A couple of years ago, I attended a funeral with a girlfriend. I didn’t know the lady who had passed away, but my girlfriend didn’t want to attend the funeral alone, and so I found myself at the funeral of a total stranger. For hours, I sat and listened to stories of this woman who sounded so loving, generous, and larger than life. At the end of the evening, I wished I’d have known her, and so I turned and asked her sister how she had died. I was more than a little stunned at the response. This lovely and loving woman had a toothache, which she ignored. She was stubborn and didn’t like doctors — she’d seen more than her share of doctors in her life. And so she ignored the pain until it was unbearable. But by then, it was too late. The infection had spread too far. Her organs shut down. And this very vital lady — only in her 40s — was gone.
One of my Dad’s favorite sayings is, “Don’t make a mountain out of a molehill.” This means that one shouldn’t blow things out of proportion. If you stub your toe, you’ve stubbed your toe — not broken a hip. Suck it up and move on. But in this lady’s case, instead of making a mountain out of a molehill, she had ignored a molehill until it became a mountain. And she got crushed in the landslide.
I’ve been more often guilty of making mountains out of molehills. Over the years, I’ve lost count of how many small concerns that I’ve worried over so much that they turned into seemingly overwhelming obstacles. But reading this chapter of Christa Black Gifford’s “Heart Made Whole,” I realized that I’ve also been guilty of making molehills out of mountains. Sometimes, it’s easier to close one’s eyes and pretend the dragon isn’t there than to find the courage and strength to slay it. But as I learned at this stranger’s funeral, sometimes, ignoring a seemingly small symptom is fatal.
Christa says, “When we try to muzzle the symptom, we never uncover the actual problem — which also means we won’t ever find a permanent solution,” (Gifford, 116).
Stop for a second, think, and I bet you can come up with a couple of “symptoms” you’ve been ignoring… Has depression or anxiety been nagging you and you haven’t wanted to admit it and seek help? Have you noticed that you lose your temper with your spouse or your kids and awful lot? Has your job been stressing you out so much that you’re finding yourself staring at the bottom of a cocktail glass or a beer bottle just a little too often? Or maybe it’s an estranged parent or sibling that you haven’t talked to in years because they just don’t understand you and they make you crazy? Or is it something else that you can’t think about or speak aloud because you think people would love you less or think of you differently?
Guess what? No matter what the symptom is that you face, you don’t face it alone. And you don’t have to heal it alone, either.
“No matter how dedicated you are, how hard you strive, or how strong you become, you will never possess the power to heal, cleanse, and purify the brokenness inside your heart because this has never been your job. Your role in life is to be a much-loved child, receiving all that Father offers through salvation, and letting Him complete His work in you through an exchange of supernatural power and relationship,” (Gifford, 131).
This post is a discussion on Christa Black Gifford’s book, “Heart Made Whole.” You’re welcome to stay and chat whether you’ve read the book or not. Your thoughts and reflections are always welcome here! If you did write a response to this chapter, you can link your blog post over at my co-facilitator Jason’s place. We’d love to read it!