The Lies We Believe

I remember one particular afternoon when my family went out to watch a movie and have dinner. With everyone away it was an opportunity for me to have some quiet time and get a lot of ‘studying’ done for the exam the next day.

Much to my surprise, however, I felt tremendous loneliness and sadness after they left. I thought about everything was wrong with my life as a medical student, it made me hopelessly depressed. It was so bad I couldn’t think about anything else. These thoughts paralyzed me to such a degree that I didn’t open up to my accountability friends and ask for an advice. I didn’t get any studying done. I just sat in my table with an open Bible in front of me, I kept scanning and reading encouraging verses, reciting God’s promises over and over to comfort me but the tears just kept on streaming down my cheeks.

“Lord, what’s the matter with me and what I should do about it,” I prayed.

For the next 5 minutes, I listened to Christians praise and worship songs. I prayed. A short while, I sensed the heavy blanket of spiritual oppression lift. It lifted so suddenly and completely that I realized I had been dealing with a direct attack from the enemy. It wanted me to feel alone, invisible and not cared for. It wanted me to feel sad about my calling of becoming a doctor because it can be really stressful and lonely most of the time. Trust me, if you’re a melancholic person, the exaggeration of thoughts will drown you.

TAKE CONTROL

2642The other day, I was having a deep conversation with my best friends. I told them about how I struggle with overthinking and being so hard on myself. I realized that I didn’t have to entertain every thought that came into my head. I had a choice about whether to listen to them or not; That worrying changes nothing. NOT. A. SINGLE. THING. And the truth with worrying is, 90% of the time, the scenario you play in your head is much worse than reality. That moment on, I decided to have a new vision for my life and my future, and a renewed commitment to identify and resist the enemy’s lies. I realized I should have caught his lies the minute they entered my mind instead of entertaining them as truth.

A big part of standing against the enemy is taking control over our minds. Therefore, we must learn to bring every thought into captivity because when we are not raised to discern the voices in our head, we won’t recognize the voice of the devil. He is really a clever deceiver who will come to each one of us and try to speak lies into our minds. So, be ready. Get ready with bible verses as your weapon.

THE LIES WE BELIEVE

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Do you every have certain thoughts that play over and over in your mind like an old broken record? Have you ever had a thought come to your mind that produces feeling in your body, such as a pain in your heart, a queasy sensation in the pit of your stomach, tightness in your throat, weakness in your arms and legs, tears in your eyes? Do “what if” thoughts ever plague your mind, such as “What if I jumped off the balcony?” or “What if I get lost in the woods?”. The harsh reality is, suicidal thoughts are overlooked by many. Have you also had “If only” thoughts? Such as, “If only I hadn’t done that.” In my case, “If I only knew that medical school would be this hard.” “If only I had been there.” “If only my husband looks like him.” Do you ever have self punishing thoughts? “No one loves me.” “I’m such a failure. “I’m no good.” “Nothing I do turns right.”

If you’ve had thoughts like these, please know that this is not God giving you revelation for your life. It is the enemy trying to gain control of your mind.

People has much suffering because of lies we believe about ourselves and circumstances. In fact, we accept the words that are spoken to our souls by an enemy who wants nothing but destroy us. That’s why if we aren’t aware of the enemy’s deceit, it can make us fearful, depressed, lonely, angry, doubtful, confused, insecure, hopeless, and full of self-pity. But again, we are to choose if we would believe such thing. So the antidote to this is overcome each one of these lies with prayer, faith, and the truth of God’s Word. It’s always truth over feelings.

CHOOSE YOUR THOUGHTS CAREFULLY

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You have a choice about what you will accept into your mind and what you won’t. You can choose to take every thought captive and “let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5), or you can allow the devil to feed you lies and manipulate your life. If you don’t take control of your mind, the devil will.

That’s why we must be diligent to monitor what we allow into our minds. What TV shows, magazines, and books do we look at? What music do we listen to? Do they fill our minds with godly thoughts and feed our spirit so we feel enriched, peaceful, and blessed, or do they deplete us and leave us feeling empty, confused, anxious, and fearful? God is not the author of confusion but of peace. When we fill our minds with God’s Word and godly books and magazines written by people in whom God’s Spirit resides, and listen to music that praises and glorifies Him, we leave no room for the enemy’s propaganda.

Of course, not everybody has the gift of overcoming this overnight. It takes a lot of effort and processing. Just keep on feeding your mind with good things. Read more of God’s Word that it would be so etched in your mind. Taking control over our minds is just easy to say but applying it is quite challenging. However, don’t be discouraged, just keep on trying. I myself admit that I am a classic over-thinker myself. My imagination is both my strength and weakness and is just so wide that I can make drama movies out from it. That instant. Haha. That’s why we really need to take control of our minds because if we aren’t careful, the devil might use this against you just like how he used it against me. But, I want to encourage you that nothing is impossible with God. He will never leave you nor forsake you. He loves you and cares for you that He wants you to have a brighter and better future. So, just surrender your ability of overthinking, your bad and impure thoughts, depression, insecurities, suicidal thoughts and more. Think upon what is true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous, and praiseworthy.

Debunking false ideas about vaccines

“Why are there doctors still encouraging parents to get vaccinated when it can cause harm to our children?”
“My baby died because of the vaccine injected to her.”
“Vaccines can cause autism.”

It has been a while since I remained silent about my thoughts with regards to this current hot issue in the Philippines. I try to ignore the rants of every citizen that happens to be irrational because it’s just giving me another headache. However, I realized that as part of the healthcare team, instead of staying quiet, I will try to do the best of my ability to make people understand what’s vaccine before their minds are polluted by negative opinions of people. Note: these people have no background knowledge with what vaccines do in our bodies, so they can just say things that aren’t even evidence based.

Just recently when I was scrolling in my Facebook feed, there’s this news that caught my attention. It says that a 10-year old girl died due to the dengue vaccine. It’s not a different article that I read a month ago saying that there were 2 kids who died when they were vaccinated with anti-measles.

First of all, why do I find the media over-exaggerating things? It seems like they’ve been spreading lies to thousands of netizens that this vaccine did killed the child. Can they do more research before implying that this vaccine really caused the death of the child?

For everybody’s information, the child died due to her sickness that was triggered by the vaccine. Any vaccine could have triggered her sickness and not only dengvaxia. She had an underlying autoimmune disease that’s called Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) where the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks its healthy tissue. The disease is characterized by a variable clinical course with periodic episodes of inflammation and damage to the joints, tendons, other connective tissues, and organs as heart, lungs, blood vessels, brain, kidneys, and skin.

What is a vaccine?

Vaccines are classified into two groups. The first group, live attenuated vaccines, comprises weakened versions of the pathogens; these mimic the kind of protective immunity induced in people who survive live infection. The second group includes inactivated vaccines, subunit vaccines, toxoid vaccines that consist of inactivated toxins, carbohydrate vaccines and conjugate vaccines. (Source: CDC)

How does it work?

Vaccines help develop immunity by imitating an infection. This type of infection, however, does not cause illness, but it does cause the immune system to produce T-lymphocytes and antibodies. Sometimes, after getting a vaccine, the imitation of infection can cause minor symptoms such as fever. Such minor symptoms are normal and should be expected as the body builds immunity. Once the imitation infection goes away, the body is left with a supply of “memory” T-lymphocytes, as well as B-lymphocytes that will remember how to fight that disease in the future.  (Source: CDC)

Why did it cause the child’s death?

The dengvaxia is an attenuated virus to trigger the immune system to produce antibody. Therefore, if the immune system of the patient is weak due to its illness, how can her body make her immune system work to produce antibody when it is being attacked by its own? While most vaccines are effective and safe in SLE patients, in certain cases immunogenicity may be sub-optimal and vaccination can trigger a flare. So, instead of causing good, it posted more harm on the child. Bottom line is, there should have been thorough assessment.

Is vaccination 100% effective?

No, vaccines are never 100% effective. But close. Maybe 95% – 97% – and what that level of efficacy is really doing is building what’s known as herd immunity.

Herd immunity or herd effect, also called community immunity, describes a form of immunity that occurs when the vaccination of a significant portion of a population provides a measure of protection for individuals who have not developed immunity. Herd immunity theory proposes that, in contagious diseases that are transmitted from individual to individual, chains of infection are likely to be disrupted when large numbers of a population are immune or less susceptible to the disease. The greater the proportion of individuals who are resistant, the smaller the probability that a susceptible individual will come into contact with an infectious individual.

Let’s take the smallpox vaccine as an example. It was estimated to be about 95% effective for each individual. Once the majority of people were vaccinated, it became so hard for the virus to find new targets. Viruses can’t survive without infecting something. By denying the virus access to hosts, it died out. Even though the smallpox vaccine was not 100% effective in terms of individual humans, it is 100% effective in practice, because smallpox doesn’t exist anymore.

If a vaccine is close to 100% effectiveness in individuals (let’s say >90%), then 100% effectiveness can be achieved in practice on the large scale through herd immunity.

Does it cause autism?

No. Some people have had concerns that Autism might be linked to the vaccines children receive, but studies have shown that there is no link between receiving vaccines and developing ASD. If you want, you can just google it or visit CDC.

Due to these news about how vaccine can affect children, it has grew concerns about “vaccination hesitancy”. What is “vaccination hesitancy”? Simply put, it as a psychological state where parents are unsure about whether or not to vaccinate their child. Some hesitant parents will fully vaccinate. Others will leave-out or delay certain vaccines. Hesitant parents are different from declining parents who never did or no longer vaccinate at all. Declining parents have often made their decision and are less likely to change.

So, what to do now?

I’m encouraging doctors and nurses to discuss issues of concern about vaccination with parents and carers. By doing this, it will make vaccination decisions more informed and more satisfying for parents. It also move them towards vaccinating; increase parental satisfaction and build trust in health professionals.

Take-Home Messages

  • Although the history of vaccination in SLE patients had been controversial, the risk benefit balance is in favor for vaccination to reduce the risk of infection as compared to the risk of flare.
  • Educate yourselves. Always do research before posting things online about vaccines because this is an alarming effect for parents and carers.
  • As a supporter of vaccination, I want to see children protected with safe and effective vaccines. For the parents, I understand the challenges of raising children. It’s easier said than done.
  • I’ll say it again, even if it’s not 100% effective, even if there are mild side effects, I believe that the benefits of preventing diseases through vaccination outweigh the risks.
 
 

We are God’s delight

Ever felt so horrible trying your best to do the right thing in order to get something but it didn’t end up the way you planned it?

Let’s say, I have this friend who studies a lot but then doesn’t get a good grade meanwhile her classmate keeps on partying, sleeping and worst, cheating yet gets the good grades. Or is this you working so hard to pass on an interview but wasn’t accepted yet a friend without putting so much effort unexpectedly got the job. Is this you following all the rules during your pregnancy, she didn’t, and you found out that your baby has some congenital anomaly? Is this you praying for this lady for years but she still doesn’t picture her life with you?

“That feeling when we obey Jesus but we feel like the road we are going into is wrecked with heartbreak.”

This sentiments seem so familiar and is something we’ve all experienced, right? It’s truly difficult when we are doing the right things, and we see people doing the wrong things receiving the blessings that we desire. Whatever the circumstance, it’s common to compare and wonder what God is doing for others and not doing for us.

Many are the plans in a person's heart, but it is the lord's purpose that prevails.Proverbs 19-21

The Bible teaches us that God does answer our prayers (John 16:24). But there are a few things we have to be reminded at:

  • God’s answer may not always be what we were hoping for and it is always His purpose that prevails.
  • His answer sometimes is simply a “NO.”
  • His answer might be something we’ll never completely understand.
  • Always remember that His answer is always the BEST answer.
  • Always check your motives.

He loves us dearly, and His answers to our desires, longings and prayers are always what we need … even if they’re not necessarily what we want.

So… Is God even in control? Does He care about you…about me?

YES. YES. and a YES. There are things in our lives that we want to take over. We want to make our own rules. But stress relief always starts with letting God be God. The concept of the control of God over everything is called the “sovereignty” of God. Nothing gives me strength and confidence like an understanding of the sovereignty of God in my life. I hope you have this understanding, too. Always know that God is in complete control of every molecule in the universe at every moment, and everything that happens is allowed by Him for His own perfect purposes.

Does He care? Take a minute to count your blessings. Maybe we are so focused on other’s lives that we forgot that we’ve been blessed countless of times. Maybe we’re not contented with the life that we have at the moment. Maybe we have been carrying wrong motives all this time.

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There are a lot of verses that God says we are His delight, His beloved. When we measure our circumstances or compare our blessings to that of another, it is so easy to feel slighted, overlooked, and even abandoned. But when we open our eyes to the grand story happening all around us, we see the beauty that leaves us speechless. Yes, God delights in me. He delights in you. He is a good God that loves you dearly and blesses you no matter what you did or didn’t do. Not an obligatory love, but a love that delights in who you are.

I don’t know why some people fail while doing their best and others pass without putting in effort. I don’t know why God healed her family, but not your own. I don’t know why until now you can’t win her heart. I don’t know why your growing baby has a deformity. But I do know that we miss the expansive view of grace if we are focused on everyone else’s story.

Always remember that God is sovereign. That He knows what He is doing and He is always a good God even if we didn’t get what we want. We may not understand His plan for us but it will always be a good thing to trust His will for our lives because He knows everything. Just Trust in Him. (Provers 3:5-6)

Can you relate? Have you ever felt slighted by God? Start erasing those negative thoughts in your mind and start trusting His will for your life. 🙂