A couple of weeks ago I started having some pain on the right side of my throat, along with difficulty eating. As time went on, I started also having pain in my right ear. The pain became greater and greater, and so did the difficulty eating. Because I've had an abscessed tooth before, I just "knew" that this was a tooth problem. So, off to the dentist I went yesterday. I let him know that he needed to get this tooth out of my head because it was causing excruciating pain. I even was convinced that I knew which tooth was the culprit! As I was explaining to him what was going on he said, "Your tooth isn't going to cause all that". Well, in spite of his almost 30 years of experience I just "knew" he was wrong. While he was examining me he told me to open wide and say, "Ahhhhh", which I found strange and yet another sign of my dentist clearly being delusional. Then he told me, "Girl, that's not your tooth, you have strep throat". After I proceeded to argue with him a little bit more, he sent me on my way with a prescription for an antibiotic and a pain medication. Because I was so insistent it really was my tooth, he said, "Well, this is going to clear everything up, but if not I guess just come back." So, upon waking up this morning, wouldn't you know it, my symptoms are somewhat better.
Sad to say, I have often done the same thing in my life with things not related to my teeth or throat! How many times have I had a situation where I just "knew" the answer only to find out how very wrong I was? Seems like I'm often in need of a second opinion, whether it's from the Lord, or a brother or sister who can see things more clearly than me.
Specifically, I have often been in need of a second opinion when it has come to my recovery. For years I stumbled through my addiction. About 23 years to be exact. I had my own way of dealing with things, and my own diagnosis. My diagnosis was that I must just have an unusually high sex drive (especially for a female), and the way to fix it was to just try harder. Yeah, my remedy and diagnosis were so spot on that it kept me "sick" for 23 years.
Finally, when I realized that I just wasn't getting free, in desperation I shared my struggle with a lady from my church. Neither one of us really knew what we were doing, but God was faithful to lead and guide, and she came up with the idea of being accountable. I then went on a fast, and God led me to a ministry in California that deals in sexual addiction issues where I began counseling. On more than one occasion my counselor told me, "You may not understand now what I'm saying, or why I'm giving this advice, but if you trust and continue walking you will be free." Well, he was right. I often didn't understand the advice, but I chose to listen and finally set aside my arrogance and let someone who is farther down the road from me speak into my situation. What he also was right about was that in trusting I did find freedom. In less than a week I will have my 11 year anniversary of being free. I didn't realize at the time that what I diagnosed as "simply being too horny" was actually a God given need for relational intimacy. My remedy of "trying harder" didn't work because a God given need requires a God given solution: being relational.
I wish I could say that I don't still struggle with this disease of self-diagnosis. As someone who has been free for 11 years, and now helps others I sometimes forget that I am still broken and susceptible to falling. At times I will let my accountability slide, making excuses and telling myself, "You are just fine, you don't need that anymore." LIES, LIES, LIES! This whole strep throat incident has served as a wonderful reminder to me that a second opinion is always in order. I hope it serves as the same reminder to you as well.
Kimberly ~ Counselor, speaker, teacher, author and most importantly broken but beloved daughter of Jesus.