“I had suffered from my condition for so long that I forgot what it felt like to be completely well. I had learned how to work and play with my body under duress like it was a normal thing.” I shared those words in My Fibroid Surgery Story-Part 1, which gave me a fantabulous AHA moment I just had to share. My thoughts came to life even more while watching an episode of The Jeffersons where Mr. Jefferson had old friends over for dinner who had not made it out of poverty like he did. Because they had been poor for so long, they confessed they didn’t know there was any other reality for them. In the case of my former medical condition, just like the couple on The Jeffersons, I made a sub-par reality my normal.
Many of us were raised in cultures that taught us suffering and surviving is just how it is. We always hear cliches that involve accepting fallacies about hardship, and there is a tendency to accept bad before we accept good. For example, having a mindset that we will always have money problems may lead us to consistently make unwise financial decisions. Convincing ourselves that because no one and nothing is perfect may cause us to overlook things that, in the long-run, will be detrimental to our well-being. The idea that there will always be problems in life may raise our tolerance for things we should not accept, and not challenge ourselves to evaluate the ways in which we self-sabotage.
Because society has taught us that the hard way to go is normal, we begin to adapt to that narrative and at times it does not look pretty. In the case of my fibroids, I adapted by doing things like buying bigger shirts, learning not to sleep on one side too long, and avoiding taking pain killers so that I would get used to dealing with the pain naturally. In the beginning stages of my condition, I wasn’t aggressive with my treatment because fibroids are very common. In my mind it was not a big deal, and at the time it truly wasn’t. Also, the financial repercussions of jumping the gun when I really didn’t have to contributed to my decision early on to press pause. However, I did not have my eye on the future as my attitude was based on things remaining the same. It wasn’t until I was advised that my fibroids increasing in size may cause other problems, such as pressing on vital organs or growing to the point where surgery would be more risky, when I realized I had to become more assertive about a solution. As a result, I knew that the solution was no longer adaptation but eradication. In the words of a dear friend, I had to be “proactive and not reactive”. And this leads to my line of questioning: How many conditions have we accepted as our normal and just adapted versus seeking a means to remove that stress from our lives? How many of us have learned to live with things that make us worse off to the point where the damage could be irreversible? How many of us just accept constant hardship and don’t fight to make things better?
We must not take advantage of our resilience. We all have a threshold and relying on the external to judge if we are okay is a gross error. We may have things happening inside of our bodies and spirits that when the proverbial final straw comes, we will not be able to bounce back. Ever. And before anyone gets deep and says God can deliver us from anything, YES HE CAN! But, sometimes deliverance is not this dramatic event where we are hapless victims who are miraculously plucked from our circumstances. Sometimes deliverance comes by way of accepting wise counsel, operating on the offense versus the defense, or just plain ol’ getting out of the way before things get worse. We need to stop forcing God’s hand thinking the only time He intervenes is when things get out of hand. I’m quite sure the reason why it often happens that way is because we didn’t listen to Him the first time, making it even harder for Him to pry our hands off of our own necks. This is why having people who will tell us the truth versus what we want to hear is tantamount to our deliverance (Hey! That’s an idea for another post! DONE!). Sometimes the voice of God in our lives is the one person who refuses to go along with our scheme to dig a deeper hole to bury ourselves in. In my case, I was very fortunate to have a few brutally honest people in my corner who urged me to get up and fight for better health.
There are no bragging rights that come with being tough enough to withstand unnecessary hardship. There is no honor in being ride or die when all we’re doing is dying. It’s time to relinquish the title of Self-Sabotager and change our perspective to realize that we have to get out of our unhealthy comfort zones and do things a different way. There are too many of us who are morphing into something other than what God intended in the name of “just dealing with it”. Mental and physical illness is nothing to play with, and that is the road many of us will travel if we don’t take inventory of what we should no longer accept in our lives. It’s time to stop thinking of our hardships as our normal and fight for a new one. Let’s partner with God to remove the emotional, mental, spiritual, and physical tumors from our lives so that we can finally sleep on both sides.
And that’s all I have to say. Let the healing begin…