Do I have the tendency to be a bit of a hypochondriac? Yes.
Dr. Oz can be talking about a new disease, or finding, on a commercial break as I’m watching Rachael Ray and I suddenly have all of the symptoms. I can convince myself pretty quickly that I have an ailment, just as long as I hear about it. Once I have convinced myself that I have it, because now I am feeling all of the symptoms, I start the research game. Google is one of the most wonderful, yet most terrible tools for someone trying to find details on a condition.
“It could be cancer, but it could just be sleep deprivation...”
“You should go to the doctor immediately because this could be symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis, but you may just need to take a multi-vitamin.”
“My Aunt had the same symptoms and she ended up dying from it.”
One extreme to another gets your mind running wild asking a million questions.
“Do I have cancer because I feel pain in my side? Do I have MS because I have a tingling sensation in my feet? Do I have a tumor because I have frequent headaches?”
Every symptom you read about becomes a part of your life and who you are. What a prison this can become. Your life and your thoughts become enslaved within the prison of your mind. This is not intended to make light of when you have true symptoms and getting them checked out. I am referring to those of us who tend to have every symptom and want to get everything checked out.
Now, I have had these tendencies on and off for a while. They are there for a few days and go away for months at a time. It usually occurs after I hear something about someone. However, after having Berkley I feel so much more added responsibility. After having Reese I felt this, but it heightened this time around. I cannot imagine their lives without me in it so my fears of something happening to me grew after having her. I want to be there for them at all times. When they come home crying about a boyfriend or when they simply need advice on what to wear I want to be there. I want to share in every aspect of their lives.
So, let the crazy compulsiveness begin. Instead of continually praising God, as I should be, I let questions and doubt flood my mind. I cannot remember the exact quote or where I heard it, but basically it said that when we open the gates to doubt and questioning we open ourselves up to allowing Satan to work. However, when we take steps of faith we open the doors for God to work. I loved this when I heard it because it created a real visual for me of opening up the doors to allow God in OR shutting (bolting or locking) Satan OUT so he has no place or power in our lives.
I recently purchased a book called The Bondage Breaker by Neil Anderson which discusses the spiritual warfare that takes place all around us. He talks about how we can have true freedom from our negative thoughts (or things that bond us) through a life in Christ. In the beginning he highlights how Paul says in Ephesians that “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms”. We so often forget about the battle that goes on all around us. However, through my negative thoughts God has brought on a whole new realization of this for me. The closer I draw to him the more I can feel and decipher the evilness when I have negativity within me.
I continually pray that God will show me his perspective, in all things, through his Holy Spirit. I feel that he does this with frequency now, especially when it comes to things of this nature.
In 1 Peter 5:8 it says, “Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.”
Many seem to feel like spiritual warfare only happened “back then”, but it happens still today, all around us.
In 2 Corinthians 10:3-4 it says, “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have the divine power to demolish strongholds.”
So, what are the weapons we have at our disposal if they are not the weapons we typically think of when it comes to our world? Certainly a gun and our fists will do little when faced with the power we encounter when it comes to things of the spiritual world. Through a series titled “The Power of our Words” Joyce Meyer unveils the the power behind the weapon of our tongue. She discusses how we need to speak the word of God aloud. We need to praise Him for what he is doing in our lives and for those around us instead of continually focusing on the negative. We need to have faith in God and open the doors for him to work in our lives. We need to quit putting off getting into His word and be diligent and consistent in doing so instead.
In Ephesians, Paul is discussing ways to be strong in the Lord and to “take a stand against the devil’s schemes” (v. 11). He says, “...take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all of the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God” (v. 16-17).
Our mind is a battlefield, continually battling between our thoughts and feelings. In order to have the helmet of salvation, that protects our minds, we must use the “sword of the Holy Spirit”, which is His word. We must allow His word to replace the negativity and lies that run rampant within our mind. His word is the greatest weapon he has given us for battle. You may not struggle with thoughts of hypochondria at all, but your struggle may be thoughts of whether to gossip or not, continually thinking about your physical appearance, being consumed with perfection, amongst many other things. Our thoughts can take a million different directions and can constantly be in battle with what God calls us to be.
Earlier I said that God has given me a new, clearer perspective when it comes to the spiritual world. When I start having negative thoughts or worries I can feel the weight of Satan’s words on me. It is not audible, but it may as well be.
I hear, “Well, maybe it’s this. If you keep looking up things you’ll find the solution and then you can fix it.” (Sound like Satan in the Garden of Eden?! Same logic.)
“If you keep thinking about it you will figure out a solution.”
“Why do I feel this way? It could be because of this...or maybe if I do this...”
Satan wants us to DWELL on the problem, which draws us away from God and closer to him. God wants us to dwell on only Him, His word, and release our fears and anxiety. He wants us to praise him, THANK him, and focus on bringing glory to him. It is amazing how quickly our mind shifts away from our own problems when we start praising and thanking him for everything he has given us.
“Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.” Psalm 55:22
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
I am a fixer. I want solutions and sometimes I am far from patient. However, by questioning and dwelling I am not allowing God to work and ultimately I am playing into Satan’s game. When I am having negative thoughts, whatever they may be (no thought is too big OR too small), I quote the word of God OUT LOUD. Satan has no power over the word of God. That is one reason it is so important to memorize and meditate on the word. Something else I do, right when these thoughts pop in my head, is to say, “ Lord, in your name, fill our home with your angels and take away all manner of evil. Satan has no power here because you have already conquered. Fill my heart and mind with your word and Holy Spirit. Take away all negativity and help me to speak your word. Lord, you are my strength and my salvation.” God has given us the weapons we need to fight against evil. We just need to be willing to take hold, with faith, and believe.
I initially was hesitant when it came to sharing this weakness, but then God immediately reminded me that he brings glory out of our weaknesses if we allow Him to do so. There are always going to be negative forces and influences in our lives, but there is nothing we cannot overcome with the power of God.