by Jem Harris
I have had Crohns Disease for 12 years now. I was diagnosed at 19 and it has been a heartbreaking experience. Countless surgeries, incontinence at 25, an ileostomy stoma and more close call emergencies then I’d like to remember. At the beginning of this year after a routine scope, my bowel perforated unbeknownst to me until three weeks later when I landed in Emergency once again. Emergency surgery, a new stoma, even less bowel than I went in with.
This latest drama left me exhausted and over the last 12 years of fighting. I just felt done. It turned me from someone who generally takes it in their stride and focuses on the positive to someone who was broken, disillusioned and giving up. I was angry and so disappointed. This last admission had cost me a dream holiday, a dream job as well as the extra trauma that was just piling up in the shadows ready to pop up when I want it to the least.
So when a few weeks later I was sitting in a unit with my girlfriends watching Colour Conference on line, one of the speakers said something that caught my attention. She had been speaking about using our words to change our atmosphere, that we can go from defeat to victory just by the words we choose to say
And while I usually love a good one liner - my posture was slightly perturbed. I wanted to love it because it sounded good and bold and strong and I love that. However I was currently in a season of needing to mourn, needing to deal with the pain and the disappointment, and the “positive talk” rhetoric had been playing on my last nerve.
But the next line she said made it click to me and the truth of it is one that cannot be ignored, a truth that not even my season could deny. She said we need to “rehearse the right stories”.
Which stories are you retelling, what is rehearsing on repeat in your mind? Are you meditating on the ways in which God has picked you up and brought you to victory? Or is your internal track skipping on the same heartbreak, the same discouragement and the same defeat of days gone by?
Whilst there had been some movement in my heart in that moment, there was still a ways to go before it won me over. The bitterness was too consuming for the impact to take hold. Until this afternoon, weeks later. I was literally writing a devotion for kids earlier today on Joshua and the 12 spies. The Israelites had come so far, seen miracle after miracle. They had seen seas break open, water from rocks and food fall from heaven.
But when the spies came back from seeing the giants in Canaan, the Israelites immediately started rehearsing the wrong stories. Their words turned their atmosphere from victory to defeat and they flipping missed the blessing! They missed out on the promise. Because of the stories they were rehearsing, the words they were using.
On the other hand Joshua and Caleb rehearsed the right stories, remembered God’s faithfulness, transformed their atmosphere to victory through the words they were saying. They received the blessing and the fulfilment of the promise of a faithful Father.
Wow! I don’t know about you but that was super convicting to me. It has been solid enough evidence for me to reassess the way in which I want to position my heart and mind.
Now please don’t misunderstand me, my heart will always be to offer comfort and encouragement to those walking through hurt and suffering. I feel it’s one out working of God using my circumstances for His glory. That will never change.
But what this gradual revelation has highlighted to me is an emphasis on the importance of seasons and the need for discernment to know when it’s time to move into the next. Ecclesiastes tells us there is a time and season for everything, but that doesn’t mean we are to get stuck in the wrong season, rehearsing the wrong stories and ending up like the Israelites who wandered in the desert for 40 years.
I for one don’t want to miss out on the blessing, on the fulfillment of the promises that He has for my life. I want to begin to rehearse the right stories, I want to change the atmosphere with my words and I want to begin to seek out the next season and discover what it looks like not to move on, but to move through.
No one can tell you when it’s time to choose to change the track in your heart and mind, that I believe is between you and God. But it might be time to have a conversation with him and ask him for discernment and clarity for what the next step is for you.
Jem Harris is a wife and mum of two girls, with a passion for sharing the gospel and spurring on and encouraging women in God’s call and purpose for their lives. She pioneered the women’s ministry at Life Point Christian Church in Rothwell 7 years ago. Jem’s passion for communication through preaching and writing is continuing to be worked out through her passion project Her Armoury; an instagram community and podcast acting as a platform for encouragement and hope to be offered to women in our region.
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