Friday, May 29, 2009

Goin' out with a BANG!

Wow, there's nothing like making things tough on yourself.

With only one week of this Bible study left, I've got company coming ~ this weekend AND next weekend.

The kind of company that brings snacks and goodies and treats....

...and DONUTS.

The kind of company that is celebrating a 40th wedding anniversary this Sunday and whom I'm throwing a party for and making this VERY SINFUL cake.

Methinks my scale may not necessarily make any POSITIVE moves for the next two weeks!

I've been really good this week, but I dunno... Seven of the next 11 days will present MORE than their fair share of challenges in the eating department!

Wish me luck!

Eating Pie

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Weigh-In Wednesday

Sisterhood of the Shrinking JeansWell, considering the lack of self-discipline I displayed this last week, I guess I can't complain about a loss of only 0.8 lbs. I was actually already this weight last Wednesday (my "official" weigh-in day is Tuesdays), so I've really only just maintained this week.

I guess it's good to take note, every now and again, of what it'll be like to maintain a lower weight! And I still earned me another one of these:

(If you're confused because I just earned the 10# sticker last week, it's because last week, I was figuring my loss specifically during the Shrinking into Summer challenge time frame ~ now I'm counting my loss since I started conscientiously TRYING to lose weight on April 11, when I started this Bible study.)

The plan is, of course, to continue losing for another 20 lbs or so.

Yesterdays Bible study lesson in Numbers 11 really drove home the point about reliance on God and about not looking back at what we HAD. Like the Israelites constantly complaining about God's provision for them in the wilderness and wistfully remembering the "luxuries" of Egypt.

Funny how easily they seemed to forget the whippings from the slave drivers. And the mass murder of their firstborn sons.

But they craved the meat, fish, and fruit they'd eaten while in captivity. Manna was getting boring.

Wow, you can't get a much clearer parallel to what we're struggling with in our mission to become Women of Moderation!

In the firm grip of temptation, it's difficult to see the BAD part about sin. It's hard to care that I'll feel all disgusting and bloated tomorrow morning because I caved in, ate anything and everything in sight, and gave the devil the music for his happy dance. It's hard to remember how much I hated myself the last time I chose the devil over God. I completely forget how much I hated seeing the scale stuck at "WAY TOO HEAVY" week after week, month after month, year after year. All I can see is how badly I want to eat the way I used to ~ and not think about it.

In times like those, it's even hard to remember how great victory feels. You know that feeling when you've stared temptation down and WON the showdown? How many of you remember THAT feeling when the bag of chips is calling from the cupboard? I certainly don't.

We need to stop looking back on what we once were and selectively remembering the parts that weren't "that bad."

Slavery is ALWAYS bad!

God's deliverance and power is always good. It's always there. We need to gratefully accept His offer to provide for us and CLING to His strength in our weakness. And we need to "walk the wilderness" HIS way.

Which means choosing Him over slavery. EVERY TIME.

Monday, May 25, 2009

O, How are the Mighty Fallen!

You guessed it. After the rush of winning the title of "Shrinking into Summer's Biggest Shrinker" and basking in all the compliments...

I binged.

I ate nothing until suppertime Friday because it was a fasting day, but I'm sure I more than made up for it in the evening. And all day Saturday. And yesterday.

Interesting how I've come across 1 Corinthians 10:12 THREE TIMES since Friday...

"So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall!"

Whoops. Guilty.

Those fasting days are rough, no doubt about it. Liquids days I can handle (fairly well!), but fasting days are killer!

I need to start making supper in the morning on Fridays, I think! That way, I wouldn't have to prepare food when I'm at my weakest. Just turn on the oven. Still, that would only solve one problem. The other being that filthy lie that always pops into my head once my girls are in bed....

"You didn't eat all day. You deserve a li'l sumthin.'"

THAT'S my biggest downfall every Friday night. It's often heard on Monday and Wednesday nights, too, but somehow, it's a bit easier to ignore those days. Usually...

But once again today, I've got a SERIOUS snack craving coming on, just waiting for the moment the girls are in bed ~ counting down the milli-seconds ~ before launching a full assault on my self-discipline. And the thing is, I ate supper and yet only 90 minutes later, my stomach is actually growling again. So technically, according to this eating plan, I can allow myself to have something. But what? Hmmm...

We've got no chips in the house, so that's good, but there are leftovers. Ohhh, are there ever leftovers! And fruit. (But who are we kidding?! You KNOW I'm not gonna pick fruit.)

I've once again left my Bible study lesson for the end of the day, so that will hold me off for about an hour or so, but after that...?

Geez, I'll be lucky if I've lost any weight since last Wednesday.

Fat Woman 5

Friday, May 22, 2009

I'm Virtually FAMOUS!

Guess what! Guess what!!
The wonderful people over at

The Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans

have named me THE BIGGEST SHRINKER in their most recent challenge!!
Imagine that!

Me.

WINNING at WEIGHT LOSS!!

I know! "Now I've seen everything," right?! They've interviewed me and everything!! You can pop on over to read it if you like. And bask in my fame.

I love it that I've been given this opportunity to share my faith and the testimony of God's recent work in my life on somone else's site! I think that was my favourite part. Oh, and this SWEET little badge that was created JUST FOR ME!!

Shrink Into Summer's Biggest Shrinker!Wicked awesome, eh?

But you know what's even better? I'm going to SHARE my prize with ONE lucky fellow blogger!

The wonderfully creative and talented designers from

Ruby and Roja Design

(who also designed the fancy shrinkage-bling badge) were all set to give THE BIGGEST SHRINKER a blog makeover, but I'm passing this incredible opportunity on to YOU!!! I'm picky and restless and I like to be able to change my header and the colours of my blog and whatnot, so I thought this prize might be better appreciated by someone else.

Like, maybe...

YOU!

All you have to do is leave a comment on this post. And you'll get a second entry if you pop on over to my other blog and leave a comment on any of my posts over there. (except the contest post, 'cuz you've already done that over here!) That's it! Just make sure there's a way for me to contact you.

This contest is only open to regular readers/commenters on my blogs, to bloggers using Blogger or Typepad platforms, and will close on May 29th, 2009 at midnight, Central Daylight Time. The winner will be announced on June 1st, and I'll put you in touch with Christy, who will work tirelessly with you to create a unique, personal, sensational new blog design!!

Good luck!!

See? It pays to know famous people! (And comment on their blogs. Winky )




Oscar Red Carpet 1

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Weigh-In Wednesday

Sisterhood of the Shrinking JeansCan you believe this challenge is OVER??!! When it first started eight weeks ago, I thought it would feel like forever, but man, has it flown by!! And for once, I HAVE actually shrunk ~ WOO-HOO!!

Since March 25, I have gained 4.2 pounds and then lost 14.2, bringing me to an overall loss of an even TEN POUNDS!!!

And given that I'm in "water retention week" (if you know what I mean!) and the weakness I displayed last Wednesday and Thursday...

I consider myself LUCKY to be down the final 0.6 of a pound to get me there!

What a great feeling!! I'd like to say, "even better than the 10# loss is the satisfaction of knowing I'm doing something really good for my body," but let's face it...

...I am all about that 10# sticker today!

But I really must give credit where it is due. This Bible study has REALLY opened my eyes to the root of the issue and the Holy Spirit has been convicting LIKE CRAZY in this area. (and a few others!) It's NOT easy trying to eat in moderation when for so many years I've been happy to indulge my appetites, but seeing over-indulgence as idolatry has made it easier to desire to change my heart and walk away. I want to worship The Giver, not the gift.

How did YOU do with this challenge ~ or any personal goals you may have set for yourself over the last few weeks? Are you mastering your temptations or are you allowing them to get their feet in the door? Are you walking THE OTHER WAY?

I hope you'll join me and the rest of the participants over at The Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans for the next challenge!


Hula Hoop

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Walking in Repentance. Or....

Episode 2.

Dang it, I really didn't want this to be a regular occurence!!

But, I guess as long as I'm human and trying to fight temptation, this will happen. Not to say that I should be okay with it, of course, but I do need to accept it, appreciate the value of the lessons learned (if any!), and make it fuel my resolve.

Wednesday was really bad. Because I had the house COMPELTELY ALL TO MYSELF for 6 hours. And there was a bag of Creamy Dill chips in the cupboard. Why, oh why, do I even allow myself to BUY them??!! And why does celebrating always automatically mean bingeing?!

Thursday was more of the same, only with kids around.

It's funny~ during the day, I don't have a problem. I can stick to the eating plan all day long... until my girls are in bed. And THEN the devil rears his ugly mug. And presents me with bags of chips, thoroughly butter-drenched popcorn, Nutella-smeared toast, and a fridge full of tasty leftovers. (Yes, I get that desperate when I've got the munchies and there are no "decent" snacks in the house!)

Oh relax, I didn't have those all in one night!! I have in the past, but not this past week. Just the chips. And the toast.

And all on the heels of a 4.4 pound loss. Self-sabotage is my M.O.

This past week, Thursday's lesson really stuck out for me. Walking in repentance. What does that mean and what on earth does it have to do with losing weight?!

Walking in repentance, I believe, is all about humility and overall attitude. It is willing to listen without becoming defensive when someone gives you some constructive criticism, and allowing the Holy Spirit to convict. It is being willing to work HARD at changing and to persevere despite the difficulties and the temptation to go the easy route.

Walking in daily repentance with regard to gluttony would be to ask God to continually show me where and when the devil's lying to me and to repent of all the times I've believed him without giving it a second thought. And to turn to God every time I notice I'm being tempted in the future.

Repentance is not only saying sorry and asking for forgiveness; it is also a "turning away." Turning away from sin and walking the OTHER way.

Are you walking THE OTHER WAY today?





Thursday, May 14, 2009

Winds of Change…

Ecclesiastes chapter one tell us that “there is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven”…

a time to be born and a time to die,
       a time to plant and a time to uproot,

a time to kill and a time to heal,
       a time to tear down and a time to build,

a time to weep and a time to laugh,
       a time to mourn and a time to dance,

a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
       a time to embrace and a time to refrain

In the course of the last couple of weeks, I’ve been dealing with some stuff.  As a former “pit dweller”, I have succumbed to the temptation to climb back into my pit, and allow myself to be (re)shackled with some chains that I was successful at “Breaking Free” from several years ago.

This just won’t do!

I aim to be VICTORIOUS in every area of my life, and have been praying through these circumstances to find the answers I need in order to LIVE FREE once. and. for. all.

A precious friend invited me over for coffee last week, and shared her heart (and some pretty tough love) with me regarding my “chains”.  (She and I have been friends for over 6 years now, she’s very familiar with my patterns).  We discussed these chains individually, and in detail.  The first:  My weight issues.

In light of what we shared that day, and the scriptures that I’ve been memorizing and praying out loud daily, I have made a decision.

I’m no longer going to blog about my weight or my weight-loss efforts.  At least not for a while, and probably never in the detail with which I have have been.

You see, the “thing” of losing weight had become almost an idol in my life, and was causing me to self-loathe in a major way.  If I stepped on the scale and had lost, it was a good day.  If I had not, it was not.  Not for me.  And especially not for those around me (aka: my KISA and kiddos).  I was letting the bathroom scales determine my mood and my general attitude about life.  I can’t do that anymore.

I have to turn to JESUS and HIS LOVE, MERCY, and GRACE to find my purpose.  I have to allow HIS HOLY SPIRIT to infuse me in such a way, that I love (not HATE) the woman He’s created me to be.  I have to do this FIRST, before I can work on any necessary “improvements” to my health and over all appearance. 

It’s kind of funny, actually.  I named my blog Truly Captivating, because after most of my years on this planet of not feeling like I “measured up” (or down – think weight – as the case may be…) to other women, my attitude toward myself had been radically transformed. (God used this book to help me).  I finally saw myself as beautiful and lovely (through the eyes of my Savior), and not only that, but WORTHY of true beauty and love in my life.  TRULY CAPTIVATING… if you will.

If you’ve been reading my blog at all lately, you’ve noticed that has changed a bit.

No more.

I’m gonna do what a pastor-friend of mine offers as advice to many of the people he counsels…

“STOP IT!” ;-)

I’m ready to turn over a new leaf, or rather turn back to the truth that I know I can stand on, rather than let the lies and wiles of the enemy take control, and confine me to my pit again. 

I’m sorry if this disappoints any of you.  Please know that I will continue to love and pray for all of you who have been on this “weighty” journey with me… but for now… this is where I get off.  This is where I hop on a new train of self discovery and embracing my destiny, the one I’ve been uniquely created to live out. 

This is where I turn into those howling winds that have been blowing against my back, and feel them transform into refreshing breezes that lift me up, and carry me above the noise and clutter… back into the arms of my Sweet Jesus.  Where I can look into his face, and see mine more clearly… where I can lean my head upon his chest and hear his heartbeat…and allow him to heal and strengthen mine.

Ahhhh… that’s better.

(Hopefully  more than one of you just breathed a sigh of relief… I know I just did!)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Weigh-In Wednesday

Sisterhood of the Shrinking JeansWow, wow, wow.

I'm down another
4.4 pounds!!!!

I was hoping I'd break out of the 170's this week, and guess what?! I weighed in at 167.6!!!

I am now the lightest I've been in 6 years, and a mere 9.8 lbs away from being the absolute lightest since mid-1997, the year I got married. (I packed on a WHOPPING 45 pounds that year, followed by another 15 over the next three.)

My goal is not to be the same weight I was on my wedding day. That was about the lightest I'd ever been as an adult and let's face it, that's 12 years and two pregnancies ago. I believe it's unrealistic to count on that. I AM kind of planning on generally sticking with this eating plan (see sidebar) for the rest of my life though, so if I just so happen to find myself back down in the 130's, well... so be it. I promise I won't complain!

For now, my goal is a mid-morning, buck nekkid weight of 146. Just so that at any given time of day, regardless of whether or not I'm clothed, I will still be UNDER 150. That's it. That's all I'm asking. And I am well on the way.

So keep your eyes peeled, Sisters... 'cuz there's GONNA be a 10# sticker here next week!!!!

Scrawny 5

Monday, May 11, 2009

Halfway

Wow, I can't believe four weeks have gone by since we started this Bible study! Four weeks today since my friends and I decided to try a different approach to weight loss, to see if we could indeed become women of moderation, pursuing a deeper relationship with God and seeking His wisdom, tapping into His unmeasurable strength to help us change our ways.

In the weight-loss category, clearly it's been working. Sometimes slower than we'd like, but still working. It's so hard to stay realistic when you have a couple of weeks where the pounds seem to just be melting off! It's easy to look at those first couple of weeks and re-adjust our goals with the anticipation that that pace will continue for at least another few weeks...

But then it doesn't, of course, and our first reaction is disappointment and a desire to give up. I mean, why bother if I can't lose at least 3 pounds a week for at least two months? We know it's ridiculous to think that way, and yet, we still do. It's the way we've conditioned ourselves and it's the way our society works ~ we're all about the quick fix. Instant gratification.

We borrow money ~ often from credit card companies at ludicrous interest rates ~ when we desire to purchase something that we don't have the cash for. We fill our fridges and our pantries with "instant" foods. We watch TV "on demand."

And we expect to lose weight on demand, too. The number of weight-loss "systems," medications, and surgeries out there is proof of this. Overwhelming proof. And all because we're generally not willing to put in THE TIME to actually retrain ourselves. All because we're really only treating a symptom of a much more serious problem ~ a focus on indulging in physical pleasure rather than seeking God.

We KNOW the instant fixes are usually only temporary. How many of us have tried numerous times in the past to lose weight? And we enjoy incredible results in a short time ~ but then it all comes back again because the progress slowed and we gave up.

For me, these last four weeks have been not only about weight loss, but about AGGRESSIVELY pursuing a more godly life. I want my love for God and the in-dwelling of His Holy Spirit to be evident in my life, and especially as I face temptation.

I know I will fail from time to time.

I did yesterday when my husband took me out for lunch to an "all-you-can-eat" Mother's Day Chinese food buffet. I mean, come on, we're not being good stewards of money if we're paying for "all you can eat" but only eating half what we normally would, right? (Wow, it's incredible how easy it is to joke about gluttony!!!)

I know I won't always see the results I'm hoping for ~ even when I KNOW I've been a "good" girl all week. But as long as I keep my focus on HIM and not my waistline, I will repent and be forgiven for my failures.

"Forgetting the mistakes I've made and the times I've failed; remembering the promises I've made and the lessons I've learned ~ no matter how many times I have to re-start ~ I press on toward the goal!!" (my paraphrased version of Philippians 3:13b-14a.)

I WILL eventually have success. LASTING success.

And I'm so looking forward to the second half of this study!

Rock Climber

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Sugar-Coating the Truth

This made me laugh:

Photobucket

(But hold the sugar, add some cheese, and deep-fry it and then ya got me!)

I'm sorry if this offends anyone. Goes to show how warped my sense of humour is.

But you know what this also goes to show? That we are indeed too used to joking about indulging our sinful nature. This picture was SUPPOSED to be funny. Interesting how easy it is to laugh about it instead of admit it's an issue.

Sin is sin. Indulging our sinful nature is indulging our sinful nature.

This picture SHOULD make us uncomfortable. And yet...

Fat Woman 3

Thursday, May 7, 2009

In Which I Confess to...

Okay, I know I made a button and because of the alliteration, it has the makings of a regular feature here on this blog, but...

OH MAN, I HOPE NOT!!!

It would be nice if I could say with certainty that this was the last time, but I know that's unrealistic. I'm simply not strong enough to ALWAYS resist the temptation.

Tuesday was supposed to be a "half day," meaning I was supposed to eat only half of what I normally would.

Now, of course, as I've stated in the past, half of "normal" is rather difficult to determine at the best of times. But Tuesday, I seemed to just not care. I don't think I over-ate in the same fashion I might have several weeks ago, but I certainly ate more than "half of normal." Probably even more than "normal" itself. It was ugly.

Because it wasn't even like we suddenly had awesome snacks in the house or that I'd had a rough day or someone had given me a wonderful basket of sweets and snacks....

No, it was just me eating more than I was supposed to. More than necessary.

Because the food was tasty. And mostly, because I wanted to "indulge the flesh."

Doesn't that sound ugly? It is. Because it's SIN.

Man, I SO understand Paul when he tells the Romans that he's human and struggles with doing what's right:

But I need something more! For if I know the law but still can't keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don't have what it takes. I can will it, but I can't do it. I decide to do good, but I don't really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don't result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time. (Romans 7:17-20, The Message)

But, I have to keep reminding myself about the holy fireworks vs. the devil's happy dance. I have to keep repeating over and over, "...but if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it." (Genesis 4:7, NIV)

And I'm pleased to report there was a small display of fireworks in the evening, despite the mayhem of the day. Very small ~ just a sparkler or two. I was SO tempted to snack since I'd indulged my appetite all day long anyway. You know how it is ~ this day is shot anyway, might as well keep bingeing! Instead, I chose to make a mug of green tea and fold laundry. Yeah, it wasn't nearly as much fun as a Coke and some nacho chips with bean dip would have been, but even though I felt a little unsatisfied, I went to bed happier than I would have if I hadn't stopped the madness.

And I didn't wake up bloated the next morning, which is also worth something!

So today, which would normally be a "normal" day according to the eating plan, we're gonna try that "half" day again. And THIS time, I'll get it right.

Good Vs Evil

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Weigh-in Wednesday

Sisterhood of the Shrinking JeansI have to admit, I was really hoping to have lost a bit more by this point.

I know that's focusing on the wrong thing, but you know how it is. Whether it's a strict diet program or a Bible study, we're still in it because we want to lose weight!!

I keep trying to tell myself that the weight loss is just the bonus feature, but realistically, it's still one of two primary goals!

BUT... I AM down another 1.2, which finally earns me this:

Running Man Sneakers

Woo-hoo!!

I really hate that I gained so much at the beginning of this Sisterhood challenge because I've actually lost just over 9 pounds in the last three weeks and yet I've only just this week earned my 5# sticker. Ah well, lesson learned! Stop bingeing over holidays!!

And I really shouldn't complain, because of the diets and "systems" I've tried, this one is by far the easiest ~ DESPITE having three days without solid food except for supper each week. I'm looking forward to several more stickers before the end of the year!

How 'bout you?

Scrawny 2

Monday, May 4, 2009

Food is NOT the Problem

This week's "Warm-Up" before the daily lessons actually start asks us which diet methods we've used in the past, if any (like there might be some who haven't tried anything in the past!), whether or not they focus on food, and whether or not they were a success.

Here's my story:

I've really only tried two diets in the past, although one of those I tried twice, the second time with a different angle.

The first actual "diet" I tried was Atkins, way back in about 2000. I lost 11 lbs in two weeks. I was ECSTATIC ~ but incredibly sick and tired of eating only meat, cheese, eggs, and lettuce. I love all these things, but I'm definitely of the belief that there really IS such a thing as TOO MUCH of a good thing! As soon as that was all I could eat, I started disliking the program. I knew I didn't want to live my life without pasta, rice, bread and potatoes, so I quit. And gained the weight right back.

After our first daughter was born in 2002, I'd actually LOST weight during the course of my pregnancy(again, 11 lbs), but that came back with a vengeance and it didn't take very long before I was back at my pre-pregnancy weight, which was frightfully close to 200 lbs. So I joined Weight Watchers at the end of October 2002, and for the four months I paid to lose weight ~ and for another two months after that ~ I lost weight successfully. I lost almost 40 lbs, but managed to keep it off for only about a month before it started creeping back on again. By the end of summer 2003, I'd gained half of it back again.

I knew our Weight Watchers group was focusing on the wrong thing, but because I didn't actually know anyone there, I never spoke up about it. The focus was never on developing healthy eating habits and active lifestyles, it was on how to reduce the fat content of our favourite foods and get the most activity points the quickest and easiet way so that we could continue to eat the same QUANTITY as before. There was no desire to train ourselves to enjoy good quality food, and just eat less of it. We were trying to cheat the system.

Sadly, almost all the women that I see from time to time now who were in that group with me, and who lost like I did, have gained all or more weight back since then. From what I've seen, we're all worse off than before we started. Proof we completely missed the point.

I didn't QUITE gain it all back ~ "only" 25 of the 40 returned, and that's where I kinda stayed put for the next 5 years, even after the birth of our second daughter, mid-2004.

Last spring, however, I decided to give Weight Watchers another try, but this time just on my own, using the materials I'd purchased when I was a paying, meeting-attending member. And this time, for whatever reason, I didn't find the counting, figuring, and planning to be nearly the hassle and frustration it had been the first time 'round. I also noticed I desired to rather eat what I wanted, specifically seeking out ways to be more active in order to "earn" my food. This approach worked wonderfully and I lost 18 lbs in 2-1/2 months.

But then summer rolled around and with camping trips, family gatherings, swimming lessons, and barbecues, points-tallying once again became a problem. So I quit. Miraculously, despite not journalling or counting, the weight stayed off for the next six months. Until December.

It's normal for me to pack on up to 5 lbs around the holidays and just as normal for me to shed it again as soon as life returns to its usual routine, except this time, I started gaining at the beginning of the month already. Before I knew it, I was basically back to where I'd been a year earlier. Not quite, but VERY close.

I was so tired of trying. So tired of temporary success. Tired of people knowing I was "workin' at it" YET AGAIN.

And then I found this study and two wonderful friends who agreed to work through it with me. It's made a huge difference. Knowing my best friends are feeling hunger pangs the same days I do, and for the same reasons, is somehow strengthening. I'm not struggling with this all by myself. Being able to share our insights and exciting discoveries in the Word of God with each other has not only been a great eye-opener and encouragement, but has brought us closer together as friends, and drawn us closer together with God.

And on top of all that, I've actually found this to be the easiest "diet" or eating plan to stick to ~ nothing is off-limits!! There's no counting, no figuring, no hours of trying to plan meals for a weekend of company that fit the program... just freedom.

At first, I was intimidated by the idea of essentially fasting 3 days a week, but once I realized that I'd never miss suppers, that made all the difference. Knowing I can thoroughly enjoy whatever foods I desire at the end of the day has made not eating during those days very manageable. And it also helps to realize that I really do enjoy food more, savouring each bite and revelling in the company around the table more than ever before because eating can't be taken for granted anymore. The entire eating experience has definitely become more valuable since denying myself solid foods three days a week!! (funny how that works!)

My prayer ~ my goal ~ is that this will indeed be the last time I'm "workin' at it" ever again. This study will end in four weeks, but the eating plan is simple enough to follow for the rest of my life. It fits into socializing, into camping weekends, into holidays at our parents' homes ~ anywhere. It's flexible and can be made to fit any lifestyle.

So there you have it. No more excuses. THIS IS IT. There. I said it. And I have YOU to keep me accountable.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Some FAST Thoughts…

 

 

**This is an excerpt from a post I wrote back in February…  Since Tammi has already discussed “normal” and “half” days, I thought I’d throw my hat in the ring.  Hope this helps someone!!**

For anyone else who may be new to fasting, or just doesn’t quite “get it”, I thought I would share a few thoughts from my lesson this week that have really provided some profound insight for me.

What is fasting?

Fasting is generally defined as “giving up” or “doing without” something… usually food.  Many people fast to loose weight, or break bad habits.  For the Christian, however, there is much deeper purpose.

What is the purpose of fasting?

According to John Piper, the purpose of fasting is to deprive our bodies of food, in order to increase our soul’s hunger for God.

The weakness of our hunger for God is not because He is unsavory, but because we keep ourselves stuffed with “other things”.  Perhaps, then, the denial of our stomach’s appetite for food might express, or even increase, or soul’s appetite for God. (A Hunger For God, p. 10)

The “other things” Piper  refers to in the quote above, are anything that we use to anesthetize ourselves against the pain and stresses of life.  Overindulging in food, sex, television, or materialism are all abuses of God’s good gifts to us.  These are all things given to us by God, and meant for our enjoyment…but not fulfillment!  God is our only true portion, and the one and only source for our soul’s satisfaction!

As Dee Brestin says, on page 45 of the Bible Study, “Christianity is not about denying God’s good gifts, but about enjoying them with thanksgiving, wisdom, and moderation---never allowing them to become objects of worship.”

The purpose of fasting is to make us HUNGRY for God.  So, we fast that we might worship God more deeply, and learn to depend on him COMPLETLEY.

I can honestly say that I have seen a huge difference in my prayer life, since I began the practice of fasting.  Our program calls for one “fast day” per week (usually on WednesdaysNow we fast on Fridays) in which we drink nothing but water from dinner one evening, to dinner the next.  In other words, since my fast day will be on Thursday this week (KISA and I were fasting for a specific purpose in the life of our church), after a moderate and healthy meal tonight, I will not eat anything until supper tomorrow night.  I will drink only water, and instead of eating food, I will seek my nourishment through prayer, and reading the Bible.  I cannot begin to describe the transformation that has taken place in my walk with Jesus because of this!! I am honestly learning to rely on Him more and more, rather than food, or my own sense of “control”, to guide me each day.  It’s so freeing!

The study also provides a daily intake of Psalm Meals, which I wrote about here, to help you through the day, and encourage you to seek your sustenance in God, and God alone.

Here is an example of one day’s Psalm Meals:

Early Morning ~ Psalm 119:145-152

Morning ~ Psalm 68

Midday ~ Psalm 87

Evening ~ Psalm 128

 

I don’t know about you, but I desire to be HUNGRY for God.  To truly know what it means to…

Taste and see that the LORD is good;
       blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.

Fear the LORD, you his saints,
       for those who fear him lack nothing
.

~ Psalm 34:8-9

Friday, May 1, 2009

Normal.

"Normal" is such a funny word isn't it?

Such a relative, subjective word. In a way, COMPLETELY meaningless, and yet we fully rely on it.

Similar to my struggles with those blasted "half" days (though not nearly as frustrating!), I sometimes wonder what the Setting Captives Free people who thought up this eating plan meant by "normal."

Do they mean "normal," as in, what and how would I have eaten in the past? or do they mean "normal," as in, what I would like my normal to look like in the future?

I was thinking about it on my walk yesterday. For me, the temptation is to use those "normal" days as an excuse to fall into the comfort of bad habits and over-eating. Because that would have been NORMAL just three short weeks ago. Yesterday, I caved and the devil got to do his happy dance, sticking his tongue out at God behind my back, while I devoured two pancakes smothered in blueberry syrup as an afternoon snack. Followed by the delicious, greasy heaven otherwise known as "KFC," for supper.

I believe, however, that that is NOT the idea behind "normal" days!! Ideally, I think these "normal" days are supposed to look like we'd like them to look ~ you know, like how they'll look when we're skinny! Eating anything in moderation, but never over-eating, certainly no unhealthy snacking, and allowing our bodies to let us know when it's time to refuel rather than our emotions.

I had a pretend conversation with someone as I walked ~ someone who, a few months down the road, of course, was commenting on how great I looked and asking whatever had been my secret. As I conversed and explained how I got to looking so fabulous, I realized that I was sharing a testimony. My testimony. My path out of slavery, of taking up my cross, of dying to sin, of kicking the devil and his lies to the curb, and giving my angels an excuse to party every day. To the point where the party ran non-stop.

I noticed, as I spoke, that my idea of "normal" eating in the future looks VERY different from the day I actually had yesterday. And I realized, that continuing to have days like I had yesterday will only delay ~ and most likely cancel ~ that future.

I'll never get to the point where "normal" for me is fruit and whole wheat toast for breakfast, homemade trailmix for a mid-morning snack, a bowl of vegetable soup or a salad for lunch, celery sticks with cheese for an afternoon snack, a small well-balanced supper, and a small yogurt for evening snack... That's NEVER gonna happen if I'm having a stack of pancakes in the afternoon, two greasy, deep-fried chicken breasts and fries smothered in gravy for supper, and wolfing it down like there's no tomorrow ~ simply because that WAS my normal!

I need a NEW normal.

How would YOU like your "normal" to look?


Let's you and me
LIVE OUR NEW NORMAL
today!!