Beans For A Birthright

I like a preacher who yells a little.

Makes some jokes.

Walks around a lot.

Yells a little more.

And uses lots and lots of scripture.

To each his own, but that is just the kind of preacher I like to listen to. So, when my hubby introduced me to the hours and hours and hours of archived sermons from Elevation Church with Steven Furtick… not gonna lie, I was kind of excited. Cause the guy does all of those things. I’m not usually the type to jump into what all the “cool kids” are watching, but… I dunno. God just speaks through him… to me.

So, since I’m working again, I have about a 25-30 minute “commute” from my house to the school where I teach. About ten of that is spent in the car with my oldest before I drop him off, but then afterwards, I plug in my iPhone and listen to the audio of Furtick’s teachings (there’s an app… you can watch or download a podcast).

Well, when I started listening in, I just went back and picked one called #DeathToSelfie and I thought it looked interesting for two reasons:

  1. The whole concept of DEATH to SELFIES!?!?! Nooooo, I love selfies!!!! (Yes, I am *that* friend.)
  2. The picture on the front was just… intriguing… like in an artsy kind of way. Look at it… isn’t that just… cool??? (Click on the pic to go to the main page for this series.)

deathtoselfie

So, ya know… I obviously picked it for VERY spiritual reasons.

And let me tell you: I would really, really, really, really encourage you to check out this sermon series. Especially, part two… called Starving Sons (Beware of the Bowl). Here… read this:

As the boys grew up, Esau became a skillful hunter. He was an outdoorsman, but Jacob had a quiet temperament, preferring to stay at home. Isaac loved Esau because he enjoyed eating the wild game Esau brought home, but Rebekah loved Jacob. One day when Jacob was cooking some stew, Esau arrived home from the wilderness exhausted and hungry. Esau said to Jacob, “I’m starved! Give me some of that red stew!” (This is how Esau got his other name, Edom, which means “red.”) “All right,” Jacob replied, “but trade me your rights as the firstborn son.” “Look, I’m dying of starvation!” said Esau. “What good is my birthright to me now?” But Jacob said, “First you must swear that your birthright is mine.” So Esau swore an oath, thereby selling all his rights as the firstborn to his brother, Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and lentil stew. Esau ate the meal, then got up and left. He showed contempt for his rights as the firstborn. Genesis 25:27-34

Now, I’m with Furtick… I always read this and thought “WHAT. AN. IDIOT.” But, like he brings up… we do this alllllllllll theeeeeeeee timeeeeeeee. And you and I, my friend, we might just be doing this with food… literally.

We have this birthright now that we are sons and daughters of God… a birthright of freedom from the enticements of this world, but we come in STARVING (and knowing us, we probably aren’t starving for food, but for something else… love, comfort, a break) and we convince ourselves that it’s “worth it” to trade our birthright of freedom from food… for a bowl of beans.

Who, praytell, ever wants a bowl of beans?

No one. They are beans.

That Twix… yo. It’s really just BEANS.
The bag of Cheetos? Yep. BEANS.
Even that Mocha Frappachino at Starbucks… beany bean bean BEANS.

If we are eating it or drinking it for any reason other than we’re hungry, then we are trading our birthright for beans.

So, this week… ever since listening to this, I’ve been repeating to myself over and over again all day (even when I’m not around food) “My birthright for beans… my birthright for beans… my birthright for beans…” It’s making me come face to face a lot of the day with the REAL choice that I’m making.

Am I choosing my God-given birthright?

Or beans?

 

(Hey, so seriously… listen to/watch this series, or at least the first two… because he goes into way more detail and explanation than I even got remotely close to in this post.)

A Piece Of My Arsenal

I’m kinda “in” to this whole reading the bible again.

Ain’t gonna lie… I have been doing some major avoiding of reading it for quite a while. Not sure what happened, but dang. I just didn’t want to read the bible at all.

Like, at all… at all.

But I’m reading the One Year Bible (my husband’s grandmother {Nanny} bought me one years ago… you can also do the plan for free here) and now I’m finding myself thirsty for it. I mean, I should be… I haven’t had any Living Water for months… I’m dying of thirst.

It seems like each day there is just a nugget that pierces my heart or soothes me. (The great days are when I get a dose of both!) Just this last week the verse popped out at me…

Victory comes from you, O Lord. May you bless your people. Psalm 3:8

I’m keeping this one tucked away in my arsenal… to protect me from myself. When the “You can’t do this…” and the “You’re not strong enough…” statements start to bubble up out of my soul, then I can answer back… just like Jesus did to Satan. He used The Words of The Father. I’m gonna say, “Hey… shut your trap. Victory over this comes from God.”

It’s not on me… this is on Him. And He’s strong enough to win the war.

Victory comes from God

Day 762: Maybe God’s Not Done

There is always a lesson.

In every heartache, in every delay, in every disappointment.

There is a lesson we can learn.

A lot of times we don’t want to learn that lesson. Or at least we want to say, “Show me something new God… but, just not this way.” We don’t want to admit that His Way of teaching us is the most perfect way… even when it hurts. even when it takes forever. even when it keeps us from the very thing we so desperately want.

Yeah. So I know all that yet I still find myself frustrated, depressed, and downright angry whenever God makes me learn a lesson His Way. So, I continue to turn to Him, like I did in my prayer on Friday.

At my wits end, I turn to Him.

And I as I start to try to see things His way, I start to see a semblance of the lesson He is working in me.

Maybe… maybe I did that first year of covenant for God to show me that He can do miracles in my life. For Him to show me that He cared. For Him to show me that His Ways are so much better than mine.

And maybe…

maybe He’s not done yet.

I mean, maybe He wants to show me even more through this struggle with food… through this addiction to the very thing that keeps me alive and yet is killing me at the same time. Maybe He wants me to see that He is powerful enough within me to conquer my issues with food. That He has the strength to enable me to overcome these issues and develop a healthy relationship with food.

Maybe… yeah, maybe God wants more for me than I even want for myself.

Maybe He’s just not done yet.

And if that’s the case, maybe I’m not done with me either.

Maybe God's Not Done Yet

Day 618: A Fast Delivery {Don’t Worry, It’s Not About Having a Baby}

seek me and find me jeremiah

I’m a Daniel Fast groupie.

Can’t help it… my first Daniel Fast just completely and totally changed my life because it introduced me to the “idea” of covenanting with God about what I eat.

Plus, it was the first time I’d ever tried a diet that was even remotely vegetarian, and I learned that I really liked being vegetarian. Even if it was only because then I wouldn’t have to worry about meat spoiling before I used it, cross contamination of the meat and all the juices, remembering to defrost meat for dinner that night (I was perpetually forgetting to do this), and just overeating on meat altogether!

But… all of that is wonderful and great, but really… really, a Daniel Fast has so very little to do with the food.

I mean, we make it that way.

But it’s really… about Him.

Daniel wasn’t going on a fast because he had food issues like most of us. He was fasting because, like, the whole nation was about to be obliterated!

Quick reread if it’s been a while: Daniel (also known as Belteshazzar) had another vision. He understood that the vision concerned events certain to happen in the future—times of war and great hardship. When this vision came to me, I, Daniel, had been in mourning for three whole weeks. All that time I had eaten no rich food. No meat or wine crossed my lips, and I used no fragrant lotions until those three weeks had passed. Daniel 10:1-3

And that’s why we are doing this… we are trying to break away from our typical eating in order to be drawn to God in prayer. For us, it is because we are in mourning because of the WAR we have against our own bodies and our, seemingly, unquenchable desires to eat junk… and because we are mourning the HARDSHIPS that we endure with this struggle with food: being overweight, feeling stuffed, and the worst: our inability to stop ourselves from eating what we don’t. even. want. to eat.

So, friends… sure, change up your diet. But really… make sure you are changing up your prayer and bible routines. Spend these days of fasting focusing on God and on His ability to deliver you.

Because He WILL deliver you from this. He WILL bring you back. It may take time, but He is faithful. Remember what He says:

“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity.” Jeremiah 29:13-14

Day 616: Seven-Day Daniel Fast

seven day daniel fast

Tomorrow I start another seven-day Daniel Fast! Several of you joined in for the Four-Day Daniel Fast and I know that it was as eye opening to a lot of you as it was to me. It was the first time that I had felt that freedom from food in months.

Honestly, I’m not sure why I don’t make mine a Rest-Of-My-Life Daniel Fast. Honestly, I think that God is working on me with that one with the whole “shoulda done a LIFEstyle change instead of a YEARlong change”. But hey… that’s why this is a journey, right?

Here is, admittedly, a copy-paste of the information from the Four-Day Daniel Fast

If you are still more curious about a Daniel Fast, here is a website that I used the first couple of times I did one. And danielplan.com is also a great resource if you click on Food and go to recipes! Now, I will say this: I think that there are different “levels” of Daniel Fasting.

- Daniel Fast: veggies, fruits, nuts, and water (I’m doing this one this week…. Oh, and I consider beans as veggies)
- Organic Daniel Fast: all of the above using organic produce
- Flexible Daniel Fast: all of the above and then add any or all of these items: breads, pastas, beans, rice, coffee, tea, cheese, eggs, fish (this is the one that I do usually)
- Specific Fast: if you are aware of your area of weakness (aka: addiction) then you can fast from only that, e.g. fast from sugar or fast from snackies like chips

Now one note: I don’t worry about salad dressings or sauces… I just include them and don’t worry about their ingredients. It’s already a big sacrifice for me to cut out rice, pasta, bread, cheese, and fish that I’m getting the spiritual message here without leaving out the sauces. Plus, like I said, I can still feed my family this way!

As far as menus go, I’m going to follow a lot of the same things from the four-day Daniel Fast and just mix it up a little bit. After all, it’s been almost two months since we did it and so I think that a lot of the recipes could easily be repeated again.

Day One

  • Breakfast: fruit smoothie: take any fruit you want and blend it using water as the liquifier. I usually combine a handful of frozen blueberries, six or seven strawberries, a frozen banana that’s already been sliced, four or five inch frozen mango slices, and four or five inch frozen pineapple slices. I use a Ninja… and it makes a yummy smoothie. If you don’t have frozen, then just incorporate some ice!
  • Lunch: salad with carrots, celery, tomatoes, red bell pepper, cashews, peanuts, sunflower seeds and dressing
  • Dinner: Caribbean Black Beans , fruit bowl, side salad
    • you can have these with rice if you are choosing to do a fast that includes grains
    • If you have someone in your family that is not fasting with you, then you can throw in some ham at the end after you’ve pulled out the ham-less version for yourself

Day Two

Day Three

Day Four

  • Breakfast: Just found these! Almond Butter Bites (it’s on the first page of the link)
  • Lunch: Veggie Lettuce Wrap: Large “sheets” of romaine with avocado, shredded carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, diced red bell pepper, sunflower seeds,
  • Dinner: Black Bean Soup (this is, by far, one of my favorite recipes of all time!) We don’t eat anything else with it, but I’m sure any side that would be good with enchiladas would be great with this too!

Day Five

Day Six

  • Breakfast: Granola with Almond, Coconut, or Rice milk
  • Lunch: We really haven’t had too much salad so far, so let’s have one for lunch today! Here’s a bit of a guide for a super yummo salad! Build a Perfect Salad
  • Dinner: Mexican Baked Potatoes… these are really, really, really yummy! Even my hard-work-farming father-in-law is a fan!

Day Seven

  • Breakfast: Let’s have the rest of our Almond Butter Bites (it’s on the first page of the link)
  • Lunch: Easy Rice and Beans
  • Dinner: Veggie Tacos (I’m actually going to post this one tomorrow… but super easy, all you’ll need are tortillas, lettuce, avocados, mushrooms, bell peppers, and tomatoes… sour cream and cheese if you are eating dairy)

And, of course, it’s not about the food but about what your heart and mind are doing while you are not eating, while your are cooking, while you are eating, and when you have finished. We are focusing on the One.

Day 609: Keep Your Head Up

just keep swimming

You know, I’m not a huge fan of working out.

And by “not a huge fan”, I mean… I don’t like to work out.

Which sorta aggravated my hip condition because all of my hip muscles got super weak and so I’ve had to deal with some pretty hefty pain for the past two years. So, I learned my lesson: stretch and do some form of work out.

But of course, I learned that lesson, like, about a year ago… annnnnnd never got a gym membership to go work out. I did yoga at home (still love that) but I needed something to really get my heart pumping a bit more because I’m not at that point yet in yoga where I can do the cardio-type yoga.

Okay, I’m rambling.

So, I have recently started swimming at a local gym (thanks to my hubs, Mr. Chord Dice).

And I have already gotten a GOOD spiritual lesson out of it!

In swimming, just like the other sports, form can really help you get more out of the workout, and I had really been feeling sorta like something was wrong with my swim stroke. So I looked it up on what Jon Acuff calls “the internets” and found an article on Active.com that had some suggestions.

Number one tip: Keep your head up.

I totally figured that it would be something more akin to my arm position or how I kicked my legs, but no… keep your head up. The article says, “Look forward, with your hairline cresting the surface of the water in front of you” otherwise “if you bury your head into your chest, it will serve as a 25-pound form of resistance.”

Now, this post is not all about swimming position, but gosh… WHAT. A. PARALLEL. for all of us.

As I just skimmed through the water after reading that I was amazed at the different in my swim. And I think that our life is just like that. We, oftentimes, bury our face down into our SELVES and act as our own form of resistance.

I think that I’ve been doing that for MONTHS. Focusing on why I wasn’t losing weight, on what MY body looked like, how how MY clothes didn’t fit the same, on what I could or could not eat.

All of this focus was all on me. all on my weight. all on me. me. me.

I have been acting as my own form of resistance.

But when I lift my head up and focus on where I am going and Who I am following, then I practically skim through my days.

And one more parallel while we’re at it. There is also the line down the center of each swim lane. A big, thick, dark blue line that acts as a guide for me so that I don’t swim off course. Well, when I am looking straight down in the pool I just see a bit of this line and it makes the lane seem endlessssssssss… I would often think, “How LONG is this swim lane?!?!?!” But when I can look up, I see the end of the lane so much more clearly and it’s actually easier to stay on course.

Again… wow. When I look UP to Him instead of where I am at that very moment then it is easier to see that it’s not all about where I am at that very moment but where He and I are going.

Gosh, I don’t know if this will speak to anyone but it was just a huge reveleation, renewal, restart for me! I can say to myself over and over again throughout the trials and tribulations of the day, during the pull and temptation of food… Keep Your Head Up, January! Focus on Him and on where You are going! And it just… changes my persepctive. Doesn’t always change the fact that I’m only halfway down the “lane” and I’m exhausted, but it does make me remember that He is taking me somewhere… I have to, in the words of Dorrie, “just keep swimming.”

Day 604: Peace Out

peace and faith

I’ve talked about her before.

The woman who had been bleeding for twelve years.

I mean… the story has always grabbed me. It’s just so… me.

Although I haven’t been bleeding for twelve years… I’ve been EATING for 34 years.

And really, I started to write a whole new post about this, but then when I reread my post from Day Seventy-Eight, it was still just so… perfect for now, so I’m not sure if this is breaking some kind of “blogger rule” but I’m just going to copy paste it here…

Day Seventy-Eight: G.I.P.

My favorite miracle has always been the woman in Mark 5 who had been bleeding for years. She had suffered… for twelve. years.

And I know that some people have already heard this about her and the background around her, but just in case someone had missed it… not only had this woman been suffering physically, but she had also been suffering socially. A woman that was bleeding was considered “unclean” (for obvious reasons) and was not allowed into the community. For most women this would only last a week or so but this woman had not been allowed into her community, her church, possibly even her family for twelve years.

There are so many different lessons that this one woman can teach, but more than anything I just like to identify with this woman…

A woman in the crowd had suffered for twelve years with constant bleeding. She had suffered a great deal from many doctors, and over the years she had spent everything she had to pay them, but she had gotten no better. In fact, she had gotten worse. She had heard about Jesus, so she came up behind him through the crowd and touched his robe. For she thought to herself, “If I can just touch his robe, I will be healed.” Immediately the bleeding stopped, and she could feel in her body that she had been healed of her terrible condition.

Jesus realized at once that healing power had gone out from him, so he turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my robe?” His disciples said to him, “Look at this crowd pressing around you. How can you ask, ‘Who touched me?’” But he kept on looking around to see who had done it.

Then the frightened woman, trembling at the realization of what had happened to her, came and fell to her knees in front of him and told him what she had done. And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace. Your suffering is over.”

I find a connection with her for two reasons:

1) The woman had tried all the ways of the world to be healed and had gotten worse. Not only was she suffering physically, socially, but now she was also suffering financially… and had gotten worse. I identify with this when I think of the money I spent on “good for you food” that wasn’t that good for you… on SlimFast (yeah, remember what a waste that was for me?)… on pills… teas… herbs… exercise equipment… you name it, I probably bought it. And yet, at the beginning of this covenant I was worse off than I had ever been… eating a mixing bowl full of cookie dough.

But I suppose that is what drove her to go to Jesus. She had nothing… literally, nothing… to lose. An unclean woman touching a rabbi could have gotten her in some big trouble. And she would have made Jesus unclean as well. But all she wanted was healing. All I wanted was healing. And I had nothing to lose by going this way with Jesus. By allowing Him to “clean me up”.

2) She was healed and her suffering was over. Even though I am already beginning to feel the relief of healing of my addiction, I’m sure that it doesn’t even compare to the relief that she must have felt. But to hear Jesus say the words, “Your suffering is over.”

Over. Done. Gone. Forgotten. Closed. Completed. Ended. Finished. Past.

And I like to imagine her as the crowd’s attention, and Jesus’s attention, was turned toward Jairus because his messengers arrived telling him that his daughter had died… I imagine her still on her knees. Watching as the crowd walked away. Watching as Jesus walked away. I imagine that it must have been like seeing the world for the first time in 12 years… seeing that it could be full of hope. full of beauty. full of peace. full of relief.

And then I see myself in such the same way. Jesus has ended my suffering. He has ended my slavery to this lust for food. And now, because I am healed. Because I am no longer suffering, then I can… Go. In. Peace.

 

Day 603: Hope Does Not Wear Feathers

emily dickinson hope is a thing with feathers

My friend Jennifer has told me time and time again over these past few months to “not beat myself up” whenever I’d make a mistake, or get beat down, or lose hope.

Honestly… I was always thinking, like, “What do you MEAN not beat myself up? How can I NOT beat myself up? I’m totally messing up, screwing up, ruining everything! It’s all going downhill… of COURSE, I’m going to beat myself up!”

And yes, that’s a lot of capitals… I save them for when I really need them.

But that’s how I was thinking.

No hope.

But just focusing on freedom yesterday, and then on hope today on facebook and twitter… well, it’s awesome how it has already begun to infuse… yep, hope into my every moment.

I found myself saying earlier today, “Wow… I’m, like… happy today!” But then the more that I thought about it I realized, “No, I’m hopeful. Things seem to be looking up… I can feel a change, a bright future, something new!” And it was just because of that changing my attitude from that of focusing on my sin and my failures to instead focusing on my freedom and my hope.

Because He IS my hope.

He is OUR hope!

And although my fav, Emily Dickinson, wrote a cool poem about hope (Hope is a thing with feathers)… when we find our hope in God, hope ISN’T just a thing with feathers. Hope is real. Hope is something you can take to the bank. Because our hope in Him… well, it’s got His Promise for freedom attached to it!

I would like to encourage you to be friends with me on facebook or on twitter… because I’m just trying to refocus us all toward freedom and hope… and who knows what it’ll be tomorrow, but I’m hopeful (hehe) that it’ll be just as uplifting and it’ll keep drawing us to Christ!

Day 580: Losing Weight Is Great, Buuuuut…

Okay, so tomorrow marks 2 weeks since I started my Daniel Fast/Plan.

(Which reminds me that I need to talk about the difference between the two in a post sometime! I haven’t forgotten! Well, I mean, I have forgotten, but I haven’t like… forgotten, forgotten. Ya know? Great!)

Anyway, so tomorrow is 2 weeks. Only 14 days of being essentially a vegan but even more hard-core than that. I’ve been eating only fruits, veggies, and nuts except for two times when I’ve had rice with my meal. No cheese. No pasta. No bread.

And it’s weird… I’m not, like, dying or anything.

On the contrary, I’m probably having the exact OPPOSITE effect on my body! I’m probably earning myself some extra days for every meal that I eat like this.

And I won’t lie and say that I haven’t been THRILLED at the fact that I have obviously lost some weight in just those two weeks. I mean, y’all know that I don’t weigh any more after Day 118: Trippin, but I can tell in my clothes BIG time. I mean, I’m not like rockin a size 4 after two weeks or anything but I am fitting much more nicely into my shorts again. And my face… it looks completely different already. Maybe none of that is noticable to anyone else, but I know it… I see it… I feel it.

BUT.

That is not why I am feeling blessed tonight.

I’m feeling blessed because it has been two weeks of freedom again. And especially because I know that this time it’s for the long-haul. As each day passes and I feel more and more free and less and less wrapped up in FOOD THINKING, the more I know that I want this to be me… forever. No more 1-year contracts or 5-year contracts with God. Forever.

And friends… it is good to think about being free… forever.

free is better

Day 574: All Figured Out

I think I’m going to stop saying “I got it all figured out.”

I’m gonna even stop thinking it.

Because that always seems to backfire. And then I have to LEARN something that God wants to show me.

Okay, a bit of sarcasm about the “learning” thing there… I always LOVE that I had to learn something, AFTER I have “finished” the learning.

And, well, for the past seven months I have been doing a lot of learning.

A lot of learning, the hard way.

I’ve been learning that God is not a quick fix.
God is not a Weight Watchers plan.
He is not Jenny Craig.
He is not Atkins. South Beach. The Zone.
The Lord of the Universe is not Slim Fast.
Or Advocare. Or Plexus. Or Body by Vi.*
God is not even a Daniel Fast, biblical though it may be.

God is His own plan.
And God has His own plan.
And His plan is not made or designed or produced by us.
His plan was intricately woven in Heaven.
Thousands of years ago.

And as much as it hurts sometimes, His plan involves us going down painful roads. Roads of confusion. Roads of disappointment. Roads of trial.

So, that’s why I made that insta-whatever-you-call-it today. (And puh-lease ignore my typo in it… I swear I proofread that thing a zillion times and still missed it!) Because it is so very, very important to remember in those moments of pain, confusion, disappointment, and trial… it is so very important to remember that GOD IS WORKING OUT HIS PLAN FOR YOUR LIFE.

But he is.

So when you can’t button those “fat jeans”… pray that He would help you.
When the scale is ten pounds more than you hoped for… pray that He would heal you.
When your doctor tells you that you are now a type II diabetic… pray that He would guide you into health.

Because God WILL work out His plans for your life. It is not over. Stay by Him. His faithful love endures FOREVER.

Psalm 138 prayer…

Oh God, help me to see You as you work your plan for my life. Help me to know that your faithful love, God, that it endures forever. Please don’t abandon me, God, because you made me. I am yours. I pray that as soon as these words leave my lips that you will answer me and encourage me by giving me strength. I praise you now for your unfailing love and faithfulness. I give you thanks God with all that I am. Help me and guide me and love me. Oh God, love me. Amen.

.

*By the way, not dissing those diets if they work for you… they were “quick fixes” for me, that’s why I listed them here.

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