This is an article I came across in a magazine called “Christian Counseling Connection. I thought it was very good and wanted to share it with you. It is written by John Trent.
You know, of course, that February, with Valentine's Day, is a month where people focus on the heart. However, did you know it is also chosen each year as heart disease awareness month? I think there is a real connection between the two! In fact, I witnessed this in the lives of two friends.
The first person faced a physical problem with his circulation. The first indication came from a shortness of breath....then his coloring changed. Before he knew it, he was at the doctor's office and then in surgery. There was an all-out attempt to keep the blood moving – and therefore “life.”
The second person had just lost his marriage. As I spoke with him, guess what had slowed, and then stopped, in the two years before his wife left? Yes, communication...the life-blood of our most important relationships.
Medical experts know that our hearts pump roughly 1,800 gallons of blood through 62,000 miles of vessels in the human body every day! So with even a minor constriction, we are often motivated to get help, like my first friend did. Yet, years had gone by with communication problems in my other friend's marriage, and each day their heart-related difficulties became more pronounced. Interestingly, the Hebrew word for “life” carries both these ideas. The word, “life” or chai, literally means “movement.” Once example or “word picture” of this is blood moving through the body! This is why the “shedding of blood” is such a problem – it stops life!
I will come back to my two friends in a moment but, first, here are three things I urge you to consider in helping others – and yourself – keep those communication lines flowing unhindered.
“I can always go back to sleep...”
I learned a tremendous lesson about keeping communication “flowing” when I was in high school. I grew up in a single parent home. My mother had rheumatoid arthritis, which meant way too much pain and medicine. As a result, my mom went to bed really early each night.
Of course, during my senior year in high school, her physical challenges did not stop my twin brother, Jeff, and me from doing something every weekend. Almost every Saturday night, we would get home around midnight from our dates or goofing off with friends. I am not sure exactly how it started, but when we would get home, we would walk down the hallway in the pitch dark to Mom's bedroom and flop down on her bed, one twin on each side, and gently shake her until she was awake. Then, right there in the dark, we would begin telling her about our dates or what we had been doing that night...sharing with her our dreams and goals. We were just so busy during the week that there never seemed like enough time to really talk. However, those midnight conversations with our mom became something we treasured...until one night.
It dawned on Jeff and me after months of waking her up that maybe she would prefer not to be disturbed at midnight! After all, she had to go to work in the morning while we slept in. So when Jeff and I brought that up to her, I will never forget her reply. In the dark she said, “You can wake me up anytime. I can always go back to sleep. But I won't always have you boys around to talk to.”
Her response brings me to the first thing that keeps communication “circulating.” There must be a willingness to communicate when the OTHER person is ready to talk. I know that is difficult sometimes. In my own marriage, I am a night person and my wife is a morning person. Even though we have different schedules, I cannot begin to tell you how many early morning conversations we have had over the years, in large part, because of what I learned from my mother. Be available to talk when the other person wants to share. It's “heart” healthy.
Really SEE the person you are talking to....
There is a powerful verse in Proverbs 15:30. It begins, “The light of the eyes rejoiceth the heart....” Take a quick test of your conversations at home. Do you really “look” at the person (your spouse, your child) you are talking too...or are you talking from behind a book, while looking at the television, driving, or doing any of a hundred other things? Try this to keep the circulation moving. At least once a day, really stop and look “eye-to-eye” with your spouse, child or friend during a conversation. Now, “brighten” your eyes like you are glad to see them and happy to hear what they have to say. Not so dramatically that you scare them, but “brighten” your eyes nonetheless. Watch how something as small as really stopping to look at a person can increase your understanding, caring and commitment.
Do not let a meal go by without asking a loved one five question......
Closing in on four million miles – all domestic – with American Airlines means I travel a lot. I am on the “A list” with Southwest, so I eat many meals at restaurants on the road, alone. I never cease to be amazed by how many couples sitting near me never say a word to each other during the entire meal. So here is your heart-healthy tip: Before sitting down for a meal, set a goal to ask your loved ones at least two questions prior to the bread or appetizer arriving. And before the main course and desserts are cleared, make sure you have asked at least five questions about their day. Ask what is going on in their lives....what important thing they are doing.....or what they are feeling, hoping for, or worried about. And don't worry about them asking you anything back. Take the initiative in leading the conversation, and then listen and watch the communication start to flow.
My first friend (mentioned above) went to the doctor the minute he noticed he might be having a “circulatory” problem. He now has a stent, which corrected the problem and has given him more life and energy than ever – his future is bright. My other friend slowly chose to stop the conversation in his marriage. He did not ask questions, did not have bright eyes, and was not open to listening to his wife when she wanted to talk, yet he was shocked when the relationship stopped.
May we counsel and coach people to keep choosing “life” and movement – like our LORD does through His Spirit and Word. And may we model those “heart-healthy” choices with our loved ones as well.
Again I wanted to state that this was written by John Trent, Ph. D. He has a Blog and website, www.TheBlessing.com
I am just an ordinary girl who is loved by an extraordinary God and I seek to love others the same way. I love to bake, read, do puzzles, watch Hallmark movies, and go shopping with my mom! This blog was created as a place where I could share some thoughts that the Lord has shown me and to be an encouragement to others who desire to know Him in a deeper way. My prayer is to learn to sit still and trust God with my future.
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