Arthritis sufferers find remedy in spirituality

 

@glowimages

@glowimages

Some years ago a friend and I were visiting with her grandmother.  Grannys conversation with us was peppered with resentment. Though I dont remember today what it was that distressed her, I still have a strong impression of how her hands were gnarled with arthritis.

And I wondered if her hands would be better if she could forgive, rather than recount, her hurt.

This unanswered question resurfaced recently, when I read that  arthritis took the top spot in an extensive Centers for Disease Control (CDC) study into the most prevalent diagnosed chronic illnesses in people aged 65 and older. Amazingly, arthritis had more than double the occurrence of the next most common ailment.  

As my heart went out to those suffering in this way, I thought of my friends grandmother.. 

Could there be a spiritual remedy to resolve the resentment, bitterness, and frustration that often seem to accompany old age, and could doing so have any impact on arthritis?

I quickly discovered a host of books, articles, and personal testimonies of those healed of arthritis as a result of forgiveness, prayer, or spiritual counseling.

Here’s a sample of my findings:

In The truth about forgivenessauthor Wendy Bussell shares, My family physician told me, Wendy if you do not deal with your past and the resentments you have, you will be an arthritic cripple by the time you are forty-five.As a chaplain, she let her faith guide her to a larger relationship with God which resulted in finding forgiveness and she remained free of arthritis.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Strength to Lovewrote, Medical science reveals that such physical ailments as arthritis, gastric ulcer, and asthma have on occasion been encouraged by bitter resentments. Psychosomatic medicine shows how deep resentment may result in physical deterioration.”  And he goes on to quote Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.

The weekly inspirational magazine, the Christian Science Sentinel carried this account by contributor Wilbur Jenkins, “I was almost completely immobile. Medical specialists were called in and diagnosed the condition as rheumatoid arthritis. They told me it was incurable. My family, who are deeply religious, brought me an article from a Protestant magazine. In it, the author recounted how he had learned to live with arthritis.

“Then and there I decided that I was going to learn to live without arthritis!”

When Wilbur went home, the first thing he did was call a Christian Science practitioner. He recounts, “I will always remember the practitioner’s gentle insistence that I must learn to love more! She recommended that I study Christ Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, and especially the verse in which Jesus says (Matt. 5:44), “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.”

“I learned to think of love as a mental attitude of being on my knees in humble forgiveness and compassion for my fellowmen.”

As he continued to study the Bible and a companion book, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by noted Christian healer Mary Baker Eddy, his arthritis disappeared. He resumed normal activities and closes his account by commenting, “I’m striving daily to learn to love more.”

These examples give us hope that we too can learn to love more and forgive. And then why shouldn’t we find ourselves as well with greater freedom of thought and movement!

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Freedom to restore purpose and health

 

@glowimages

@glowimages

“We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal…”
declares the July 1776, Declaration of Independence.

But do we?

Have you ever found yourself a bit ahead of life’s measuring stick, or coming out on the short end of it? For me, that sense of equality – the respect of others – can so often get lost in comparisons.

A few years ago I found myself in a job I did not seek, but had accepted out of a sense of duty. Frustration ruled my days, then months, as most of what I set out to accomplish failed. Compounding this dilemma were regular conference calls with colleagues who shared their thrilling successes… Finally, I became physically stressed out too, experiencing a progressive stiffness that interfered with my sleep.

Hoping for some guidance on what to do, I turned to the Bible one day. Perhaps this could be considered a desperate impulse. However, time and again I have found this statement true: “The Bible contains the recipe for all healing.” The words are from a book that has helped me in many tough times, called Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.

Turning to the Scriptures in that moment of need helped me realize for the first time that comparing myself to others was a mistake, contributing to major self doubt and royally interfering with my ability to discern my way. A passage from Proverbs gave me a refreshing new focus: “In everything you do, put God first, and he will direct you and crown your efforts with success.”

And He did just that!

My approach to work changed. I was no longer trying to figure out everything on my own, nor was I thoughtlessly mimicking others, I found an appreciation for humble prayer that is more about listening for solutions than listing problems.

I began to have restful sleep again as the stiffness eased. And soon I too was contributing my own accomplishments on those colleague conference calls.

I experienced a sense of health and opportunity that only freedom of thought and heart can bring – a freedom to live the best in myself and to highlight the good in everyone else.

This 4th of July, let’s take the truth that all men and women are created equal to heart, and find the independence that doing so can bring to our minds and bodies.

Posted in Equality, Freedom, Health, Healthy Thinking, Humility, Listening to God, Mind and Body connection, The Bible, Trust in God | Tagged , | Comments Off on Freedom to restore purpose and health

@glowimages

@glowimages

Dad was proud of his collection of duck decoys.

But little did he know that he himself would be deceived by them, when my prankster of a brother-in-law decided to play a practical joke on him.

When we were all visiting my parents, my brother-in-law got up extra early to place the decoys at the edge of a pond bordering their home. Dad, sipping his first coffee of the day and surveying the view, spotted ducks in the pond. Forgetting his eye-glasses, he grabbed some bread and hurried out to welcome the new arrivals, hoping they’d select his yard to nest.

He was diligent as he tried to woo the decoys to make their home on his land. Finally, though, my brother-in-law had to go out and let him know that all the quacking and breadcrumbs in the world would not matter a bit to those decoys!

I think of that when I consider the more important issue of caring for our health. Are we focusing on the duck or the decoy? We’re so used to assessing our health according to the state of our minds and our bodies, but is that actually distracting us from a deeper, spiritual understanding of our health?

I know of a woman, Elizabeth, who after struggling with a diagnosis of bi-polar disorder for 12 years, found healing and discovered the disease was actually just that, a decoy. She writes, “After a year or so on medication, I became dissatisfied with the side effects and began exploring alternative treatments. In each case, relief was temporary.”

Finally, she decided to pray and engaged a Christian Science practitioner to help her.

Elizabeth continues: “There were days when the challenge of the disease seemed insurmountable, but I was gradually learning what Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, meant when she wrote that we must “watch, and pray for that Mind to be in us which was also in Christ Jesus:. . .” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures) When I felt like I was getting out of balance or anxious, the Bible verse, ‘Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee’ restored me.

During quiet times at work, I would ask God what to think about. I kept a pad of paper at hand to write down things for which I was grateful. This discipline taught me that the whole of Christian life is worshipping God—thinking of Him, acknowledging His presence, asking Him for guidance, praising His goodness. Surely keeping our thoughts “stayed” on God is the forever joy of life.

Then for the first time, she saw the bipolar diagnosis differently. She saw that God didn’t make it and that it didn’t belong to her individuality as a child of God. In her prayers, it became clear to her that such a diagnosis was not truly a part of her or anyone.

“I knew I was safe. Fear was replaced with the feeling of being well, really truly well,” she concludes.

It is so interesting and hopeful to find that Elizabeth’s experience is not an isolated incident. Duke University’s Harold G. Koenig, M.D. recently reported, “An exhaustive analysis of more than 1500 reputable medical studies indicates people who are more religious and pray more have better mental and physical health.”

One might conclude that a more spiritual sense of oneself keeps us from accepting a decoy of disease!

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Permanent weight loss – really!

@Glowimages

@Glowimages

Yesterday a friend reminded me it’s the season of “6 weeks to a bikini body” once again.

I  laughed, because a bikini is not what I wear to the beach. But I soon discovered that it’s also the title of a newly released book. The subject of weight loss is clearly not a laughing matter for many people!

But some have seen beyond that. I read this arresting quote from the site MindBodyGreen: “My desire to be happy is greater than my desire to be thin….At the end of the day, the enemy is not sugar, juice cleanses or Facebook. The enemy is our minds.” Continue reading

Posted in faith based weight loss, Healthy Thinking, Humility, Mind and Body connection, Prayer, Spirituality, Thought models, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments