I’m sick. For a week and counting. Actually, I’ve known there was something not right for about five months now. I just have a hard time getting the health care providers I talk to to believe me.
You know the feeling, when something is off. You’re just not yourself. Not life-threatening, but after five months I’m ready to feel better. At my annual checkup I had shared how I wheezed all the time and my lungs felt tight, but since I had no fever and she couldn’t hear much going on, my health care provider chalked it up to my asthma.
I’m not a person who likes going to doctors. I know my body, I know when something feels wrong, in fact I’m the only one who does, yet they will still look at me and state that since THEY can’t hear / see / detect what they think they should, I must be mistaken. I am tired of being ignored.
So I was almost ecstatic last week when – YES! – I developed a low-grade fever. The next day I was at the local urgent care, finally ready to get some help. And the doc couldn’t hear a thing in my lungs! She saw enough to suspect a sinus infection, so I left armed with prescriptions and handouts.
Relief is coming but I’m not better yet.
Now that the meds are loosening up all the junk I knew had been hanging around in my lungs, I’ve given up sleeping at night for coughing. Lying down with racking jolts jarring my lungs is not pleasant, but it’s doing the hard work of clearing out what’s been keeping me breathless and tired and aching. As my ribs take the worst of it, I can feel it in my bones, the consequences of this going on so long.
I ask myself, if I hadn’t gotten the fever, how long would I have waited to plead for help? How sick did I need to get, how inconvenienced, how unable to fully enjoy every day, before I would have marched in to my caregiver and demanded that she listen to me, that she help me feel better?
Because no one can know how you feel except yourself.
With the body many times physical ailments are visible to others. But what about our spirits, our true selves? How much can we brush over and decide is just life, so what can you do about it? And even if a time comes when you’re tired of denying the things that have hurt you or that you regret or that you wish you could change, where would you go for help?
If my doctor won’t listen to my physical problems, who would listen to my spiritual and emotional ones?
For almost four years now I have been working on my recovery from hurts, hang-ups and habits that have affected me practically my whole life. Not five months, but more than 50 years of things I had never spoken of or dealt with until just the past few years. From looking at my life, others may not think I’ve had any major problems. They would be wrong. I may seem confident, in control, outgoing, capable. I am not. Most people would be surprised to know that I have spent my life acting the way I felt I needed to act to protect myself and my family.
Even though I have projected a persona that everyone believes, I know myself better than that. And I have finally stopped running from the confused little girl who never told anyone the things that happened to her. You can ignore a problem, but it doesn’t go away. You can deny things that happened to you, but it doesn’t undo them. And you can fool most of the people most of the time. But when you are finally ready to be honest with yourself, you can face the truths that you know deep inside and the hurts that need to be healed.
How uncomfortable did I need to get before I was ready to face the yuckiness in my own spirit I had denied for so long?
In this case as well, there is help. There is a physician that has amazing healing powers, whose words are able to separate soul from spirit, joint from marrow. That phrase from Hebrews 4:12 has always fascinated me. I picture a surgeon with precise tools able to see into the deepest part of me and say, “Here’s something you don’t need to keep holding onto anymore. Let me get rid of it. You’ll feel much better without it.”
When I try to explain Celebrate Recovery to people, this is the bottom line. We each know we are broken, sick, hurt, guilty, and all kinds of other things. And no other person can fix us. They can’t feel what we feel. They don’t know the panic or fear or sorrow that lives inside us. We don’t come to CR to get fixed. We come to CR to get real. With ourselves, with each other, with God. And the more able we are to face the sin sickness we carry around, the more willing we become to finally let Jesus cut it away, clean us up, make us healthy.
So after more than 50 years of carrying around soul hurts of many kinds, I have found a place where I can expose them all to Jesus, where he uses sisters and brothers to show his love to me, where I can be honest about my struggles, where brokenness is the first step to healing.
Here’s a link to a song my daughter and her friends sang at church Sunday, while I was finally sleeping through the weekend. It was hitting me this past week as they practiced it, how we need to get bone-tired of our mess before we ask Jesus for help. If you are ready for some relief of your own, what can you surrender to Jesus?