Last week I stood in a hospital room with family and friends of a young person who was quite ill.
Her health had been poor of late, and the physicians she had seen had given her diagnoses that ran the gamut from a psychosomatic disorder to asthma.
The correct diagnosis it turns out was far more alarming. Congestive heart failure, which led to considerable fluid build up around the lungs. Breathing was now something she can no longer take for granted.
The doctor’s diagnosis was clinical – almost detached. But the message was clear. This was serious, and the patient needed to change her lifestyle immediately.
I watched as she grappled with his truth. Her response was anger, fear, and denial. After all, she was young. How could this be? How could this happen to her?
Medically speaking, the how is well understood. Years of making poor health choices was the root of the problem.
As I listened, I marveled at the parallels between a physical health crisis and a spiritual crisis.
In both cases damage is done to the heart. Not immediately, but over years of making poor choices. No one single choice is to blame for the heart problem; the choices taken in aggregate are.
Over time, the bad choices chip away at what was once a healthy heart, limiting its capacity keep the body healthy.
Eventually the facade of health falls away, and there is a need for a lifestyle change. One can no longer logically deny that change is needed. For the physical heart, diet and exercise are critical.
Likewise for the spirit, one must reject denial and humbly accept that healing can only come after admitting powerlessness over our problems…those secret and powerful struggles we hide away from the world while we desperately cling to the facade of normality. We need help from a source more powerful than we are, because our power has proven itself ineffective at overcoming our problems. Fortunately, such a power does exist.
If you recognize the need for a change in your life, I would encourage you to find a local recovery group like Celebrate Recovery. Many have, and are experiencing freedom from years of spiritual heart problems.