So, the last few days I have been wrestling with a problem. I wanted to eat something. I didn't want to have to think about it, plan it out, or consider it's nutritional value...I wanted to be frivolous and grab something...dare I say it...out of the pantry. Maybe even out of the freezer. I didn't want it to be a fresh fruit, vegetable, or a lean meat. Not because I don't like those things....but because I was having a bit of a temper tantrum. I have been eating clean FOREVER (translation: since July 1). I have been exercising CONSTANTLY (translation: 3 days a week consistently, some weeks more). I have put SO MUCH effort into this, I DESERVE a treat. (truth: I didn't take care of myself for 10 years, there is a price to pay)
This is hard. I have to say no to a lot of things that I really enjoy. When I started the 10 day cleanse on July 1, I committed to no dairy, no bread, no sugar, no processed food. That is a lot of no. That is a lot of planning ahead to make sure that I have something healthy to eat for each meal and snack. But if I am being honest, it is really not that difficult. Fresh fruits and vegetables are plentiful. There is a lot to choose from that I really like. Having the fat and sugar out of my system now, the fresh food tastes SO much better. So here I stand, at the tipping point. Will I focus on the positive, dig my heals in and finish strong, or will I focus on the negative and allow myself to indulge in the self pity? I know what I want to do....and I know what I FEEL like doing. Two different things. It makes me think of Paul, who said, "I don't really understand myself, I want to do what is right, but I don't do it. Instead I do what I hate". (NLT Romans 7:15) I feel ya, Paul. I know that I feel SO much better. I have more energy, my attitude is better. Food actually tastes better. I am fitting in smaller clothes. I look better. I have more confidence. You would think that all of those things would make this a no brainer. I mean really? In light of ALL of that, why would a bowl of ice cream even be a struggle for me today?
I believe both sin and fear are at the root of my problem. This is a sin struggle for me. We all have our own. This is mine. The attitude of it can manifest in different ways, but no matter what it looks like (self pity, self indulgence), it is still an idol trying to push itself onto the throne of my life. In Romans 7, Paul says it this way: " I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.
I am a slave to sin. Jesus, and his endless grace are my freedom. I want my life, every bit of it, to be an act of worship. I want my eyes to be on him ,and my heart to be pointing others to him. I know that when I put him first, everything else will fall into place. (Mat 6:33). I want to fill my thoughts with his desires, and take his character as the pattern for my life. I know with everything that I am that he wants the very best for me. Is indulging in something like chips or ice cream going to move me closer to that, or will it just fuel that negative thinking and self loathing? I hate to go all 80’s on you but, WWJD? He would lean into his father, and he would tell Satan to jump off. So I will lean in and remember what it says in 1 Cor 10:13 “ The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.” Long story short, no, making good choices in this area is not very easy for me. I have indulged in half measures and justifications. But in the grand scheme of things….so what if it’s hard? Life is hard. He is faithful, I have access to plenty of healthy food and people who are encouraging me and teaching me and loving me. Living my best life means having to learn to say no sometimes. I need to stop being so myopic in the vision I have for my life. I need to dream bigger than today. What would God be able to do in and through my life if I was completely surrendered to him, in EVERY area?
Fear. Such a master of disguises in my life. Fear is also one of satan’s favorite weapons to use against me. (I have to remember what it says in Isaiah 54:17; that no weapon formed against me will prosper)For me, fear can look like anger, insecurity, jealousy, arrogance, and often, self sabotage. I can get so close to a goal or dream and end up watching it slip through my fingers. I don’t actively pursue the destruction. It’s much more passive-aggressive in nature. Something (Satan) will happen (self doubt or justification) and I get distracted. This has been a pattern in my life, and it has always left me feeling like a victim. I have always believed that if I was stronger, more disciplined, had more faith, was a better person, THEN I would have had victory. But because I was weak, I failed .That is until today. Today I choose to call it what it is. A spiritual attack. The fact that there is an arrow pointed at me, and at my life, pisses me off. So, I will call it what it is, and I will do what I need to do. I will put on the full armor of God (Eph 6:10-18) and I will offer my life, my body, as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to the Lord. (Romans 12:1-2).
Scripture. It is alive and amazing. When I started writing this blog today, I was feeling beat down, fearful, and a little sorry for myself. Poor me, no chips or sweets to eat. Poor me, I still have to quite a bit of weight to lose. Poor me, I have to fight for what I want. Now, after praying, writing, and digging through some scripture, I am determined, energized, and grateful. Realizing that this battle with my weight is simply the thorn in my flesh, I find myself liberated. I need not be ashamed and embarrassed by my weakness. I see that without it, I would be all too inclined to plow ahead with little regard to God and His will for my life, leaning instead on my own self sufficiency. Embracing my weakness makes room for Christ (2 Cor 12:7-10) for his ever present grace and the story redemption he is writing in my life.
Suddenly, not eating some chips doesn’t seem like that big of a deal.