At the bright young age of 21, I was diagnosed with severely high cholesterol.
Cholesterol is known as a silent killer. It doesn’t manifest itself through symptoms or in a person’s physical appearance. Without treatment, high cholesterol can cause a waxy substance to build up in your arteries and, over time, this build-up can narrow the arteries. This condition is known as atherosclerosis, which can limit the flow of blood through your arteries. It also can result in many life-threatening complications, such as: blood clots, a stroke, a heart attack, peripheral vascular disease or chronic kidney disease (www.healthline.com.)
These are heavy things to deal with at the age of 21. Who worries about a heart attack at 21?! Nevertheless, I had to make lifestyle changes and start somewhere on this wellness journey. The heart is the body’s engine, so it’s worth looking after to keep it running, or living, for a long time.
This brings me to Proverbs 4:23 (NIV):
“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”
The Passion Translation puts it this way:
“So above all, guard the affections of your heart, for they affect all that you are. Pay attention to the welfare of your innermost being, for from there flows the wellspring of your life.”
Dear friend, I believe it’s integral for us to pay attention to the wellness of our hearts, the wellness of our innermost being. There are silent killers lurking in the depths, just waiting to overcome us. Think of unforgiveness, rejection, deep hurts, disappointments, anger, bitterness or loss.
Proverbs 17:22 (NIV) says:
“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”
These silent killers can dry up our bones, if left undealt with. Let’s face it, these are very heavy things to deal with or come to terms with, but friend, to have true freedom, we need to start on this wellness journey.
After diagnosis, I followed the doctor’s advice and started taking the meds, as well as seeing a dietician and incorporating exercise into my routine. Unfortunately, the meds made me so sick, that I stopped taking them. Especially as a 21-year-old, I thought it couldn't be that serious, but I was most probably living in denial. I’ve made lots of health and lifestyle adjustments since, to ensure I don’t need medication (I hate having to take medication for “an old man's disease” and there’s lots of negativity towards statins/cholesterol medication.) Last year, I went for my routine check-up and my cholesterol results had oddly sky-rocketed again. This GP asked about my diet and exercise regime, and then, for the first time ever, I was asked about my family history. It came down to genetics and that high cholesterol is a hereditary disease from my father’s side. Many of his family members died young from heart attacks. The point is, I need the medication to avoid blood clots as well as a heart attack, because that is the severity of this silent killer (definitely trusting Jesus for healing).
We can seem fine and cope well, but it won’t last forever. Unforgiveness, rejection, hurts, disappointments, anger, bitterness or loss will eat at us, make us sick and show up under pressure or as triggers. We cannot leave these silent killers to take up space rent-free and determine our wellness. We cannot live in denial about these silent killers.
Romans 12:3 (NIV) reminds us: “For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.”
The positive about the silent killers of our innermost beings, is that with Jesus, there’s always time to deal or work through these things. His grace is not a ticking time bomb; His grace knows no bounds. His Holy Spirit leads and guides us through these difficult things, if we choose to go on this wellness journey.
Psalms 34:18 (NIV) says: “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
Dear friend, I have no idea of the severity of your hurts and disappointments, or the rejection you might have experienced which can also justify the anger. I don't know all the loss you might have gone through. What I do know, is we need to pay attention to the welfare of our hearts and allow Jesus to heal our hearts.
“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” – Proverbs 4:23
How to look after our hearts:
• *Listen to the prompting of Jesus and the Holy Spirit
In John 16, Jesus refers to the Holy Spirit as our friend, and that He is the Spirit of Truth who will guide us into all the truth. We are free, loved, accepted and His chosen ones, and He is close to the broken-hearted.
• Go for regular check-ups/check-ins with a friend or counsellor
Debra Fileta, a Faith-forward licensed counsellor and author, says healing happens in layers. Often, we think we’ve dealt with unforgiveness, for example, just for it to stick out its ugly head a bit later. It’s a wellness journey for a reason.
• We need to choose to follow the advice of The Bible and our friend/counsellor.
We need to put in the work, to work out and through these silent killers, to truly live in a place of freedom, the freedom that Jesus already gave us. Remember, we can stand victorious because Jesus stands victorious. Working through these things are not setbacks, but signals that work is still needed.
Philippians 4:19 (NIV) says: “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”
Yours in wellness
Women of Reverence welcomes our regular contributor Yolande Vincent sharing on wellness.