“Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”
Matthew 16:24 (NIV)
Last time we were together, I spoke about how I took a leap of faith and asked God to heal me from my food addiction, an addiction I’ve had for over 30 years. Throughout the rest of the summer, while I didn’t see much progress of the scale going downward, I noticed the changes I talked about last time. During that time, we had another guest speaker who added more puzzle pieces to the journey of healing.
He spoke about how healing can at times be instantaneous. Other times we have to carry out Jesus’ instructions in the above verse, Matthew 16:24, and deny ourselves, give up our selfish ways, practice discipline. He also spoke about how a person has to really, really want the healing to take place. He used his father as an example with alcoholism and while his dad had asked for freedom from the clutches of alcoholism many, many times, he admitted that he honestly didn’t want to be freed from never drinking again. He wasn’t ready to give up drinking, not really, and it wasn’t until he came to that place of desiring freedom over a drink that God could fully work in his life.
I had to think about that in my life. Many times in the past I had begged God for healing of my food addiction, but yet as I described last time, I still wanted to be able to eat whenever/whatever I wanted. I wanted the freedom of eating how I wanted, not the freedom from food addiction. This time, however, when I prayed and asked God to heal me, there was a difference. I truly wanted to be free from this burden, this stronghold in my life. While I wasn’t healed instantaneously, I could tell healing was taking place. I notice subtle things, as described last time, but yet the missing piece was spoken above – I still had to practice self discipline. I could enjoy all food but within the discipline (boundaries) of listening to my body and choosing health.
During this same time, a friend and I started having some in-depth conversations about inner healing. While I know that I have trust issues, I never really knew where they came from. Because my Father loves me so much and knows that I want to be completely free, He brought the “classroom” to me through the above sermons and even through a radio program, Family Life.
One of my jobs involves repetitive work once a month. I actually get excited when I know it’s coming up because that means I get a chance to listen to the Family Life archives while I work. Approximately six hours of God’s truth being poured into me. I log on and then select from the list of different topics what I feel God is whispering He wants me to listen too. One particular topic I picked last month ended up speaking to me a bit more personally than I imagined. Like others, I have areas in my past that I regret. I’ve never claimed to be perfect, but I thought I had moved on…forgetting the past and looking toward the future as Paul writes about in Philippians 3:13-14 (NIV). So when I was listening to the message late one night and the truths about what was being said started resonating with me, I was thrown a little… okay, a lot. I thought that was one area of my life where I had “moved on.” God showed me that healing still needed to take place because the symptoms of that incident were further reaching than I realized. The next night I had a dream which left me feeling melancholy. Instead of letting it ruin my day with my family, I took those feelings to God and said, “I don’t know what to do with this, but You do. Show me how You want me to process this and what, if anything, You want me to do.” That night, when we went to church, God used Pastor James’ sermon about healing to speak directly to me about this particular incident.
While I’m not healed yet, I’m confident that God loves me enough to continue that journey with me… whether through more sermons at my church, radio programs, books He puts in my path, or friends I can bounce sensitive topics off of.
I know that my experience with God isn’t unique. He loves each of His children so much that when we actively listen, seek His best for our lives, and are willing to go down the paths that are marked “difficult,” God can do amazing things in our lives. Sometimes it’s instantaneous, sometimes it’s a process, but always, in God’s timing, it’s perfect for our individual situations.
Come back next time for one more aspect of this journey.
© Cheri Swalwell 2015