The Worst Kind Of Success

I feel as if I need to come clean before we even get started…

I just ate four Lindt chocolates.

(Hey… at least I went for the good stuff.)

And ya know, I’m not entirely killing myself over it either. It was sort of a test run. First of all, I haven’t had sugar since December 26th and compared to how my covenant eating has gone over the past few months, THAT ALONE is like a flipping miracle!

Tonight I went to my niece’s birthday and someone plopped a piece of strawberry shortcake in front of me. And not just any ol strawberry shortcake, but made from scratch strawberry shortcake… and if you don’t think “from scratch” is an important detail to this story, then maybe this blog is not for you… cause here at this “diet blog” we reallllllly like food. ;) And I thought “Let’s see what happens… let’s see if somehow, in the lengthy experience {sarcasm} of the past nine days, I have possibly found the fortitude within to eat a little bit and then resist.” So, I ate the cake and then that was it! Success!

Until I got home and accidentally stumbled across those dadgum Lindt chocolates. If it had been the icky-no-good-low-quality regular ol’ chocolates then I probably would have been fine. But nooooooooooo. It had to be Lindt.

Well, you know the rest of the story… if you haven’t lived it yourself then you can certainly fill in the blanks: Because I’d already had sugar tonight, I “might as well”, so I ate “just one” whichhhhhhhhhhhh turned into all of them.

But, I’m sorta glad for a couple of reasons. Here’s why…

I was sorta on the fence about going hardcore with the sugar thing again this year. Like, maybe I should try out that whole balance thing again. Honestly, I knew… I mean… I KNEWWWWWWW it wouldn’t work to have both. But I guess I just needed one last reminder.

Even more so though… ya see, my teacher, James Tippit… he has been talking a lot lately about the idea that sometimes the parts of our lives that we think are successes, God might look at them and just brush them away. But parts of our lives that we view as dismal failures… He might say…

Oh no honey… look… look where I was here… here… and here. This part where you thought all was lost, where you thought you were a mess, a disaster, a wreck… oh, dearest… this is when I was DOIN WORK in your life… in your soul. I was filling in those parts where you were weak… to be strong. I was changing you, forming you, molding you. Making you more like me.

And this is why, tonight, after those infuriating (but honestly… totally divine) Lindt chocolates, I wasn’t in utter dispair. Because this looked like a dismal failure.

Heck, this whole COVENANT DIET itself looks like a dismal failure to me right now… but when I am weak, then HE. IS. STRONG. Perhaps He is just using this whole thing to help melt my heart and reform me… renew me… purify me.

So, tonight, I ask God…

Be strong within me God. Show me how strong you are through my dismal failures. Melt my heart and help me to fall in love with You again. Help me to fall in love with your kindness, your compassion, your ever-ready forgiveness, your patience. Help me to look back on my life and see all of these wonderful, beautiful moments that have changed me, formed me, molded me. Melt me down and make me more like You, so that I might be a blessing. I love you, God. I do. I love you.

Day 512: Guard On Duty

me and the hubs - nashville

{Me and the hubs in Nashville being
touristy after my first
Summer
NAMM show for Chord Dice!}

When I was single, I became pretty darn independent. I mean, I paid my own bills, bought my own fast car, traveled around on my own, rented very nice apartments. I mean… I was doing just fine. And then I met my husband, and I fell in love, and I married him.

Wait… all of a sudden I wasn’t the one calling all the shots anymore.

Yeahhhhhhhh, that’s tough for an independent woman who is married to an independent man. I remember thinking (for years) “He is just SO protective! I can take care of myself but he doesn’t believe in me.” Of course, the longer that we’ve been married I realized that my analysis was a smidge off. Yes, he is protective, but it’s not because he doesn’t believe in me. It’s not because he wants to rule over me. It’s because he loves me and wants to protect me.

The longer that I’ve understood that, the more enjoyable it is to be guarded and protected by my husband. It’s… nice to be able to put some of those cares on him that I carried by myself before. It’s nice to be able to go to him when I am scared or unsure of things. It’s nice for him to step out, a bit like a knight in shining armor, and protect me. But before I realized all of that I fought against his protectiveness because I thought that it would restrain me and make me into something I’m not. I thought it would make me weaker. I thought it would take away my individualism.

But it’s been the exact opposite.

And God is like that… He just wants to protect me because He loves me. And the more that I realize that, the more that I release to Him, the more I am protected, guarded, taken care of. And then more I love my life and find comfort in peace. The more I can, like the Proverbs 31 woman, laugh at the future.

POSITIVITY: I am guarded.

I died to this life, and my real life is hidden with Christ in God. Colossians 3:3

PRAYER:

God, it is so refreshing to know that you are in control. That you have all kinds of crazy power… power that I can’t even fathom. And it’s so cool to know that with all of that crazy awesome power you are taking care of my life.

Today it was so neat to remember and to rest in the knowledge that You have me under your wing. That when the craziness of life and the uncertainty hits… that you are there guiding everything along. It makes it so much easier for me to “die to this life” and just snuggle up and allow my soul to remain hidden with Christ in You.

Thank you for my comfort. thank you for my love. thank you for my protection.

Amen.

Day 511: Caught… Chocolate Handed

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My Sunday School teacher, James Tippit, said on Sunday, “Some suffering is actually our down payment for something glorious.”

I loved that truth… because now every time something “bad” happens it can make me think… “Oh, I wonder what awesomeness is going to come out of this?”

Sorta like yesterday… when my son (again, my oldest from Day 506 and Day 509) had his first “sneak eating” moment.

Now, I know that a 5-year-old sneak eating is a little different from a 34 year old woman sneaking eating, but all the same, it hurt my heart.

I was reading some books with my 3-year-old and my oldest came shuffling in sniffling. My husband was behind him and said that Pico needed to tell me something. Tears welled up in his eyes, and he confessed, “I ate some chocolate.” (Of course, little did he know but it was blazingly obvious because it was smeared all around his mouth!) Well, apparently, while I had been out of the room, he got a bowl and poured some mini-chocolate chips into a bowl and ate them. And then was trying to wash out the bowl to put back in the cabinet when he got caught red chocolate-handed.

Torn between punishing him for being devious and being gentle with him because of the situation, I went with the latter. I thought to myself, “Oh wow… if I don’t handle this correctly, he could become even more of a sneak eater in the future.” So, I held him in my arms, talked to him about how if he’s hungry or craving something that he can tell me. Told him it’s not wrong to be hungry. Told him that food is a great thing – a way for our bodies to get energy. Told him it’s not wrong to eat chocolate. Told him that I don’t ever want him to feel like he needs to be sneaky about eating food. Told him to ask me if he wanted something.

And then… he saw one of his Lego Club magazines, hopped out of my lap happy as a lark, and all was well in his soul! Ha!

The whole situation made my heart a little sad because oh-how-well I know that spirit that makes a person sneak-eat.

Well, last night after I caught up on the past two days of posts, I took a peak at what today’s positivity and verse were to be and was just… struck… by the perfectness of it all.

POSITIVITY: I am understood.

Since I have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let me hold firmly to what I believe. This High Priest of mine understands my weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings I do, yet he did not sin. So let me come boldly to the throne of my gracious God. There I will receive his mercy, and I will find grace to help me when I need it most. Hebrews 4:14-16

Yesterday as my son came to me, I understood his weakness… because I’ve. been. there. Just as Jesus understands mine… because He’s. been. there. And just as my heart hurt for my Pico, so does God’s when I struggle. Which is why when I come to him, He gives me mercy… just as I was able to do for Pico. And just as Pico can come to me when he is hungry or has a craving so that I can help him… so God provides help when I need it most. And it’s all because HE UNDERSTANDS!

I mean… how rad was all of that?!?!?! I wanted so badly to write it all last night but I was exhausted! Needless to say, I was actually happy when the alarm went off this morning because I knew I had something great to write about!

I am understood. By the God of All Creation and The Universe… I am understood.

PRAYER:

Wow God… the way you orchestrate every little moment of our lives is so beautiful. I mean, there I was sitting thinking of how sad it was that he had done that and you were thinking, “Oh I can’t wait until tonight when she sees all of this come together.” It is just so cool.

And ya know, thanks God. For all the ways that you could have saved us… but you sent us your son in the form of a person who would feel, first hand, the pull of temptation. That you could feel the pull when we feel it. That you could know the battle between choosing righteousness or sin. That you could understand me… in my testings. You are so amazing.

Thank you for the blessing of You in my life. Thank you for giving me Your eyes to see the world. Thank you for the path of transformation that you are taking me down.

I love you, God!

Amen!

Day 215: The Icing Off The Cake

Day 12 of my hard-core Daniel Fast.

Confessional time.

I’m not sure what made me remember doing this, but I just thought of it and thought it might help yet another addict not feel so alone.

Oh, I know what it was- yesterday when I was talking about wanting something decadent… I remembered what I used to do when I needed a “fix”.

Sooooo, I was your typical “I’m not gonna buy candy to keep in the house because if I do then I’ll just eat them all.” But then I’d get hit with a craving (or what I thought was a craving- now I realize it might have just been more of a thought!) but I wouldn’t have any candy.

Soooooo, I would get out all the fixins for some good ol’ chocolate buttercream icing.

Powdered sugar.
Cocoa powder.
Butter.
Milk.
Vanilla extract.

And then I would make myself a bowl of icing.

Of course, never would I do this in front of my husband! This was only a sneak eating ritual. But when I started staying home, some days that was my routine. Put both boys down for afternoon naps and immediately come into the kitchen and make myself a vat of icing. Maybe put it in the fridge for a bit so it was more like ice cream.

Now don’t think I’m trying to sound all perfect now. My new “replacement” for that action has been to make my granola bar in a bowl. It might be more “healthy” but it’s the same act.

I want a treat.
I am not hungry.
I’m going to eat a treat anyway.

Chocolate icing.
Granola bar in a bowl.
A freshly cut up pineapple.

It’s all the same now. If I’m not hungry, then… I should not. eat.

Anyway. This was more of a pep talk for me to remember that just because I’m following some Daniel Fast doesn’t mean that I am exempt from overeating. from gluttony. from sin.

Day 159: Hide And Seek

Yesterday I wrote about how I’m learning to “treat” myself in ways that are not food related. And at the top of the post I had this picture…

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Well, I want to address a bit more of the whole story behind that picture.

Don’t get too excited, it’s nothing super fantabulous, but it was one of those moments that I realized after-the-fact that I have had a whole “mind renewal” that is essentially complete and I didn’t even realize it…

sneak eating.

Ya see, once upon a time, any time that my husband would leave the house… and by any time I literally mean every time he would leave the house… I would take that opportunity to sneak eat something that I would be embarrassed to eat in front of him. A bowl of cookie dough, or I’d make some chocolate icing (this was one of my favorites because there was no evidence… make the icing, put away the ingredients, eat the icing straight from the bowl, wash the bowl, do a bit of self-loathing and he’d never the the wiser), finish off the bag of Twix I got for my son’s lunch bags, and well, you get the picture.

But yesterday, I didn’t even think about eating something while he was gone. I wasn’t tempted by anything. That whole “What can I have while he’s gone?” question never entered my mind even a bit. And ya know what I did?

I took my toddler on a walk. A lonnnnnnnng walk. And I found those clouds in the pic. And I felt the sweet breeze (that felt a lot like an ocean breeze for some reason). And I raced my boy down a hill. And I relished in a big glass of water when I got home.

And it was great. There was no guilt whatsoever. Mind you, I was more worn out than my toddler I think, but it was that good kind of “satisfied” worn out. Anyway, when I was writing that post yesterday about treating myself in ways other than food, the realization that I hadn’t thought about sneak eating hit me.

Because all along, I may have been hiding those eating “sessions” from my husband, but I was never hiding them from God. I knew that He could see what I was doing, but I think I just smushed the guilt far down in my soul… haha, thinking that it wouldn’t matter then.

But God adores me, and He still tracked me down and found me.

I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence! If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the grave, you are there. If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans, even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me. I could ask the darkness to hide me and the light around me to become night— but even in darkness I cannot hide from you. Psalm 139:7-11

And those moments were dark. dark. dark. but I could not hide from Him (thank goodness). So God, no matter how far away I try to go, please allow your hand to guide me there and your strength to support me. I love you.

Day 135: Snapple Out Of It

Last night my husband needed me to run an errand for him after my boys went down for bed. It’s kind of a good thing he asked because if it is just up to me I never want to leave when I put them down… I just want to veg out (haha… that’s never been funny to me before… but “veg” out… like be lazy and eat a lot of vegetables… haha… ha… h… no? Not that funny to everyone else… okay… hehe), but every once in a while it is good for me to get into mainstream society without anyone else. I don’t know why… maybe it just makes me feel a bit like… “me” instead of “mommy/wife/maid” which is what I kind of start to feel like the rest of the time.

So, while I was waiting for him to find the empty box of labels that he needed me to get more of, I started thinking “Ooooo, what special treat can I get for myself while I’m out???” Ya see, before when I would leave by myself at night, it was allllllways the perfect time to sneak eat something that I would never dream of eating in front of my husband: premade cookie dough (yeah, I really had an issue with cookie dough), a chocolate shake from Sonic, a candy bar, ice cream, a box of super chocolate chunk cookies… oh, there was a big ol list of things I would get. Oooooooo… one of my favs was when Walmart used to make their own chocolate peanut butter cups… they were divine. I probably would have turned diabetic lonnnnnng ago had they not stopped making those!

Okay, I digress.

I literally had to take a second and evaluate… I mean, wasn’t getting out on my own the real treat? Did I really need to get a… a something… in order for it to feel special? There was no need to sneak eat anymore… I wasn’t trying to eat anything shameful. What I could eat while out running errands I could certainly eat at home without being embarrassed.

It just reminded me again how so many of these eating habits are totally engrained within me. I wasn’t craving anything. I wasn’t hungry. I wasn’t even thinking about food. But I just haven’t been out by myself enough for the process of retraining to get any practice, so my mind (very quickly, I might add) just went right back to what it was used to.

You must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then. 1 Peter 1:14

I love the way that verse puts it… I searched for “old ways” and this popped up and was just perfect… cause wanting to get a treat is like “slipping” back into old ways. It’s not a direct, purposeful “fall”… it is a slip. But my favorite part is the sass at the end “you didn’t know any better then.” Although I kind of feel like I did know better before… I didn’t really understand before the true depth of what I was doing to myself and to my soul.

But I did get myself a treat. A Diet Peach Snapple… but not one for last night… one for today (when I was supposed to take my kids to IKEA). My two year old got sick though so it’s just sitting in my fridge. But I’m kind of glad that it is… just a reminder that even a “treat” can wait. It’s just a thing of this world… it’s no biggie to have that tea last night, today, or tomorrow… or never.

And that attitude towards food… well, my friends, that. is. freedom.

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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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