How Vertigo Forced My Perspective Change
“I want you to go home and be still,” my chiropractor told me.
I started experiencing vertigo. I had this back in the late eighties after taking a hard fall in Las Vegas at a management conference. It seems to reoccur from time to time. I don’t know if you’ve ever had this but it is awful. Right now, as a write this, I have a mild case. The room isn’t spinning but I have a mild, continuing low-level nausea. When the vertigo is bad, I am simply bedridden and afraid to move for fear the room will whip out of control.
I asked him what causes this. His answer really got me thinking about my health.
He said, “Back problems are caused by physical, emotional, or spiritual issues. When people are young, the cause of the problem is almost always physical. But as we age, our emotions, particularly stress play a much bigger part. When you tell me you haven’t done anything physically to cause vertigo then I believe it is your stress. You just can’t remain in fight or flight mode all day, every day. Your body will give out.”
When he told me this, I’m thinking, “If you only knew.”
My mind is going a mile a minute. My life is complicated. Marriage, family, career, investing, non-profit leadership, community involvement, ministry, writing, entrepreneur interviews, hobbies, exercise. There is a lot going on and a lot to think about.
It does not take long for any physician to diagnose my stress. I try to appear calm, cool and collected on the outside, but inside there is a whole lot going on. And the people I hang with and do business with, are all stressed.
After receiving this advice, I was convinced. He was right. I needed to be still this weekend.
Easy advice to receive but really hard advice to follow. But I was determined to BE STILL.
We left the chiropractor’s office and slipped into our car. I almost got all the way into my seat when I had an idea. I need to share this with my entrepreneur prayer followers on TikTok. I had to tell them how this advice made me think of the Bible verse, “Be still and know that I am God.” So I got out of the car. Stood in the chiropractor’s parking lot. Selected the TikTok app and told my followers what happened. And then I prayed for them and for me.
That was Friday morning. And it didn’t even occur to me that this was anything but being still. But later it hit me.
That was a good thing to do but it certainly isn’t following the advice of “Go home and be still.”
By late morning on Saturday, my vertigo got worse. Back to the chiropractor. He adjusts my neck and I could feel myself becoming normal moment by moment following the upper cervical adjustment. We talked for a while and I could feel the stress leaving me. I’m was focused on our conversation and it was relaxing, and stress-free. We talked about our shared faith in Jesus Christ. Walking out the door, I felt completely healed.
This morning, Sunday, the vertigo is back again. Not bad, but present.
I sit down with my morning coffee to do my daily Bible reading. The first thing I read is, “One day Jesus told his disciples a story to show that they should always pray and never give up.”
Prayer is very challenging for me recently. I do what I call, check-in prayer, but not deep, relational prayer. Relational prayer is where I am in the same room with God and we are just talking. Just talking. Enjoying each other’s company. I am present with God. I’ve been asking myself why I can’t seem to get back to this intimate level of prayer.
My analysis takes me all over the place.
Lack of faith
Wanting to be in control
No real need for God
Too much to get done right now
The list is long and negative.
The real reason is simple.
I can not be still.
I refuse to be still. It’s like I’m afraid to be still, to step back, to stop thinking, to just be alone with God. To let my mind focus on this most important of all relationships. I know God loves me and wants nothing more than to be with me. And I feel the same way.
This struggle to be still, reminded me of my Catholic Church Confirmation. Before being confirmed, the Bishop steps off the altar and stands among the confirmation candidates. I was twelve years old at the time. I studied the questions he was going to ask us. I was determined to answer whatever he asked. I was ready.
His first question was: What is the purpose of man?
My hand shot up. I was waving it like crazy. I wanted to get his attention. The Bishop pointed to me and asked this question. I froze. I knew the answer but babbled something that was bits and pieces of what I memorized. I had trouble with the answer then and I’m still having trouble with it now.
You see, it is a very simple answer: Man's chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever. (Westminister Catechism)
So here I am again. Back to where I left off with the chiropractor. God has me remember: less work and more joy. To enjoy God requires me to be still, quiet, and grateful. So I did my best all weekend to do this. It was very challenging for me.
This morning, Monday, I woke up after an amazing night’s sleep and I’m better. No vertigo. In fact, I feel recharged.
Lesson learned: I need to set time aside to be still so I remain healthy. Physical - Emotional - Spiritual. They all work together.
“Be still and know that I am God.”