Archive for March, 2012

March 31, 2012

Day Eighty-One: You can’T do it!

A friend of mine (who is so much like me it’s a little weird) is doing a mini-covenant. Well, mini in the sense that it is not a full year, but HUGE in the sense that it could be the start of something completely freeing and ground breaking for her.

Anyway, I am so excited for her… well, I am excited when I think about the freedom that is ahead of her. Based on what she has said, she seems to struggle in a very similar way with sugar that I have dealt with over the past few months. And so when she mentioned to me yesterday that she had started her own covenant, I was like pumped all day long! And I love how she told me too… she sent me this text (and yes, I have changed her name):

“Hi. My name is Christy and I am addicted to sugar.”

Haha! She’s so funny! See… she is a lot like me! Haha!

But anyway, and so God has totally got her stuck in my mind and I have had the opportunity to pray for her a bunch this past day because I remember a) how incredibly difficult it was to start, and b) how awesome it was once I got a few days in. So, earlier this morning I was going to send her a text that said “I believe in you… you can do it!”

And then I stopped… because I was like, that’s so… opposite of what is really going on here. Now, I do believe in her commitment to Christ. I can tell that she lovvvvvvvves her some Jesus. And that’s why I believe that she will go through with her covenant. But, what I want to say is, “I believe in Jesus! Jesus can do this in you!”

But why doesn’t that have the same ring to it? Because that’s not the phrase that the world would say to her. The world would say “I believe in you! You can do it!”

But what it really takes is not a belief in self (in fact, belief in “self” can be more detrimental than helpful in my case) but what it really takes is a belief in the POWER OF JESUS.

Recall the time in which a father brought his son that was possessed with an evil spirit to Jesus’s disciples. They could not heal the boy, and so the father asked Jesus directly and ended his request with… “Have mercy on us and help us, if you can.

“What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.” The father instantly cried out, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!” Mark 9:22-24

So, if anything, my message to my friend is to believe. If she does nothing else, it is to believe in the Power of Jesus. in his desire to show us mercy. in his desire to heal us. in his ability to do both.

So maybe I’ll just text her this post instead! Haha!

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March 30, 2012

Day Eighty: Dependent

The other day I was looking for something random… I can’t recall now what it was… but I came across this article about how the internet has some websites that promote eating disorders. A sad truth, and unfortunately not one that probably surprises any of us. But I kept seeing the article mention anorexia and bulemia (mainly because these are both disorders that “allow” someone to become extremely thin and so someone might have a website on “how” to be extremely thin)… and it just made me start to think… when will overeating be in that list of widely recognizable eating disorders. Because in my opinion, America’s obesity rates are not due to McDonald’s and Pop Tarts (although, it certainly can be said that neither of those are helping the obesity trends), but due to overeating. Whether it be overeating at three meals a day, overeating by grazing all day, or overeating by not eating all day and then consuming way more than needed in one sitting, overeating is the cause.

So I began to read a bit on the internet about overeating. And that led to me reading a Wikipedia page about Sugar Addiction, and one part in particular I found to be interesting. As the article explained a bit of research done with rats in which they were given sugar water and the rats ended up doubling their intake of sugar water by the end of the experiment. The article said, “It would probably be more correct to refer to the laboratory rats referred to above as ‘sugar-dependent‘ rather than ‘addicted.'”

I’m not going to harp on the idea that “Yes… sugar IS an addiction!” It felt like an addiction when I got started with it in the sense that I simply could not stop myself from eating it. That was all I needed to call it an addiction. But that is actually opposite of my point, because I think that the term “sugar-dependent” is actually more appropriate for what I’m going through.

Because… I was dependent upon sugar. It was my friend when I was alone. It was my joy when I was bored. It was my comforter when I was sad. It was my peace when I was stressed. It was my healer when I was sick. I needed sugar… to get through life. I was entirely dependent upon it.

And because of that… I was notdependent upon God.

God is to be my friend, my joy, my comforter, my peace, my healer. And He can be all of those things, but when I was allowing sugar to be those things instead, I never even gave God the chance. And because of that I was not getting to experience true friendship. true joy. true comfort. true peace. true healing.

And now that I have been “off” of sugar for eighty days, I can definitively say that He is all of those things… but way, way better than I imagined! I have learned to rely upon Him more completely (and I say “more” completely because as much as I want to give Him all of my struggles, I am not quite there yet… one covenant at a time, friends, one covenant at a time! Haha!)

And here are a few verses that remind me that I can depend upon Him… I particularly like this first one…

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed. Psalm 34:18

The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety. Psalm 18:2

We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through itas a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead. And he did rescue us… and he will rescue us again. We have placed our confidence in him, and he will continue to rescue us. 2 Corinthians 1:8-10

And this one might seem sorta random, but Eqypt could easily have been my Sugar…

What sorrow awaits those who look to Egypt (Sugar) for help, trusting their horses (sweet tastes), chariots (sugary buzz), and charioteers (constant supply) and depending on the strength of human armies (sugar to never talk back, say anything negative, or call me out on a sin)… instead of looking to the LORD, the Holy One of Israel. Isaiah 31:1

Now, look at it this way…

What sorrow awaits those who look to Sugar for help, trusting its sweet tastes, sugary buzz, and constant supply and depending on sugar to never talk back, say anything negative, or point out a sin instead of looking to the LORD, the Holy One of Israel.

God is the only One I want to depend on. God is the only One that I can depend on. And God is a way better… well, a way better EVERYTHING than sugar can be for me.

So, I’m moving from being “Sugar-dependent” into “God-dependent”!

March 29, 2012

Day Seventy-Nine: God’s Way Or The Highway

Today my youngest son and I came outside to play for a while after dropping off my oldest at preschool. Saxon had on his “leave the house” clothes which I knew he would immediately dump a bucket of water all over, so I started to take them off (he loves to run around in his diaper outside anyway). But for some reason he did not work with me to get them off. If I pulled up on his sleeve, he pulled down. If I pulled down, he pulled up. He just kept pulling in whatever direction gave him the most resistance.

Naturally, he started to fuss at me. There was his big ol water table full of fresh, clean water and here I was pulling on him and not letting him play. I said, “You know, this would be a lot easier if you didn’t keep trying to do it your way.”

Well, as I finished saying that sentence, I realized what a comparison there is to this same conversation between God and myself.

I have tried for years to diet “my way” and I struggled and pulled through it knowing there was something deeper going on. Something deep within me that was pulling in a different direction. I guess it just took a long time before I started to look to God for all aspects of my life, including my eating.

So I wonder how many times God has said to me, “You know, this would be a lot easier if you didn’t keep trying to do it your way.” And I wonder how many more times He’ll say it in the future.

Think of all the times He has “said” that to people in the Bible… gosh, just the whole wandering in the desert is a perfect example. Moses sent a scout team into the Promised Land in Numbers 13 and they were too scared to do things God’s way (which appeared to be the hard way) and go in and take over, so they had to wander in the desert for 40 years. And the adults that made that decision never even got to go into the Promised Land!

Yeahhhhhhhh, which way was easier in the long run? Yep… God’s way.

So even though this has been a challenge and a battle somedays, I’m glad to be taking God’s way instead of my way. Because I want to see the Promised Land. I want to face my own giants and defeat them. I want to cross the Jordan and know what the good life is.

I don’t want to wander in the desert for 40 years. I want to have milk and honey.

Literally… I’m really ready to have some milk and honey. Hehe!

March 28, 2012

Day Seventy-Eight: G.I.P.

My favorite miracle has always been the woman in Mark 5 who had been bleeding for years. She had suffered… for twelve. years.

And I know that some people have already heard this about her and the background around her, but just in case someone had missed it… not only had this woman been suffering physically, but she had also been suffering socially. A woman that was bleeding was considered “unclean” (for obvious reasons) and was not allowed into the community. For most women this would only last a week or so but this woman had not been allowed into her community, her church, possibly even her family for twelve years.

There are so many different lessons that this one woman can teach, but more than anything I just like to identify with this woman…

A woman in the crowd had suffered for twelve years with constant bleeding. She had suffered a great deal from many doctors, and over the years she had spent everything she had to pay them, but she had gotten no better. In fact, she had gotten worse. She had heard about Jesus, so she came up behind him through the crowd and touched his robe. For she thought to herself, “If I can just touch his robe, I will be healed.” Immediately the bleeding stopped, and she could feel in her body that she had been healed of her terrible condition.

Jesus realized at once that healing power had gone out from him, so he turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my robe?” His disciples said to him, “Look at this crowd pressing around you. How can you ask, ‘Who touched me?’” But he kept on looking around to see who had done it.

Then the frightened woman, trembling at the realization of what had happened to her, came and fell to her knees in front of him and told him what she had done. And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace. Your suffering is over.”

I find a connection with her for two reasons:

1) The woman had tried all the ways of the world to be healed and had gotten worse. Not only was she suffering physically, socially, but now she was also suffering financially… and had gotten worse. I identify with this when I think of the money I spent on “good for you food” that wasn’t that good for you… on SlimFast (yeah, remember what a waste that was for me?)… on pills… teas… herbs… exercise equipment… you name it, I probably bought it. And yet, at the beginning of this covenant I was worse off than I had ever been… eating a mixing bowl full of cookie dough.

But I suppose that is what drove her to go to Jesus. She had nothing… literally, nothing… to lose. An unclean woman touching a rabbi could have gotten her in some big trouble. And she would have made Jesus unclean as well. But all she wanted was healing. All I wanted was healing. And I had nothing to lose by going this way with Jesus. By allowing Him to “clean me up”.

2) She was healed and her suffering was over. Even though I am already beginning to feel the relief of healing of my addiction, I’m sure that it doesn’t even compare to the relief that she must have felt. But to hear Jesus say the words, “Your suffering is over.”

Over. Done. Gone. Forgotten. Closed. Completed. Ended. Finished. Past.

And I like to imagine her as the crowd’s attention, and Jesus’s attention, was turned toward Jairus because his messengers arrived telling him that his daughter had died… I imagine her still on her knees. Watching as the crowd walked away. Watching as Jesus walked away. I imagine that it must have been like seeing the world for the first time in 12 years… seeing that it could be full of hope. full of beauty. full of peace. full of relief.

And then I see myself in such the same way. Jesus has ended my suffering. He has ended my slavery to this lust for food. And now, because I am healed. Because I am no longer suffering, then I can… Go. In. Peace.

March 27, 2012

Day Seventy-Seven: No Calorie

I am horrible at dieting. Always have been. I think because it’s all about numbers.

When I was in high school: it was about calories… how many calories did a bagel have in it?

College: it was about carbs… how many carbs did a slice of bread have?

Working woman: all about saturated fat amounts versus unsaturated fat.

Newlywed: WeightWatchers… how many points?

A Mom: high fructose corn syrup, MSG, trans fat levels.

It’s just too many numbers for an English major to remember, much less to add and keep track of!

I tried in the fall to keep up with my calories on the Spark People app (which was really great if one is going to keep up with calories) and I would be all into it for a few weeks but then it was just old. boring. the same thing. And I still wasn’t losing weight. So, I lost motivation and that was all she wrote! I continued to use the app but only as a weight tracker.

It was all just such a burden.

Enter: Jesus…

Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light. Matthew 11:28

We actually just talked about this in church on Sunday and again in women’s bible study. The “yoke” had two meanings back then… the obvious meaning would be that thing that is put on an oxen’s neck for him to pull that would then drag the cart or whatever around. But it also meant a rabbi’s (a teacher’s) beliefs and teachings that an apprentice would have to learn if he was able to choose a rabbi to follow.

And, well, Rabbi Calorie, Rabbi Carb, Rabbi Fat, Rabbi Points, Rabbi High Fructose Corn Syrup… they have all failed me. Their burdens were far too heavy for me to take on.

But Rabbi Jesus. Now that’s a different story. No calorie, no carb, no fat, no points, no high fructose corn syrup.

He has provided me with a customized heart-changing. mind-renewing. life-altering. way of life that is easy to bear and light to carry. And there are no numbers to track.

Now, that’s my kind of a diet! Haha!

March 26, 2012

Day Seventy-Six: Manna Musings

I have thirteen more days after today to be on my Lent fast of fruits, veggies, and nuts. It has been far easier than I expected as well as extremely eye opening as to how much processed foods I consume even on my regular Daniel Fast.

Having said that, I miss cheese, eggs, and fish!

I mean… I miss the pasta and beans and rice and bread, too, but I only miss them because of the convenience of them in recipes, like spaghetti and pasta, stuffed bell peppers with rice, carribean style beans, and veggie enchiladas and tacos… ooooo, and a mushroom burger!!!

But all of those things I could take them or leave them, but I want a veggie omelet, a baked potato with cheese, a panko crusted tilapia filet!

I don’t want another orange.

I don’t want another apple.

I don’t want another raisin.

Honestly, I don’t think this way that all the time! But there are times when I look in the fridge for breakfast and get a little discouraged when it looks like I’ll be having yet another clementine. But most of the time I just grab whatever is on my fast to eat and just go forward from there which is a good sign, I think, that I’m moving away from food as a lust into food as a nourishment.

But, I do think about how the Israelites felt with manna everyday. I mean, I may not have as much variety as a non-faster has, but I have way more variety than manna for breakfast, manna for lunch, and manna for dinner.

But I guess in a way I do have manna for every meal. I mean, God provided more than just manna during those “drop feeds”.

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Look, I’m going to rain down food from heaven for you. Each day the people can go out and pick up as much food as they need for that day. I will test them in this to see whether or not they will follow my instructions. Exodus 16:4

And this is exactly the same learning that I am having to go through. I probably would have been one of those Israelites that gathered up extra only to find it had turned to rot with maggots in it.

Actually, I have been that Israelite. I have eaten more than what I need and the result was that I had an addiction to that “more”… a rotten, maggot-infested pile of “more”. of an overweight body. of an overweight soul.

But just like those Isreaelites that learned the hard way didn’t make the same decision again, I have handed over my pile of “more”… my extra… my excess. And in return, God has given me as much as I need. And it will feed me perfectly, well, for at least the 40 years it fed the Israelites!

March 25, 2012

Day Seventy-Five: Feeling Fine

This morning I found myself talking to a friend about my covenant. I had been talking to someone else about how I am sooooo ready to have an egg for breakfast or tilapia for dinner (can’t believe that I just said those things instead of a chocolate cake donut for breakfast and a ribeye steak for dinner) and while I was saying that another friend overheard and asked what I was doing. I briefly explained that for the year I am doing a broad Daniel Fast but for Lent I am doing a fruits, veggies, and nuts only fast. She asked how I was getting my protein and I told her that I eat a lot of avocados and nuts. She then asked a question that, surprisingly enough, no one has asked me during these seventy-five days… “How are you feeling?”

It was an interesting thought… I said, “Ya know, I feel great! I mean, I came off of sugar pretty hard the first few weeks but now I feel… great!”

And I do! This is another side effect that I had not considered. But I haven’t had a headache in weeks (I usually have had three to four a week… which I previously attributed to my TMJ), my heart never races anymore (and that was happening three to four times a week as well), my skin looks really great (I think), I really have noticed an increase in energy (but that could also be because of the change in weather to beautiful Spring weather)!

I can see how Daniel and his friends looked better than all the others after three weeks of fruits, veggies, and nuts!

At the end of the ten days, Daniel and his three friends looked healthier and better nourished than the young men who had been eating the food assigned by the king. Daniel 1:15

March 24, 2012

Day Seventy-Four: Food Journaling Vs. Mind Renewing

A couple nights ago, I made a new page on the blog called “What I Eat”… super creative title, eh? Haha! Anyway, it was surprisingly difficult to come up with a list of the foods that I eat. I don’t journal my foods like dietitians often recommend… mainly because I want to pull my focus away from food. off of food. and back onto God. It just seems that journaling my food as I have done in the past for diets puts too much emphasis on food.

Of course, I do think that journaling every single thing I eat for a few days wouldn’t have been such a bad thing if I wasn’t sure why I was gaining weight. In my case, I knew exactly what was the problem so there was no need for me to journal. I had journaled enough in the past to know that my eating was for all the wrong reasons, that I was overeating on almost everything, and that I was gorging and sneaking chocolate and other sugary things.

Sure, I had been in denial several times before, blaming it on the cafeteria food at school, or on the fact that I gained thirty pounds from the time I started dating my husband until we got married because we were going out to eat so much, or that there were just always goodies in the lounge of the school workroom.

But when it came down to it, I had to face up that it was because I was eating two meals worth of cafeteria food, eating two meals worth of fast food with my husband, and eating (and sneaking) two to three helpings of goodies from the lounge. For me, it wasn’t the what so much as it was the how much.

So, I knew that I didn’t want to focus on food anymore. I wanted that focus to switch over to a focus on Christ. I knew… I just knew that would work. I needed a change and He is the Change Maker.

So, instead of journaling my foods, I began the process of renewing my mind instead… or allowing Christ to renew my mind through the Word of God. My dear friend and former roommate, Beth, taught me years ago of the power of the Word to change my life. She has always been an avid Old Testament reader and could find a message or an example from the Old Testament to fit almost anything I was going through. I still glean hope and conviction from the verses in Deuteronomy 8 that she shared with me the summer before we started teaching and rooming together.

But for a long time (until this covenant actually) I never really applied any of the truths of God from the Old Testament to my addiction to food. But now, the majority of my conviction and hope come from there.

And now that I think about it, once again, Deuteronomy 8 is a perfect chapter for my experience with this covenant.

Here are some key verses:

Remember how the Lord your God led you through the wilderness for these forty years, humbling you and testing you to prove your character, and to find out whether or not you would obey his commands. Yes, he humbled you by letting you go hungry and then feeding you with manna, a food previously unknown to you and your ancestors. He did it to teach you that people do not live by bread alone; rather, we live by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. vs 2-3

For almost forty years, I have been humbled and tested. And although I think I missed multiple opportunities to turn to God for my deliverance, in the end… I did. Well, I am turning to Him still. Every day. And what a great “food message” in verse 3… it is not about the food in this “diet”. It is about every word that comes from the mouth of God.

“So obey the commands of the Lord your God by walking in his ways and fearing him. For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land… it is a land where food is plentiful and nothing is lacking… When you have eaten your fill, be sure to praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. Vs 6,9-10

God hasn’t given me a new land, but he has given me an almost new life! In the days to come, as the weight slips off, and in the days down the road, when the weight has been off for years, as I believe it will be… Deuteronomy reminds me of how vital it will be to still praise The Lord My God for my new life.

And I am warned as well…

Do not become proud at that time and forget the Lord your God, who rescued you from slavery… He did all this so you would never say to yourself, `I have achieved this with my own strength and energy.’ Vs 14,17

Ahhhhhh. There He is again. My rescuing God. And I am to attribute all success to… Him.

Well, that should be easy since He’s done it all anyway!

March 23, 2012

Day Seventy-Three: Fantastic Failure

Annnnnnnnd another verse that came to my attention in church this last Sunday. I know, I know. I promise this is the last one… well, at least until I go to church again this coming Sunday!

I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5

When I read this, I instantly connected with the last part: “Apart from me you can do nothing” because of how I could not… not… not… lose weight before this covenant. And oh wow- I remember now how that failure killed my self-esteem. I went through the phase of thinking that I was “less” because all these websites would tell me I was obese and on top of that I was even lower because I couldn’t get enough self-control to lose weight. My identity was becoming enveloped by those terms: obese. less. undisciplined.

I was essentially like a branch laying next to the Vine of God and wishing I could produce that fruit. But no, oh no, I don’t want to be part of His Vine. I just want the same fruit.

How freeing it was when I realized that I indeed could not do it. That in this area of my life, I was apart from God. And the covenant has been the way to graft me back into The Vine.

Because I think we all know, whether we have much of a green thumb or not, that a branch that has been cut off from the vine or trunk of a plant is not going to spontaneously have fruit on it. The branch is dependent upon the trunk to provide the nutrients necessary to bloom and make fruit.

And that is why I am so glad that my failure to lose weight on my own was so fantastically bad. I needed the Gardener to graft me back into the Vine. And now I am, I think, blossoming and bearing fruit. And I’m not just referring to the weight loss. In fact, that is only an outward showing of the change that is in my heart.

March 22, 2012

Recipe: Easy Vegetarian Crockpot Stir Fry

Well I guess posting a recipe yesterday got me all into it… cause here is another one!

Easy Vegetarian (Or With Chicken) Crockpot Stir Fry
This recipe worked really well for me to make half the crockpot with chicken for my husband and the other half without for me.

Ingredients:
• 2 bags of frozen “Harvest” Stir Fry veggies (ie baby corn, snap peas, carrots, onions, water chestnuts, broccoli, etc)
• Teriyaki Sauce or Marinade (soy sauce would probably work also)
• (optional) 1-2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts cut into one-inch cubes
• 1 Tablespoon of vegetable or olive oil

Instructions:
1) Pour oil into crockpot and, holding onto the handles, tilt the crockpot back and forth until the oil has spread all over the bottom.

2) If making the stir fry with chicken, arrange the cubed chicken along the bottom of the crockpot. If making half-chicken, arrange the chicken only on one half.

3) Pour a bag of frozen vegetables on the non-chicken side, and then pour the other bag on top of the chicken.

4) Sprinkle teriyaki sauce to taste all over the top of the veggies.

5) Turn on the crockpot to High for 4 hours (this is what I did) or on Low for 8 hours (in theory).

6) After cooking is complete, allow to cool for 5-10 minutes and then serve over rice if desired (or just like it is without rice if you are not eating grains… this is how I had it tonight and it was still very yummy!)

Sorry… no photo… I was too hungry to wait!

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