Day 353: Back To Basics

After my experiences on Wednesday, I woke up this morning knowing that I needed to recenter myself.

But, like I’ve mentioned before, there isn’t a ton of time in my life to just sit and ponder, so this morning I found myself saying simple prayers. informal prayers. prayers from the heart.

God, please help me honor You today. Help me choose well. Help me. Help me. Help me. I am dependent upon you. I rely upon you for strength. Help me God.

But with just that prayer… just that prayer alone… I found myself able to resist all that “junk” today. Not saying it was an easy resistance, but I resisted nonetheless.

And after that refocus, I thought to myself, “I need to get back to what I was eating a year ago, right at the beginning of the covenant.”

And well, whadda know? My mom got me some of my favorite winter soup for Christmas… Tomato Basil from La Madeline’s! Sooooooo gooooood. So, that’s what I chose for lunch.

20121227-220114.jpg

I have lately really wished that I had cataloged everything that I ate at first because it was all so easy. so perfectly filling. so tasty.

But then I am reminded that it felt that way because the goodness of the Lord was a new taste to me… the power of God was a new flavor… the sufficiency of God was a new feeling. It had so little to do with the foods that I was choosing and so much to do with Who I was choosing.

But, all the same, I want to remember… I want to get back to the basics of how I started. Things like prayer, bible study, and good foods. And as I looked for a verse today about remembering His Goodness from the past, I found this verse… well, I found the second verse but the first just really snagged me as well.

“Search for the Lord and for his strength; continually seek him. Remember the wonders he has performed, his miracles, and the rulings he has given.” 1 Chronicles 16:11-12

But look at that. Remember: 1) the wonders he has performed, 2) his miracles, and 3) his rulings.

And I have those in my own life: 1) enabling me to have the strength to stick to a covenant, 2) me going for a year without sugar, 3) his commands against gluttony and lust and greed.

When I remember the wonders he has done and his miracles, then I want to remind myself of His Rules because I have been reminded already, twice, of examples of His Goodness… makes me more prone to remember that His Rulings are for. my. good. and they are for. His. Glory.

Day 144: Short And To The Point

Last week I went shopping and had such a nice time… mainly because I was wearing a size 10 and so shopping was a bit more fun than usual. Plus, I was just on a God-cloud-nine… I mean, His working in my life was so very evident that day… I even fasted during my shopping excursion because I felt so blessed.

Buttttt, I guess I was just so overwhelmed with the awesomeness of putting on a size 10 that I focused a bit too much on the waist fitting and focused too little on the length of the shorts. They were super cute and not too super short, but like I’ve said several times, I refuse to go back to my old habits of dressing like I want attention for my physical body.

20120530-130013.jpg

And when I came home and did the little giggly girl excited try-on-again session (cause you know, some of those changing rooms are a bit deceiving with their special lighting and small enclosed spaces and whatnot), I tried on those plaid short again, and well… although I did not look like a… well, like a Lady Of The Night, if you get my meaning… but I didn’t look like a woman who is the daughter of a King either… I didn’t look regal. And well, that’s the look I’m going for. I don’t want to look like the woman in her thirties who is trying to dress like a thirteen year old. I want to look like I am fine with who I am now… not reliving years that I “missed”.

So, to be short and to the point, I’m going to take them back. Even if they are borderline “okay”, I think that at this point it is the principle of the matter. If I was thinking about showing my friend Christy to ask her if she thought if they were too short… well, then they are. That’s the rule I always used to have with kids in school… if you feel you have to ask, then don’t even try.

And it’s not because God has necessarily told me “NO!” but because I want to honor Him… to please Him… in the same way that I want to honor Him and please Him with my eating, I want to honor Him and please Him with my body, with my clothes even. Here’s why…

You are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light. “Once you had no identity as a people; now you are God’s people. Once you received no mercy; now you have received God’s mercy.” Dear friends, I warn you as “temporary residents and foreigners” to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against your very souls. 1 Peter 2:9-11

Really, there is just so much there, but what it boils down to is that I am chosen by God to be higher than… myself. Not higher or better or holier than thou… but higher than the worldly “me” can be. To step up to the next level of life… a life of royalty, holiness, owned by God. So that I can show other the goodness of God. And, well, I don’t want for people to be able to look at my shorts and have them detract from the goodness of God. Cause then, what if they miss Him? What if they miss God because they are focused on my shorts being too short???

Nope. Not worth it. Even if they are suuuuuuuper cute… and they are… suuuuuuuper cute. Not worth it if someone who is tied down. weighed down. torn down. misses the goodness of God.

No shorts are that cute.

Day Sixty-Three: Written For Me

I was reading through Romans last week and I came across this chapter. I totally said to myself, “This chapter sounds like it was written for me!”

So I’ll go through this chapter and make comments in between each part of the scripture.

Accept other believers who are weak in faith, and don’t argue with them about what they think is right or wrong. For instance, one person believes it’s all right to eat anything. But another believer with a sensitive conscience will eat only vegetables.

Oooooo, apparently I have a “sensitive conscience”! Wow… sounds fancy. But I will say that my “sensitive conscience” is only “scheduled” to last a year!

Those who feel free to eat anything must not look down on those who don’t. And those who don’t eat certain foods must not condemn those who do, for God has accepted them. Who are you to condemn someone else’s servants? Their own master will judge whether they stand or fall. And with the Lord’s help, they will stand and receive his approval.

And even though I don’t right now “judge” or “condemn” people that don’t follow the same thing as me, I can see how as I lose weight more and more this might become a temptation for me. Since I do know that it is working and I do think that it is awesome. I am afraid that my zealousness to help someone else break free from their chains might be misconstrued as me glorifying myself or nay-saying their diet. When I know that it is not what I’m eating that is making the difference (although I do think that it is good stuff), but that God is changing my heart and mind.

In the same way, some think one day is more holy than another day, while others think every day is alike. You should each be fully convinced that whichever day you choose is acceptable. Those who worship the Lord on a special day do it to honor him. Those who eat any kind of food do so to honor the Lord, since they give thanks to God before eating. And those who refuse to eat certain foods also want to please the Lord and give thanks to God.

I love how this brings the focus back away from the food itself and to honoring God through my choices. It is a good reminder of what I am really doing… trying to honor God. Through my sacrifice and even just through allowing Him to be the one to “fix” me instead of relying upon myself. I don’t know… I think, based on reading through the Old Testament, that God really likes it when we attribute any of our abilities to Him.

For we don’t live for ourselves or die for ourselves. If we live, it’s to honor the Lord. And if we die, it’s to honor the Lord. So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. Christ died and rose again for this very purpose—to be Lord both of the living and of the dead.

I lovvvvvvvvve this part: “If we live, it’s to honor the Lord. And if we die, it’s to honor the Lord.” That sounds like it should be in a movie or something with some guy wearing war paint on his face (a la Braveheart)!  I just want to say that with my fist up in the air like in a power stance!

So why do you condemn another believer? Why do you look down on another believer? Remember, we will all stand before the judgment seat of God.

Ouch. That’s not entirely a pleasant reminder, and yet it’s one that I have been thinking on a lot lately…

For the Scriptures say, “`As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, `every knee will bend to me, and every tongue will confess and give praise to God.’”

Yes, each of us will give a personal account to God. So let’s stop condemning each other. Decide instead to live in such a way that you will not cause another believer to stumble and fall.

Good call… this is a good summary of how to change my heart… live in such a way that I will not cause another believer to stumble. That means that I must be gracious in my speech. gentle. kind. understanding.

I know and am convinced on the authority of the Lord Jesus that no food, in and of itself, is wrong to eat. But if someone believes it is wrong, then for that person it is wrong. And if another believer is distressed by what you eat, you are not acting in love if you eat it. Don’t let your eating ruin someone for whom Christ died. Then you will not be criticized for doing something you believe is good. For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

BAM! That’s the money right there… it is all about living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Amen and Amen!

If you serve Christ with this attitude, you will please God, and others will approve of you, too. So then, let us aim for harmony in the church and try to build each other up.

Again, what can I do to build up my brothers and sisters? Serve Christ with the attitude of living a life of goodness, peace, and joy.

Don’t tear apart the work of God over what you eat. Remember, all foods are acceptable, but it is wrong to eat something if it makes another person stumble. It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything else if it might cause another believer to stumble. You may believe there’s nothing wrong with what you are doing, but keep it between yourself and God. Blessed are those who don’t feel guilty for doing something they have decided is right. But if you have doubts about whether or not you should eat something, you are sinning if you go ahead and do it. For you are not following your convictions. If you do anything you believe is not right, you are sinning.

Ooooooo, this will be one to remember when the covenant is “over”: if you have doubts if you should eat something, you are sinning if you go ahead and do it. Eating what I know is wrong IS a sin. Point blank. As much as I don’t want that to be true… it is. Right there. In the Word. And sinning does not please God. Sinning does not get blessing. Sinning gets not-so-pretty consequences.

So, I think in summary, I’m going to go back to verse 17: For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. He says that is the matter of the Kingdom of God… I think I prefer to think about the Kingdom of God more than anything here on earth, like food. That is what I want my mind to move from… from food thoughts to Kingdom thoughts.

(Romans 14:1-23)

Day Ten: Return To Him

Okay, I’m going to admit that it’s just nice to be able to write “Day TEN” because I typically make it to day three on a “diet”… day six if I’m really dedicated. I just love how God works when we dedicate something to Him with a pure heart. He sustains us. He fulfills us. He rewards us. And despite being sick, he has done those things for me.

God. is. rad.

Like, seriously. Rad. rad. RAD.

Like, look at this verse…

My eyes will watch over them for their good, and I will bring them back to this land. I will build them up and not tear them down; I will plant them and not uproot them. I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the Lord. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart. Jeremiah 24:6-7

I want to break this verse down and I really like to “translate” verses so that I can say them with “me” or “I” instead of “them” or “people”. It just makes the verses more personal…

  • He will watch over me for my good = RAD
  • He will bring me back to a good place = RAD
  • He will build me up, not tear me down = RAD
  • He will bring me home not send me away = RAD
  • He will give me a heart to know Him… to know that HE IS THE LORD = DOUBLE RAD
  • He will make me His… He will be my God = TRIPLE RAD
  • Because I will return to Him with all my heart.

This is all just so encouraging! Someone to watch over me, take me somewhere good, who will build me up, bring me home, and give me a heart to know that He is the Lord. Refreshing, isn’t it?

And then the last two… He will MAKE me His. I love this because I don’t have to do it… he will MAKE me His. I am definitely at the point where I realize that I need Him to MAKE me into goodness cause I’m not so hot at obtaining it on my own. He will be my God. It’s not like a question or a maybe… He WILL BE my God. Like, it’s done. set in stone. finished. He will be my God.

And that last line… because I will return to Him with all my heart. This is where my thoughts close… he will give me a heart to know Him and so I will return to Him with all my heart. And when I return completely. totally. unabashedly. unashamedly. then all of these things happen. And I really think that this fast is helping me already… and it’s only day ten… to shed more than just pounds. I’m shedding the world, leaving it behind. Because I’m returning to Him… with all my heart.