Day 562: The Two Of Me

I talk to myself sometimes.
Full on conversations.
And I almost always fight with myself when it comes to food.

One side of me: motherly and wise.
The other side: a teenager… brash, selfish, and thinks she’s untouchable.

Out of all those qualities, the one I mostly want to be is WISE. And be wise about food.

Like, when I went out to dinner with some girlfriends of mine, I got a shrimp chimichanga (AFTER I had already eaten the equivalent of a bag of chips).

shrimp chimichanga el tapatio the culprit

About halfway through it I thought “If I were a skinny girl, I’d stop right here.” But teenager me: “Well, you’re NOT a skinny girl, you never get to go out to eat, and you don’t want to take a shrimp chimichanga home with you, so just finish it! Just this one time…”

Yeah, I was crazy uncomfortable the rest of the night. Geez! I just want to hear and listen and obey that motherly voice in my mind! And you know, I think it all goes back to prayer. Cause ya see… who am I NOT talking to in that scenario?

GOD.

The ONE who can actually free me and empower me to hear and listen and obey.

So, it looks like I need to invite God into this little fight in my mind… cause I’m pretty sure that He can put the smack down on both of those voices.

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” Isaiah 30:21

Day 471: An Inconvenient Truth

Hate to break it to ya. But this is not a commentary on Al Gore or his favorite topic.

Although most of you are probably relieved… I think it’s had its fair share of opinion-slinging!

But I am gonna talk about something almost equally “crunchy”.

Processed food.

Oh. I hear you. You’re thinking “I can just ignore this post. There have been, what, 8 billion posts about it.”

And there have been, well, maybe not 8 billion, but quite a lot of them. Like I mentioned on Day 466: Hungry, Hungry Hippie, cutting our processed food is just so trendy right now. But with good reasons (if you would like a decent and quick to read list of why to cut it then read here).

Honestly, I don’t know what’s good and bad for me. And anymore, I don’t know who to “trust” about it.

But I do know WHO to TRUST for WISDOM about everything. And that would be God.

And well, my common sense “wisdom” tells me that processed food is too far from the original source to be AS good for me as REAL food.

So, that’s why I’m switching.

Well, that and because they call Velveeta a loaf of cheese.

Seriously?!?! A LOAF?!?!

That’s just… ewww.

But, well, it IS like a loaf. Or maybe even better put… a brick.

So, part of my goal with eating right is to eat things that are as close to the original state God put them in as often as possible. {And just writing that was a good reminder for me!} For example, if I can have an apple or a granola bar… then the apple is closer to the state that God made it, so I should choose to eat that. {And I say “should” because, like I said, this whole paragraph is a good reminder for me!} So, the way I see it is this:

fruits and veggies grown in my backyard = ideal, Garden of Eden type life
fruits and veggies = per dern close to original
homemade granola bars and meals = pretty close, I’ve just mixed them up with all “original” ingredients
processed food = farthest… uses some original ingredients and some stuff that is just entirely man-made

But here’s the deal. Pretty much every option up there except for the processed food is… inconvenient!

Having a garden? SUPER inconvenient… especially when you’re like me and kill plants simply by looking at them!
Eating raw fruits and veggies… you always have to be going to the store to replenish because you can’t stock them up in the pantry. Mildly inconvenient.
Making homemade/from scratch meals… oh my. This involves a lot of cooking which means a lot of time. And a LOT of thinking ahead… you know, like planning. And ya gotta be on the ball with shopping. Yep… inconvenient.
Using processed stuff from the pantry… sooooooooooooo easssssssssssssy. Can you say con.ven.ient.?!?!?!?

So, I’ve got the truth of God’s wisdom, but it is inconvenient (hence, An Inconvenient Truth… eh? eh? I know, I’m so terribly clever!)

But just yesterday I came across a meme with a quote by CS Lewis about Christianity and I think that it kind of sums up what I’m going through…

CS Lewis religion happy bottle of port don't recommend christianity

Cause this is not about being comfortable. This is about glorifying God, a verse that I also came across on Day 469: Inspirational Instagram while going back through my YouVersion bookmarks:

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31

So, even though I might try to make homemade mac and cheese and it turns out to be essentially cheesy gravy (NAS.TAY.), I’m going to try again and again and again (or just abandon the entire idea of mac and cheese completely if necessary) because this is about honoring and glorifying God through my body.

And well, it may be cumbersome and time-consuming, but ya know… I’m pretty sure that Jesus dying on the cross wasn’t exactly “convenient” for him. So, maybe, I can step a little out of my convenience zone here and there for Him.

It’s not like eating natural foods is the same thing as taking a cross up on my shoulders and walking to calgary to die. But, well, I think it is sorta what He means when he says…

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Day 358: First Donuts… For Real

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This morning I woke up before everyone else and (honestly) my first thought was: Donut Day!

I had planned on keeping today as a “Celebration Day” of no restrictions even though it wasn’t a birthday party, national holiday, or full moon. It was more of a Celebration Day for the past year.

Only as I started to think about it… having a hamburger, maybe some cake or ice cream, a pepperoni pizza for dinner… I realized, that I actually didn’t even want those things today.

Well, wait… I wanted them but I more so wanted to keep my jeans fitting. And I realized that I would have plenty more opportunities for all of those things… so it wasn’t so vital for me to have them today. I have certainly learned over the past year that cravings come and go. That I don’t have to give in to them. That I can just eat to live.

But…… I still wanted that donut.

There were several donuts leftover from the bunch that my father-in-law brought over yesterday (see my post Day 357: First Donuts for that story), and there was a half of one of them that is my favorite: a chocolate covered “tractor wheel”, as we call it (I think our donut shop labels them as sour cream).

And so I didn’t wake anyone up… cause I was remembering my cookie dough incident that I wrote about on Day Twenty-One… this whole thing started with just me and God. alone. Well… I guess it was me and God and a huge vat of cookie dough. Anyway, I just thought it was appropriate that it be just me and God and the sugar once again.

And it was a beautiful experience… eating that half-donut. And not because it was so amazingly good (although it WAS good), but because of the celebration in my heart and the thanks to God for bringing me to this point… to the point where eating a donut was a big deal instead of just another regular ol’ day of gluttony.

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And after I finished the donut… it was just… over. I poured myself a cup of coffee and went on my way with the day. I never even thought about the fact that there was still another donut.

This is a big. deal.

For yearsssssss I would have obsessed over that donut until I would have just given in and eaten it. And today I ignored it as if it weren’t even there.

Cause it might as well have not been there. I had already decided that I was only going to have half and that God would find honor and joy in the fact that I didn’t HAVE TO have the food just because I COULD.

How far He has brought me.

I suppose I have learned a bit from God and He has renewed me enough this year to know that it would be foolish to return to the same habits.

But more importantly, this is something I have to say only God could do for me. You see, I “knew” all of this before in my mind. I “knew” I shouldn’t overeat. I “knew” I shouldn’t eat pounds of sugar. I “knew” I shouldn’t eat when I wasn’t hungry. I “knew” I shouldn’t eat what I wasn’t craving.

But it took God to renew my heart so that it wasn’t just my mind that knew those things but also my heart and soul.

Now, I truly know

And it was His wisdom that kept me from being a fool today…

    As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his foolishness. Proverbs 26:11

Day 211: The Wisdom Of Men

Day 8 of my hard-core Daniel Fast.

First of all, I want to say how cool it is how several of you guys have jumped on a hard-core Daniel Fast with me this go round! I’ve loved getting messages and texts from friends and fellow-bloggers that are riding the waves with me! And if you are reading this and have never done a Daniel Fast… wow. You really should give it a go. There is just so much insight that a Daniel Fast will give you in just three weeks (ick, that sounded like an infomercial)… but each time I have done one I am amazed and the new thing(s) I learn about myself and about God. So, look into it if you never had. And you can make it as complicated or as simple as you like. For me, it’s simple: I eat fruits, veggies, and nuts. Nothing else (okay, well, like I said yesterday, I eat the dressing on my salads and the sauces on my meals). But I don’t eat rice, or pasta, or cheese, or bread, etc. You could go even more hard-core than me and knock out the dressings and the sauces. Or you could go the other way and eat rice. Either way… it’s just a good experience.

Okay, I think that I have fully exhausted that topic. Ha!

But here is a story that my friend Ana (who is doing a three-week, hard-core Daniel Fast) told me and I thought that it was so great! Here is her story:

Last night I was craving chocolate graham crackers so I called my husband over to help me not want them. And as I awaited some deep spiritual advice he said, very plainly, “Daniel didn’t have little chocolate graham crackers shaped like little animals.” I busted out laughing and said, “That’s your advice?” He said, “I’m trying to remind you why you’re doing this.”

Ahhhhh, the wisdom of men. So simply brilliant. Maybe we should listen to them more?!?!!?

Nahhhhhhh.

And I’m not one to stretch out something funny into something meaningful, but really, his little line was a balance of both. Because it’s funny to even envision Daniel sitting down chowing on a bag of chocolate animal shaped crackers! But… well, it’s a really good point.

Cause it made me really sit back and think about all of the things in my pantry and fridge that Daniel would not have had. Wow… it really knocks out a lot of options. Instant rice? Nope. Feta Cheese? Probably Not. Gogurts? Nada. Sour Cream? Nuh-uh. Cheerios? Nein.

I mean, if I really went all super crazy loco nazi hard-core about this, I could remove all of the non-Daniel Fast stuff from my house. It would be interesting, albeit perhaps easier, to do the fast when all you could see as an option were the things that Daniel ate.

Which led me to my next thought… Daniel chose to eat those things twice. Once when he was being set apart by Nebuchadnezzar and he didn’t want to defile himself by eating the food and wine from the King (Daniel 1) and then again when he is in mourning for three weeks he doesn’t eat any rich food, meat, or wine (Daniel 10… this is the typical reference for Daniel Fasters). I guess the hard-core Daniel fast is kind of like his time of mourning… it’s a good time to pray over something and to really refocus your thoughts and energy back at God and His direction. And I guess I think of the other time Daniel chose to eat “right” was in an effort to honor God with his body.

I love both of these. I mean, yes, I’m not exactly like he was during those ten days in Daniel 1 where the Bible says he only ate vegetables, but I am at the same point with Daniel in that I want to eat certain things in an effort to not defile my body. I have a bunch of other choices all around me like Daniel did (I mean, seriously, he was being offered the same food that the King was eating… dang, it musta smelled goooooood), but I am choosing to not eat them. Because I want to please God with my food choices. Do I probably still have a long way to go? Yesssssss. But have I made a lot of major changes in my diet that honor him at least MORE than I used to? Yesssssss. Do I feel that God is pleased with me… yessssss.

But I also love the three-week Daniel Fast… and don’t worry I won’t go into all the reasons again, cause I’m pretty sure that I covered that in the first paragraph. But I think that they can both work… together. I was telling my friend Alice that I am thinking about doing a hard-core Daniel Fast (fruits, veggies, nuts, water) every three months or so… until I feel that I am healed of this… addiction. So, I might end up having to do a Daniel Fast every three months until I die. But… hey, if that’ll keep my eye on the prize, then a fasting I will go!

 

Day 175: Christ Convo

Every time I think that I have got it down… got it figured out… got it good… got it all learned…

then I realize how much I still have to learn. This is why we need to be around our elders. We’ll live better lives if we listen to their wisdom. It’s like they give us the fast track to happiness. If we listen to them, more often than not, we get to skip over the mistakes and the hardship.

And this particular lesson is: prayer.

And how many times have I learned this lesson? I dunno… lots.

My husband’s grandmother gave me a book when he and I got married called The Power of a Praying Wife. I ignored it for a year or two. I prayed… sometimes. When I prayed… I asked for what I wanted. what I thought was best. what I had figured out would be good for me.

Yeah… I got a lot of what I prayed for… and it wasn’t necessarily a good thing.

Then, I read through that book… not even sure why, but it totally changed my perspective on a bunch of things. Like, I stopped praying specifics about what I wanted God to change about my husband, and I started praying only that God would give my husband wisdom and that He would continue to make my husband more and more like Him.

Yeah… that worked a lot better than the self-centered blech I was praying before.

And yeah… I’m having myself a little bit of a revival about prayer right now. Only this time it’s not about my husband, but just about me.

I have always been the type to pray continually… just when something pops into my head I pray about it. I also used to journal my prayers a lot (at least I did before I had kids… since I had my first son five years ago, I fall asleep three or four lines in)!

But lately, there has been almost no prayer… no conversation… going from me to God. And honestly, I think I have been blocking out what He’s been trying to say to me. Yesterday’s post was really the first time that I had really talked to Him.

And I find myself almost having to retrain myself with how to pray. or with being comfortable with praying. or with “making” myself take the time to stop and pray. or all of those.

You see, I think that what I did for a while is that I was replacing prayer with the reciting of scripture.

Now, reciting scripture to myself has gotten me through a bazillion temptations… but I think what happened is that slowly I started to lose my connection with the One that said the scriptures in the first place! It was almost as if instead of relying upon God and God’s power to save me, I was relying upon the Bible… almost in a worship-the-wrong-thing kind of way.

Oops.

But part of this whole thing is a learning process. And it takes times of “failure” and a following of introspection.

And it’s kind of nice that an “oops” is sufficient. Because after the “oops” comes action (like I talked about here). The action is prayer… reconnecting with the Spirit of God. reconnecting with His Power. reconnecting with His Love. His Grace. His Hope.

Oooooo, and I just found this:

I love the LORD because he hears my voice and my prayer for mercy. Because he bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath! Psalm 116:1-2

Day 140: Gray And Glorious

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Ya know… a while back a friend of mine and I were talking about getting gray hair. I’m 33, and most 33-year-old women are worried about getting in some gray hair, but not me. I’ve known since as long as I can remember that I would have a full head of gray hair when I hit my early thirties… happened to my dad and happened to his mom. Honestly, I’m a bit of a free spirit and so I’m actually totally cool with it! I mean… I have a big ol curly fro!?!?! What could look cooler than that? Oh, a big ol curly GRAY fro!!!! Anyway, her comment about her gray hair was that she would have to dye it because she was afraid of how people would perceive her.

And this is coming from the girl that never cared how people perceived her. But now she’s a counselor, and well… when you are at a point where you need to go see a counselor… you either want a friend-type counselor or you want a wise-sage-type counselor. So, I can see how if she is the friend-type counselor then having gray hair would be… well, it wouldn’t match up with her counseling style.

But it did make me a bit sad for the rest of humanity… because there is like this huge stigma about gray hair. Personally, I think gray hair is beautiful, and it also indicates wisdom and the blessing of having lived to be older than 13! Here is my favorite verse about gray hair, by the way… “Gray hair is a glorious crown worn by those who have lived right.” Proverbs 16:31 So, obviously, I am living right!!! Haha!

Okay, but this post isn’t even really about gray hair! But it brings up my topic about how the world perceives “us”…

A few days ago some kid that I used to teach posted a tacky photo on Facebook of a very, very overweight woman in a bikini. (Why I am still “friends” with him on Facebook and a ton of other people is a post for another day… and another blog.) And it just made my heart hurt… a) because of the burden that poor woman feels because of food, and b) because overweight people are just… mocked by the world. And being mocked… well, it hurts.

So much of my own insecurities are remnants of when I was mocked as a little girl in elementary school because I was “big”. Looking back at pictures, I wasn’t big… I just wasn’t tiny. But it didn’t matter… I had yet to learn that my identity was not in what a bunch of little kids would say to me, but that my identity was in Christ and what He thought of me. And He could absolutely care less about my exterior!

But as I grew up and stayed not-tiny, and then as I truly did start to gain weight and become “overweight”… I still struggled with who I was. Until I really started going to church in high school and I had the most uh.maz.ing. youth minister (shout out to Grant Byrd) in the universe that impressed upon us day, after day, after day that Jesus was all that mattered when it came to opinions. And, well, I fell in love with Jesus pretty darn quick. Of course, I was yet to realize that He could free me from this burden of food that I had been dragging along with me for years, but at least I allowed Him to start freeing a bunch of the burdens I was carrying in my soul.

Well, as I thought through this, it made me realize how many of “me” there are out there… overweight people, struggling with food, loving and adoring Jesus. And gosh… I just want to wear a big sign on my head that like glows that says to them, “YOU CAN BE FREE! PLEASE… ALLOW HIM TO FREE YOU!” And I don’t mean that so that they can get “skinny”… like I said, I would be totally cool with it if I hadn’t lost a pound because of the FREEDOM that I feel from food. Like, being able to fast the other day while shopping? And fasting by choice? Because I was happy? That was not the me from before! I want these people that love Jesus and are addicted to food to be free so that they can know Him more… so that, like I prayed for my friend Christy the other day, they too can say…

I had only heard about you before, but now I have seen you with my own eyes. Job 42:5