Day 730: In Defense Of New Year’s Resolutions

The Covenant Diet - In Defense of New Year's Resolutions

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When I was a teacher, I loved a lot of things about the job. I really enjoyed getting to hang with teenagers every day… I know that makes me kinda wack, but I really did enjoy it. I loved talking about language and stories and persuasion and all of that “English stuff”. I loved helping a kid who had trouble expressing themselves and helping them find their voice.

But honestly, ask any teacher and once we get past the”touchy-feely” parts about why we like teaching, there are a few semi-selfish reasons that we like the job: the breaks. Especially summer break. No, it wasn’t a time devoid of any work… I found myself up at the school multiple times during the summers, but it was a break.

And that break allowed me to start clean, fresh, new every single year.

A new class, a new start, new faces, new lives, new minds.

I didn’t have to keep figuring out ways to keep Bobby Joe focused during reading instead of dreaming about the car he was fixing up at home… because he went on to the next grade. I didn’t have to deal with Samantha and her sassy retorts to every word that would come out of my mouth… because she went on to the next grade. I didn’t have to try to decipher Megan’s handwriting anymore… because she went on to the next grade.

Sure, the new year would bring new students with their own sets of issues, but it was okay. I was ready. I was going to start new. I’d ended the school year before analyzing the things that I’d done and figuring out how to tweak them so that I could make my students’ learning easier as well as my my life more streamlined. And ya know what?

Each year did get easier.

Despite the fact that sometimes the classes were more difficult to handle one year and not the next. Despite the fact that I had a new principal pretty much every single year and had to learn “their way” of running things. Despite the state changing criteria or tests or whatever. I got better each year at planning and at adjusting.

{Ummmmm, okay, so thanks January for that recap on your educational career.}

Well, the thing is… the turn of the New Year is kind of like that for me spiritually. I can view it as a fresh start. Kind of like I imagine the Jews feel after Yom Kippur (The Day of Atonement) when they have confessed been forgiven by God and He has sealed their fate for the next year. It’s just an enticing sort of thought… being pure and new and fresh and clear and new. Because…. well, because…

There is hope in a new beginning.

And hope in Him is often what keeps us going. Now I’m not saying that you should make a slew of resolutions, but I think you should make one:

Pursue God this year.

Pursue His Word. Pursue His Love. Pursue His Forgiveness. Pursue His Wisdom. Pursue His Hope. Pursue His Voice. Pursue Him.

Then receive the peace that comes from His Word. Receive the comfort that comes from His Love. Receive the freedom that comes from His Forgiveness. Receive the renewal that comes from His Wisdom. Receive the joy that comes from His Hope. And receive guidance that comes from His Voice.

You can watch how all of that will trickle down into those goals, hopes, and dreams you have for the year. It is one resolution that won’t fail YOU!

Give it a try, oh, and have a Happy, Happy New Year!

Day 356: Full Circle

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It’s the last day of 2012.

What. a. year.

Okay, well technically I didn’t start until, what was it, January 11th? So technically it isn’t exactly a year. But… come on. Even 356 days of this covenant is a big deal.

356 days without sugar.
356 days to experience the blessing of God.
356 days of change.
356 days.

Wow- ya know, I had no idea the journey I was going to go on 356 days ago.

I was just re-reading my initial post on Day One, and here was the thing I wrote at the very end:

    So, here I am… copying Hezekiah (2 Chronicles 29:10)

    I intend to make a covenant with the Lord, the God of Israel, so that his fierce anger will turn away from me. Today, God, I covenant with you to only eat veggies, fruits, nuts, cheese, grains, and water until the end of 2012. Please bless me with freedom from my addiction to food. I want so desperately to purify my temple so that my thoughts… my worship… is on YOU God – not on food.

And today, on my last day, I know I’m probably supposed to have something brilliant to say. something spiritually insightful. something encouraging.

But I’m afraid instead I’m just gonna have to be honest.

I read that last part “I want so desperately to purify my temple so that my thoughts… my worship… is on YOU God – not on food.” and although I am focused on Him more this year than before, I am still just not satisfied with the ratio. I still think about food a lot. Maybe more so along the lines of choosing good foods but still… I think about it a lot and I want that part to “go away”.

And that is just one of the reasons that here on my technically “last day” I am signing on for more. Because I know God has not finished reworking and renewing me. And again I laugh at myself for thinking that He would just up and be finished with me after 356 days. Haha! It’s kind of ridiculous.

But at the same time, what a cool thought to end 2012 with… God has a plan for me this year. He knows what is in store for me on January 29, 2013. March 2, 2013. He knows exactly where I’ll be May 17th. September 4th. He knows my thoughts and feelings on November 13th and… December 31, 2013.

And that is a comfort.

And so as I sit here fighting off sleep as I sit by the fire and plan to shuffle off to the bedroom as soon as I hit publish, I am myself lifted up. encouraged. reminded.

God loves me.
God has plans for me.
God is refining me.
God intends to bless others through me.
God intends glory to His Name through my life.

    The Lord will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring. Isaiah 58:11

Day 355: Cray Cray

This Diet Is Cray Cray

{Cray = crazy… Kanye and Jay-Z rap it in a song. And I’ll fully admit that I have not even heard the song that this is from (at least I don’t think I have) but my husband and I say “That’s cray cray” all the time… so, I guess there’s the influence of him having taught 8th graders! And yes, I made my first ecard for it, too. Haha! Okay… on to more important things…}

It’s almost time for the new year.

Which means resolutions for some…

…covenant for me.

I’ve reallllly been doing some thinking and praying about this year and the covenant that I am to make with God. I think that I’ve known for the past couple of months that things were going to have to change.

Last year when I started my current covenant, it was so easy to pick the things that I would “fast” from… sugar and meat. No brainer. Those were my big gluttonous areas. Doing a Daniel Fast really brought that to light for me. And wow, that was it… untilllll about October and the nasty gluttony eating jumped off The Sugar Ship and climbed aboard The Bread Boat and The Chip Cruise. (Hehe… like my little boat analogies?!?!)

And honestly, I have thought about all different kinds of variations of the covenant for 2013. Knowing that gluttony is still an issue for me… mind you it is far, far, far less of an issue, but it is an issue all the same… I knew that some kind of restrictions were in order.

  • The Detour Covenant: Originally, I just thought that I’d stay the course with a few “detours”… same covenant but with birthday parties, national holidays, and full moon days as “no-covenant” days. They would still have to be glutton-free, but the actual food restrictions would be lifted on those days.
  • The Flip It Covenant: But, really, over the past few days (and especially on this day) I have realized that bread and chips have wedged their way into a borderline addiction… I started thinking along those lines. Soooo, maybe flip it? Make sugar “okay” and bread “off-limits”?
  • The Detour Flip-It Covenant: Okay, but honestly… not sure that I’m ready to wander out into the word of refined sugars again. Not quite yet. Sooooo, I would need to stick with the Detour Covenant for that, but I know that I need for bread and chips to be defeated as well. And that’s sort of the Flip-It Covenant. So, it’s not really either of those… it’s a Detour Flip-It Covenant.

And yes, I know that these names are in no-way “cool” or “religious” sounding… but I like to give things nicknames to help me remember, annnnnd well, those names help me remember.

But essentially, I am thinking about doing the same covenant as last year (no sugar, no meat) with the detours that I mentioned above, but this time also doing no-bread, no chips…

WHAT?!?!?

Come on, January… that’s cray cray.

No sugar. No meat. No bread. No chips.

… … …

Cray.

Cray.

I know. I know.

But you know what else is crazy? Living a life of gluttony and bondage and sadness and insecurity and failure WHEN there is a God that offers moderation and freedom and joy and confidence and victory. It is things like this that I think truly match up with what He meant…

If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.” (Luke 9:23-24)

I just don’t want to hold on to too much of this world. This gluttony is a thorn in my side and I have seen God work miracles in my life in regards to sugar like I mentioned yesterday… and I know that He can do more. that He wants to do more. that He is willing to do more. that He is WAITING to do more.

So.

What IS my new covenant going to be?

  • The Cray Cray Covenant: I can eat fruits, vegetables, nuts, cheese, pasta, and rice. No sugar, no meat, no bread, no chips. I will have “Celebration Days” (birthday parties, national holidays, and full moon days) when I do not have to follow these restrictions. Gluttony is NEVER acceptable: it is a sin.

So, yeah… crazy. I know. But I am learning a crazy faith. a crazy belief. a crazy confidence. My God will save me.

This is what the Lord God says: I, myself, will search for my sheep and take care of them. As a shepherd takes care of his scattered flock when it is found, I will take care of my sheep. I will save them from all the places where they were scattered on a cloudy and dark day. Ezekiel 34:11-12