When I was in my twenties, I learned about the harmful effects of inflammation inside the body. I had an academic understanding of the causes as well as the harmful symptoms and diseases associated with prolonged inflammation. But, I was young and healthy so even though I had been made aware, I didn’t take it to heart.
Now that I am in my mid-forties, it has become much more of a concern. Just before Christmas when I was indulging in all the rich and sweet foods the holiday had to offer, I got an unpleasant surprise. The only way I can explain it is I felt like a needed a hip replacement in my right hip. It was extremely painful to walk, sit, stand, and lie down. I said to my body, “What do you think you are doing? Get with the program!”
My body answered me back with, “How can you expect for me to work properly when you continue to feed me with things that cause inflammation. THIS IS YOUR WARNING!” I had to come back to the very relevant information I learned more than twenty years ago. I am happy to report that after a steady diet of low carbohydrates and little sugar, my hip is acting its age again.
The irritation of inflammation inside your body can be sneaky because we can’t see it and there is no way of knowing when it will rear its ugly head. But inevitably after prolonged inflammation will come pain, sickness and even disease. It rapidly moves beyond just the discomfort or aggravation we associate with old age to serious concern. The great news is, it can be reversed completely! The same is true of the inflammation and irritation we experience in our spirits.
When something changes slowly over time, it is hard to recognize and easily mislabeled. For example, people sometimes mislabel their obsessive news watching as ‘staying abreast of current events’, but over time, it leads to a negative attitude or constant worry. Prolonged irritation from habits that do not produce good fruit in our lives may lie invisibly under the surface for a while, but eventually it surfaces.
Matthew chapter 15:18 says “What comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart”. And Matthew 5:8 says “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God”. Keeping a pure heart before the Lord is sort of like doing what takes to prevent inflammation in your body. Consistently and over a long period of time, feed it what it needs.
Irritation in your spirit that is always just under the surface tugging at you can be things like worry, anxiety, fear, gossip or always feeling like you don’t measure up. It is normal to experience these emotions from time to time, but if you are experiencing them weekly or daily perhaps you have inflammation in your spirit. Begin by identifying the cause of the aggravation before it becomes unbearable; to you and to others.
A good way to do that is by evaluating what you are putting in on a regular basis. For me, I have to be careful when it comes to social media. Although I am active everyday on social media due to my ministry, Dirt Road Believer, I have to be careful not to spend exorbitant amounts of time on the wrong thing. Even spending too much time on ministry tasks can began to take the place of God or my family if I am not careful. I encourage you to move toward total wellness: mind, body and soul. Meditate, pray and take action by eliminating habits that move you away from a pure heart. Reduce irritation and cure inflammation with time spent on habits that cultivate a pure heart.