The Heart-Lung Connection

I’ve had a good bit of medical experience over the years.  I’ve worked with some really great doctors and nursing staff and I’ve got relatives who are gifted in the medical field.  I’ve had some personal experiences and my husband has had even more.  As a result, I’ve learned a few things.  I’ve also learned that there’s always more to learn.

One of our many recent medical lessons involves the connection between our hearts and our lungs.  Yes, they’re contained in the same body and they are both required for life function.  They both involve the filling up and releasing of matters that are necessary for our bodies to perform their duties.

All of that is pretty basic.  Everyone knows that.  What I never paid attention to—until recently—is how when one or both of them isn’t doing their job properly, it affects the other one in some really serious ways.  Did you know that if your heart doesn’t fill up or release exactly as it should that it creates pressure on your lungs?  Did you know that if it continues along that path for awhile that it will actually draw unwanted fluid to your lungs and create pressure there which, in turn, makes it extremely difficult to breathe?  It really does happen.

You know what else?  The same thing happens metaphorically, as well.

When you hold things in (pressures, stresses, worries, concerns, etc.) and don’t release them properly, they will start to affect your breathing, as well.  To put it bluntly:  when your heart (the central portion of you that makes you who you really are—the very seat of your soul and all your emotions) isn’t right, you don’t breathe so well, either.  This is especially true when your heart isn’t right with God.

Oh, we all think we can handle things and that we’re pretty good at hiding how we’re really feeling…and some of us are.  Up to a point.  It’s called the point of diminishing returns—and you can only do it for so long until the greater the effort you put into putting on the front results in less and less control of your emotions.

Yes.  You guessed it.  I’ve had some experience with that recently, too.

Here’s what I found out:  You can only hold things inside your heart for so long before it starts to affect the way you breathe/go through life.  The heart-lung connection is alive and well in several different contexts.

My point—or at least the most important one for today—is this:  God made your heart to be flexible and pliable.  He made it to expand with love and concern for others, but He also made it to beat most strongly for Himself.  When your heart is filled up with other people and things to the point that there’s not enough room for Him, then you’ve got a real problem…and it is most decidedly going to affect your breathing.  Just as this unhealthy physical pattern creates more pressure on your physical lungs, the same is true elsewhere in life.

There is nothing wrong with being compassionate and caring, but when you begin to take on unhealthy roles in life, you do so at your own peril.  YOU CAN’T FIX EVERYTHING.  (Yes, I put that in there just for myself, but I’m guessing there’s someone else who needs to be reminded of that, too.)  It is not your job to be the stage director for all of the lives around you…that position is already filled…whether they (or you!) know/acknowledge it or not.

Yes, that means some of the people we love will fail.  We will fail on occasion, too.  It may be miserable.  It might be messy.  It may hurt like the dickens and if it happens that way, you need to get over it and just let it happen.  Trust me, it’s going to happen whether you think you’re in charge or not.  You might as well get out of the way and let God take His rightful place…in their lives…and in your own.

I’ve got to tell you something—this went in a totally different direction than I had planned when I started typing.  God’s just like that sometimes.  He lets us find the truth in the murky muddle of all the mess.  In fact, it’s just like Him to do so.  Some of the people you’ve been protecting and pampering so they don’t get hurt will need to learn that lesson, as well.  Sometimes you need to get a bit messy before you’ll reach out to the One who can clean you up and help you breathe well again.  Now, that’s making a real heart-lung connection.

“I am the LORD, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?”  Jeremiah 32:27 (NIV)

(BTW, I’m not sure who else this was intended for, so whoever you are, God bless you in releasing those battles to Him.  I’m praying for you today!)

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