I didn't think I could do it
I was in a foreign country. I did not really know the people around me well. I was in a slight panic. “If I went ahead and did as they were asking, what was going to happen? Did I have the faith to believe what I had just prayed? If it all went wrong, would my medical insurance cover the costs. Heck – would we even be able to get to a hospital in time to receive the treatment I needed?”
All these thoughts were rushing through my head as I looked at the piece of fish on the plate in front of me. Slowly I looked at the people around me. All waiting expectantly, full of faith. My husband sitting next to me with a mysteriously veiled expression. It was a watershed moment for me.
You see, I had had an allergy to fish for more than 20 years. When I first started working in the hotel kitchens, I developed a serious allergy to fish where my throat would swell and close, effectively stopping my breathing. I would break out in hives all over my body if I even touched certain fish! So I was very careful to never eat fish or have a dish made with fish stock or fish sauce. I wore gloves when I had to work with fish and seafood. I could not even take omega 3 tablets because they contain fish oil. The interesting thing is that, once it was established that I had this allergy. I adjusted my life to adapt to the allergy. We did not eat at fish restaurants. I never prepared fish at home. We never went to vacation places where there was only fish on the menu. It placed a restriction on our lives, that was not absolutely terrible, but it was a restriction none the less.
Over the years, my husband (who loves fish incidentally) would jokingly tell me that one day I would have to believe God for healing of this allergy. I always laughed him off. I thought it was not a big thing. It was not stopping me from serving the Lord. It was not a problem. All excuses which I constantly told myself in order to not have to deal with the issue.
And I could have lived the rest of my life, never eating fish. BUT GOD. It was all HIS fault that I ended up in the uncomfortable position that I found myself in last year. Sitting at that table with a piece of fish in front of me, with everyone waiting to see me eat it!
I was speaking at a retreat for leaders and we had sat down to lunch. Fish was being served, so I simply ate the salad and bread and left the fish –as was my custom. One of the gentleman at the table noticed that I was not eating any fish and asked me why. I told him my story that I was allergic and assured him that I was fine, the salad was delicious! The moment that he heard this, he jumped up and exclaimed that he and his wife would pray for me as they have a anointing to pray for people with allergies and see them delivered and healed. “Oh no!” I thought to myself. “This is not what I need now. I am in the middle of a seminar and do not need to be dealing with this.” But they would not take no for an answer and so I agreed to have them pray for me.
After a short time of repentance and prayer (during which I really felt my faith begin to lift), they placed the fish in front of me. I had to immediately eat a little of the fish to show that I was healed. This was a really decisive moment for me. Was I going to believe God? Was I going to trust Him? Did I actually believe the things I taught and preached? The bottom line – I did it. It felt like jumping off a cliff and just trusting Him to catch me. And you know what? I ate that piece of fish and…. Nothing! Not one symptom. It was amazing. God had delivered and healed me from that allergy.
Fast forward a few months and I am in the Seychelles with some friends. (For those who do not know, the Seychelles is a beautiful group of islands in the Indian Ocean.) Of course – fish is often on the menu and in times past, I simply avoided eating the fish when it was served. Then, one night, one of our friends informed us that he had asked a local fisherman to find a red snapper for us as a special treat. He wanted us to experience what he called, ‘one of the best fish in the world’. I felt myself start to say that I did not eat fish, when I realised, “but I am no longer allergic to fish.” So I kept quiet. But there was a small pang of panic inside me. Would I still be healed and able to eat the fish? I quickly squashed those tormenting thoughts and sat down to eat.
Not one negative reaction! Instead I got to eat a delicious meal and experienced something new. It was an exhilarating feeling. I had overcome something. As I was sitting on the beach pondering this ‘fish victory’ the next morning, I realized that we all have limitations in our lives. Some are physical, some are emotional and intellectual and some are spiritual. Some are huge issues and some are really small and seemingly insignificant, but no matter the size, these limitations LIMIT you. And very often we do not even realise that we have been limited.
Now, I realise that God has set limits and boundaries in our life which are for our own good, I am not talking about these types of limitations. I am talking about the ones that the enemy has sown into our lives and our thinking. Limitatons that stop us from experiencing the fullness of life that God wants us to enjoy. These illegal limitations LIMIT what we believe we can or should have in life. They can LIMIT what you eat. They LIMIT what type of job you think you should have. They LIMIT what you think you are capable of doing. They set the course for your future because you will always live within the limitations that you set for yourself.
Many of these limitations come from our upbringing and from our culture. Some are a result of wounding. Some are a result of peer pressure and some are even genetic. The bottom line is that we all have them. And have learnt to live with them. We have adapted our lifestyles to fit within our limitations. And this should not be so. I believe that in Jesus, we can overcome every limitation that would seek to stop you from living the abundant life that God has for you. And God does want you to live an ABUNDANT life. (It says so in John 10:10)
The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
That word abundant in the Greek is perissosand means 'super-abundant (in quantity) and superior (in quality)'. That means that Jesus came to give us a life that is more and better than a life without Him. Jesus is saying in this scripture that He came so that we can have thislife. It is through Him and His work on the cross that we can have access to this abundant life. Every limitation that the enemy would seek to place over you can be removed by the blood of Jesus. It can be erased by the power of the Word Himself. He makes it possible. Imagine… a life where the only limitations are the ones set by our Creator for us. I want to live THAT kind of life.
I want all that Jesus came to give me. When the world looks at me, I want them to be amazed and perplexed. I want to provoke questions from them. I want them to wonder what my X factor is. I want them to want to be around me because there is something different about me. I want to be an undeniable testimony to the goodness and the greatness of God.
This year, I am asking the Lord to show me what other limiting mindsets or beliefs I have that stop this fee from experiencing His abundant life. This year, I want to intentionally remove every ceiling and obstacle in my thinking or behavior that restricts the flow of His life in me and through me. Because one thing I have learnt from my fishy story, is that I want to live the life that God has for me, not the one that doctors, or symptoms or culture or people want me to live!