Cautiously Optimistic

Cautiously optimistic, I opened my new book and began searching for my “missing link.” Because I am a student, teacher and a researcher, I read with intensity. I highlight, circle, underline, make notes and turn page corners down to revisit when I feel spoken to. Let me just say, within the first chapter, I had marked up my new book quite a bit. Some of the information I am reading, I have known for a while. Some of what the author is talking about, I feel God has has revealed to me over the past year. However, there is definitely something missing in my quest, because I still continue to struggle with this issue. So I continue searching and I continue reading.

As I turned each page, I immediately noticed something was definitely missing. There was no diet plan. No list of do’s and don’ts. How is that supposed to work? What I find is quite unique. This author is not telling you what you should do or even how you should do it. Rather, she is explaining the spiritual aspect of the battle with food. She even starts back at the beginning with the first struggle between a woman and food. Eve gives us the perfect example of what it is like to be tempted to eat when we know it is not what is best for us. Satan knew then and he knows now that women struggle with the desires of the flesh. How very interesting.

I am purposely taking my time reading this book because I want to absorb every word. One thing I know to be true, and that is also suggested in chapter 4, is that a journey such as this is always better with a buddy. No doubt, there is strength in having an accountability partner. To be honest, I have probably maxed out the patience of my accountability partners over the years. There are a few friends and family members that I know will continue this next step with me, but I have decided to add a extra dimension to this study. I am going to use this blog as additional accountability. I will be posting my insights as I continue to read and learn and I will share with you how God is directing my thoughts and decisions.

If you are interested in taking these steps with me, I would love to have your company. The book is called Made to Crave by Lisa Terkeurst. I knew very little about the author before last week. However, since I was so attracted to the title (I absolutely know that I was made to crave… something? anything? everything?) I found her website, her blog, and her facebook page. She is a very inspiring author and an amazing human being. It is evident that God has used her life to minister to so many. So, if you are interest, check it out: http://madetocrave.org/.

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Torment

First, we rationalize. Then we make excuses. We tell ourselves it’s ok. We comfort our uneasiness by guiding our thoughts to believing after this one more time, we’ll do better. So we give in. We have…”just a few”… “one more bite” … “only half.”

Then the guilt kicks in. The mental torment of self loathing. Feelings of failure flood our emotions. We experience the physical effects of discomfort and misery. We resolve to do better. We convince ourselves that ….someday…. someday…. we really will change our lives.

Last week I decided to go to the mall to find a new book that I had read about online. This book looked like something that I really needed to read. You guessed it, another weight loss promise. Only I found hope in the fact that this Best Seller linked the physical and the spiritual aspects of weight struggles. After all, that’s what the focus of this entire blog has been about.

So, I get to the mall and was delighted to find my book. As I was walking back through the mall to leave, I began to struggle with the temptations of the food court. I gave in and got some pizza. Moments later, my other big struggles got the best of me and I added a double decker cream filled Nestle cookie to my binge.

So there I sat…in my car… in the mall parking lot…. binging on pizza, coke, and a cookie….

….with my new weight loss Best Seller in the seat next to me.

The painful and vicious cycle of torment continues.

Up to date

Hello friends! So much has happened since my last update! I have missed my blog. Here’s a quick, facts only, rundown of the past few weeks…

A couple of weeks before our wedding, I started stress eating… I had a plan to really get serious about my work outs and cut way back so that I would feel good in my wedding dress. Well, that did not happen. Quite the opposite, actually. With so much to do, I found myself stress eating and I did not work out even once.

On 10-10-10, regardless of my failed plan of losing more weight…. I felt beautiful. It was a magical day and I did not let any negative thoughts steal my joy. No, I was not a size 2, but I was surrounded by my wonderful family and friends and I married the love of my life. It was perfect =)

After the wedding, I continued the party all the way through our honeymoon cruise. Talk about food! We had an amazing time and were treated like royalty. For all of those days I went without sugar…well, I made up for it…. and then some!

We got home on Monday of this week and I have avoided the scale. I know that I have gained. My clothes tell me that. I set out to get back on track every morning and by the end of the day, I have not only overeaten.. several times this week, I have had an all out binge. It was not pretty.

It is amazing to me how much I change when I fall back in to that toxic routine. I have been extremely sluggish. I have slept soooo much lately. I have no pep and I have been very irritable. I feel horrible guilt and then turn around and do that same thing that made me feel horrible in the first place. I do not like who I become when I am living unhealthy.

Yesterday (Thursday) I got up and decided that I could not go through another day carrying this burden. So, I went for a 2 mile walk and had a little talk with God. All I know to do is get up and try again. So, here we go…starting each day by asking God to be my Guide and help me through these struggles.

Thanks to all of my friends and family who rejoice with my victories and lift me up when I fall.

7 Pounds in 7 Days!

Don’t you just love those programs that promise quick results? We hear it all the time on infomercials, magazines, and websites. Guess what? I am here as living proof to tell you that your body can change by 7 pounds in 7 days! Here’s how!!

Tired of enjoying amazing success and that on top of the world feeling? Have you just had too much of that positivity, balance, and peaceful fellowship with your Creator? Well then, there’s a plan for you!!! Put an end to all of that peace and motivation by overeating and binging for 7 days straight! You heard right! No more amazing healthy meals or euphoric work outs… just start indulging in sugary drinks, fast food, and non stop sweets and you’ll gain that 7 pounds in 7 days—No Problem! We guarantee it– 7 pounds! That’s right! 7 pounds! Start today!

But WAIT! Act now and you can begin your misery today! Express self destruction can be rush delivered instantly! Act now!

Ouch! Crazy how so much hard work can be destroyed so quickly by veering from God’s plan for our temple. This has been a hard lesson learned. So thankful that God’s mercies are new every morning! Today is a new day!

Goin’ Walking after Midnight

So I’ve been thinking…..  I wonder what I could have done differently when I was faced with such challenging temptations last week. It was confusing because I seemed to have a plan before and it was easier when I had certain guidelines. I don’t want to be one of those people who “white-knuckle” every day. I think I need to revise my plan.

I have several friends who are members of AA. I have visited some of the open meetings in support of my friends who have struggled with alcohol addiction and I believe in this program. While praying about a plan for dealing with my weak moments, I remembered one of the principles that I heard about through AA. It s called the “Rule of HALT.”  The idea is that there are moments in our daily lives that we may be more susceptible to our weaknesses. When we are Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired, our judgment may be impaired. The goal is that rather than succumb to these conditions, we will HALT, bring to a stop any of these situations that could be a trigger to our self-destructive behavior and choose a different path.

As I pondered that thought, I prayed about a way to make this method work for me in my struggles with weight issues. I was so excited when the scripture and idea came to me….. check this out!

Psalm 121

1I will lift up my eyes to the mountains;
From where shall my help come?
2My help comes from the LORD,
Who made heaven and earth.
3He will not allow your foot to slip;
He who keeps you will not slumber.
4Behold, He who keeps Israel
Will neither slumber nor sleep.
5The LORD is your keeper;
The LORD is your shade on your right hand.
6The sun will not smite you by day,
Nor the moon by night.
7The LORD will protect you from all evil;
He will keep your soul.
8The LORD will guard your going out and your coming in
From this time forth and forever.

Amazing, Huh!!??!?!?!

I began to really think about what is happening in that moment when I am deciding to binge or not. Whether it’s stress, anger, loneliness, exhaustion or whatever the trigger…. ultimately it’s my decision to follow through. So I tried a new approach. I decided to WALK. I have always enjoyed walking, but this new idea has a double meaning. In that moment…. you know the moment…. when I am deciding to choose from a vending machine, ordering from a menu, making my third trip to the kitchen for a “snack” or reaching for the office donut…. I am going to choose to be:

Willing to Acknowledge that the Lord is my Keeper!

I can physically walk if possible or I can take a walk in my thoughts… and go back to Psalm 121. The Lord is my Keeper, my Protector, my Guard. Maybe I can’t get through these moments on my own, but I can WALK back to Him and claim His promises!

Got your walking shoes on? Let’s take a stroll………..

Past, Present and Yet to Come

My Perilous Past

Last week I had a dream, more like a nightmare. I felt as if I had been visited by the “Ghost of Christmas Past,” except it was more like the Ghost of my Painful Past. I dreamed I was at a family gathering… lots of people…children…adults…pets. .. a full house. Full of family, friends, fun…. and food. I dreamed that I walked in and within minutes I was drawn to a table loaded with yummy treats. I walked over and instantly picked up a chocolate chip cookie…. then a brownie…. then rice crispy treats….. before long, I needed a coke….a real coke… and then another. The next thing I knew, it was like my chemical  dependency for sugar and caffeine was unstoppable. We were at a lake house …swimming, fishing, and boating by day and then barbecues and S’mores with lots of chocolate and roasted marshmallows by night. This pattern continued for days.  The dream felt so real. All of my successes felt as if they were slipping away… the lost weight, the positive outlook, the clear skin. It was all being replaced with my former sadness and a magnetic pull that I was too weak to resist. My muscles felt like jello, I was drained of energy, my skin was breaking out, and I felt miserably uncomfortable. It was so frightening. Wake up!! Wake up!! Please wake up!!

But I couldn’t wake up… because it wasn’t a dream.

My Promising Present

My son was spending the night with a friend. Like all mothers, your heart races when you get that late night phone call and the caller ID reflects the number of the home where your child is staying.

It was about 10:30pm and the shaky, crackling voice on the other end was my son, “Mom, I want to come home.”

“What’s wrong, Honey, Are you OK?”

“I don’t feel so good.”

“Did something happen?”

“No.”

“Are you sick? Does your tummy hurt? Do you think you are just tired?”

“Well, we were watching T.V. and we started eating cookies….. I think I ate too many cookies.”

“Oh, Honey, I’m sure you’re just fine. Lay down for a while and you will feel better soon.”

“Mom,” he began to cry…. “I just really want to come home.”

“OK, sweetheart, I will be right there.”

Despite the fact that I was completely exhausted and had just made it home myself at about 10:15 after putting in a 14 hour day, I was getting ready to drive 30 minutes each way to pick up my child…He needed me.

I felt like I was on a roller coaster as I continued this inner battle of trying to get back on track. Darkness came over my thoughts and I felt mocked… “Where is your God now? Didn’t you just write an article about “Victory in Jesus?”  I could almost picture the enemy belly laughing and saying “You don’t even have the strength to stop eating cookies…. And you think your God can use you to do something big? Weak…he scoffed….that’s what you are…weak and pathetic.”

This defeated feeling of struggle, confusion and weakness was so intense. I would wake up each day thinking….Ok, today is the day I will press the Restart button. I will get back to feeling good, believing, trusting. I would start my day with good choices but then the magnetic force of soda, sugar, or salt would overpower my intentions. All the while, I struggled in my thoughts. I felt disappointed in myself. I felt guilty…. Thinking….  if my readers could see me now…

Most days, it was overeating… and of course, eating all of the things that I knew were not such great choices. But then came a day when I did it. I stood in front of the cashier at the Nestle Toll House Cookie Café and my heart sank as I had just ordered a mountain of sugar and the cashier asked, “Would you like your receipt?” A brutal sting of a past reflection…. but it did not stop me. It was a complete and total binge in all of its glory. Heart- breaking.

I began to realize that I had been ignoring my friends. I closed off from the world. Worse than that, rather than run to God as I have been doing for months, I began to run away. I looked past His provision. I distanced myself. I built a wall and ignored my reality. It was way too painful to look in His direction. I felt so ashamed. I thought He had to be mad at me….disappointed in me even more than I was disappointed in myself. I was convinced that He was thinking…”After all of this? After all that I have delivered you through? After all…..?  Seriously?”

Then…it happened. In fact, it happened as I was on my way back to the mall for another well planned and thought out binge. I parked my car. I walked through the mall, making my way to visit my old faithful friend at the Toll House. I was literally stopped in my tracks! As I was walking through the mall, my mind drifted back to my conversation with my son the night before.  His shaky, scared, heartfelt cry was his way of reaching out to his parent. He was sincerely vulnerable and I could tell he needed me….I thought about how I would stop at nothing to rescue my child. It may seem silly to some, he simply had a tummy ache…. but he’s my child…. my very own heart walking around on the outside of my body. When he needs me…I will be there.

I felt as if the air had escaped my lungs when God said….”That’s how I feel about you. I am your Father, You are my child. You are my heart…walking around. If and when you call me, I will stop at nothing to come to your rescue.”

I stopped walking… standing in the middle of the hustle and bustle around me, I put my hand on my head and processed this moment. I turned around, and left the mall. I sat in my car… called on my Father…. and He rescued me.

My Hopeful Yet to Come

When Charles Dickens wrote his classic novel in 1843, A Christmas Carol, it was instantly successful. This timeless story of a transformed life has been a blessing to families year after year. I recognize that it is June, not December, but I love this story. I love how a vision of one’s past, present, and future can  absolutely transform our way of thinking and ultimately our way of living.

It was painful to relive my past by losing my focus, but in a strange way, just as Ebenezer Scrooge was enlightened by his visions, I am grateful to have experienced the 7 day detour in my journey. I know that I do not want to go back. I have tasted the life that God wants for my future. He’s not mad at me. He loves me. When I mess up, He forgives me…. it pains Him to see me in pain. He wants  to protect me the same way I want to protect my children from experiencing and learning pain the hard way.

My Yet to Come is full of hope. He has big plans for me. He told me so in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” I may stumble, I may fall, but He’s my Father who will be with me every step of the way.

He’s there for you too!  May God Bless Us…. Every One!

Extant Magazine

So many amazing blessings have come from writing this blog! Primarily, my relationship with God is stronger than ever before. My trust and dependence upon Him has never been so genuine. Also, I am humbled daily by my readers who have been inspired by these words. I love hearing what God is doing in your life! He is so good!

I want to share with you one of the most exciting things that has happened along this journey. A few weeks ago, I googled “extant woman” to see where my blog would show up within the search.  I was pleased to see that it came up on the first page and I was also intrigued when I saw ExtantMagazine.com. I checked out the site and saw that it is a Christian publication with an awesome mission. I commented on one of the articles I read because I could relate so well to the vision of the writer. Fast-forward to today…and I am now a Contributor for ExtantMagazine.com! What a blessing!

I want to share with you my first post to ExtantMagazine.com. Thank you so much for your support!

Let the Sunshine In

As soon as I get that call that a family member is ill, or a friend is in ICU, or that there has been a fire in the neighborhood, I immediately begin to pray for everyone that may be involved in the situation. Without hesitation, my first thought when something major is happening is to ask God for guidance, provision and protection.  It seems natural to go to God during these difficult times. But what about the small things? The daily struggles that seem petty compared to these tragedies?  Does God really want to hear about my trivial challenges?

It’s puzzling now for me to realize that’s how I used to view God. Until recently, it was as if I thought God was only concerned about the big issues and that I had to deal with my seemingly insignificant woes on my own. I struggled with believing God cared when I was lonely, stressed out, or exhausted. When we think God isn’t concerned and that we have to handle things on our own, our choices can lead us to a place that is very dark. For some, drinking alcohol is their way to escape unwanted emotions. Others may choose a chemically altered state of consciousness provided by drugs to ignore the real issues. For some, like myself, we prefer the chemical alterations we feel from food. We choose to “handle” our sadness or loneliness with something salty or something sweet. We think that we can deal with our sorrows by eating our way into numbness.

Recently, I heard a speaker say “Open the window and let the light shine in.” I immediately began to visualize myself sitting next to a window hiding my secret life in total darkness. Yet when I finally began to cry out to God asking Him to help me overcome this stronghold of binging and emotional eating to avoid pain, the window opened. The radiant Light began to illuminate my darkness. When I am upset, God says He will supply my needs. When I am lonely, God says He will supply my needs. When I am stressed, God promised to supply my needs. Whatever our challenge, big or small, God invites us to open the window and let His light shine in.

“So let the sunshine in….Open up your heart and let the sunshine in…..”

And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19

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