God…

I…

Ummmmm…

I…

I am scared.

Scared I’ll never get rid of the weight.
Scared I’ll never get rid of the addiction.
Scared I’ll fail.
Scared I’ll succeed.
Scared I’ll give up and then never want to try again.
Scared I’ll confuse success OR failure with how much you love me.
Scared.

I’ve tried so many times.
I’ve failed so many times.

I’m oppressed by this.
I feel so hopeless at times.
So alone.
So… awful.

So I remember…
The Lord is a shelter for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, do not abandon those who search for you. Psalms‬ ‭9‬:‭9-10‬

I know I’m not oppressed like women in some countries.
I know I’m not oppressed like a child in a factory.
I know I’m not oppressed by abject poverty.
I know I’m not oppressed by hatred and prejudice.

But I feel as if this… food thing… keeps me from being 100% for you. I feel like I could be so much more if not weighed down… oppressed… and utterly distracted by my issues with food.

Oh God, be my shelter from it. Keep it from me. Be my refuge. My place to relax and be myself and be taken care of. I trust you God. I trust that you will not abandon me. I trust that you will use my pain and heartache and struggle and that you will comfort me and protect me. I ask God that you release me from this oppression. Loose my chains.

Set me free.

Day 765: Why I Really, Truly, Honestly Started The 7 Fast

Supposedly.

I’m supposed to be a Pinterest Perfect mother.
I’m supposed to run 5 times a week.
I’m supposed to cook gourmet cuisine every night in my kitchen.
I’m supposed to volunteer at my kids’ schools every week.
I’m supposed to write and manage a fun, trendy, cute blog.
I’m supposed to keep my figure slim and rocket hot.
I’m supposed to…
I’m supposed to…

I’m supposed to.

Most of the time I’m an open book about the things that I’m not doing that I am “supposed” to be doing. I mean, we live in an awesome age where it’s okay, even cool, to be “real”. And that’s the whole reason I created this blog… was to be real with myself and my family and my friends about what I was eating.

But ya know what happened?

My blog got kinda popular.
I started to get, like, a lot of followers.
It felt like people around me were… watching.
Watching and waiting for me to mess up.

And I felt the need to keep up this “everything is great” face sometimes… because otherwise people might not still “believe” in my blog, or they might think I was an internet fake, or… or… or…

But then I gained twenty pounds… in five months.

And I’ll tell ya. You can fake a lot of things but you can’t hide weight gain. Oh, the shame I started to feel. I was like Icarus… I flew so high but now I was falling back down to earth. I was gaining it all back. And fast. I started to decline invitations to go places. I started to search for leggings and long flowy tops to at least attempt to hide it.

And ya know, gaining weight back: it was supposed to really motivate me to get a hold of things, to really buckle down, to make myself change.

And ya know, it kind of did. I started to focus more on balance in my life. I would allow myself to eat a bite of chocolate here or there. I wouldn’t let a binge get me down.

I was starting to feel a bit of peace about this whole food thing.

But then I decided to read this book called 7 (which is awesome and before we go any further allow me to explicitly state: I am not bashing the book) and the first month you do a fast. I chose to only eat the 7 foods (well, I chose ten actually) that Jen Hatmaker ate.

Well, in anticipation of going on this fast, I did what every person would do who struggles with food and binge eating…

I ate everything in the house.

If it was sugar, I wanted it. If it was pizza, I devoured it. If it was bread, or pasta, or a burger, or tacos, or fast food… I was going to get it.

So, realizing that if I kept this up for another week I’d gain another ten pounds, I got all gung ho and started the fast a week early. The first week was awesome! {See my rosy-cheeked post about it on Day 749}

But it backfired.

I started to make a bunch of little allowances (“Oh, I can eat carrots because they’re healthy” and “Well, I can’t say ‘no’ to a piece of cake at Nanny’s house) and then it just sorta crumbled and turned into me saying “Why still fake it? I’m not doing the fast at all anyway.” which turned into “Well, if I’m not fasting then I’m just going to binge, binge, binge.”

Cause I can’t control this.
Cause I’m out of control.
Cause something is wrong with me.

That’s how I felt.

And why?

Why did it all fall apart on me?

Because… I didn’t do that first month of the 7 Fast for God. I didn’t do it to help me understand better the plight of the poor. I didn’t do it for anyone other than myself.

{Alert: Confession coming…}

I did the fast to lose weight.

All because of this one little phrase in Hatmaker’s book from Day 21…

“Do you know what happened this month? After eating only whole foods and virtually no fast food, my pants are falling off.”

I remember almost being disappointed when I read it because I knew… I knew instantly that my motivation had changed from desiring to focus on Him to desiring to focus on me and finally getting my re-gained weight off.

And that simply wasn’t enough of a motivator to keep me going. Doing a fast, under the pretense of doing it to get closer to Jesus, so that I could lose weight? Ick. It just felt wrong…

So, needless to say. I just stopped. I realized that going through the cycle was just making me sicker and sicker emotionally and mentally and spiritually. Best to stop the fast than to be sick at heart.

And stopping allowed me to look again at my motivation… and to see yet another connection in this journey. I think I’m starting to realize what is sabotaging me. What is ruining me.

But… that’s a post for another day.

{I know, sorry… that was just the worst and meanest “cliff hanger” ever! But honestly it mainly because this post is already reallllllly long and that post is gonna take another chunk of time! Look for it… realistically, on Monday!}

I’m not sure that this post is really spiritually helpful for anyone else, but in a way, I think this part of my journey will prove to be integral to my eventual healing and I wanted it documented. So, thanks for indulging me!

Day 763: Ten Things To Do INSTEAD Of Eating

I find myself often eating when I am bored or procrastinating (among lots of other reasons I eat aside from, ya know, hunger). And so today I wrote this on Facebook and twitter

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Then I actually saw my own tweet and took my own advice and cleaned out my bathroom drawer (while my preschooler was taking his bath) and a shelf in a linen closet that, ironically, has zero linens in it! Haha!

I thought it might be helpful to me, and hopefully you too, if I had a list of things that I could reference when all I could do was think about those Big & Chewy Granola bars in the pantry.

So, here ya go!

 

1. Clean Out A Closet – I am finding this very cathartic. It accomplishes something and usually gets you out of the kitchen!

 

2. Write A Letter – Especially if you have an older person in your life that lives in a nursing home… they love “real” mail!

3. Do Some Yoga or Other Physical Activity – I love yoga cause I can do it easily in my home pretty much anywhere, but even going for a walk, hopping on a treadmill, or doing some jumping jacks would be great!

4. Take A Bubble Bath – Yes, they still do make Calgon, so let it take you away… from the kitchen, that is! It’s a great way to relax and get clean!

5. Put On Some Music And Dance! – This is one of my personal favorites! I find a station on Pandora and then just crank it up and get my groove on. (Black Eyed Peas is my personal fav station)

6. Read A Book or Magazine - Rarely do I have time to pull my eyes away from my kids for more than a few moments, but even flipping through the IKEA catalog can give me a brain break from dwelling on chocolate.

7. Give Yourself A Makeover, Paint Your Toes, or Play “Dress Up” - If you’re like me and only put on makeup twice a week (at most) then this would be a special treat and can be kind of fun. Or if you aren’t into the makeup thing, then try on a few “fancy pants” outfits.

8. Memorize Useless (or Helpful) Facts, Scriptures, or Quotes - Snapple caps have a ton of those useless facts (my brother has pretty much all of them memorized), but it can also be neat to memorize a scripture that helps you when you are down and out so that you’ve got it at the ready!

9. Play! - Finger paint, color, bounce the basketball, ride your bike, jump rope. Do something a little childlike… it feels goofy at first but most of the time we tend to slip right back into our little selves.

10. Plan A Vacation – This is kind of like dreaming for some of us, but sit down with a pen and pad and dream out a vacation… who knows, if you win the lottery or get a huge bonus, then you’ll already have a planned vaca all ready!

Day 751: I’m A User, Baby

I’m on day four of my 7 Fast, and I just have to confess that I am really, oddly enough, enjoying it. It’s so… simple. There’s not a lot to think about in regards to food.  So, as I looked at my list I thought about Jen Hatmaker‘s thoughts in the book, 7, as she embarked upon only eating 7 foods for a month. She just went on and on about food.

I mean, she didn’t really veil it.

Jen Hatmaker loves food.

I said to myself, “Yeah. I love food too.”

But then I really thought about it: No. Actually, I don’t ‘love’ food. I mean, I enjoy it but I don’t like cooking. I enjoy going out to eat, but it’s not like a “have to”. I could eat Chick-fil-a every day of the week for every meal and not get bored. Peanut butter and jelly for lunch every single flipping day? No prob here. Now, chocolate, I really do love a good, decadent piece of chocolate. But food… it’s whatev.

So why in the heck do I eat so much of it?!?!?

Because. I don’t love food.

I use food.

The Covenant Diet - I'm A User, Baby

Photo cred: LegalJuice.com

I use it to nourish myself, sure. But I use it for a gazillion different reasons too.

I use food to comfort myself.
I use food to procrastinate doing chores.
I use food to give myself a treat.
I use food to make me feel better when I’m sick.
I use food when I’m bored.
I use food to help me forget.
I use food to escape.
I use food.

And I am reminded that this is the entire goal of this journey. Not to lose weight. Not to be healthy. The goal of this journey is to switch from using food for all of those things and to start using God instead.

God, when I open my life like a book, I see all the areas where there are small holes designed to perfectly fit you inside. But I see that I have filled those empty spots with food. And it’s so ingrained in my daily way of life that I’m having difficulty throwing out the food and replacing it with You. Help me, God. Help me to throw all of my energy into focusing on You. into using You to fill the emptiness inside of me. You are the only one that can and You are the only one that I want to. Amen.

Day 680: You Can Go Your Own Way

Recently I sent my friend Suzanne a text.

{Get ready to feel sorry for me.}

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So LAME, right!?!?

But… I was being honest with her and I just really, REALLY felt like I should share it with y’all as well.

Anyway, before she and I could get a chance to meet, I had this, like, pretend conversation with myself and Suzanne:

Me-Prentending-To-Be-Suz: What are the things in your life that are sucking your joy?

Me-Pretending-To-Respond-To-Suz: Working out and cleaning my house.

Me-Prentending-To-Be-Suz: Okay, so, address those things. Fix them or get rid of them. Focus on what will restore your joy and peace.

And so, ya know what I did?

I canceled my gym membership!

AND I’M SO GLAD!!!

{Shocked gasps!}

I know. I was so glad, but as I decided to do it, I could already hear what “they” would say…

But, working out is so good for you! You shouldn’t put it off! Think about all those ‘What’s your excuse?’ fitsporations on Instagram? It should be a priority for you!

Yeah, well. Working out was stressing me out! Seriously! I felt like I HAD to do it because my sweet husband got me the membership to support me, but it just. wasn’t. working. I could give you all the reasons (which, I know, some will view as excuses) but what it boils down to is that my gym membership was HURTING the quality of my life instead of IMPROVING it!

And I felt so much better when I finally said “Okay, that’s it.”

I tell you this because I want you to feel free to do this whole weight loss thing YOUR WAY. If God leads you to do things differently than your BFF or your mom or your husband or your roommate… THAT. IS. OKAY.

It could be that “your way” means going to the gym every day for two hours at a time. Hey… do your thang.

It could be that “your way” means doing 15 minutes of yoga on your kitchen floor at home. Hey… do your thang.

There isn’t a formula and don’t let instagram or facebook or a pin on Pinterest or a group of friends or a Weight Watchers ad or a gym commercial or whatever tell you that there is a formula.

Find your way.

 

Day 678: Such A Yo-Yo

Every once in a while I have an epiphany. And I think to myself: This is it. I have reached a whole new level of intelligence.

Of course, give it a few days (or even a few hours or minutes) and I often realize that my “epiphany” may have been nothing more than me just finally realizing what the rest of the world has already figured out.

Like…… my recent epiphany about dieting.

I always subconsciously fear a healthy eating lifestyle because the closest I’ve ever gotten to a healthy eating lifestyle is when I’m on a diet trying to lose weight.

And gosh… let’s be real here: being on a diet is LAME. not fun. unenjoyable. plain downright sucky.

So, why would I want to do that for the rest of my life?!?!?

Well, I “figured out” this week that dieting is often a realllllllllly different experience than trying to maintain weight. With dieting you have to work twice as hard and abstain twice as much in order to lose. Whereas with maintaining you still have to work at it but it’s not nearly as difficult because you aren’t trying to maintain AND lose weight.

I am seeing that I need to craft my “diet” this way:

  1. Choose a healthy eating and living LIFEstyle that sounds doable.
  2. Make it a little extra stringent and double my working out for a bit to lose the weight.
  3. Once my weight is lost, revert back to the healthy eating lifestyle I picked in the beginning.

For example, here are the three steps that I should follow:

  1. I have chosen a vegetarian/Daniel Plan lifestyle with 30 minutes of yoga a day, 4 or 5 times a week.
  2. To lose weight, maybe I cut out all bread and chips and only drink water, cut my portions in half, and do yoga an hour a day instead of 30 minutes.
  3. Then, after I lose the weight, stick with the vegetarian/Daniel Plan but maybe toss in a tortilla every once in a while, have chips for a side, and bump my working out back down to 30 minutes.

So it’s not really a hugechange from the diet to the lifestyle.

So, what am I rambling about with my epiphany that wasn’t really an epiphany?

A diet is not forever. It is a way to get your body back to what you view as its “best”. You often have to work and sacrifice to do this.

When your body gets back to its best, the “reward” shouldn’t be chocolate and steak for breakfast but instead that you don’t have to work and sacrifice as much or as hard to keep that “best body”.

Like I said… you might be reading this and thinking, “Uhhhhhhhh hello? Everyone knows this.” But it really just sorta hit me this week.

I always thought of it like this:

Struggle through my diet
Lose weight
Go back to original eating habits

No wonder I have yo-yoed with my weight my whole life.

A diet is simply a healthy eating lifestyle… on steroids for a while.

For some reason it just makes me feel better knowing that. Knowing that maybe if I take this approach I won’t be such a yo-yo this time!

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Day 671: Well, Well, Well

Only I’m not “well, well, well.”

I’m sick – sick – sick.

Like, we are talking, I have the flipping plague over here.

And how interesting is it that when I make a huge commitment to God to not eat sugar… it didn’t take Satan long to get all up in my grill.

And ya know what?

He did the exact. same. thing. when I first started my covenant. On Day Five of my covenant I got strep throat.

Ugh. Satan. Such a party pooper.

Only, I kinda like to twist his plans. Cause ya know, when I realized what was going on and that Satan just couldn’t come up with ANYTHING even remotely original other than giving me a sickness when I started to go on a diet, instead of getting down and out and discouraged, I said to myself “Ohhhhhhh. If he feels the need to mess with me, again, then I am so totally on the right track. He saw how freeing this whole experience was the first time and he’s attempting to derail me again.

And I mean it wasn’t a terrible idea.

feed a cold starve a fever

I, too, have heard the phrase “Feed a cold, starve a fever.” And that is JUST what my body wants to do when I have a cold… eat. It’s a good reaction. My body is designed by God to do that. He designed it to get really hungry to search for the nutrients that it needs to help combat whatever is making me sick.

Well. Sorry, Satan.

FAIL.

I’m gonna stick with my covenant.

{Side note: Did I eat really well during this onslaught of sickness? Uhhhhhh, no. Wish I had, but instead I ate every piece of bread in sight. But… BUT. I didn’t eat sugar. So, even though it wasn’t the “perfect” reaction where I ate nothing but green smoothies for three days (which I wish I had)… at least I didn’t give in to sugar. It’s a step.}

 

Day 659: Where Have You Been?

Now that I feel like I’m starting over, I thought it would be a good time to do a little bit of looking back.

Not so much to see what went “wrong” but more so to see where He was.

Because you know that saying “Hindsight is 20/20″? Well, that’s the cool thing about being on the other side of a struggle spiritually is that you get to see all of those places where God was working. It’s kind of like that Footprints in the Sand story… ya know where God is walking with this guy and they are looking back at his “spiritual beach” where they walked together and there are footprints. So the guy looks back and is all like “God, I see here when I was happy in my life and doing well there were two sets of footprints in the sand where you and I were walking side by side. But here in my life where I struggled and worried and hurt… there is only one set of footprints. Why did you leave me when I needed you most?!?!” And God replies, “It wasn’t that I left you… those moments when you see only one set of footprints… that is when I carried you.”

Honestly, I was going to make fun of that story just now before I typed it because I’ve heard it soooooooo many times it’s almost become cheesy to me. But as I look back at the “spiritual beach of my life” over the past nine months I know that He has carried me more times than I realized. So, my little story there, instead of being cheesy to me, just brought tears to my eyes.

It’s not just that He was working in me during that time… but He was carrying me too.

And, well, let’s be honest… sometimes He was probably dragging me kicking and screaming. I bet a few times he just flung me over his shoulder while I threw my little temper tantrum.

But, He kept on.

And that is my message for you friends!

HE WILL KEEP ON.

God doesn’t stop with His plan for your life. He doesn’t pause. He doesn’t take a coffee break. He doesn’t falter or sidetrack.

God will keep on working.

Even when it doesn’t feel like there is any way on earth that you could be part of His plan… He is working in you and He is carrying you.

Stay close. Keep the faith (literally). Stay the course.

Day 654: So That

Ya know, after writing about Jonah yesterday on Day 653 I started to think about it.

And when I posted the pic from the blog to my blog’s instagram and I was looking at it

jonah belly of the whale

And I realized that I was essentially asking God what looked like two complete opposite things… one, I was asking for God to toss me into the proverbial sea and in the next sentence to show me grace and mercy.

Like, we don’t typically think of those two ideas as the same.

But, once again… God’s thoughts are not are thoughts. God’s ways are not our ways.

Cause think about it with Jonah. God could have just struck him dead with lightning or had him catch some kind of terrible illness that would kill him. But, God decided to show grace and mercy through the situation and toss Jonah into the sea…

SO THAT Jonah would be able to go to Nineveh and share the chance to experience God’s grace and mercy.

SO THAT Jonah would be able to tell this amazing story of how God chased after him to give him another chance.

SO THAT Jonah would live to tell the tale of God’s grace and mercy.

And oh man… what a story.

And that’s why I pray for God to “toss me into the sea”. I know that swimming around and getting swallowed by a whale would totally and completely be terrible, BUT I would be able to live to tell His story of grace and mercy.

if it will save my soul into the sea i'll go

To end… I am reminded of a song I have loved since high school. And a prayer that I have prayed time and time again (and I warn you, a prayer that He has been very, very keen to answer).

Take my world apart
I am on my knees
Take my world apart
Broken on my knees.

Here is the song. I’d encourage you to listen to it (the lyrics will be on the screen), but if you can’t the full lyrics are below. I just listened to it again sitting in La Madeleine’s and couldn’t help but bawl as they sang the cry of my heart.

“Worlds Apart”

I am the only one to blame for this
Somehow it all ends up the same
Soaring on the wings of selfish pride
I flew too high and like Icarus I collide
With a world I try so hard to leave behind
To rid myself of all but love
to give and die

To turn away and not become
Another nail to pierce the skin of one who loves
more deeply than the oceans,
more abundant than the tears
Of a world embracing every heartache

Can I be the one to sacrifice
Or grip the spear and watch the blood and water flow

To love you – take my world apart
To need you – I am on my knees
To love you – take my world apart
To need you – broken on my knees

All said and done I stand alone
Amongst remains of a life I should not own
It takes all I am to believe
In the mercy that covers me

Did you really have to die for me?
All I am for all you are
Because what I need and what I believe are worlds apart

I look beyond the empty cross
forgetting what my life has cost
and wipe away the crimson stains
and dull the nails that still remain
More and more I need you now,
I owe you more each passing hour
the battle between grace and pride
I gave up not so long ago
So steal my heart and take the pain
and wash the feet and cleanse my pride
take the selfish, take the weak,
and all the things I cannot hide
take the beauty, take my tears
the sin-soaked heart and make it yours
take my world all apart
take it now, take it now
and serve the ones that I despise
speak the words I can’t deny
watch the world I used to love
fall to dust and thrown away
I look beyond the empty cross
forgetting what my life has cost
so wipe away the crimson stains
and dull the nails that still remain
so steal my heart and take the pain
take the selfish, take the weak
and all the things I cannot hide
take the beauty, take my tears
take my world apart, take my world apart
I pray, I pray, I pray
take my world apart

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.}