Day 650: Liar, Liar, He’s On Fire

Watch Out For Snakes Sign

Satan has been lying to you.

{Shocked gasp}

Who knew?

Well… actually… all of us knew.

But, for some reason, he’s that guy that we let lie right to our faces and we simultaneously rationalize whatever it is that he’s saying so that we convince ourselves that it’s not really a lie. Ya know, kinda like that little stunt that with he pulled with Adam and Eve.

Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” 

The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’ ”

“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

Adam and Eve.

Dang.

They had it all… God made them to look and be just like Himself. He made them to be stewards of the earth… to take care of it the way He would take care of it. They were full of His power and strength and might. They weren’t gods but they sure as heck were as close as a human can get.

And then dern Satan comes in and tells them the lie that they are missing out on something. He tells them that if they eat from that tree then they will be like God.

Whoa.

Wait.

I thought they were already like God? Yeah, they were… look. Back in Chapter 1: God said, “Let us make mankind in our image.” And if you look at it in Hebrew the word “image” means like a replica and in Greek the word “image” means the same thing as “icon”… which is the word for being the representative of something almost exactly alike.

Soooooooo, Adam and Eve were ALREADY like God. Seriously… they weren’t missing out on ANYTHING. But that’s what Satan told them.

And ya know what… Satan is still telling us the SAME. DADGUM. LIE.

If you give up chocolate, you’ll be missing out.
If you give up drinking, you’ll be missing out.
If you give up sex, you’ll be missing out.
If you give up shopping, you’ll be missing out.
If you give up wealth, you’ll be missing out.
If you give up popularity, you’ll be missing out.
If you give up fame, you’ll be missing out.
If you give up social calendars, you’ll be missing out.
If you give up sports, you’ll be missing out.

You’ll be missing out. missing out. missing out.

So, we keep eating those apples that break our relationship with God thinking that if we don’t stick with them, then in some way, we’ll be missing out.

But let me tell you… you are made in the image of God. Not just the OUTSIDE of you but your mind, your heart, your soul… it’s all like God’s. You have access to all of his strength, might, and power just as Adam and Eve did. You have been given all of this world.

TRUST ME. If you don’t eat the apple of chocolate, or drinking, or sex, or shopping, or wealth, or popularity… you WON’T be missing out. You’ll be living in. Living in His original plan to be satisfied and content with His image that He gave you.

{Props: This is another post inspired by the lessons of my teacher James Tippit.}

Day 622: When A Man Cries…

You might have noticed yesterday, about 2pm, I went a little nuts on my social media channels.

Well, nuts in a good way.

I sat down with a full heart (like, the good kind of “full”) from church and just wanted to pour some of that fullness into all of you. I wanted you to feel the relief I felt from one moment in Sunday School, so I posted all of these updates on facebook, twitter, and Google+. And I did it within a span of ten minutes. Cause I didn’t want anyone to miss it!

God Loves You

And it was all because my Sunday School teacher… a man… cried.

I mean, I know it’s the new own-your-feelings era and men cry a lot more now than the olden days, but not this one. Not really. I mean occasionally he’ll get choked up or whatever but he’s not the cry-every-time-he-teaches type (and I’ve had those types before, so I’d be able to recognize it). And honestly, I don’t really remember what he said right before it. And I don’t remember what he said right after it.

Wait, I kinda do.

We were talking about not being the judge of others and where they stand with God. And we’ve gotten to know him over the past year pretty well that he’s been our teacher… it’s kinda a small tight-knit group. He said:

I bet most of you in here aren’t the types that are hard on those around you. {Pause} My guess would be that most of you are harder on yourselves than on anybody else. {I nodded my head in agreement thinking of the past several months of my own life} But that’s what I really want you to hear… the only thing I want you to hear and I’m afraid you might miss it… {Big pause… obvious tears in his eyes} I’m afraid you might miss that God. Loves. You.

God. Loves. You.

And my mind was lost.

Lost to the rest of his sentence.

Lost to thinking of only that.

Lost to doing anything other than telling my heart again and again and again… God. Loves. You.

God. Loves. You.

God. Loves. You.

God. LOVES. You.

He’s not wrapped up in your sin or your inability to do “right”. He just… LOVES… you.

And today I tell you the same thing my friends… cause I’m afraid YOU might miss it too. And I don’t want you to miss it.

So hear me.

Hear me now.

GOD.
LOVES.
YOU.

GOD.
LOVES.
YOU.

God Loves You

Day 378: Pardon My Pity

Soooooo, I feel sorta like I should apologize for publicly sharing my pity party the other night.

And part of me feels like it is just what I should have published.

I guess I feel sorry because I was being negative and, seriously, who really needs negativity these days? And the part of me that is like “No, it was right” thinks that because I was being honest and real… and sometimes we just need to know that someone else is feeling that way as well.

But, I’m happy to report that “weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.” Psalm 30:5

Cause I woke up this morning and everything was… okay. Not amazing, but okay. I mean, after all, I still had the same muffin top that I’d had the night before, but there was just renewed perspective and hope this morning.

I went to church and that really sent me on the right path… it was so nice just to be around people who care so little about my muffin top and to have the whole morning be about how much God loves us in any state that we are in.

Then I came home, got my boys to nap and “room time” and… wait for it… I took a nap myself. I was exhausted from being up all night having my pity party and then having to finish up my lesson for this morning. And… well, I’ve been really exploring the concept of honoring the sabbath. Ya know, it’s like… a commandment and all. I just recently wrote this post about it on a blog that I guest post for.

And can I just say that as I write this (on Sunday evening) that the weather is actually nice enough for us to be outside, and my two sons are playing NICELY with each other on the slide… it’s kind of idyllic. I mean… what is a muffin top when compared to this? I’m just feeling extremely content and definitely refocused today.

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There is definitely some learning that came out of my pity party last night though:

  1. It has been a while since I have been royally depressed like that about my weight/size. I attribute this a lot to having tossed the scale on Day 118 a long time ago… one of the best decisions that I have made during this whole experience.
  2. It also may have been the little kick in the emotional rear-end for me to get rid of a couple more strongholds: e.g. honey. I think I’ll write about honey later, because it’s a tricky little guy, but anyway… honey is on the outsies with me right now.
  3. I can be a little teensy weensy over dramatic sometimes. Cause, honestly, I went in this afternoon and tried on my trade-show pants (which I hadn’t tried on since Day 363 right after I stopped eating bread for the year) and they fit pretty dern good. No, they weren’t exactly the same as they were in June but I had relatively no muffin top. But I sent myself on this tear last night about my pants not fitting when it wasn’t even the case!!!

But all in all, I am reminded even now about a verse that has been coming to mind a lot… such a simple verse. a verse that most of us have heard a gazillion times and so oftentimes we sorta zone it out and nod our heads like good Christians. But, let’s take a moment to pay a smidge more attention to it today…

Be still, and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10

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Nice, isn’t it? Being told to just be still. Being told to stop worrying. Being told that Someone Else has it all under control?

I can be still because God will help me work through any issues with my weight.
I can be still because God will help me work through any issues with eating honey.
I can be still because God will help me work through any issues with overdramatics.

I can be still because I know that He is God.

Day Seventy-Three: Fantastic Failure

Annnnnnnnd another verse that came to my attention in church this last Sunday. I know, I know. I promise this is the last one… well, at least until I go to church again this coming Sunday!

I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5

When I read this, I instantly connected with the last part: “Apart from me you can do nothing” because of how I could not… not… not… lose weight before this covenant. And oh wow- I remember now how that failure killed my self-esteem. I went through the phase of thinking that I was “less” because all these websites would tell me I was obese and on top of that I was even lower because I couldn’t get enough self-control to lose weight. My identity was becoming enveloped by those terms: obese. less. undisciplined.

I was essentially like a branch laying next to the Vine of God and wishing I could produce that fruit. But no, oh no, I don’t want to be part of His Vine. I just want the same fruit.

How freeing it was when I realized that I indeed could not do it. That in this area of my life, I was apart from God. And the covenant has been the way to graft me back into The Vine.

Because I think we all know, whether we have much of a green thumb or not, that a branch that has been cut off from the vine or trunk of a plant is not going to spontaneously have fruit on it. The branch is dependent upon the trunk to provide the nutrients necessary to bloom and make fruit.

And that is why I am so glad that my failure to lose weight on my own was so fantastically bad. I needed the Gardener to graft me back into the Vine. And now I am, I think, blossoming and bearing fruit. And I’m not just referring to the weight loss. In fact, that is only an outward showing of the change that is in my heart.

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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