I'm Fine. Really. I Guess... Okay, Maybe Not — Why Sin Management Isn't Working for You
Before I knew I had an auto-immune issue, I was sick frequently. More accurately, I was sick always but I didn’t realize it. The days (or weeks) that I called “sick” were when things got really bad. But the reality was that I was living sick, doing my best to manage the myriad of symptoms and discomfort that came with life in my body.
Now that I’m on the other side of that kind of living, I can see clearly how what I called “feeling fine” is what other people experienced as “sick”. My bar for wellness was really low. As long as I didn’t have a debilitating migraine (the “spend the day in bed, bang your head against the wall” type of migraine), as long as my food digested properly (sorry for the TMI) I was “fine”. I could manage it.
It wasn’t until my sickness reached an unmanageable level that I was awakened to my deeper need. I needed to know what my root issue was and I needed to act in order to remedy that specific problem.
After seeing a host of doctors over a five-month period, we finally discovered the auto-immune issue. My nurse practitioner suggested a book that explained how changing the way you eat can reduce and alleviate problems that result from auto-immune diseases. I was all in with her suggestion because my body was definitely in a state of severe dis-ease.
I bought the book, educated myself, and followed the suggested protocols. The author explained that I had to stop eating the foods that were contributing to the dis-ease I was experiencing (for me that meant no more inflammatory foods: gluten, sugar, dairy, etc.), and I needed to eat foods that wouldn’t create the inflammatory response in my body. In other words, the protocols were as much about getting things out of my system as they were about putting healthy things in.
Too often we think changing our diet means to start eating more good things — more veggies, more organic, etc. And that is part of it. But if we add healthy foods to our diets without deleting the problematic foods, we won’t feel much better, and we may think that “eating healthy” isn’t worth it because, after all, it didn’t make much of a difference.
The crucial step we often don’t want to take is not consuming certain foods. We avoid this step because certain foods or certain eating habits provide us with a level of comfort. We’ve come to rely on those things for our emotional well-being. Or we think that we just can’t live without certain foods in our lives. (That was me with any form of pasta. “How will I ever live without pasta?!”)
But there came a point for me when the status quo wasn’t working anymore, and I was faced with a choice: Do the thing you don’t want to do, root out things you’ve become comfortable with and think you can’t live without, and be well. Or continue your same habits, same patterns, and remain physically ill, in pain, and unable to function at your highest capacity. So, I made a choice to get uncomfortable so that I could enjoy living life in my body again.
The result? Wellness.
No longer did my joints and entire body hurt everywhere, every day. No longer was I a frequent migraine sufferer — even on medicine. No longer was I foggy-brained and lacking in energy. For the first time in probably a decade or more, I actually felt well. And that’s when I realized what I’d been missing out on by living sick all those years.
The same is true for us spiritually.
Many of us are walking around sin-sick. We’re living our everyday lives managing our sin when what we need to do is root out the unhealthy attitudes, behaviors, addictions, and mindsets from our hearts, minds, and souls.
We think we’ll be spiritually healthy when we add in spiritual habits like doing a daily devotion, journaling, praying, or reading the Bible regularly. And, of course, those ARE healthy spiritual habits and disciplines we all need to incorporate into our lives. But we also need to root out the bad habits and attitudes if we are going to experience spiritual wellness. Otherwise, it’s just like adding spinach to your diet while you continue to eat Twinkies and Cheese Puffs.
But we’ve grown accustomed to these ways of living and moving and thinking, and we either don’t see how sick we really are, or we just don’t want to go through the discomfort of doing anything about it. But God’s Holy Spirit has a way of coming to us with his convicting grace, not to shame us (God will NEVER shame us), but to awaken us to how sick we really are.
Holding on to bitterness, unforgiveness, and anger makes us feel awful, but so many of us are so familiar with these attitudes and mindsets that we don’t realize just how much of a burden they create in our minds, souls, and bodies. The Holy Spirit wants to awaken you to the things that are making you sick, and He will aid you in rooting out everything that is keeping you from living and loving to your highest potential.
What if you chose to allow the Spirit of God to awaken you to what needs rooting out? What if you chose to be all-in with the Spirit and do the necessary work of becoming spiritually healthy? Don’t wait until your body, mind, and soul (because sin affects us on all these levels) break down and give you an ultimatum.
Trust God to carefully lead you into a life of healing and ultimate wholeness. Stick with him even when it gets uncomfortable because what’s on the other side of any discomfort you will face is worth every sacrifice, every act of self-denial, every humble apology.
Every time I chose Christ when I was fearful, uncertain, or feeling unable, God proved Himself trustworthy. I have learned to forgive some big hurts. I have learned to let go of defensiveness, anger, and a lot of pride. These are just some of the ways I’ve experienced healing. Don’t get me wrong; I’m still a work in progress and have a long way to go, but I just keep choosing Christ every day. I keep choosing and keep doing the work with the Holy Spirit in the same way I keep choosing and doing the work of caring for my body every day.
Jesus said, “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10) Don’t settle for sin management which isn’t even possible anyway. It will always catch up with you.
My prayer is that you will choose true wholeness and wellness over sin management. You may not even know how miserable you are until you let the unhealthy junk go. God will give you all the comfort and security you need, so stop relying on lesser things that only bring dis-ease and misery into your life. Embrace Christ and you will embrace life.