Day Seventy-Two: Voluntary Amnesia

And yet again, I was inspired by something that my pastor said in church on Sunday. I was looking through the verses that he shared in his sermon series American Jesus, and here was one of them…

For while I was with you, I made up my mind to forget everything except Jesus Christ and his death on the cross.
1 Corinthians 2:2

It ties in a bit with what I was discussing yesterday… about my mind starting to transcend out of the pit of food addictions into thinking about Jesus Christ. And I think that this is almost like a goal verse for me… I want to forget everything except Jesus Christ and his death on the cross. I want that to almost be a watermark in my vision of the way I view the world… I want Him, His Death, and His coming back to Life being at the forefront of my mind all. the. time.

And ya know, when you think about things in that light, a chocolateless life is… no biggie. It’s forgotten. A pastaless life… who cares?

Because I am making up my mind right now to forget everything except Jesus and His death.

(And that’s why this post is so short… I have forgotten everything else. Haha! Just kidding. But it is short because that verse is so succinct and I just didn’t have anything else to add!)

Portabella Mushroom Bake

I know that I have never shared a recipe before, but these were so amazing (and easy to prepare) that I had to!

Portabella Mushroom Bake
Ingredients
½ cup almonds
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup soy sauce
½ cup water
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon dried rosemary or basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
6 large portabella mushrooms , stems removed
1 medium onion, sliced

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. In blender or food processor, grind almonds until powdered.

3. Add oil, soy sauce, water, vinegar, garlic, rosemary and oregano to almonds; blend.

4. Place mushrooms upside down (as in with the gills facing up) in baking dish, tightly in one layer.

5. Pour sauce over each mushroom and top with onions.
(If you have only frozen onions this works as well, simply sauté them for a moment first until they are no longer frozen and either mix in with the sauce or put on top of the sauce.)

6. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until mushrooms are tender.

Day Seventy-One: Better Than Sliced Bread

On Sunday, our pastor presented a really great message about how we tend to create our own Jesus… he called it our own American Jesus. And he also said that we oftentimes read more of what Paul has to say than what Jesus said in the gospels. I guess I kind of think that Jesus said all of it (through Paul… through Moses… through all of the authors), but I totally see his point. And he’s right… I often to turn to Romans and keep on going right when I am looking for guidance.

And as he went through what the gospels say about Jesus, he mentioned John 6:35…

Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. John 6:35

I wrote it down and put a star next to it. Why? Because it had the word “bread” in it! haha! I’m just always on the look out for times that the Bible talks about food. And for some reason I had not yet thought about this verse. I guess it’s for… today.

Anyway, so like usual, I went through and looked at the rest of the chapter because oftentimes it is just as enlightening as “the” verse that I originally went to look at. And here is another verse in the same conversation that grabbed my attention…

But don’t be so concerned about perishable things like food. Spend your energy seeking the eternal life that the Son of Man can give you. John 6:27

And I realized when I read that why some of my posts have started to lean away from food into just a regular ol Jesus devotional. Sometimes, I re-read an entry before posting and realize that it has absolutely nothing at all to do with food, or breaking addictions, or anything of the sort. I have to back track and remember what in my experience led me to discover that particular verse.

And that is spot-on what I want to happen!

The more and more that I start to turn my focus away from “perishable things like food” and onto “the eternal life that the Son of Man can give me”… the more and more that I find myself forgetting about the food and thinking only of the awesomeness of Christ.

And anyway… He says that whoever believes in Him will never be hungry again.

And that is wayyyyyyyyy better than sliced bread!

Day Seventy: Grab ‘N Go

Going to church on Sundays, I never seem to eat breakfast before we leave. I’m not entirely sure why because it’s 30 minutes later than when we leave during a weekday. But, nonetheless, I always seem to find myself walking out the door with my sons to realize that I am hungry… and if I am hungry at 8:30 then I’m really gonna be hungry at 12:00 when we get home.

So on Sunday, I was grabbing the bags to load everyone up, realized that I hadn’t eaten, and then glanced around the kitchen. Rushing, I grabbed a banana and an apple.

And as I snacked on them on the way to church, I thought… ya know, I never used to grab a banana or an apple for an “on the go” snack. It was like I always used the excuse that they were “too messy”. But… they aren’t. They aren’t messy at all really. No more so than pop tart or muffin crumbles all over my shirt. In fact, possibly they are less messy.

I have been keen to point out over the past couple months that I don’t think the “what” I’m eating is the problem and I still don’t think that a pop tart or a muffin are inherently evil, but I guess it can go back to this verse:

“I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is beneficial. 1 Corinthians 10:23

I don’t think I would have needed a nutritionist to tell me that a banana was better than a pop tart in terms of what it can offer my body. Even if I just look to Daniel’s request as a guide, I know that the “beneficial” foods are vegetables and water. So under normal non-fasting circumstances, if I have a choice between a pop tart and a banana, it really is more beneficial to have a banana.

Like I have mentioned before, there is just something less-addictive about bananas, or apples, or grapes than sugar. I’m sure that there is tons of research to show why this is the case, but honestly, I don’t need to see the research to know that sugar compels me far more than a banana. And again, the goal here is for food to transfer from being something I’m fascinated by into something that I enjoy but don’t… fixate upon.

Now I know that this is almost a replica of this post, but I guess that’s the reason that I went on this covenant for a year… because some of these issues are apparently going to keep popping up until they are squelched. And after ingraining habits for 33 years, it is just gonna take several times to retrain and renew my mind. I’m okay with that…

I looked today at how many days I have left (I have this countdown app on my phone) and it was at 288. At first I was like “Less than 300 days left! Yahoo!” But then when I really thought about it… I was like, well… I’m not really in a rush. I mean, after only two months and a bit I am changing and growing and renewing and, well, and all those wonderful things. I now want to be on here at least another two months to see where my heart and soul are at that point! At times I don’t even care how my body changes because I am so enjoying the change within me.

I think that is definitely worth trading a pop tart for a banana, any day!

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Day Sixty-Nine: Vice Versa

One of the things that I have to watch out for whenever I start to get closer to Jesus: self-righteousness.

Which is totally backwards because he was quite the opposite of self-righteous. He attributed everything to God. But, nonetheless, I start to think of myself as better than others.

And I am brought down a bit today as I remember that it was only like two months ago that I was buried. drowning. suffocating. in my own addiction and vice. An addiction that I wanted to be rid of, but couldn’t shake it off.

I have a friend that drinks quite a bit and smokes occasionally and I am horribly impatient with her addictions. Perhaps because her addictions affect me. Like, my overeating never really affected anyone. Maybe it disappointed my husband or embarrassed my parents, but…

Ya know… I’m gonna stop myself right there. I say that my overeating never affected anyone and then I list three people that I know were affected by it. See?!?!?! This is an example of what I’m talking about. I have this self-righteousness that isn’t even deserved!

I think I am going to enjoy God working on this part of my heart. I would love to be renewed in the way I view my fellow strugglers. And in typical God fashion… as soon as I made this realization about myself, the verses started appearing. This one in particular was part of my reading plan this past week and grabbed my attention:

For what gives you the right to make such a judgment? What do you have that God hasn’t given you? And if everything you have is from God, why boast as though it were not a gift? 1 Corinthians 4:7

And that’s the thing… I have no right to stand here (even if I am all by myself) and look down on anyone, but especially on someone that is struggling. Whether they know the are struggling or not. Whether they want to be struggling or not. Whether they know how to be free or not. My freedom was… a gift. A gift from God.

And so what should my mind do instead? Instead, I want to pray that God gives them that gift as well. I want… desperately want… for my dear friend to be free of that vice, that stronghold, that addiction. And so I pray that God may break the chains and gift my friend with that freedom. For, I know… I have learned… that there is no other way to freedom than through a gift from God.

But my judgment will not get her or any of my other friends closer to freedom. But perhaps my prayers… will get her closer.

Day Sixty-Eight: Cookie Dough Success

Yesterday I made another meal for some friends and I decided to make them some chocolate chip cookies for dessert. Last week I bought one of those tubs of Toll House cookie dough at Target to make cookies for another family and still had some left so I figured that would be an easy dessert option, plus I like that I don’t have to make 3 dozen cookies like when I make it fresh.

Anyway… sorry, I just love random and pointless details. If you don’t know me, imagine me telling a story… I take for.ev.er.

And again I digress. So, yesterday when I was making them it was this nice leisurely June Cleaver type experience (well if you don’t include the fact that I was making cookies with pre made cookie dough)… the boys were playing sweetly by themselves with toys, I was wearing an apron, the kitchen stayed clean the whole time. This was a perfect opportunity to indulge… or get lost in the moment… or to simply perfect the gloriousness of my life right then with a little snippet of cookie dough. I mean, it looked sooooo inviting. sooooo chocolate chippy. sooooo delicious!

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I didn’t do it this time (wahoo!) because I thought of my “issues” with cookie dough and of my confessional post, Cookie Dough Syndrome. I think it was kind of like having a memorial stone in my mind, having written that post.

And I was wondering just now why I was tempted yesterday when I was making the cookies but not on Wednesday when I was making them.

The main difference that I can figure out is that on Wednesday, I was rushed. It was not a June Cleaver moment. The boys were not playing sweetly. I was not wearing an apron. And the kitchen was not clean.

Honestly, I think it was that I didn’t have time to think about cookie dough on that day.

Now. I’m not saying that keeping myself busy is going to be a fix for not being tempted. Being busy is what led into a lot of my overeating- I would grab a bag of chips an chow the whole thing while I was busy being busy. Or I would not eat at all while I was busy and would then eat everything in the pantry because my that time my body needed so many things I couldn’t distinguish a craving from another craving.

At the same time, being calm and carefree isn’t the answer either. Summers should have been the time when I would lose weight… I would be so active, swim a lot, and be always out and about but as I have said before, eating for me was not about being hungry. And a big reason that I have eaten during my life was because I was bored. And… well, summer can get boring (at least before I had two kids and a husband it could)!

So again, the answer came back to this covenant. This desire to please God. Whether I thought all the way through that yesterday or not… it is now becoming a part of me, flowing just beneath the surface of me.

And again I realize how important it will be, once this year is over, to keep some kind of “food covenant” with Him for the rest of my life.

Because I don’t want this cookie dough success to turn back into a cookie dough syndrome. I want the success to be… for.ev.er.

Day Sixty-Seven: Not So Slim Fast

I have been on this year-long goal of “purging” our house. My husband often says that a simple house is much easier to clean than a complicated “heavy” house. And our house is heavy.

So I have gone through our closet multiple times (we have a very little master closet so it needs to be pretty streamlined), cleaned out both of our linen closets, tons of toys (although not enough! Haha!). And I have gotten a few items out of our kitchen, but it still needs a good going-through. But with a 4 year old and a toddler, going through anything other than diapers and laundry is a pretty tall order. So I’m putting the kitchen on a “diet” too. And I’m systematically going through the kitchen and getting rid of one item a day.

And yesterday was an awesome item to get rid of… the leftovers from my attempt at a Slim Fast diet.
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Had I thrown these out a few months ago before starting my covenant, I don’t think it would have been as happy of a moment. It was, after all, a failed attempt. And an attempt done in shame as well. I tried to keep it a secret from my husband. I knew he wouldn’t approve and I was ashamed to have had to resort to SlimFast anyway. It was almost like taking a diet pill or something. And I have wanted to lose weight a natural way… a way that would last. I don’t want to just be skinny for a year or so… I want to be free of this addiction for the rest of my life!

Anyway, it was so nice to see how God has once again met my needs when the world could not.

God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless in order to shame those who are powerful. God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important. As a result, no one can ever boast in the presence of God.
God has united you with Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made him to be wisdom itself. Christ made us right with God; he made us pure and holy, and he freed us from sin. Therefore, as the Scriptures say, “If you want to boast, boast only about the Lord .”
1 Corinthians 1:27-31

Day Sixty-Six: This One’s For You

Well, this week has been Spring Break and it is always during times of vacation (or at least my husband’s vacation) that I realize how much I am a creature that loves (and needs) routine.

It’s funny how just adding one more person to the mix of family life will throw off a routine in no time. We don’t have to wake up early, we don’t have to eat breakfast by a certain time or make lunches by 7:45am, we don’t have to cart the entire family up to my husband’s work to drop him off or take my preschooler up to church for school. The days are wide open… and subsequently a bit chaotic!

I have had little or no “extra” time to blog these past few days. And while I find it a bit freeing to not have done my writing for a bit, at the same time I feel a bit of a tug for anyone who might be reading.

As in… I feel their silent accountability. No, I don’t feel like I owe anyone anything. I don’t “owe” the blog’s readers a post, but I know that there are a few people that desire to get a Word of God that deals with these addictions or strongholds as much as I. And I know that there are some that are “rooting” for me and/or praying for me.

And although I know that God is now my support and my constant companion through all of this, the power of those around me is still strong. Perhaps it is the power of the Holy Spirit that flows through us that supports each other… yep. Even through something as “impersonal” as the internet!

And I am reminded of one of my favorite verses that encourages having friendship of those in the faith…

For I long to [blog to you] so I can bring you some spiritual gift that will help you grow strong in the Lord. I want to encourage you in your faith, but I also want to be encouraged by yours. Romans 1:11-12

And this is what brings me back to my blog today. After I caught up a bit on my bible reading (which as much as I wanted to post before, I knew that the posting on my blog was secondary to reading The Word), I have managed to squeeze in a few minutes of posting on my phone… and as I write these words my two year old has started to call me from his crib. I want to tell you that I am encouraged by you and your faith. Even if I don’t see you and just see your email address listed on my blog followers page… just your clicking on that follow link has encouraged me. And encourages me even at this very minute.

I am encouraged to know that there are other believers out there. That there are other strugglers out there. That there are people of prayer. of faith. of Jesus.

So, friends… brothers and sisters… this one’s for you!

Day Sixty-Five: Sleepy Snackies

Sooooo my youngest son (he’ll be two in about two months) is teething… again. And he is just as overdramatic as his mother, but even more so when he is teething. Needless to say, I got very little sleep last night.

And I’m not sure if this is common for others or not, but I get soooooooo snackie when I’m tired. And like I have said before, snacking is not “evil”, but I do think that eating when I’m not hungry isn’t part of God’s design for my body.

Well, actually, maybe it is… because what does my body do when I eat when my body doesn’t need food? It stores it… as fat. It’s kind of brilliant actually. If I’m not going to be able to eat for a long time then I might need to eat to store up for the winter (this is just an example by the way… I don’t live in an environment where I might need to do this). And God designed our bodies to be able to survive like this.

But eating when I’m not hungry and when there is an over abundance of food for today, tomorrow, and the foreseeable future isn’t what He designed.

But I think this response is similar to a hunger pang or craving. My body is searching for energy. Oftentimes I get my energy from food. But when I am “starved” of sleep then I “crave” energy. But what I really need is rest.

It’s just like me craving or needing sugar like from a clementine or a pineapple but eating a Snicker’s bar instead. I crave sleep but eat something instead.

So, what I would like to do is to take those three minutes or however long it would have taken me to get or prepare a snack and spend it resting my mind. Like most people, I can’t stop and take a nap whenever I realize that I’m hungry, but that doesn’t mean that I need to eat either. But I can take three minutes (most of the time) to rest my mind.

And not to alienate anyone who might think this is a hippy kind of thing or of some other religion, but this is a time to meditate. To meditate on God.

Here is a verse that I found to be appropriate to the situation even though it’s not about being awake at night (but being sleepy during the day feels similar). But I like how the first verse about thinking and meditating on God leads right into thoughts about God being our helper…

I lie awake thinking of you, meditating on you through the night. Because you are my helper, I sing for joy in the shadow of your wings. Psalm 63:6-7

But honestly as I looked up verses on meditating, most of them are about meditating on the Law. Although I don’t think of this as bringing peace or energy… David mentions it multiple times. And I tend to be surprised at the way the Word works in my soul, so something to think on… maybe even meditating on the Law could be beneficial during those times.

But, hopefully, the blessing of sleep filled nights will be on all of us!

Day Sixty-Four: Greater Gifts

Today I was thinking of the difference between our countries and those that are in want… in a generality, third-world countries. It seems so odd to me for my major life focus to be unlearning my overeating habits when there are people in other countries that would give anything to have what I typically eat for snacks!

But all the same, it is a problem of the heart for me. And I am reminded of the verse…

Great gifts mean great responsibilities; greater gifts, greater responsibilities! Luke 12:48

I have grown up in America… I have lived a life that is essentially a “greater” gift: salvation at the age of eight, great parents, an awesome brother, and an amazing husband and children, financial security, extravagant shelter, and an abundant food supply.

Therefore, I have greater responsibilities. It is my responsibility to deal with that greater gift the way that God wants me to.

It is my responsibility to become a better disciple of Christ each day.

It is my responsibility to honor my parents, to encourage my brother, to respect my husband, and disciple and train up my children.

It is my responsibility to help maintain our financial state (or at least those parts that I do control).

It is my responsibility to take care of my home so that it will last as long as possible for us.

It is my responsibility to eat wisely and with control.

It is my responsibility… given to me from God.

This puts yet another spin on approaching food with the right attitude. But, I guess I sort of accidentally also came across those other things. It sorta changes the way I will even look at chores and paying the bills and making sure my children are exposed daily to the Law of God and the Grace of Christ.

When I imagine that God has deemed me with these greater gifts… it makes me want to accept those responsibilities with graciousness and thankfulness. And not in hopes that I will receive more simply because I have been a good steward (that is a parable study for another day), but just because I want to honor God through appreciating His gifts by upholding the responsibilities that He has given me.

Wow. Honestly. That is all some kinda heavy stuff. But, hey, I’d rather have some heavy emotional and spiritual stuff and a lot of responsibility than the opposite of that. I’ll take blessings… any day!