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Knowing when you’re sick

Yesterday morning I woke up with a scratchy throat. Usually that means my body is under attack and a full-fledged cold is on the way. I took some vitamin C and prepared for the worst. It got me thinking about the process by which we learn about whether we're sick or not. I grew up in a fam…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

Yesterday morning I woke up with a scratchy throat. Usually that means my body is under attack and a full-fledged cold is on the way. I took some vitamin C and prepared for the worst.

It got me thinking about the process by which we learn about whether we're sick or not. I grew up in a family that maintained the stiff upper lip in the face of pain of any kind – emotional pain and physical pain.

Often, we were the walking wounded, ignoring symptoms that were merely annoying because we knew that attitude is hugely important in getting back to health.

In contrast, many American children today grow up in a therapeutic culture intent on diagnosing and treating every perceived ailment. We have a bandaid available for just about any possible owwie and apply them just to feel better about ourselves. It can get out of control.

I'm looking for balance. I don't want to waste time looking for what's wrong with me when in fact I'm quite serviceable as is.

But I don't want to miss the symptoms that would help me get the aid I need to restore my health.

In the realm of emotions, I might be shut down, refusing to acknowledge trauma from the past. I see a lot of people who have responded to emotional pain that way – choosing not to feel as opposed to having to endure the torment of shame or fear.

This dynamic applies to spiritual health as well. We struggle so to wake up to spiritual reality. And in that sense, we're all a little heart sick and fighting our way to health. I know that doubt is not my natural spiritual state. When I am in alignment with the created order, I trust my Creator.

This morning I'm feeling better. The throat isn't scratchy and the congestion is subsiding. As I've gotten older, I've learned what it takes to take care of myself.

How about you? Do you pay attention to symptoms? Do you tend to overmedicate or to ignore your pain when you're sick?

Comments (8)

  • Do I pay attention to symptoms?
    Yes. I do.

    Do I tend to over medicate?
    No. I wait for a minimum period of three to five days.

    I try to ignore my pain till it is unbearable to do so.

    I had a lot of mental pain but I have learnt to deal with
    it. I used to complain to God why He was giving me this when
    I didn’t do anything to deserve it. Now I have stopped complaining since I have begun to understand it is not God’s doing. It is my past karma which I have to go through. I ask for His strength to get past this.

  • Hi Seth! For me, I tend to ignore symptoms until they get too intense, then I try to do something about it, but sometimes I think it might be best to get help before the pain gets out of control, i.e. going to the chiropractor before I can’t get comfortable to sleep well. Bad sleep equals a bad mood and being too tired. Spiritually, when I’m feeling moody, depressed or worried, etc. I have to wonder why, and usually it’s because I haven’t been in His Word lately, which is why I am off to my porch to meet with Him, thanks for the reminder 🙂

  • Note on a purely physical level: There’s an incredible all-natural, doctor recommended (what an oxymoron!) product called Silver Biotics made by BioTech Labs. (This is NOT colloidal silver.) When we feel something coming on, like you did this week, we take at least 1 Tbs 3-4 times a day. Depending on the severity, it’s knocked out between 1-3 days. Honest. We get ours thru Amazon.com and have it on hand for such occasions. It’d be great for the mission field too; they have it in smaller containers, too.

    That’s a great parallel, too, on the beginnings of spiritual sickness….to nip it in the bud as we would a virus….good word!

  • Thanks for the tip, Kathy. And for the good counsel, Cinda. I’ll be getting some Silver Biotics and paying more attention to my moods!

  • Well said my dear friend.

    By the way I cannot begin to tell you the number of Christian leaders I know who “make it” through the week with prescription pharmaceuticals as their friend.

    It is the “acceptable” addiction because a doctor prescribes it all.


  • Hard lessons for sure Seth. I tend to avoid Doctors because of the many rounds I have done, but as we all know…. that is not the best decision. The key is balance and avoiding the extremes on both ends.

  • The comment you made about not wanting to waste time examining, while still desiring health (mental, physical, spiritual) is interesting because I just learned about Gestalt therapy. The practice teaches clients to differentiate between perceptions and feelings about current situations and separating that from past experiences. The therapist works with the client to help them establish a new identity, one that is aware of triggers, residual feelings, and past hurts, but is focused on changing and growing where they are right now. For those that don’t want to waste time focusing on old stuff, it’s a great concept.

  • I’m guilty of all the wrongs. I’ll ignore the mental and physical pain I don’t want to deal with. Or I can just be caught up in proving value thru being tough.

    I also am caught up in perfectionism. I see every wrong action as an issue wanting to work on every aspect of my mind and heart all at once. Never giving grace for simply being tired and making a mistake.

    Finally I’ll strive to treat the symptoms and not the cause.

    Great blog Seth. I pray for all who read this to recieve wisdom and discernmen from the Holy Spirit on when and how to treat emotional and spiritual illness.

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.

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