It seems the older we get the harder we have to work to BE WELL.
Physically our bodies get strained easier, our metabolism has slowed down, and emotionally, our baggage gets heavier through the years… especially if we don’t take the time to DIG DEEP.
If we want to be well we have to go deeper than the physical and get to the root of what is driving our symptoms.
Healing always happens from the inside out.
A friend of mine modeled this better than I could ever try to teach it.
We don’t walk in the same circles anymore, but her life is still impacting mine.
I knew her when we were both young with THRIVING bodies.
Over the last year she has been battling just to SURVIVE.
Cancer tried to steal every ounce of physical strength from her, but one thing it misjudged was that as it tugged on her, she would become stronger.
She did the work of DIGGING DEEP and everyone that knows her saw her RISE up no matter what position her body lie in.
Yes, she felt sad, depressed, overwhelmed, and weary.
Yes, the pain was excruciating.
But here’s the thing..
Wellness is not defined by how we feel, but by how we move in our discomfort.
How we keep moving.
And how we choose daily to do the work of wellness.
My friend underwent a long and complicated operation to remove the diseased tissues in her abdomen.
They stitched her up and sent her home , but soon realized that under the surface, the wound was still wide open.
They had to go in and open her back up for her to have a chance at healing.
She described the process of having to ‘pack’ it with gauze to make sure they got down deep into where the origin of the wound was.
She described the pain and struggle of letting them reach DEEP no matter how much it hurt her in order to help her.
Making the choice to go back to the hospital and let them dig back into a wound she thought was closed was not something she wanted to do.
She would have preferred to just get on with the outward business of healing and moving forward by starting chemo. But the doctors knew that..
..without addressing that inner wound, there was no moving forward.
Several years ago I found myself UNWELL.
I couldn’t pinpoint the cause , I just knew my health was deteriorating.
My physical health.
My mental health.
My spiritual health.
I began doing the painful work of DIGGING DEEP to discover the origin.
I had always been a very optimistic person and never understood those who struggled with depression. I just didn’t get it. Why couldn’t they just focus on all they had to be grateful for and quit sulking? Why couldn’t they just ” think on things that were good?”
One of my biggest take aways from this time was that I learned firsthand ..
The work of healing is not simple.
There is not a quick fix.
We can’t just put a band aid of words on people’s wounds. Without DIGGING DEEP , the wound will fester until it affects every part of them..
The depression and suicide we see all around us is the outward sign of people who are in excruciating pain on the inside.
When we notice they are walking with a “limp” and struggling to do life … what can we do to offer real help?
We often try to address their practical needs but are we taking the time to help them find the thorn that is embedded below the surface, often so deep they don’t even know they stepped on it?
We might offer a hand and help them limp along, but if we never take the time to help them figure out what is causing the limp are we bringing healing or just giving them a crutch for their disability?
Are we rolling our sleeves up and going DEEP to find where the thorn is embedded?
Are we sitting alongside them and very gently doing the work of pulling it out?
” I accept you limp and all.” “I’ll give you grace and walk along side you.”
..but they don’t want grace they want someone to pull it out!
Or maybe they don’t…
I think sometimes we get tired of trying to do the hard work of processing through the pain, so we close up and don’t want anyone digging, but the thorn is still there affecting every step ..
We are surviving but not thriving.
I remember sending a text to my sisters once when they were trying to make me feel better about the guilt and shame I was drowning in regarding a decision I had made that was impacting my daughter.
I became so frustrated with their attempts to just make me FEEL BETTER. I didn’t want to feel better. I wanted to figure out how to fix what I was doing wrong. I wanted to stop self sabotaging because it was affecting my child. My sister replied ,”Kate, you need to give your self some grace.” I text screamed back…
“I don’t need grace! I need super glue!”
I felt like I was falling apart and losing my mind and was desperate for someone to make me WHOLE again.
Grace was not enough that day.
I didn’t want a band-aid. I wanted surgery.
I wanted someone to DIG DEEP and pull out all the irrational thought patterns, the destructive fears and insecurities, and then I wanted someone to do the hard WORK of helping me re align and walk in HEALTH again.
Why do we always want to offer a balm on the surface of a wound that is gaping and open?
They need us to get in DEEP and pack it or it will never have a chance to HEAL.
You can’t just sew it up and hope for the best.
It will rot from the inside out.
Superglue was really not what I needed either, but that’s the thing…
When we are in pain we often don’t know how to alleviate it.
We don’t know how to ask for help.
We don’t even know how to form our pain into words or where to begin the process of healing.
The next morning after getting a good nights sleep , I sat down and began doing the only thing I know to do when my soul is screaming.
I vent through my fingers.
I get it out on paper, or a computer screen, and then I start doing the WORK of assessing the thoughts and emotions that pour out.
Most of the time before I discover the names of my hidden thorns, I discover my lack.
It’s easier for my heart to identify what it doesn’t have.
I needed equipping. I needed accountability. I needed a plan to take captive my thoughts. I needed to figure out what faulty thinking patterns were hurting not only me but my children. and more than anything.. I needed to be able to admit my secret shame and how close I came that day to self harm. I needed to be able to say that I was losing my faith and my mind.
At the time I couldn’t even tell my husband and the loneliness of that was debilitating.
Sometimes we as the church, with good intentions, tell people..
“Just surrender and you will find freedom.”
“Let go and let God, and the anxiety will go away.”
“Fix your thoughts on Him and you will have peace.”
“Rest in Him.”
“He holds all things together so just put it in His hands.”
All these statements are true, and I have experienced the freedom, peace, rest, and security from each of these promises…. but sometimes they can be said in a vacuum where there is no oxygen and the life force is not present…
We can read the words, speak the words, write them on post it notes, but if our soul never takes them from abstract to concrete and we never learn to walk them out , then there is no movement, no shift, no step toward health… only frustration.
We think, “Why doesn’t this work for me?
I am clinging to and praying these promises and I still feel like I am dying.
My soul is in agony.
Why can’t I just surrender?
I want to let go but I keep picking it right back up.
I want His rest, but I am so used to trying to fix it myself.
We have to let the words that can shift our soul from UNWELL to WELLNESS penetrate DEEP.
We have to pack them way down and then let every cell soak up the truth.
Not just once, but daily until regrowth begins to take place and new cells start to form. .
It may take someone coming alongside and doing the packing for us because it is too painful.
We may have to say, “Tie my hands down and just do it!” We may need something to bite on as they dig. and then ..
We have to be willing to do the work of healing.
THE WORK OF WELLNESS takes time.
There is no quick fix.
It takes repetition.
It takes replacing the diseased cells with regenerating ones.
The lies with truth.
The faulty thinking patterns with ones that bring life and transformation, a hope and a future..
For awhile I had a leak from all of my open wounds. Tears sprung up without warning. I desperately wanted to just MOVE FORWARD. I was so tired of hurting. I wanted to be HEALTHY again.
I wanted to be able to sing ‘IT IS WELL WITH MY SOUL,’ and mean it.”
I wouldn’t say I am healed. I have a new perspective on health now. I believe complete healing does not come until the hereafter.. For now, this side of eternity, It is ever-changing…
The goal is not to achieve WELLNESS but to WALK IN IT.
Health is a process and a path we journey.
To LIVE, MOVE and BE WELL is a choice we make daily.
Why do the hard work of our WELLNESS? Why DIG DEEP?
So that the next time someone says “I am fine,” you know better.
Because of your experience you are now equipped to DIG DEEP with them.
As WE learn to MOVE in HEALTH, we are able to mobilize others from pain to purpose so that together we can bring His healing to the world.
I am so thankful for my friend who has endured so much pain.
It is easier to walk through our own pain when we know we are NOT ALONE.
We are all humans longing to someday transcend above the limitations of our bodies.
In the mean time, let’s keep fighting for our souls to RISE up.
And if you see someone who has been disabled by life, grab their hand and offer to walk with them.
“But I will restore you to health and heal your wounds,’ declares the LORD” ~ Jeremiah 30:17