Taking Care Of Yourself

If I believed in past lives, I am pretty certain that I would have been a martyr of some sort. I have been laying myself on the alter of self sacrifice for so long that it has become an artform. There is always a reason to put off taking care of myself, to suffer through whatever afflictions I experienced with home remedies and prayers that God not let me die before I could get myself back right. Add to that all of the financial strain of not having insurance (couldn’t afford it); having insurance and not using it (couldn’t afford the copay); and then not having time to do it (one car, tough schedules, hard to get appointments when I MIGHT have the copay)–and I have suffered real physical pain, so much so that my tolerance for any discomfort is unreal.  I can take damn near anything. 

Which is a problem. 

Not just for my health’s sake, but for my heart as well. As my body has adapted to the maladies and diseases I have silently carried trying (erroneously) to be a good, thoughtful wife and mother, my heart and soul have become almost hardened. I have lacked compassions for others–if I could take the pain, why couldn’t they? If I could endure, where was everyone else’s perseverance?  I looked at my suffering with pride while dusting those around me with haughty disdain for their weaknesses.

Such a jerk, right?

As I have moved more securely in my walk with God and into the newness of life, I have come to the conclusion that it is NOT okay for me to hurt like I have. I have a right to health, and using my proclivity to martyrdom for my own personal pride boost is dumb. Staring at my swollen, possibly puss-filled face this morning, I cried a little. What had been a slight puffiness from sinuses had morphed overnight into a whole side of my face swollen, my left eye nearly shut. I looked like I had been in a fight and lost. And had I fought for myself before now, I would not have had such a small issue turn into a huge one. If I had gone to the dentist, if I had gone to the ENT, if I had gone to the allergist, if I had gone to the nutritionist. But I always had an excuse–always financial, always somebody else’s fault…

Not today, though! I got up, looked at my face and said, “No more.” I have too many resources available to me not to go get help. As my spiritual and emotional pain lifts, I want the physical pain gone, too. 

So this morning, I am going to the doctor.  Who knows what all they are going to say or do. I hope that they aren’t mean. But you never know, and I am past being prideful about it. I need help and I am going to get it. 

Too many of us walk around in all types of pain. We get so used to hurting that we don’t see how wrong it is, how that pain colors how we treat others and influences our decisions. It becomes normal to hurt, and we forget what not hurting feels like.  But God promised in His word that he would remove the stony heart and give you a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 36:26). With that fleshy heart back, you begin to see how corrupted your mind and body have become, how your perception is altered to accept more than you should. 

So here’s to real newness of life, of getting rid of every pain. I plan on living a full and healthy 100 years–and it starts with this appointment.

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