Day 404: Rally Tally

tallymarks

Lately, I have been taking a study at church over The Patriarchs by Beth Moore, and in one of the videos she mentions that God isn’t in Heaven tallying up every time we sin; He is up in Heaven tallying up every time that we take an opportunity and do something that honors Him.

(Note: that is a TOTAL paraphrase because I can’t remember exactly what she said! And also, I have no idea if that statement is biblically sound… yet. I’m going to look into it; however, Beth Moore is a biblical scholar, so I tend to default that most of what she says is accurate.)

And I only have like two more minutes to post (cause I’m trying to get to sleep by 10:00 or 10:30 since I’m doing this whole up early thing for Lent), but I really wanted to post this.

Think about the last time you messed up and…

ate a bag of Oreos (or Girl Scout Cookies, since that’s “in season” right now!)
devoured your lunch leftovers even though you weren’t hungry.
hid some food from your husband or roomie so that you could sneak-eat it later.
ate someone else’s food because you couldn’t resist it.

And just remember that as BAD or HORRIBLE or GUILTY or SAD or DEPRESSED that you felt at that moment, God. isn’t. tracking. that.

What He IS looking to mark down is the time that you…

stopped by and visited a widow in the nursing home whose family lives across the country.
defended someone that was being picked on.
told someone that they were important and loved by you.
sent your kid to a less-than-desirable school so that you could reach more people.

It’s just cool to think that God is up there looking, watching, waiting for you to do GOOD. WE are keeping that tally of ourselves that marks down every time that we do BAD. But He IS tallying every time that you do choose to drink a glass of water instead of eating a handful of Thin Mints because you want to honor God by taking care of the body He has given you here on Earth. He IS tallying every time that you think of Him and take a deep breath instead of chewing out your son, your brother, your neighbor, your parents, your boss.

So rally up… be freed of all of those nasty marks of “BAD” and “WRONG”. Instead, start to think, “How can I get a “good-mark” for God? So that I can take that and get a jewel for my crown so that I can offer that crown with lots of jewels to God when I am at the judgment seat in Heaven.”

Day 402: Food, UNglorious Food!

You know, if ever Food had a theme song… then I don’t think that there is any doubting that it was the scene from Oliver where the boys all serenade… well, food. Okay, I can’t help it… if you haven’t seen the movie, then you can at least watch this song.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ly7PONiKGUs?rel=0&w=560&h=315]

And especially the part near the end of the song. Here are the lyrics (just in case you aren’t as big a nerd as me and don’t have them memorized) for the very end:

Food, glorious food! Don’t care what it looks like — Burned! Underdone! Crude! Don’t care what the cook’s like.
Just thinking of growing fat — Our senses go reeling One moment of knowing that Full-up feeling! Food, glorious food!
What wouldn’t we give for That extra bit more — That’s all that we live for Why should we be fated to Do nothing but brood
On food,
Magical food,
Wonderful food,
Marvellous food,
Fabulous food,
[OLIVER] Beautiful food,
[BOYS] Glorious food.
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Oh, how I identify with that song.
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But for ALL the wrong reasons! The boys in this video obviously dream and sing about food because they get slop to eat. Is that why I dream and sing about food (okay, so I don’t really actually SING about food)? No… I dream and obsess over it, not because I don’t have good quality food to eat, but because I have always had SO MUCH stuff to eat!
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But lately, I’ve been becoming extremely disenchanted with food. I know that should have happened long ago, but I’m almost going to the pantry or the fridge every time and thinking, “Nothing in here is going to taste the way I want it to taste.” But then when it doesn’t taste the way I want it to taste, I dwell on it even more while I long for some kind of wonderful flavor to hit my tastebuds. Not sure if this insatiable desire is a result of having had so much sugar cross my lips over the years or if so much sugar crossing my lips was a result of this insatiable desire. Either way, I’m having to fight it back now.
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So, a couple of nights ago I just found myself saying to God, “I don’t want to think about food anymore.”
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That was it. That was my prayer. And then I realized that saying that a) out loud b) to myself, and c) to God already started to help. So I said it again. And then when I woke up the next morning, I said it again. And again. And again.
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I think of God, and I moan, overwhelmed with longing for his help. Psalm 77:3
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And I don’t think that it was a coincidence that this new prayer of mine has come about right at the beginning of Lent. Not that I’m changing anything with my eating, but it is 40 Days of Focus on Jesus. I did give up Facebook for Lent which has already been such a relief for me, and although ironically enough I did add a twitter “activity” to do during Lent, I’m cool with that because twitter for me is all about Jesus, so it’s been a great refocus for me to be on there. But I’m also giving up “sleep” for Lent, and I think that this will be the game-changer for me.
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No, I’m not not-sleeping for 40 Days… that’d be cuh.ray.zay. But I am waking up at 5:30am every morning to make sure that I get in a shower (so that I’m fully awake) and some bible study/reading/meditating time on Christ. I used to get up early all the time like that, but somewhere in the midst of my toddler becoming a frequent night-waker, I started to sleep in until juuuuuust before my boys woke up in the mornings, so this is a big deal for me.
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Not only is it a big deal because I am missing out on sleep so that there is the element of “sacrifice” for Lent, but also because if I am getting up every morning (including Sundays) for the 46 days of Lent to commune with God… well, that is gonna have a pretty big effect on me.
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And that is so what I hope for! I want my soul to be getting thinner and thinner (got this concept from that guy over at Fat Pastor) as it sheds off this desire to appease my worldly desires. And I want to lose all of this desire and obsession over food. I know that the only way for that to happen is for me to replace those thoughts with the thoughts of God and let Him take it from there.
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You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! Isaiah 26:3
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Day 400: Mirror | rorriM

I’ve been really contemplating how to honor God this Lent season (yes, I know it’s supposed to be Lenten but that word just makes me think of lentils and that word just gives me the willies). And so I decided to give up Facebook for the 40 Days (although I “lent” on Sundays too cause I don’t do so hot on days “off” of things). But that seemed so… well, so not enough this year. Not only did I want to sacrifice something but I also wanted to offer up something. (Especially after reading mignonpanache’s post about Lent when she mentioned the idea of “mirroring” Christ for these forty days. I mean- in His Life, of course he sacrificed so much but He also GAVE so much and He continually pointed our attention to GOD. And I want to mirror that!

How ironic that my sacrifice (Facebook) would be so similar to the thing I “offer” to Him… cause it’s on Twitter. Ha!

I follow this blog called Fat Pastor. And can I admit that I totally followed it because the name was just kinda strikingly funny to me??? Anyway, in this post, he brought up this thing he’s doing on twitter from @umrethinkchurch where you post a pic a day based off of these words that they posted and hash tag it #40Days and #rethinkchurch. (f you aren’t on twitter you could just as easily blog these or journal them to yourself in the form of words or on facebook or with {gasp} REAL PHOTOS. Here’s the order…

20130213-183053.jpg

And already today it has refocused my mind on Him! At first I was like “Why would focusing on ME the first day be a good way to get me into all of this?”

And then I remembered just who I am IN CHRIST. And it was a refreshing reminder.

20130213-184508.jpgAnd here was the pic that I posted for the day…

20130213-184529.jpg

sins. imperfections. goofiness. burdens. filth. exhaustion. happiness. reality.

All of it is the real me. And the real me… is a saved me.

And at the end of the day, that is what matters.

That is what His Walk To The Cross was all about.

Day 399: Lent Life

Last year on Fat Tuesday, I published this post. It was an interesting thought process for me, especially since I was only on Day 42. Here is the main point of what I wrote:

I guess though that the more that I think about Fat Tuesday I sorta get a little insight into my “issues” of overeating. Fat Tuesday is pretty much all about getting to overindulge simply because lenting requires sacrifice. It’s almost as if we fatten up on this day because we feel like we deserve it since we will have to self-sacrifice the rest of the time. And that is kind of the mentality that I’m afraid of having...

…But now that I get to thinking about this whole Fat Tuesday mentality, I’m kinda of wondering if maybe that’s not what would please God. I mean, my whole thing has been about Him changing my mind, my heart, my soul. Wouldn’t that be just like me turning my back on Him pretty much as soon as He has delivered me into the promised land? Which is so much of what the Israelites did when He dropped them off. After the generation that had been wandering in the desert died off, the people started worshiping other idols in no time. And God was NOT pleased with that scenario. I’m reading through Judges right now and it seems like any time one of the judges gets the people back in order, everything is good, then he or she dies, and everyone gets right back into their mess of looking somewhere other than God. And then He punishes them.

Yeah… I don’t want that.

And wow – reading that now, after my weekend of… gluttony… I’m even more assured that sticking to a more strict covenant is what is right for me. It was one thing for me to have a night off in California when I didn’t have a lot of options, but it was an altogether DIFFERENT experience being here at home AND baking a bunch of sugary treats! I just… lost control.

No, I gave up control.

But either way, I let myself get into a Fat Tuesday Mentality of I have to “sacrifice” the rest of the year so I should be able to eat whatever I want and as much as I want during this “off” day.

And it was just a terrible, terrible time.

I mean… I didn’t even really enjoy it because it was all about breaking the rules instead of celebrating in what God had done. I knew that the only sugar I was supposed to have was at my husband’s birthday PARTY (cause that was the agreement that I made with God), but I started eating sugar the night before while making all of his cakes and cake balls and red velvet cake popcorn.

On Saturday morning, I tried to get back on the right page and I was resisting eating one of the cake balls that I had made for him, but I eventually gave up and ate one.And I think that’s when I first started lamenting what  was going on. I was “fighting” with those cake balls. I hadn’t “fought” with sugar for so long. It was horrible. It was extra horrible because I gave in.

My mind immediately told me: See. Nothing’s changed. Just live it up and give in. You can just get back on track tomorrow and no one will know the difference but you.

And then at the party I was too busy to eat, but I did load up on my dessert plate… But WHY? What was the point? I’d already had everything!

Once I got everyone to bed then I ate some more, although not too much, I was stuffed and exhausted.

Then Sunday… oh my. Sunday I ate and ate and ate and ate and ate and ate until I was, quite literally, sick.

I ate TRYING to make myself so full that I couldn’t eat anymore. I wanted to stop eating all that junk and I knew felt that getting obscenely full or eating everything was the only way at that point. I finally collapsed into bed, feeling horrible and sick and knowing that I was done with sugar again.

Monday would be a new day. A fresh start. A day without fighting the food. A day without sugar. A day without justification or rationalization. A day of boundaries. A day of joy and peace and comfort like I had known for the past year.

And Monday was all of those things for me. Much like an Ash Wednesday will be for some tomorrow. A breath of fresh air as they step away from something that has its hooks in their soul: Diet Dr. Pepper, Facebook, television, etc. And really, I sorta “bashed” Fat Tuesday last year, but now that I sit here and think about it… the Fat Tuesday to Ash Wednesday is really such a beautiful picture of our salvation. We think we need to party it up to live, and then we step from the things of the world into a new life because of Jesus. Not condoning Fat Tuesday for those reasons, but… really, salvation is just this exact process for all of us.

Our life before Christ = one big ol long Fat Tuesday
Our life with Christ = choosing to follow rules and a code in order to honor Christ and focus on Him

The main difference is, we don’t have to keep going back to Fat Tuesday year, after year, after year. We can live a Lent life… all the time.

Day 122: Eat His Words

My husband brought home a surprise Olive Garden dinner for us last night. It was my fav OG meal: shrimp fettucini alfredo, OG salad, stuffed mushrooms, and… breadsticks.

Dern those things. I mean… don’t get me wrong. They are uh.maz.ing. Like truly one of the foods that was delish before I went on my Lent fast and was still delish after my Lent fast.

But I think as good as they are, I need a “break” from them… from bread and chips.

I have really been praying on what I should do and time and time again I feel pulled to stop eating them. My only reluctance comes from how it can limit some of my fav meals like enchiladas or this “chips n chicken” recipe both my husband and I love (I use mushrooms in my half).

So I’m going to try a “balance” for this one. I’m going to modify my covenant from “avoiding” breads and chips unless they are in a recipe to refraining from eating breads and chips unless they are an ingredient for a recipe.

Cause really, it’s just not worth it. Both breads and chips have become an issue that is slowly, stealthily creeping towards being “bigger” than Jesus in my mind.

If your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away! It is much better for you to lose one of your limbs than to have your whole body go off to hell. Matthew 5:30

Of course, I’m not talking about cutting off a limb but it is a similar principle. There is something in my life that is taking my focus off of Christ… just like the chocolate and sugar was (although that was more severe for me which is why I know that I can afford myself no leniency with it)… so I am going to chop it off and rid that distraction.

Now for how long? For a month? Three months? The duration of the covenant?

Yeah… I think bread and chips are a big enough of an issue that they need to go for the rest of the year.

My mind was just teetering on writing this: {sigh} but then I thought, “Wait, think about how you really feel……” and there it was. Not disappointment. Not fear. Not regret.

Peace.
Relief.
Joy.

Truly… People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God. Matthew 4:4

Day 119: Super Extra Amazingly Delish

Well, I’m feeling a bit like I’m back in the saddle again. Throwing out the scale was huge, and being reminded by God that He WILL continue His covenant with me… well, both of those things somehow managed to get my sights back on track.

Over the past couple of days, it has been relatively easy to eat what I should eat… fruits, veggies, nuts. And I can definitively say that it has not be “easy” to eat what is beneficial (instead of what is “okay” like tortillas, potato chips, feta cheese, etc.) since I finished with my Lent fast. I had a bit of “backlash” from not being able to eat those things for so long that it was all I wanted at first, and since in January I’ll be “released” from the covenant and able to eat whatever I want, it was good to know that it lasted a while… a month pretty much, before I started to feel like something was “off”. And even without the scale telling me that something was wrong, I knew that something was “off”. I can’t really explain it, but eating all of that stuff was just… dissatisfying.

Turns out, food just tastes like… food. Really all of it either fits on the “ick” end of the spectrum of taste or it fits on the “delish” end or somewhere in between. But, really… honestly… nothing really goes beyond “delish”. It’s like my tastebuds max out on a delish signal to the brain and that’s it. Nothing really tastes “super extra amazingly delish”. I think what tricked me into believing that this existed before was because of the emotional connection that I was attaching to the foods as I was eating them.

  • Donuts at Happy Donuts = super extra amazingly delish… because I was with my boys, having a good time, relaxing, indulging
  • Ribeye at Roadhouse = super extra amazingly delish… because I’d go there for my birthday when I was being celebrated, with my family, having a good time, relaxing, indulging
  • Cookie Dough = super extra amazingly delish… because I so rarely make it that when I did it was a special treat, an “I deserve it” kind of moment

And that list could keep going I’m sure, but what it boils down to is that I’m learning “the truth” about food. I’m learning over and over again that it really isn’t a good comforter. or companion. or whatever else it is that I have made it.

And even more dissatisfying was knowing each time that I was not honoring God with my choices. Yes, again, I was sticking with the covenant but I was sort of ignoring making my food choices as something that would honor Him and was focusing on myself and my “needs“.

And honestly, not honoring God leaves a really bad taste in my mouth. in my heart. And, well, ultimately, I am dissatisfied.

But now that I desire for my eating to honor Him again, it’s like… well, everything is satisfying. My taste buds, my stomach, my heart, my mind, my life.

You satisfy me more than the richest feast. I will praise you with songs of joy. Psalm 63:5

So, really… I think that I have discovered that my God is really the only thing that is, truly, super extra amazingly delish!

Day Ninety-Four: Oh! My! God!

Ya know, going on a “strict” fast for Lent of only fruits, veggies, and nuts (oh, and coffee… cause, seriously… I have a toddler… and if we follow the whole “What Would Jesus Do?” thing… well, if Jesus had a toddler… he would drink coffee!)… anyway, eating just those things for forty-six days and then coming off of that fast back to my regular Daniel Fast… well, it has been super good for me. A peek into the future of what I might experience, or think, or feel, or struggle with whenever my covenant is “over” in January 2013.

First of all, I have to say that this week of “struggle” has been, relatively, no struggle compared to my struggles with food in the past when coming “off” of a diet. Has it been a perfect week? No. But it has been a learning week for me. And that’s just what I want and exactly what I need. It’s sorta like going off of a diet while still being on… a diet.

My biggest lesson: the week “after” is the single most important week to read the Bible, pray, think on things of eternity, etc. And I say that because this has been a week where I have done pretty much none of those things! And it has been a crummy week! I didn’t want to read my Bible (yeah, thanks for that joy killer, Satan) and because I wasn’t reading my Bible I wasn’t really thinking about the things of God. And because of that I wasn’t really wanting to post. And because of that my mind began to wader from my freedom and back into my previous slavery. And because of that I was helpless to the mozzarella and bread sticks.

And oh. my. gosh.

Soooooo I just got out my phone to search for a verse to put with this post.

And seriously… oh. my. gosh. No. Wait. Better yet, I’m going to use the real deal.

Oh! My! God! You are soooooo GREAT! You are AWESOME! AMAZING! My… EVERYTHING!

Friends, just read this verse that is oh-so-perfect for my lesson learned this week that God just plopped down in front of me and you’ll see why I say that He is so great, awesome, amazing, and my everything:

I have not departed from his commands, but have treasured his words more than daily food. Job 23:12

Amen!

PS… I love you God!!!

Day Seventy-Six: Manna Musings

I have thirteen more days after today to be on my Lent fast of fruits, veggies, and nuts. It has been far easier than I expected as well as extremely eye opening as to how much processed foods I consume even on my regular Daniel Fast.

Having said that, I miss cheese, eggs, and fish!

I mean… I miss the pasta and beans and rice and bread, too, but I only miss them because of the convenience of them in recipes, like spaghetti and pasta, stuffed bell peppers with rice, carribean style beans, and veggie enchiladas and tacos… ooooo, and a mushroom burger!!!

But all of those things I could take them or leave them, but I want a veggie omelet, a baked potato with cheese, a panko crusted tilapia filet!

I don’t want another orange.

I don’t want another apple.

I don’t want another raisin.

Honestly, I don’t think this way that all the time! But there are times when I look in the fridge for breakfast and get a little discouraged when it looks like I’ll be having yet another clementine. But most of the time I just grab whatever is on my fast to eat and just go forward from there which is a good sign, I think, that I’m moving away from food as a lust into food as a nourishment.

But, I do think about how the Israelites felt with manna everyday. I mean, I may not have as much variety as a non-faster has, but I have way more variety than manna for breakfast, manna for lunch, and manna for dinner.

But I guess in a way I do have manna for every meal. I mean, God provided more than just manna during those “drop feeds”.

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Look, I’m going to rain down food from heaven for you. Each day the people can go out and pick up as much food as they need for that day. I will test them in this to see whether or not they will follow my instructions. Exodus 16:4

And this is exactly the same learning that I am having to go through. I probably would have been one of those Israelites that gathered up extra only to find it had turned to rot with maggots in it.

Actually, I have been that Israelite. I have eaten more than what I need and the result was that I had an addiction to that “more”… a rotten, maggot-infested pile of “more”. of an overweight body. of an overweight soul.

But just like those Isreaelites that learned the hard way didn’t make the same decision again, I have handed over my pile of “more”… my extra… my excess. And in return, God has given me as much as I need. And it will feed me perfectly, well, for at least the 40 years it fed the Israelites!

Day Seventy-Five: Feeling Fine

This morning I found myself talking to a friend about my covenant. I had been talking to someone else about how I am sooooo ready to have an egg for breakfast or tilapia for dinner (can’t believe that I just said those things instead of a chocolate cake donut for breakfast and a ribeye steak for dinner) and while I was saying that another friend overheard and asked what I was doing. I briefly explained that for the year I am doing a broad Daniel Fast but for Lent I am doing a fruits, veggies, and nuts only fast. She asked how I was getting my protein and I told her that I eat a lot of avocados and nuts. She then asked a question that, surprisingly enough, no one has asked me during these seventy-five days… “How are you feeling?”

It was an interesting thought… I said, “Ya know, I feel great! I mean, I came off of sugar pretty hard the first few weeks but now I feel… great!”

And I do! This is another side effect that I had not considered. But I haven’t had a headache in weeks (I usually have had three to four a week… which I previously attributed to my TMJ), my heart never races anymore (and that was happening three to four times a week as well), my skin looks really great (I think), I really have noticed an increase in energy (but that could also be because of the change in weather to beautiful Spring weather)!

I can see how Daniel and his friends looked better than all the others after three weeks of fruits, veggies, and nuts!

At the end of the ten days, Daniel and his three friends looked healthier and better nourished than the young men who had been eating the food assigned by the king. Daniel 1:15

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…