“Do you want to get well?” John 5:6
I’ve known for a long time that my health related habits have been very poor. Never eating fruits or vegetables, my definition of a “salad” was mixing popcorn and Cheetos together. I claimed that chasing after my three young kids was exercise enough. And with no time to get anything done while my kids were awake, most nights I’d stay up past midnight trying to put a dent in my “to do” list.
I was one of the lucky ones. Despite all my poor habits, I still had endless energy. When people threatened, “It’s going to catch up to you,” I smugly thought, “Not me,” and continued down the path of burning the candle at both ends, while giving my body nothing healthy to sustain it.
It’s no surprise that it did catch up to me about two years ago. And it wasn’t a gradual decline either. It was a crash and burn that I couldn’t seem to recover from. Suddenly, my body was betraying me. During those two years, I wasn’t just exhausted, I was weak and shaky. I developed a premature heart beat, fluid around my heart, high blood pressure, Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, Subclavian Steal Syndrome, became a borderline diabetic and prone to blood clots.
During all of this, I laid on the couch getting weaker, and gaining weight. The only habit I changed was going to bed earlier, because if I didn’t, I couldn’t function the next day. I became a terrible mother who did the bare minimum, and even that was done with impatience and resentment because I was always so physically exhausted.
I prayed for God to heal me. I prayed for Him to give me a miracle that would make it all go away. I wanted to be restored to good health, but I was waiting for Him to do all the work.
In the scripture story of John 5:1-15, after Jesus asks the invalid if he wants to get well, He tells him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” He requires the invalid to participate, to be a part of the healing. Moreover, when Jesus sees the cured invalid later in the temple, He says, “See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you” (John 5:14). We’re never told how the invalid sinned, but I’m sure the invalid knew what Jesus was talking about. And whatever that sin was, resuming it was going to make matters far worse than before he was healed.
In the midst of those two difficult years, I heard God ask me, “Do you want to get well?” My immediate response was, “Yes!” But when I heard Him tell me, “Stop sinning,” I got defensive and went into denial. I go to church. I follow the Ten Commandments (or at least I try to). Sure, I sin now and then, but I ask for forgiveness and then try harder not to repeat my sins. I didn’t see my sins as the root of my health issues.
But sinning is more than just breaking a commandment. Some people define sin as anything that separates us from God. God wants a relationship with us, one that permeates everything for the better. When I go off, blazing my own trail with my bad habits, disrespecting myself and my body, I am in turn disrespecting God, The One who gave me life to begin with.
I understand now that God didn’t heal me before because He knew it would be a wasted miracle. I just wanted Him to wave His miraculous wand and restore my health. Because I wasn’t willing to change any of my poor habits, eventually I would have ended up right back on the couch, with the same medical issues, if not worse. In order to have a healthy body, mind and spirit, I need to realign my habits with God’s path for me. That includes living a healthy life. It is the only way to really “get well.”
So began the slow process towards that. It wasn’t easy, and still isn’t. But I have a lot of support. I now exercise, have overhauled my diet to include vegetables and no sugar, and get the sleep my body requires. A lot of my issues have either been eliminated, or are being managed by my new lifestyle. The additional bonus is I’ve lost weight, and my energy level has been restored.
The most positive result is that I have an entirely new perspective on my health. Before, I took good health for granted, and then took advantage of it. Now I recognize that good health is a gift from God. One that I was fortunate enough to receive, and then was foolish enough to gamble away.
But God has given me a second chance, one that I am extremely grateful for. Things aren’t 100% better, and maybe they never will be. But in order to at least maintain the good health I have now, I need to be proactive, not passive anymore. I’m getting the message, and admit that I have more changes to make “to sin no more.” But I’m determined to do so to honor my good health. I never want to take it, and the life God gave me for granted ever again!
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Wonderful post Claire. I am so glad that you are feeling better and that you are embracing this second chance whole heartedly. I am so inspired by you my friend!
Thank YOU for creating the “Accountability Group” that keeps me on track, accountable, and inspired. I don’t know if I could have come this far without it!
You need to write a book. I want to buy it!!
Oh Jean – Sooooo sweet of you to say this! That is my ultimate dream. Your vote of confidence means the world to me!
I’m so proud of you. You have come so far in a short amount of time! You should be proud of yourself – it isn’t easy and you are inspiring to many. I’m so glad you feel good and are sticking with it! I hope you know I will always be here to support you! xoxo
Thanks so much Pam! You have been so supportive and helpful through this entire process. I can’t tell you how grateful I am for that! Thank you!!!!