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Do You Need Surgery?

January 13, 2017

I had some outpatient surgery done on my shoulder a couple of weeks ago. While I was waiting in the pre-op bed in my lovely gown, I thought about how I ended up in this position to where I needed surgery and realized that my shoulder was not the only thing that needed surgery. My life and my ministry were candidates for surgery as well. Maybe you need surgery in your life, in your marriage, in your leadership role. Here are some thoughts to help you consider if you need to go under the knife.

fullsizerenderI like to exercise and I like to help others get fit as well (for those in the Hope, AR., area, this is the place). However, shoulder pain had been preventing me fro
m getting some of the workouts accomplished. My performance, speed, and form were suffering because of the pain. So I had three options before me. The first option was to do my best to ignore the pain. The second option was to work in a limited capacity. The third option was to get the problem fixed.

The problem with option one is that it was just silly. Pain exists for a reason. You can’t ignore it day after day. Ignoring pain puts you at greater risk for more injury, and the consequences will affect other people. If I choose to ignore my shoulder pain for a period of time, and damage it more, then I may not be able play catch with my kids anymore, or do a host of chores around the house. You get the idea. So I had to confess that enduring the pain or trying to ignore the pain day after day was not healthy.

Same thing goes for my spiritual life, my marriage, my church, my ___________________ (insert whatever you wish). If I refuse to acknowledge that something may need to be fixed, I am not only putting myself at risk, but others as well. If I choose to ignore a problem in my marriage, I put my marriage at risk, which affects my children, my church family, and much more. Once again, you get the picture. Just like God designed physical pain as a warning system, so too did He design spiritual pain (conviction is the church word) as a warning system that something needs to be addressed and confessed to God.

Instead of ignoring the pain, I could have just dialed back the intensity of my workouts and settled for something less than what I know I could achieve at full health. But I don’t want to live like that, and I am guessing you don’t either.

Who wants a mediocre marriage? Who wants to lead a ho-hum ministry? Who wants to be known as a leader who settles for 50% when so much more is possible? Who wants to be a part of a church that has an “okay commission” instead of a “Great Commission”? You can settle if you want to. But I don’t think you want to dial down the intensity by which you live life.

The third option was to get my shoulder assessed by someone other than myself and come up with a fix-it plan. The fix-it plan was progressive. First I had a to get a scan so the doc could see what was actually going on in my shoulder. Next up was a round of shots to see if the problem could be fixed this way. It worked for a little while, but the pain came back. Next up—surgery (credit Michael Hussey, orthopedic surgeon in Little Rock!)

If there is a pain or a problem that surfaces in your life (or marriage or ministry or church), perhaps you need to see someone who can help you fix it. If you are a follower of Christ, then your first visit is to Christ. He knows your pain. He can sympathize with you. Not only does He know your pain, He also experienced it, and He handled that pain perfectly in His own life, which makes Him the best one to follow when it comes to knowing how to deal with it. Start with Jesus. He may lead you to your pastor, or to a small group of trusted friends and counselors who can help with your fix-it plan. I’m pretty sure that fix-it plan is going to include confession, repentance, forgiveness, and then freedom to live in fullness!

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