Wednesday, February 19, 2014

M2C Week 5: #Beneficial

Permissible But Not Beneficial

I've written about this a few times during this M2C OBS in my journal.  The first time that I got 3 chapters into Made to Crave, this was the scripture that spoke to me immediately.  And it still does.  I write it on post-it notes, it is on my calendar, I even set it as the background on my phone once.  It is a simple reminder that I can do (or eat) anything that I want but that doesn’t mean that it is good for me.

But a few weeks ago I had an epiphany.  This goes much further than this is good and that isn’t good.  It is different for each one of us.  What is ok for my hubby is NOT ok for me.  He can eat nearly anything he wants, but it sends me down the wrong path.  It sets of a series of events that is not healthy for me.  It takes me further away form the one and only God that can give me what I need to survive.  Did you see that, survive.  I promise, I'm trying not to be overly dramatic.  But the reality is that food is my struggle.  Food is what I need to overcome.  And the only way that I can do that is to recognize four very important truths.  

1) I cannot do this alone.  While I have a great support team at home, it is the support team in my heart that I need more.  Face it, there will always be that super-yummy-instantly-satisfying-food that everyone is eating.  Everyone but me. And I am going to need God's strength and grace to turn away from it.  Because once I eat that one delicious piece of cake covered in icing, I will get another. Which rounds me back to right now, that stuff is not beneficial for me and the next truth.

2) Just because everyone else is getting it, I don't.  God isn't doing this to punish me (although I have had my doubts about that).  To be honest, I don't really get it, in my heart.  I'm still working on it.  What I do know in my head is that just like I put boundaries on my kids and my students, for two very good reasons, to keep them safe and to help them mature, God has set these boundaries for me.  To protect me, not to cage me (oh, this is a hard one for me to take in).  And to help me mature past my desire for instant gratification (yeah, I get on people all the time about this, but have never taken the time to apply it to me in the one place that I struggle most).

3) This is not going to be easy. 'Nuff said.

4) While I need food to survive in the bodily sense, I need God to survive spiritually and eternally. If my body was to give out before I finished this sentence, there is a part of me that will continue on.  I need to worry more about nourishing that part of me and not the fleshy part.  I like the way that 1 Corinthians 10:23-24 was put in the Message translation. "Looking at it one way, you could say, “Anything goes. Because of God’s immense generosity and grace, we don’t have to dissect and scrutinize every action to see if it will pass muster.” But the point is not to just get by. We want to live well, but our foremost efforts should be to help others live well."  And there it is again my friends.  See what I put in bold AND italics.  I was made for more!

The reality of this is the more I say this "permissible, not benifical" each time I want something that I already know I shouldn't have it gets a itsy-bitsy-tiny-whiny-little-bit easier.  And when I don't, I get just that much more defeated and discourages (and a little bit of a pity-party starts to happen).  I just don't know why it has taken me all this time to figure this out.  But I am glad that I finally did.  When did it finally sink in for you?  What were your epiphanies?

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

M2C Week 4: Afternoon Acts of Kindness

Acts Of Kindness.

I think my husband was going to rename them: How Our Family Went Broke.

I was in a particularly dark time, both in my head and in my job.  I am a high school,teacher in a small school and the dark time in my job was taking over my head; I just couldn't see a way out. I contemplated quitting my job, but didn't want to leave my students (that I adored) behind. But I couldn't keep going to work crying everyday either.

Now for the irony. Remember I am doing the Made To Crave Bible Study over in Proverbs 31, and it is about getting healthy and moving closer to craving God instead of food.  Well, this was before all of that.  I was having another miserable day, we're talking one of those days where I knew that the moment I got home, I was going to crawl into bed.  And I might not get up in the morning to go to work. So I headed over to Taco Bell for lunch. As I was in the drive-thru line, I decided that I needed to get my focus on something other than my miserable day. In a split second I bought lunch for the entire car behind me.  I don't remember how much it was, just the look on my students' face when they got to the window. And you know what else happened, my miserable day wasn't that miserable anymore. Sure, I was still having to put up with a lot of garbage and I wasn't happy about things, but I had perspective.

And that started a long line of Mrs. T-sometimes-buys-lunch-for-the-car-behind-her moments. Sometimes it was kids that had a special place in my heart.  Other times is was students that didn't know by name, or a complete stranger from the freeway. And every now and then, it was students that drove me crazy earlier in the day or that I just didn't care for. Not all of them said thank you, some did. Once in a while, someone would by me lunch. I will still head off to one of the drive-thrus in town, just to buy the car behind me lunch.

But then this year the garbage came to a head. I was getting nasty emails and face-to-face barbings. It was NOT fun, and while the tears had stopped, I was spending a lot of time being angry and wanting to say something to shut these people up, even though I knew it wouldn't help. At one of those times that I was ready to fire off an email, I distinctly remember hearing "Stop" but had no idea why. But I dug around my desk and found a note card, and wrote a quick note to our school secretary. She takes so much of the front line garbage, and just wanted to thank her. My heart was released from the anger, and I found myself re-framed again.  I was reminded of what really matted to me. So I went and got some more notecards and kept writing to people: coworkers, people from church, students... Lots of students.
My not-so random acts of kindness started out of sheer desperation, but I still think that it was born out of God's love for me.  Because I was confident in His love, I did not hesitate to share it. I never checked our finances before acting because I knew that I was in God's hands. And I was never let down, not monetarily and not by the feeling I got when I saw other people's faces. And it never ceased to make me stop wallowing in my own problems.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

M2C Week 3: Delighting in Obedience


It makes me think of a dog. It isn't something that I'm good at. In fact I've spent most of my life pushing the boundaries of being an obedience because I have always thought if it as a weakness. As if I shouldn't listen when someone says I shouldn't do something. I was told girls don't do math, so I got my bachelor's in math. I was told to let a lawyer do his job, I researched education code (with my husband) to keep my job... and made my own statements... and kept my job.


That's what people call me.

But I have seemed to misunderstand is how God frames obedience. It isn't doing the possible, it's doing the impossible with His help. It isn't weakness, it's trusting something more than me. It's trusting, and following, not really knowing where the path is going to lead. It's courage to trust the path is leading where I need it to go. Obedience is trusting God's path, and not insisting on my own.  And it is freeing... In an odd way.

I am free to no longer worry about the scale, or what others think of me, or what my finances are. I am free to trust God and live a more balanced life.

And this week, God brought the subject of obedience to me because I NEEDED IT. Due to the lack of going straight to God with righteous anger,  I plowed through all the Super Bowl leftovers on Monday (that I was able to ignore on Sunday). I know that come my weigh in Saturday, the scale is not going to be kind.  But I don't really care because every-stinking-day this week I have (eventually) turned from food and to God. And that, my friends, is all that God wants from me.