A couple of days before Christmas I had a strange experience. After a number of tests the doctor told me yesterday that I most likely had a transient ischemic attack, or TMI. This is often described as a mini-stroke because, like a stroke, there is blood flow blockage to a part of the brain. It’s different because the body quickly resolves the small blood clot that was the culprit before there is any lasting damage.
It is also called a “warning stroke.” Seems appropriate. It is certainly getting my attention. But the most intriguing thing to me is the realization that my best health care moves right now are not different from what I’ve known for 30 years. Diet vigilance. Regular exercise. Plenty of sleep. Reduce my weight and blood pressure through these practices and I will improve the likelihood that my TMI experience won’t evolve into something worse.
The parallels to a vital life in Christ are striking. Prayerful vigilance, frequent reflection on God’s word, and being regularly encouraged by the love of God’s people are all essential practices that fortify my attachment to Jesus. And it is Jesus alone who can give me life with unmatchable value: resilient joy…unassailable peace…love that is transformational…energizing hope.
When I’m spiritually healthy I’m like a surfer who gets revved up as the waves grow bigger and more menacing. Bring it on! Surf’s up! Each life wave is an opportunity to prove the amazing power of Christ in me.
A privilege I have in Youth for Christ is to know young men and women whose stories of ruinous adversity have been flipped by Jesus’ life-giving judo moves. Their best guarantees for a thriving and fruitful future are not different from mine…or those that Christ followers have known for 2000 years. Prayer, God’s word and loving relationships are life-guarding essentials because they pull us steadily into Jesus’ life-giving orbit.
Now I wonder if there’s a spiritual equivalent to an attention-grabbing TMI that might help us fix life patterns that might be in disrepair.