Day 374: Facebook Follies

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I deleted my facebook app… yep… again.

The other day when it snowed (again) here in Texas, I was on my phone constantly… updating, uploading, reading, commenting, etc. and I realized that by like 11:00am my phone’s battery was already down to 34%!!!

Then last night I went to a bible study on prayer and one of the ladies mentioned that she just got off of facebook because of the inordinate amount of time that she was spending on it. The leader then read a quote that was something along the lines of: technology is stealing our time away from personal time with God.

It’s hard to ignore things like that. So I just… deleted the app. I figured, let’s see where that takes me. I have another little app that allows me to post things (like pics of my kids and whatnot) without actually getting on facebook, so I don’t have to be completely disconnected from it… yet. But I think I’m going to just get to the point where I’ll post stuff and then I can check it once at night for like five minutes.

Annnnnnnnd, how is this related to my covenant diet?

Well, in a way, it’s related more so to a covenant life… and today, just having that app off of my phone… I was a better wife, a better mom, a better me. There wasn’t so much distraction… there wasn’t so much of me thinking about what other people were thinking… and every time I opened up my phone to get on facebook, and that app wasn’t there, I was just reminded that there is so much frivolous stuff in my life that keeps me from my full potential. The full potential that God has for me.

And, honestly, I think we all have something like a facebook-type-distraction in our life. It might not actually be facebook itself, but it’s something that steals from our focus on Him…

blogs.
working out.
work.
friends.
dare I say it… church.
twitter.
shopping.
food.
housekeeping.

I mean… seriously, I could make a mamma-jamma of a list here. And the hard part about this is that most of those things aren’t inherently “bad”. I mean, working out? Not “bad”. Food, not “bad”. Work, haha, for a lot of people not only is it not bad but necessary! But I know that so often I say to myself or to others, “Well, I just don’t have time to devote to prayer.” But really… really. I have time. I just put other stuff in there and then say I don’t have time. And sometimes, just like I had to do with sugar, I just have to cut that “thing” out of my life, or at least cut down on it a lot.

When I think about it, I just don’t want to watch my life played back for me in Heaven as I sit next to Christ and see how many hoursssssss I spent on facebook being played before me compared to how many minutes I spent communicating with God. meditating on God. acting for God’s glory. reading God’s Word.

If all it takes is deleting an app and limiting myself to five minutes a day and replacing it with Him, well… I know that I can do that. This past year of finding the power of God within me has shown me that. With God… all things are possible (Mark 10:27). Even cutting down on my facebook time! Ha!

Day 262: CheeriUh-Oh

I was gonna jump in to how I started eating my son’s leftover Cheerios last night and be all “oh no, I ate bad again… yada yada yada”, and then I was all like, yeah, but that one moment doesn’t characterize my entire day. Maybe I shouldn’t just jump right into talking about my failures. Maybe I have been a wee too focused on my failures. Maybe I should look more at the things that were successes. The areas where God’s power is working and, slowly, becoming evident.

But, the title was too clever for me to trash, so I kept that part. Ha!

First of all, just ignoring Facebook yesterday morning and reading some bible and then blogging. That was a huge step (especially because that dadgum post was giving me so much trouble… I mean, I tried to post that thing like four times and it kept deleting chunks or just not posting, but I was pretty determined to get that done. It sorta felt like Satan was trying to work some evil in keeping me from posting it).

And then this afternoon, I prayed again for fifteen minutes. I almost missed it and I just had this unsettled feeling, so I stopped folding the baskets, and baskets, and baskets of clean clothes and went into my room and prayed. I just prayed praise and thanks to God for being… well, for being awesome.

Yesterday at one point… I ate an orange! Haha! I had to kind of force myself away from the pantry, but I ate an orange instead of junk.

I started out the day really repeating scripture. This sorta petered off as the day went on (as did my focus) but it was a great start to the day. Writing this now puts my mind back on the scriptures that I posted yesterday.

God, you are the one who saves me.
God, you are right beside me.
God, you are able to do more than I can imagine.

And an oldie that came back to my mind this morning in the shower…
God, make me willing to obey.

I am having to just take each day at a time and each hour at a time and find those spots where I can call to God, rely on God, praise God, and read or say the Words of God.

So, maybe CheeriUh-Oh was the right title. Cheerio to living life by myself and helllllo reliance on God!

Day 168: Mirror, Mirror

So, I’m now wearing a size 10 pretty comfortably and even a few size 8s. Honestly, a size 8 is what I was hoping to be able to wear at the end of the year… I never hoped that almost halfway through I’d have already have made it here.

Okay, okay… well, maybe I had hoped but I certainly hadn’t expected it!

But one thing that I have known all along is how the temptations would change and alter as my journey progressed. By no means was I ever under the impression that Satan would simply leave me alone…

“Oh welllllll, January is no longer addicted to food. Too bad that didn’t work… guess we’d better move on to the next person cause I just can’t think of anything new to throw into her life to weigh her down again.”

Yeah, not so much. In fact, I think Satan’s thoughts go more like this…

“Okay guys… January is no longer addicted to food. So it’s time to get out the big guns…we’d better move on to a temptation that is bigger, stronger, sneakier, and more difficult to fight off. I can think of several things to choose from.”

And he’s certainly trying out several different ones on me… all dealing with a focus on outward image. Like I mentioned a long time ago in my post Imma Be, I knew that fighting off the desire to be sexy and trendy was going to be an issue. Simply from having lost weight before and having seen the way that I responded to the skinniness. Even now as I fit into those smaller pre-marriage sizes, I’m a little appalled at myself for some of the clothes I’m pulling down from the top of my closet. Phrases like, “I actually wore this in public?!!?” have run through my mind plenty of times!

But one I didn’t expect was a dissatisfaction with my body. Before when I was in college and went from a size 14 to an 8 I thought my size 8 body was off the charts awesome! I was so excited every time I looked in the mirror.

But now, a size 8 body… well, I’ll admit, it makes me happy… but there are also moments when I look in the mirror and start to critique what I see.

Oh… I wonder if that fat flap will ever go away.
My belly button looks weird.
Will my inner thighs will always have that annoying… extraness?
Check out all my varicose veins!!!
If only my back was a little more toned…
I’d give anything if both my eyes were the same size.

And those are just the ones that I can think of right now!  A lot of it is subconscious but more and more I’m thinking it “outloud” in my mind. Which means that I am allowing my mind to acknowledge the “truth” of it.

This is not. good.

This is proof of my identity being found in something other than Christ. And that is unacceptable.

This is proof of me trading the truth about God for a lie. And that is doubly unacceptable.

Because look what happens when we do that…

They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen… Since they thought it foolish to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their foolish thinking and let them do things that should never be done. Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, quarreling, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip. They are backstabbers, haters of God, insolent, proud, and boastful. They invent new ways of sinning, and they disobey their parents. They refuse to understand, break their promises, are heartless, and have no mercy. Romans 1:25, 28-31

Yeah, so it’s not just me looking in the mirror and being annoyed with my belly button. It is the beginning of something much, much more than that. And honestly, check out that list… I do NOT want to become that person.

Okay, so it’s easy to look at that list and say “Oh no! (insert an inward gasp of fake shock) I don’t want to be those things!” But it’s an entirely other thing to NOT become those things. All I need to do though is look at what led them into those types of lives and reverse it (at least, that makes sense in theory).

They worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise. vs 25

So, to flip the process… I must worship the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise.

And that makes sense, and I am reminded of my post, Exaggerated Eternity, and how it talked about making us smaller to make Him greater.

And I’ll admit… my focus has not be on His awesomeness, His glory, His power, His greatness, His mercy, His… His anything. I am two weeks behind on my bible readings… just doing a bit here and a bit there when I feel a bit guilty.

But God, this day. this moment. I am choosing you. Again, and again, and again, I must go through this process of choosing you. Sorry that it’s not a constant thing for me yet. And I say yet. Because I am not going to be satisfied with my life nor with myself until my choosing of you is a constant thing. And to get me back on focus, I’m going to make you first again. I’m going to give up facebook again since I know that is a deterrent from you… wish it weren’t but it is… and your word will be the first thing I open up in the morning (after I turn off the 23 alarms on my phone that wake me up… haha) and it will be the last thing on my mind at night. And God I ask that you would turn my heart back to your truth. back to your glory. back to You, who are worthy of eternal praise. Amen.

Day 148: Wedding Weight

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Coming up at the end of June is the wedding of one of my friends from high school. I graduated back in 1997 and I haven’t seen quite a lot of people since that day. Thanks to Facebook I have been able to keep up with a lot of them, but still… some of them I have yet to see.

And… well… I’ll be honest… all of that difficulty that I had with the weighing a few weeks ago. Yeah, it’s because of the wedding.

You see, I had figured out… by the time the end of June is here then I should be able to be down to a size 8… down to 145 or 150. And then… when I wasn’t on that (self-made) track anymore and it looked like I wasn’t going to be a cool 145 by the end of June, well, I got panicked. Cause (in my worldly-focused mind) I needed to weigh LESS than I did in high school, and I’m pretty sure I was around 160… bumping up against 170 in high school. All of these people I went to high school with don’t know that I got up to 210, so they won’t know that I’ve already lost a huge chunk of weight. So (again, let me repeat, in my world-focused mind) I needed to weigh at least twenty pounds less than I did in high school in order for people to say “Ooooooo Ahhhhhh, January… wow… you look so great… Ooooooo Ahhhhhh.”

Yeah. It’s soooo lame. I know.

I guess part of it is because, amazing Christians as they might have been, I spent a lot of my high school years trying to chase after their approval. I was still so new to living a life with Jesus that I hadn’t gotten rid of the need of “praise from men” yet. And I wasn’t in the “popular” church crowd. The sad part: I had such great friends during that time… but it took me years, and years, and yearsssss before I could appreciate them. And by then it was really too late to salvage those relationships that I let slip and slide into the past.

But anyway, I finally came face to face with the realization that I wanted to lose that weight by a certain deadline for a reason that had nothing. to. do. with. God. and had everything to do with this world.

And, well, this covenant… it IS God. It is only about God… weight. life. skinny. clothes. chocolate. vegetables. None of those things matter ultimately. On December 31, 2012 when the clock turns over to a new year… all that will matter is God.

So, even now, I am having to renew my mind. to reset my mind. to focus my mind. on things above and forget about the wedding (well, in terms of weight at least… I really am excited to see this wonderful girl… the best of girls… get married).

If then you have been raised with Christ to a new life, thus sharing His resurrection from the dead, aim at and seek the rich, eternal treasures that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. And set your mind and keep it set on what is above (the higher things), not on the things that are on the earth. Colossians 3:1-2

Day 138: Bible > FB

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The other night I was looking through all of the status updates and checkins on Facebook and I’ll be honest… I straight up got depressed. There I was at home, treating my head with lice shampoo, and all these people were traveling, or hanging out together, or watching movies that I hadn’t seen. I started to feel really, really bad for myself. about myself. about my life.

Then all of a sudden it hit me… I don’t want to look at this. I don’t want to see all of this. If I weren’t on Facebook then I would have no idea that people were even going out. I would have been happy… okay, maybe not happy. I mean, after all, I was treating my head for lice… and that’s just not fun. But I would have been content. And content is really, I think, the best spot to be in emotionally.

I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. Philippians 4:11-12

And I realized that I didn’t want to be depressed. I identified that Facebook was making me depressed. And then I thought, what would make me happy?

The Bible.

I know that sounds hokey and a little “holier than thou” but it was true. I knew that out of everything in my life… and I mean ev.ery.thing… that the Bible was the only thing guaranteed to give me joy. or at least peace. or at least… contentment.

And honestly, I didn’t read anything like earth shattering when I read the Bible. I mean… I’m reading through 2 Chronicles which is like a repeat and there are a lot of lists of names in there, so it’s not the most exciting book of the Bible. Butttttt, I wasn’t having a pity party anymore. I wasn’t standing there worshiping God with tears flowing down my face in contrition nor was I on the polar end and completely avoiding the Bible. I just… read it. And that was that. And then I rinsed out my hair and went to bed…

content.

No need to go binge myself on Oreos. or hummus. or feta cheese. or tortillas. or whatever. I didn’t need to be appeased or soothed. I was just content, and in a way, that is far more filling than any meal. And certainly way better than Facebook.

Day Ninety-Five: Freedom Fire

I was… sorta… burned out this week. Just… not feeling the excitement or passion of the blog, the covenant, the Bible… nothing. Life has been a little crazy… no, not crazy… but, full. Like I said yesterday, I haven’t been reading my Bible this week and that exemption sorta leaves me… empty.

Well, a few nights ago I posted a recent picture of myself on Facebook. No biggie- a few former students made a few comments, and then I didn’t really check it for a while. Well, then tonight right before I bed I checked my Facebook and there were THIRTY comments and forty-something “likes” on my “new me” pic!

Now, I’m not entirely sure how this happened but all of these “Great pic!” and “Love it” and “Wow you look amazing!!!” comments were on there. And even though it should have puffed up my pride, all I could think about was God. About how he gave me the ability to be free… and I felt so bolstered by all of these friends of mine so happy for me to have a beautiful moment. And it was… encouraging!

But most encouraging were the multiple friends of mine that messaged me asking for more details about my covenant, or to meet and talk, or to want the blog website, or to tell me how much they connected to the posts on the blog or my beginning stories, etc. The further I get into my covenant the more that I long and hope for others to experience the same freedom from food (or whatever stronghold or addiction they might be enduring).

So I hope that some people will be encouraged, as I was, to seek Christ for their comfort and sustenance. Because I know that they can experience freedom from their struggle but at the same time that God will probably also light a fire in them of passion for Him.

Day Sixty: That Awesome Moment When…

There’s this little fad on Facebook where people say “That awkward moment when…” and then they finish with whatever awkward moment just happened. Like “That awkward moment when you send your dad a text that you meant to send to your husband.”

Well, this is not an awkward moment. This is an AWESOME moment!

And here’s why…

My in-laws (or as my dad likes to call them, my “outlaws”) have my boys for the weekend! Okay, that IS awesome but it is not the “awesome moment” that I am talking about. So, since the boys are gone I decided to do a little spring cleaning… mainly in my closet. I originally only planned to clean out my husband’s side, but he wanted some things put up in our “upper level” clothes racks so I had to get down my capris. No biggie, it’s pretty much capri season anyway. Well, when I got them down I noticed that several pairs were two sizes bigger than the pants I was wearing at the time, so I thought I’d better try them on. If they were too big then I’d send them off with my husband’s pile of giveaways.

Annnnnnnnd, here is the awesome moment: NONE OF THEM. NOT ONE PAIR. FIT ME.

Yahooooooooooooooooo!!!!

And I don’t mean they didn’t fit as in “Oh these are a little baggy but I can still wear them,” but as in they were, literally, falling off of me!

One pair in particular that has been my go-to pair of capri pants for the past six years were actually quite comical! I laughed when I looked in the mirror and then I yelled because I was so excited!

And of course Kari Jobe was on Pandora right at that moment…

I believe You’re my healer
I believe You are all I need
I believe
I believe You’re my portion
I believe You’re more than enough for me
Jesus, You’re all I need.

And wow… it was just an awesome moment of His awesomeness. Of His answering my prayers. Of His Love.

So I stood in my bedroom clad in these baggy pants and sang and praised God with tears flowing down my face.

Because He is all I need.

Day Fifty-Seven: Facebook Fail

I hate to say this, but fasting from Facebook for Lent has been really, really good for me.

Yes, I’ll admit… I got on there last Thursday in a desperate attempt to use my social network to find the much loved Tigger stuffed animal that my son threw out of the car window at a local intersection. But other than that I haven’t gotten on there.

But just like fasting from food certain foods (and yes, this will tie into my covenant diet in a second), I find that I very quickly just tried to replace my Facebooking habits with another app. Just like I mentioned here when I tried to replace my chocolate addiction with another addiction to bread. Which is interesting, and goes a step to confirm that what I’m dealing with here is not so much about which foods I eat but something deeper. Which is also why I think that a lot of my struggles and successes with Christ have worked to help a few blog followers that aren’t even struggling with food… but other addictive issues. Or, “replacement” issues… like we are trying to replace the power of Christ with something else. Hmmmmm, I don’t know. Sorta rambling there! Haha!

Anyway, the point. Yes, the point…

So, the main reason that I chose Facebook to fast from during Lent was because Facebook is in the same location as one of my Bibles: on my iPhone. And now whenever I pick up my phone when I have a spare minute to do… something, anything, whatever… if I look at my Bible app and think, “Nah.” Then I automatically “require” of myself to say “Yes” and read my Bible. Even if I already finished my reading for the day (which, by the way, I’m going through this study plan to read through the Bible and it has been great! You read for five days of the week and then get two days “off” to read something else, or in my case, to catch up).

Okay, January, that’s just great… now, how does that apply to the covenant diet?

Yes, yes… of course. Well, as I keep saying, I think that the biggest part of “my” success has been the bible reading that I have been doing throughout this experience. Over and over again the way that God reaches down into my life and “saves” me has been through a verse or story from the Word of God. So, fasting from Facebook has had a triple reward: a) I’m not on Facebook all the time which is just good in and of itself, b) I’m getting to read a lot more of the Bible, c) all the extra Bible reading has worked its way into helping with a renewing and refocusing of my mind and, in turn, helping relieve me of my addiction.

So, as much as I love Facebook to share stuff with, I’m starting to wonder if Facebook is a Fail…

Day Forty-Five: An Unmeant Lent

I didn’t mean to do Lent. Like, I didn’t intend to. I figured, Heck, I’m already kinda doing Lent all year long, why should I pick something else to get rid of? Seriously, getting rid of sweets and meats for a whole year… that’s definitely some sacrifice, right?

But I went ahead and went to the Ash Wednesday service at church cause I can still go through the mental focus on Christ throughout the Lenten season. Annnnnnnnd, well, in about the last five minutes of the service it was like my brain saying, “Ya need to give up something.”

So I came home and thought/prayed about it (most of the time my thoughts intermingle with conversation with God… kind of ‘unintended prayers’). And my first instinct was to question why I should give something up since I already am. But I realized the answer to that one pretty quickly: my covenant diet is about me and God… not so much about a refocus on Christ and all His Awesomeness during his journey to the cross. So, okay, give up something to focus more on the journey to the cross. Cool. No prob.

Now, what to give up?

Yeah, that was easy: Facebook. I mean, I really like Facebook! I love to post pics of my boys and update my status with fun and funny things that happen to me during the day. That alone is not such a big deal, but I love to see people’s comments about what I post. And how many people “like” something. And then I sorta just automatically wander over to the News Feed page and then… well, then I just lose time.

And then the following “thought-conversation” ensued:

Me: So, Facebook it is, Jesus! …..What? You want me to pick something else as well? I’m sorry, come again? You want me to go hard core on the Daniel Fast? You do realize that Lent is for forty-six days, right? I mean, God, I did it for 21 days but for 46 days… that is such a sacrifice!

Jesus: Really, January? Realllllly? Is it really THAT difficult? Wanna try dying on the cross WHILE bearing the sins of all humanity?

Me: (embarrased silence)

Jesus: So, could you just do this for me? Just maybe get in touch with my struggles… a little?

Me: Sign me up Jesus. Let’s DO THIS THING!

So, here I go… on a no-Facebook-hard-core-Daniel-Fast Lent season! And, as crazy loco as it sounds, I’m so excited!

(If you are confused thinking, “Wait, I thought you were already doing a Daniel Fast?” I’m doing what I call a “flexible Daniel Fast” for the year, but for the Lenten season I will do a regular ol’ Daniel Fast… which I call a “Hard-Core Daniel Fast” because only fruits, veggies, and nuts… that is hard core! You can read a little about the differences here.)