August 21, 2011

Longest Break Ever!

I've been in freak-out mode for the past 2 weeks. Something changed in my life and it threw me way off. This should never be. When something changing throws me way off that means that something had become a foundation of sorts in my life. The only foundation I should ever have for my life, Jesus Christ, can not be changed. When I put something else in His rightful place as a foundation for my life it is an idol and it will cause me problems. (That's an understatement)

So with that new awareness, yes, things are changing and priorities are shifting. If I am quiet on here that is probably always a good sign that God is working on me. I am just trying to be quiet and listen so that I can be obedient. A couple of posts back I wrote all about what the Lord was showing me about obedience. Yeah--I had no idea why He was showing me all that! Well, I had an idea but it was wrong! Lol.

Anyway, I don't have time right now to explain everything that is going on. My baby starts Kindergarten tomorrow!!!! (Waaaaah!) I just wanted to let everyone know I'm good. I'd certainly appreciate prayers and I look forward to writing a more lengthy update later this week.
If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know. But if anyone loves God, he is known by God. Therefore, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that "an idol has no real existence," and that "there is no God but one." For although there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth—as indeed there are many "gods" and many "lords"— yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist. 1 Corinthians 8:2-6

I am known by God. Exciting! (Another understatement.)

August 10, 2011

What Joplin Taught Me

Piles of stuff. That is what I saw the most of in Joplin this past weekend. Not piles of whole things but piles of pulverized things. It felt strange to sift through belongings, things that had probably taken years to acquire. All of it was literally rubble. Things people had worked so hard to get. Tiny little pieces of things that we were once whole. Things that people had dreamed of, things people had used in their living. Not just smashed and scratched things but fragments, pieces...trash.

What I have wanted probably more than anything in life, as far as material things go, is a house. My dream house is one that I would plan and design and draw the details of. It wouldn't be too big or fancy, but it would be just right. I would stand with my hands on my hips trying desperately to make the builder understand my vision and my dream. I would search high and low (and all over Canton) for the perfect things. A house that has special little things around every corner and a house that is comfy.  A house that is beautiful and has beautiful things.

After a weekend of raking through demolished things, I remember that I don't need the things...or the design or the plans or the special little touches. All of that is destined to be debris. No matter what, that stuff will eventually become fragments and pieces and trash--that someone else will be sifting through.

And when they are sifting, I so want them to realize what Joplin taught me:

What will survive the literal and metaphorical storms of life are the things that relationships are made of. Things like stories shared, help extended, lessons learned, games played...laughter and tears, conversations over coffee, hugs, jokes, prayers, high fives, and encouragement. Simply--time spent with one another.  All of these kinds of things, when built upon a foundation of Christ and held together with His love, form something that is very strong and indestructible. Relationships built on Truth, things of eternal value, are what we need to be working at, searching for, pouring our time and our talents and our hearts into.

Relationships based on truth do not turn to debris.

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Pray for the people of Joplin. It is such a special place. If you would like to serve or donate, please contact Mission Joplin.

August 3, 2011

Resisting Temptation

Temptation is so difficult. I hate it. I really do.

We can overcome temptation though. I believe it. I really do.

1 Corinthians 10:13 is great to memorize:

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

What this tells us is that:

1. We are not alone in our struggles.
2. God is faithful.
3. We will be able to survive making the right choice.
4. We always have a choice.

Verse 13 is helpful, indeed. But don't forget it's sidekick, verse 14:
Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry.

Don't go anywhere near the things that tempt you. In fact, go the other way. Turn away from idols (objects of extreme devotion) and run toward God. Accept His help, His love and His grace.This is the ultimate "Way out."

A few other favorite tips:

*Trust and believe the verses above. Truly believing there is always a choice and I have the strength, through Christ, to make the right one is essential.

*Tell the Lord that I desire to overcome temptations, daily. This puts me in a position of humility and dependence.

*Look for patterns--what leads to temptation? Thought patterns, Social situations, certain emotions, etc. Awareness is the first step toward change.

*Draw a line at the root of temptations. Establish what I WILL NOT do before the situation arises. Ex: I will not even entertain the thought of having a snack after dinner or I will not even consider shopping for groceries while hungry. Do not even let the mental "should I or shouldn't I" conversation take place. Shut it down. We do this "line drawing" in many other areas of life (possibly without even realizing it) and should be able to apply the same principle here.

*Believe that I can begin again. Because I can. Often, quitting is the strongest temptation we face. Overcoming this temptation is the secret to success. Because if you never quit...

August 1, 2011

The Number

I weighed on my scale this morning. The number I saw was 165. That number is not who I am.

That number is not who I am, but the number does represent something. This is very important for all who follow my journey to understand: For me, at this point in time, that number represents my obedience or lack thereof.

And THAT'S the truth.

God loves me no matter what that number says and I believe it with all my heart. But the fact that I am not at my goal weight is because I have not been obedient. It's true. That may not be the case for everyone, although I would venture to say that for many it is true. God loves disobedient people. He even uses them, in his grace. I believe he has used me, even in my disobedience. But I don't think that is his ultimate dream for my life. He wants to use me through my obedience.

I signed this commitment over the weekend and shared it in a post yesterday. It read:

With God's help this next year, I will dedicate myself to do whatever it takes to reach my goal weight and become healthy and fit, spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically. Then and only then, will I be able to walk into my dream.

After posting this, I received a comment from a concerned blogging friend of mine. She asked me some questions, which needed to be asked--and answered. I am thankful for her concern and her heart. I have since done some thinking and praying.These are my answers to the questions that were posed:

Are you really going to let a number on the scale hold you back from walking in what God has called you to?
It's not a question of if I'm going to let that number hold me back. Disobedience will hold me back and that number we are talking about is directly related to my obedience/disobedience. There are many moments when I choose what I know is not best for me and those moments all add up to the fact that I have not reached my goal weight. I'm not beating myself up over it, it's just a fact that disobedience does keep me from losing weight.

God has called me to obedience because that is best for me. That is His dream and his dream has become mine. Now, if my dream was my own, then it is possible I could walk into it by trying really hard and not letting anything stand in my way, obedience to the Lord or not. I could do it on my own terms. People do it everyday. It takes grit, determination--the American dream, right? But that is not my dream. I've done enough dreaming on my own and I don't like the way it feels when I walk into those dreams. It is lonely and empty for me.

If your goal weight is 145 and you only get to 147--you're holding off [from walking in what God has called you to] til those two pounds drop off?
No, I'm not holding off. I pray that the Lord will use me however he wants and that I will be willing, all the days of my life. I'm attempting to serve him even as I type this and I am still quite a few pounds away from my goal weight. I believe He will be best served through my obedience.

 And, WHATEVER it takes?
I guess 'whatever' is kind of a scary word to use in  a commitment of this magnitude. It was easy for me to commit to that because I know what whatever entails for me. It means I am choosing to be obedient, whatever the cost may be. Obedience by faith. Not whatever it takes by earthly standards and certainly not at the cost of my emotional, mental or spiritual health. But whatever it takes meaning that I will use all the tools, knowledge and resources God has given me and apply them to my life, even if it's not fun, convenient or logical.

To get to a number?
Yes, I am trying to get to a number. There, I said it. I believe that God has called me to be a healthy weight, among many other things. For me this is 140 lbs. on my 5'-4" frame. you can read about the re-evaluation of my goal weight here.  I believe with every fiber of my being that I will see that number on the scale one day. This is my journey. This is the path that God has placed before me.  For Noah it was to build an ark. For Rahab it was to hide some men. For Mary it was to birth a Savior. For Jesus is was to endure the cross. The calling before me is to allow God to finish what he began in me and stop resisting him! To be obedient and yes, to see that number, 140.

I have so struggled with "the number." I finally found freedom in the truth that it's not about "the number" as much as it is about the experience of getting to that number. Right? Not the destination but the journey, you might say. But just because we are enjoying the journey (and taking our ever-loving, sweet time) doesn't mean we can or should ignore the destination. The destination is still important and I think we aren't being REAL if we say it's not. The number does matter and it's okay to have a weight goal. I think it's most important to consider what is fueling our desire to reach that goal.

Meet Glory:

She was jumping off of this ottoman all morning. I told her repeatedly to stop because she was going to be hurt. It was hard for her little mind to wrap itself around the truth that I know best. After all, it's so much fun to jump off of the ottoman onto the Dora couch. She has done this very thing many times and many times she has been hurt, but she continues to do it. Even though she has learned that it hurts her, she continues on. She is a disobedient little thing, bless her heart.

Can God teach me through my disobedience? Yes and certainly He has. There have been many painful falls. I have learned that it hurts. But there has to come a point when I actually apply the lesson and stop jumping!

My analogy falls apart at this point. The reason Glory keeps jumping is because she knows there isn't really anything else to do around here right now. She knows today is a day we are going to hang out at home, it's hotter than you know where outside and jumping off the ottoman really seems like her best option. I might agree with her...

God has a better option for me! He actually has plans for me. Plans that are about hope and my future. I really don't think they involve me jumping off the ottoman and landing on the same hard floor over and over and over again.

The gospel of Jesus Christ compels me. It's the only thing in the world compelling enough to make me want to be obedient where pizza, chips and chocolate chip cookies are concerned. It's the only thing that has been compelling enough to make me want to change. It's the only thing that has made me change.

Love is what controls me--not the number on the scale. He doesn't give commands for me to obey in order that I might receive his love. His commands are because of his pre-existing, relentless love for me. He wants what is the very best for me.

I desire God more than I desire the life I can dream up for myself. So when I say that "then and only then can I walk into my dream" the dream I am talking about is God's dream. When you think of the word dream you think of amazingness. When you dream, you don't dream of mediocrity, you dream of the absolute, top-notch best. This is the way I feel God dreams for us. And I'm not talking about the way the world dreams! God's dreams go way beyond earthly riches.

He has things planned that no eye has seen, no ear has heard and no mind has even conceived of for those who love him (1 Cor. 2:9). I just believe that his dream is best and his dream is for His name to be glorified. He is most glorified in me when I am most satisfied in him. I am most satisfied in Him when I am closest to him. I am closest to him in my obedience. So there you have it.

I weighed on my scale this morning. The number I saw was 165. That number is not who I am.

Who am I?

I am crucified with Christ. I no longer live but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body I live by faith, in the son of God who loves me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20

"If you love me, you will obey what I command." John 14:15

You, God, are my God,
earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you,
my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land
there is no water.
I have seen you in the sanctuary
and beheld your power and your glory.
Because your love is better than life,
my lips will glorify you.
Your words are greater than life to me.
Because your love is better than life,
my lips will glorify you.
I will praise you as long as I live,
and in your name I will lift up my hands.
My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods;
with singing lips my mouth will praise you. Psalm 63:1-5