly enforced."

Kris Carr states it incredibly well when she states: "Some people and activities may have to take a back burner for now. When confronted with a social obligation or engagement, ask yourself: does it tire me or does it inspire me? Stuff {or people} that bring ya down just has to go. If the people in your life can't roll with your decisions, then unfortunately the tribe has spoken and they'll get kicked off Cancer Island. You'll find out pretty quickly who you can really count on {and} not to take it personally."

Realize, as one member of my tribe has lovingly said to me recently: If you are struggling with health issues, you have the right to be selfish for your health. Make decisions that protect and help you get well. Enacting "the code" is one of those decisions.

How do you enact "the code"? Here are a couple of things that I have done and had to put into practice these last couple of weeks specifically:

(1)Establish boundaries. 
Do this with those in your personal and public (work and social media) lives. One step that I took was de-friending some "friendships" on facebook that were toxic and literally causing me additional health issues. Receiving such negative and hurtful and unkind comments and behavior was not healthy for me so I took this step. Honestly, it was painful at first, but now I have seen how freeing this has been. I truly believe that there are seasons in everyone's life and sometimes for a season the most loving thing you can do for yourself is establish some strict boundaries.

(2)Make hard decisions on who you want in your tribe. 
Kris Carr shared a story that resonated with me: "A few months after my diagnosis, a longtime friend of mine flew into town to take me to lunch. How nice, I thought. It had been awhile since I'd seen her, and I was touched by the effort. Well, about three sips into my soy latte, the following pamphlets appeared on the table: A Guide to End of Life Issues, Is Your Will in Order, Who Pulls the Plug When This All Goes South?... Major boundary citation!" I laugh and yet I completely relate to this story. I was brokenhearted when I had to make the difficult decision to separate myself for right now from one of my former best friends. I literally cried my eyes out as I consulted with Godly leaders who are in my life over some extremely hurtful and difficult text messages and emails. Despite my wish, dream, hourly prayer, and goal to find grace and restore our friendship, I was only met with criticism, harshness, and judgment. This unfortunately had been taking place for almost a year, and the last few weeks and months I literally wept for hours over these situations, and then got a HUGE wake up call from my caring medical team. They bluntly yet lovingly said that it was time to make some hard decisions over who needed to be in my tribe and who I wanted to be in my tribe. I realized that to love anyone in my life well (which I wasn't able to do because of the stress and pressure that was coming from this one  specific relationship) I needed to really prayerfully evaluate the friendship. I was truly brokenhearted but I realized that despite everything I tried it was not a friendship that I was healthy. It was one of the most painful decisions of my life but it was also freeing. 

(3) Offer total forgiveness and Move Forward in God's Grace.
One of the best books that I have read on forgiveness is called "Total Forgiveness". It is a resource that I have returned to again and again throughout my life. These past several weeks I have been reading and re-reading through this as I move forward and forgive. I also have been gently and lovingly encouraged to commit to not discussing in great detail the actions that happened against me with anyone. I can honestly and truthfully say that by working through and totally forgiving those who have hurt us we are able to move forward, prayerfully wishing those who have hurt us the best, and not holding on to any bitterness or resentment, and only thinking of that person in light of who God has made them to be. 

(4) Completing numbers 2 & 3 opens up a completely different world. 
I have been AMAZED these last few weeks specifically at all of the people that have entered into my tribe and I have been overwhelmed by so much love, laughter, and most of all kindness. Truly I am so blessed. My tender heart has been loved so well and so much grace has been given that I have been swept away by God's tender hand and mercy throughout these painful weeks. As you enter into your own code I am confident that you are going to feel the exact same way. Be thankful for the past, let go with trust, totally forgive, and prayerfully ad joyfully focus on the future and the possibilities that are in front of you. Don't be bitter but instead be thankful for all of the good around you. God is good and is truly close to the broken-hearted. Give your tender heart to Him and He will lavish abundant and graceful love on you- even through the difficult season of establishing "the code".

Do you have "the code"? What is yours? How do you set up boundaries for your life?
This post was one of my original Thursday Health Thoughts post in 2013 and I wanted to update it for 2016. I love this encouragement and hope it helps you today also!


  1. I have never heard of this "code" before, so it was very interesting to read about, thanks for sharing!

  2. I recently started reading your blog and it is great so far! :) Even though I'm not sick or anything, I think this "code" applies in everyday life. There comes a point in your life when you must separate yourself from those people who only bring you down and instead surround yourself with the people that build you up. ( i may have paraphrased that from a quote I've heard haha) I've had to distance myself from people that tear down my dreams and are really negative and instead surround myself with friends that are positive people! Thanks for this great advice! :)

  3. I really do need to solidify my code... print it out all cutesy and hang it on the apartment walls. And my facebook wall. The important walls, y'know ;-)