Day Forty-Three: Obedience Is Bliss

(FYI: I am writing this on the evening of February 21st around 9:10pm. It was a post that I needed to write immediately before the awesomeness of it wore off, but since I already posted for day forty-two then I’m scheduling it to post on day forty-three.)

I had a blunder tonight.

Hmmmmmm, perhaps that is putting it lightly. Perhaps that is me not choosing the right word. Perhaps that is me trying to go easy on myself. I’m going to try again.

I broke the covenant tonight.

Yep. Broke it. Shattered it. Demolished it.

Cause that’s what happens to an agreement when one side “breaks” their oath… their bond. The “agreement” is null. void. pointless. non-existent.

Okay, okay, I’ll stop being over dramatic (not that me being over dramatic is a shocker to anyone who knows me). Here’s what happened: I planned a nice meal for us and I even reveled in it during day forty-two’s post: potato and carrots in an onion sauce, baked apples, and a salad. Only, let me just tell you that the baked apples weren’t so much just “baked apples”. It was a Baked Apple Crisp. And I think that any foodie out there is well aware that a Baked Apple Crisp has quite a lot of brown sugar in it.

At dinner, I did a great job of not eating everything on my plate (cause I had gotten an old-me-sized portion… as in, a big ol’ honkin serving). So I stopped when I felt a little bit of pressure. I only ate a few bites of the apple crisp. And that was that. It would have been a perfect evening… except I left out the remains of my meal while I bathed the boys. And then afterwards I came in and ate a few more bites even though I was not hungry. And then after I got both boys down, I snuck (and yes, I say snuck because I walked down the hallway extra quietly so that my husband wouldn’t know that I was finished putting down my oldest) into the kitchen and started chowing down on the leftovers in the baking dish. Oh my gosh. Sooooooo good.

And then… the war began.

Stop!!! January, stop! This is not right. This is breaking the covenant. This is gluttony. This is not what God wants. It’s not what you want. Yes it is… are you kidding me, this is flour and sugar and butter and more sugar. Why would I not want this? Why would God not want this? It’s not gluttony… it’s just enjoying good food. It’s not really breaking the covenant, I mean, it’s got apples in it for crying out loud! This is fine. I don’t need to stop. January. Stop. Think about tonight. Think about five minutes from now. Think about tomorrow. Stop. I. can’t. stop. It’s too good. I. can’t. stop.

And then the moment that I have been hoping for these past forty-two days… here was my next thought…

God, make me willing to obey.

And it worked!

It’s was almost as if my fork was stuck in the next apple. I didn’t want it. I didn’t want to disobey. I wanted to obey. I wanted to be willing to obey. I was going to obey.

And I will admit that I broke into tears at that moment. Because God is so great. Forty-two days in and He is greater than I imagined He could be. His Word… that one verse from just one day… written on my heart… swooped in and connected me to God in a way that saved me. And I stood in that kitchen by myself and raised my hands in thanks to the Almighty Of The Universe for His mercy. His compassion. His adoration. His Love. His help. His salvation.

And I knew that immediately I had to come sit down at this computer and write this post.

THIS post is totally going to be one of my memorial stones. I have been wondering what I could do… well, here was a moment where I needed to cross a river and God dried up the water so that I could pass… and here is a stone that I am picking up to remember that He is faithful and He is just to forgive me of my sins and to cleanse me from all of my wrongdoing and wickedness.

Today has been the best day of my covenant experience… which is SO JESUS… because today is the day that I broke the covenant and therefore should have been my worst day. Today though… today was mercy at its best. And hope at its best. And forgiveness. And all things new. Because today He lifted me from the pit and He “turned my wailing into dancing; He removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing His praises and not be silent. Lord my God, I will praise Him forever.” Psalm 30:11-12

Read your bible peeps. Read it. And you will. be. changed.

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Day Twenty-One: Cookie Dough Syndrome

Alrighty. I have made it to the “last day” of a three week Daniel Fast. Not that difficult! 21 days down and only 336 days to go! Haha!

And it is no coincidence I can assure you that this verse was in my reading plan this morning…

It’s not what goes into your body that defiles you; you are defiled by what comes from your heart. Mark 7:15

It’s almost like this should be my theme verse for what I’m doing with this covenant. I know that nutritionists have about a zillion different ideas of what is “good” for us and what is “bad”. I also know that their opinions of good and bad foods change and change and change. Like the poor egg for example… the nutrition industry just can’t seem to make up their mind! But anyway… the point is for thousands of years nutrition wasn’t even a word but The Word was very clear on food… don’t. eat. too. much. And that’s why I point to this verse. It’s not what goes in that is ruining me… it’s my heart that has been ruined.

I need a renewal of the mind in order to not overeat… to not be greedy with my food.

And I say this all to bring up what I am going to call the Cookie Dough Syndrome. Before I started this diet I was making some cookie dough as a gift for my son’s teachers at school and it was a big ol honkin batch of cookie dough. And as horribly ashamed as I am to admit this, I almost feel that I need to… I ate almost the entire batch of cookie dough. Like, there wasn’t even enough to make them cookies.

You might be thinking right now… Oh geez! She has a sickness. Seriously… that’s like gross.

And trust me. I thought the same things. And every time I thought that… I ate more cookie dough. And that was pretty much when I knew that something… drastic… had to be done. My soul was sick. And only God could heal it.

Now I bring up the random cookie dough story for a reason. In my effort to find some stuff within the parameters of my covenant, I went looking at some granola bars. They all had chocolate chips in them (except for some Special K bars but honestly… they were kind of gross). So, I decided to make my own. I found a recipe online and mixed all the stuff together. When it was all mixed, I took a bite and thought “Wow, that kind of tastes like cookie dough. Maybe this could be a way to get my ‘fix’ of eating cookie dough without actually eating it. It’s kind of a brilliant substitute…” So I ate some from the bowl with a spoon. And ohhhhhhh was it good. So I ate some more. And then some more.

Stop. my mind said. This is not what you want. This is gluttony. Sure, it’s “healthy” but that’s not the point. This is gluttony.

That, my friends, is Cookie Dough Syndrome.

It wasn’t what was going into my body that was defiling me. It was my attidude. My approach. I reverted back into gluttony because I had given this food a “healthy” tag. Then my “old mind” suddenly jumped back in, “Oh okay… you can eat all you want if it is ‘healthy’.” And that’s one mentality that has helped me to become sixty pounds overweight.

So, immediately after realizing this, I felt horrible. And Satan was on. the. ball. See, you can’t do this! It’s only day 21 and you’re already becoming a glutton again. You really think you can do a whole year of this? You’re going to let God down. Just go ahead and eat it. eat. eat. Eat. Eat. EAT. EAT.

Sound like a familiar story? Satan telling someone to EAT… knowing that it was NOT what God wanted. It might as well be him saying: sin. sin. Sin. Sin. SIN. SIN.

But let me tell you that God. is. good. And He loves me. And He wants me to be free.

Because check out yet another “non-coincidence” in my reading this morning…

Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you. Psalm 51:12

I’m not even sure if I really need to explain why this is relevant. (But because I always overdo it, I’ll explain anyway!) I needed the joy of His salvation (that salvation that I don’t deserve) to be restored to me. I needed a reminder. That He loves me even when I do what I shouldn’t do. That He loves me when I do what I should do. That HE LOVES ME.

And then the second half of that verse. What a great prayer: make me willing to obey you. That’s the prayer I needed in that moment of weakness. Make me willing to obey you. Make me willing to obey you. Make me willing to obey you.

So, here, on day twenty-one… that is my prayer:

God,
Thank you for your salvation. Thank you for forgiveness. Thank you for your help.
And just since we’re keeping it real… I can’t wait until Satan is locked up forever cause he realllllllly frustrates me.
Please remind me over these next few days, weeks, and months that it isn’t WHAT I eat that defiles me, but what is going on in my heart. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and please God, make me willing to obey you. Change my heart. Renew my heart. Create in me a NEW heart and renew a LOYAL spirit in me. Make me willing to obey You.
Amen.

But the granola bars look like they are gonna be pretty tasty… one. at. a. time. Glutton Free baby!!!!

Day Twelve: Free Fresh Asparagus!

I haven’t been “out” a lot since I started this mainly because I got so sick after only three days of being on the covenant. But when I have been “out” pretty much at my mom’s house and at the donut shop yesterday morning, I have been a little surprised at how little I am attracted to the irresistibles. Ironically, it was more difficult at my parents house than at Happy Donuts.

But I have come to a shocking conclusion: life does not revolve around food.

I know. I know. That’s crazy talk. But it doesn’t. Like when Miss Kim handed over a half dozen free donut holes for me and said “You have to try these. You never get these on the weekday but these are hot, fresh glazed. Just now.” Now, granted they weren’t chocolate donut holes. That might have led to an entirely different post. But they were donut holes. Fresh. Just now. And freeeeeee. Oh, and doesn’t free just make something taste better?

Well, maybe… cause I mean, “free fresh asparagus” doesn’t really taste any better or worse. It just tastes like… asparagus.

Sorrry. I digress. So, naturally, I did not eat the donut holes. In fact I got one of those cute little bags and put them in there and honestly I forgot about them until late last night! But you know what? My trip to the donut shop wasn’t completely, totally, and utterly ruined because I didn’t eat those freshly glazed donut holes. In fact, it was really no different at all. Perhaps a little less sticky. But the same.

You see, I have tricked myself into thinking that if I don’t eat the donut holes, or that piece of wedding cake, or the hot dog, or the whatever that I will not be fully experiencing life at that moment. But my life, my happiness, my joy… they are not found in moments of food. What a smash to God if I thought that the joy of life was found in an eclair!?!?!? I don’t need food to experience a moment.

Of course my mind is saying, “Well, unless you went to Fogo de Chão.” But no… even then. My life, my evening would not be a disaster if I didn’t eat a single piece of meat. I would simply be…

Yeah, I would just… be. Be me. Be me in that moment. Apart from food. Free from food.