For this week’s Monday Minute, Muriel shares with us how the emotions we hide beneath the surface can impact our health and how we can rise up and heal.
The Hidden Side of the Iceberg
by Muriel Gregory
“I am doing just fine, thank you for asking.”
My standard answer to concerned friends filled my Sunday morning. The kids and I were attending the 11 o’clock service at the Chapel. My husband had just left for another deployment, and kind souls were checking in on us. I appreciated their concerns, and I smiled the whole time. I also took the time to check on a few people and pray with them. Best remedy for a crushed spirit is to focus on others, right?!?
The truth is, I was NOT doing fine. The night before I woke up because I felt this huge weight on my chest, and I was unable to breathe. I quickly realized I was having a mild panic attack. My thoughts raced while my natural tendency to succumb to depression gained ground. Basically, I was a mess. But a proud mess. I could keep up a good front. Nobody needs to know and there are so many who have it much worse than me.
The lies I rehearsed and lived were detrimental to my health. The longer I kept denying the situation, the worse it got.
The RMS Titanic was the biggest moveable man-made object of her day. She was unsinkable. And we all know the rest of the story…. The iceberg in front of her did not look menacing because only ten percent of its shape is visible; 90% lurks under the water.
In a way, we are all like icebergs (No, I am not saying that you are cold. I am confident that you are a nice, warm, and caring person!) We tend to show the world only ten percent of ourselves and keep the rest submerged. Only a few may be privy to what we hide – our husband, a confident, God? We show the world our best side and keep the rest hidden so that we do not have to deal with it.
The Health Impact of the Emotions We Hide
For instance, we all grapple with some level of stress at any given time, but unresolved stress can have dire consequences, such as:
- Mental health problems, including depression, and anxiety
- Cardiovascular disease, including heart disease, high blood pressure, abnormal heart rhythms, heart attacks, and stroke
- Skin and hair problems, such as acne, psoriasis, and eczema
- Gastrointestinal problems
Do I have your attention?
“When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, but finds none. Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when it comes, it finds the house empty, swept, and put in order. Then it goes and brings with it seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there, and the last state of that person is worse than the first. So also will it be with this evil generation.”
Jesus knew what happens when we sweep things under the rug and choose to not deal with them. Call it unclean spirit, call it depression, anxiety, fear, anger, disordered passions. Call it what eats us from the inside out. We shoo it away without attempting to destroy it. We then present a clean front, but rest assured, it will come back with a vengeance. According to this passage in Matthew the unclean spirit came back with seven of his pals… This is spiritual warfare at its worst.
I had chosen to live in oblivion to my depression.
And it came back with a side of anxiety and a pinch of panic attack. Nobody could see it, but I could no longer deny it. I went to see a doctor, I honestly brought my brokenness to God, and I shared my struggles with a trusted friend.
The hidden part of my iceberg will stay private, but I have learned over time to stop denying my struggles and shortcomings. My heart can easily be deceived (Jeremiah 17:9) but I am called to protect it (Proverbs 4:23). I chose to give it to God and trust him in all my ways (Proverbs 3:5-6).
So, how are you doing…really?
Pause What are you struggling with right now? Take an inventory of what is going on in your heart, your mind, and your soul.
Submit Ask God to direct your path and commit to following where he leads. Uncover those hidden things to him and let the healing begin.
Pray Pray that you will learn to live as one that is wise, knowing how to make the most of each day. (Ephesians 5:15)
Lord, give me the strength to deal honestly with those things I keep hidden. Healing will only truly come if I give them to you. Thank you for always being there and loving me through it all. Amen.