Monday, September 26, 2011

Accountable to Him

So I’ve been watching what I eat for a few weeks now. I know it hasn’t been all that long, but I feel really good about it. I think the big difference for me is accountability. In the past when I have set out to lose weight I have always sought out accountability partners. Years ago I joined Weight Watchers with two women from church. They both quit after just a short time. Then I did a Stephen Arterburn study with a group of women from church and all of us from that group still struggle with our weight.

I have been reading the book Made To Crave and really applying the lessons in it. I did some thinking about my past weight loss attempts and failures. Accountability kept coming to mind. When I held myself accountable to a group of women, it was too easy to cheat. They weren’t always around, so it was easy to sneak the occasional junk foods into my diet without them knowing. Then it hit me, the only way for me to be truly accountable is to God. He knows my every thought, He sees everything I do, and He knows every morsel that enters this temple He has given me.

That has made this time so different for me. I am not a baby Christian. I have a relationship with the Lord that needs to take priority in my life. I need to put my complete trust in Him. I really don’t want to disappoint Him anymore with how I treat my body.

I have had some rough moments. I bring these small fat free chocolate puddings to work with me because having that little bit of guilt free chocolate help with cravings. On Friday, I forgot to bring one to work. So of course on Friday one of my coworkers found it necessary to shove a cupcake in my face and try to entice me to share one with them. But I won that battle. I did want to punch this person, but I won that battle too and sat on my hands! I also went to dinner with my husband and an old friend and watched the two of them split a piece of red velvet motherlode cake and I didn’t even take a bite. And you know what, I was totally okay with that! Thank you God!

It’s too early to claim victory, but I am feeling really good. I have a verse from Exodus 14:14 “The Lord will fight for you, you need only be still”. It’s making me realize that I have been battling for years with my weight. The battle isn’t mine to fight. If I be still and trust that He is God, He will fight those cravings for me. I just need to be still and crave His peace and goodness to fill the spaces that need to be filled in me.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

A Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins With A Single Step

Search me and know me O God, know my anxious heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:23-24

“With men it is impossible, but to God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26

I am looking down a short path to being 40 (March 23, 2012) and I am tired of looking and feeling like I do. It’s time. Yes, I’ve thought other times were ‘the time’, but this is different. I am finally acknowledging that I have no one to blame for this but myself. Any so called wrongs that have been done to me are well in my past and I have had EVERY opportunity to lay them at the foot of the cross and unburden myself. But I just got too comfortable with carrying that extra weight. I carried around all my past bad choices and stupid mistakes around like a big boulder. The weight continually reminded me of how many times I’ve failed. It’s exhausting carrying it around and then I realized I have the choice to set that boulder down. I don’t have to carry it anymore. So instead of beating myself up again with “How could I have let this happen?” I will be spending time craving God instead. I have discovered that I am physically overweight, but I am spiritually underweight and malnourished.

I just finished reading Sandi Patty’s book “The Edge of the Divine” and a paragraph from her book really stood out to me. “Weight loss is a journey that teaches you to act in a way that confirms what you say your priorities are. Your top priority is to love and serve God. To act on that priority, you need to choose actions that honor and care for the body He has given you, so that you are able to use it in His service. You also need to be healthy so you can use your body to cherish and support the wonderful husband, family and friends God has given you.”

My priorities…well they’ve lately been sitting in front of the TV, cooking good tasting but very unhealthy foods, and spending time on the internet. I’ve said that God comes first in my life, but the choices I make don’t reflect my priorities. I might have said that God was my number one, but my choices show that food has become my Comforter in Chief.

One thought keeps coming to me when I think of Jesus’ death for me. Jesus didn’t go through that ordeal so I could merely survive. He did it so I could have life and have it more abundantly.

I haven’t had much in the way of self esteem for most of my life. This is my own issue. Instead of seeing my worth in Gods eyes and recognizing myself as a child of God, I let the fact that my birth father wouldn’t acknowledge me tarnish my view of myself. “If your own father doesn’t love you, why would any other man?” So I dated like crazy starting in junior high. I tried so hard to stay skinny, because I didn’t see I had worth other than in how I looked. Sad. I went through 2 divorces before I finally realized the man God intended for me all along was there the whole time as one of my best friends.

“My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:7

I am reminded of the story of the rich young ruler in Matthew 19. I want so much to be closer to God. God tells me in order to get closer to Him I need to give up the very things I crave (food) and come follow Him. But He wants me to follow Him with undivided attention. Mark 8:34 says “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”

With Jesus, if I want to gain I need to give up. If I want to be filled I must deny myself. If I want to get closer to God I need to distance myself from other distractions. If I want to conquer my cravings, I need to direct them towards God.

God made us capable of craving so we’d have an unquenchable desire for more of Him and Him alone.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Women of Faith Weekend

My daughter and I attended the Women of Faith conference this weekend at the Honda Center in Anaheim, CA.  Wow!  Each women gave me something to think about and I kind of feel like a bit of a mess.  This is a good thing though! 

I learned from Brenda Warner to live a life with integrity and honor and just be myself.  And to keep focusing on the positive even when life hands you more than you think you can handle.

I learned from Lisa Whelchel that I need to nurture my relationships with other women I know and find someone safe and find a "bestie".  I have lots of female friends, but I wouldn't know who to call to meet me for coffee.  I wouldn't know who to go to when I really needed someone.  I either hold things in until I explode, I talk to my husband, I journal and of course I pray.  But I'd really life to be the kind of friend I want.  The last female best friend I had went and married my ex-husband.  So yeah...

Patsy Clairmont finds the humor in anything even in the midst of horrible circumstances.  She trusts in Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, the sweetest name she knows.

Marilyn Meburg is just one feisty older woman and I hope I am half as strong and graceful as she is when I reach her age.

Sandi Patty really spoke to my heart too.  She has struggled with her weight for years.  Her doctor told her she was cheating her family of years of life with her if she continued on the path she was on.  I don't want Allyson to have to bury me for many many years.

So I have work to do.  I have lots of books to read that I got from each of these speakers.  Lots of prayer and honest self reflection. 

Amy Grant and Mandisa sang and both sang meaningful songs to me.  Mandisa sang "Shackles" and I forget many a time that God has freed me from shackles.  The shackles I wear now are my own and I need to remove them.  Amy Grant sang "Better Than A Hallelujah" which I love.  I know God loves to hear our praise as well as our prayers, but I know God has got to rejoice when we honestly just cry out from our soul to Him. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Lots to Catch Up On!

Wow, I know I had a busy summer, but I just noticed that I haven't posted since May. In June, Jamey & I went on an Alaskan cruise and had a wonderful time. I will post some pics later, maybe tonight. It was my first cruise and I loved each & every minute of the trip. We flew up to Seattle, WA and had gorgeous blue skies. We had a day and a half at sea. Standing on the deck and seeing nothing but ocean surrounding you is so humbling. I recommend a cruise to everyone. These cruise ships are HUGE, but when you are surrounded by nothing but water, it makes you realize how small you are and just how BIG our God is. Our first port was Juneau, Alaska and again, beautiful weather which is very rare for Juneau. We toured the town, went 2000+ feet up the side of Mt. Roberts in a cable tram car and toured an abandoned gold mine. Our next port was Skagway and we toured the town and took an old train up into the Canadian Yukon. It was gorgeous. I spent the whole train ride out on the little balcony of our traincar. I took thousands of pictures of the scenery. We then sailed down the Tracy Arm Fjord and had spectacular views of the Sawyer Glacier. Our Captain told us in all his years of doing that particular cruise, he was never able to get so close to the glacier and have such cooperative weather. It was COLD, but clear. There were mini icebergs floating all around is with momma seals and their babies (some giving birth!!!) and we saw fledgling eagles. Some of the ice was melting so there were waterfalls all over the cliff faces. A big hunk of the glacier calved while we were there and the ice behind it was the most incredible blue you've ever seen. Our final port was Victoria, British Columbia. I didn't know what to expect of Canada, but I loved it. Such a great town, nice people, and so scenic. We did a tour and saw Tom Selleck's house (not too shabby!), we saw a nesting bald eagle, toured the Empress Hotel which is beautiful and also toured Craigdarroch Castle. I wanted to move there until our bus driver told us very matter of factly how it costs more than half what you make to live there in taxes, etc. No thanks, it's expensive enough here.. After coming home from Canada, I came down with bronchitis and was sick for a week from work, but the coughing didn't stop for a good month. I hate bronchitis! Inn July I went to summer camp with my 3rd through 6th graders from church. Jim couldn't come this year, so Matt & Eric came along as the two male leaders. They were excellent. Allyson came with me for the first time as a co-leader and she was such a blessing. Yes, we butted heads a few times, but we both brought out the best in each other too. Allyson led the girls in a great devotional one of the nights that had the girls crying & laughing over Psalm 139. She took hundreds of amazing pictures I will cherish from our week. She is so talented with her picture taking. But my body betrayed me when I got home from camp. It seems my immune system took a dive after the bronchitis, so in its weakened state, I caught a horrible staph infection from camp. I woke up the day after coming home covered in red spots. I thought it was hives, then possibly chicken pox, nope...staph. NO FUN AT ALL!!!! I praise the Lord I have a great boss and a job where I earn a ton of leave because between my cruise, camp and being sick, I took over a month of leave! So most of August has been focused on resting and recuperating. I finally feel normal again, well not that I have ever been normal :)