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"If we say we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us." 1 John 1:8. "Denial is not just a river in Egypt." "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." 2 Timothy 1:7. Wake up and smell the coffee!"

Have you ever deceived yourself? Well, you might not be able to admit this to yourself. That's okay for now. But, let me caution you, time will march on and life will take its toll whether you tell yourself the truth or not. You can trust me on this. This is not a political statement; it's personal. Just this past week I was lying very still in bed staring at the ceiling bringing every fiber in my body into compliance with this state of stillness to stop the room from spinning. My condition of vertigo had returned; it had been in remission for several years. I decided that I would remedy this on my own. Mind you, every time I have had this condition, it had been the result of an inner ear imbalance propagated by an ear infection as a result of water somehow entering my ear canal, and I had to take antibiotics. I put this out of my mind for the time being. However, the next day nausea was added to the mix. Now I reasoned that I would call my doctor and hope that he did not have an appointment time available (you heard me right). I did not feel like being bothered with the rigmarole of going to the doctor; you know getting dressed, traveling, waiting, tests, tests, lectures, etc., etc.

To my astonishment, he had an appointment available within two hours of my calling, someone had just cancelled. Dag nabbit! Well now, I would look kind of silly pretending I had something else to do. Man!!! So I went to face the music. You can't just go to my doctor without a whole slew of tests (caution or good insurance; I am not sure), including overall physical, including weight check, EKG, blood pressure check, blood work, and on and on and on. Just thinking about that made me want to say I was cured. But, alas I was still dizzy. I got dressed and made my way there.

It turns out that I was glad that I went. All tests came back fine. In fact, my doctor told me that the results of my blood work was amazing. That is the first time I ever heard that from him. The only concern (here it comes) was my blood pressure; my chronic condition of hypertension. Therein lies my denial that I am doing enough to address it. I knew this was coming, and I did not want confirmed what I already knew.

The vertigo subsided, but the message remained that I had to get more actively involved in monitoring and reducing my pressure as it could be part of the root of the problem. I will share a little later in this writing how I am stepping up. After all, pretending was not working well. There now, I have come clean, what about you? You do not have to tell me, but at least tell yourself and be honest.

In the scripture noted above, it simply means that only God is completely without sin (Hebrews 4:15). More specifically, the apostle John is addressing those who claim to have fellowship with Christ while living in sin and those who are living according to Christ's commands and claim to have no sin whatsoever. Simply, not true. On our best day we fall short, we are not 100% perfect ever. So anyone who claims to be without sin is self-deceived. So relax, you are not perfect, but you can be better. If we do not get it right the first time, we can try again. When we give up because we cannot get things spot on, we are making an excuse not to try; which is deceitful to ourselves and others. (e.g. someone might say, "I was going to walk for 20 minutes each day to improve my health, but I get winded after 5 minutes, so I am not going to bother.") This is easy, "walk for 5 minutes." What do you think?

What is so attractive about self-deceit? In a nutshell, it is effortless (albeit, not effective) because thinking is suspended. "As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he." Proverbs 23:7. The problem with self-deception is that reality is purposely kept at bay and only seeps through this haze of self-deception when one is forced to face it. This type of deception (a fool's paradise) is particularly harmful because this person's lack of acknowledgement and refusal

to take preventative measures can lead to consequences that are often severe and may impact others. Those who love persons in this state also suffer because it hurts to see someone you love seemingly ignore what is happening to them in real time (bad habits, sickness, sloth, lack of motivation, lack of productivity, etc.) without any visible action being taken on their part to help or better themselves. It is further compounded when loved ones are looking to these unaffected individuals for guidance and/or support. In the state of denial, all is well. And if it isn't, oh well!

Why on earth would someone want to live like this? Simply put, fear. Fear? Yes fear. Fear that this individual will not be able to face reality and to do all that it takes to successfully confront all that life may bring his/her way.

Deep down some believe they can't do it. (e.g. get the job, get well, be healthy, get the apartment, make friends, find love, etc.) I know this sounds like it does not make sense. Listen, because it makes perfect sense. Fear paralyzes. A way out is to act like the problem does not exist. No need to prepare for nor to expend a great amount of effort for something that is not going to happen. The body itself has a freeze response to fear. People go to extreme lengths to avoid anything that triggers fear. They will create all kinds of excuses to avoid anything that will produce anxiety. At best, they resort to a place of being deluded while occasionally venturing out; at worst they become stressed out which can result in adverse behavior, disease or can worsen an illness or a condition that is not being addressed. "Fear is a spirit that can stop you from living." Tyler Perry. Fears cannot ignored, they must be faced and overcome.

Dump the laissezfaire attitude. Burying your head in the sand will only last for so long. Your body will let you know when you have overstayed your welcome in the state of denial. Move! The State of WELLNESS in Mind, Body and Spirit is wide-open.

1. Quantity vs. Quality - The number of days in our lives is under God's control. STOP wasting time worrying about this. However, we can do all that we can do to improve the quality of our lives. I am reminded of what Mickey Mantle said, "If I knew I was going to live this long, I'd have taken better care of myself." Pretending, doing little or nothing will not get us to where we need to be. Take your health for example: You (not you in particular) refuse to go to the doctor and when you do, you only partly follow his directives. Bottom line, you will not achieve the wellness you are looking for. In the same way, you cannot turn a blind eye to the warning label on a pack of cigarettes and not accept that you are inviting disease into your life in the future. I know, "you know someone who smoked for years and nothing happened." Well, this is as far as you know. Perhaps they did not get cancer, but maybe every vessel in their body became clogged with nicotine, precipitating a slow breakdown of the body's organs. Sounds delightful! Just being facetious and serious. Do you want to take this chance? I am not picking on smokers. Sorry for being so graphic. But this is important, and this principle applies across the board (including with regard to people, places and things). Denial enables you to keep discarding the fact that there are consequences (no matter how you rationalize) when we ignore the warning signs. Got any unhealthy habits that you do not want to part with and so ignore? Are you not paying attention to your health? Have you stopped reaching for your goals? Why? Think about it; face facts. Face fear. Get "woke" and on the road to wellness and success now.

2. You can waste your mind, it's yours. I suggest you do not do this. "A mind is a terrible thing to waste." This is not just a catchy quote, we need to heed the wisdom in this. Feed your mind healthy information and your body will respond in kind. Learn about things that are life sustaining; dwell on things that are good to you and for you and then pursue that. It may take a while to change your behavior, but it will be well worth it. At least your eyes will be open. Read a book on a topic that will enhance your life, listen to a sermon, take a course, learn a new trade or hobby or cultivate a new interest. (No, you are not too old; it's not over until it's over). It might revitalize your life and give you a new outlook with renewed motivation to live joyously and completely. Get it in your mind that you can live a life that is fulfilling; you must, however, be an active participant. Love yourself and get involved with seeking the best for your life; wake up and show up for you!

3. We are not just the sum total of our body parts; we are part spirit. We were created in the image of God. Denying that we are spiritual beings is, unfortunately, a refusal to accept the fullness of who God created us to be.

You may not be a person who espouses a particular faith, but you do believe (or can agree) that we are spiritual. In that sense, you must take care of that aspect of your being. Take time to pray, to meditate, to worship, to breathe, to forgive, to be in tune with nature and to love. Not to do so will evaporate your ability to be whole. There is a power source greater than us; tap into that source.

4. Poet Thomas Gray wrote in a poem: "Ignorance is Bliss." Maybe it is for a short while, but know that it will not last forever. Reality just will not let it. As mentioned earlier, I had to come to grips with my half-hearted attempts to deal with a chronic condition. Yes, I was taking my medication (almost religiously). There was also the weight and sodium intake that had to be dealt with in a deliberate fashion. My doctor advised me that I was only maintaining; I was not reversing the condition. Either I get serious about reversing the condition or let it take its course. He told me what that would look like. Not good. I enrolled in a six-week online Health Renewal Program, sponsored by Dr. Maurice Werness, where I am learning how to treat my body with love and to only put in it what will "keep me alive." The body seeks to be healthy; it is self correcting and responds immediately when we make the effort to assist it with finding that healthy balance.

"Awareness is the most powerful medicine on the planet." Dr. Maurice Werness, ND. Knowledge is power, but not if you do not apply it. It took only a week of eating healthier for me to realize that I no longer want to keep fooling myself by living in perpetual denial insisting that I was doing enough. (Before you think I am doing something wild and crazy; I'm not). In addition to eating healthier, I am following my doctor's orders to take my medication as prescribed and exercising. Only now, I am laser-focused and fully committed to getting to a place of wellness, and I am being educated with the tools to make this possible and sustainable. There is too much to live for. And, I want to feel good while I am doing it. It can be done. Philippians 4:13. "Wake up everybody!"

Yvette Lane has left the State of Denial and is on the train to the State of Wellness! Feel free to join me!

Be safe! God bless.

Yours, Yvette

Note: Stay tuned for my upcoming feature, "Ask Yvette" on my new website. Get your questions ready! More details to follow. Thank you.

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