Day 353: Back To Basics

After my experiences on Wednesday, I woke up this morning knowing that I needed to recenter myself.

But, like I’ve mentioned before, there isn’t a ton of time in my life to just sit and ponder, so this morning I found myself saying simple prayers. informal prayers. prayers from the heart.

God, please help me honor You today. Help me choose well. Help me. Help me. Help me. I am dependent upon you. I rely upon you for strength. Help me God.

But with just that prayer… just that prayer alone… I found myself able to resist all that “junk” today. Not saying it was an easy resistance, but I resisted nonetheless.

And after that refocus, I thought to myself, “I need to get back to what I was eating a year ago, right at the beginning of the covenant.”

And well, whadda know? My mom got me some of my favorite winter soup for Christmas… Tomato Basil from La Madeline’s! Sooooooo gooooood. So, that’s what I chose for lunch.

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I have lately really wished that I had cataloged everything that I ate at first because it was all so easy. so perfectly filling. so tasty.

But then I am reminded that it felt that way because the goodness of the Lord was a new taste to me… the power of God was a new flavor… the sufficiency of God was a new feeling. It had so little to do with the foods that I was choosing and so much to do with Who I was choosing.

But, all the same, I want to remember… I want to get back to the basics of how I started. Things like prayer, bible study, and good foods. And as I looked for a verse today about remembering His Goodness from the past, I found this verse… well, I found the second verse but the first just really snagged me as well.

“Search for the Lord and for his strength; continually seek him. Remember the wonders he has performed, his miracles, and the rulings he has given.” 1 Chronicles 16:11-12

But look at that. Remember: 1) the wonders he has performed, 2) his miracles, and 3) his rulings.

And I have those in my own life: 1) enabling me to have the strength to stick to a covenant, 2) me going for a year without sugar, 3) his commands against gluttony and lust and greed.

When I remember the wonders he has done and his miracles, then I want to remind myself of His Rules because I have been reminded already, twice, of examples of His Goodness… makes me more prone to remember that His Rulings are for. my. good. and they are for. His. Glory.

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…

Day Forty-Five: An Unmeant Lent

I didn’t mean to do Lent. Like, I didn’t intend to. I figured, Heck, I’m already kinda doing Lent all year long, why should I pick something else to get rid of? Seriously, getting rid of sweets and meats for a whole year… that’s definitely some sacrifice, right?

But I went ahead and went to the Ash Wednesday service at church cause I can still go through the mental focus on Christ throughout the Lenten season. Annnnnnnnd, well, in about the last five minutes of the service it was like my brain saying, “Ya need to give up something.”

So I came home and thought/prayed about it (most of the time my thoughts intermingle with conversation with God… kind of ‘unintended prayers’). And my first instinct was to question why I should give something up since I already am. But I realized the answer to that one pretty quickly: my covenant diet is about me and God… not so much about a refocus on Christ and all His Awesomeness during his journey to the cross. So, okay, give up something to focus more on the journey to the cross. Cool. No prob.

Now, what to give up?

Yeah, that was easy: Facebook. I mean, I really like Facebook! I love to post pics of my boys and update my status with fun and funny things that happen to me during the day. That alone is not such a big deal, but I love to see people’s comments about what I post. And how many people “like” something. And then I sorta just automatically wander over to the News Feed page and then… well, then I just lose time.

And then the following “thought-conversation” ensued:

Me: So, Facebook it is, Jesus! …..What? You want me to pick something else as well? I’m sorry, come again? You want me to go hard core on the Daniel Fast? You do realize that Lent is for forty-six days, right? I mean, God, I did it for 21 days but for 46 days… that is such a sacrifice!

Jesus: Really, January? Realllllly? Is it really THAT difficult? Wanna try dying on the cross WHILE bearing the sins of all humanity?

Me: (embarrased silence)

Jesus: So, could you just do this for me? Just maybe get in touch with my struggles… a little?

Me: Sign me up Jesus. Let’s DO THIS THING!

So, here I go… on a no-Facebook-hard-core-Daniel-Fast Lent season! And, as crazy loco as it sounds, I’m so excited!

(If you are confused thinking, “Wait, I thought you were already doing a Daniel Fast?” I’m doing what I call a “flexible Daniel Fast” for the year, but for the Lenten season I will do a regular ol’ Daniel Fast… which I call a “Hard-Core Daniel Fast” because only fruits, veggies, and nuts… that is hard core! You can read a little about the differences here.)

Day Thirty-Nine: Damsel In Distress

I want to start out by saying that I’m so glad that I decided to do this for a year. Five weeks in and I’m realizing that I’m gonna need another 47 weeks to get this worked out. That might sound like I’m “down” but it’s actually almost like a sigh of relief! I am just really glad that I gave myself a lot of time to get “over” this addiction. To work through my bad habits. To become a new creation. Too often before I have expected myself to become a new creation over night and that’s not always the way that it works. I mean, hey, I have thirty-three years of addictive habits that I’m trying to break. That might take a little while!

Now, with that being said, I feel like I have moved into Phase II of this experience. Phase I was getting past my addiction to sugar, namely, chocolate. Honestly… haha, yeah… honestly, I thought that was my only “issue”. Nope. Turns out that I realize over and over that it really wasn’t about the chocolate at all (well, okay, maybe a bit because it was soooooooo good), but that it has been an issue of the heart. So, once chocolate was gone I simply started to slowly work in new “addictions”. But the good news is that I’m not going to let those new addictions master me for the next thirty-three years but I’m going to deal with them now. nip them in the bud now. abolish them from my life now.

So… yeah. In a way I feel like I am back at square one. I’m seeing some of the same tendencies popping back up! Eating what is not beneficial but is still technically “okay” on the fast (e.g. potato chips). Eating past the sensation of full (e.g. dinner last night and tonight when I ate two servings worth and was way past full). Eating too late in the day and ignoring hunger sensations in the hopes that I would let my belly eat a little fat while I starved a bit (e.g. yesterday when I tried to skip lunch altogether).

I can tell that my weight loss has stalled out a little bit and I think that it is because of these things.

So, I’m needing to remind myself of the covenant. And I don’t think that this is a sign of me faltering, or Satan winning, or a lack of faith, discipline, etc.

I have just finished reading through Joshua in my daily bible readings, and after Joshua and the Israelites cross over the Jordan River (God, again, stops the water from flowing so that they can cross) they pile up 12 stones that someone from each tribe picked up when they were crossing the river. Then Joshua tells them why:

“In the days to come, when your children ask their fathers, ‘What are these stones doing here?’ tell your children this: ‘Israel crossed over this Jordan on dry ground.’ “Yes, God, your God, dried up the Jordan’s waters for you until you had crossed, just as God, your God, did at the Red Sea, which had dried up before us until we had crossed. This was so that everybody on earth would recognize how strong God’s rescuing hand is and so that you would hold God in solemn reverence always. Joshua 4:21-24

It’s not that atypical to set reminders… to need reminders. Heck, it’s all through the bible of the Israelites setting up altars to God to remind themselves that He came through. Like Noah when they got out of the boat. He built an altar to God. I just really like how this part ends… the stones are there so that they can tell others what God did… and why He did it: so that everyone would know how strong God’s rescuing hand is and so that we would revere Him always.

So, I am going to be thinking over the next few days of a way that I can set up my stones to remind me that God’s rescuing hand (which I just love that adjective… not just His hand, but his rescuing hand) is strong and that I should revere Him. In the past I might have put a picture of me looking all fatty to “demotivate” me from eating, or a picture of me all skinny to “motivate” me to not eat, or a pig, or a… well, you get the picture. But now again, I am pulling the attention away from me and refocusing it on the things of eternity.

And I think when I see those “stones” and remember that my God has a strong rescuing hand… I might just allow myself to be rescued at that moment. A damsel in distress rescued by The Knight In Shining Armor.

Wow… sounds kind of like a love story.

Yep. The Love Story.

Day Thirty-Eight: Feed A Fever, A Cold, A Headache, An Upset Tummy…

I think I have already established that I am aware that I eat when I shouldn’t. And what’s funny is that I feel like over the past couple of days I have been starting this whole experience of “realization” about my eating habits all over (well, minus the sugar as a factor) but now with bread, chips, and snackies… I think I shall address that tomorrow though.

But I have come across another instance where I eat when I shouldn’t… or at least when that is not what is beneficial for me.

I eat when I don’t feel well. Like you know that phrase “feed a fever, starve a cold”? Well here’s what I have realized are my thoughts on that:
Feed a fever.
Feed a cold.
Feed a headache.
Feed an upset tummy.
Feed body cramps.
Feed lady cramps.
Feed lightheadedness.
Feed a pulled back.
Feed a insomniac. (Hey, those two rhymed)
Feed a sore throat.
Feed a cough.
Feed an earache.
Feed growing pains.
Feed a hang nail.

Seriously. I have realized that every time I have a physical “pain”, I eat. Sure, sometimes that’s what I should do… like being lightheaded, but even then… why do I grab a handful of Ultra Cheesy Goldfish crackers when there are grapes, oranges, bananas, etc right there!?! I think that in a way I am trying to “distract” or “relax” myself with a full belly. It usually works too. I feel “better”.

So, today my hips started to hurt (I have this weird disorder thing in my hips and I sat sorta weird last night and aggravated it) and I was just about to dive into the pantry and come up with some kind of concoction to appease the pain. And then I remembered this revelation that I had yesterday when I was lightheaded and sorta had a mental conversation with myself that essentially ended with: “January, a bowl full of oats, raisins, peanut butter, and a dollop of honey is not going to make your hips better. However, a few ibuprofen and laying on an ice pack might.”

So that’s what I did! And whadda know? It worked! Hmmmmm, maybe I’ll lose weight, conquer my addiction to food, and start to treat my “sicknesses” correctly too now! It’s a package deal!

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