“It’s probably no big deal,” my doctor told me. “Any blood sugar reading below 100 means you’re okay. 100-125 means you’re pre-diabetic, and above 125 means you’re diabetic.”
The reading came back on the monitor… 200.
“Okay, so you’re a diabetic. Here’s what we’re gonna do…”
The following words were a series of prescriptions the doctor would recommend, the recommendation for exercise (run 30 minutes per day, four times per week) and a dietary recommendation (no simple sugars).
I wish I could say that this all came as a shock. It didn’t. I wish I could say I am just a victim of circumstance, the recipient of bad DNA. I can’t. I wish I could claim I wasn’t warned. I was.
Two years prior, I sat in the same doctors office after having a life insurance application denied due to a high A1C. Back then, we tested, and I came out okay. Diet and exercise would save the day. I started out well, but I didn’t finish.
Ten years prior to that, I registered a high blood sugar during a visit with the same doctor. I corrected my diet then, returned for a follow up, and was fine.
The doctor warned me that this day was coming. I was told to eliminate fried foods, not to drink my calories (sodas), and to exercise. After each warning, I would start out well, but after a couple of months, the disruptions would get to me, and I’d fall off my program.
A headline involving dying and diabetes may sound melodramatic, but it’s not. This is a terminal illness, but it’s one that can be managed. Diabetes is a disease where your body no longer breaks down the blood sugar. The result is a thickened blood that fails to reach the capillaries, resulting in organ damage. Also, the sugar itself damages tissues within the body.
Diabetics suffer from nerve damage, vision loss, and ultimately heart attacks and strokes, if not managed properly. Once the damage is done, it does not heal. Lost vision does not get restored. Damaged nerve endings never regain function.
My doctor and I have a plan, and I am confident in his ability to help me manage this diagnosis, but receiving this diagnosis has taught me a few things.
- The day of reckoning is coming. For so many of us, we know that the consequences of our actions are coming, but we deceive ourselves into thinking that the consequences are far away, and we will be better able to manage those consequences when they finally arrive. This is one of the biggest lies we tell ourselves. Whether we think we are delaying the consequences of poor health choices, or delaying the consequences of our spiritual choices, we tend to put off making the decisions that we need to make. However, the day is coming, and it will come as a thief in the night, at a time when we least expect it.
- We must make the right choices today. As I just mentioned, the day of reckoning, when we will receive the full consequences of our choices is upon us, and it is coming faster than we think. We can no longer afford to say, “I’ll start that diet tomorrow,” or “I’ll open that retirement account next month,” or “I’ll start going to church and get right with Jesus next week.” We must make those decisions today. First, we don’t know that we have tomorrow, next week or next month. Our day may creep up on us sooner than we think. Secondly, the sooner we make those choices, the more beneficial they will be for us.
- To follow those choices, we must learn to manage the disruptions in life. When my doctor asked me why I hadn’t been able to get my diet in order, I told him about the upheaval in my family, last year’s COVID outbreak at church, career issues, and the ongoing turmoil that I have found to be life. I told him, “I just did not do a good job of managing the disruptions in my life.” We can no longer afford to use those disruptions as excuses, because disruptions are part of every day life. As Agent K said in Men In Black, “There’s always an Achillian Battlecruiser or an intergalactic plague about to wipe out our planet. The only way these people get on with their lives is that they do not know about it.” Over the past few years, we’ve seen economic and political disruptions, and our entire society shut down by a global pandemic. This is the new normal, and such disruptions will continue, in addition to your personal disruptions. We have to learn to manage these disruptions and move forward.
- What was death to me has now become life. Prior to my diagnosis, the idea of being fit sounded good, but I was happy being chubby and lazy. Sure, healthy food will make me feel better, and there’s nothing like the rush of finishing an ultra-marathon, but have you ever enjoyed a bowl of Blue Bell Ice Cream and a Netflix movie on an overcast Saturday afternoon? I chose the latter. It was easier, simpler, and more delicious. However, with my diagnosis, I now see that health foods and medications are not a way to a better life, they are the only way to seize and maintain life. With each salad, vegetable, and lean grilled meat, I am extending my life, and with each medication, I am helping my body restore its function. Over the past few decades, churches have sought to sell potential converts on the benefits of Christianity by saying that it leads to a better life. It does. But Christianity is life. Faith in Jesus is the only way to avoid eternal damnation. And just like my diabetic diagnosis came suddenly (but with warning), our last day of life and the day of judgment will come upon us suddenly. Don’t get shocked by a negative test result that day. Turn from your sin and trust Jesus as your Savior.
The diabetic diagnosis can be a life sentence or a death sentence. My doctor told me that in those exact words. And with God’s help, I will manage this disease and live to serve Him well in my life. However, this whole experience has taught me that I need to wake up, and start taking care of what matters, regardless of how I feel. I can no longer make excuses, I can no longer procrastinate. And the same goes for you.
If you have been putting off the decision to turn your life over to Christ, make that decision today. And if you have been putting off your health and financial decisions, you will avoid catastrophes and reap better benefits if you make those choices today. Don’t follow in my footsteps. You have the opportunity to do better.
May God bless you.