Posts tagged ‘sugar’

August 20, 2013

Day 588: A Tale Of Two Milkshakes

two milkshakes

I guess I was asking for it.

Culvers. Happy Hour. $1 “Short” Shakes. Two squirely boys who NEVER finish eating anything.

There was A LOT left over.

And I was doing good, until I started wondering what the “brownie bites” tasted like. And so… I tasted… just one.

Pandora’s box, my friends, had nothing on a bite of sugary sweet.

It was all I could handle not to eat the whole thing there right in front of my boys. But I didn’t.

But I was planning on eating all of it when they weren’t looking. I mean, I was playing this game with myself of trying to rationalize, “Oh well, maybe I should be having one day a week where I can have sugar.” Seriously?!?!? Jan, we’ve been down this road before SEVERAL TIMES. If that worked, it’d be AWESOME. But it just doesn’t work for you.

For you, sugar is a drug.

A very, very addictive drug. With a pull stronger than the strength of a thousand horses. (Sorry, I’m too brain dead to come up with a stunning comparison! Ha!)

And as we pulled in to play at McDonald’s for a while (By the way, if you are thinking, “Wow they go to McDonalds and Chick Fil A all the time”… yes, we play at these establishments a lot and 95% of the time, I never buy a thing! It’s free air-conditioned/heated play space… I ain’t gonna say no to that!)

Anyway, as we pulled in to play at McDonald’s, I looked down at those two shakes and just prayed…

God, deliver me from this.

His answer: Commit this to Me.

I knew at that moment, I had to commit to not eat those shakes. So my mind went to eating something at McDonald’s instead… no. I had to commit the whole evening. What would I commit, what would I not commit? I thought, Just go easy… go Daniel Fast style. You know it in and out and you can stick by it with what you have at home.

Thus commencing the 5 Hour Daniel Fast.

I know it’s a bit comical. A 5 Hour fast???

But it was necessary. I had to COMMIT to Him. No talking myself out of it. No rationalizations. No confusion or loopholes.

It’s what’s best.

And then I realized the awesome answered prayer. My verse/prayer this morning.

Bend down, God, and hear my prayer. Answer me; I need your help. I will call to you when I’m in trouble, and you will answer me. Ps 86:1,7

And tonight it is my song of praise…

You bent down & heard my prayer & answered me when I needed your help.
I called to you when I was in trouble, and you answered me!!!
Ps 86:1,7

April 21, 2013

Day 467: Good Gluttony

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Thrown into an empty well by his brothers to die.
Sold by the same brothers to slave traders.
Sold again as a servant in Egypt.
Blackmailed by his boss’s wife.
Ended up in prison.

Joseph.

I have become nigh-obsessed with the story of Joseph.

You can partially blame that on Beth Moore as well, too… just like Day 449: Blame It On Beth Moore. Cause I’ve just finished her study The Patriarchs on Wednesday nights at my church. And the other partially would be that I was assigned his story to master teach in our youth department on Sunday at church a while back (Day 349: Ohhhh, Hockey Puck).

And it’s just so interesting how the bible can come alive over and over again. I mean… it’s Joseph. You know, Joseph and his coat of many colors?!?! Any kid who went to church heard the story of Joseph. And it was a great story then too… but it’s just cool to me how as an adult, I get something entirely different out of the story. As a kid I remember thinking the moral was “Don’t be prideful or people will try to throw you in an empty well.” Cause then I just sorta checked out on the rest of the story where all the bad stuff happens to him.

And now I realized that the second half of his life IS the story.

Because after all of that horrible stuff happened to him, he was raised to the highest status in Egypt, he was able to set aside grain for the entire country that would then feed his family, and he was able to reconcile with his brothers. And it all boils down to what he says to his brothers after his father has died and they are afraid that he will get revenge on them since Jacob isn’t there anymore to see it. He tells them:

You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people. Genesis 50:20

As I struggled a bit this week (what with the granola bars and all on Day 466: Hungry Hungry Hippie), I had to fight not getting down on myself for being imperfect. And then I remembered this story again… and thought, wow. Gluttony was trying to harm me, but God intended it all for good.

There is a lot of proof (my relationship with Him has never been closer and my faith has grown exponentially), but my favorite is this:

God has used my gluttony, my being in the pit, my selling of myself over to the sins of gluttony and food-lust, my burden of being overweight and trapped in the prison of sugar-addiction… He has used all of that for the good.

For you.

To save your life.

Because as I have traveled this path I have realized HOW. MANY. OF. US. THERE. ARE.

So many of us struggle with this. So many of us feel defeated. unhealable. trapped. lost. forgotten. resigned.

And it’s not just overweight women either.

Skinny girls. LOTS of skinny girls live on diets of chocolate. I know. I know because I’ve met them in coffee shops where they’ve bawled their eyes out. I’ve chatted with them while dropping off my son. I’ve read their emails to me where they confess their hoarding spots.

Manly men.
Average weight people.
Children.
Moms.

It’s… everywhere.

And I’ve seen and heard how God is using this journey of mine… from gluttonous to glorious… to help people begin their own journey of healing and renewal and freedom.

God is using my struggles with the sin of gluttony… for good.

And that… that is good.

April 20, 2013

Day 466: Hungry Hungry Hippie

So, lately I’ve been really wanting to pull myself and my family further away from processed foods… I know, I know. That is just so trendy right now. I mean, who doesn’t want to pull their family away from processed foods?

But gosh- soooooo much easier said than done. Especially for someone who is not much of an accomplished cook in the first place, and then double that for someone whose minimal cooking skills revolve around a bunch of “Cream of _______” dishes. Plus, I’m not much of a hippie type… I mean, I like roughing it out in the country, but only if there is a Walmart within driving distance to get the stuff I need. So, this whole “do it all yourself” thing is gonna be a big switch for me.

In an effort to make this endeavor something I don’t burn myself out on too quickly, I have decided to start very small and thought I’d begin with homemade granola bars. I found a recipe on Pinterest that sounded doable and so I modified it a bit and then tried it a few weeks ago. Delish. My processed-addicted 5 year old son loved them. So, I made them again a couple of days ago and bam… nailed it again.

{Look… aren’t they pretty? And this is pre-baked!}

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I packed those beautiful granola bars all nicely in my best piece of tupperware and stored them in the fridge and smiled at myself each time my son requested one and I could far more easily say “Yes, you may have one of these pretty-good-for-you homemade granola bars!”

Until… yesterday.

I got so hungry at lunch time. Weird, right? What a concept. But it was the kind of hunger that caught me a bit off guard; it sorta came out of nowhere. And I didn’t really have a plan for what to eat nor a lot of easy options… so, I ate… a granola bar.

And I sorta sigh and shake my head at myself as I write that.

But… what’s wrong with a granola bar, January?

Nothing.

Unless… you’re doing a Daniel Fast that restricts several of the ingredients in the granola bar.
Unless… you’ve made a covenant with God not to eat sugar for five years and there are m&ms and mini chocolate chips in them.
Unless… you’re not eating A granola bar but MANY granola bars.

Yep, that’s right… I didn’t just eat one granola bar to ward off my hunger. I ate five granola bars to ward off my hunger.

And then at dinner I had the nerve to feel so proud of myself for not eating the BBQ pulled pork I cooked for my visiting brother. And proud again as I just ate enough and felt so satisfied. Well, YEAH, I felt just so satisfied with my little meal… I’d eaten enough oats and peanut butter in those bars to last me a week!

{Sigh.}

This morning, however, I sit here and cross my arms (cause despite it being late April it’s a little chilly) and think… Well, what lesson did I learn from it? A couple, actually.

Reminder One: This is a journey, January. By now you should have learned that this whole process of healing and renewal is not going to happen on your timeframe. Calm down. Learn lessons. Keep your eyes on Jesus.

Reminder Two: Have pre-prepared, easy to make/warm up lunches for days like these. Like, yesterday was a “I need to nuke it” kind of lunch day. Not even my avocado and tomato salad would have been right for me (despite it’s deliciousness) because it took a whopping five minutes of “work” to make it. So, this week, I’m going to prepare five freezer meals for myself along with a list of Daniel Fast-friendly lunches to glance at when my brain is kaput.

Reminder Three: It’s not about WHAT food you’re eating if you eat TOO MUCH. (One of these days that’s actually going to sink in!)

Reminder Four: God’s love never ends. His mercies never stop. They are new EVERY MORNING. (Lamentations 3:22-23) And He will give me wisdom to come out of this. He has healing in his wings that all I have to do is reach out and touch. He knocks down strongholds. He reaches down with his strong arm to save. God. is. good. Even my granola bar gorging can be worked out for His Good Plan.

Yep. I feel better now!

April 3, 2013

Day 449: Blame It On Beth Moore

Beth Moore Patriarchs Best Verses Ever

No sugar for five years.

Really, January? Really???

Hey. That’s what God said… don’t look at ME.

One year is cute… five years is getting wayyyyyyy closer to real sacrifice.

What can I say? Blame it on Beth Moore.

She was the one who wrote The Patriarchs. She was the one that was open and honest on page 62. She was the one that put those three, little, almost insignificant verses in between those little, almost insignificant parenthesis.

You know. The kind of verses that you read at just the right time. when you are in just the right attitude. when you have just the right heart to receive them. The kind of verses that you have read a gazillion times before, but this time… this time you are seeking God so fervently. you want to meet with Him so much. you need a word from Him. a vision. a Hope. And then someone like Beth Moore goes and throws them all together…

I was done for.

Here are the three verse chunks… first I’ll put the plain on scripture and then I’m going to do some verse interrupting because I think it’s just as important to know what was simultaneously going through my mind as I read them.

Give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. 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 12:1-2

 Give your bodies to God {Let go of the need to control this experience with your body… give your body’s control over to Him} because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice {Hmmmmm, he’s repeating this whole “give up” mentality} —the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world {Like diets, balance, gluttony, doing things my way}, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then {Give up and THEN He’ll show you the way to do it} you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect {That’s what I want… the PERFECT diet that’s not a diet!}. Romans 12:1-2

Honestly, after these verses, I was already feeling His pull. I knew that I had tried to do it “my way” with the slackened covenant, and I knew that it wasn’t going to work unless I did things His way… which might not look normal to the outside world. But after reading those, I was so terribly curious about the other two verses. I mean, could they say anything more???

We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do. We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5

We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do. {Oh and this fight with food is a battle, a war!} We use God’s mighty weapons {the Word, faith, truth, His righteousness, prayer}, not worldly weapons {like typical diets}, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments {My OWN arguments}. We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. {This obstacle of food drains so much of my thoughts and life that it does keep me from spending that time focused on God, so it must be destroyed! Mwah ha ha ha!} 2 Corinthians 10:3-5

And even though the next verses only called for verse 23, I was struck by a few more verses.

They (the Gentiles) live for lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity. But that isn’t what you learned about Christ. Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy. Ephesians 4:19-24

They (the Gentiles) live for lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity. {I hate to say it, as miserable as I was, I was EAGERLY eating that chocolate.} But that isn’t what you learned about Christ. Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, {that. right there. that did me in. throw off your former way of life. stop eating sugar.} which is corrupted by lust and deception. {Yep. Those would be the two words I’d use to describe me with sugar.} Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy. {Let GOD do this. Go back to the new you that God formed you into.} Ephesians 4:19-24

And well, yeah… I can’t really blame Beth Moore. God put those verses there. For me. For that moment. And, truth be told, I was really far behind in my study, but now I’m actually glad… I needed those verses at just that moment. He really does work all things together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to his purpose!!! (Romans 8:28)

So, there ya have it. That’s partially how I came to the conclusion to go back to a sugarless life that I referred to on Day 444.

Oh, and next time I’ll talk about how God told me to give up something else for those five years. It’s almost as shocking as me giving up chocolate!

March 29, 2013

Day 444: So. Worth. It.

Okay. No more games.

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

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

I’m just gonna tell you what God said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

birthday countdown pic

And immediately………

FREEDOM.

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

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

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

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

So. worth. it.

March 28, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nutso.

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

And these verses speak so well to all of this:

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

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

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

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

March 26, 2013

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

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

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

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

It’s about coming to grips with God.

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

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

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

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

And, He did.

But, not about what I wanted to talk about.

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

But He wanted to talk about sugar.

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

Nope. Not at all.

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

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

He. will. answer.

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

He. will. answer.

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

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

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

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

March 11, 2013

Day 426: Fast Fruit

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Yeahhhhhhhhhhhh.

Soooooooooooooo.

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

… … …

Ugh.

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

… … …

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

Okay, okay. And I had some punch.

Well, a lot of punch.

… … …

And. A huge slice of cake.

After everyone had left.

While my husband was in the other room.

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

Plus, I have this, ya know, covenant.

With GOD.

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

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

At 3am.

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

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

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

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

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

And holllllly moly.

I’M HUNGRY.

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

Until about… noon.

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

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

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

And I remembered… hunger.

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

February 21, 2013

Day 408: Funny Honey

Honey.

Honey is a little funny.

It’s a little tricky.

It’s not sugar……… but it is sugar.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So, I had to Just Say No to honey.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

February 10, 2013

Day 397: Lovate

love hate

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

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

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

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

.

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

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

You loved him.
You hated him.

You… lovated him.

Heyyyy, ya like my new word?!?!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But I did it anyway.

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

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

Much like I did this weekend with sugar.

Sugar. My other lovate.

I love it.
I hate it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So, I revert.

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

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

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