Day 483: Way, Way Out

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Looking back at my last post, Day 481: Black Sabbath, I realized that there were so. very. many. “outs” that God gave me to not have to take that downward plunge.

My husband saying “Get a pizza for you.”
Not previously having had any wine in the house.
The moment at the store where I thought “I could get something else entirely.”
When my husband hung out in the living room longer so I had to wait to sneak out the cookie dough.

God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure. 1 Corinthians 10:13

He was all over it… on my behalf. And, honestly, I saw the signs then too. I knew that He was giving me a way out, but I was so determined to do wrong at that point that I just ignored all the lifelines He was throwing at me.

But Monday was another day entirely… a new day… with new mercies. And then this morning I was going back through my bookmarks and came across this one:

God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases Him. Philippians 2:13

It’s so cool when the Word of God expresses just what you need to know, just what you need to hear, just what I needed to be reminded of.

And ya know… this post is pretty short and sweet, but honestly, there isn’t a whole lot more to say about it! That last verse is what I’m gonna focus on today.

Day 305: God Vision Goggles

I was thinking about yesterday’s post and as I tried to embrace the verseGod doesn’t see things the way you see them” I had this moment where it moved away from being all about my fauxfat and more about food…

Like, I was hungry this morning and was looking through my pantry for something and thought, “Oooooo, look… chips… yummay!” And then I thought to myself: Okay, this is when I need to come up with a verse to help me… and the verse that I focused on yesterday was God doesn’t see things the way you see them, but that doesn’t really apply to food… that was about appearance. But, well, really God probably doesn’t look at these chips the same way that I look at them. And God probably doesn’t look at a banana the same way that I look at it.

And then I really started to think about looking at my food options the way God might see them. I mean, remember Luke 16:15? “The things that most people think are important are worthless as far as God is concerned.” Like, I see Nacho Cheese Doritos and think “yummmmm” and He probably sees them as black gunk and tar. I see a bag of my mom’s famous chocolate chip chunk cookies and think “delishhhhhhh” and He… well, actually, bad example. I’m pretty sure even GOD knows how amazing those things are. So, let me try something else… I see an ad for a supreme chaulpa from Taco Bell and think “soooooooooo goooooooood” and he thinks “gonna suck your life away”.

And on the flip side, I see a banana and think… “{insert sarcastic tone} wow. a banana. that’s just so… healthy. woo hoo.” And He sees His creation, His gift of easier days for me physically, His blessing of a longer life.

(Okay, yes, this is me being heinously overdramatic… but go with it), what if God looks at the world and everything in it, like, in infrared like that picture of my fridge up there??? And all of the things going on that are pleasing to Him are in red and all of the stuff that is temporary and just eternally lame is in that green and blue color??? Wouldn’t that be RAD to be able to see the world that way!?!? To see the world His way?!?!

Cause here’s the deal… I spend so many of my days looking at the world and longing for those areas that are green and blue… areas of life that separate me from Him. Food. Popularity. Gossip. Fashion. Entertainment. Etc.

But His thoughts are not my thoughts… His ways are not like my ways. (Isaiah 55:8)

So, this week one of the things I’m going to do is to put on my God Vision Goggles and try to seek out those eternal things that are glowing red hot with holiness. I’m going to look at my fridge and pantry with that vision and I’m going to reach out for those things that please Him. I’m going to look around at the people I see, and do as Jesus would do… I’m going to aim for those people that are blue and green on that infrared scan and I’m gonna let the blinding red of Jesus’s life and goodness shine through me… and maybe they’ll want to join in with the red crew.

And maybe, after I’ve worn those God Vision Goggles for a while… maybe they’ll just become, like, part of me. And maybe I’ll start to see like that all the time. And maybe I’ll love God all the more for the way He sees this world.

Hmmmmmm, probably not “maybe” on that last one… pretty sure that one will be a “definitely”.

Day 218: Mid-Night Musings

Day 15 of my hard-core Daniel Fast.

It’s 4:45am and I’ve been up for about an hour with a cough. My husband, toddler, and I all have it. Not sure how the five-year old skipped it, although if Murphy’s Law proves true, he’ll get it just in time for school! Ha!

Anyway, I’ve had this cough for about a week now. Most days it’s just been annoying but yesterday and through the night I have actually felt sick. I went to bed, well, on time last night… but when my boy woke up at 3:30 I could not go back to sleep because of this tickle-itch in the back of my throat. Of course, I came out of the bedroom and am now lounging on the couch hoping that sleep will find me again.

I should have known I’d get sick once I started a fast… poor ol’ Satan. He needs a new bag of tricks… doesn’t he know that he’s already done this to me… twice?!?!

Anyway, one of the big things on this hard-core Daniel Fast is that I decided not to drink anything other than water. But yesterday, I literally was at my wits end with this cough. Meds weren’t working. Cough drops were having zero effect. My husband suggested that I have a cup of hot tea. I was on the verge of giving in and just having a cup of hot tea in the mindset that it was medicinal, but then he suggested that I have some hot lemon water with honey. My reaction was one of disgust, even though I knew that it would help me, and so then when I thought about my options, I was like “well… a cup of hot tea would be nice and it wouldn’t be much of obedience to Him, but a cup of lemon water… ewwwwwww. Yes, even with honey… ewwwwww… it’ll be like a sacrificial obedience.” So I figured that it was safe to view the lemon water as medicinal instead of a cup of tea.

And wow, did it help.

And wow,  was I glad that I avoided the tea and went with more of a sacrifice… went with obedience.

And it wasn’t like a legalism kind of thing… I really wanted to please God by not giving in easily to something that would break my fast agreement with Him. It kind of reminds me of this conversation:

What is more pleasing to the Lord: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams. 1 Samuel 15:22

And in a way, I felt like it was obedience… trying to obey Him. That is what pleased Him. And that is my goal.

Day 170: Pantry Pinings

I haven’t wanted fruit the past week. Like… at. all. Veggies? Nope. Not so much.

Pantry food? Ohhhhhhhh yeah.

And I have this sort of… numb… feeling about honoring God right now. Pretty sure that it is an aftermath of not reading the bible religiously (i.e. habitually) and not really praying for a couple of weeks. But nonetheless, gotta get my focus back. I need to care about honoring God. I mean it’s not that I’m breaking the covenant (although I got realllllllll close to that line this morning when I made the boys “Cookie Dough Soup”… essentially oatmeal with brown sugar and chocolate chips… and Saxon didn’t want his and I was super hungry so I ate “around” the chocolate chips… ya know, the ones that had melted making it virtually impossible to eat “around” them), but I’m not at all worried about making choices that please Him, or choices that are beneficial, or eating to live instead of living to eat.

And I asked my friend Alice to pray for me because I was really struggling (and honestly I’m writing this on day 173 and I’m still struggling with it), and she said that she didn’t really have any major wisdom for me, but she did say “He’s got this.”

And that’s pretty much the reminder that I needed at that moment. Did I immediately start craving an apple instead of a bowl of granola bathed in almond milk? Nooooooo, but it was a start. And then yesterday, I came across this verse in my regular bible reading and it really struck me as what I’m asking for at this point (I changed it to a prayer, by the way)…

God, please work in me. Give me the desire and the power to do what pleases You. Philippians 2:13

Day 165: All Dressed Up

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Salad dressing.

Yep. That’s the topic of this post… salad dressing.

Which might seem like a insignificant little topic but if you think about anytime you go on a diet what is one of the things that they always regulate?

Salad dressing.

Which is a shame because most salad dressings are sooooooo gooooooood. Of course, this is coming from a girl that really only eats ranch and blue cheese dressings. But both of those are sooooooo gooooooood.

Anyway, even though the medium for this topic is salad dressing, that’s really not the main point. The main thing on my mind is: excess.

And excess is the real reason that most diets limit salad dressings. It is the real thing reason that most diets are trying to limit. And the real reason most people lose weight on a diet… not the specific foods they are eating (although that is important to a degree), but the fact that they are eating less.

Think about it:

  • Calorie Counting: the main goal here is to limit the amount one eats in a day. It works for some people because they limit the amounts they eat to stay in that range. It failed for me because I would tally how many brownies I could eat that would keep me in that range.
  • Atkins:by cutting out carbs from your diet you limit the amount of food you eat. It works for some because carbs are the foods they are “addicted” to. Worked for me once then failed me every other time because I still didn’t have the self-discipline to not eat the foods on the “no” list.
  • Weight Watchers: which is essentially calorie counting but just on a much smaller scale (no pun intended- haha!). But it also causes you to limit the amount of your daily intake. It works for some because they are limiting what they eat in a day, possibly making better food choices as well. Plus I think their groups help a lot too. It seems that most people that have success with WeightWatchers do so because of the groups. It didn’t work for me because a) I hate math and even with the calculator I had to tally all my stuff, and b) again, I had to have the motivation and self-discipline to stay within my points. Plus I did the online version… so, no groups.
  • But all three of those (and there are, of course, a zillion more) limit food choices and in doing so they limit salad dressing. Yes, see, I got back to the topic again! Ha!

    And here’s the deal. If I’m gonna eat a LEAF, then I want to put something on said LEAF to make it taste like……… well, like a not-leaf. And that stuff is called salad dressing. So I don’t want to put on something fake-tasting because then it’ll be like eating a fake-LEAF. And that is even worse!

    So I knew that salad dressings were going to be one of those things that I wouldn’t put a limit on (unless it became an issue and I started eating bowls of just ranch… which I wouldn’t have put that past me). But what I have noticed is that I eat far less salad dressing on my leaves than I used to. (And yes, I looked up the word “leaves” to make sure that was the correct plural of “leaf”.)

    I used to eat what was essentially leaf soup. A handful of salad with globs and globs of dressing. In essence I just didn’t want to taste the leaves at all. But one of the most important retrainings that is happening to me is the avoidance of gluttony. And a truck load of dressing was… gluttony. Yes, apparently, one can even gluttonize with a salad. And so recently when I ate a salad and put on my regular amount of dressing, I looked down at it and thought… not. pleasing. to. God.

    And I scraped a ton of it back into the jar.

    And the salad was awesome.

    Maybe because now I eat salad with all sorts of goodies on it: carrots, cherry tomatoes, celery, cilantro, chopped peanuts, feta cheese, bell peppers, mushrooms, and a good mix of salad. I don’t even give much room for those dern leaves anymore. Heck, I could probably leave them out entirely!

    But I think it was extra good because I scraped off all of that bitter-tasting, guilt-producing, stomach-churning gluttony. And instead sprinkled on some amazingly tasty “honor-God”.

    You should try some… it’ll change your life.

    For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. Titus 2:11

    Day 151: Fly Away

    Recently, I heard a teaching about grieving when we sin. It was interesting… cause honestly… I don’t tend to grieve when I sin. I grieve when I have to bear the consequences of sin, but not often the actual sin itself grieves me simply because it hurts, disappoints, and angers God.

    Like, for example, for a lonnnnnnng time I didn’t grieve when I ate too much food. But eventually, I did grieve when my favorite cute capris didn’t fit anymore (although that’s probably a good thing… cause I’m pretty sure they were out of fashion then and they would definitely be out of fashion NOW). I don’t grieve when I talk smack about someone behind their back… until I get caught.

    But, I should grieve over sin… just because it hurts, disappoints, and angers God. Especially because I want to please Him. My entire existence is to please Him. Every single moment is to please Him. I am reminded of the old school praise and worship song…

    Every move I make, I make in You… You make me move Jesus. Every breath I take, I breathe in You.

    And that’s really where I am at… well, at least… where I want to be. And for so long I excluded food from my “every move”. Why? Not sure, maybe because it was something so… basic. But only in the past year or so have I become very aware that making a move for food is something that can make God very, very pleased if I chose to honor Him, or very, very sad should I bend the other way.

    But allow me to bring up another change that I have had. I have had a change in the way that I view sin… habitual sin especially.

    It should grieve our hearts, but really we should also long for that freedom from sin. I no longer view sin as something to weigh me down. Perhaps because I am still basking in the awesomeness of being freed from a habitual sin in my life. Now, my viewpoint toward sin is that it is less of a blockade and more of a hurdle.

    I can get over a hurdle. Well, with God’s help, I can get over a hurdle (and in truth, I probably couldn’t get over a real track and field hurdle in real life without a miracle from God). And because of that, I have experienced a new kind of freedom from sin.

    First of all… I am freed from the attempt to even TRY to overcome a sin by myself. I am too keenly aware of the abysmal failure that this was for me… trying to overcome the sin of gluttony. Ha! EPIC. FAIL.

    But I am also, by the grace and POWER of God, freed from the sin of gluttony.

    And it is the thought of the freedom from that sin along with the thought of eventually being able to please Him with my actions once that sin is gone… that thought makes me want to covenant every little sin in my life and allow Him to just rip through the ties I have to this world so that my soul is flying higher and freer than ever before… and then eventually my flight to heaven won’t be so far and it won’t be so difficult to let this place go. And truly, I’ll fly away, oh glory, I’ll fly away…

    Day 144: Short And To The Point

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    No shorts are that cute.

    Day Eighty-Four: Part II “Bad” Food Begets “Bad” Food

    I was thinking of my post from yesterday about good food leading into more good food, and I think that it is the same for bad food. Now, I don’t like to really look at most food as “bad”, because I think that the gluttony is more of what makes foods “bad”. Like wine, for example… a glass of wine has little to no effect on me but I love the flavor of it. But, three glasses of wine… well, three glasses of wine will get me drunk. And, as much as a lot of people would like to ignore it, the Bible is clear about not getting drunk. So, the gluttony is what makes that particular food “bad” for some people.

    Same thing with me and chocolate… I don’t think that chocolate is “bad” in and of itself… on the contrary, it is goooooooooood! Haha! But because it causes me to sin by leading me into gluttony, then, yes, by all means… it is bad. Bad, bad, bad. Because oftentimes when I eat a lot of chocolate, then I kind of get into this spiral where I eat (gluttonously) a whole bunch of other processed… stuff.

    For someone else it might be chips… a lot of people can pass up a bag of m&m’s, but you stick a tube of Pringles out on the counter and they are done for. In that case, the Pringles are “bad” for them.

    Again, it’s not about the particular food… but about the heart. It’s about making choices that please God. Whether it be covenanting from chocolate, sugar, coffee, wine, salt, chips, whatever.

    And if your hand—even your stronger hand—causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. Matthew 5:30

    And like I like to do, here it is in the “me” version…

    And if your food—even amazing tasting food—causes you to sin, pull it out of the pantry or fridge and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one thing in your pantry than for your whole body to become involved in the sin of gluttony.

    Well, when I put it that way, I might need to schedule a pantry cleaning out around the time my covenant runs out!

    Day Forty-Two: Skinny Tuesday

    Today is Fat Tuesday since tomorrow starts the Lent season with Ash Wednesday. But since I am not really in a mindset to “gorge” then today is to be my “Skinny Tuesday”.

    But having a Skinny Tuesday is not such a bad thing… I mean, we are having Crockpot Potatoes and Carrots with an onion sauce, an Apple Crumble of sorts, and my husband will have a chicken breast while I have a salad. Honestly, I think that I would rather have that than a cake… with a baby… baked inside.

    Ewwwwwww.

    Haha! I’m just teasing… cause, for real, them Mardi Gras peeps sure know how to make some good food for their Fat Tuesdays (as well as pretty much the rest of the year as well)!

    Anyway, I’m rambling. 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.

    For example, I have already been thinking and planning about what I’m going to do when my covenant diet is over. Last night I was thinking about what I would have on January 1, 2013… a ribeye steak from Roadhouse… my mom’s chocolate cake (you know, the one that I’m going to miss on my birthday)… a liberal glass of red Merlot…

    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.

    I want for God to see my actions on January 1st and be pleased. I want for Him to look at me and think… Wow, she really did want to change. She really does want to please me. I really want to give her my blessing.

    So maybe I won’t go all out on January 1st after all. Maybe I’ll even follow the same diet for that day. Not because I have to, but because I want to. Yep. That would be a pretty neat New Year’s gift to offer to God.

    I’m not sure entirely if this verse means what it reads like, but oh well… it puts my heart in the right spirit!

    I will sacrifice a freewill offering to you; I will praise your name, Lord, for it is good. Psalm 54:6

    Day Thirty-Six: Mixed Veggies Mindset

    I think that I have realized over the past week or so that I need to sorta “revisit the vision” cause lately I have been following the covenant but my heart has not been in it. Since I really want this to be a change of the heart, soul, and mind… then I need to pretty frequently evaluate my motivation, my heart, my thinking, my reasons, etc.

    Like I said, I have been sticking to the “letter of the Law” of the covenant, but not necessarily the spirit of it as well. I was still staying within my parameters as far as what I could eat, but I wasn’t trying to eat well. I was being a lazy eater and trying to sorta stay in the covenant without really having to work at it.

    For example, technically a peanut butter and honey sandwich is okay for me to have in the covenant. But not necessarily beneficial. Beneficial would be for me to attempt to go “beyond the Law” if that makes sense. Like, sure I can have the peanut butter and honey sandwich, but it would be better for me if I ate the apple instead, or mixed veggies (like I had today for lunch), or a baked potato. That way I’m not necessarily trying to just stick to the Law (like one tries to “stick” to a diet) but I am trying to please God by going beyond just what the Law asks me to do.

    And at the risk of sounding like a broken record, this is not something that I would think about on a diet. I would totally be focused on how to follow the diet in the most indulgent way possible. (Like, if I get 2,000 calories a day then how many brownies can I eat and stay in that range?) But since this is about so much more than just a diet, then I can get excited about not having that peanut butter and honey sandwich (which is actually one of my favorite things) but excited in having a bowl of mixed veggies (which was surprisingly good… although I do wish they would leave out the peas. Ick. Not sure why God even bothered with those things).

    All of these efforts are in hopes… no, in faith… of being free from food. I was teetering on my mind falling right back into the same slavery as before even though I was still following the covenant. I would have just made sandwich bread, tortillas, chips, etc my new “chocolate”.

    Now I’m going to go out of order on these verses but for a reason:

    If you are trying to make yourselves right with God by keeping the law, you have been cut off from Christ! You have fallen away from God’s grace. Galatians 5:4

    That was me… yesterday. A slave to the Law. Being driven by the Law. Trying to do right by keeping the Law. But today…

    Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law. Galatians 5:1

    Today I have once again been set free. My mindset today is how can I please God with what I eat? So even though that PB&H sandwich would not make Him mad… it might not make him pleased like the bowl of mixed veggies.

    Wow. Who knew that mixed veggies could symbolize so much? Haha!