Day 444: So. Worth. It.

Okay. No more games.

I won’t even write a whole bunch of background story for you.

Like, I’m going to do my BEST to keep the story short.

I’m just gonna tell you what God said.

The morning after the discussion with my friend at the retreat (on Day 443), I woke up earlier than everyone and snuck away to a corner (where I could sit in a ginormous chair and gaze out at the lake) and prayed.

And honestly, I’m not entirely sure how I “knew” just what He wanted me to do aside from having prayed all weekend and read the Word over and over and over again… and there were three scriptures that really snagged my buttons, but I’ll talk about that in another post. (And snagged. my. buttons.??? What IS that? Where did I even come UP with that phrase?!?!?!)

Anyway… I guess, there is just something… different… about the whisper of God in your soul. It’s like you “hear” the words coming from deep, deep within you. As if… as if He planted those words in the DNA of mankind thousands of years ago knowing that at this moment He would release them from deep in your soul.

Well, that… or maybe it was just because it’s the Holy Spirit. Ha!

{Thanks for indulging my attempt at a poetic moment anyway.}

Either way, the more I seek God, the more I find that I recognize His Voice. Maybe it’s just that I’m teaching my soul to be more and more quiet as I seek Him and so it’s getting easier and easier to hear Him. He does say that “if you search for him with all your heart and soul, you will find him.Deuteronomy 4:29

Okay, but… that’s a post for another day. Cause today… today, I am attempting to be what they call “brief”.

So, as I prayed, I distinctly heard “No sugar for 5 years… until your 40th Birthday. On your 40th Birthday, you can have cake.

(That’s one way to KNOW it wasn’t me speaking… I didn’t even realize that it was 5 years until my 40th birthday!)

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And immediately………

FREEDOM.

Five years of not having to fight the stuff off. I was so, ironically enough, RELIEVED! Not relieved that it wasn’t forever (honestly, I have a feeling that after the five years are up that either I will want to keep it going forever or He will tell me to keep it going forever) but relieved that I would have five more years “off” from having to deal with that sin in my life. I so gladly handed back that burden to Him. Easily handed it back. Eagerly.

Again, I know… it’s weird. It’s extreme. It’s not “our way” of doing things. But, His ways are not our ways… His thoughts are not our thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8-9)

And honestly… I’d rather, at this point, stop doing things my way, with my thoughts. It’s not that I’m bad or terrible or anything; it’s just that His Ways are… amazing. His Thoughts are… so wonderful. I want to have a mind like Christ now simply because a simple normal “human” mind isn’t cutting it for me anymore. I dunno… maybe He’s preparing my mind for Heaven. Or maybe, His Kingdom is NOW. Maybe He wants me to be (as the Hebrews were named) “set apart”. Maybe He wants me to walk around this earth with a mind like His… and continue His Work. and BE His Work.

Wow. Giving up sugar brought me to all of this.

So. worth. it.

Day 443: The Post Where I Sorta Tell You What God Said

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Okay, I won’t wait too long to “reveal” the conclusion that God and I came to this past weekend since I wouldn’t tell you on Day 441. Ha!

It didn’t take much of God’s influence for me to know that my oh-so-brilliant plan of eating sugar on full moon days, national holidays, and at birthday parties was a total flop. And, I have to confess, that was allllll my idea in the first place. I never really asked God about what He thought I should do. Yeahhhh, sooooo… apparently that’s never a good idea. Ya know, to NOT ask God what He wants to do in your life.

Essentially, I realized that the more lenient I was with myself and in my covenant with God, then the more I struggled with sugar. It was totally opposite of what I thought would be the case! Nutritionists and counselors frequently give the advice: create balance in your life… you can’t be extreme. Which, on paper… totally. makes. sense. And honestly, I truly WISH that were the case for me. But, well, it’s not. Cause… whether or not my body is truly addicted to sugar, my MIND is. And when I started to really come to grips with that this weekend is when I knew that the on-again, off-again “covenant” I had made up was not going to work.

A girl at the retreat was talking about her husband after he sobered. He said that he had found booze all over the house… he’d even found some in the ATTIC that he’d hidden! And I laughed and giggled a bit at that, and then… I started to think of all the times that I’d hidden sugar. And especially since I switched over to the on-again, off-again covenant.

Extra candy from Christmas stocking stuffing that only I knew existed… tucked away in the craft box. The “good” candy from Halloween (Twix, Snickers, Milky Way, etc)… slid all the way back behind the extra olive oil in the pantry. My son’s leftover cupcake from his 5 1/2 birthday party at school… disguised as old leftovers in the very back of the top shelf of the fridge.

When I gave up “control” over my eating for those couple of weeks, I went and hit every. single. spot.

Again. I might not be physically addicted to the stuff… but, I was ACTING like an addict.

I talked about it with this girl later. She, too, had been an alcoholic and has been sober for quite a while now… her secret? She never touches the stuff. Ever. She won’t ever have another drink. She said “There is never a time where anything good comes from drinking alcohol.”

And she was right… and I knew that the same truth, really and truly, applied to sugar. Yes, there are good moments surrounding the eating of sugar (birthdays, Christmas, anniversaries, etc) but the actual eating of sugar… nope. nothing good actually comes out of it. (Now, mind you, when I say “sugar” I’m talking about the refined product that we use today… not at all about fruit-kind-of-sugar… that stuff is awesome!) And the last year has taught me that eating sugar during those special occasions isn’t necessary to have a good time at them. (Ha – doesn’t that sound like someone realizing that they can have a “good time” without alcohol?)

During that conversation, I mentioned that I was starting to feel pulled to giving up sugar… forever. And honestly, at that point I was totally on board with it. At first, she thought that idea was a little wack, but as I explained that it wasn’t that I just really, really wanted to give up sugar… it was that I felt I HAD to give up sugar. I was responding to the stuff like an alcoholic! I wanted to not have the stuff, but if I allowed myself one bite even… days after it would all fall apart and I’d be back at my old-binging self again!

It was like God had cured me of cancer or something the year before, and here I was saying, “No God, why don’t you go ahead and give it back to me?” CRAZY. But that’s what I was doing! I had been freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee from sugar for a year. And it was amazing! One of the most amazing years of my life! And then I had said, “No, God, put me back in chains… I want to be a slave to the stuff again.”

Nutso.

So, I started to pray that God would show me… no sugar forever? no sugar for a year? What was His plan? Not my plan. Because I no longer wanted to be a slave to sin. to gluttony. to pain. to sugar. I wanted to be a slave to Him.

And these verses speak so well to all of this:

Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living. Thank God! Once you were slaves of sin, but now you wholeheartedly obey this teaching we have given you. Now you are free from your slavery to sin, and you have become slaves to righteous living.

Because of the weakness of your human nature, I am using the illustration of slavery to help you understand all this. Previously, you let yourselves be slaves to impurity and lawlessness, which led ever deeper into sin. {Oh man, this guy just GETS IT!} Now you must give yourselves to be slaves to righteous living so that you will become holy.

When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the obligation to do right. And what was the result? You are now ashamed of the things you used to do, things that end in eternal doom. But now you are free from the power of sin and have become slaves of God. Now you do those things that lead to holiness and result in eternal life. For sin will pay you back with death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:15-23

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One thing I do want to mention – I don’t want anyone to think that I’m saying alcoholism and/or drug use and a sugar “addiction” are the exact same beast. I know that the struggles involved in alcoholism and drug use are of an entirely different nature. What I am saying is that I experience some of the same reactions to “fighting off” sugar that addicts experience. But please don’t think that I’m downplaying the extreme battle that an addict must fight.

Day 441: The Post Where I Don’t Tell You What God Said

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I’ve written about 47 beginnings to this post. (See? Up there? My journal… it’s like a gazillion starts and stops. And that is just ONE.PAGE. of it!)

Cause I wanted you to know… it’s not an ordinary post.

It’s not about being witty.
It’s not about a great recipe.
It’s not about anything average.

It’s about coming to grips with God.

It’s about letting Him come to grips with my food issues.

It’s about giving up sugar again. For a long, long time.

I went on a retreat for moms this past weekend, and whereas I have gone on this retreat twice before for the purpose of relaxing and getting away, this time I went because I needed to meet with Jesus. I needed God to show up and direct me. I needed Him.

So that’s what I prayed when I went out there… “God. Please. I have been waiting and waiting for You to show up in my life. I have been trying to wait patiently. Please, speak to me this weekend. Show up this weekend. In a burning bush. In fire from heaven. In a passing whisper. In a wind. In a cloud by night or fire by day. In the body of Your Son Jesus. Whatever the form, I’m ready to hear from You. Please speak to me.

And, He did.

But, not about what I wanted to talk about.

I wanted Him to speak to me and guide me about going back to work in the fall. I really felt completely pulled in two directions about it since we, like most families, could use the money and I’m a pretty dern good teacher and He might want to use me there, but at the same time, I really wanted to be a stay-at-home-mom and work on writing more. And I just wanted Him to show me which option HE wanted. I really, truly wanted to be wherever He would receive the most glory!

But He wanted to talk about sugar.

Ha! I know, that sounds funny. I wanted to talk His Glory and he wanted to talk about my sugar. Backwards isn’t it????

Nope. Not at all.

He wanted to talk about sugar because it was becoming a wedge between He and I again. And it wouldn’t matter if He led me towards working or writing, if there is a stronghold that strong in my life, I was gonna have a hard time allowing His Glory to shine through me. So, we talked about sugar.

And honestly, it’s gonna have to be a couple of posts to get out everything that He worked through on me. And I’m actually not even gonna tell you in this post what He said about sugar, because I want to remind you of something even more important.

He. will. answer.

If you wait. If you keep asking. If you keep your eyes focused on Him. If you ask for things that please Him.

He. will. answer.

We are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him. And since we know he hears us when we make our requests, we also know that he will give us what we ask for. 1 John 5:14-15

It is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him. Hebrews 11:6

And the verse I want you to really, really, reallllllly hear:

Wait for the Lord. Be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. Psalm 27:14

Day 426: Fast Fruit

Yeahhhhhhhhhhhh.

Soooooooooooooo.

I……… ate a bunch of chocolate on Thursday.

… … …

Ugh.

It was the leftover candy from my husband’s grandfather’s 80th birthday party that did me in. (Those Twix. Oh my. Twix.)

… … …

Annnnnnnnnnnd then I ate a bunch of white chocolate covered popcorn yesterday at a baby shower at my house.

Okay, okay. And I had some punch.

Well, a lot of punch.

… … …

And. A huge slice of cake.

After everyone had left.

While my husband was in the other room.

Sure, these are small indulgences compared to a year a half ago, but I have learned that with me… and with food… there is no small indulgence.

Plus, I have this, ya know, covenant.

With GOD.

Anyway. You know how you have that moment when you really just have to come face to face with the fact that something’s not right. not working. not… yeah. just NOT working.

As I walked through the kitchen in the middle of the night after my toddler woke up and couldn’t go back to sleep on his own cause he has restless leg syndrome, poor thing, I saw the white chocolate popcorn leftover from the baby shower and thought “Ooooooo, I’m gonna get some of that and put the popcorn on my tongue so that the white chocolate is what hits first.”

At 3am.

I mean… seriously?!?!?! Does my dadgum id EVER take a break? It’s making my super-ego work overtime!

Anyway, I immediately thought to myself: fruit fast. I need to do a fruit fast.

I’ve been thinking about it lately anyway. I’ve realized that even though my covenant started out as a fast last year… it sorta just developed into a diet. I think I knew that a long time ago, but I sorta denied it to myself. I wanted it to still be holy. I wanted it to still be righteous. But, it really was… just a diet.

And I wanted to remind myself what it means to really fast. Like, fast to where it “hurts”. Fast so that I feel the sacrifice. Fast so that I long for food for nourishment instead of for one of the other zillion reasons I long for food.

So, I started a fruit fast this morning. I figured I’d go for three days. My husband’s brother and his family arrive on Thursday and I’ll probably be out of pocket pretty frequently at my in-law’s and grandparent-in-law’s where I won’t have as much control over my options. Besides, I’ve never done a fruit fast, so I wasn’t sure how it would affect me.

And holllllly moly.

I’M HUNGRY.

I was all good. I even thought around 10:00 this morning, “Oh yeah… I could so do this for way longer than three days.”

Until about… noon.

And then all I could see was everything in the fridge EXCEPT the fruit. I saw a carrot and thought “Oh my gosh, I’d love a carrot right now. or a bell pepper. or some tomatoes.” Things that I have wanted to try to avoid the past few months because they were allowed and healthy, simply because they were now “forbidden”, they suddenly became my desires. Honestly, I haven’t thought once about sugar or chocolate today… just vegetables and pasta.

And so I knew… “Oh yeah… I needed this.”

I sang some hymns.
I prayed to God.
I ate, like, 17 clementines.
I tamped down my horribly mean attitude that emerges when I am empty (well, for most of the day I did).

And I remembered… hunger.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Matthew 5:6

Day 408: Funny Honey

Honey.

Honey is a little funny.

It’s a little tricky.

It’s not sugar……… but it is sugar.

It’s “better” than sugar, but it’s still basically sugar.

It’s “approved” by healthnuts, but I still manage to abuse it.

I had gotten to the point where I’d had to come face to face with the fact that I was using honey in the same way that I used to use sugar. I was using it…

when I needed an emotional boost.
when I was tired.
when I felt like my energy was low.
when my lunch was less than satisfactory.
when my hot tea was “inedible” without it.
when my oatmeal, peanut-butter, raisin granola bar in a bowl wasn’t nearly as yummy without it.

And I was just choosing to “look the other way” when it came down to it. I was talking to my dad about it one day and I asked him if he was eating honey (he’s cutting down on his sugar, too) and he said “No, I mean… it’s basically just sugar.”

I wanted to balk at his answer. I wanted to give him all of my excuses “No, it’s better than sugar.” “No, it’s okay to have a little honey if you cut out refined sugar.” “No, it won’t lead me toward being overweight or getting diabetes.”

But I didn’t say anything back other than “Yeah, that’s true.”

Cause it is true. He was right. It IS basically just sugar. And although I can see why people say that it is “healthier” for me than sugar, when it boils down to it… I was eating it for wrong reasons. I wanted that sugary, sweet taste… which is not bad in and of itself, but I wanted it all. the. time.

So, I had to Just Say No to honey.

Haha… that’s kind of funny isn’t it? Had to “just say no” to… HONEY?

But I knew that it was creeping in as a stronghold and I thought it best to nip it in the bud. I didn’t do that last year with bread and I allowed bread to become my go-to. my addiction. my comfort. my “need”. But I am learning more and more and then again and again that if something is “tripping me up”… sugar, bread, facebook, meat, working on the sabbath, and now, honey… that it’s gotta go. I don’t want anything holding me back. I’d much rather “sacrifice” some luxuries in my life and life a life of fulfillment than keep those things.

Note: I wrote the above part of this post back in late January and, needless to say, aside from never getting around to publishing it, I also never got around to “quitting” honey. I definitely cut down on it, but I was still going to it for a “fix”.

Well, a couple of days ago we were out of honey and I wanted to make some granola bars for my son’s lunches, so I picked some up when I went to the store. Good ol gluttonous me grabbed the biggest one. Then I thought, “Well, I don’t want it to get all crystallized and wasted since I don’t eat as much of it anymore.” So, I went to replace the jumbo one and get the medium sized and that’s when I noticed the price!

Holy Honey, Batman!!! $13.59?!?!?!

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Well, that pretty much solidified the no-honey initiative in my life! It figures out to 34¢ an ounce which doesn’t seem like a lot but I know that we’d blow through those 40 ounces in a month. And I do know that $13.59 is a lot to spend on a luxury once a month.

That’s gas money.
That’s ten shirts from the thrift store for my son who definitely needs a few more.
That’s a lot of loaves of bread for lunches.
That’s three or four visits to Starbucks (which I’d much rather have than honey)!

So, my soul might be on a diet from honey but, now, so is my WALLET! Ha!

Day 397: Lovate

You know that relationship that you had in high school (or maybe college) during which you were desperately, insanely, blindly in love?

Past all judgment.
Past all hurdles.
Past all advice.

He was…… it. The end all. be all. of existence.

You had some kind of almost supernatural bond with him. You always deferred to him because you wanted him to be happy. You could have been stranded on a desert isle for years and had a grand ol’ time. You were just… connected. Not at the hip, so much… but connected in the soul.

.

And he was totally, completely, thoroughly, absolutely, and altogether horr.ib.le. for you.

You despised the hold he had over you. Felt terrible because of all the times you told yourself you were over him. Felt even worse when you would let his opinion of you become truth even though it was often false. Lived in fear that one day he would leave you… and then who would you be without him?

You loved him.
You hated him.

You… lovated him.

Heyyyy, ya like my new word?!?!

Lovate: v. to simultaneously love and hate someone or something.

Brilliant? Yes, I know.
And yes, I promise that I have a point. It’s coming. In a minute.

I spoke of “him” as a generic figure that we have all interacted with… {and shout out to my guy readers, I went with the “he” analogy cause, well, I’m a girl, but feel free to replace “he” with a “she”!} …but, in reality, this boy was a real figure in my life. A real “love”. A real emotional torture to my soul.

I went off to college far away from him, got myself a good, down home boyfriend and pretty much moved past the emotional hang up with my former lovate.

{Oooooo, look, my new word is also a noun apparently!}

And thennnnnn, my good, down home boyfriend broke up with me.

And so what did I do? I reverted back to my lovate again. Knowing that he didn’t love me. Knowing that he was terrible for my self-confidence. Knowing that nothing good would come from my running after him again.

But I did it anyway.

You see, looking back on this experience today, I thought- Wow. You would think that after a year of being without him and away from him that I would have realized what a terrible match we actually were. You would think that I would have realized by then that it would never, ever, never work and that it shouldn’t ever work. You would think that after a year I would see what I see now. that I would have laughed at the thought of returning to him. that I would have perhaps sighed a bit in sadness at the poor, confused little girl I had been.

But I so quickly slid right back into what had given me my identity for so long.

Much like I did this weekend with sugar.

Sugar. My other lovate.

I love it.
I hate it.

I love the way it tastes. I love the way it takes me away momentarily. I love the explosion of feeling on my tastebuds. I love the connection and the memories that I have with it.

I hate the way it makes my heart race. I hate the pimples that I always get. I hate that I can’t manage to have just a little. I hate that once I’ve had some I can’t stop thinking of it again.

But more than anything, I hate that I can’t seem to tell it no.

And this weekend, as I prepared on Friday night for my husband’s family birthday party, and all day Saturday… I just went back to my lovate of sugar. Even though I have found True and Lasting Love in my God… I went back to sugar.

And I hate it now. I gorged myself on it all weekend. And I felt almost entirely guiltless. I felt superior. I felt… bad. sick. sad. empty. hopeless.

I. DO. NOT. LIKE. TO. FEEL. THAT. WAY.

I realized… wait, if it took me years, and years, and years, and years to get over my first “love” so long ago… then perhaps I should expect my loveate relationship with sugar to be the same. Perhaps it IS too early in the game to even allow myself “celebrations”. Perhaps I was just asking for it by allowing myself to dive back into that so quickly.

So, I revert.

Tomorrow sugar is out again for the year. I will make one exception. On my birthday, I may have ONE PIECE of cake that my mom makes. But that’s it.

Sugar… my lovate of days past… farewell. Perhaps we shall never meet again. And… well, perhaps that is for the best.

Day 376: Ugh.

(Writing this on Saturday night.)

I should be working on my lesson for tomorrow that I’m to teach to the middle school youth on evangelism.
I should try to avoid putting in titles that are depressing and lame like the word “ugh”.
I should be in bed sleeping (it’s 11:10pm).
I should get up and get myself a drink of water.
I should stop being overdramatic.

Buuuuuuuuuuuut, I’m not. Not gonna do any shoulds right now.

Cause I’m having a pity party.

Why? Cause I got all freaked out that I’m not going to be able to wear the clothes that I wore last year to my husband’s trade show because I have this little muffin top when I wear the pants. Sooooo, I went to Ross and Target looking for… I dunno. Looking for something. And well, everything looked HIDEOUS on me. And I said “You look FAT” to myself about 87 times.

And then I gave back everything that I tried on at Target and went to go get a few groceries for tomorrow and I have to walk past this.

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I mean… seriously?!?!? I was angry that the stuff even exists! Ha – like I said… pity. party.

But… well, I guess there is one silver lining here. I didn’t buy any donuts. or chocolate peanut butter cups. or ice cream. or chips. or cookies. or cakes. I said to myself, “You know those won’t fix anything” and I just moved on. Well, I took a picture of them and moved on.

And before this covenant, I woulda gotten some of these AND some ice cream AND some chocolate peanut butter cups AND probably some cookie dough just in case. But God has shown me over the past year that these things do not satisfy. They do not fulfill. They do not comfort. So, to look back and “see” myself just walking away from all this stuff is a huge blessing for me. It’s actually an answered prayer. It’s evidence that God has worked in me.

BUT.

Of course, there had to be a but. It’s a pity party post, remember?

Ya know what I found myself doing tonight?

Ugh. If my husband had just let me order a t-shirt too then I wouldn’t be worried about all this.
Ugh. If my husband had done the dishes for me then I’d be a lot less stressed out.
Ugh. If I just knew how to play an instrument then I could vent out my frustrations.
Ugh. If I had a book that I was reading then I could just pick it up right now and get lost in it.
Ugh. If I had never agreed to teach tomorrow then I could just take some benadryl and go to sleep.

Ya know what I found myself NOT doing tonight?

Sigh. Praying and thanking God for all that He’s done this year really put me back on the right track.
Sigh. Reading through Psalms just now made me feel so much more appreciative.
Sigh. Meditating on what God is: lovable, compassionate, kind, patient, powerful, faithful… really refreshed my spirit.

Nope. Because I was searching for fulfillment somewhere else. It may have not been food, but it was the exact same process. I mean, at least here, on this blog, I was able to come full circle and realize that. I think even just confessing it is a good step in the right direction. And right now I find myself thinking, “Oh I’m so glad that church is tomorrow. I just need someone else to pour some spirit refreshing words into my soul.”

But, in the meantime, I think I’m going to lay down, close my eyes, and at least do one of those “sighs” from above and mediate on what God is.

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

Day 337: Restraining Order

I’m going to a breakfast party today for my ladies’ bible study.

Sorry. Allow me to be a bit more specific…

I’m going to a breakfast party today for my ladies’ bible study without my kids.

We get to drop them off at the church and then go over to the leader’s house for our final meeting. I’ve been a part of this ladies bible study for a couple of years now (it’s called Mom Matters… isn’t the double meaning cute?) and this last meeting is my favorite part! It’s just relaxed and a great time to spend with the women that I’ve been growing with all semester.

And we are all bringing a little something for breakfast. Our leader had us reply all to her email and state what we are bringing…

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And there were also emails claiming donuts, sausage balls, pumpkin bread, cinnamon rolls, cookies and the like.

Now don’t get me wrong… I ain’t knockin homemade cinnamon rolls or sausage balls. On the contrary, I love them both under old circumstances.

But, it just sorta struck me that it always seems to go this way with parties (especially those at Christmas and really especially those with only women) that we slough off all desires of being healthy and dive into decadence and indulgence.

And…… why? I mean… well, why???

(And trust me… this is not me pointing fingers! This is a self dialogue, really, to myself… about myself. Next year I have planned on having “free days”, and even as I write this I know that I will need to sit back and evaluate that plan… cross examine it against the Word of God.)

    For God has revealed his grace for the salvation of all people. That grace instructs us to give up ungodly living and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in this world, as we wait for the blessed Day we hope for, when the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ will appear. He gave himself for us, to rescue us from all wickedness and to make us a pure people who belong to him alone and are eager to do good. Titus 2:11-14

I read these verses and I am reminded that God has called me to a higher standard (what an honor!) and, often, that standard looks very different from the way the world views things. Things like ladies’ breakfasts. and book club meetings. and birthday parties. and holidays.

He has asked me to practice… restraint. And in a world where self-indulgence is king and self-denial is frowned upon, well… that action is different. It sticks out. It looks weird to people. It looks weird to me.

Which is why I love the last verse of that chunk, verse 14…

    He gave himself for us, to rescue us from all wickedness and to make us a pure people who belong to him alone and are eager to do good.

I mean… look at those words I bolded.

To rescue us.
To make us a pure people.
To make us belong.
To make us eager to do good.

Gosh, isn’t that worth a little self-restraint here and there?!?! It’s just cool to think that I have been rescued from pumpkin bread and cranberry blitz bars.

So, anyway, I’m gonna have to read up the Word to see what I can glean from it. (Cause I know that there were a plenty of celebrations back then…)

But for now, for today… I know that I want to go to that party and “live [a] self-controlled, upright, and godly life in this world”. And give God thanks for His Grace through my restraint.