As a nurse, I can tell you the worst way to take your medications is to simply NOT take them.
I am the WORST patient on the planet.
Most of you know I had my tonsils out earlier this month (thank you by the way for all the well-wishes and speedy-recoveries!) I had read that getting a tonsillectomy as an adult was no joke in the pain department…. and I would like to report that the rumors are indeed true. The pain is nothing to sneeze at (or yawn through… or talk about… or eat…. or chew… or swallow… or basically move anything above your shoulders for at least 11 days…)
Lucky for me, I have a great doctor who prescribed me some verrrrrry nice, very effective narcotics to get me through the pain. I could take up to 2 tablets every 4 hours… and for the first 12 days I did. I needed every second of that pain medication. I set my watch and my phone alarm by that schedule. Around the clock, every 4 hours on the dot I was taking those pills.
At least for the first 6 or 7 days. And then, despite the fact that I knew I’d be royally hurting within a half hour… I started to fudge a bit.
Because taking the pills HURT. They took TIME to take. I had to get up. I had to crush them. I had to decide what food I could tolerate having them in (cold applesauce was my go-to delivery method… if I never have applesauce again it will probably be too soon!) I had to swallow them. It hurt and it took time. Every 4 hours; and I was sick and tired of living my life in 4 hour increments.
The middle of the night was my weak point, I’d set my alarm and wake up but then I’d hit snooze. I didn’t want to get up and take the medication I knew I needed. Despite the fact that the pain became excruciating very quickly after that 4 hour time frame ended, I still would try to stretch it out.
Because I’m lazy.
Every time I fudged the time, I very quickly came to regret my decision. The pain was present and just at the threshold of my nerve endings all the time. Without the needed medication it came roaring back into my throat. But I still made those several decisions to put it off.
I would love to say there was some great reasoning behind my madness (i.e. laziness) but there wasn’t. I was just flat-out being lazy and choosing to put myself in pain. Because I’m crazy like that…
Not once, it reminded me of Ted Dekker’s ‘The Circle Series’ where there’s a lake that people must bathe in daily to keep these nasty, painful, itchy scabs from growing all over their skin. The lake water keeps the infection at bay for about a day but they must then go and wash it off again. (GREAT series by the way, I highly recommend it!) Much of the book revolves around them getting to bathe in the waters and how disabled by pain and discomfort they become if they go too long without washing.
I know the feeling! I needed that outside aid to help me overcome the pain; and I needed to take it WHEN I was supposed to for it to actually WORK properly.
I think it was not a random thing that I struggled with taking my prescribed meds after some time. It was a bit too close to mirroring my own walk right now; and actually how it’s been for several months. Because (public confession time) I’ve been extremely lazy in my quiet times these last months. I know and have felt God gently calling me back to better and more intentional fellowship with Him in the Word, and the cold, hard truth is I’ve just been lazy. I haven’t been taking my spiritual medication; my daily and regular dose of scripture.
Because sometimes that ‘medicine’ hurts. It can burn going down. I don’t mind that part so much. But more- it takes TIME to take in. It takes INTENTIONALITY and CONSISTENCY and DISCIPLINE to invest in. And despite the fact that I know I need it, I know I am lost without it, I know that it’s the best and most important thing in my day- I still refuse to prioritize my quiet times (or even DO them if I’m being brutally honest!)
Without a doubt, my walk and spirit is in pain because of it.
I feel Paul’s angst when he spoke of not doing what he should and doing what he shouldn’t. My sinful nature is constantly at war with what I know and want to do. Ugh! Preach it brother!
We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!
Romans 7:14-25 NIV
I’ve written too long, but I will leave you with this- just as I did in those times when I missed a dose… once the pain became too much to bear, you better believe I was taking those pills. I might have been late in the taking but I assure you I wasn’t sitting around rocking in the corner sucking my thumb saying ‘woe is me’ (I couldn’t have anyway, sucking my thumb would’ve hurt too much!) looking at the pills in the bottle and wishing I had taken some. I took the time, got up, crushed them, put them in applesauce, and SWALLOWED the medicine. Better late than never. I got back ahead of the pain.
Likewise, dear ones, I’m getting back ahead of my quiet times. I won’t be perfect and I’m not trying for perfection… I’m shooting for not being stupid and lazy anymore. I thank God that He is so understanding and puts up with my extraordinarily sinful and slothful nature! But I don’t want to take advantage of that grace either.
Today I invite you to confess. What ‘medication’ should you be taking and you’re not? How much spiritual pain are you really in dear ones? I encourage you to take that first step back to health with me and swallow the pills down!
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.
James 1: 22-25 NIV (emphasis mine)