Listen

I had a heart attack last October. Obviously a very scary event (understatement). Since then, I’ve been bent on figuring out why. I am a WHY person. I want to figure out why, seek to remedy the problem and move on with my life. I understand that I may never know why it happened;  however, this does not stop me.

A week after the event, I jokingly said my theme song is now Listen to Your Heart by Roxette. I began to notice that other women who’d had a similar event (SCAD), had eerily similar circumstances leading up to the heart attack. Basically, deep emotional stress from relational issues. This describes 2018 in a nutshell, minus the cursing.

What struck me is that while I knew it was a deeply painful year, I never felt particularly stressed. I processed my grief, anger and loss to the best of my ability, I practiced Sabbath regularly, I journaled the BLEEP out of the year, worked on my codependency and leaned on the amazing faithfulness of the Lord and my awesome community. Yet,  my body definitely knew I was under stress.

Listen

Not long ago, I read an amazing book called When the Body Says No by Gabor Maté. My basic takeaway is humans often repress emotions, particularly anger. Repressing emotions wreaks havoc on our physiology and can cause disease. It takes a toll. I started paying attention. I started listening; mainly to my body, my heart, my intuition, my spirit, my stress level.

Two quick testimonies: just this morning, I felt stress bubbling up inside me. I took a moment and just noticed the feeling. I then put my hand on where I felt the stress and spoke reassuringly to myself. “I am listening. I understand you are stressed. I hear you. I will take care of you.” Voila! In a matter of minutes, I felt the stress subside.

Another testimony is that when I start getting sick, I immediately get a sore throat. I then go into FIGHT mode to try and beat it. I usually fail, am sick for a week or more and generally feel angry with myself for having the audacity to get sick. Recently, I felt a sore throat coming on. I heard a still, small voice say “STRESS”.  Aha! I listened. I once again took a moment to listen to my throat telling me my body is stressed. I spoke gently to my throat. I rested. None of my usual gyrations because I suddenly realized all my gyrations made the sore throat worse! Guess what? I’ve beaten sickness four different times, just by listening and attending to my body. It really really works, people.

Slowly,  I am recovering the art of listening. Listening to my body, my mind, my spirit, my emotions, my heart and my intuition.  They communicate! It’s such a beautiful thing.

 

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This is How We Do It

I just received difficult news about my heart/health. I’ll be honest, it’s knocked me. The past few months, I’ve been recovering, trying to get used to my new normal, visiting cardiologists, wearing heart monitors and generally processing all that’s happened. I’ve always wondered how I’d handle the shit hitting the fan regarding my health. Would it shake my faith? Would I get angry with God? Would I walk away?

Ever since my heart attack in October, I’ve seen my foundation withstand the shaking. Oh, circumstances try and shake the shit out of my foundation. Brokenness, pain, betrayal, loss, health issues-the list goes on and on. Circumstances come and go; what never changes is that God is with me in the mess, fear, pain and shit that life throws at me. This doesn’t mean I am not scared, fearful, freaking my freak and all that. I am. Believe me, I am. I am currently sitting in sackcloth and ashes, mourning (figuratively, that is).

God never promised me an easy life; He did promise He’d never leave me on my own.

How can I remain so firm in my foundation? I have a Biblical heritage. Those who’ve gone before, those who’ve withstood. Those who despite being scared out of their minds, trusted in their God. I really really need those people right now, because THIS IS HOW WE DO IT (cue Montell). Those who are in covenant with God do life this way, regardless of circumstances.

I think of Hezekiah, facing down the deadly Assyrians. Hezekiah trusted;  God came through. I think of the three dudes about to be tossed into the fiery furnace for not bowing down to a foreign idol.  Their response? It’s freaking priceless.

“If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king, but if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”  (Daniel 3:1-18)

#boom    THIS IS HOW WE DO IT.

I think of Job, David,  Mary, Jesus, Paul, Peter,  many countless people who stood their ground and trusted in the God of the Universe, despite the circumstances. Do I want to be healed? Heck yeah. But even if I am not healed, I trust and love my God. Because THIS IS HOW WE DO IT  in God’s family.

 

 

For reference, if  younger than thirty, here is the song that prompted this post: This is how we do it. 

Warning: video is a little risqué. After all, it was the ’90’s.