Under pressure

Posted: October 1, 2008 in Happenings, Perspective

I finally went to the doctor yesterday to find out why I’ve felt so…”eh”…lately.  Turns out I have an ear/sinus infection, so he put me on some antibiotics to clear that up.  However, that was not the real ‘highlight’ of the visit.

I have high blood pressure.  In and of itself, that’s no surprise to me (and if you know me, probaby no surprise to you, either).  I’ve always had a bit of hypertension, and I expect it to spike when I do not get a lot of sleep, I’m fighting off some sort of illness, or life in general gets me stressed.  Plus, I could shed a few pounds and change my diet.  I even have a genetic thing going on that doesn’t help, either, since I come from a long line of people with high bp.

Still, I was extremely surprised at just how high my blood pressure was when they measured it yesterday.  I won’t tell you how high because I don’t want it to scare you as bad as it scared me.  I’ll just say, If I’d been 60 instead of 37, I’d have been sent to the ER.  In my doctor’s words, he’s not worried because I still have relatively “young plumbing,” which can still handle the pressure unlike “old pipes.”  But “not worried” does not mean lack of concern.  He immediately put me on blood pressure medication, and recommended (seriously) diet and exercise.  According to him, this thing is entirely manageable.

So now it gets real.  All this talk (read:  fluff) about exercising and dieting won’t cut it anymore.  It’s got to be real, it’s got to be now, or I will proably pay for it with my life down the road.


The sad thing is, I know I’ve been fighting rising blood pressure for about 10 years – maybe longer, but it was never high enough to truly make me concerned.  But this slap in the face has me worried about my long-term health.

But isn’t that how we handle things that worry us?  Isn’t that how we handle demons we do not want to face?  We sit on it until something happens and we can no longer avoid the thing we don’t want to face.  It’s the way we deal with our health, our finances (debt), interpersonal problems, and even our sin:

  • High blood pressure is there, but yields no symptoms unless it gets really bad.  So it’s eay to ignore, even though it can lead to heart attack or stroke down the road.  That happens because we never dealt with the problem when we were young enough for it to make a difference.
  • We swim the ocean of finances wearing increasingly larger concrete debt shoes and pretend we can still spend and live like everyone else.  But – BAM! – one day a bill comes up, the debt prevents us from paying, and we sink.  Or, we never could save for retirement because we were always in debt.  We never dealt with the problem.
  • Tension in our relationships is also something we let simmer under the surface, thinking if we just ignore the problem or the person, nothing will ever come to the surface.  Sadly, though, tension in relationships has a way of erupting, doesn’t it?  Rather than deal with conflict in a godly way, we often bury it – leaving a ruined relationships six feet under, pretending it does not hurt us or them, until at some point it either explodes – or worse:  becomes the way we deal with ALL relationships.  Not dealing with the problem the right way has long-term consequences.
  • Sin.  This is the thing we really want to hide.  After all, hidden sin is something no one knows about, right?  It won’t be a problem for us because no one knows.  (Um, except God…duh).  We refuse to repent and deal with our sin, and it slowly eats away at us like a parasite – consuming our very lives.  Take addiction to porn, for example.  In some respects, it seems innocuous – it’s not “real,” just fantasy, we think to ourselves.  We can justify it anyway we want to, not even realizing it’s destroying our lives, because it consumes our thoughts, creates unreal expectations in our marriages, and refuse to acknowledge the bottom line that it IS sin (that whole thing Jesus said that “IF you lust, you’ve already committed adultery in your heart.”  And too often, fantasy eventually becomes reality for many people.  A simple sin, never dealt with, can destroy your marriage, career, relationships – your whole life.

If I did not care about my blood pressure (or my weight or my diet), I should not be surprised down the road when I’m 50, suddenly clutching my chest, reeling in pain, horrified that this is the moment I feared but did nothing to prevent.  Likewise, I should not be surprised down the road when the pain of sin, finances, or relationships (all sin-related) leaves me penniless, alone, and far from God.

Here’s the key:  We deal with it now, or we pay for it later.  That’s not a cheesy church sign (Christian fortune cookie).  That’s a law or our existence, physically or spiritually.

“I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling.  So I will cast her on a bed of suffering…  Then all the churches will know that I am He who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds.”  (Revelation 2:21-23)

  1. Paige Barnes says:

    Kevin, I hope you feel better soon. Bummer about your blood pressure. Way to “preach a sermon” with your post. I hope others are encouraged by it like I was. What you said is so true… So true.


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