Protection from disease

Melissa Ann Howell Schier
7 min readFeb 7, 2024

Feb 6 2024

The landscape people who mow my daughter’s yard, always move away the bricks over the gaps in the fence so that they can cut all the grass well and apparently they forgot to put the bricks back the way they were originally, and the fence has some worn slats with gaps.

The next thing you know, squatty Reggie, a stubby legged dachshund with a gap tooth smile saw the hole in the fence and trotted right out of the back yard. My daughter told me her husband Daniel was devastated, as he loves this little guy and so he started making posts to try to locate the dog after spending all night and half the next day, driving around looking.

By the time I stopped by to bring the kids a treat, Daniel was pretty convinced that the pooch had been absconded by some wolves or coyotes who live in the area. I, on the other hand, had a more optimistic view that someone could have picked up the dog, who also might have been working and not had the chance to try to locate the owners.

So because I believed the dog was still alive, I prayed for his safe return and also posted something on social media to help locate him.

The next day, as I was driving home from Austin, I learned that the dog had indeed been returned and that the people who found him, picked him up only an hour after he had disappeared, so he was never in any real danger.

I thought about that a lot. I thought about how the things we believe, influence our behavior significantly. For example, if we believe that we are sick, and believe that because of that sickness we are limited, then we will indeed be limited. But if we believe that everyone struggles, and that we are each equipped uniquely capable of handling our own struggles successfully, that belief empowers us instead of limiting us, the same way belief in the dog being safe, empowered me to pray and expect good.

If someone has a problem, and that problem is visible, it might seem easy to believe in the reality of it. But even then, belief plays a role in healing. I remember thinking I had tinnitus one time and I was convinced it was a mechanical problem with my ears, until I walked at night to get a drink of water and the sound was coming from the faucet that was very slightly turned on. It was a mechanical problem all right…as a result of not turning off the sink completely.

Another time I had to take an X ray required for nursing school and was told that there was a spot that needed to be checked out. I was told to come back in six months so they could see if the spot “grew”. I refused to listen to them and went back the next day and demanded that they retake the X ray, and when I did, they said that the previous X ray must have had a glitch because there was no spot at all. Imagine if I had believed that first X ray was the truth, and had stressed out over it for six months.

Because of my spiritual beliefs in God, I am always trying to look for the good, expecting to find it. By seeing and acknowledging the possibility of good, instead of being trapped into acknowledging the possibility of evil, I have seem a myriad of healings of some bad situations…like the situation of the lost dog. If I had not believed in the possibility of the dog being alive, I would not have looked for him any at all. And if a person believes in the inevitability of disease or death, they lose their ability to have a positive effect on their own outcome.

But what if the belief is about something that a person CANNOT see, because then it might seem even more difficult to reject the negative thoughts that bombard us.

I learned, after talking to someone who has done a lot of research on the subject, that negative thoughts that come to us repeatedly are called obsessive thoughts and if those thoughts cause us to change our behavior, then that behavior is called a compulsion. Though it might be useful to identify such as a disease, or give it a name, it is only useful, I believe, in the remedy of such, as Jesus called out evil spirits to leave the body.

So if a person who is obsessively worried say for example, about their own weight and the weight of their children that fear is just a belief. They are afraid not of a disease exactly, but are afraid of the possibility of something negative, because such has not actually happened yet but is just a strong belief or fear that “attacks” their thinking.

Such triggers that bombard thought and attack a person’s thinking might cause them to try to control the food of others, and the resulting behavior is then called a compulsion. It might seem invisible to the rest of us, but it can lead to problems of restricting food, and even eating disorders.

The person in my example, who is worried about weight, might not even realize that those original obsessive thoughts, THAT ARE NOT REAL but just a BELIEF, are hurting others around them and such obsessive thoughts need to be addressed. Infected thinking is a wrong belief.

But even when something is “invisible” as well as labeled “negative” or infected, it can still be seen and treated in a positive light. Instead of accepting such a label and seeing such a person as incapable of having normal behavior (eating habits), it is important to emphasize, with honesty, how such behavior is not based on fact but on belief and is not characteristic of that person and can be healed with help.

Friends or family can offer to help give the necessary space and energy to provide assistance that helps others deal with negative thoughts in a better way. Cognitive behavioral therapy in fact acknowledges that a persons thinking, does in fact have an effect on behavior and focuses on helping clients get strategies to change negative and hurtful behaviors that affect the client and their families.

Expecting good from those with obsessive thoughts about food or anything else, can lead to fantastic results, instead of having an expectancy of eventual hospital care and reduced functioning. Honest communication about beliefs and realities, is the first step towards helping others with compulsive behaviors or fears.

I was listening to Joel Olsteen and in the bible, when Nehemiah believed he had to build the wall, he knew God would help him do so. Instead of it taking years to do…It happened in 52 days. The wall needed to be built to restore the Nation of Israel. Without the wall, the cities would not be safe from bandits, gangs and other things, because the more economically developed a place was, the more others would want to steal from it.

Nehemiah might have initially feared he would not have the supplies he needed and he feared that he would be stopped by others who did not want him to finish the wall but he persisted. He believed that the wall was necessary and good and the wall got built. We can use that example right from the bible, now today, for the wall we need to fix and enforce around our own borders.

Biblical precedence is a wonderful example…and building a wall because of faith in God, in spite of opposition is a beautiful story of how God works in our lives when we are optimistic instead of pessimistic…and we believe in good and the power of good over evil. We do not have to bow down to evil even when it is a marketed belief by social media and even when the president holds that wrong belief.

I remember a study done once about a class of children who were expected to be high achievers and the teachers were told they were very smart. The children were actually of average intelligence but because the teachers believed that the children were advanced, they treated them as such and surprise, surprise, the children lived up to their expectations. The belief of the teachers caused them to hold the children to high standards, and because of the belief, the children responded well.

If we as parents are calling our children ugly, or slow, or clumsy or lazy, or dumb we are burning these negative images in our children's thinking and beliefs about themselves, that could do a lot of long term damage to their self esteem AND ability to be successful. Children are supposed to be slow, and make mistakes. That is why they are children.

I for one love being around children because such is the kingdom of heaven. The innocence and joy of children, is like a kingdom of heaven to be sure and I love seeing them learn and thrive.

At the beginning of this article I wrote about the dog who was lost. During the time that it was not within range of the owners, the dog was never really lost. What is it we believe when all seems lost? For Jesus, when all seemed lost and he was put on a cross, he still believed in life. Belief in life, good, apparently is REALLY important in the actualization of our desire to have life and to experience good. It starts in our thinking and I for one, choose good, choose health, choose life.

The right belief, is better than health insurance.

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Melissa Ann Howell Schier

HoustonWorkout on YouTube, mom of five, journalist and artist and conservative who values life.