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Friday, August 31, 2012

As Unto The Lord

The root of my problem, as revealed to me repeatedly by the mirror in. my. face. is unthankfulness. I get so frustrated with a certain girl child in my house (who shall remain nameless) when she is constantly clamoring for more. The world revolves around this child. She thinks she owns the place, and whatever her little heart desires is what should be henceforth and forevermore.


She is me. A very immature and young version of me.

Today's MTC is all about remembering that my body is the Lord's and the sacrifice of good choices is my way of giving back to Him what is His in the first place. By doing this, I am reminding myself that I am not my own, and admitting to Him that I am thankful for this life.

Last night, as Shawn and I were preparing for bed, I asked him. "Am I unthankful?"
The long pause, as he thought of how to answer that without a fight, followed by, "Only some times."

Ouch. Again.

So today I decided to look around and see what I could do to show him my thankfulness. He is a very hard worker. He is helpful to a fault sometimes. He leaves every morning to go to a job he enjoys, at a company he likes very much, and makes a decent living. But he doesn't do it because he enjoys his job and the company where he works. He does it because it is his calling to provide for his family. He  takes his responsibility very serious.

My job is to keep the home and to homeschool our son. I make sure there is food to eat, the bills are paid, and the family runs smoothly. I take our daughter to school and help with her homework. I get the kids to youth choir, and Caleb to soccer practice. I do the grocery shopping and cooking, and delegate some of the household chores to the children. So why is my house a wreck most of the time? Why is the pantry in disarray, so much that I can't tell what is in it? Why are there fourteen cans of olives in that pantry????

I am not doing my job with a thankful heart. I am doing a slap happy job of.... my job.

So when I came home from the gym this morning, instead of playing with my new paints that arrived yesterday, I looked around to see what I could do that would speak thankfulness to my husband and to God. The dishes. Clean out the pantry. Finish my grocery list. Pay the bills. Give Caleb his spelling test.

And now, imma paint! ;-)

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Self Control ~ Not me!

Well, I have been hit hard today. Right in the gut. Shawn and I are attending a class on Financial Peace at church. I'm sure you have heard of Dave Ramsey. The whole concept of living debt free is a beautiful dream, but reality is that we like to do what we want to do, when we want to do it.

Sound familiar?

Yes, getting my heart right about finances and getting my heart right about eating and exercise seems to be the same song. Or at least the same tune, with different words.

I just may as well say it. I am a sanguine. This is who I am. I love the fun thing. I love the spontaneous. I love doing what I want, eating what I want, going where I want, and not having to answer for any of it. But here is the problem. I have developed bad habits. I cannot stay on task. I do not stay on budget. I cheat on my diet. I choose not to work out when I don't feel like it. And all the while I smile really brightly and feel like a failure.

Today's Made to Crave challenge is to know that I CAN have self control. With God, all things are possible. When I feel like it is impossible to pass on something and exercise some self control, I can know that it IS possible. Self control is a fruit of the Spirit, and I have the Spirit living inside me! All I have to do is yield my flesh to God! Easier said than done, obviously.

I tell myself that I cannot give up sugar. I cannot give up my late mornings. I cannot give up (GASP) Facebook. But I CAN. And I will be doing it for a week, just to show myself.

Starting tomorrow. ;-)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Listening to God Instead of Mandisa

This morning I was heading into the gym with no desire to actually do so. I had a quick chat with the Lord. It went like this:

 Me: I don't really want to do this today, but I know you want me here. Please help me to have a good attitude and obey. It would be really great if I didn't hurt so much this morning, and I didn't have a headache...
 God:  ...therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's.
 Me: I know this body is yours, so please be glorified in it, as well as my spirit today.

Then when I got on the elliptical, I popped in my ear buds, as usual. Normally I have a few songs that inspire and motivate me to keep moving that I listen to on a shuffle. But for some reason, God prompted me to remove them.  I had no idea why I couldn't tune out the world and spend a little time jamming to some really great, upbeat Christian music. After all, it IS Christian music. But I obeyed. 

Soon a lady hopped on the elliptical right next to mine. You know that immediate feeling when someone sits right next to you in an empty theater and you look around thinking "There are at least a hundred empty seats in this place and they just sat RIGHT NEXT TO ME"? Well, there were several empty machines, but she chose the one right next to mine.

 So I said Hi. And we proceeded to visit and encourage one another throughout our workouts. Both of us have a long journey ahead of us. Both of us have recently gone back to the gym. If God hadn't told me to wake up and look around, I would have totally missed meeting her.

 Yes, Lord. I hear you.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Showing up

The book I'm reading to help with my food related addiction is called Praying God's Word by Beth Moore. I highly recommend it if you struggle with any stronghold. Each chapter addresses a different one. Obviously, I am reading the chapter on overcoming food related strongholds.

Well, this morning in my quiet time with the Lord I was reminded that He created me lovingly with all the details about me already in mind. He knows I like sweets. He made me that way. He knows I am sanguine and will usually choose the fun or easy thing over the necessary or hard thing, when I rely on my own wisdom and strength. He is not surprised that I am a slave to my own desires. But when I am listening to Him and completely relying on His leading, I will know the right decisions to make in any given moment. So this morning I prayed that I would remember to ask him what I should eat today and that He would keep my cravings in check.

Fast forward to my work day. I work in the kitchen at church on Wednesdays, where we serve a meal at dinner time. By the time I arrive at noon, the whole place smells like cake. Or cookies. Or brownies. You can see how this would be hard for someone like me. When I first started working there, my dad suggested that it was a little like having an alcoholic tend bar. He was right.
After finding chopped boiled eggs to enjoy a yummy salad, I had lunch. My salad filled me up so well I felt a little sick. No worries about being tempted by cake! An hour or two later I was dishing up frosted brownies and they smelled really yummy. So I asked God to do something about that.

And He showed up!

Tammie pulled a pan of spinach out of the steamer just then. And smelled up the whole kitchen. I couldn't even smell the brownies in my own hands! I had the best laugh!

If you don't believe God will show up when you need Him, you don't know my God!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Humble Pie

The only pie I need to be eating right now.

I told myself I wouldn't write this until I got my life back under control. I said that I had let everyone down.  I knew I had let myself down, for sure. But the only one who I let down that matters is God. Sometimes we have to humble ourselves and admit we messed up.

 Well, I messed up  in a mighty big way. Fifty pounds is pretty stinkin' big.

 I  would say I am an overachiever sometimes. I don't want to just make good choices with my diet. I want to make good choices with my exercise and my budget, and my housekeeping skills,  and my child rearing, and my home schooling, and my ability to be a good wife and friend, and a great singer, and a fabulous face painter, and be a great witness, and on and on and on. 

 And when I realize I can't do it all, I pretty much say screw it and have a swiss cake roll. Or fourteen.  

So what happened? Well, it's called a stronghold, folks. Some would call it an addiction. Others would call it another name, but it doesn't matter how you say it. I have an idol. I worship food. I worship having what my mouth or my head says I want. It isn't a sickness. It isn't a disease. It is my choice. I choose to live in the here and now instead of considering  how it will affect my tomorrows. 

One day a dear friend of mine was defining liberty to me. She said that if she and another driver are driving down the road, and she chooses to drive within the law, but the other driver chooses to speed, then they both pass a police officer, the other driver, who is free to choose to disobey the law, now is not free. My friend has liberty to keep driving, but the other driver will have to stop and face the consequence of his choice.

 My friend, I am free to have a brownie. I am free to have the whole pan. But it doesn't take much time of living in that freedom to realize the chains of slavery that actually surround me. I am not free to play soccer with the kids at our soccer camp. I am not free to ride the roller coaster I cannot fit in. I may not even be free from heart disease, so that I can live a long life to walk beside my husband in the fall or rock my grandchildren to sleep.

 Today, in spite of the fact that my house, my budget, my priorities, and my weight are a hot mess, I say I am ready. I won't even attempt to get it all straight before I commit to trying to do this. I won't lie and say I can do it at all. I know this is hard. I am not asking for congratulations or cheerleaders. I am asking for your prayers whenever I cross your mind. I struggle daily, hourly, and even sometimes by the very minute with my unwillingness to make wise choices. If God brings me to your mind, please pray that in that very minute, I will choose wisely. And if you'd like to let me know you have prayed for me, and even the specifics of your prayer, that would be a great encouragement.