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THE Voice

My pastor talked about “wake-up calls” this past Sunday at church. About a week ago, I experienced a wake-up call of my own.

About five years ago, my dad went into full cardiac arrest at a lake vacationing in Marco Island, Florida. He was completely without a pulse for at least 10 minutes before the EMS arrived. What saved his life (and his brain tissue) were the two men who saw him hit the ground and came running over to do CPR until the ambulance arrived. He was in the hospital in Florida for over two weeks and had an internal defibrillator implanted in his heart. He had bypass surgery when he got back to Indiana. I have been a Cardiac ICU nurse in the past, so I know how it was supposed to turn out (not good). He is literally a walking miracle.

My dad isn’t overweight. My dad eats healthy. My dad exercises. He doesn’t smoke or drink. But none of that matters because he has bad genetics and heart disease is huge in his family. And unfortunately, that means I’ve also received those bad genetics. More and more recently, the medical community is saying that much of heart disease is caused by chronic inflammation going on in the body.

What causes chronic inflammation or makes it worse?

Eating the wrong foods, digestive issues, food allergies, hormone imbalance, poor sleep, prolonged and/or intense stress…

That is not awesome news for me. I eat all the foods that cause inflammation. I know I have digestive issues and hormone imbalance. I have allergies. I don’t get enough sleep, and I have prolonged and intense stress at my house for various reasons (including a very sweet, but unpredictable, child with autism). One of my friends calls it “crazytown.” A very good description of my house most days.

The past six months I have noticed a big change in my body (hmmm…I just turned 40!). I have chronic joint pain, hormone craziness, mood swings, headaches, swelling in my ankles, and exhaustion. So discouraging. I eat pretty healthy, but I mix the junk and the processed foods in with the healthy food. I think I’m addicted to chocolate and anything salty and crunchy.

I very clearly felt God saying to me this past week that if I don’t make a swift and significant change in my life, I am heading down the same path as my dad. I felt an urgency with the warning. It really scared me. I know God wasn’t trying to scare me, just redirect me. He doesn’t want me to miss my purpose on this earth because I didn’t take care of myself. I can’t change many things about my circumstances, but I can change what I’m putting into my body. I have to stop eating the food that is causing the inflammation (and after a lot if research, I figured out it feels like just about everything). My body (and my heart) doesn’t handle it well.

And then “the critic” showed up. Like usual.

You know, that voice in your head that makes you feel like a giant failure?

Look what you have done to yourself. You are a mess, and you’re only 40!

What makes you think you will be able to stick to the anti-inflammatory plan? You can’t stick to anything. It will never last.

It’s too late. Your heart is already sick. What’s the point now? Give it up!

You’re children are going to have the same mess as you and your dad have.

Repeat, repeat, repeat.

Anybody else ever hear “the critic” in your head? Is it about your health? Your appearance? Your husband? Your kids? Your significance and worth? Your purpose? The critic usually rears it’s ugly head over just about anything. Some of us have harsher and louder critics than others.

I have a friend and health coach who first talked to me about “the critic.” It helped me so much just to recognize what was happening and give it a name, I asked her permission to share today. Rachael Masten has helped me see more truth (and uncover lies I have been believing) about my health in just a few short weeks than I have been able to figure out over most of my life. I highly recommend her if you or a family member is struggling to find balance with health or nutrition in any way. Her knowledge, wisdom, and connection with God is unique in a way I have never seen before. Check her out at ilivehealthyalternatives.com

So, “the critic” can be several different voices in your head…

1. It can be your own voice. Why is it that we are often the hardest on our ourselves? We strive and struggle for perfection.

2. It can be a loved one’s voice who is in your life and trying to “help” you, even though they aren’t being helpful at all. Usually it comes out as a criticism or comment that left you feeling hurt and defensive. It’s hard when you realize that those closest to you were the ones who wounded you the most.

3. It can be the protective voice in your head, coming from the part of you that is driven to survive. This voice may say something like, You can’t do this…it will be too hard and too stressful on you. What if we can’t survive this change?

4. It could be our enemy’s voice. His goal is to tell us lies so we will live in defeat and bondage. He is already defeated. He just wants us to forget that fact.

Which voice are you listening to?

Are you hearing so many other voices that you are missing THE Voice?

This was so hard when I thought about this question. How often have I missed God’s voice because I couldn’t hear Him over all the other voices I was listening to?

Some other really helpful things Rachael told me (that I think can be applied in so many different situations, not just health and nutrition):

  • Go into it in trust. He who began a good work in you will complete it in His time.
  • Be realistic. You will mess up. We are not perfect. Don’t quit. Let yourself experience the process… “Let it be messy” Cry out to God and let Him know how hard it is and how much you need His strength and help. (I love that! We can go to God just as we are, messy and vulnerable).
  • Over time, it will get more manageable, until you find freedom, and it will finally move to being “under your feet.” I can’t wait for that day!
  • Remember, Jesus already defeated whatever you are battling on the cross with His shed blood. Never forget, you already have the victory.
  • Ask God how to mark this moment, so you will never forget what He has told you to do. Ask God specifically how He wants you to mark it. I believe He has an opinion about it.

I spent some time praying about how to make a marker of this "line in the sand moment” in my life.

I made a collage that I’m going to hang in my bathroom where I will see it every morning. I wanted to share it with you:

Do you have a moment you need to mark?

Do you have voices in your head that are causing chaos and confusion?

Are you listening to “the critic” or THE Voice?

I’m praying for you today.

Jesus, please turn down and turn off the other voices until all we can hear is Yours. Help us by the power of Your Holy Spirit to tell “the critic” inside us to take a hike. And then may we mark those moments when You speak to us so that we will never forget what You have said. Amen.

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If you are an imperfect wife, mom, daughter, or friend, struggling to stay focused on God in the craziness and find joy in the heartache, then we have something in common. I am a recovering perfectionist and daughter of the King, slowly learning to fully trust the One who sees me just as I am, and is already pleased. I’m so glad you are here.

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