Day 657: I Quit.

i quit

Yep.

That’s it.

I’m done.

Out.

No more.

I quit.

… … …

Seriously.

I’m not joking.

… … …

You see, for months I’ve been just downright struggling with this whole experience. I’ve put on a whole pant size for sure (and yet you can be darned sure that I’m still squeezing my size ten rear into my size eight jeans because I don’t want to go buy a bigger size… because I WON’T go buy a bigger size) and I’m just so weighed down and shackled to food again it’s become nigh unbearable.

I can’t make it through a Sunday School lesson without breaking down in tears.

I’ve cried to my husband multiple times.

I seriously, seriously, seriously was considering calling my church to see if they would work out some kind of deal for me to get counseling up there.

Things in my soul have been a total and complete roller coaster.

I mean, every few days I would find a new “resolve” and would have faith in myself again that I could do this and then day three or four would hit and well, all it takes for me is that one bite of chocolate…and well, it would all go downhill from there.

And so this past week, I’ve just really had to face up to what is going on here…

I can’t do this anymore.

So, I’m going to quit.

Okay, but I’ll end the suspense.

I’m not quitting The Covenant Diet… I can’t quit it. God has brought me so far and I know… I KNOW… that He is faithful. I’ve read too many accounts in the Bible where He brought people through terrible, terrible adversity to reveal His Glory OR to make them face up to the fact that He really IS in control.

And here’s the deal: He has shown me over and Over and OVER and OVER and OVER again what I need to do. Like I said on Day 653: Just Like Jonah, I just keep running from it. But in my heart for months He has been telling me through friends, through the wisdom in his Word, through Sunday School, through prayer… He has been saying that I have GOT to make this sugar thing a total and complete lifestyle change.

As in… never again.

As in… quit.

Quit.

Quit eating sugar.

For.ev.er.

… … …

I know, right?!?!?

… … …

For.ev.er.

… … …

That’s nuts!

Wellllll, yeah, but so was giving up sugar for a year. But it was one of the best years of my life. Total and complete freedom.

So, this post could go on and on today… and I’ll explain more about how I came to this point in the following days’ posts… but here’s the deal.

I’ve been running from God.

Just like Jonah.

And I’m tired.

I’m tired of running.

I’m tired of trying to do this battle with food my way.

I’m tired.

And I’m failing at doing it my way.

I’m tired of failing.

So, I’m looking at this raging sea in my soul and I know that it’s raging because of me.

Because of my decision to go my own way.

And I’m done.

I’m just ready to quit.

So, this morning, I took one last sigh.

{Sigh}

Stood up and walked to the edge of this boat in this raging sea.

And I dove in.

I dove into the waters of His grace and mercy.

I dove into the waters of self “sacrifice”.

I dove into the waters of freedom.

I dove into the waters that will guide me back to where I need to be.

Will it be easy to give up sugar for.ev.er.???

Heck to tha NO.

It sure as heck wasn’t easy for Jonah to live in a whale’s stomach either.

But it got him back to where he needed to be.

And that was where God wanted him to be.

And as I tread water in this sea that is my soul, I realize that as soon as I jumped in… it was immediately calm. Refreshing even. Going His way instantly brings me more peace than I had during any of the days of trying to do it on my own.

The peace I have felt just in this one day… well, it just makes me so glad that I finally… finally…

quit.

i quit SUGAR

Day 642: Hopeless Hope

I recently started reading The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson (which, depending on when you are reading this, is only $5 at Mardels right now! That’s where the link will take you). My husband’s Nanny (as in… grandmother, not babysitter – hehe) gave it to us and my husband read it in like a weekend, but it’s gonna take me a million years. I’m a fiction reader mainly so non-fiction takes me a lot longer.

Well, I came across this sentence in the book  and it just realllllllly grabbed my attention.

the circle maker faith is sure of what we hope for then unsure antithesis of faith mark batterson

Because I realized as I read that… I don’t even KNOW what I hope for.

What should I hope for?

Is it wrong to hope to be skinny someday?

What does God want me to hope for?

Honestly… I wish that I could now say, “Here is the answer… here is what we should and should not hope for.”

Buuuuuuuut, I have not figured that one out yet.

So, instead, while I read on (hoping that through Mark Batterson, God will help me answer that question) I am just praying

God, show me what you want me to hope for.”

{And I won’t deny that I hope He says it’s okay to hope to be skinny someday! Haha!}

And I thought that I’d just invite you friends to pray that with me.

God, show us what you want us to hope for.

Day 639: It’s Not Always About You

working at la madeleine

Every Tuesday and Thursday, both my Kindergartener and my Preschooler are at school for about four and a half hours, and so I often escape away to a coffee shop (if you follow The Covenant Diet on instagram then you’re used to seeing my “I’m working” pics as proof for my husband that I am, indeed, working and not out shopping all day)!

This past Tuesday, I went to La Madeleine to work (they have a great patio… with a plug for my laptop) even though I just felt like my soul was dry as a bone. I tried to work for, like two hours, with pretty much no result. It was like everything that was coming out of me was… blah.

So, after a ginormous group of very loud, very talkative women came in and set up shop right next to me (despite the fact that there were, like, fifteen other tables to sit at), I decided to pack it up and go home and do chores so that I’d at least be doing SOMETHING productive.

And on the way home, I got behind the slowest Walmart truck in all of creation and THEN got behind the slowest lawn mower truck in the world. I kept thinking… something is going on. Like, I feel like there is some kind of spiritual battle going on right now. Like, if my life was really like the book This Present Darkness and I could see the spiritual realm then I would see demons and angels battling it out all around me… for me.

So I took it slow going home, went in and thought “I’m gonna go right back to my patio and just chill and see what God wants to say.”

Well, my husband was sitting right inside the front door when I came home. Honestly, I wanted to just blow right by him… I was afraid that he and I would talk and I would miss out on what God wanted to say. But he needed to talk, and so I was deterred from my plan.

And THANK GOODNESS because He’d been having some kind of major revival on his own while I was gone and he just started to pour out his soul to me… which basically caused me to have some kind of major revival… by association! When the joy of the Lord is around you, it’s just… awesome, no matter who He brought His word to in the first place.

The whole thing was just a reminder for me… that, it’s not always about ME.

It’s not always about MY  spiritual walk.

MY weight loss.

MY  pants size.

MY fears. hopes. dreams.

Sometimes God is at work and that work is not all about me.

And honestly, that is just downright kind of refreshing.

Day 506a: Childish Conviction

I know I’m on my 30 Day Infusion, and although I have had several things that I have wanted to write about over the past week or so that were “negative” I have held back in the effort to focus on the positive things that God wants to infuse into my heart.

I am made for more!
I am royalty!
I am new!
I am cherished!
I am strong!
I am chosen!
I am complete!
I am loved!
I am unfinished!
I am capable!

But what happened this evening, well… it is an override.

Okay. A smidge of background information: Small truth first. Well, big nasty ugly truth.

I have officially lost about 89% of the control that I’d had and have reverted back (big time) to my former self and my former ways of eating. I have been ignoring the voice of the Holy Spirit that has been trying over and over again to lead me down the right path. I have purposefully chosen to go out of my way to eat sugar and chocolate. I have been eating “okay” for two or three days and then just “tasting” one little thing on the third day and then it just goes downhill from there.

Well. Actually… if we are being TOTALLY honest here, I have been eating junk for about three days straight. Always thinking, “Tomorrow. Tomorrow I’ll get back on track with God.” And always knowing, “No. you. won’t.”

Usually I’d have felt guilty for still writing with a positive focus, like as if it weren’t real… and well, it sorta wasn’t “real” but I just kept telling myself, “Keep infusing yourself with the wonderful, great, positive things that God has said about you and provided for you and eventually it will push out all of your own negative voice. Just keep on keepin on, January.”

So I did.

But I also kept on eating chocolate.

Anyway, this afternoon, my son and I went to the library and then to the grocery store. He asked to get some little cookies as a treat and I caved and then he asked to eat them in the little eating area and I caved again (he is really beyond precious… it’s almost impossible to tell him no). So, as we’re eating up in the little balcony eating area, he took one of the cookies out of the case and said, “So mom, how many more days until you can have sugar again?”

I sorta stumbled over an answer akin to “Oh, I’m… I’m not sure” because, of course… OF. COURSE. I have been doing all of this chocolate eating by myself. Sneaking it to and fro. Shoving it in my mouth when I hear little feet coming down the hall. Silently waiting until my husband is on the phone. So, he doesn’t know that all this time I’ve already BEEN eating sugar.

Gosh, I felt such a tug at my heart.

Butttttttt, not enough of a tug to keep me from eating two of those cookies when we got home plus another cookie that I had stashed, okay, okay… HIDDEN… in the pantry.

{And here it comes… the part where God spoke through my child.}

So, after dinner the boys asked if they could have some Cookie Crisp cereal for dessert. We haven’t had a “junk” cereal in the pantry for a while, so I guess it’s like an extra special treat for them. I said yes, poured them both bowls, and then decided, well… Cookie Crisp cereal is actually totally gross to me, but it’s sorta like eating a cookie and since I’ve already eaten all of the cookies then I might as well eat this too.

Poured myself a bowl.

My son: Mom, are you going to have a bowl, too?

Me: Yeah. Yeah, I think I am.

Son: Well, you know you’ll be breaking your promise to God right? Do you want to break your promise to God?

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOKAY.

Was. not. expecting. that.

Instant tears.

I paused for a moment… a zillion responses running through my mind while he looked at me… our eyes connected… his gaze was unflinching… and I knew what I HAD to do. For him. For me. For God.

Me: No. No, I don’t want to break my promise. I think I’m just gonna pour it back in.

Son: Okay. Good.

Me: Thank you. Thank you for helping me keep my promise.

And I poured the cereal back into the box. Annnnnnnd, went over and hugged him. Annnnnnnd, took his picture with his Cookie Crisp.

Annnnnnnn, then took the picture of my other son with his Cookie Crisp because he wanted in on that picture-taking-action!

20130530-213127.jpg

It was all JUST what I needed.

You know, there are about a gazillion times in a sinners life when we are not ready to get called out on our sins. We just lash back because, I dunno, I guess we are in a sense of denial or buried in our shame. But every once in a while, we are ready. longing. hoping. needing. for someone to call us out.

Thing was… I wasn’t listening to God anymore. And I was hiding it from everyone. So, God had to speak to me through my child {and yes, I am totally bawling right now as I write this… out of thanks and humility and hope and gratefulness}. Through my innocent child who won’t know for years and years to come the impact of that little tiny question when he was a little tiny boy.

Honestly, I think the main reason it grabbed my attention so much wasn’t because of my son seeing me eating junk. It was because of my son watching me. waiting to see… would I follow God.

All of my words up to this point. All of my teaching him. All of my prayers over him. Ev.er.y.thing. hinged on this moment. Would my actions SHOW the truth I had been giving him all this time?!?!?!

Oh and I thank God that He gave me the RIGHT answer. the RIGHT words. the RIGHT action.

But as I stepped back into my day, those cookies were still there. I still desired them.

And guess what?!?!? Good news people… guess what kicked in?

The positives!

I am made for more!
I am royalty!
I am new!
I am cherished!
I am strong!
I am chosen!
I am complete!
I am loved!
I am unfinished!
I am capable!

And those cookies have remained untouched the rest of the day.

And, well, I reckon… I won’t be the one finishing them off this time.

Day 474: I Am On A Diet

20130428-052121.jpg

I’m gonna admit it.

I’m on a diet.

But I don’t want to be.

I want to be on a covenant.

Well, more accurately: I want to want to be on a covenant.

But I’m on a diet.

I decided to do a little Daniel Fast for a few weeks until my brother’s thirtieth birthday weekend. But really, I’m gonna be honest with ya. It was just cause I wanted to lose some more weight. It had nothing to do with God other than I picked a “diet” from the bible. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I still think he’s telling me to “go back to the beginning” like I mentioned on Day 464: Out Of Options and I still think that eating a Daniel Fast-type-diet is the way to go for me… it’s just that I’m having some difficulty standing by it cause it was more about ME and so not about HIM.

If it were about Him, I’d like to think that I’d been relentless about not eating meat, about not eating bread, about eating fruit and veggies, about going to the grocery store to get some real food supplies, about cooking Daniel Fast meals.

But relentless, I have not been.

{I blame that little yoda moment right there on the fact that I’m writing at 4:40am.}

And I’m not here to beat myself up. I’m here to lay it out there. Cause I’m on a journey. And a journey has a lot of deviations from the path. I’m still heading in the right direction, but sometimes I get diverted off the highway. or I think I’m too worn out and I need a pit stop. or I’m just too. dern. tired. to go any further. So, now I realize how much I need His Power. His Spirit. His Life.

Realizing that again, gets me back on that highway. It gets me focusing on The Thing that matters again.

God. The Word. The Holy Spirit. The Forgiveness of Jesus Christ. The Calling to be a Blessing to the World.

Let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. Galatians 5:16

So, Holy Spirit… guide my life. I don’t want to do what my sinful nature craves. Guide my life. Guide me. Guide my mind. Guide my actions. Guide my thoughts, my hopes, my fears. Guide me to God.

Day 446: Easter… nbd.

Easter Basket 1

nbd

no big deal

{just in case you are like me and would have had to look that up}

I was seeing that on facebook a lot and had to look it up on google. And then I pretty much instantly fell in love with the term because it’s an ironic statement.

Just got married. nbd.
Just had my first born child. nbd.
Just met Nick Jonas. nbd. (You know who you are – haha)

And I’m a total sucker for a play on words. Maybe I should start a blog called “The Confessions of a Former English Teacher.”

No? You don’t think so? Yeah… me either!

Anyway, as Easter day as approached, I’ve been sorta “nbd” about it.

{gasps of shock heard round the world}

I know, right? Good Jesus-seeking Christian and, well aside from being excited about giving my kids their Easter baskets, I’m just not that… excited.

And it’s not because I’m into the commercial side of things so much that I’ve been blinded to the REAL meaning of Easter. I promise.

It’s because I celebrate Easter all. year. long.

Every few days is like Easter to me… when I am so keenly reminded of my sin and how He died for me and freed me from it. when I am brought face to face with power and strength given me by the Holy Spirit. when I experience joy and peace and comfort from His Spirit.

It’s… Easter.

So I guess it’s okay that I’m nbd about Easter today, cause honey… this girl rejoices in Her Savior’s Resurrection every day.

{And yes, I had to give y’all some Easter basket love here… these are my boys’ Easter baskets… such fun!}

Easter Basket 2

Day 444: So. Worth. It.

Okay. No more games.

I won’t even write a whole bunch of background story for you.

Like, I’m going to do my BEST to keep the story short.

I’m just gonna tell you what God said.

The morning after the discussion with my friend at the retreat (on Day 443), I woke up earlier than everyone and snuck away to a corner (where I could sit in a ginormous chair and gaze out at the lake) and prayed.

And honestly, I’m not entirely sure how I “knew” just what He wanted me to do aside from having prayed all weekend and read the Word over and over and over again… and there were three scriptures that really snagged my buttons, but I’ll talk about that in another post. (And snagged. my. buttons.??? What IS that? Where did I even come UP with that phrase?!?!?!)

Anyway… I guess, there is just something… different… about the whisper of God in your soul. It’s like you “hear” the words coming from deep, deep within you. As if… as if He planted those words in the DNA of mankind thousands of years ago knowing that at this moment He would release them from deep in your soul.

Well, that… or maybe it was just because it’s the Holy Spirit. Ha!

{Thanks for indulging my attempt at a poetic moment anyway.}

Either way, the more I seek God, the more I find that I recognize His Voice. Maybe it’s just that I’m teaching my soul to be more and more quiet as I seek Him and so it’s getting easier and easier to hear Him. He does say that “if you search for him with all your heart and soul, you will find him.Deuteronomy 4:29

Okay, but… that’s a post for another day. Cause today… today, I am attempting to be what they call “brief”.

So, as I prayed, I distinctly heard “No sugar for 5 years… until your 40th Birthday. On your 40th Birthday, you can have cake.

(That’s one way to KNOW it wasn’t me speaking… I didn’t even realize that it was 5 years until my 40th birthday!)

birthday countdown pic

And immediately………

FREEDOM.

Five years of not having to fight the stuff off. I was so, ironically enough, RELIEVED! Not relieved that it wasn’t forever (honestly, I have a feeling that after the five years are up that either I will want to keep it going forever or He will tell me to keep it going forever) but relieved that I would have five more years “off” from having to deal with that sin in my life. I so gladly handed back that burden to Him. Easily handed it back. Eagerly.

Again, I know… it’s weird. It’s extreme. It’s not “our way” of doing things. But, His ways are not our ways… His thoughts are not our thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8-9)

And honestly… I’d rather, at this point, stop doing things my way, with my thoughts. It’s not that I’m bad or terrible or anything; it’s just that His Ways are… amazing. His Thoughts are… so wonderful. I want to have a mind like Christ now simply because a simple normal “human” mind isn’t cutting it for me anymore. I dunno… maybe He’s preparing my mind for Heaven. Or maybe, His Kingdom is NOW. Maybe He wants me to be (as the Hebrews were named) “set apart”. Maybe He wants me to walk around this earth with a mind like His… and continue His Work. and BE His Work.

Wow. Giving up sugar brought me to all of this.

So. worth. it.

Day 210: THE Force

Day 7 of my hard-core Daniel Fast!

So, my pastor said something on Sunday that has been sticking in my mind…

“You’ll never know the full force of temptation until you are able to resist it.”

I’ve been really thinking on that. It took me a second… okay, a few seconds… to really grasp what it was that he was saying. Here’s my reworking of it… I feel the force of temptation when I am trying to not eat a chocolate chip cookie from, say, Chick Fil A (cause holy moly… have you SEEN those things?!?! They are beastly awesome looking!). But, if I “give in” and eat the cookie then I really might only feel 30% of the force of temptation if I give in quickly. Maybe if I wait a while I might feel 90% of the force of temptation. Maybe even 99.9% of the temptation. But… if I’m giving in to the temptation… if I eat the proverbial Chick Fil A cookie, then I never have the “opportunity” to feel a full 100% of the force of temptation.

I almost felt like I was writing a Star Wars blog post there for a second… with all the times I wrote “the force”.

But, gosh… it is so accurate. It totally makes sense.

And at the same time… I think that there is a second part to that statement:

And until you are able to resist temptation, you’ll not know the full force of freedom in Christ.

Cause peeps… dizang. Once I finally started to tap into the Power of the Holy Spirit to resist temptation in my life, and once those temptations were so easily squelched and resisted: WOW. Then, I felt this freedom like I have never felt in my life. And I felt powerful. I felt like I had been infused with some kind of supersonic supernatural elixir to stand up to anything, and that’s because I HAD been infused with it!

I mean, let me break it down for you… for yearrrrrrrs I had been unable to resist that Chick Fil A cookie (well, maybe not necessarily THAT cookie cause honestly I have only just seen their cookie today… but you get my point)… so for years, I have warred against that cookie. loathed it. resented it. desired it. lamented it. lusted for it. and then eventually, ate it. I have almost always given in. And if I didn’t give in one day, I was sure to give in the next. or the next.

And so once I finally allowed God to become my motivation for NOT eating that cookie instead of my health being my motivation, or my weight, or my cravings, etc. Once I made that change, then I was able to hurdle over that line of not-resisting temptation into the realm of resisting temptation. And oh what a freeing feeling that is. And it continues to be freeing. I still feel a bit of a triumph like I did today watching both of my boys chowing down into those CFA cookies while I just… looked on.

It was just one of those moments where I truly felt… truly knew… that The Force was with me.

Day Sixty-Six: This One’s For You

Well, this week has been Spring Break and it is always during times of vacation (or at least my husband’s vacation) that I realize how much I am a creature that loves (and needs) routine.

It’s funny how just adding one more person to the mix of family life will throw off a routine in no time. We don’t have to wake up early, we don’t have to eat breakfast by a certain time or make lunches by 7:45am, we don’t have to cart the entire family up to my husband’s work to drop him off or take my preschooler up to church for school. The days are wide open… and subsequently a bit chaotic!

I have had little or no “extra” time to blog these past few days. And while I find it a bit freeing to not have done my writing for a bit, at the same time I feel a bit of a tug for anyone who might be reading.

As in… I feel their silent accountability. No, I don’t feel like I owe anyone anything. I don’t “owe” the blog’s readers a post, but I know that there are a few people that desire to get a Word of God that deals with these addictions or strongholds as much as I. And I know that there are some that are “rooting” for me and/or praying for me.

And although I know that God is now my support and my constant companion through all of this, the power of those around me is still strong. Perhaps it is the power of the Holy Spirit that flows through us that supports each other… yep. Even through something as “impersonal” as the internet!

And I am reminded of one of my favorite verses that encourages having friendship of those in the faith…

For I long to [blog to you] so I can bring you some spiritual gift that will help you grow strong in the Lord. I want to encourage you in your faith, but I also want to be encouraged by yours. Romans 1:11-12

And this is what brings me back to my blog today. After I caught up a bit on my bible reading (which as much as I wanted to post before, I knew that the posting on my blog was secondary to reading The Word), I have managed to squeeze in a few minutes of posting on my phone… and as I write these words my two year old has started to call me from his crib. I want to tell you that I am encouraged by you and your faith. Even if I don’t see you and just see your email address listed on my blog followers page… just your clicking on that follow link has encouraged me. And encourages me even at this very minute.

I am encouraged to know that there are other believers out there. That there are other strugglers out there. That there are people of prayer. of faith. of Jesus.

So, friends… brothers and sisters… this one’s for you!

Day Thirty: Holy Hunger

I’ve really thought a lot about not eating too much. about using restraint. about thinking small.

But I was reminded yesterday of the opposite of that thinking.

Like I’ve said before, God specifically designed my body with a hunger mechanism that tells me when I am hungry and when I am not. When I am not hungry, I really shouldn’t eat. But the same thing goes for the other side of that… when I am hungry, I need to eat.

Because otherwise when the hunger sensation turns to a starving sensation… my mind switches into a different approach to food. And this built in approach actually makes a lot of sense.  When I get to the point where I am starving and I am presented with food, I typically eat more than needed. It’s almost as if the most base aspect of my being is thinking: If you are starving now then you might be starving later. Eat as much as you can while you can. But I don’t have a life where starving is a part of my existence. I don’t need to “store up” food for later.

What I need to do is eat when I’m hungry. Eat enough but not too much.

Lest…… when I do stop to eat I end up eating the last four cookie-granola bars that are left… like I did yesterday. And eating the last four cookie-granola bars my friends savors a bit like… gluttony.

And gluttony is no longer welcome in my life.

So I must do whatever it takes to keep gluttony out.

And one of the ways to do that is for me to eat when I’m hungry and not allow myself to get to the point where I am starving. I know that this is a very basic and simple “healthy eating” concept, but I also know that I am having to relearn (or even quite possibly, learn for the first time) a lot of those basic and simple “healthy eating” concepts.

So today, my prayer is this…

God,
Thank you so much for bringing me to this point. Day thirty… awesome! I still need your guidance, your healing, your help, your power. This addiction is strong God. But not as strong as You. Please, send me your Holy Spirit… and make me willing to obey. God, I live in such abundance, and I have not learned what to do with such abundance. I do not know how to handle it. God, give me just enough to satisfy my needs. Teach me restraint through this experience so that it will pour over into all the other aspects of my life. Teach me to be Holy because you are Holy.
In the Name of Jesus Christ,
Amen