Welcome To The Covenant Diet!

I’m constantly amazed by the wonderful mix of people that end up here at The Covenant Diet. Oftentimes someone is simply looking for a recipe and connects from Pinterest, read about the site when I was interviewed for The Atlantic, did a random google search for help with overeating, or heard about it when my mother told them (because I tell ya what… she’s still my biggest fan and most avid reader)!

Whatever brought you here, I’m really, truly glad that you came across this blog!

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I hope that you will be encouraged, challenged, and helped by what you read. You’ll see several options above in the menu area to help you learn more about me {Hi – my name is January!} and my journey from gluttonous to glorious! It is my prayer (and seriously, I’m not just saying this, I really am praying this) that you are blessed and freed from whatever it is that holds you back from the full potential that God intends for you!

God…

I…

Ummmmm…

I…

I am scared.

Scared I’ll never get rid of the weight.
Scared I’ll never get rid of the addiction.
Scared I’ll fail.
Scared I’ll succeed.
Scared I’ll give up and then never want to try again.
Scared I’ll confuse success OR failure with how much you love me.
Scared.

I’ve tried so many times.
I’ve failed so many times.

I’m oppressed by this.
I feel so hopeless at times.
So alone.
So… awful.

So I remember…
The Lord is a shelter for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, do not abandon those who search for you. Psalms‬ ‭9‬:‭9-10‬

I know I’m not oppressed like women in some countries.
I know I’m not oppressed like a child in a factory.
I know I’m not oppressed by abject poverty.
I know I’m not oppressed by hatred and prejudice.

But I feel as if this… food thing… keeps me from being 100% for you. I feel like I could be so much more if not weighed down… oppressed… and utterly distracted by my issues with food.

Oh God, be my shelter from it. Keep it from me. Be my refuge. My place to relax and be myself and be taken care of. I trust you God. I trust that you will not abandon me. I trust that you will use my pain and heartache and struggle and that you will comfort me and protect me. I ask God that you release me from this oppression. Loose my chains.

Set me free.

Beans For A Birthright

I like a preacher who yells a little.

Makes some jokes.

Walks around a lot.

Yells a little more.

And uses lots and lots of scripture.

To each his own, but that is just the kind of preacher I like to listen to. So, when my hubby introduced me to the hours and hours and hours of archived sermons from Elevation Church with Steven Furtick… not gonna lie, I was kind of excited. Cause the guy does all of those things. I’m not usually the type to jump into what all the “cool kids” are watching, but… I dunno. God just speaks through him… to me.

So, since I’m working again, I have about a 25-30 minute “commute” from my house to the school where I teach. About ten of that is spent in the car with my oldest before I drop him off, but then afterwards, I plug in my iPhone and listen to the audio of Furtick’s teachings (there’s an app… you can watch or download a podcast).

Well, when I started listening in, I just went back and picked one called #DeathToSelfie and I thought it looked interesting for two reasons:

  1. The whole concept of DEATH to SELFIES!?!?! Nooooo, I love selfies!!!! (Yes, I am *that* friend.)
  2. The picture on the front was just… intriguing… like in an artsy kind of way. Look at it… isn’t that just… cool??? (Click on the pic to go to the main page for this series.)

deathtoselfie

So, ya know… I obviously picked it for VERY spiritual reasons.

And let me tell you: I would really, really, really, really encourage you to check out this sermon series. Especially, part two… called Starving Sons (Beware of the Bowl). Here… read this:

As the boys grew up, Esau became a skillful hunter. He was an outdoorsman, but Jacob had a quiet temperament, preferring to stay at home. Isaac loved Esau because he enjoyed eating the wild game Esau brought home, but Rebekah loved Jacob. One day when Jacob was cooking some stew, Esau arrived home from the wilderness exhausted and hungry. Esau said to Jacob, “I’m starved! Give me some of that red stew!” (This is how Esau got his other name, Edom, which means “red.”) “All right,” Jacob replied, “but trade me your rights as the firstborn son.” “Look, I’m dying of starvation!” said Esau. “What good is my birthright to me now?” But Jacob said, “First you must swear that your birthright is mine.” So Esau swore an oath, thereby selling all his rights as the firstborn to his brother, Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and lentil stew. Esau ate the meal, then got up and left. He showed contempt for his rights as the firstborn. Genesis 25:27-34

Now, I’m with Furtick… I always read this and thought “WHAT. AN. IDIOT.” But, like he brings up… we do this alllllllllll theeeeeeeee timeeeeeeee. And you and I, my friend, we might just be doing this with food… literally.

We have this birthright now that we are sons and daughters of God… a birthright of freedom from the enticements of this world, but we come in STARVING (and knowing us, we probably aren’t starving for food, but for something else… love, comfort, a break) and we convince ourselves that it’s “worth it” to trade our birthright of freedom from food… for a bowl of beans.

Who, praytell, ever wants a bowl of beans?

No one. They are beans.

That Twix… yo. It’s really just BEANS.
The bag of Cheetos? Yep. BEANS.
Even that Mocha Frappachino at Starbucks… beany bean bean BEANS.

If we are eating it or drinking it for any reason other than we’re hungry, then we are trading our birthright for beans.

So, this week… ever since listening to this, I’ve been repeating to myself over and over again all day (even when I’m not around food) “My birthright for beans… my birthright for beans… my birthright for beans…” It’s making me come face to face a lot of the day with the REAL choice that I’m making.

Am I choosing my God-given birthright?

Or beans?

 

(Hey, so seriously… listen to/watch this series, or at least the first two… because he goes into way more detail and explanation than I even got remotely close to in this post.)

A Piece Of My Arsenal

I’m kinda “in” to this whole reading the bible again.

Ain’t gonna lie… I have been doing some major avoiding of reading it for quite a while. Not sure what happened, but dang. I just didn’t want to read the bible at all.

Like, at all… at all.

But I’m reading the One Year Bible (my husband’s grandmother {Nanny} bought me one years ago… you can also do the plan for free here) and now I’m finding myself thirsty for it. I mean, I should be… I haven’t had any Living Water for months… I’m dying of thirst.

It seems like each day there is just a nugget that pierces my heart or soothes me. (The great days are when I get a dose of both!) Just this last week the verse popped out at me…

Victory comes from you, O Lord. May you bless your people. Psalm 3:8

I’m keeping this one tucked away in my arsenal… to protect me from myself. When the “You can’t do this…” and the “You’re not strong enough…” statements start to bubble up out of my soul, then I can answer back… just like Jesus did to Satan. He used The Words of The Father. I’m gonna say, “Hey… shut your trap. Victory over this comes from God.”

It’s not on me… this is on Him. And He’s strong enough to win the war.

Victory comes from God

The Worst Kind Of Success

I feel as if I need to come clean before we even get started…

I just ate four Lindt chocolates.

(Hey… at least I went for the good stuff.)

And ya know, I’m not entirely killing myself over it either. It was sort of a test run. First of all, I haven’t had sugar since December 26th and compared to how my covenant eating has gone over the past few months, THAT ALONE is like a flipping miracle!

Tonight I went to my niece’s birthday and someone plopped a piece of strawberry shortcake in front of me. And not just any ol strawberry shortcake, but made from scratch strawberry shortcake… and if you don’t think “from scratch” is an important detail to this story, then maybe this blog is not for you… cause here at this “diet blog” we reallllllly like food. ;) And I thought “Let’s see what happens… let’s see if somehow, in the lengthy experience {sarcasm} of the past nine days, I have possibly found the fortitude within to eat a little bit and then resist.” So, I ate the cake and then that was it! Success!

Until I got home and accidentally stumbled across those dadgum Lindt chocolates. If it had been the icky-no-good-low-quality regular ol’ chocolates then I probably would have been fine. But nooooooooooo. It had to be Lindt.

Well, you know the rest of the story… if you haven’t lived it yourself then you can certainly fill in the blanks: Because I’d already had sugar tonight, I “might as well”, so I ate “just one” whichhhhhhhhhhhh turned into all of them.

But, I’m sorta glad for a couple of reasons. Here’s why…

I was sorta on the fence about going hardcore with the sugar thing again this year. Like, maybe I should try out that whole balance thing again. Honestly, I knew… I mean… I KNEWWWWWWW it wouldn’t work to have both. But I guess I just needed one last reminder.

Even more so though… ya see, my teacher, James Tippit… he has been talking a lot lately about the idea that sometimes the parts of our lives that we think are successes, God might look at them and just brush them away. But parts of our lives that we view as dismal failures… He might say…

Oh no honey… look… look where I was here… here… and here. This part where you thought all was lost, where you thought you were a mess, a disaster, a wreck… oh, dearest… this is when I was DOIN WORK in your life… in your soul. I was filling in those parts where you were weak… to be strong. I was changing you, forming you, molding you. Making you more like me.

And this is why, tonight, after those infuriating (but honestly… totally divine) Lindt chocolates, I wasn’t in utter dispair. Because this looked like a dismal failure.

Heck, this whole COVENANT DIET itself looks like a dismal failure to me right now… but when I am weak, then HE. IS. STRONG. Perhaps He is just using this whole thing to help melt my heart and reform me… renew me… purify me.

So, tonight, I ask God…

Be strong within me God. Show me how strong you are through my dismal failures. Melt my heart and help me to fall in love with You again. Help me to fall in love with your kindness, your compassion, your ever-ready forgiveness, your patience. Help me to look back on my life and see all of these wonderful, beautiful moments that have changed me, formed me, molded me. Melt me down and make me more like You, so that I might be a blessing. I love you, God. I do. I love you.

I’m Melting

Have you ever had that friend who you rarely see, but when you get together, it’s as if you were just hanging out yesterday?

I hope that, maybe, you feel that way about me… and this blog.

Because, it’s been almost four months since we’ve gotten together, but I’d like for us to start hanging out some more again.

And I hope that it feels just like we are old friends… catching up.

You see, I got a teaching job again (yay) and I really enjoy it (yay) and I love the differences that I’m making in kids’ lives (yay). But it was wayyyyyyyy more of a change than I realized (eek) and I was wayyyyyyyyy more busy than I realized I’d be (eek) and I was subsequently wayyyyyyy more tired than I realized (eek). So, the hubs and I decided to tuck the blog into maintenance mode for a few weeks (which unfortunately turned into MONTHS) to help me because I had shifted 100% into pure, unadulterated survival mode. If hashtags worked in blogs, then I’d hashtag this paragraph #ItsHarderThanIRememberedToBeAWorkingMom

Anyway, I’m truly, purely sorry to have worried some of you, and I genuinely appreciate those of you that tracked me down to find out what was going on! I can’t promise that I’ll be a daily poster like I have been in the past, but I really want to get back with you guys… back to my writing… back to my reading… back to my covenant… and most importantly…

back to God.

For I have wandered… far, far from Him.

With every pound I gained, I grew angrier and angrier at Him. And then I’d gain another pound, and as I packed on the weight I was packing in bitterness and brokenness in my heart.

So, then I just threw my hands up. Said, Forget it. Who cares anyway. You’re getting fat struggling… might as well just dive on in and enjoy it. And yeah, well, here’s the spoiler for the ending to that story (but I’m pretty sure you know that it won’t be much of a shocker if you are in the same boat as me):

I didn’t enjoy it.

I hated it. More than I hated it before. And I got fat. Fat again.

And the more I hated getting fat, the more I continued to dive in, the more I was angry at God, the more I ate, the more I gained, the fatter I got.

But, then, I numbed myself to it.

Ohhhhhhhhh, my  friends… the numbness. That is more danger to our relationship with God than anger… any day. I just couldn’t find solace in the bible. I couldn’t find solace in my prayers. I couldn’t find solace at church. I couldn’t find solace… an.y.where.

I was numb.

And the numbness… hurt worse.

It’s the worst pain.

Because it’s not living. It’s death. Being numb to all of the feelings and challenges and hopes and dreams and hurts and disappointments… that’s not living. It’s dying.

So, in a weird little twist of events that range from me cleaning out my bookshelf and finding my One Year Bible to reading some article about how screen time is bad for your eyes and sleep… I started to read that thing before bed. Not really expecting anything to change. And it didn’t… at least, not right away. My heart was hard, cold, frozen.

But over the past few weeks I have felt my heart… slowly, slowly, slowly start to soften a bit. Slowly, slowly, slowly begin to let God back into little parts of my life. Cautiously… but hopefully.

And hopefully, even though I bailed on you guys out of nowhere… hopefully, you’ll be willing to step out on this journey with me again.

 

 

Just Stop

Stop it.

Just stop.

Stop rushing.

Stop rushing… everything.

Stop rushing
life.
weight loss.
debt payments.
spiritual growth.
career advancement.
friendships.
relationships.
child baring.
child rearing.
health.
organization.
perfection.

Stop rushing.

Stop rushing Him.

When we rush all that, we rush Him. Whose time frame are we on, anyway?!?!

Oh I’ll tell ya all right… we are on OUR time frame. Our big ol’, in a rush, gotta have it now, gotta have it my way or the highway, gimme gimme gimme now now now time frame.

And so we rush.

We rush on.

And we miss.

We miss so. very. much.

We miss what happens in between blinks. We miss the quiet sound of a fan in a house full of sleepers. We miss the sound of the cricket all alone singing his song. We miss our calm breath in and our calm breath out. We miss the sigh of peace. We miss the blessing in stillness. in the slowness. in the not-doing.

So stop.

Stop that rushing.

And live.

I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
John‬ ‭10‬:‭10‬ NIV

All That

Know how you go to church, or Sunday school, or a conference, or something where you listen to a speaker… and you listen, and take notes, and nod your head, and maybe even bust out an amen if you’re feeling particularly brave (and a little southern)?

And then you go home and you read through all of those notes and diagrams that you carefully copied, and the one thing that catches your eye… no… the one thing that catches your heart is something barely even related to the rest of the message?

I went to an uh.maz.ing. lesson yesterday by my teacher James Tippit called “The Gospel According to U2″. I mean, I lovvvvvvvvvvvvve U2 and I lovvvvvvvvvvvvve Jesus so this was like the most perfect match made in heaven for me! Well, this morning I go to reread over the notes I took and it was all good stuff…

You don’t have to have a platform as large as Bono’s, the key is that you HAVE a platform. We all do.

He’s gonna ask YOU- what did YOU do with what I gave you

U2 lyrics
And if the darkness is to keep us apart
And if the daylight feels like it’s a long way off
And if your glass heart should crack
And…
Walk on, walk on
What you got they can’t steal it
No they can’t even feel it
Walk on, walk on
Stay safe tonight

At the very end though, he said, God looks at you and says “I can redeem all that.”

I didn’t even really notice it until this morning. But I caught my breath as I read it.

God can redeem all this.
God can redeem me.
God CAN.

So often I feel like when He isn’t “fixing” me soon enough that I need to “take up my cross” and fix myself… by myself.

But today I reminded. I can’t redeem this. I can’t redeem myself.

But God CAN.

Oh God of my heart, be the God of my body, too. Be the God of every part of me. Redeem this life of mine. Redeem me.
Amen.

Year of Grace

I read this verse this morning…

God sent me to announce the year of his grace— to comfort all who mourn, to give them bouquets of roses instead of ashes, messages of joy instead of news of doom, a praising heart instead of a languid spirit. Rename them “Oaks of Righteousness” planted by GOD to display his glory.
Isaiah‬ ‭61:3 The Message

And it just really grabbed me. “A praising heart instead of a languid spirit.” Why, YES, thank you! I mean, sure, I have a history of struggling with food, of using food for all the wrong reasons, of losing weight and then gaining it back, of not being able to lose weight for years… you know the list.

But despite all that I would love to have THIS YEAR be the year of his grace in my life. To be comforted, lavished, joyful, praising.

And why not? Why shouldn’t it be this year? We might as well ask!

God,
I come to you for everything in my life. Well, I want to come to you for everything. I surely know that all things come from you. And so I ask that this year be a year of favor on my life. And I’m not talking about losing weight (although I’ll take losing 30 pounds over a bouquet of roses any day!) but I am hoping for balance with food. A balance in my heart so that I don’t feel the scales tipping away from you and towards chocolate. Thank you for even hearing my prayer on something that must seem a little petty. Your love and understanding… wow… so awesome! I love you God!!!
Amen

Push Back

“Together we will push back the darkness, for I am the Light of the world.” Jesus Calling, September 4th

I read this quote this morning and it just really struck me. Cause this battle with food… sometimes I do feel like I’ve been trapped in darkness. In a dark room with no outlet, or at least, no outlet that I can see.

And so this little snippet reminded me that I don’t have to stumble around in the dark alone… God is pushing the darkness back using His Light. And right now, we can know that His Light is shining in our own lives and in our struggles with food. It may not seem very bright. It may actually seem terribly, terribly dim. But it is there.

Today, look for that Light. Look for Hope. Look for Him.

Deserving Desserts

I probably don’t need to get into too much depth about my… issues… with sugar. Over the past couple of years I’ve made it pretty clear that I find the stuff just straight up irresistible. And I’ve analyzed it six ways to Sunday… sugar is (literally) addicting, sugar is an emotional filler, sugar is a way to comfort, sugar is evil and should be entirely banished, sugar is… sugar is… sugar is.

And let me just take a pause to remind us of what God is…
loving
powerful
patient
joyful
good
perfect
kind
purposeful

And He is enough.

Buuuuuuuut more than likely you are here, like me, because you know God is all of those things. You know He is enough but still… the dadgum sugar.

So after the past several years of covenanting entirely OFF of sugar and then going back and forth WITH sugar to finally trying to find PEACE and BALANCE with sugar. And that’s what I’m trying now.

I’m allowing myself dessert. In fact, I’m mandating dessert.

Wait, what?!?!

Well, it comes from three sources.

1) My friend Laurie who is skinny and not a binge eater feeds her family dessert at night.
2) My friend Cassie who struggles the same as me said that the hardest part of the day was at night when the kids are in bed she just wants a sugar-somethin.
3) My friend Addy who I work with now (oh yeah, by the way, I went back to teaching three weeks ago) and I decided we needed some kind of fast and are doing a Daniel Plan type thing together.

So here was my thinking. I want to eat healthy and I like eating Daniel Plan style, but I’m like Cassie and I was a sugar-somethin every day, and well, if it works for Laurie’s family then surely it’s a good idea cause she’s totally balanced.

So, I figured the best way to do this is to have a nice, average sized portion of dessert right after dinner and then that way the rest of the night when I “want” some sugar I can say “You had some. You have not been denied. You already had a yummy dessert and you’ll get some more tomorrow.”

I dunno. It might just worked. It worked last night.

And so I hope that by finding balance with desserts, my gaze can more easily stay focused on Him who is enough, who is truly sweet, who is my love.