Saturday, August 18, 2012

Bowling lessons

You know those moments in life when God's truth goes from knowledge to "ohhhhh......" I had one of those moments last night. (funny, it didn't hit me while I was in the middle of my day. It settled on my heart as I was winding down. That whole "be still and know" thing, there is something to be said for that)

 I was laying in bed thinking about my day. It had been a great day. I got to sleep in, have a little time to hang out with Rick and watch the news, then piddle around the house in the morning. I went to a noon class then got to spend the afternoon with Tanner. Some long overdue one on one time. We looked for some clothes and shoes for him (I got a fabulous new purse). We weren't in a hurry, had time to just talk and laugh as we ran errands. There is always a lot of laughing with Tanner, he is so stinking funny. It was just really nice. 

After hitting a couple of stores we went bowling. I am proud to say that I set two personal best records. I bowled 3 games in a row over 100. *Bow* and  I had an all time high score of 122. It was awesome.

 But what really was remarkable was my attitude. I guess I should back up a little here. We don't bowl often, maybe 3-4 times a year I guess. Usually, when I go, I am riddled with negative self talk. Every negative self image begins to glare, the negative tapes start playing. I am convinced that I am an embarrassment to my kids and my husband. I am ashamed of how I look, and I know that I will be horrible at bowling, just like everything else. Extreme, huh? I know. That thinking comes from the evil one. Remember, we have an enemy that is on the prowl. (1 Peter 5:8) Satan knows our weak spots and loves it when he sees an opening, especially in our thinking. For me, one main area of his attack is my relationship with my husband and kids. If he can get in my head during some family time and jack up my thinking and attitude, my family suffers. I had one of my WORST parenting moments at that bowling alley about a year and a half ago, and I am sure it is because Satan was busy busy in my thinking. I was so beat down and internally emotionally out of control, I made a mistake I will always regret.  My regret comes from hurting my son's heart. I did embarrass him, and I could have hurt our relationship.  It just reinforces why it is so important that we take our thoughts captive (2 Cor 10:3-5). There is a reason that we are told to think about what is TRUE, noble, right, pure. lovely, admirable (Phil 4:8). When we are distracted by things that are false, inappropriate, impure, dark, or shameful, there is room for that negative to be multiplied, for our minds to be deceived and our actions to be influenced.

Anyhow, back to yesterday. I felt confident and light hearted and comfortable in my body. Now that may sound weird to some of you, but I am sure there are a few who understand. Moving around in a body that is bigger than it is supposed to be is difficult. It is not easy to move freely. I am used to moving slow and feeling clumsy and embarrassed. I am only 7 weeks in to eating clean, but cutting out the sugar and processed foods has done me SO much good. Not only physically, but emotionally and spiritually. My mood swings have leveled out. I have not struggled with anxiety or depression (I have struggled with depression since I was a teen). I am realizing how much I would turn to food instead of God. My mind is clearer, my emotions are more stable, and  I feel physically stronger. I am not only closer to the Lord, but for the first time, I am appreciating how he made me, which has freed me to enjoy this life he has given me so MUCH more.

So here is where God tied it all together for me. For the last (almost) two months, I have been doing what I should be doing. I have been eating healthy food, exercising regularly and taking better care of myself (getting enough sleep, getting a massage here and there, spending time in the word, praying, writing).  I started off on the legalistic end of the spectrum. Focusing on all the "should nots" and marching through the rules. Then yesterday, I found myself experiencing life from a new perspective in light of the choices I had been making. Feeling the freedom that comes from living within healthy parameters.( I was enjoying time with my son, I was enjoying our life together. I was no longer focused on being afraid of looking silly or making mistakes. I was free to laugh and risk) My heart stirred, I began to desire taking care of myself instead of desiring to be skinny. Because I was experiencing the benefits of that focus. Wow. My motivation had shifted, from rule follower to a person who wanted to live in response. How cool is God? 

This is the spiritual shift that took place in my life. I was a Christ follower, being careful to do a good job of paying attention to the "should nots". I am sure he was happy I chose to follow him, and that I was being careful in my choices. But I am also sure that he was excitedly waiting....knowing that I was so close to understanding that was only the first half of the gospel. Yes he came for my salvation (John 3:16),what I was missing was that he came that I would also have abundant life.(John 10:10) He came that I would be free to experience the fruits of the spirit.(Gal 5:22) By focusing on the rules, I was making better choices(1 Tim 1:8), by focusing on him, I was free to experience Life(Romans 10:4). He wants me to flourish.(Eph 3:16-19) Not only so that I will enjoy this life he has given me, but also so I could impact others. He wants my life to shine, so that when others look at it, I can then point to him.(matthew 5:14-16)

It was such an "Ah ha" moment for me. Once again I am realizing that his truth and grace apply to EVERY area of my life.  He longs for me to live my life in response to his grace, yes even in my eating and exercise.. He longs for me to be free of the bondage that the law holds when I focus only on it. He wants me to appreciate just how wonderfully he made my body(Psalm 139:14-16), and in response to that awe, take good care of it.(Romans 12:1) When I am taking good care of it (living in response to grace), it will allow me to experience life on an entirely different level. That is freedom. 

Once again, the chains are broken. I've been set free. You know the God and Savior has ransomed me. 

I love how God works. Grabbing my heart, reminding me of his amazing grace on a summer evening. As if a day spent enjoying my family wasn't enough. He had to make sure I remembered how much he loves me, and remind me that he has plans for me.

Gotta love those bowling lessons.

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