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by | May 20, 2011

There’s a boxing match going on in my stomach.  The salami and Swiss cheese from the sandwich I had for lunch are duking it out, and either way, I’m on the losing side.  It’s all too familiar.  And it could have been avoided.

For as long as I can remember, I regularly have intense stomach cramping and sharp jabs of intestinal pain after a meal.  For years, I excused it away. I thought it was the normal price to pay for enjoying spicy Indian curry or sizzling chicken fajitas.  I assumed everybody experienced the same thing.

Normal? Or Not?

But when friends asked why I was holding my stomach after going out for dinner, or when my family commented on how often I felt sick after we ate, I started to wonder if it really was normal.  So I decided to do an experiment – for three days I cut out meats, starches, and dairy and only ate garden salads and fresh fruit.  And it was amazing!  My stomach didn’t hurt at all for three whole days!

In those three days I had a revelation of what “normal” feels like.  I’m slowly starting to identify some of the foods that don’t agree with me, and trying to avoid those foods. I know now what it’s like to be free of pain. And I don’t ever want to go back to the way it was before.

This process reminded me of my struggle with depression a few years ago.  For several months after getting burnt-out in ministry in East Asia, I lived under a thick fog of hopelessness and discouragement.  At the lowest point, I remember thinking, “This is what my life is going to be from now on.  I’m never going to be happy again.”

Freedom Through Forgiveness

But God brought people into my life who helped me to acknowledge the root problem – who was in my “gap” that I needed to forgive.  As I identified the effects of the leadership failure that brought on this depression, I was able to forgive my leaders and release the pain of that situation to God.  And slowly I experienced a new “normal”.  I realized it is possible to move past the pain and walk in peace.

Are you living with constant pain?  Are the cycles of grief, hurts, or loss so familiar to you that you’re resigned to it as part of “normal” life?  You CAN be free from the effects of painful circumstances or relational conflicts.  Identify who or what is in your “gap” and begin the process of healing today.  Embrace the new “normal” – a life of freedom through forgiveness!

“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has gone, the new has come!”
II Corinthians 5:17 (NIV)

Going vertical!

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