Day Eleven: Honey, Honey

One thing that is nice about not being able to eat chocolate or candy or anything that I might typically long for… is that I don’t really find myself longing for… anything. Well, I still long a bit for chocolate. Maybe “yearn” or “jones” is a better word. But as far as things that I’m permitted to eat on my fast: yeah, I don’t long or yearn for any of it.

I mean, don’t get me wrong I think cantaloupe is yummy. Pineapple is delish. But I’m not like dreaming about them while I’m in another room like I usually would be about chocolate. I’m not scheming some plan to snag some blueberries while the boys are playing on the other side of the room.  And this is certainly keeping me from eating more than needed.

Maybe a day will come when I will struggle with gorging myself with pineapple, but… I don’t think so. I think I’ll have to get even more restrictive if the gorging pops up again: like no fresh potato chips, or cut out the hummus… ya know, things that are goooooood to the taste and therefore gorging temptations.

But it is my hope that my desire to gorge or gluttonize myself will soon fade away.

And my brain went to this verse.

If you find honey, don’t eat too much, or it will make you throw up. Proverbs 25:16

This advice certainly doesn’t mess around with trying to make you feel good… but it’s pretty durn accurate. Even honey is good for you, but… ya eat too much… ya gonna puke. Amen! haha

 

Day Ten: Return To Him

Okay, I’m going to admit that it’s just nice to be able to write “Day TEN” because I typically make it to day three on a “diet”… day six if I’m really dedicated. I just love how God works when we dedicate something to Him with a pure heart. He sustains us. He fulfills us. He rewards us. And despite being sick, he has done those things for me.

God. is. rad.

Like, seriously. Rad. rad. RAD.

Like, look at this verse…

My eyes will watch over them for their good, and I will bring them back to this land. I will build them up and not tear them down; I will plant them and not uproot them. I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the Lord. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart. Jeremiah 24:6-7

I want to break this verse down and I really like to “translate” verses so that I can say them with “me” or “I” instead of “them” or “people”. It just makes the verses more personal…

  • He will watch over me for my good = RAD
  • He will bring me back to a good place = RAD
  • He will build me up, not tear me down = RAD
  • He will bring me home not send me away = RAD
  • He will give me a heart to know Him… to know that HE IS THE LORD = DOUBLE RAD
  • He will make me His… He will be my God = TRIPLE RAD
  • Because I will return to Him with all my heart.

This is all just so encouraging! Someone to watch over me, take me somewhere good, who will build me up, bring me home, and give me a heart to know that He is the Lord. Refreshing, isn’t it?

And then the last two… He will MAKE me His. I love this because I don’t have to do it… he will MAKE me His. I am definitely at the point where I realize that I need Him to MAKE me into goodness cause I’m not so hot at obtaining it on my own. He will be my God. It’s not like a question or a maybe… He WILL BE my God. Like, it’s done. set in stone. finished. He will be my God.

And that last line… because I will return to Him with all my heart. This is where my thoughts close… he will give me a heart to know Him and so I will return to Him with all my heart. And when I return completely. totally. unabashedly. unashamedly. then all of these things happen. And I really think that this fast is helping me already… and it’s only day ten… to shed more than just pounds. I’m shedding the world, leaving it behind. Because I’m returning to Him… with all my heart.

Day Nine: Home SWEET Home

Because I’ve been sick (yes, still), I came out to my parents house. After getting over a bout of tummy troubles this time, I was, needless to say, hungry. I mean I have only had like yogurt and fruit since Saturday because that was all I could stand to swallow. So, my body was aching for some calories.

So I had a delish baked potato for dinner and then out of habit I went searching for a goodie for dessert. You see, my parents house symbolizes a place of relaxation… comfort… safety… and for so long I have associated all three of those things with eating. (And my mom is an incredible baker and so when she makes some kind of dessert it’s for sure gonna be irresistible.)

So I have come to associate visiting their house with some kind of decadent treat that I can’t get at my own house.
Ice cream. Homemade chocolate chip cookies. Pringles. Candy. Diet Cokes. Coco Krispies. As much as I’d like to deny it, in the past one of the first things I would wonder about when we made plans to go over there would be if she had Oreos or not.

I’m going to see my parents, the people who gave me life and have continued to sacrifice for me time and time again, and all I can think is: I wonder if there are Oreos in the pantry?!?!?!

There’s just something not right about that. This is the woman that I want this fast to help me leave behind.

I truly long to get invited over and not care about her food supply. I want to go over to their house and casually dip into their over abundance of fruit and veggies that are there all the time… bananas, apples, grapes, often a cut melon in the fridge, peaches, avocados, tomatoes, broccoli, corn.

That house is Home Sweet Home for far many more reasons than Oreos. And I want it to be that for me again.

Now I know that this verse might appear as a bit of a stretch to relate to this post but as I was searching for some verse about family or the home this one popped up and sorta grabbed my attention because it’s really something that I’m thinking.

I will be careful to live a blameless life— when will you come to help me? I will lead a life of integrity in my own home.
Psalm 101:2 NLT

I do want to live a life of integrity in my own home (and we can count my parents house as my own home too since I still feel that way about it) and sneaking food is not an act of integrity.

See? This is so not a “diet” and it is so not about losing weight. There are some major other issues underlying that I am so excited to see what kind of inner-person God will mold me into by the time this fast is over!

So here is my prayer today:
God, I want to be careful to live a blameless life— will you come to help me? I want to lead a life of integrity in my own home. Please come help me.

Day Eight: Imma Be

Before we get started, my title is from a Black Eyed Peas song called Imma Be which translated into real English is “I’m Gonna Be”.

Now, down to business. Week one is over. I stuck with my covenant. I lost 5 pounds. And now I’m starting to feel that excitement… that hope of being skinny. Pretty. Sexy.

Yeah. I said it. Sexy. Cause deep in my heart I want to be sexy. It’s left over from years in junior high and high school where I wasn’t sexy and all the “cool” girls were. I know that now I don’t really want to be sexy but it’s still left in there.
And now a little January history: I lost about 40 pounds between my Freshmen and Sophomore years of college doing the Atkins diet. Only diet that has ever worked for me (probably because sugar becomes the enemy… sugar IS my enemy). Anyway, I immediately went into junior high girl mode trying to catch up on all those boys I had missed out on annnnnnd dressing on the edge of inappropriate.

Now, everyone ignored that in a college girl, but in a 33 year old mom of two boys. Nope- that would not go ignored. Nor do I want to be that girl anymore.

So, I have to decide who “Imma Be”. And so I’m gonna be stalking ladies at church trying to “choose” my look. I’m not going to shop where teens shop. Imma be a lady. Imma be classy. Imma be a woman that would make my Covenant God proud.

Imma be.

Day Seven: What Was I Thinking

Well, honestly, I guess I wasn’t thinking.
Originally, my thinking was that I was going to do the fast for three months. My thinking was that since I’d lost about 5 pounds a week when I did that fast before that I would lose the amount I want to lose in three months. I even typed out my original blog post saying three months.
And then right before I hit “publish”… I stopped thinking. And I changed the sentence to say the rest of the year.

The rest of the year? A YEAR!?!?!?!

At first it was very extreme, a little eccentric, a kind of crazy fun! But at day seven, a year is starting to look like a loooooooong tiiiiiiiiiiiiime. In a weird way, I guess that’s sorta good. Three months would have been just long enough to lose weight but not solidify the change in my life. This fast needed to go far beyond just my need to lose weight. It needed to last long enough for me to lose my gluttony, my addiction, my habits… for good.

So, here’s to not thinking… well, at least every once in a while!

Day Six: This Is Sick

This sickness has revealed yet another habit to be broken: tasting. I made my son’s lunch for school today (the classic: peanut butter and jelly sandwich… a true fav of mine). Well normally, I slap the peanut butter on one slice, lick the peanut butter off, rinse the knife in the sink, and then I dip in to get the jelly out, and then lick the jelly off of the knife. But I could not do that today because of this black plague that I’ve got; I don’t want to “contaminate” my son and any other future jelly eaters.
Not being able to do my Tuesday/Thursday ritual really made me pause and think about how much food I consume while merely preparing the food. Peanut butter and jelly knife licks were only the tip of the iceberg. Not all of the food I was tasting was “bad” nor was I consuming copious amounts of it (at least not most of the time). Like getting raisins for my youngest… I’d get a few too. Gummies (fruit snacks) for my oldest… I’d snag one.
It seems like no biggie but all that “tasting” adds up. And it adds up to what has become one of my biggest problems: mindless eating.

Day Five: Why Hello There Satan

Dear Satan,
You actually took longer than I thought you would to show up. I guess you were letting me get all comfortable and confident since things were going pretty well… thought you could blind side me, eh??? And in the form of strep? Really??? Low blow man. Lowwwww blow.
But news flash: I have already beaten you. Jesus already beat you. Sure those pop tarts that mom brought over for the boys were calling me name: they were so simple. No cooking required. Yummy brown sugar. But God has got my back. And as soon as I saw you and as soon as you tried to tempt me I got my armor on and apparently you weazled away because I haven’t been tempted all afternoon or evening.
But on the strep thing- did you really think that giving me a sickness that made my throat hurt like a mamma jamma would work? Dude. I didn’t even want to eat the good stuff today let alone the bad stuff cause my throat hurt so bad. So, nice try, but yeah. You lose.
Oh. I mean. You’ve lost.
Covenanted with Christ,
January

Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’” Matthew 4:10 NIV

Day Four: Oh So Sweet Chocolate

I knew that a point would come when it would be difficult to be on this fast. I had already thought about it… like, for example: my birthday. My mom makes a killer chocolate cake for my birthday every year and this year I won’t be able to eat it.

I’m sure there are already some responses to that: “Not eat your own birthday cake? Isn’t that a little extreme?” I assume that this will be a response because that was part of my own inner dialogue. But a deal is a deal… or shall I say, “a covenant is a covenant”?  And like I said in a post a few days ago, God is not a big fan of people making covenants and breaking them. So… part of making this agreement with Him was knowing that there would be some sacrifice.

And isn’t that exactly what I need to learn more about?  A little less about taking, wanting, grabbing, sneaking, hiding, hoarding, etc. and a little more about sacrificing, forgoing, offering, surrendering, abstaining, resisting. Isn’t that the Christ-mind? The Christ-mentality? And isn’t that what I am trying to get more of?

So yesterday, when my son decided it was a great day to go through his Christmas stocking candy stockpile… yeah, I’ll admit that it was a little difficult to abstain. Did I long a bit for that oh so sweet dark chocolate? Heck yeah. Did I eat it? Heck no. Why? Because I have a covenant with God the Almighty. Helllllo, of course I didn’t eat it!

And last night when my husband surprised me with a surprise date night and he wanted to use a Saltgrass Steakhouse gift card, did I sneak a bite of his 12 ounce rib eye? Nope. And honestly… I loved my dinner: crab stack appetizer, fresh dinner salad, coconut shrimp, and a baked potato. I mean seriously, like it rocked. And what was cool: I never would normally choose a shrimp over purely awesome red meat. So, actually instead of being forced to sacrifice, I was opened up to a new experience that I would have completely missed otherwise.

See, even in my attempt to sacrifice to become more like Christ… I find Him blessing me.

That, my friends, is oh so much sweeter than chocolate.

Day Three: Resistance On The Home Front

So… I’ll admit that I didn’t exactly tell my husband I was planning on doing this. He sorta found out by reading my Facebook post about it. Yeah, I know… I know… a fail on my part. We were lying in bed and I was drifting off to sleep when the following conversation went down:

Hubby: [reading his Facebook on his phone] What? You’re doing a year long Daniel fast? Hmmmmmmm, not sure how I feel about that.

Me: silence

Hubby: Why? You know you can just cut 500 calories a day out of your diet and lose weight. I’m not sure I feel comfortable with this… I don’t want you starving yourself or being hungry: it could affect your ability to think. Hon, I think there are other ways for you to lose weight and maybe something less extreme.

[Side note: this might make him appear unsupportive, but really it was all out of concern for me... when my blood sugar gets low I get really loopy.... annnnnnnd a leetle moody, and he knows that. And he wasn't saying this in a jerk tone either... it was really a sweet voice. Okay... just thought y'all should know that! haha]

Me: Well, I’m not really doing this to lose weight.

Hubby: How do you mean?

Me: I am not doing this to lose weight. I mean, I’m sure that I will lose weight but that’s not what it’s about. Hon… I’m addicted to food. I think about it all the time. I want it all the time. I sneak it all the time. I need to be free of it. I’m a captive and I’ve tried a bazillion “normal and average” things to rid myself of this addiction and none of them have worked. I can see how this might appear extreme and I agree that it is, but since normal isn’t working… I’m going to have to turn to extreme. I need to be free.

Hubby: Ohhhhh, okay… I get that. Okay. And remember: you have already won the victory. Christ has won the victory for you. You don’t even need to fight, all you have to do is accept his victory. Cause needing to be free… I get that.

Me: Thanks for being concerned for me and thanks for understanding me needing to do this. I promise to take care of myself and make sure that I am getting what I need.

I posted this because I wanted to remember the conversation… it was a good conversation and I was really impressed with the way that my husband responded in the long run.

I posted this to point out that not everyone will understand this kind of thinking. That this is not about a diet but about breaking the chains of an addiction that isn’t really commonly thought of as an addiction: most people think fat people are just lazy both physically and mentally and although I’ m not saying that there aren’t those types of people out there, I think a good many of us simply have accidentally fallen into this trap of gluttony and it’s too late to get out easily.

And I posted this to remember that I have already won the victory through Christ. This Satan guy… yeah, already defeated. The ability to conquer this addiction… yeah, already complete. What this fast is enabling me to do though is to allow that victory room to flow through my heart, soul, and mind and take over. It’s not that the victory hasn’t been won… it’s that for some reason food has the overwhelming power to create such a fog that I can’t see that victory.

But no longer! Cause here comes the Son… burning that fog away!

Day Two: Spit That Donut Out!

Yesterday, I put brown sugar in my oatmeal out of habit.

Yesterday, I popped the left over crumb of my son’s donut in my mouth when he walked away from the table.

Now. Do not despair… this is not going to be a confessional post where I delineate every little temptation and submission.  But I mention both of those because each of them represent a moment of realization for me.

Brown Sugar In My Oatmeal:

I am not attempting to be all crazy strict about this fast. The point of this entire experience is to renew my heart – my soul – my mind. When I sprinkled that brown sugar in my oatmeal… I did not throw out the oatmeal. I did not make myself another oatmeal. I did think… “Oh… I need to remember not to put sugar in here next time.”

Realization: So much of my gluttony is merely habit.  Already, the sugar in my oatmeal is a perfect example of that. This fast is to help me renew my mind. To give it new habits. To break old habits. To become a new creation. I didn’t need to make new oatmeal because a teeny-tiny renewal of my mind had occured.

Crumb Of A Donut:

Now the donut was……. a different story. But, I did have the same thought process…

  1. See donut crumb
  2. Pop donut crumb in my mouth
  3. Realize that I am not to eat a donut crumb on this fast
  4. Make a choice: eat the itty-bitty inconsequential donut crumb or… spit it out

So, I spit it out. Even though my mind was desperately trying to convince me: “It’s no biggie. It’s not even really breaking the fast… it is just a crumb, afterall.” It was almost like symbolic: I wanted to spit that thought out of my body.  The donut was way more than inconsequential! Even though at face value it was just something I popped in my mouth… out. of. habit. There it is again…

Realization: So much of my gluttony is merely habit.

Okay, so the question arises… how can I make sure that these gluttonous habits are broken instead of just “ignored”? I have realized this habitual gluttony before and yet it hasn’t changed by realizing it and just trying not to do it. How will this time be any different?

Well… this time, I am not doing it for me. I know that is exactly what so many people say “Don’t lose weight for someone else… lose it for you.”  But when you associate your body with all sorts of negative thoughts (fat, ugly, etc) then by no means are you going to want to do something for that fat, ugly body.

I have tried to get healthy and stop being a glutton for myself: fail.

I have tried it for my husband: fail.

I have tried it for my children: fail.

The only thing that I care about more than food… is God. I will make a covenant with Him and stick with it… because he’s God. And because God is not a fan of people breaking their covenants… check out Leviticus 26:14-39. Even if you only read the first paragraph (I put it below)… you get the point. He is NOT into people breaking their covenant with Him. And well… I believe that God will do what He says. So sure, there’s a bit of fear built into it. Some days I will probably stick to this fast out of fear. Some days I will stick to it out of respect, honor, loyalty, and in an effort to please. I hope that it is more often for those other reasons, but hey… if a little fear will get me out of this addiction, then bring on the scaries God.

Bring. them. on.

Punishment for Disobedience

14 “‘But if you will not listen to me and carry out all these commands,15 and if you reject my decrees and abhor my laws and fail to carry out all my commands and so violate my covenant,16 then I will do this to you: I will bring on you sudden terror, wasting diseases and fever that will destroy your sight and sap your strength. You will plant seed in vain, because your enemies will eat it.17 I will set my face against you so that you will be defeated by your enemies; those who hate you will rule over you, and you will flee even when no one is pursuing you.

Leviticus 26:14-17 NIV