Tag Archives: Spirit Seeker Sunday

Spirit Seeker Sunday ~ Practical Tips to Break the Food Addiction

OUCH: “When the desire for treats is triggered by difficult emotions, it’s not really a desire for treats. It’s a thinly veiled attempt at self-medication . . . our souls are thirsty and ravenous . . . if we fail to . . . fill our souls with spiritual nourishment, we will forever be triggered to numb our loneliness with other temporary physical pleasures . . . this issue is bigger than emotions; it’s really about spiritual deprivation . . . and self-medicating with food . . . vicious cycles I must avoid.” Lysa TerKeurst

One of the best parts of my journey to health has been discovering some of the “whys” behind my eating choices and learning to be mindful of those when I want to reach for food. It’s amazing how the realization that I’m trying to fill an emotional need with something that won’t satisfy, but will instead derail my goals, gives me strength to walk away.

Sometimes it is now as simple as a quick prayer breathed to the Lord, telling Him I want Him to fill my needs, not food.

It was harder earlier in my journey. Maybe because the cravings were more physical than they are now-metting with agent 2-along with being emotional, which they still are. During that time period I found a cup of licorice spice or peppermint tea helped curb the cravings and still felt like a treat. I could sip my no calorie tea and do something else I enjoyed rather than eat–like read a book, write in my journal, chat with a friend, or play on Facebook. I read later that peppermint tea curbs the appetite when you’re hungry and Licorice tea (I like Stash Licorice Spice) curbs sugar cravings!

God is sweet to give us great tasting, no calorie options. Early in my journey I also found that taking a walk when I got a craving was a great alternative. Once I started walking I no longer felt hungry, and the time it required often took me to the next scheduled meal, so I didn’t think about snacking between.

The other cool thing is that walking never fails to connect me back to God. I hear the birds and am grateful for the beauty of their song–and next thing I know I’m thanking God for the gift. Or the sun shines or me, or the sky is a brilliant blue, or I see a flower, a tree, a mountain . . . or I simply feel the fresh air upon my face. Nature draws me to the Creator. Another cool thing that often happens as I walk is that He’ll prompt me to prayer or I’ll use the time to listen to Scripture on the audio Bible app on my phone.

The last few weeks we’ve talked about spiritual practices and how they relate to weight loss, but God created us mind, body, emotions, and spirit. We also need tangible, practical, physical plans to help us succeed in our journey to breaking the food addiction.

What practical plan do you have for the next time you are tempted to self-medicate with food?

Father,

Help me not to self-medicate with food. Give me what it takes to break the cycles of food addiction. Free me to enjoy my life, not just my food. To find freedom not in eating anything I want, but in choosing a fuller life over a fuller tummy. Help me to turn to You when I am tempted to self-medicate. Be my healer. Show me healthy alternatives to my addictions, even if for a while they are simply distractions. But in the long run, draw me to Yourself.

Being practical in overcoming the need to self-medicate with food

PS. I truly believe my Benew products have reduced cravings and helped my physical self in this journey to break the food addiction cycles.

Spirit Seeker Sunday ~ Sitting in Silence

Sitting in silence . . .IMAG3148

How often do we truly sit in quiet, seeking God’s presence and agenda? I don’t know about you, but sitting and silence aren’t so easy for me. I can sit–and talk, or write, or read, or watch TV or . . . but in silence?

A few weeks ago a friend encouraged me to set a timer, turn on music that makes me feel loved, and simply sit in silence with God, inviting Him to love me. My execution has been sporadic with varied results from profoundly beautiful to annoyingly distracted.

I find it comforting to be reminded that the Holy Spirit prays for me even when I don’t know what to ask for. God Himself prays to Himself on my behalf, asking the Father to help me know Him in increasing measure.

I like the idea of being still to connect with God’s love. I also like the idea of practicing silence for the purpose of discerning His presence and His agenda. I do this often in a prayer group I’m in. We don’t mind stretches of silence as we seek Him. But I find it harder when I’m alone.

IMAG3162Before I began the weight loss journey the only time I truly faced the Truth that God had an agenda for my body that didn’t include obesity was in the silence and vulnerability of the night. I believe now that the Holy Spirit was calling me to pray, nudging me to ask the Father for help with this very real issue of defeat in my life.

Times of introspection, prayer, and silence are invaluable to the weight loss journey. What if we asked God some hard questions and sat in silence a few minutes each day until we got the answers we sought?

What if we said, “God, why do I struggle with my weight?” or “Lord, please show me the root cause behind why I feel powerless to change in my body.” Or maybe, “Are there specific health or nutritional choices I need to make to help me with the journey to losing weight? If so, what are they, God?”

Then we waited a while. In silence. And if He chose not to answer right then, what if we whispered, “I’m still listening, Lord,” and sought to keep an open heart to His answers as we returned to our routines?

Lord,
Teach us to discern Your presence, Your voice, Your heart. Reveal what we need to understand about our relationship with food–and heal us.

Share this devotional: Finding Truth in the Silence

Spirit Seeker Sunday ~ The Desire Beneath

treatLife’s deepest lessons are learned and relearned at ever-increasing levels.

Years ago I read The Sacred Romance and Journey of Desire by John Eldredge. These books helped me process the idea that behind every desire was a deeper, more potent desire for God.

It was a time of deep financial struggle for our family, and I remember processing my lack through a spiritual lens. For example, I’ve always loved layering scented body wash and lotion, and for many years my favorite store was Bath and Body works. But during this season buying fragrant body lotion was simply out-of-reach.

As I prayed about this disappointment I remember thinking, “underneath the desire to smell beautiful is the deeper desire to live beautiful. I want to live in a way that leaves the fragrance of Jesus trailing after me.”* The thought brings a lump to my throat even today.

The struggles of that time pushed me deeper into Christ’s arms. I took my craving for good gifts and looked beneath them for a craving of of Jesus, of heaven. I never became so spiritual that I stopped wanting stuff, but it did help me focus on my longing to experience God over the longings I had as many of life’s pleasures were denied me.

As I write today, I wonder that this concept didn’t help me more with my physical body, but I never remember applying it to what I ate, other than to help me overcome disappointment when I couldn’t afford to buy certain foods. But this looking beneath the desire to the deeper desire applies to weight loss, too.

We’ve talked a lot on this blog about turning our cravings for food into a reminder of our craving for Jesus. Filling emotional needs with food will never satisfy. Even real hunger is a metaphor pointing to a deeper need, our need for God to satisfy our innermost soul.

During our financial lack I grieved not being able to purchase some special chocolates I loved that were only available around the holidays. I told myself I could look beneath that desire for chocolate to a deeper desire, to taste the wonders of God. There was even a Scripture I applied, “Taste and see that the Lord is good.”

Funny how back then the concept didn’t connect with the fact I was putting on pounds. But today the application seems natural. When I crave that treat, what if I looked to Jesus as the ultimate treat? What if I stopped my thoughts and looked beneath them, then spent the time meditating on the wonders of Christ’s love instead of munching?

“After all, the ultimate goal of this journey isn’t about making me a smaller-sized person but rather making me crave Jesus and His truths as the ultimate filler of my heart.” ~ Lysa TerKeurst

Share this devotion:

Is there a deeper desire than that treat you crave?

*You can read 5 short devotionals that I wrote about this concept on my other website.

Spirit Seeker Sunday ~ The Deep Happy Isn’t From Skinny

Body size does not determine happiness.

Haven’t you seen unhappy people at all sizes–and visa versa?

If we’re not happy overweight, we won’t be happy at a normal weight either.

From a spiritual perspective the deep inside peace–happy, if you will–is achieved when happiness is tied into embracing the identities we are given from our Creator: forgiven, set free, accepted child of God, holy child of God, made new child of God, loved child of God, confident child of God, victorious child of God, you get the idea . . .

Lysa TerKeurst says, “Tying our happiness to food, skinny jeans, relationships, or anything else will only set us up for failure. But tying our security, joy, and identity to God’s love is an anchor we can cling to no matter what our circumstances might be.”

I don’t know if I could have chosen to deal with my weight issues if I hadn’t first felt loved. I’ve been around long enough to know that if I don’t feel loved when I’m heavy, dropping a few pounds isn’t going to solve the issue.

What I cling to is this Truth: Heavy or thin, we are completely loved and accepted by the One who made us. He has brushed our hearts with His mercy and declared us good and beautiful and treasured. When the weight loss journey is hard, I press into that truth. I ask Him to help me persevere because I know He loves me and cares about my journey.

That said, there is JOY in the weight loss journey. It’s not so much an identity thing as a freedom thing. Losing weight has freed me to move differently, to break some strongholds, to feel stronger and healthier and to enjoy activities that were before too draining because of the extra weight I lugged around. I think there is also some emotional cleansing tied to weight loss. I actually read that the toxins in our fat can also store emotional pain! I’ve had plenty of tears as the weight has burned off–and the other side of tears is usually a new lightness and peace . . .

Father, 
Please help us to build our identity on YOU and your love, not our body size. Convince us deep down that we are loved forever and always, deeply, passionately, and fully. Help weight loss to become an act of joy, not because our identity is tied to it, but because of the new freedoms found there.

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Body size does not determine happiness

Spirit Seeker Sunday ~ New Perspectives

Buena Vista 5“I can instead of I can’t is a powerful little twist of phrase for a girl feeling deprived” (Lysa TerKeurst).

In life and in food we humans have a tendency to want whatever it is we think we can’t have. If our thoughts get into that cycle of thinking about everything we can’t have, that’s what we want!

But what if when we’re tempted to something that is permissible, but not beneficial, we twist that negative to the positive: I can be healthier and slimmer. I can eat one piece of chocolate instead of five. I can enjoy a salad tonight. I get to bask in the sunshine as I walk today.

For the first months of my weight loss journey I tracked everything that went into my mouth on the My Fitness Pal app on my phone. As I got closer to my goal I stopped tracking calories, but continue to eat the way I learned in those three months that I tracked my food. The lack of specific accountability made it a little harder to be wise, but was also a good transition to life-style change, not just weight loss.

As I made changes some of the twist of phrases I used were:

  • I can eat one small handful of chocolate mixed with walnuts instead of several and only chocolate.
  • I can be satisfied with one helping at supper tonight.
  • I can enjoy my smaller sized clothes–and continue to enjoy them by choosing to fill my plate with a lot of salad and a little pasta instead of the other way around.
  • I can go to bed without a snack even though I didn’t get a full supper tonight. It’s worth it to keep losing weight instead of pigging out late at night. I had a full lunch, and I can enjoy a big breakfast in the morning.

It’s really about perspective, isn’t it?

As I journeyed to my 55 pound weight loss, this was my prayer:

God,
I want this journey to be a lifestyle change, not a one time experience that doesn’t last. Please help me not to return to mindless eating. Help me to resist returning to junk food. Give me a desire for the wonderful, nutritious food You created. Help me to add movement to my days. Thank you for helping me choose not just what is permissible, but a lifestyle that is beneficial.

It is still my prayer today.

What “I can” twists of thought can you embrace this week?

Share it!

A twist of phrase can bring success!

Spirit Seeker Sunday ~ Jail that Sucker!

Person-weighing-themselve-007“The scale is an excellent tool for determining our weight, but it’s a terrible tool for determining our worth.” ~ Lysa TerKeurst

This one statement  is worth the price of Lysa’s book, The Made to Crave Devotional, in my humble opinion. The weight loss journey can be so emotional, and when we tie our feelings of worth to the scale it is damaging.

I truly believe the Creator wants us to be strong and healthy. But not because that’s what it takes to be beautiful, valuable, accepted, or worthy. We are those things at 250 or 150! Or anywhere above or below. We are His treasures.

I have long thought about the concept of my thought life and its effect on my choices, negative thoughts, especially. And when negative thoughts are specific to thinking about who we are, personally, they are particularly damaging.

Years ago I read a book by Beth Moore called, Breaking Free. It was obviously impacting because I’m still talking about it. She says we need to put those negative thoughts in “jail.” I doubt I’ll ever forget the little picture that illustrated this concept. It had the bad thought behind bars.

I read the book about 11 years ago. Back then I allowed my thoughts to constantly beat me up, point out every inadequacy, and leave me feeling like a failure. But once I understood negative thinking goes against the TRUTH, real change in my life began. I experienced freedom and victory like never before. There’s a verse in the Bible that  says it is for freedom that Christ freed us. But too often even though we’ve been set free from all condemnation by His sacrifice, we keep ourselves in bondage, living under the cloud of disapproval.

I have good news!. Our Creator does NOT disapprove of us. He adores us. And we don’t have to disapprove of ourselves, either.

I love Lysa’s thougts. When she comes up against an attitude, comment or thought that has potential to return her to the bondage of self-condemnation she asks: Is it true? Is it beneficial? Is it necessary?

If not, put that sucker in jail!

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Put negativity behind bars!

Spirit Seeker Sunday ~ Gratitude Empowers Success!

IMAG0212“It’s hard for someone who is satisfied with the things of this world to deny themselves.” ~ Lysa TerKeurst

Ouch! Did you have to step on my toes?

I don’t like to think about sacrifice and self-denial, which might have something to do with the extra 60 pounds that needed to go. Feelings of deprivation are something I fight, not just with food but with other parts of my life. One thing I’ve found to help fight those feelings is focusing on gratitude.

In 2012 I started a gratitude wall. (This idea was from One Thousand Gifts, which encouraged writing three things a day that you’re thankful for so that you’d have 1,000 in a year). I wasn’t consistent. Instead of  daily chronicling, my typical behavior was to record gratitudes for a while, then forget until I got really grumpy. And then grab my sharpies and write 15 at a time. Or more.

Even with my haphazard approach, I reached my 1,000. Every time I planted my feet and wrote on that wall I come away better. Blown away by all the amazing blessings God gives me and my loved ones, I felt less deprived as I focused on all that good instead of what I couldn’t have.

My little wall is a bit like Lysa’s attitude adjustment. She said, “Say to yourself, ‘I’m not deprived of an unhealthy option. I’m empowered to make a healthy choice.'”

In Paula world that would be like getting grumpy because I know I shouldn’t consume a bowl of pasta or several cookies–or french fries. Instead of dwelling on that I grab a pen and write the stuff I can have:
yummy pomegranate (didn’t even know I liked them until the last 6 months)
crisp, juicy apples
baby spinach with walnuts and craisins
lettuce with salsa, chicken, and cholula sauce
Balsamic chicken and a little brown rice
Steak
My BeFull shake with frozen fruit

You get the idea.

But Lysa took it deeper. Her gratitude thoughts are:
health
renewed energy
decisions that led to confidence and peace
decisions that honor both my body and my God

I add joy to that list. Ease of movement. The twinkle in my hubby’s eyes these days. Discovering prayer walking in the midst of sunshine and birdsong.

With God’s strength self-control is possible. Instead of thinking we could never give up something, we can switch our thinking to how we are empowered to make healthy choices and embrace the gratitude of the many good gifts we get to enjoy.

My gratitude wall penning went from April of 2012 to December of 2013, so itIMAG3179 included my weight loss journey, which was really fun to look back upon. Here’s a glimpse of some weight loss gratitudes that I hope encourage you:

  • There are no calories in Cholula sauce, herb tea, or pickles!
  • Dropped 32 pounds
  • Walking, praying, and singing beneath a blue sky
  • the courage to persevere even when the struggle is long
  • lime in water
  • strength to draw boundaries
  • Jerry likes the shape of “everything” since I’ve lost 50 pounds
  • lavender and mint scenting my water
  • Sexy homecoming!
  • humus!
  • raspberries, dark chocolate, and wine
  • God promises I will not be defeated

How about you? What makes you feel deprived? How do you combat the negative emotion? What are you empowered to enjoy? Grateful for?

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Gratitude empowers success!

Spirit Seeker Sunday ~ Cravings

sunset clouds“I want you to give up the one thing you crave more than me.”

Wow.

Lysa Terkeurst in her Made to Crave Devotional says this is what Jesus is really asking the rich young ruler in the old Bible story. You know the one. The guy comes to Jesus and asks what he needs to do to be saved. Jesus doesn’t withhold punches. He goes for the one thing the guy wants more than a relationship with God.

Do you feel as convicted as I do?

It was money for the rich guy. Not for me. But there are plenty of other things that push out my desire for God and scream for attention.

Lysa writes, “God made us capable of craving so that we’d have an unquenchable desire for more of Him, and Him alone. Nothing changes until we make the choice to redirect our misguided cravings to the only one capable of satisfying them.”

Ouch.

Gotta stop there and pray: “Jesus, I want You most of all. Please open my eyes to the places I have misguided cravings. Please use those epiphanies to call me to Yourself. Help me to look to YOU, not to whatever it is I think I want, whether it’s that brownie, those french fries, or a whole myriad of other stuff not related to food.”

Pausing to pray that prayer for you, too.

So I’m asking . . . what are misguided cravings in your life?

I’ll keep it real here by sharing mine:

-book contracts
-financial security
-my kids’ happiness
-a flat tummy
-chocolate covered raisins
-new clothes
-cheese dip
-Starbucks
-my own car that I don’t have to share and that purrs like a kitten
-relationships

I don’t think anything on the list above is a problem if kept in perspective, but when I want a book contract so much I can’t be happy without it, and when it consumes my thoughts instead of Jesus, it’s a misguided craving.

Or when I reach for food when I’m stressed or sad instead of turning to God–misguided again.

When I long so much to be done with financial stress or get so angry about driving a car without a working heater (welcome to my winter) that I’m angry at God, I’m saying security, comfort, ease of life is more important to me than my relationship with Him.

Or what about relationships? I pray often that those important in my life will stay in proper positions. As much as I love my kids and my husband and even my friends, when I look to them for what only Jesus can give, that’s a misguided craving. (And puts too much pressure on the relationship, swinging it out of balance.)

Ouch. Pausing right now to talk with Him about all that.

Again.

How about you? Got any business you need to do with God?

Spirit Seeker Sunday ~ Guest post

I was impacted by this power post by Amy at Loving the Least of These. I bet you’ll relate too!

Breaking Free

Somebody once said that loving other people well starts with loving ourselves.  I’m pretty sure most of my life has been spent trying to love others while hating myself, if I’m being honest. Much of that self hatred has revealed itself through my abuse of food – on both ends of the spectrum.  My sophomore year of high school I started starving myself.  I was friends with a girl who was starving herself and made it a point not to ever eat more than her.

Then in college I started putting on weight until I was healthy by the time of my wedding.

But by a few years into my marriage I started putting on pounds.

And I have qualified as obese for the past ten years.
Imagine my embarrassment walking through Ethiopia for the past three years incredibly overweight as I held the hands and hugged the necks of people who were literally starving.  I felt like a fraud.

The embarrassment of putting on the weight in the first place has been a source of really deep shame for me. I have felt like people must look at me and wonder how I could let myself get so out of control. It has caused me to not even be able to really look people in the eye because I’m just so ashamed of who I am.

I’ll never forget being in Ethiopia with my sweet, petite friend, Abbey, and having a random stranger come up to us on the street and ask me why I was so big while she was so small.  He asked me if I ate different food than her even though we lived in the same country.  I laughed it off, while wanting to absolutely die on the inside.  He hit a nerve because he asked me the question I had been so afraid to ask myself – why?  I haven’t wanted to think about the deeper things that have made me get so out of control.  I haven’t wanted to admit that food is where I go for comfort. It’s where I go to hide.  I haven’t wanted to admit that I have thrived on the instant gratification that comes from eating whatever whenever.  I haven’t wanted to admit that on my best day, I am a complete glutton, covering up my pain and insecurity with food.

My issues with my weight and with food have robbed me.  I live in a beautiful state where the mountains beckon for a hike or a bike ride, but I don’t go because I become exhausted too quickly from being out of shape and overweight.  My kids want to go to the park or do something active outside but I make up a lame excuse because what mom wants to say to their kid “Mommy’s too fat to play outside with you”?

But most notably, as my body has gotten bigger, who I am on the inside has shrunk – I have allowed myself to disappear in many ways. It has been brutal mentally to be smothered by my weight.  I battle thoughts daily of “Well, I couldn’t possibly do that – look at me.”  The gifts that God has given me have been squelched because the beast of being overweight has completely overwhelmed me.  I feel like I will catch glimpses sometimes of the person God has created me to be on the inside and I think “just maybe I can actually BE that person”, but it’s never long before doubt and insecurity take over any glimmer of hope.  I literally hide behind people in pictures – doing my best to only let my face show.  My smile really is just masking my insecurity.

If someone tags me in a picture on FaceBook that shows more than just my face, I delete it.  I don’t want to be seen.  It’s just so heart-breaking.

I have been on so many diets only to watch any pound lost come back.  Failure after failure after failure.  It has been a very long battle that I have not won.  The sense of failure and despair every time has honestly been too much to bear, and has caused me to settle into the mentality that this is just how it is for me – I’ll always be bound by this.

This past year or so has been a process of internal transformation and realization for me about the good and beauty that exists in me.  I was brought to the lowest place of my life so that God could help me realize who I really am as His beloved, and that He longs for me to dream again and fully embrace who He’s created me to be.  I have spent hours and hours in counseling and have done the brutal, beautiful work of unpacking lies I’ve believed about myself and ultimately, discovering that I have had a bogus view of God all my life, which has made me feel so much less than.  There is some sort of stark raving mad idea being spread around that we should live our lives with our heads hanging all the time because of how bad we are and how much we fail.  And so we stay small and ashamed instead of living in the reality that “God is a wild man who is knocked out by who we are”.  As I started to realize what this means for my life, things started changing inside of me and I began to hope.  As I have gotten “healthy” emotionally and spiritually, I have begun to realize that Maryann Williamson was oh so very right when she said:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is
that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our
darkness, that frightens us most. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be
brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and famous?’ Actually, who are you not
to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the
world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that people
won’t feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the
glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in
all of us. And when we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give
other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our
own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

I think I’ve used my weight issues as an excuse to keep myself “small” on the inside and to hide from the responsibility I have to live out who I am to the fullest.  I haven’t feared my weight issues – I’ve embraced them far too fast and too easily accepted them as just part of my life.  But what I have feared is the power and the beauty of who God has created me to be.  I have been unable to embrace that and have hidden myself away in excess pounds so that I wouldn’t have to be courageous enough to be myself.  Who I was on the outside was a reflection of the sickness inside of me.  It wasn’t until I took this past year to look inward and figure out just what it was I trying to hide from that I finally found some peace. Nobody likes to take the time to deal with the muck inside of us, but it’s so very necessary; otherwise, we just stay sick.  Being on a journey of loving, valuing and embracing who I am caused me immediate discomfort with my food struggle.

In September, I decided I was done being a prisoner to food.  Physical health was the next logical step on my path to living free.  And it was terrifying, people!  But the possibility that I could be free, caused me to take a step of faith and just beg God to help me do it this time.  I was tired of shrinking back and saying no to life.  Inwardly, I was new, and it was time to reflect that outwardly by the grace of God and a whole lot of belief that I was indeed worth it.

Four and a half months ago, when I decided I was going to try to break free from this food addiction, I only told a hand full of people because I was scared to death this would just be “one more thing” I tried and failed miserably at.  At age 38, I weighed 215 pounds and was wearing a size 18W. (How’s that for vulnerability?!)  I had 80 pounds to lose to get to a healthy weight. 80 POUNDS. It might as well have been 500, it seemed so out of reach.  It’s practically a whole person!

Before I go on, please hear me – it does not matter one iota what you look like or how much or little you weigh.  What matters is that you are free and fully alive.  I am sure that somewhere out there are women who are 215 pounds and free as a bird.  Good for them!!  That is not my story.  For me, my abuse of food has taken away my joy and fullness of life.  For you, it might be something else.  The important thing here is that we break free from whatever prison we might find ourselves in.  I have said for years and years that this is just how my life is and that I don’t have any power to change it.  I call bulls***.  That’s a helpless, victim mentality that is ultimately rooted in fear.  It was with a whole lot of fear of failure, a whole lot of prayer and a whole lot of encouragement that I started my journey to health and wholeness.

In the past four and a half months I have lost over half the weight I need to lose and have gone down 4 sizes.  You guys.  I just wish I could convey the power of it all.  Food has lost its hold on me. God’s grace has been absolutely overwhelming to me on this journey.  I am humbled and in awe.  But most importantly, I am free.  Even though I have more weight to lose to be healthy according to my doctor, if I never lost another pound I’d still feel free.  It’s not about a number on the scale – my quality of life is better, my energy is better, and I find myself dreaming again about my life.  It’s such a gift.

You might be expecting an “after” picture, given all the “before” shots above.  But the point of this post isn’t for you to look at my body and tell me what a great job I’ve done.  I have debated even publishing this post because I haven’t wanted people to get the idea that I’m looking for accolades – I’m not.  I am very aware that people’s struggle with food is a very sensitive one (on either end of the spectrum), and I pray that nothing has been said here that rubs salt in any wound. I’m simply hoping that something about my journey might touch some of you in some way to aspire for freedom, whatever that looks like for you.

It would have been easier and far less embarrassing for me not to address this issue at all here on my blog.  But, I believe in the power of sharing our stories.  I believe in vulnerability and letting people into our struggle.  I share it because my friend shared her struggle and then her victory with me – she made me hope and then take action for myself.  I share it because Maryann is right when she says “As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”  I share it with you because I have always been that person who watches other people lose weight and get healthy – it has never been for me. But here’s the deal – freedom IS for me.  It’s for all of us.  It doesn’t matter if it’s weight issues, crushing anxiety, relational problems, guilt, shame or feelings that you’re not enough – you CAN be free.  You are worth getting free.  Your loved ones deserve you finding freedom.  You are not an observer of your own life – you get to choose how to respond to circumstances, problems and addictions.  You are worthy of health and freedom. And there’s a God who believes that about you too.  And He WILL help you.

Psalm 10:17 says “You, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted; you
encourage them, and you listen to their cry.”

So, be bold and brave, friends.  This life is too short to stay small and imprisoned.  You have so much to offer the world.  When we let our light shine, we do, indeed give others the permission to do the same.  So, shine!  And may your own freedom inspire the freedom of others.

love,
the free me

Spirit~Seeker Sunday ~ Listening

IMAG2744

May Your Spirit roll over me.

A man was asked how he lost 75 pounds. He said it was simple but not easy. He “made the better choice.” A walk vs. two cups of coffee with his newspaper. Grilled chicken instead of barbecue ribs.

The better choice, over and over.*

This concept mirrored what I’ve said this last year: Every good choice is a step back on the path to success.**

Here’s where we keep it real, folks. Over the holidays my weight slowly crept up. A pound here and there. At first it was no big deal, but then it was 4 pounds instead of two.

But worse than the slight increase on the scale was the fact that bad choices that came easier and easier. Skip the fresh fruits and veggies. Just one piece of fudge. No, make that two. Another heaping? Just this once.

If it had been a few days of indulgence I would have been okay with that. I believe in times of celebration. It isn’t what you do 10% of the time that is a problem, it’s the 90% that counts.

I didn’t tank for the whole 6 weeks Thanksgiving to New Years. I’d hop back into my healthy lifestyle for a few days, but then . . . well, my son-in-law makes amazing peanut butter fudge . . .

Yesterday I gave God permission to convict me. I had a great day at first. Healthy foods. Just the right amounts. Then four o’clock hit. I’d saved a piece of banana bread for a snack with no calorie herb tea.

The first slice was planned for. The second wasn’t. (And yes I knew I shouldn’t.)

I’m under a writing deadline so we splurged on pizza for supper.  I’d planned for that (except for the banana bread splurge). But I had one slice too many, even as I heard my Father’s Voice suggesting I’d had enough.

This morning I wanted to pretend that the Lord didn’t really care about my bad choices. If I admitted He was involved, then I had to admit I’d blown him off.

Then He whispered sweetly, “How is this any different than any other way you blow it? What have I taught you?”

That forgiveness is full and complete. That wallowing in condemnation and shame makes me mess up again sooner. That it’s best to own up, apologize, and get back to living in victory.

So God and I had a talk. I gave him permission to intervene again (though letting Him in on this living healthy thing really ups the stakes).

My hesitation to invite him into my daily health choices goes back how I perceive Him. Do I trust His heart toward me to be good, or do I think He wants to deprive me? Do I believe He allows moments of feasting or think I have to walk a tightrope of perfection, never deviating from a prescribed plan?

Weight loss is like anything else in the Christian walk. It’s not about the rules, it’s about the relationship. It’s about listening to the Spirit’s whisper and responding.

It’s about believing what He has for me is good.

This morning I really wanted all of that heavy granola and blueberry pancake topped with pecans that my husband made, despite the fact that he apologized for making it bigger than he meant to and suggested I might want to put part of it away for tomorrow. I didn’t like his comment, but I’m glad he said it because part of that yummy pancake is in the refrigerator waiting to bless me tomorrow.

It’s back to real life after the holidays. Reasonable calorie counts. Healthier food. Listening to the Voice.

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Listening: Weight Loss Devotional

* This story was in a weight loss devotional entitled Faithfully Fit.

**This concept from another devotional, Made to Crave.