“Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.”
-1 Corinthians 3:16-17 ESV
Phew! That’s a heavy scripture. I’m no Biblical scholar, but when I read that this week, I was immediately overcome with awareness of the heavy responsibility I hold to care for my body. It was a reminder from God that we will be held accountable for our actions one day, but specifically, for this clay vessel He blessed us with, housing His Holy Spirit! Yeah. Pause and think about that for a moment. I think that’s partly why I also feel called to share that message with others- so they not only live full, healthy lives, but so that they are not destroyed.
In caring for our bodies, we can touch on many topics, but what God has been laying on my heart for the past three months (okay, maybe more) has been prescription drug abuse and over-reliance. I realize this is a delicate subject, and that is partly why I have neglected to write on this topic. I do not wish to offend anyone, simply to write what God has impressed upon my heart. For our readers, please take this to God and ask Him what He wants to speak to you about this area. I am passionate about this topic, so this is a lengthy blog.
My own personal experience began with the choice to either take medication for my high cholesterol and blood pressure at the ripe age of 22, or to make some lifestyle changes. The idea of healthy eating and exercise were completely foreign to me. Krispy Kreme for breakfast and Burger King with a super-sized Mt. Dew for lunch seemed like a balanced diet. Walking a half-mile at the mall felt like intense exercise. But the Lord loved me more than that. He led me on a 10-year learning course to what healthy living looked like, and for that I feel eternally blessed and grateful. There have been (and continue to be) many mistakes along the way, but when I look back to see how much He has taught me, I am often blown away!
My experience also includes a former co-worker becoming addicted to pain medication after surgery… and then resorting to stealing heroin from the evidence closet… injecting it on duty, and being discovered by police; passed out behind the wheel of their work vehicle. Dozens of criminals were set free, and thousands of investigative hours lost, due to the tampered evidence… leaving a spouse and young child alone, as they were sentenced behind bars with the very criminals they used to investigate.
I have felt the pain of a cousin, also becoming addicted to pain pills, and then falling into the demonic trap of addiction to heroin. Praise be to God, she found Jesus and freedom. She is several months clean, now, giving Glory to God!
I have dealt with “Doctor Shoppers” who went to multiple doctors to acquire all of the prescriptions they could get their hands on. I was made aware of this concept, as well as doctors and pharmacists who become addicted to narcotics, and doctors who over-prescribe medications, by my own Father, who investigated these criminals and revoked their licenses. A Father who created a state-wide Prescription Monitoring System, to help eliminate the abuse of prescription drugs, which he spoke about at conferences across the Nation.
I have witnessed my own family, at the hands of doctors who handed out prescriptions to treat every symptom, rather than investigating to discover the actual source of the problem. This “polypharmacy” led to the destruction of their bodies, minds, spirits, and self-confidence. I watched in horror as they withered away.
I myself have experienced the phenomena, where we trust those in the medical field to be perfect, look out for our best interest, and we take every word as gold, only to find out that trust was misplaced. I even had my gall bladder removed, only to find out later the surgery wasn’t necessary… because I was too afraid to speak up!
There are plenty of good doctors out there. Some are incredible! But realistically, they are human. Some make mistakes. Some are dishonest. Some don’t know the answers, but are too proud to tell you. Some are more concerned with their own careers than doing what is best for you. Some have the best intentions, but let’s be honest, no-one knows your body better than you. You know what I’m talking about. The doctor diagnoses you, or lacks to diagnose you with something and you just don’t have peace. But you are too afraid to speak up. After all, who are you?! You didn’t go to medical school. They must know best. So you slip away in silence, not fully convinced you got to the root of your health problem.
Some studies show people feel that if they do not receive a prescription from their doctor, the appointment was a waste of time. Perhaps people are discounting the damage that these powerful and dangerous drugs can do to the human body. The interaction of multiple prescriptions can damage our organs, brain, alter our personality, cognitive function, or lead to coma or death.
“Painkillers cause chemical changes to the brain and also kill brain cells. The most affected areas of the brain are those areas that deal with cognition, learning and memory. Painkiller use and abuse also can affect nerve cells. Additionally, based on the manner in which the drug is used, painkiller abuse can cause long-term heart damage and increase the likelihood of a heart attack.” – MD Addiction Recovery Center
This article is not meant to demonize prescription drugs. Sometimes they are necessary. Sometimes they cure disease and major health problems. I fully recognize that there are health issues that require long-term use. There are neurological and psychological disorders. There are surgeries and other painful trauma to the body that result in a need for prescription pain pills. But in most of my research, I have found that many of these medications are not designed for long-term use. Furthermore, some of the side effects can be worse than the original symptom being treated. Even more dangerous, is taking medications to off-set the side effects of other medications. These “cocktails” can destroy your body. Even antibiotics can alter your gut bacteria, wreaking havoc on your body’s natural immune system.
“When painkillers are used for a long period of time, the body slows down production of these natural chemicals and makes the body less effective in relieving pain naturally.” – MD Addiction Recovery Center
Well, we will not be destroyed today, friends. Its time to take a stand for our own health. Your prescription is Jesus. Seek Him for strength. Pray. Do your own research, from reputable sources. Ask your doctor questions. Ask for a second opinion. Seek out preventative and alternative medicine, such as physical therapy, chiropractic care, massage, dietary, and/or exercise regimens. Ask your doctor if there are lifestyle changes you can make, that would alleviate the need for medication. Surround yourself with friends and family who are fitness-minded, who are willing to be your support network for better health.
Then, do the work. As my pastor says, “We live in a microwave society, but we have a crock-pot God.” We all want instant solutions. Its much easier to take some ‘wonder drug’ than it is to make uncomfortable and inconvenient changes to our lives. But at what cost? Think before you leave your next doctor’s visit. Take a proactive stance. Don’t be intimidated by white-coat-syndrome. You are the number one advocate for your health. Not only that, it’s not your body! That temple is on loan to you from Almighty God, our Father. And now you know you will be held accountable. What will you tell God on judgement day, when He asks if you destroyed His temple, or if you were a good steward of what He blessed you with?
“Still, it’s easier for patients to pop a pill a day instead of dieting or exercising. It’s also easier for physicians to prescribe pills, especially when people tend to want their money’s worth when making an office visit. “The patient says: ‘I took a day off work, I came down here, I want the antibiotic,’ whether they need it or not,” says Schiff.
It’s hardly surprising if overworked doctors, seeing a patient for maybe 15 minutes or less, fail to recognize a symptom as linked to a drug the person is already taking — and not some new medical problem.” -aarp.org
Please join us in this fight for our health. I realize it is an intense battle. But the victory is worth it. If you don’t do it for yourself; if you don’t do it for God; do it for your family, your children, your grandchildren, or to leave a legacy to future generations. Your life is your testimony!
Here’s to your health!