Day 111: Patiently Persist

I think maybe I’ve gotten in a bit of a rush lately with my covenant. I know that might seem a bit weird to say considering that nothing I do will speed up the time for me. I mean, the end of the year won’t come any faster or slower and I’m not stopping my covenant before the end of the year.

But what I mean is that I’m in a rush for more “results”. And I don’t just mean outward results like losing more weight but also inward results like resisting tortillas and whatnot.

Part of the reason that I signed on for a year of this is because I know, based on some other times in my life that God has worked and molded me into a new person, that sometimes being completely renewed is a long process. Or at least it can be longer than I want it to be sometimes. I know that He can perform a change in me overnight but I also know that sometimes I resist his changes and renewals. Sometimes subconsciously resisting and sometimes quite consciously.

But recently in my bible reading I came across this verse and the message really told me to slow. down.

“And the seeds that fell on the good soil represent honest, good-hearted people who hear God’s word, cling to it, and patiently produce a huge harvest.” Luke 8:15 NLT

And here is another version of the same verse…

The seeds that fell in good soil stand for those who hear the message and retain it in a good and obedient heart, and they persist until they bear fruit. Luke 8:15 GNT

I just really like both of those versions… and I loved both the words patiently and persist. They remind me again that God’s ways are not necessarily my ways. Or, in another light, God’s timing is not necessarily my timing.

But I am to patiently persist until I produce a fruit… a harvest.

So. realllly, putting a time limit of a year isn’t even right. I’m to do this covenant until I produce fruit to harvest.

That’s gonna take some patience! Haha!

Day 110: Why Now?

Well, I had another little text-fest with my friend Alice today. And she posed the question:

Why wasn’t his love enough for me before?

I have often asked myself this same question. In fact, that question is what drove me to do the covenant in the first place. After finishing a three-week Daniel Fast last year, I was astonished at how easily I had withheld certain foods from myself that had been seemingly irresistible before. But before that, I had often called out to God and requested that His love and power save me from… food. from myself. from weight. from addiction.

But it hadn’t ever worked.

So, here was my response to her question as to why was His Love enough now?

Here are my thoughts… His Love has always been enough, but now you have committed to Him to rely solely and only on His Love. Before (at least for me) it was really just an “acknowledgement” of His Love.
But now, I am saying, “I believe that Your Love and Your Grace are so powerful that I will commit to sacrificing this food so that Your Grace and Your Love can change me without distraction of food.”

But each person’s journey has been sooooo unique. Soooooo different. The only “sameness” has been that Jesus has, and is, changing them.

I’m sure there is some thick theology about why this is helping so many of us to stand up to these strongholds that we have struggled against for years, but I am at this point with it…

When the blind man who has been healed by Jesus is being interrogated by the Pharisees…

He replied, “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!” John 9:25

Day 109: A Day At A Time

One of the things that has been the best for me as I go down this journey is this blog. Sure, I fall behind three or four days when life gets crazy (like, this week, when ev.ery.one. in my family, including me, got sick) but being able to come back and refocus my attentions to God has been… well, a God-send!

Even though I read the bible every day sometimes it’s not necessarily a direct connection to my covenant. Sometimes I need to remind myself of how the Word applies to my covenant specifically. And that is how this blog has helped.

But as I talk to more and more of you that are signing up with God to do a covenant of some type, I have realized how a lot of people… for a slew of different reasons… don’t really have thirty minutes to journal or blog or meditate or whatever every day.

So, I have an idea that I got from my friend Alice who is doing a 40-day covenant. It was sort of an accident. We text back and forth scriptures or express how we are doing or a need for prayer. Well, she texted me recently this text (and yes, I even changed her name before doing this screen shot! Haha- does that make me a huge nerd?!?!?!)…

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And her little statement of “Day 5 and Jesus’ love is still enough” sort of made me think. Wow. Just taking thirty seconds every day to write down either how Jesus has worked in your life or a scripture that helped you or a prayer. It could be such a neat way to see what God is doing for you. Or a way to find that verse again really quickly that ministered to you when you wanted to break.

You could get a little week at a glance calendar (my grandmother used to do this) and write in it every day at lunch or at bed or something. Or I’m suuuuuuure there is an app out there for this. Or start a private twitter account that isn’t public.

But I would say that being able to write down every day at least one sentence about the renewal that God has given you… well, it could be the thing you need to keep you going.

It makes me think of this scripture:
These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Deuteronomy 6:6-8

I mean I’m not saying write your sentence in sharpie on your forehead every morning- haha- but it’s the same concept. We need a daily reminder of God. a daily reminder of how far He has brought us. a daily reminder of His Goodness. His healing. His power.

So, there ya go. A suggestion to you and me: take it one day at a time.

And as for me too, Alice, day 109 and Jesus’ live is still enough!

Day 108: Healing Struggler

I went to a teacher’s conference at St. Mark’s School of Texas today (a brilliant place… we would love to send Pasco there, but we are…… ohhhhh about $25,000 short! Haha!). My English-teacher mentor Lynne Weber is there and even though I’m not in the classroom I still love to go. I left the day feeling revitalized and focused on how to help my boys reach their potential!

Okay but that has naught to do with food! But I did have a great moment there at lunch. I got their baked salmon and cauliflower along with a salad with blue cheese dressing and a cold broccoli salad. I wasn’t terribly hungry but being at a conference where you never really know when you might get struck down with hunger or when you’ll get to eat again, I usually would have eaten everything on my plate.

But I didn’t! I left 1/4 of the salmon there and some of the cauliflower. I did eat all of the cold broccoli salad cause it was delish! And I left quite a bit of my salad too. It was just a nice day to see myself not have to eat. I felt like a size 00 girl even though I’m still rollin in my size 12s.

And ya know. It just makes me think. Yesterday I was posting asking for prayer because of my struggles. Today I post because of happiness of a mind renewal having occurred.

A truth that I have to remember is that sometimes the changes in my life are not necessarily smooth. There are sometimes steps back. Sometimes steps forward. Somedays I am healed in my mind and heart. Some days I’m still a struggler.

On the days of struggle, I simply must remember this:

Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised. Hebrews 10:36

Day 107: Request For Prayer

So I guess there are enough of you guys out there now that I can ask you guys for prayer. I am sorta struggling with how to handle this new desire with bread. It’s soooooooo much smaller than my issue with sugar and chocolate were but nonetheless it is a budding issue that I have addressed a few times now.

I am trying to decide between two things:
1) Put bread on the covenant list of things I agree not to eat.
2) Continue to try to “avoid” it.

Here are my thoughts- if I make bread a “no” then I know that I won’t eat it because I will have made a deal with God not to eat it. But at the same time then I won’t get any practice in making the right choice.

If I continue to try to avoid it I can almost assuredly tell you that I will probably slip up occasionally. But it does afford me the ability to eat more easily (e.g. enchiladas, black bean burgers, etc.).

I just don’t know what to do. I mean, I know this is a “first-world” problem and all but what it really boils down to is not so much in the decision of eat or don’t eat, but I want to make a decision that will a) continue to give me renewal, b) bring me even and ever closer to Jesus, and c) glorify God.

I am just at the point where I don’t know which is which. Ya know, it’s like a win-win situation from the looks of it. But I want it to be a win-glorify situation.

So, this is a request of you all to pray for God to guide my decision making. That no matter what I eat or drink that I would bring glory to God.

So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31

Day 106: He Is.

Like I mentioned yesterday, I met up with a friend who has recently started the covenant and it was really neat to talk through some things with her.

It acted as a reaffirmation that this isn’t just something that works only in my head, but that it is God. And He is the same God to me. to her. to Christy. to Debra. to Sherry. to all of us.

But one thing that really stuck with me as she and I talked was the area of comfort eating (or comfort shopping, or comfort dating, or drinking, cutting, smoking, TV watching, etc). Most of us seem to have something earthly that we turn to instead of God. For me, it was chocolate. And if I didn’t have chocolate well then any old food would do. But like I mentioned on Monday, after a while of not having chocolate, my mind went immediately to the Word of God for comfort. But it has taken 100+ days of renewing and retraining for that to happen.

Here’s my point. (Sorry, both my boys have been up a lot at night this week with nightmares or sickness so I’m in that “I’m totally exhausted so I’m going to ramble” kind of mode!)

So here is my point. Haha!

What I think was important is that I had to cut chocolate and sugar completely out of my comfort options. Doing so allowed me a chance to retrain my mind to turn to God for comfort. I needed chocolate to be a non-option so that I couldn’t make it my god. Just like God used to tell the Israelites to do whenever they conquered a new city or area: total destruction of anything that could sway their affection from Him.

But once I removed that other “god” of chocolate from my life, then it simply made it easier to turn to Him. And so now, it’s not about turning to Him for comfort as a second choice because chocolate isn’t there, but now it is about turning to Him because I realize how much better He is at comfort. at healing. at love. at hope. at relief. at joy. at peace.

• No chocolate bar can comfort me in my hour of sorrow.
• No new shirt will be able to heal me of sadness or regret.
• No husband, boyfriend, or lover can ever completely love me as I am.
• No beer will give me hope of a future.
• No cut on my arm will relieve my pain.
• No cigarette will bring joy to my life.
• No amount of TV will give my mind peace.

But He can give me all of those things. Because He is…comfort. healing. love. hope. relief. joy. peace.

He is…everything.

He is.

Your promise revives me; it comforts me in all my troubles. Psalm 119:50

Day 105: Are Ya Gonna Go My Way?

I am getting really pumped at how many people I know that are doing a covenant thing with God. I mean, it’s just super cool to see people a) making a sacrifice to God to show Him their love and devotion, and/or b) relying on God as the only way they’ll be truly free of strongholds in their life.

Plus it’s just nice to be able to “talk shop” with people that are going through some of the same struggles or who are experiencing the same triumphs. I enjoy the new perspective.

I met with a friend this evening that has been doing a covenant for the past two weeks. She is going no-sugar and no-flour. Another friend of mine is doing no-sugar, refined foods, bread, or red meat. Another is doing no sugar, meat, or bread. Another, no shopping. And there are several more variations.

And what I think is cool is that everyone is doing something different. Each person seems to have unique convictions and unique perspectives. They have all taken the time to allow God to reveal things to them individually. Like, this verse seems to be a good prayer for someone before they really start their covenant.

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life. Psalm 139:23-24

There were things in my life that I knew offended God when I started this (ummmmm, can anyone say gluttony?), but as I have gone along and prayed this prayer I have discovered a bunch more stuff that are issues. In fact, although I’m not sure how my covenant will look come January 2013… I do already know that I will have some other things that I will involve in some kind of covenant with Him.

But what is also cool is that although each person is doing a different variation of covenant fasting, everyone is looking to God for their salvation. for their fulfillment. for their hope.

And that’s just one of the things that is cool about working with God. Sure, I could push people to go it “my way” and do a covenant just like mine. But, it’s not about my way. It’s about His way. He is really the one asking, “Are ya gonna go My way?”

Day 104: The Blue Bell Is Ringing

I started to write this morning on a different topic and got sidetracked (dern kids! Haha) but now I am glad that I wasn’t able to finish because I have a post more about the now.

Today has been… rough. Not like the “oh my kid dropped the entire tub of powdered gatorade out on the kitchen floor” kind of tough (although he did do that) but the kind of tough day that deals with being hurt emotionally, dreams deferred, hopes squelched.

Honestly, there is no need to be specific about what is going in (nor can I… although I will be clear that it is not marital nor is it something pertaining to my kids) because all of us have had THAT day. Some of us have had a day like that many times. Some of us a few times. Some people experience a day like that every. single. day.

Now you might be a little nervous that this is going to be a post where I vent my frustrations or something because the connection to food addiction and overeating probably looks pretty… non existent. But, alas, the connection is very, very strong.

Today has been tough. So today should have been a “drown my sorrows in a tub of Blue Bell day”. I should have comforted myself with the bag of chocolate frosted donuts that I treat my boys to once a month. A family visit to Sonic should be in order complete with chocolate shakes and all of a bacon cheeseburger.

But instead… today was a day of renewal for me. A day where I was reminded of God’s unending love and care for me. Because instead of wallowing in decadent foods… I turned to the Word this morning.

I craved it.

I feasted on it.

I gorged myself on it.

I hungered and thirsted for righteousness.

And I have been filled.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Matthew 5:6

Day 103: Table For Two

Last night I had another cool “success” moment. My husband has been out of town this weekend and one of the ways that I “treat” myself when he leaves is not having to cook! So I get myself one of those Bertolli or P.F. Chang’s frozen meals where you dump them in a skillet and they are ready in like ten minutes and they taste uh.maz.ing. Well, they say on the package “meal for two” but every time I have gotten one in the past, I eat the whole thing.

Tonight though, I served myself half of it. Wowzers- it was gooood! And then when I finished my bowl I was like, “Whew, I’m full!” And then it sorta hit me… wow. I’m full. Again. And again, I’m not eating.

Now this might be kind of funny to someone who doesn’t really know my entire journey, but for a habitual overeater… having two back to back experiences of eating exactly how much she should eat… well, it’s pretty significant!

And… I just want to take a moment to praise God for that. On so many levels.

First of all, that his renewal of my mind has… worked. I mean, it’s not that I doubted it. Heck, obviously I had to believe that this would work… I signed on for this thing for a full year!!! But I think it’s even sweeter when you have faith that God will do something… and then He does! Gives a whole new level of awesomeness to:

Faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. Hebrews 11:11

But also, I praise God for this place I live in. Sure, the American government is a little jacked up. Sure, there is sin everywhere and temptation and corruption.

But. I have never gone hungry because I could not get food. I have never had to sleep outside because I had no place to stay. I have never gone thirsty because the water had run dry.

This land… is amazing. And last night, I ate… and I was satisfied. And so today, I praise God for the good land He has given me.

When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. Deuteronomy 8:10

Day 102: Tortilla Temptations

Okay. Seriously never thought that tortillas would be an area of temptation for me. I mean… don’t get me wrong… I have always enjoyed a good quality tortilla, but a tortilla temptation issue? Nahhhhh.

Untilllllll now.

Cause twice in the past two weeks since I have been off of my hard-core Lent fast of only veggies, fruits, and nuts… I have over eaten tortillas.

I think the reason is that I am “ignoring” a little caveat in my covenant.

I am only to eat bread, pasta, or rice if it is necessary for a meal. Like, enchiladas have to have tortillas… so I can eat them. Lasagna has to have pasta… so I can eat it. Stuffed bell peppers has to have rice… so I can have it.

But let me point out one thing. I said I can have it for a meal. Not as a snack… which is how I have been having it.

So I am going against my covenant in two ways:
1) I am eating bread when it is not a necessary part of a meal.
2) I am overeating them!

One incident and I might have written it off as a flub. (Is flub a word?) But twice? Well, it makes it clear to me that it was a choice.

And when I sorta “realized” that today… I started thinking of how I needed to reign that food in. Should I go no bread for three weeks? Should I just say no to tortillas? Should I go back on my Lent fast?

And then I remembered some reading from yesterday that I did (see how important it is for me to be reading my Bible?) about when the priests found the scroll in the temple with the covenant in it. They told King Josiah and he was all torn up about it and he started making reforms like crazy. I mean… the dude went hard core getting rid of all the stuff that was pulling people away from God. So you might think that is leading me towards doing another hard-core Lent fast, but actually I was sorta brought to a different conclusion. Look at this verse:

The king took his place of authority beside the pillar and renewed the covenant in the Lord ‘s presence. He pledged to obey the Lord by keeping all his commands, laws, and decrees with all his heart and soul. 2 Kings 23:3

And I think that’s sorta what I need to do. I need to renew the covenant. Not that God has faltered or anything but I want to remember the original purpose. the point of it all. and to remember the One who is helping me.

I’m not entirely sure how to go about that. I know that writing it down and then praying it often works for me. There almost needs to be some sort of “ceremony” to it in order for it to really embed the thoughts in my mind and heart.

Either way, I need to make me some veggie enchiladas so I can use up all those dern tortillas!!!