Posts tagged ‘burden’

April 13, 2013

Day 459: more. More! MORE!!!

I recently had a facebook message “conversation” with an old friend about my covenant. And well, there were just some parts of the message that I felt would be beneficial to share.

He is growing me so much through helping me overcome… such a journey. His message through me has so little to do with weight and food and so much more to do with me becoming less (in the spiritual) while He becomes more in my life.

It’s hard to understand often the horrible oppression I have felt from “just food” over the span of my life. A terrible, heavy burden… unconquerable. I have so often identified with the bleeding woman… nothing could release me from it save the touching of His garment, but up until the past year I had not the courage to reach out and touch.

But during the time I have been on my covenant journey with Him, I have found such a sweet freedom as I have never known in my life: freedom from that suffocating and all-encompassing burden. So, as simple as it might sound to just give up coffee or food, know that, for me, it is not just something neat, or fun, or even spiritually trendy… it is a battle. And for now, this is where I find myself on the journey.

Perhaps a lot of these words I’ve already said over the course of these 459 days, but I found it so… cathartic to say them yet again. To remind myself of the crushing feeling of despair. To remember the hopelessness each time I failed to be stronger than the pull of food. To refresh the pain of accepting that I was simply just “one of those people” that would struggle with food my whole life.

And cathartic to bring to light again the freedom that I have felt. the hopefulness. the salve over my aching and wounded heart. and the new identity that He has infused within me.

Because, here’s what’s cool… “we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Romans 8:37). And don’t just discount that phrase. For years, nay… for my. entire. life. I have read that word for word but my mind and heart have HEARD this:

“We are more than conquerors…”

Yeah. I just like knocked out two words of the verse mentally. “We are conquerors.” I mean… I was okay with that and all. Being a conqueror… that’d be, ya know, cool. I’d sorta picture myself on a mountain wearing Roman armor with a flag or something blowing the wind while I looked off at the horizon. Annnnnnd, that was about the end of that little (yes, weird) daydream. But look at it again the real way…

“We are more than conquerors…”

Think about that… more. we are MORE than just a conqueror! I mean, being a conqueror is pretty dang awesome, but yo… we are MORE. We don’t just win the battle… we go beyond that! I’m so encouraged by knowing that simple thing. Even if tomorrow He healed me permanently of this sin of gluttony… if tomorrow I was officially a conqueror over gluttony… that’s not the end-all be-all. I am MORE than just a conqueror!

I… I… I don’t even know what that would make me… I don’t even know what is “more than conqueror”, but hey… the thought of being simply a conqueror is so enticing, I can only imagine how amazing it will be to find out what the job is on the next rung of the old spiritual career ladder!

Which leads me to paste in the very end of my conversation with my friend:

I know, so much more keenly now, that God has called me to much more than just salvation… that was just a pinpoint in my life. Now I am to find my purpose in His Kingdom so that I might be a blessing to the world.

And THAT. that is what it means to be more. Because THAT is really and truly THE call of a follower of God. That through us, through the promise to Abraham, that through us all families on earth with be blessed (Genesis 12:3).

Ya know. That makes me want to be over and done with this gluttony stuff. It makes me ready to move on to being a conqueror. It makes me ready to be MORE.

{This was the closest thing that I could think of to a time in my life
where I felt like my dream of being a conqueror…
I had hiked (in flip flops, mind you)
through this dense rainforest in Costa Rica
when on my Spanish immersion summer,
and we ended up at this natural waterfall. It was… uh.maz.ing.}

Costa Rica Waterfall

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November 5, 2012

Day 300: Almond Joy

Ahhhhhh, day 300. Now, I’m not so hot at math but I know that if I am on day 300 and there are 365 days in the year, THEN I have less than 100 days left. (How’s that for a word problem??? My 4th grade teacher would be so proud! Ha!)

And still my journey is rocky and rough at times. Although, I continue to grow and discover why it is rough and rocky. And so I consider myself “well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me.Philippians 3:12

I laugh at myself a bit here as I look back at the first sentence of that last paragraph… “And still my journey is rocky and rough at times.” This is true, but when I think back on the grief and weight (both literal and spiritual) of last year… it is so. much. better.

And it is honestly exciting to think, as I come closer to starting in on year two, how it will be THAT much better next year on day 300!

Thinking about that made me want to find a verse, and I was looking for a verse about the future and had seen Ecclesiastes 9:4There is hope only for the living.” And then I kept reading and I came across verse 7: “Go ahead. Eat your food with joy, and drink your wine with a happy heart, for God approves of this!” (Ecclesiasties 9:7)

I was kinda like… eat my food with joy!?!?! Hmmmm, ya know, this focus on weight and weight loss, this struggle with gluttony and food-greed, the lack of self-control and discipline with food, and the ill-placed comfort from food… it has stolen this opportunity for finding joy in my food. Food is the enemy. Like this sign I saw recently at my retreat…

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All we think about anymore with food is how it will affect our rear end or our thighs or that flabby stuff under our arms. We think about if it is off-limits or allowed and then we pine after those things that are off-limits or, worse, we give in to the off-limits food and then have to endure the guilt and shame, failure, and inadequacy. We find ourselves enveloped in despair and hopelessness. All of these things… because of FOOD. Oh these words are a far-cry from eating with joy.

But, now, as I sit here, I am able to happily, joyfully snack on almonds and raisins. Why? Because for 300 days I have been freed from the guilt of food, the shame, the failure, and inadequacy. I’m not saying that I am totally free of food… but oh so much closer just to have a freedom from sugar-food. It’s certainly a step in the right direction!!! I can look at a plate of brownies and know that I don’t need to despair… that it is not hopeless… that Christ has given me power and strength… and oh what a joy that is!!!

September 1, 2012

Day 235: Blue Moon Blues

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Oh my Lordy.

Yesterday was… well, it was a bonafide me. me. me. day.

And I don’t mean that in a good way.

It was one of those days where I was pushing away my Jesus-loving self and allowing myself to act like a woman of the world. I wanted to do what I wanted to do when I wanted to do it however I wanted to make it happen.

I wanted to sit around all day and flip through my IKEA catalog even though my son is out of underwear.

I wanted to eat three slices of toast overly buttered this morning.

I wanted to have my kids watch movies all day so that I wouldn’t have to do anything.

I wanted to eat 3/4 of a cheese pizza.

I wanted to ignore God’s whisper that eating a bunch of junk wouldn’t make me feel right. or better. or good. or happy.

I wanted. I wanted. I wanted.

But there is a big difference between just wanting and actually taking.

And well, yesterday I took what I wanted. It was the first day in a long time that I felt like the “former me”… ya know, like: ignoring God’s pleas to not overeat, feeling powerless to resist eating, feeling like I needed to eat for some other reason than hunger. And I’m a little numb about it actually. I should feel bad and remorseful about it and I want to feel bad. But I don’t.

I think maybe it’s because a little bit of me is convinced that it was a result of the blue moon… everyone knows how full moons drive women a little wacko. Haha!

Maybe it’s because I knew that today would be a new day. A day where I could do right. Maybe that is why before my covenant started I was bawling over my cookie dough (that story is on day 21)… it was because I felt no hope. I had not yet learned that God could take my one horrible day and turn it right. I had not yet learned that God has the power to forgive and give me new life.

And honestly, today I feel almost as if yesterday didn’t happen. And double honestly, I’m not sure if that is a good thing or a bad thing. I hate to say that I feel like I “got it out of my system” because I don’t even like that mentality. But that is kind of how it feels.

Okay- I just had the moment where all these ramblings have brought me to the realization that I was needing to get it out of my system. Because I have been carrying the weight of the temptation on my own for the past few weeks. And resisting these food temptations is a heavy burden. A burden that added up day after day after day starts to beat me down. And I think I needed to get allllll the temptations off of my shoulders. How does my human mind think to do that?

Ironically enough, by sinning.

How does a mind set on eternity think to do that? Spending a day of fasting and prayer. A day of total and complete humility before God. A day of begging for His help and guidance and freedom.

And well, I think I have a day like that only once in a blue moon.

And it’s time to change that.

{Ahhhhhhh, but I do feel better having “figured” that one out!}

{Annnnnd, props to my hubby for helping me come up with my post’s name!}

May 29, 2012

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

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!

February 7, 2012

Day Twenty-Eight: Shout Out

It’s actually happening.

My craving for chocolate is pretty much… gone.

Seriously. Like I almost never think about it unless I am presented it right in the face. And honestly, unless I were to go searching for chocolate, there are not a lot of times that it gets presented right in my face. Which is weird… I felt like it was there all the time before but now it’s like I’m not even sure if we have any.

I guess because I don’t think about it much any more since it’s gone as an option. And since I don’t think about it, I don’t go looking for it. And since I don’t go looking for it… the chocolate might as well not be there.

Oh the freedom from that stuff! That and the freedom from no longer weighing myself… ahhhhhh! I think if nothing else changed and I stayed in this spot the rest of the year it would still be worth it because those two things have been a huge “weight” on my soul.

A weight that I have been carrying around even longer than my extra sixty pounds, to be sure. A burden that I have begged, and begged God to have mercy on me and to take the burden off. And something in my reading today in Mark 10 caught my eye in relation to that.

Jesus is walking through the town of Jericho and this blind guy named Bartimaeus calls out to him “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” A bunch of people yelled at him to be quiet, but here’s what it says that he did in response to their shushing… “But he only shouted louder, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” So Jesus stops, tells them to call him over, and he heals the guy and tells him “Go, for your faith has healed you”.

You see, all those times I was calling Jesus to remove the burden, I think I was sorta like using my “inside voice”. I wasn’t ever really loud in my soul. I think in a way, I was kind of in denial that I really needed help from God Almighty. I guess that I wanted to believe that maybe I could do it on my own.

Until… the cookie dough incident. That’s when I realized… I was blind. I needed mercy. I needed salvation. I needed Holy and Divine Intervention.

And I tell you…at that point, I shouted louder. Louder than I ever have. My soul was screaming at the top of it’s lungs “SON OF DAVID, HAVE MERCY ON ME!!!!!!!”

And He did. And I am being healed. In so many ways, I am already healed.

But, one more thing that I think is interesting to look at…

When Jesus heals Bartimaeus, note how He tells the guy “Go, for your faith has healed you.” I find that so interesting. Along with so many other times in the Bible, people’s faith heals them. Like, they didn’t necessarily need the physical body of Jesus to come over to them and touch them. They just needed the faith.

And with that in mind, I find it interesting that I knew months and months ago what to do in order to get healed of this addiction. My faith could have healed me. But I guess I was like so many others in the Bible… I needed Jesus to show up. I needed Him to answer me when I shouted louder. I needed to know He would take the time to stop and heal me.

And He did. And now I know that from now on, if I need Jesus to listen. to stop. to call me. to heal me. that He will.

Sometimes… I think He just wants me to shout!

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You know You make me wanna SHOUT!

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