I have a scar on the right side of my abdomen that I call my war wound. It is the result of an emergency surgery nine years ago. On a Friday afternoon—after eating a late lunch—I felt something unusual in my stomach. For me, the pain was tolerable and I assumed it was just a stomachache and though it worsened over the next several days… I ignored it!
Finally, FOUR days later, I found myself standing in line at the drugstore battling nausea, sweating profusely and shaking from the pain. Once home, I started vomiting and I could no longer deny that I needed to go to the hospital. I ended up in the emergency room, and to this day I thank God for a nurse who rushed me in for treatment.
Her wisdom saved my life. I’d been walking around with a burst appendix. For four days, my body was poisoning itself as I internalized my own waste.
Unaware of the severity of my situation, I laughed and joked in the ER. But, after I was rushed to surgery and my body began to swell and reject food… fear closed in. As the doctors put me on the nasal gastric tube and discussed my options, I frantically made laps around the hospital corridors to wake up my digestive system.
Emotionally, I was struggling—afraid to eat or drink anything. Where I was previously calm, the knowledge of my condition had created paranoia. Finally, a sympathetic nurse pulled me to the side and said in her lilting Jamaican accent, “You are going to be fine. I read your chart and by all rights you should be dead. But you made it.” I realized then that I’d already beaten the odds.
In that moment, I chose to believe in my recovery. Within days, I was released to go home. While fear might motivate us to action, we will burn out if we stay there. Here are some tips to move from fear to faith:
1. Find a Point of Contact: The scar from my surgery is a constant reminder that I can defy the odds. There have been countless moments in these past nine years when I’ve looked at it to remember that I survived what should have killed me. We are stronger than the moments of life that we face!
2. Get Understanding: Knowledge is power! But it must be filtered through the lens of possibility. True understanding comes when we handle information properly. Miracles happen every day. There are people who have defied medical odds to live longer than anyone expected. Then there are still others who used their diagnosis to live fuller in the time that remained and in doing so transformed others. Knowledge only paints half the picture but possibility completes it.
3. Talk it Out: When we fear something, our instinct is to protect ourselves from it. Sometimes we simply need to talk ourselves through fear to discover what lies on the other side. For instance, we may be afraid of knowing how someone we are interested in feels about us. Not knowing protects us from rejection. But in truth, finding out actually frees us to move on and forward—with or without that person. Next time, fear knocks…answer the door and have the conversation.
What is your war wound? This week, find a point of contact that reminds you of your strength and faith.
Affirm out loud, “I am a warrior. I fight to win in life!”