thursday health thoughts: "the code"

March 30, 2023

caravan sonnet
This post was one of my original Thursday Health Thoughts post in 2013 and I wanted to update it for 2023. I love this encouragement and hope it helps you today also!
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 and the approach that they have with you. 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.

Even just yesterday there was a work situation where this came into play. An incredibly harsh conversation was taking place and even though I am healthy, I remembered how important that this is to have the code. 

Everyone is walking through something. It might be known or it might be hidden behind the private doors of your home and heart, but one thing that we can never regret is instead of being harsh is to be kind.

If you are sick 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. When I was walking through my battle for my health (you can read all of the posts about this journey HERE!) I heard everything from being told that I need to have more faith to get better or that I shouldn't do this or that (including comments on opinions on different supplements or seeing certain doctors) to even opinions on 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 in his book Days Like These, (found HERE) 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, in her book, Crazy Sexy Cancer (found HEREstates 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.

As I have healed and continue to heal from over a decade of being seriously ill, I continue to find how important "the code" is for my health and my life. In some ways I have found it to be even more precious and yesterday was a fierce reminder of this. 

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

(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, unfollowing, and putting space between 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 back in the beginning of my health journey, but now I have seen how freeing this has been. I have worked through forgiveness for each person and then prayed for their blessing and moved forward in God's love and grace. 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 (and one that was very similar to an experience I had): "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 out loud 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 and many conversations like the ones above. This person questioned my faith throughout my illness (blaming this on the reason I was sick) and even at one point when dealing with a serious blood clot with my Picc Line ("Nic the Picc" *smiles*) was texting me to ask if I had prayed. This unfortunately had been taking place for almost a year, and I spent so much emotional energy and even physical energy as 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 from that specific situation 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 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. As it has been more than 7 years I can attest to the fact that I have never for one moment regretted this decision. In fact as I look back I wish I had moved forward sooner. It was truly a time to "dust your feet" and move forward in grace. 

(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. Even these past couple of months something incredibly painful occurred that has some extremely severe consequences and I returned once again to this book. 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. If you are interested in the book you can find it HERE!

(4) Completing the Two Steps Above Opens Up a Completely Different World. 
As you create the code you will be amazed (as I have been) at all of the people that are in your tribe and will find 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 painful weeks and years. 

It might look completely different than the tribe you first imagined, but it can be absolutely beautiful if you look for it. 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.

Do you have "the code"? What is yours? How do you set up boundaries for your life?


  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 ;-)