Day 36: Future Victory

I was not very focused last week. I checked all the things off the list, but my heart wasn’t really in it. And as a result, I ate more than I should.

The sermon at church yesterday was called “Engage God’s Slow Growth.” I’ve definitely felt the weight of that in these 5 weeks of breaking up with food. Some days it seems easier to stay on track. Some days are a big struggle.

I am viewing this as a journey, not a destination. As a process of being pruned and refined, or stumbling and falling at times, but then getting up and following through with this commitment I made.

I read in 1 Corinthians 15 on Saturday that future victory is sure, so we should “be strong and steady, always abounding in the Lord’s work” (v. 58).

Lord, help me to continue to trudge forward, to choose You, to cling to You and abound in whatever work You have for me.

Bible Reading: 1 Corinthians 16, 2 Corinthians 1 (Sunday), 2 Corinthians 2-3 (Monday)
Prayer Cards Prayed: Check
Food Tracked: Check
Activity: Check
Daily Reading: Check
Worship in Song: Check
Choosing to Trust: Check

Day 34: Hang on His Words

But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.’” Matthew 4:4

This verse was loosely referenced in my daily reading. I started thinking about what I put in my mouth versus what comes out of God’s mouth.

Here is the pattern I have noticed in the past 34 days:

I open my mouth to stuff my face – I silence God’s voice

God opens His mouth to speak – I hang on His every word

When I run to food, I hear very little besides the deafening call to more. More food, more sugar, more hiding, more numbing.

When I choose to put down the food, when I choose to open my heart and my ears, it’s His Spirit I am sensitive to. It’s His voice I hear.

“After that, he taught daily in the Temple, but the leading priests, the teachers of religious law, and the other leaders of the people began planning how to kill him. But they could think of nothing, because all the people hung on every word he said.” Luke 19:47-48

Bible Reading: 1 Corinthians 15
Prayer Cards Prayed: Check
Food Tracked: Check
Activity: Check
Daily Reading: Check
Worship in Song: Check
Choosing to Trust: Check

Day 33: Fridays

I like Fridays.

It’s the only day of the week I try to get up and take it slow.

On Fridays, I get up and don’t rush off to take a walk. I get a drink and sit in my chair. I read and reflect and talk to God.

Well, I try to.

I started this morning by trying to read the Bible. This was after I loaded the dishwasher and got that started. Today I was restless. It was a cool morning, and I wanted to get something in the oven before it heated up too much. I prep jars of the dry ingredients for various baked goods, but I didn’t have what I needed ready. So I read a little and then decided to get up and fix the baked oatmeal. That took about 20 minutes, and I made my husband’s coffee. I brewed my coffee too, and then finally sat down to read again.

I finished the chapter of the Bible, but I still couldn’t focus or settle.

I started journaling. I realized there were some things I needed to repent of, to ask forgiveness for. Then I just started writing to the Lord.

I showed up, and He showed up.

God, thanks for letting me taste and see that You are good today.

Bible Reading: 1 Corinthians 14
Prayer Cards Prayed: Check
Food Tracked: Check
Activity: Check
Daily Reading: Check
Worship in Song: Check
Choosing to Trust: Check

Day 32: Choose to Bless the Lord

I want to apologize for yesterday. But at the same time, I don’t.

I felt lousy about it – so much so that at 2 AM, I considered coming back and changing the post (my email list doesn’t grab and send the post until 10 AM the next day).

Then I reminded myself that there are plenty of Psalms which come from a less than hopeful place.

“Out of the depths, I cry to You.” Psalm 130

“Lord, hear my prayer, listen to my cry for mercy.” Psalm 143

“As the deer pants for water, so I long for you, O God.I thirst for God, the living God. Where can I find him to come and stand before him?” Psalm 42

“O Lord, don’t punish me while you are angry! Your arrows have struck deep; your blows are crushing me.” Psalm 38

Many of them end in a more hopeful place – at least we think so. Well – not Psalm 38.

Don’t leave me, Lord; don’t go away! Come quickly! Help me, O my Savior.”

Psalm 130 does: “O Israel, hope in the Lord; for he is loving and kind and comes to us with armloads of salvation.”

But not all do. Psalm 42 actually ends with the psalmist reminding his soul where its focus should be:

“But, O my soul, don’t be discouraged. Don’t be upset. Expect God to act! For I know that I shall again have plenty of reason to praise him for all that he will do. He is my help! He is my God!”

This is the self-talk I did with myself in the middle of the night. This is why I let yesterday’s post be what it is, and then this morning reminded myself of His new mercies (Lamentations 3:23). Because I’m not alone in my struggle to keep my eyes fixed on truth, when my soul wants to spiral into despair. I’m not the only one who fixes her eyes on what is seen instead of on what is unseen (2 Corinthians 4:18), when I don’t see tangible hope appearing in my perceptions of what I think are hopeless situations.

People throughout Scripture struggled with the exact same thing.

So with David and many others, today I choose to remind myself of this: 

“I bless the holy name of God with all my heart. 2Yes, I will bless the Lord and not forget the glorious things he does for me. He forgives all my sins. He heals me. He ransoms me from hell. He surrounds me with loving-kindness and tender mercies. He fills my life with good things! My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!” From Psalm 103

Today, O my soul, choose to bless the Lord.

Bible Reading: 1 Corinthians 13
Prayer Cards Prayed: Check
Food Tracked: Check
Activity: Check
Daily Reading: Check
Worship in Song: Check
Choosing to Trust: Check

Day 31: Disappointment

Today stunk.

I am flooded, positively drowning, in disappointment.

Is it OK for me to say that?

I should be excited – THRILLED – to have finished a full month of breaking up with food.

I should be on my knees, praising God!

Instead, I find myself angry, wondering how God could allow certain things to happen.

This is why I eat. I HATE these feelings. I don’t want to have them. I don’t want to think about situations I can’t change nor can I remove myself from them. I want to eat and eat and stuff them down so I don’t have to feel them or think about them.

I want to eat everything.

No matter what I eat, I will track it. But right now, I hate today.

Bible Reading: 1 Corinthians 12
Prayer Cards Prayed: Check
Food Tracked: Check
Activity: Check
Daily Reading: Check
Worship in Song: Check
Choosing to Trust: Check

Day 30: The Least of These

Some people complain that following Jesus is boring.

I think maybe that’s because they are not doing it right.

Following Jesus, truly surrendering to Him every day, is an adventure! Saying to God, Lord, whatever You want to do today, wherever You want to take me, whatever You want to show me, however You want to use me, I am Yours.

My pastor is a missionary kid. 71 years ago, he was born on the mission field in the Dominican Republic. He told us a story today about when he was a child and his dad was dying of dysentery. My pastor didn’t realize it at the time, but they brought him into his parents’ bedroom to say goodbye to his father because they believed he would die overnight. God actually healed him! About 2 years later, a little old woman came up to him at a church where he was speaking while home on furlough* and asked what he was doing on a specific date and time. He thought back and he remembered: that’s when I was dying of dysentery! She said God directed her to an old issue of a missionary magazine and had her up all night, praying for him.

What a testimony!

And then other times, God has you sit with a sick friend (as I did today) and make sure she’s OK. And then prompts you to text her throughout the day to see if she needs anything.

That’s no less God’s work than the missionary sharing the message of the Gospel or the old woman praying for healing or the doctor cleansing the leper’s wounds or hugging a hurt child.

Do the work God has for you today. It may seem mundane compared to going to the jungles to share with unreached people. But it’s not mundane to the person you are serving.

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Matthew 25:40

Bible Reading: 1 Corinthians 11
Prayer Cards Prayed: Check
Food Tracked: Check
Activity: Check
Daily Reading: Check
Worship in Song: Check
Choosing to Trust: Check

*(furlough is a periodic break where missionaries come back to their home country and raise support)

Day 29: The More I Seek You

Today is my oldest son’s 13th birthday!

I got married later than most of my friends, and we waited 4 years to try and start a family. So I was 32 when I had my oldest.

Birthdays always seem to make me sentimental. And slightly sad. I jokingly said to my oldest this weekend that I have birthday PSTD. The thing is it’s not really a joke. My birthdays weren’t great when I was a kid. Some of them (like when I celebrated turning 14 with my mom, who was in rehab) were downright traumatic.

I’ve mostly healed from this around my own birthday. It was actually a really nice day this year. But I still wrestle with it around my kids’ birthdays.

And a pandemic birthday no less!

Thirteen feels like a big one. My son is very tall for his age (5’11”!), and I know that makes it feel as if the time is passing even more likely. I wish there were some way of knowing that I am doing this mom thing correctly for him, setting him up for success with whatever comes his way.

But there is no guarantee.

Today in my quiet time, I sang this:

The more I seek You
The more I find You

I was pretty sure I had mentioned that song before, and I did on July 20. I feel good about my choices this past week and humbled at the same time. I’m just so glad I don’t have to try and do life without Jesus.

Bible Reading: 1 Corinthians 7-8 (Sunday), 9-10 (Today)
Prayer Cards Prayed: Check
Food Tracked: Check
Activity: Check
Daily Reading: Check
Worship in Song: Check
Choosing to Trust: Check

Day 27: Over and Over and Over

Grateful today.

Feeling rundown and tired, but grateful.

It’s hard to believe I’m approaching 4 full weeks of this journey! And I’m grateful. There have been days I wanted to not have to care or think about this so much. Maybe one day I’ll get there? Who knows. For now, I’m grateful for God sustaining me and calling me back to His heart.

I read something very appropriate in my daily Bible reading today:

I can do anything I want to if Christ has not said no, but some of these things aren’t good for me. Even if I am allowed to do them, I’ll refuse to if I think they might get such a grip on me that I can’t easily stop when I want to. For instance, take the matter of eating. God has given us an appetite for food and stomachs to digest it. But that doesn’t mean we should eat more than we need. Don’t think of eating as important because someday God will do away with both stomachs and food. But sexual sin is never right: our bodies were not made for that but for the Lord, and the Lord wants to fill our bodies with himself.” 1 Corinthians 6:12-13

This speaks to the core of the issue for me. I don’t want anything to have a grip on me other than Jesus Christ Himself. I want to know nothing else but Christ and Him crucified (1 Corinthians 2:2). I want to (Philippians 3-style) consider all things, including food, to consider them trash that I might know Him and the power of His resurrection (v. 10) – the same power that was exerted to raise Him from the dead (Ephesians 1:19-20).

I sang this Dennis Jernigan song in my worship time today:

With our hands lifted high to the sky
When the world wonders why
We’ll just tell them that we’re loving our King

Jesus, I surrender – over and over and over.  I choose to love You and serve You – over and over and over.  As I pray “have Your way in me,” I mean it with new strength and resolve. For as another song says, “It’s only in Your will that I am free.” Yours and Amen.

Bible Reading: 1 Corinthians 5-6
Prayer Cards Prayed: Check
Food Tracked: Check
Activity: Check
Daily Reading: Check
Worship in Song: Check
Choosing to Trust: Check

Day 26: Just Say No

Yesterday, I went to a very small birthday party. There was a professionally-baked, gluten free cake.

And I said, “No, thanks.”

Was it a special occasion? Yes. The little girl we were celebrating has had a really rough year. Did the cake look yummy? Oh, yes.

But several things went through my mind:

  1. How am I going to track that?
  2. My kids can’t eat it (food dye). I don’t think it’s fair then for me to have some.
  3. It’s my oldest’s birthday Monday. We’ll have cake then, and I’ll probably have a piece.

Here’s the thing. I’m not sure when I started to reward myself with food, perhaps after I started recovery from the eating disorder. I can make everything into a special occasion and a reason to use food to celebrate. I love whipped cream on ice cream sundaes. Brownies. Cake of any kind. More ice cream. Anything with peanut butter. And then maybe some chips.

So for now, I’m saving those special foods for the RARE celebration.

Bible Reading: 1 Corinthians 2-4
Prayer Cards Prayed: Check
Food Tracked: Check
Activity: Check
Daily Reading: Check
Worship in Song: Check
Choosing to Trust: Check

Day 25: Here’s My Heart

25 days.

I’m 25 days into this journey of breaking up with food.

When I get on here to blog every day, I honestly have to resist the urge to tell you how I ate and how I feel. I seriously want to do that every day – as if that’s the only indicator of success or failure! The fact that I’m still here and still writing shows that God is still working, deep in my heart.

That said, if I’m honest, my food choices were a mess last week. As I mentioned before, my goal right now is to simply track my food (which I did), but I overate and I chose poorly. I woke up Monday and decided to choose more wisely, which I have.

My food choices impact me physically (obviously!), emotionally (kind of obviously) and spiritually (less obviously). I feel it in my body and my mind and my soul. Knowing that I will choose well today frees up my brain space for other things (I have a helpful video about brain space).

But hey? Can we go back to 25 days????

I don’t have much else to say. My mind is swimming tonight after an all-day, borderline migraine and a lot of time in the car, blessing a sick little friend of ours on her birthday, plus sermon prep and practice. All I can think about is the rich young ruler! And what else God might want to deal with in my heart.

Lord, here’s my heart.

Bible Reading: 1 Corinthians 1
Prayer Cards Prayed: Check
Food Tracked: Check
Activity: Check
Daily Reading: Check
Worship in Song: Check
Choosing to Trust: Check