Archive for February, 2012

February 29, 2012

Day Fifty: Edible Inedibles

It’s funny how my life has affected the way that I view food. As I made myself a potato lunch the other day, I found myself saying, “Well, I’m adding in this butter because otherwise the potatoes are inedible.” And then immediately after, “I need to add in this cheese and sour cream to make these potatoes edible.”

And now I think… Really? Were the potatoes really inedible??? And I sort of realized how my preconceived notion of food is… wrong. Those potatoes would have been edible had they been butterless. had they been sour creamless. had they been cheeseless.

But I had my brain set to believe that simply because something doesn’t taste decadent or indulgent then it must not be edible. Haha- it sounds ridiculous now that I’m away from the situation, but I think this is part of another stronghold that has needed to be shattered in my mind.

It’s like I’ve let my tastebuds give some kind of lesser value to “raw food” or “pure food”. My mind/tastebuds expect to get spicy food, salty food, buttery food, seasoned food, savory food, sugary food, etc. When they don’t… then it is literally like the food isn’t “worthy”. But food is about sustenance. Not about pleasure. I mean, it does taste good, but going to it for a pleasurable “experience” is not the point of food. That’s not the reason that food is there.

And although God desires for us to get pleasure out of life, it is not what we are to live for. In Ephesians, Paul is writing about the Gentiles and he’s telling us to not be like them (and, by the way, verse 19 talks about sexual obsession, but I changed it to an obsession with food since that is the “lust” that I am dealing with). And here is Paul’s “challenge” to them… to us… to me:

And so I insist (and God backs me up on this) that there be no going along with the crowd… that empty-headed, mindless crowd. They’ve refused for so long to deal with God that they’ve lost touch not only with God but with reality itself. They can’t think straight anymore. Feeling no pain, they let themselves go in an obsession with food, addicted to every sort of decadence.

But that’s no life for you. You learned Christ! My assumption is that you have paid careful attention to him, been well instructed in the truth precisely as we have it in Jesus. Since, then, we do not have the excuse of ignorance, everything (and I do mean everything) connected with that old way of life has to go. It’s rotten through and through. Get rid of it! And then take on an entirely new way of life (a God-fashioned life) a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your actions as God accurately reproduces his character in you. Ephesians 4:17-24

Honestly… I looked at this verse because in the NLT version it has the word “pleasure” in it and so when I did a word search for that it came up. But then I switched it over to the Message cause sometimes that version tends to really convict me since it sounds so… brutally honest! And it just worked on me and worked on me. I immediately identified with those Gentiles that had lost touch with God AND reality! I mean… I ate an entire bowl of cookie dough… that’s losing touch with reality!

And then, I really grabbed onto the verse that I have underlined because I’m working to get rid of my old way of life… all that addiction has GOT TO GO! It is rotten. I want to get rid of it! I am getting rid of it!

And then, that last part in bold. DANG. That is exactly what I am seeing and hope to continue seeing! That I’m experiencing an entirely NEW way of life… a life that God has designed… and life that is totally new FROM THE INSIDE! And it is working on my actions (my previous overeating habits) so that I am like Him… so that I have Him and His Character inside me!

Whoo hoo! That just gets me all sorts of pumped up!!! So, leaving my potatoes “plain” next time won’t be about edible and inedible. It will be about God giving me a new way of life… a life where he is reforming my character into His character! Talk about some goodness packed potatoes! Haha!

 

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February 28, 2012

Day Forty-Nine: Far Along! Well, FURTHER Along

Yesterday I was looking at my post number: Day Forty-Eight. I was thinking- wow… 48 days is a long time. I’m really pretty far along. So I figured that I would calculate how many days I had left.

308.
Three. hundred. and. eight. days. left.

Yikes. The 48 days accomplished was way better. Haha! I am essentially only half-way through being one-third of the way through.

But, it was kind of nice knowing that I have had so much personal growth and success and I’m only halfway through being one-third of the way through. It’s kind of fun to imagine how much more growth and success will happen during the rest of the “one third”!

And this thought brought to mind these verses. Well, it actually just made me think of verse 17, but when I reread the chapter I had to copy more than just that one verse! Plus verses 8 and 9 are my all time favorite verses!

We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies. That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.
2 Corinthians 4:7-10, 16-18

February 27, 2012

Day Forty-Eight: Whispering Way

Last night I made some yummy spaghetti sauce. All kinds of spices, fire roasted tomatoes, chopped up carrots and green beans. It simmered on the stovetop for a good thirty minutes letting all the flavors combine.

And then it was time to serve it up and as I prepared my husband’s plate with noodles, it hit me that I am not to have those on my hard core Daniel Fast.

I seriously sat there and debated: if I don’t put noodles in and just eat the sauce (which was yummy and chunky enough to be fulfilling on its own) then I might get commentary from my husband about it. Not eating enough, not getting sufficient nutrients, etc. (Gotta love him, he is always watching out for me!). But if I do put noodles in then I will be purposefully breaking the covenant.

I know that this is probably not shocking at this point, but I was pretty much ready to put those noodles in my bowl.

Then a quiet voice whispered in my ear: “Are you ashamed? Are you willing to so easily trade your agreement with me so that you won’t have to discuss all this with your husband?”

Well that was all it took. I slopped a bunch of spaghetti sauce in my noodle-less bowl and never looked back. Haha- and my husband didn’t even notice (or at least he didn’t say anything)!

But I think the whispering in my ear was reminiscent of these verses:

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

For I fully expect and hope that I will never be ashamed, but that I will continue to be bold for Christ, as I have been in the past. And I trust that my life will bring honor to Christ, whether I live or die. Philippians 1:20

For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes—the Jew first and also the Gentile. Romans 1:16

If anyone is ashamed of me and my message, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he returns in his glory and in the glory of the Father and the holy angels. Luke 9:26

And yet again I am reminded so keenly of how important it is for me to read the Word. Because he uses it to whisper to me “This is the way, walk in it.”

February 26, 2012

Day Forty-Seven: Parting Is Such Sweet… Awesomeness!

I haven’t mentioned chocolate in a while. At the beginning it was all the time, but I can tell that my mentionings are diminishing.

Which is so awesome and so disconcerting at the same time. It’s awesome how something so “worldly”, so temporary, so unimportant… can so quickly fade away. It shows me where chocolate stood in order of importance, really.

But it’s disconcerting to know that for all those years I allowed chocolate to hold me. to defeat me. to comfort me. to empower me. to do so many things for me.

And wow… that little description up there sounds a lot like the description of an idol. Sure, I never had a big gold-plated Hershey bar up on the mantel with incense burning next to it, but… well, I gave it that position in my heart. And I may not be a fancy theologian but I know that God sure doesn’t want us to go through the actions of worshipping or relying on someone/thing else as our god, but he reallllly doesn’t want us to feel that way in our hearts.

I’m not even sure why I have received so many blessings despite carrying around that stronghold. But then again, maybe my real blessings are only yet to come.

I know what freedom I have encountered just from that one piece of addiction being released from me, so surely the future holds more. And I can already start to see other areas that I want to attack next year, and the next, and the next! I’m probably gonna go from a covenant diet from food into breaking all of my misplaced addictions until all I have left is Christ.

Of course, I’m pretty sure that’s called Heaven. Haha!

February 25, 2012

Day Forty-Six: Processed Ponderings

I have been amazed at how quickly being on a hard-core Daniel Fast has shown me that I was a bit more dependent upon processed foods than I realized. Yesterday I was a little shocked at how little I had to eat in the house. None of it was “horrible” for me per se, but there is just a sea of pretzel chips, pastas, rice, breads, cheese, eggs, etc that I kept trying to revert to at my meal and snack times.

Granted, I really need to go to the store to get some more fruit options. I find myself not wanting grapes (which will work out fine because my youngest lovvvvvvves them), but I tend to really enjoy cantaloupe, pineapple, apples, clementines, raisins, peanuts, avocados, and carrots as my “easy-to-eat” options. My favorite “cooked” thing is certainly potatoes! Yummmmmm! And I just ran out of La Madeline’s Tomato Basil soup which is deeeeelish.

I bring up all of those foods to remind myself that even though I might have felt like this was an incredible sacrifice, it’s actually quite yummy. I think I’ll even purposefully do a “Hard-Core Daniel Day” each week for the duration of my covenant just to refocus my mind off of processed “easy” foods.

But also… you know, the point of “Lenting” is to focus my mind entirely on Christ, and my mind often goes to Him fasting in the desert for 40 days.

Let me break that down for ya.

NO. FOOD. FOR. FORTY. DAYS.

I cannot even imagine that. I can’t even remember the last time I went one day without food much less FORTY. And in the hot, dry desert.

And ya know, now that I think about it. I can’t remember why He did that.

Time to read…

Okay, I’m back.

So, the Bible says in Matthew, Mark, and Luke that Jesus was led into the wilderness by the spirit.

And then I read about Elijah and Moses’s 40 Day Fasts as well (thanks to seeing it on a Wikipedia page when I was looking for a scripture reference). Elijah was sorta “forced” into it by the spirit because he was running away from Jezebel and had to walk for 40 days through the desert going to Mount Sinai. But again, he was led by the spirit.

Moses was also sorta “trapped” up on the mountain with God for 40 days while God tapped out the Ten Commandments for the covenant. Annnnnd again, led by the spirit or in his case he was told directly by God himself to stick around!

But here is what I think is cool about each of these… being led by the spirit to fast may come with 40 days of trial, but it always ends up TOTALLY RAD. Check this:

Moses – doesn’t eat for 40 days but he is chillin with God Almighty – COMES DOWN FROM THE MOUNTAIN GLOWING WITH GOD’S GLORY!!!

Elijah – doesn’t eat for 40 days while he has to walk across the desert – AND THEN GOD TALKS TO HIM DIRECTLY AND TELLS HIM JUST WHAT TO DO!!!

Jesus – doesn’t eat for 40 days in the desert – GIVES SATAN THE SMACK DOWN AND HAS ANGELS BRING HIM FOOD!

So, all of that to say, a fast might be difficult, but at the end of 40 days… God’s Power, God’s Voice And Direction, and God’s Strength To Resist Temptation… is there.

That’s about the coolest thing that I have ever had to look forward to!

(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. And you can also read my post where I realized I should do a “Hard-Core Daniel Fast” for Lent.)

February 24, 2012

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.)

February 23, 2012

Day Forty-Four: Insanity

I had a friend and blog-follower ask me the other day why I haven’t mentioned anything about working out.

Well, here’s what it boils down to: I’m just gonna come clean and let everyone know that I do not like to work out. I don’t like to run. I don’t like to lift weights. I don’t like to do aerobics, or yoga, or pilates, or zumba (well, I have never actually tried zumba… it sounds crazy enough that I might be able to at least endure it- haha). I do enjoy swimming but not for the sake of working out… I just enjoy it for it’s mere awesomeness of that floating and flying sensation.

So… all of that to say that if I’m working out, it’s only for the cause of losing weight. I just don’t get that euphoria afterwards that I’m “supposed” to get, and I’m pretty much miserable during each work out, and then there is the getting into workout clothes which are always somehow either too snug or falling off, and of course then I have to bathe again after working out, and… okay, okay. I have made myself clear. Sorry for being a grouch about it! Haha – I guess I needed to vent a little!

I say this because I am not working out because I don’t want to lose weight any other way than by my eating habits changing. That might sound ludicrous and weird, but here is my reason: I need my overeating food and addiction to food and focus on food to be eradicated from my life. If I find another way to be “skinny” (i.e. working out) instead of getting this addiction under control then it defeats the purpose of this entire covenant. My focus this year is not to change my body (although I will totally admit that I hope it changes for the smaller) but to change my heart, soul, and mind.

Hopefully, I will be so renewed by the end of the year that I will be such a new person that I will want to work out. Or maybe I’ll be smaller and pounding the pavement won’t be as gosh-darn painful. Or my heart will have such a smaller amount of strain that zumba will be fun.

But I’m pretty darn sure that I will never, ever do a workout titled INSANITY. That’s just plain crazy! Haha!

February 22, 2012

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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February 21, 2012

Day Forty-Two: Skinny Tuesday

Today is Fat Tuesday since tomorrow starts the Lent season with Ash Wednesday. But since I am not really in a mindset to “gorge” then today is to be my “Skinny Tuesday”.

But having a Skinny Tuesday is not such a bad thing… I mean, we are having Crockpot Potatoes and Carrots with an onion sauce, an Apple Crumble of sorts, and my husband will have a chicken breast while I have a salad. Honestly, I think that I would rather have that than a cake… with a baby… baked inside.

Ewwwwwww.

Haha! I’m just teasing… cause, for real, them Mardi Gras peeps sure know how to make some good food for their Fat Tuesdays (as well as pretty much the rest of the year as well)!

Anyway, I’m rambling. I guess though that the more that I think about Fat Tuesday I sorta get a little insight into my “issues” of overeating. Fat Tuesday is pretty much all about getting to overindulge simply because lenting requires sacrifice. It’s almost as if we fatten up on this day because we feel like we deserve it since we will have to self-sacrifice the rest of the time. And that is kind of the mentality that I’m afraid of having.

For example, I have already been thinking and planning about what I’m going to do when my covenant diet is over. Last night I was thinking about what I would have on January 1, 2013… a ribeye steak from Roadhouse… my mom’s chocolate cake (you know, the one that I’m going to miss on my birthday)… a liberal glass of red Merlot…

But now that I get to thinking about this whole Fat Tuesday mentality, I’m kinda of wondering if maybe that’s not what would please God. I mean, my whole thing has been about Him changing my mind, my heart, my soul. Wouldn’t that be just like me turning my back on Him pretty much as soon as He has delivered me into the promised land? Which is so much of what the Israelites did when He dropped them off. After the generation that had been wandering in the desert died off, the people started worshiping other idols in no time. And God was NOT pleased with that scenario. I’m reading through Judges right now and it seems like any time one of the judges gets the people back in order, everything is good, then he or she dies, and everyone gets right back into their mess of looking somewhere other than God. And then He punishes them.

Yeah… I don’t want that.

I want for God to see my actions on January 1st and be pleased. I want for Him to look at me and think… Wow, she really did want to change. She really does want to please me. I really want to give her my blessing.

So maybe I won’t go all out on January 1st after all. Maybe I’ll even follow the same diet for that day. Not because I have to, but because I want to. Yep. That would be a pretty neat New Year’s gift to offer to God.

I’m not sure entirely if this verse means what it reads like, but oh well… it puts my heart in the right spirit!

I will sacrifice a freewill offering to you; I will praise your name, Lord, for it is good. Psalm 54:6

February 20, 2012

Day Forty-One: Control Freak

Today my recent overeating has been on my mind. I have had several instances of it happening at snackie time and at dinner. Again, I know this stuff might be easy to fix for a veteran skinny girl, but I’m totally in new territory.

I think that I have realized two things:
1) I need to serve myself much smaller portions. Going back for seconds isn’t a taboo thing as long as I’m still hungry, and it’s a lot easier to avoid overeating something when there is a limited portion on my plate. I just need to set myself up better.

2) I need to get out a bowl or a plate and “serve” myself a snackie. Doing so would serve two purposes. First of all, it would make me have to consciously choose to eat a snack instead of just grabbing something that is out. And it will enable me to better monitor and control how much I am having.

Both of these things are about me being in control of my consumption. When I realized that just now, I found it interesting because I needed to do this covenant in the first place because I haven’t been able to control myself in the past. I needed God to BE my control.

But the Bible points out a lot about us having self-control. Which is the only thing about the Bible that has frustrated me over the years… if I need self-control then why doesn’t it tell me how to get it. Well, as I have done this personal study I have found that the Bible does address that just not necessarily in a subtitled chapter called “How To Gain Self-Control”.

First of all we have to know that the Devil is all up on a lack of self-control! Not having any is not only a beat down to us but it also confuses those around us… makes them wonder who is running our life?

Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8

And then we have to pray and realize that no matter how many ways out God gives us, we need Him to change the way we think. This is almost like a preventative thing. Our minds have to be changed and altered.

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:2

And finally, the two add up to this: if we are keeping a watch our for where Satan is going to attack and we have asked and allowed God to start to change the way we think, then He will show us a way out!

The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure. 1 Corinthians 10:13

Just like He has done for me with these thoughts about portion control. He has helped me to see the way out. Which makes me feel better that it’s not me trying to “steal” back control from God as it is Him giving me self-control. Pretty decent gift. I’m looking forward to using it more in all the areas of my life! Haha!

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