…that little pouch-like organ located between your large and small intestine, at the end of your colon…that pretty much just…exists. I mean, I’ve done a little bit of reading up on it and the main conclusion that is most often reached is no one can say for sure what it’s actually there for. Even people in the medical profession have theories and can take a “stab” at it (medical pun intended)…but for the most part, it’s just…there. Hanging out. No problem right? For the most part yes. We generally don’t even know it’s there. Unless of course it decides to one day cause a ruckus. When it starts to hurt; that’s when we know it’s definitely there. If you’ve ever had to have your appendix taken out, you know what I’m talking about.
My youngest son had this experience just this past week. He had started complaining of his stomach bothering him. At first we didn’t really think much of it. Everyone gets stomach aches from time to time so it wasn’t really that big of a deal. But then, one night he woke up early in the morning (which woke me up), rushing to the bathroom saying that he felt that he had to throw up. (He didn’t actually, thank God!) From that time on it didn’t get any better. He kept complaining about his stomach. Then we thought, maybe he just has a “flu type bug” or maybe he’s constipated and needs to eat more water and veggies etc. As a mom you start thinking about every possible scenario so you can find a solution and make it stop. But then I asked him to show me specifically where it hurts, rather than using a general statement. It was at that point that he pointed to his lower right abdomen, in between his belly button and right pubic bone, that it was starting to perhaps look like appendicitis. And going even further, I did the ultimate test. I asked if I could gently push on that spot and when I quickly released he doubled over in pain. It was official. This wasn’t just cramps or the flu.
Needless to say, I took the day off of work and we drove to the emergency room at the hospital and after hours of waiting and multiple tests, the doctor gave us two options. That he could go on antibiotics to make him more comfortable and hope that it will go away but that most likely he would be back within the same year with an appendix ready to burst which would fill his body full of poison. Or, option two, that she could do the surgery that very night and could get it removed sooner than later so that he never has to worry about it ever again. We chose the later and he was admitted into the hospital. The surgery only lasted about 20 minutes and we were able to see him a short time after that. The doctor came out and said that it was in fact his appendix and that it was inflamed but that everything went great and that she had removed the culprit. He’s had to take it slow for the last week and even after that, he’s still going to have to be careful for the next couple weeks to allow his body to heal completely, but overall we’re thankful it wasn’t more serious and that we figured out what was wrong before it got even worse.
Through this whole experience it got me thinking about how such a small, seemingly insignificant piece of our body can cause so much pain, and if not treated and removed, even death. One day you don’t even know it’s there and the next day it has you doubled over in such excruciating pain. For such a little “insignificant” thing, it sure can cause a lot of damage when left unchecked.
A little hurt that has big consequences…
Little things that at first we say, “It’s only one time” or “It’s not a big deal” or “I’m in control. I can stop whenever I want to” or “No one knows. It’s not hurting anyone”.
It could be anything…relationships, friendships, sin, habits etc. We try to justify it, hoping up on “antibiotics” to make us and those around us more comfortable with that “little thing” when really we’re just prolonging the inevitable. We need to bite the bullet and have it removed completely from our lives before it ruptures and nearly kills us.
I’m sure we’ve all been in situations that nearly killed us, whether that’s quite literally (physically), emotionally, mentally, spiritually. We look back and think to ourselves, how could I have been so stupid?! If only I knew back then what I know now, I wouldn’t have even messed around with that seemingly “little thing”. We look back and see the red flags that were there, we just didn’t want to admit it. We were too lazy or broken to deal with it. We justified it, time went on and little by little, we grew comfortable and even numb to it until one day, the whole thing burst, the pain being too much to bear and we finally realized how toxic that “little thing” was the entire time.
So, how do we deal with something like this? These “little hurts”?
First, we have to admit that there is a problem. No more denial. No more sweeping it under the rug. No more “antibiotics” hoping it will just go away on it’s own. No more worrying about what other people think. This is YOUR life we’re talking about here, not theirs. And one day you and I will stand before God and give an account for our lives and the choices we made. There won’t be anyone to point fingers at or blame. It’ll be just you and God. Don’t worry about everyone else, focus on Jesus and what needs to be done to keep you healthy and strong in every area of your life!
Second, it has to be diagnosed. We have to recognize it for what it is. Just like my son had to be specific in showing me where it hurt so we could get an idea of what we were dealing with, we also have to get really honest and specific about where the pain/toxicity/sin is in our lives. We have to call it what it is so we can can get down to treating it and then healing it.
Third, ya gotta go under the knife. Once you admit there is a problem, and you’ve diagnosed the problem, the only way to get rid of it is “surgery”. When we realize that a friendship, a relationship, a habit is indeed toxic to us, we need to take drastic measures to make sure it never happens again. Sometimes, that means having a difficult discussion that’s been needed for awhile and setting up some serious boundaries. Sometimes that means completely walking away and cutting all ties. Sometimes that means being purposeful in putting accountability “roadblocks” in place to hold us and our actions/thoughts accountable so we don’t “relapse”. Find someone you trust and know without a shadow of a doubt they will tell you what you NEED to hear, even if you don’t like it. Someone who genuinely has your best interest at heart and not their own selfish intentions. Also, make sure they know how to keep things “in the vault”…just between the two of you and won’t go and share it with anyone else.
Fourth, realize that as painful as “surgery” is, it’s necessary to prevent an even bigger hurt: not living this life the way that God created you for. The Bible says “…let us throw off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us.”~Hebrews 12:1 Jesus is a remarkable and highly skilled surgeon, able to cut away the unhealthy, toxic, sinful parts of us while leaving the healthy parts in tact so we can continue on and live our best life for Him. You can trust that He knows what He’s doing. Will it hurt? Yes. Will it be scary at some point? Most likely. But the end result will be freedom!
Fifth, it will take time to recover. The body has been through alot of trauma. The insides have been tossed around and cut and sewn back up again. Naturally, it takes awhile to bounce back from something like that. You’ll feel bruised. You’ll feel exhausted. You’ll move slowly at first. It’s the same with making the necessary and difficult changes in your life that you know have to be done in order to live this life the way God wants us to. Walking away from that friendship/relationship is going to hurt. I’m not gonna lie. You’ll cry yourself to sleep. You’ll miss them incredibly to the point where you’ll doubt if you made the right decision. Changing those toxic/sinful habits won’t be easy either. They’ll be so many distractions coming at you the moment you make the decision to be free. You’ll wonder if you have the strength to hold out and say no. You’ll fight to have just a sliver of discipline, just enough to move on with your day and do the right things as opposed to slipping back into your old ways.
Don’t go back to what poisoned you. You can’t heal in the same environment that tried to kill you.
Let Jesus, the skilled and loving surgeon, cut away the rot and the little hurts that are slowly killing you. Give Him your everything and let him heal you and bring you back to life. And if you do it His way, you won’t come back resembling anything you used to be. You’ll resemble where you’re going. A life of freedom.