Excerpt: 'The Cure for the Chronic Life' by Deanna Favre and Shane Stanford

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What can be done? The only option is to clean out the garbage and "re-soil" the landscape so that it can grow healthy again. The problem is that, as with the property in the community where we used to live, a stigma erupts from those around who question whether this life, this area, can be made whole or useable one more time. Many question whether anyone with that kind of garbage can find real redemption after so much baggage. It is a complex dilemma. And to think, it is simply the result of garbage gathering unchecked in our lives. But the repercussions are not simple, and they have long-ranging effects.

The effect of so much garbage is a life filled with almost paralyzing hopelessness. We may not claim it or say it out loud, but at this point, we feel it. It is a life marred with waste, filth, and the prospect or feeling that nothing can be done to clean up the mess. Or at least, that is what the Adversary wants us to believe; quite simply, if he can so manipulate our internal conversations, we remain captive to our illness, living in the garbage.

But God changes that.

I have a friend who lived with garbage piling up for most of his marriage. He made a series of choices that one day led to his wife of twenty-four years walking out the door and taking their teenage children with her. It was a tragic day, and this family will never be the same again. But this was not a surprise to him. You could smell the garbage in his life from miles away. He knew that one day his wife just would not be able to take it any longer. But as so often happens, "one day" came sooner than he had believed.

For each of us, rectifying the chronic life is about, first, cleaning the garbage from the corners of our existence. It is not easy, and it is certainly not a wanted job. After all, who likes to roam through garbage? But even one piece carries the bacteria of an old life, old wound, or old, broken views and attitudes. It all must be gone. That worry cannot be allowed to remain.

And thus, that's worry number two in the chronic life—the accumulation of mental, emotional, and relational garbage. Again, this is not normal. God has something better in store.

Worry Number Three: Misguided Priorities

Unfortunately, as with so many unhealthy patterns, one trouble lands on another making the scene almost unbearable. With a load of meaningless relationships and stacks of mounting garbage, our lives surrender to misguided priorities. At first, we still see the edges of right and wrong. But over time, it is easier to settle with order than to stand up for change or a new direction.

SHANE: I once met a young attorney from a neighboring town who showed up at my office literally looking as though he was about to die. He was pale and nervous. He was sweating profusely, and at first I thought he was having a heart attack. He might as well have been. The truth he shared with me was even more serious.

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