Repost – First Guest Post: New Normal


Continuing with my Repost series, below is my very first (ok, ok … ONLY, I admit it – you satisfied? *hmph*) guest post by my friend Annie. She hasn’t been blogging, but you can still go check out the blog that she has there, and read the great stuff she has written. She will be back to blogging – I hope…

Enjoy!

This is my first guest post!  My good friend, fellow prayer warrior and all out good girl Annie consented to do a guest post for me…. part of the reason I hadn’t written anything myself is because I’ve been going through a lot of stuff… but I’ve also been waiting for her to answer me ;)

Anyway, here it is! My first guest post!  (And when you’re done, hop over to Annie’s place and read her stuff… she’s very good…)

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“NEW NORMAL”

Have you ever tried to …

break an old habit?
go on a diet?
change a wrong behavior?

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I discovered about a year and a half ago that my intestines don’t digest dairy very well at all.  (Some people call this lactose intolerance.  I don’t like labels.  Or excuses.  So I don’t say this.  I say I don’t eat dairy.  It’s a choice, not a victimization.  Anyway.)

When I discovered this, several things happened.  Firstly, I was relieved.  It explained several things that had troubled me for almost all of my life, and which I had asked the Lord many times to reveal to me what was going on.  Secondarily I was chagrined.  Really?? No dairy??  But I LOVE milk, butter, and cheese!  I grew up on them.  Yummy, yummy, yummy.  Thirdly, I knew from Scripture that the promised land was ‘a land flowing with milk and honey’ and I had already looked up in the past the first occurrence in the Bible of eating dairy, and God Himself actually was the one who did.  Abraham served curds to God when He visited him (as the three men) before He went down to investigate Sodom and Gomorrah.  So.  I believed then (and I believe now) that my particular problem is a problem, and not normal.  So I’m still believing for the revelation on that.

At any rate, since that time, it has been a constant battle for me.  It is really hard to go out to eat and find non-dairy options.  This country’s cuisine depends on the cow like you would not believe.  The real war though, was in my taste buds.  The stuff just tastes so good.  I may know in my head all the consequences of eating a piece of pizza or taking a bite of that yummy Alfredo sauce pasta, but my taste buds are in denial.  They don’t consider the fact that if I eat it I’ll have to deal with the consequences.  They just know it will taste good.  And that’s all they know.

So I am left at the point of this decision.  Do I give in to my tongue?  Or do I respect the entire rest of my body and force myself away from it?

You know, when the Israelites left Egypt their physical situation changed.  They were no longer in bondage; they had freedom.  Yet even though their physical condition changed, in their minds (or hearts, as the Bible puts it) they were still longing for Egypt.  Egypt was still their ‘normal.’  They didn’t take ownership of where they were and say, “I’m free, in a desert, and pressing forward to the promised land.”  Instead they expected what they had had in Egypt.   They expected provision a certain way; they expected comfort a certain way.  And even though they knew that the precursor for having those things was bondage, they still didn’t give up wanting the ‘good tastes’ of Egypt.

So you’d think that after a year and a half I would have got this dairy thing down.  I mean, it’s the same decision every time.  But in my head you know … I always held on to the prospect of how good it would taste to eat it.

And finally I had an epiphany.

Psychologically, I hadn’t accepted that there had been a change.  I let my mind keeping thinking that ‘normal’ was everything I used to eat.  And therefore not eating it was ‘abnormal’ and ‘temporary.’  Light bulb!  I decided to change that.  So now, instead of looking behind me and ‘longing for Egypt,’ I created a ‘new normal.’  In my new normal … I just don’t eat dairy. It’s not something that’s forced on me; it’s not even something I regret.  It’s just … normal.

You see, in the past, feeling bad was normal.  And in my mind, I couldn’t break away from that.  Feeling good (when I didn’t eat dairy) was just a nice perk.  A temporary fluke.  It wasn’t normal.  I had put up with feeling bad for so long that it had come to feel comfortable to me.   And regardless of the fact that I had plenty of evidence to tell me that a ‘new normal’ was possible … my heart had never accepted it.

The epiphany came when I was willing to look at that and say, “It’s not normal for me to feel bad.  And look bad.  It’s normal for me to feel good.  And look good.”  The choice to not eat dairy was just a part of my new normal.

So I am happy to report that the last month or so I have lived in my new normal.  I’m not longing for Egypt anymore.

Normal never felt so good.
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Has there been a ‘new normal’ in your life?  Would you like to share?

PS: for those who are interested in my symptoms and results, I would love to answer questions.  Most people, I think, wouldn’t, so I haven’t made that a part of this post.  🙂

Annie

http://callingtodeep.blogspot.com
http://www.myspace.com/callingtodeep

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Personal Devotions Series: Test of Faith


Continuing with my personal devotions series, here we have Abraham being asked to sacrifice his son, Issac.  The passage is taken from Genesis 22:1-19.

1 Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!”
“Here I am,” he replied.

How many of us would be as quick to say “Here I am,” to the voice of God?  You may not think God speaks to you, but he does.  Are you willing to obey if you do realize he’s speaking?

2 Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.”

Ok…. do you still want to obey God?  Even when God says something this harsh? Personally, I know I’d be like, “Yeah, that can’t be God.  He wouldn’t tell me to do something like that, would he?”  (Mighty prophet of God, huh? ha!)  I feel like I’m sorta in that place right now, actually.  What I’m having to walk through … I have to lay down a lot of things that I held dear to me. I just realized that I have to make the same choice – obey, or not.  Not easy…. then again, this must not have been an easy choice for Abraham, either.

3 Early the next morning Abraham got up and saddled his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about. 4 On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. 5 He said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.”

I don’t know if Abraham agonized over this, but he decided to obey.  The next morning speaks to me of immediacy.  He set out the next morning.  Creflo Dollar has said that ‘delayed obedience is disobedience; partial obedience is disobedience.’  So he obeyed – totally and immediately.  WOW.  Lord, help me to be like that….

6 Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together, 7 Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?”
“Yes, my son?” Abraham replied.
“The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”

8 Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together.

What a statement of faith. “God himself will provide the lamb…..”  I’ve heard somewhere that in this story Issac wasn’t a little boy, but a man;  nowhere in the text does it say, either way. But was Issac worried?  I think he trusted his father implicitly, even as Abraham trusted God – his Father – just as implicitly.

9 When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. 11 But the angel of the LORD called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!”
“Here I am,” he replied.

He’s able to hear God even in the midst of his obedience to God – in the very act of raising the knife he could hear God say his name – and again, his immediate action is to listen and obey.  How many of us can say that we are able to hear God, even when in the middle of obeying what God has previously said?  Me? I feel I have ‘tunnel vision’ and I’d be like, “Not now, God, I’m in the middle of obeying you. When I’ve finished let me hear what you’re saying….”

12 “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”

Now, I know me.  I would have probably been like, “God what was all that about?  Man what are you doing?”  (Yeah, I know… I need to learn respect 😆 – but trust me, God knows I’m like that; he hasn’t ever bowled me over for being honest in my feelings before…)  Personally, I don’t like tests.  But I’m challenged by his ability to hear God even while he’s obeying him – like, with split second timing he’s able to hear God and say, “Yes Lord?”  I want to be like that too…

13 Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram [a] caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided.”

Now, I have also heard that this story is prophetic in its symbolism as well – Mount Moriah here is said to be the same mountain Jesus died on in the New Testament.  Talk about God’s planning…. Jesus really was the Lamb given for sacrifice….

15 The angel of the LORD called to Abraham from heaven a second time 16 and said, “I swear by myself, declares the LORD, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17 I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies,18 and through your offspring [b] all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.”

So God honoured Abraham’s obedience.  And blessings immeasurable (descendants as numerous as sand on a seashore…) will follow him.  WOW.  Stirring me as I meditate on it.

Father God, I have not been very good at obedience lately. Help me to have greater faith and greater trust in you, and help me to be like Abraham, able to hear and obey the voice of the Lord, on a dime!  I ask that you help me to be inspired by this story and may it transform my mind into the image of Christ’s, who obeyed you TOTALLY, without sin.  I ask that you will continue to be my light in the dark.  Help me as I trust you.  In Jesus’ name. AMEN.