Day 122: Eat His Words

My husband brought home a surprise Olive Garden dinner for us last night. It was my fav OG meal: shrimp fettucini alfredo, OG salad, stuffed mushrooms, and… breadsticks.

Dern those things. I mean… don’t get me wrong. They are uh.maz.ing. Like truly one of the foods that was delish before I went on my Lent fast and was still delish after my Lent fast.

But I think as good as they are, I need a “break” from them… from bread and chips.

I have really been praying on what I should do and time and time again I feel pulled to stop eating them. My only reluctance comes from how it can limit some of my fav meals like enchiladas or this “chips n chicken” recipe both my husband and I love (I use mushrooms in my half).

So I’m going to try a “balance” for this one. I’m going to modify my covenant from “avoiding” breads and chips unless they are in a recipe to refraining from eating breads and chips unless they are an ingredient for a recipe.

Cause really, it’s just not worth it. Both breads and chips have become an issue that is slowly, stealthily creeping towards being “bigger” than Jesus in my mind.

If your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away! It is much better for you to lose one of your limbs than to have your whole body go off to hell. Matthew 5:30

Of course, I’m not talking about cutting off a limb but it is a similar principle. There is something in my life that is taking my focus off of Christ… just like the chocolate and sugar was (although that was more severe for me which is why I know that I can afford myself no leniency with it)… so I am going to chop it off and rid that distraction.

Now for how long? For a month? Three months? The duration of the covenant?

Yeah… I think bread and chips are a big enough of an issue that they need to go for the rest of the year.

My mind was just teetering on writing this: {sigh} but then I thought, “Wait, think about how you really feel……” and there it was. Not disappointment. Not fear. Not regret.

Peace.
Relief.
Joy.

Truly… People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God. Matthew 4:4

Bull Honky (Haha!)

So I was looking up verses last night with the word glorious in them and I came across this one…
They traded their glorious God for a statue of a grass-eating bull. Psalm 106:20

I thought -wow- that is so like exactly what I was talking about at the beginning of my post, so I bookmarked it. When you bookmark something in YouVersion you can put in a title for it so you can find it later but it needs to be a short title so you can see all the words when you pull up the bookmarks list, so I shortened it. And I just thought the shortened version was funny (and a bit poignant).

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Day 121: UNglorious

I think I’m starting to get a much better understanding of what it was to be an Israelite.

I’ve often read about the Israelites going around and around in circles with God… He would save them, then they would praise Him and adore Him, then they would begin to worship an idol, and then He would punish them, and then they would repent, and He would save them. Over and over again. I was always like, seriously? Why would you worship some gold cow after what He did for you?

But I think now I’m starting to identify a bit more with them.

God has brought me out of my own little proverbial “Egypt” of food addiction. I have spent days praising Him and being in awe of His “mighty hand and outstretched arm”.

But, sitting here at day 121, I can say that over the past four months there have been days when, well, it’s not as… fun. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m not breaking the covenant. But sometimes I find myself forcing myself to blog… and not because I don’t want to write (although, there are days of just mere exhaustion with two young boys where that is the case) but because I don’t feel like there is anything “new” to write about. There are days that are just… well, to play off of my “tag line”… there are days that are just UNglorious. At least that is the way that some days feel.

But, really, there are no days that are UNglorious.

The Lord makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image. 2 Corinthians 3:18

So even if a day of tge covenant journey is… “boring” or “lame” or just plain “normal”, I am still in the process of being changed into his glorious image. Wow. That just makes every day… a glory day!

Day 120: Deserving Donuts

I was thinking a bit more on the topic of “deserving” food after my post yesterday. It is something that I can hear myself saying… to myself… deep in my subconscious. I don’t think that my consciousness would really allow me to say it anymore because, well, I have a different look now on… deserving.

Let me look at what I really deserve…

yeah. nothing.

I’m lucky that God chose to allow me into Heaven, but do I deserve it? Nope.

I’m lucky that God gave me a great husband and two wonderful children, but do I deserve them? Nope.

I’m lucky that God placed me in a beautiful, well-constructed home with fresh running clean water, but do I deserve that? Nope.

Because for every “great” thing I have done, there have been just as many moments of decrepitness in my heart. For every kindness I have shown, I have felt selfish and wronged. For every gentle moment I spend, there as has been rage and envy and jealousy.

So, for every night I have spent up with Saxon that I thought might should have “earned” me a donut as a “prize”… I have kept my husband awake with my snoring, or my tossing and turning, or my sleep talking. Do I deserve to have anything special then? No.

But so often the brownie batter, or cookie dough, or bag of Oreos, or sour cream chocolate covered donuts, or whatever that I would eat… was more pleasurable because I felt like I was “treating” myself to something that I “deserved”. But God is the one that gives us… everything. And not because we deserve it… but for a whole different purpose…

“Therefore, give the people of Israel this message from the Sovereign LORD: I am bringing you back, but not because you deserve it. I am doing it to protect my holy name, on which you brought shame while you were scattered among the nations. Ezekiel 36:22

If God chooses to bless me… it’s not because of ME… it’s because of Him. Which is really kind of cool… that means that it is not about what I do or don’t do… a blessing from Him is to protect his holy name. I actually kind of like that better… takes the pressure off of me!

So, really, whenever I do something I think is “deserving”… then I should remember this about when I will receive what I deserve for the “good” I have done…

For we must all stand before Christ to be judged. We will each receive whatever we deserve for the good or evil we have done in this earthly body. 2 Corinthians 5:10

And really, if I have to choose between receiving a reward now in the form of a donut or in the form of an eternal blessing from GOD ALMIGHTY? Well, then, I’ll just have to pass on those donuts for today.

Day 119: Super Extra Amazingly Delish

Well, I’m feeling a bit like I’m back in the saddle again. Throwing out the scale was huge, and being reminded by God that He WILL continue His covenant with me… well, both of those things somehow managed to get my sights back on track.

Over the past couple of days, it has been relatively easy to eat what I should eat… fruits, veggies, nuts. And I can definitively say that it has not be “easy” to eat what is beneficial (instead of what is “okay” like tortillas, potato chips, feta cheese, etc.) since I finished with my Lent fast. I had a bit of “backlash” from not being able to eat those things for so long that it was all I wanted at first, and since in January I’ll be “released” from the covenant and able to eat whatever I want, it was good to know that it lasted a while… a month pretty much, before I started to feel like something was “off”. And even without the scale telling me that something was wrong, I knew that something was “off”. I can’t really explain it, but eating all of that stuff was just… dissatisfying.

Turns out, food just tastes like… food. Really all of it either fits on the “ick” end of the spectrum of taste or it fits on the “delish” end or somewhere in between. But, really… honestly… nothing really goes beyond “delish”. It’s like my tastebuds max out on a delish signal to the brain and that’s it. Nothing really tastes “super extra amazingly delish”. I think what tricked me into believing that this existed before was because of the emotional connection that I was attaching to the foods as I was eating them.

  • Donuts at Happy Donuts = super extra amazingly delish… because I was with my boys, having a good time, relaxing, indulging
  • Ribeye at Roadhouse = super extra amazingly delish… because I’d go there for my birthday when I was being celebrated, with my family, having a good time, relaxing, indulging
  • Cookie Dough = super extra amazingly delish… because I so rarely make it that when I did it was a special treat, an “I deserve it” kind of moment

And that list could keep going I’m sure, but what it boils down to is that I’m learning “the truth” about food. I’m learning over and over again that it really isn’t a good comforter. or companion. or whatever else it is that I have made it.

And even more dissatisfying was knowing each time that I was not honoring God with my choices. Yes, again, I was sticking with the covenant but I was sort of ignoring making my food choices as something that would honor Him and was focusing on myself and my “needs“.

And honestly, not honoring God leaves a really bad taste in my mouth. in my heart. And, well, ultimately, I am dissatisfied.

But now that I desire for my eating to honor Him again, it’s like… well, everything is satisfying. My taste buds, my stomach, my heart, my mind, my life.

You satisfy me more than the richest feast. I will praise you with songs of joy. Psalm 63:5

So, really… I think that I have discovered that my God is really the only thing that is, truly, super extra amazingly delish!

Day 118: Trippin

Well. I have had it.

I mean, actually, I’d “had” it yesterday.

With the weighing.

Yes…… I know that I said that months ago, but now, for real. I’m done. Here’s how “done” I am with weighing myself…

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This morning my husband came out to weigh himself and I just started word vomiting all over him, and it went something like this…

I am done with that thing. Done with it. I was depressed all weekend because of that dad gum thing and the dad gum number it kept showing me. I am done being defined by it. I am done weighing. I don’t care anymore what it says. I’m done. I will not weigh myself again. Do. not. let. me.

And let me just tell you what he did.

He got off the scale, picked it up, walked into our kitchen, pulled the trash out and held it out over the trash. Then he said, “Ya wanna do it with me?” And we tossed that scale into the trash.

(Side note: I. LOVE. MY. HUSBAND.)

And I was already feeling pretty free after my reminder yesterday that God will continue to work in me, but this took it to a whole new level. Because that scale (and every other scale… ever) has been a constant source of depression, and wrong identity, and emotional sickness, and… and… and. So, we got rid of it. Know why? It was slowing me down. slowing down my race to God. And so we had to get rid of it…

Let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. Hebrews 12:1

And I know (well, I mean, I have a decent idea) what is at that finish line. And I know that the race gets better the closer I get to Him. And I don’t want to wait any longer than I have already had to wait to get closer to Him. So I’m leaving that weight behind cause it was tripping. me. up. And I’m running with endurance this race to the face of my Jesus.

And for a girl that doesn’t like to run… well, this is a kind of race that even I am willing to train for!

Day 117: HE WILL DO THIS

Okay so I have been feeling crummy for several days now… and for once I don’t mean crummy just physically but also spiritually. Like, something akin to depressed but not quite that strong. And I hate to admit it, but I think most of it stemmed from that dad gum weight thing, although it has taken me days to realize (or admit) that was the root cause.

But over the past day I have realized that all of my thoughts were centered around my weight. my lack of weight loss. my covenant blog posts. and then this morning to just plunk a nice big ol’ cherry on top, I weighed and had gained four pounds.

That was all she wrote. I was plummeting after that… what if this doesn’t work? What if God has abandoned me? What if I was wrong all along? What if I have failed?

And so I was so glad that today was a church day. I needed some fresh perspective. Some Word of God from… outside of me. Although I have kept on reading the Word through all of this, I realized today that I was reading the word with tunnel vision on: reading it solely for a Word about the covenant. about why I wasn’t losing weight. or about something I could use in a covenant post.

And there I was in worship, sangin and dancin… and the wisdom I have been praying for was right there. Not in a particular song… just in some truth written on my heart, whispered to me in the midst of me losing myself in praising Jesus for my salvation. A True Word From God…

I WILL do this.

And that was His voice saying that… not mine. HE. WILL. DO. THIS. I almost wanted to laugh there standing in the middle of the church. Haha- it was so simple. God and I had made a covenant… and I had lost faith that He could and would hold up His end of the deal.

I was thinking again that I could do it. That I could lose the weight. He just wanted me to realize that He is the one that has to do it. That He is the One who can do it. That He is the One who WILL do it.

And then, wanna guess what the Pastor spoke on???

Yep. Fear.

And at it’s core, that’s what I was… afraid. Afraid that God couldn’t, or wouldn’t, continue his work in me. But these two verses struck true with me…

But Moses told the people, (as they were about to have to cross the Red Sea) “Don’t be afraid. Just stand still and watch the Lord rescue you today… The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.” Exodus 14:13-14

And here I have been wondering and worrying DESPITE THE AMAZING WORK HE HAS DONE FOR ME ALREADY… would He save me all the way? Worried that He would only take me 117 days in and then drop me? I’m so like those dadgum Israelites that He brought out of Egypt. I have seen this miracle in my life… recently… and yet I was afraid that God might not take me across the Red Sea? I was really afraid that He would change my entire life and then just dump me out for the Egyptians to come and slaughter me? or WORSE, take me back into slavery?

Nope. I just need to stay calm. stand still. and wait for the Lord himself to fight for me. to rescue me.

Cause He has.

Cause He can.

CAUSE. HE. WILL.

 

Day 116: Christian Closet

A couple of days ago, my good friend and former co-worker was coming over to chat while my oldest was in preschool and my youngest was napping. Even though she and I have been friends for a lonnnnnng time it’s been difficult to see each other as we go through the crazy stages of raising kids and so I was really extra excited to see her since it has been, like, five years since we last hugged each other’s neck.

And as I woke up that morning, I thought to myself, “Well, Rhonda’s coming over… I should do my hair (even though Thursday isn’t a day I usually “do” my hair) and I need to wear an outfit that makes me look extra skinny since I haven’t seen her in a while.”

And then I just sorta stopped myself. I thought, “Whoa. That is entirely off of the focus here. You need to just wear whatever you pick out in the morning and roll with it. No trying on 53 outfits to see which looks skinniest.”

And it wasn’t because Rhonda would love me no matter what (although she would!) but it was because Jesus loves me no matter what. Because Jesus looks at my heart.

And I saw a glimpse of myself having the potential to be one of those girls that I have always admired that looked comfortable and cute in whatever they were wearing but never seemed caught up in their looks. And I realized that I really don’t care about fashion or cute-clothes. I never really have. And that’s cool because…

Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Colossians 3:12

So now, when I wake up in the mornings, I would love to spend a moment focusing on one of these qualities. Asking God as I dress in my earthly garb to make my humility stand out far more than the jeans I’m wearing. That my mercy would “bling” more than my necklace. That the kindness I show someone will show off Christ more than a shirt will show off my figure.

I would love for someone to think about having seen me during the day and not be able to recall a single item of clothing but be able to remember my gentle spirit.

Now, that would be one great outfit.

Recipe: Vegetable Feta Foil Packet

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This one was inspired by my friend Rhonda* who came over to visit me the other day. We chatted about fish in foil packets and it got my mouth watering for veggies made the same way.

I only made one serving because my husband took our oldest out for some male-bonding time, so I was on my own with the toddler. This could easily be a vegetarian’s main course and a side dish for a non-vegetarian.

Vegetable Feta Foil Packet
For one foil packet…
• 4 asparagus spears, cut into 1″ pieces
• 5 button mushrooms, sliced in half
• 1 small red bell pepper, sliced into 1″ pieces
• 1 small yellow bell pepper, sliced into 1″ pieces
• 8-12 cherry tomatoes
• 1/4 to 1/2 cup crumbled feta
• 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
• 1 to 2 teaspoons dried oregano
• 1 Tablespoon olive oil
• 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
• 2 one-foot-long sheets of foil

1. Preheat the oven to 375°.

2. Get two 1 foot long sheets of foil. Lay one out flat, set the other aside.

3. Cut the vegetables if you haven’t already.

4. Place the asparagus, mushrooms, tomatoes, bell pepper, and feta in the center of one sheet of foil.

5. Drizzle the vegetable and feta mix with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle with oregano and Parmesan.

6. Seal the foil packet tightly. Place the foil packet, seam down, on the other sheet of foil and seal the second foil sheet around the vegetable foil packet.

7. Place it on the center rack of the oven and let it cook 10 minutes. Flip the foil packet and let it cook another 10-15 minutes. (This allows the veggies enough time to get crunchy soft. If you prefer them soft then cook 5 minutes longer on each side.)

8. Open the packet, let cool a few minutes, and enjoy!

* Names have been changed to protect the “innocent”! Haha!

Day 115: Homeostasis

So… yeah. I haven’t lost any weight in two months. I haven’t gained any weight in two months.

I know that it’s pretty awesome to be able to say that. Well, I sorta knew but this morning my husband reminded me how awesome it was to be able to say that I have stayed the exact same weight for two months. He kept saying “Your body has found homeostasis.” And even though I have heard that word, I had to look it up. And then I read the definition and, well, I might be an English buff, but it was too complicated for a mid-afternoon-mommy-mind, so I looked it up on thesaurus.com and well, there were no other words for it, but I did remember that he said it was essentially “balance”.

Again, so. cool. to be able to say that my body is in balance!

But.

Yeah, I know… but.

But I don’t want to be in balance at 160 pounds.

And I’m afraid that this is going to be one of those posts where I just have to “keep it real”. Even though over the past week or so I have been saying how I don’t care about weight and I don’t care that I haven’t lost any weight recently… well, when it came down to it this morning when my husband weighed and told me a bit about some of his own personal weight loss goals… it turns out that I did care.

I went over to the scale and weighed myself. Wow, what a shocker (sarcasm, right there)… smack dab at 160 again.

I could feel the emotion of disappointment welling up in me. Even though I knew that I shouldn’t be disappointed. Even though I could remember instantly where I’d been. Even though. Even though. Even though.

But I was disappointed all the same.

And on the way to take my husband to work, I asked him, “Why do you think I haven’t lost any weight?” He talked about calories and whatnot, and then he said, “You obviously are expecting to lose weight as a result of what you are eating.” Indignantly, I reminded him, “But I’m not. It’s not about losing weight.” And then a bit later after he said that homeostasis word again, I said, “I’m fine with homeostasis. I just want homeostasis at 140 pounds instead of 160.” and that revealed again that yes, in fact I was expecting to lose weight.

I guess it was because not a whole lot changed about my eating during the month of March. I mean, I was still on my Lent fast, but I weighed 164 or 162 on March 10th. That was like two months ago… I guess I thought that I would be closer to 155 or 150 by now. But again, there was this subliminal desire that I would lose weight because of my covenant. No, it might not be the primary reason anymore that I am doing all of this, but I was hoping for it as a “perk”.

Okay, so I came face to face with that realization. Being honest with myself: yes, I was hoping to lose weight… or at least, more weight.

And once I faced that then I came back to the same question… okay, so why haven’t I lost weight? Am I eating too much? Am I eating too little and then eating too much? Am I eating the “wrong” things? Am I breaking the covenant in some way and being punished? (And I’m not saying that this was a good train of thought… but, it was my train of thought nonetheless.) I really mulled over that all morning.

And then, I thought, well… why not ask God?

So I did.

Why God am I not losing weight?

I didn’t really get an answer/revelation/realization immediately, but it did come.

And it came through Pandora.

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Heal my heart and make it clean
Open up my eyes to the things unseen
Show me how to love like you have loved me

Break my heart for what breaks yours
Everything I am for your kingdom’s cause
As I go from nothing to eternity.

And to be honest, I have no idea how that song tied into my next thought but somehow it did. It was like I realized that I wasn’t really cool with just a spiritual healing. I was truly expecting God to give me a physical skinniness to go with it.

It made me wonder… would I have stuck it out on the covenant this long if I had not lost a pound?

Anyway, alllllll of this rambling to come to this. I sorta realized that I needed to not lose weight for a while so that I could really realize that I am going to have to keep working at letting go of this earthly desire to lose weight. Gonna have to let go of this earthly focus on my body. Gonna have to let go of anything of this world.

I tell ya, I’m getting that concept more and more but it just might take me this entire year to come to grips with it. But, like I was thinking about the other day… it’s all about being patiently persistent until the fruit shows up. And the fruit is not outward this time, but a fruitful change of my heart.