By day five, I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. Once again I woke up with a headache, stuffy nose, chest congestion, and deep hacking cough. I’d already missed almost a whole week of work. And even after staying in bed most of the day for several days in a row, I still felt miserable. I was ready to be done with it all.
So I finally gave in and went to see a doctor. He listened carefully as I gave a description of my symptoms, punctuated by coughing fits.
“What you described sounds like that nasty virus that’s been going around,” the doctor said. “This antibiotic may or may not help. You may just have to let the virus run its course. And that could possibly take 2 to 6 weeks. In the meantime, get lots of rest, drink plenty of fluids, and don’t go to work yet. You’re contagious.”
Even though the diagnosis wasn’t encouraging, I left the doctor’s visit feeling strangely relieved. For days I had been feeling lazy for wanting to stay in bed, feeling guilty for calling in sick, and wondering why in the world I couldn’t dredge up the energy to do simple tasks. Now there was an official medical diagnosis – a physical explanation for it all. I have doctor’s orders to stay home from work and sleep!
A Heart Exam
I remember the last time I felt this way. In 2008, when I returned to the US after four intense years in Asia, I was burnt-out and depressed. All I wanted to do was sleep for days and weeks. I had no desire to see friends or go out of the house. And if anyone asked me about how my time had been in Asia, I would burst into tears. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me, and I was frustrated that I couldn’t “get over it.”
When I met the Fresh Start team in 2009, Pastor Steve and the others helped me do a “heart exam” to find the root of the problem. I finally realized, to my shock, that I was harboring bitterness and unforgiveness against my leaders for hurtful decisions they had made. Only after I identified the main offense, admitted how it had affected me, and chose to forgive and let it go, could the healing process begin. It was a huge relief to recognize the source of my anger, hurt, and frustration. It wasn’t an instant cure, but it was the beginning of the cure.
Do you struggle with anger, fears, shame, guilt, rejection, or depression? You can try to mask or minimize the symptoms, but they won’t go away until you find the cause.
The psalmist David says, “Search me, O God, and know my heart. Test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23-24). Ask the Holy Spirit to do a heart exam and discover the root of the problem. He will lead you “in the way everlasting” – the road to freedom!