Erica Boyd: Time for a heart checkBy ERICA BOYD COLUMNIST,
Some may know this while others may not.
My mom had open heart surgery in 2011 due to a faulty valve which created heart murmurs.
Heart murmurs are abnormal flow patterns. A valve that is not faulty is supposed to work as a door to prevent the backward flow of blood into the heart.
Anyway, the doctors ordered that she have surgery on Feburary 14th, I thought, "Really? On Valentine's Day?"... But I understood that this needed to be corrected ASAP. Otherwise, it could've led to congestive heart failure which is the heart's inability to pump blood through the body completely...and when there is no blood being pumped, there is no life.
She had the surgery; she recovered well. Her breathing improved. She didn't become as tired as quickly as she had in the past. She used to have severe swelling in her feet and hands. That stopped.
Overall, her health improved. She even started making healthier food choices and exercising because now she understood that when her heart isn't functioning the way it is supposed to, nothing else will. (Caught that?)
Her emotional and mental state even improved because she felt better.
During prayer and meditation this morning, I was drawn to my mom's heart condition before surgery and and her heart condition after surgery.
See, surgery was the doctors' last resort. They monitored the condition before and attempted to correct the issue before it got to that point.
Before the decision was made to have surgery, doctors instructed her to exercise, eat healthier, avoid stressing and worrying, avoid heavy lifting, and other things that would possibly help. I love her to death, but she did none of these things.
Not because she didn't value her health, but because change is difficult, for everyone. It is easier said than done.
When we're used to doing things a certain way and someone attempts to change it or correct it, we often rebel....because we like to think that our way is the right way and the only way.
What the doctor ordered would have required her to make a lifestyle change. That meant she would have to alter her work day to fit in exercise, she couldn't go eat at her favorite restaurants with her buddies, she couldn't run a high- performing school as she had in the past, and she couldn't stress and worry about her own children.
Doing what the doctor ordered would move her from her comfort zone and change her whole life, her day to day activities, everything! I was then led to Proverbs 4:21-27, specifically Proverbs 4:23, "Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life."
Some of us have spiritual heart murmurs. Spiritual heart murmurs occur when believers engage in complaining, gossiping, disputes, contention, & other evil activities.
The doctor (God) has given you instructions (Bible). In 1 Thessalonians 5:22, He tells us to flee every form of evil.
Then in Ephesians 4:31-32, it gets very specific. "Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you."
A lot of times, we refuse to follow those instructions because it goes against what we are used to and what we have been doing our whole lives.
Fleeing every form of evil would require us to stop going places we used to go, to end some toxic relationships and friendships, to love those people who we desire so much to hate, to not engage in the latest gossip, to stop grumbling and complaining.
Like my mother, it would require a lifestyle change and change is uncomfortable, BUT some changes we need to make determine if we live or die.
So my questions are, What are you feeding your heart & Who are you allowing to feed your heart?
Don't die, spiritually! What's in your heart flows outward and determines the course of your life.
Don't prevent God from moving freely in your life because you're consumed with assignments from the enemy! Don't have a spiritual congestive heart failure or be required to have a "major surgery" for an issue that can be corrected through "minor" changes!
This is a HEART CHECK!!!! When that heart isn't functioning properly, nothing else will.
"There is not an elevator to success; you have to take the stairs."- Author Unknown