When You Need To Let Go

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Recently I’ve backed off of my running habit for about 6 weeks as a result from my left hip shifting out of place.  There was a part of me that wondered if I would ever run again.  The pain was so intense that I wanted to just give up.  I was also afraid that if I returned to the road that a re-injury would occur. So I choose to rest the habit for a while and return when I had given myself some time to heal.

During this time, I lost my drive to try.  All I recall was how much running or even walking hurt.  I wanted to protect myself from pain.  Thankfully, over time, the drive returned and I overcame the fear, encouraged myself, embraced the process and tried again.

I talked myself into pushing through it.  There were many days I only walked but felt like I could handle a little more pain.  I had my hips adjusted and let my body heal more.   Yesterday it happened that I broke through a threshold of pain to run free.  I wasn’t calculating the pain, counting the cost nor considering the toll it would take upon me later.  I just pressed through the ache to run.

It was marvelously liberating to bring change in my perspective.  Often we look at changes as painful or from a place of fear when really it only takes a different run at the process.

This can go as deep as you want to take it, as far as success, failures, motivations, growth and destiny.

It’s the same with our spiritual walk with God.  This is not a race but a journey where sometimes changes come slow and steady, sometimes it’s an immediate turnaround.  Both perspectives matter, but the process is important.  Some are heart painful, other changes only need a few small tweaks.  The perspective of the process is termed by God as pruning in John 15.

When you think of pruning, you understand it’s needed to get rid of a bad habit or something that is non-producing.  But who of you would would be first in line when a good thing needs to be cut?  How about several great things?  How can cutting several good producing branches be seen as a benefit?  Some great questions that need a different perspective.

I have always thought of pruning in a negative sense as cutting out a dead place that needs to go or something that is painful.  Think how hard it is to let go of a tree which is still producing fruit.  How do you decide which branch to prune, for the benefit of the whole orchard?  Intentional focus is an important part of producing, bearing fruit  and must take on a strategy.

Pruning could be termed as training, practice, or correction of a habit. God is changing my perspective of cutting and training of habits.  I am learning to bear more patience with change and transitions, and bear through the pains in the process.  I still have a lot of grace to realize in this to help me find freedom in the pain.

As believers, we are changed little by little to reflect Jesus as we let go of those non-producing branches.  But also in the process, there are some good branches that might be caught up in the cutting.  It’s okay to let them go as well.  Remember not every branch should be a fruit bearing branch, some are supportive for strength or a preparation to the fruit production.

It’s all about your perspective really.  It’s painful to remove good parts of our lives for the good of the whole.  We can’t see that something good causes damamge or pain until it’s removed.  Often those branches need to go for the greater good, and it’s often to prevent a deeper pain or futrther damage in the future.  God sees our harvest and knows how many bushels of fruit that He wants to bear in your life.  He also sees the non-producing branches that need to be cut and those which are weighing us down, or will do so in the future.  He sees our greatest good from His best perspective.

Consider the greater good of change, pruning and training.  Even though sometimes painful, from God’s point of view it’s always for THE greater good considering THE bigger picture of perfection of our lives.  Even if we can’t see it right now, you must  keep training, practicing, or pressing through the aches and growing pains.  Be teachable.  There’s fruit to bear, and a potential harvest of goodness awaits on the other side of your growth.

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The Promise That Parted a Chocolate Sea

chocolate buffet

I gasped when I saw it.  I didn’t remember that much chocolate could exist in one single buffet line.  I was mesmerized by the shiny and sweet-looking goodness.  The lines to scoop up plates and platters of the decatant desserts were endless and filled with eager chocolate connoissuers.  I wanted to be in those lines twice over.  I wanted it all.

Worse yet, I was willing to hide that I wanted it.  Who would know if I actually jumped in head first?  Consumption of every square inch of all that light and fluffy cake? No problem.  There was such a desire to take a dive right in front of that guy who looked like he need to wait at least five minutes to let his food settle.

Ever want something that bad?

Y’all don’t know what it’s like.  You don’t know the depth of food temptations that reaches the soul.  You couldn’t know or realize the intensity of it, unless you have been there and are fighting to stay free of it.

My grade school principal didn’t get it either.

The day that Mister announced my weight to the entire 20-student class of my private school was the most humiliating and demeaning set of numbers a chubby girl could endure.  I’m sure China heard his voice that day.  I SO wanted to jump ship and drown in a sea of pity.

Again, here was another demeaning amount of desserts set before me.

The nerve of people making chocolate into a flowing sea in a place where to get away from it I had to jump ship…literally.  I just stood there all numb like and such.  The powerlessness I felt in that moment was transcribed as a chocolate trance to find the end of the line and jump on board.  My heart was on hold and my desires were captivated.  I.wanted.every.lick.of.it.

I remember that fateful day when Mister boomed my weight to the world and my desire was then immediately anchored to my dark chocolate history.  OOOH the milky sooth coos from a chocolate milk carton of comfort was overflowing with each imagined dip of satiny goodness.  So I just….dove into my shame and swam in a sea of guilt and blame.

I almost choked back the tears of how wonderful it all tasted as a third grader.  That memory came back to me as I stood in line on that floating chocolate boat.  For a second I wanted more and more comfort and then something shifted inside that made me quickly drop the idea of just a skewered pineappley dipped chocolate treat.

I saw myself (in my mind) at 244 lbs, (my weight at the beginning of my weight loss journey) and I realized that I didn’t want to go back.  Even knowing that one treat would not add over 100 pounds back onto my body, I put the plate down.  I remembered where I used to be, I remembered how I got to where I am today, and I remembered all the work and tears it has taken me to get to where I am.  And I thought of how God wants more for me over my selfish desires.

I remembered why I started this journey in the first place, plus my promise to invite freedom into my life over lusting desires.

I remembered Mister.  That day, in the third grade, I traded my self-esteem for a lie that returned in a failed way of comfort for my hurting inner being.  What I didn’t know then (because I was a child), was that I believed a lie as truth.  It was in the third grade that I chose to let food have it’s way in me.

Once I stood there and saw the endless chocolate river I remembered my “why” and that I became a power-filled overcomer.  I thought of all the lust that has been cut out of my life.  I also remembered a promise that was made between myself and God.  I vowed that I would stay pure in the area of my desires for unnessary calorie choices.

I haven’t always kept my end of the bargain but He has.

The self-esteem that I lost as a third grader rose up strong, renewed and wouldn’t be sabotaged again.  You see, I could have eaten as much as I wanted to and gotten away with it but I am the one who has to live with me after I put the empty plate down.  I have to answer to God about that action, since He is my accountability partner.

Remembering this convenant action with my Rescuer helps me keep this promise true:

Hebrews 8:10 “This is the covenant I will establish with the people of Isreal after that time, declares the Lord.  I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts.  I will be their God, and they will be my people.”

When I saw the brown river, all I could think of was my convenant with God that was written on my mind and heart.  Afterall, I am His “people”.  I remembered that obeying God was giving Him permission to control my desires in every area and having self-control in my choices.  I also remembered that I didn’t have to hand over my permission to a chocolate power anymore. Suddenly or not so quickly, I lost my desire to give my tongue to a lie once again.

Even chocolate with all it’s alluring power that flows in a river can’t break a promise between you and God.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not talking about breaking a food rule, life is too short to keep my own list of wrongs when it comes to food rules and food was put on this earth to enjoy.  I’m relying on my relationship with my Deliverer that gives me strength and shows me out of every temptation known to man, even the ones dipped in chocolate.  Nope, I ain’t got time for that!

How to not eat a whole cow in an entire meal

cowIf you aren’t a comfort eater, you can stop eating, oh I mean stop reading this post.  If you are one of those, a person who eats for comfort, and that’s the plain simple truth people, then read on.

I’m not here to sugar-coat your answer.  Let me guess you don’t know the answer so this post IS for you.  At one time I was a comfort eater.  I realized that and wanted to change.  So I asked God how to change.  I was tired of other methods that left me literally hanging and dangling by a mere thread of hope and clinging hard to my determination of ever losing another pound.  I was tired of reaching to food for comfort and it not filling my inner desires to be comforted.

You see food, cows and sugars are all seductive in ways that speak to us foodies for life.  When we are stressed, emotionally spent, challenged by disappointments life brings, and/or all of the above plus any and all stresses that adult life can bring, well food is the most convenient and tasty options a girl has.

Especially in the age of texting.  Let me bring this all together.  Food doesn’t judge us.  It doesn’t boss around our emotions.  It doesn’t try to fix us, or tell us we are being silly.  It just accepts us as we are…needy, hungry for whatever, and in love with the taste of it’s sweetness.

That’s why emotional eaters eat.  When emotional eaters are stressed they go to a place of comfort that can comfort when all of the world seems to want to change us or complain about us.  We can’t help it and that is the one way food succeeds in getting our attention.

One day at my kitchen sink, I was as frustrated as a young mom could be.  My children who were mostly good 99% of the time had worked my last nerve, and something inside me snapped.  I grabbed the nearest pleasure and said to this sweet delight, “Well, at least you won’t talk back to me.”  I then embraced the comfort it had on my frustrated heart and ate an entire cow’s worth of calories.

I don’t feel good about telling you this bad food memory.  But I share it for a purpose.  When you are stressed, frustrated, or caught up in an inappropriate emotion that sends you straight to the cabinet loaded with Little Debbie cakes or the entire bag of Cheetos or potato chips you have an emotional eating problem.  Is everything in you screaming “OH YES!” right now?  Did I hit your eating problem on the head?

My advice comes many sweets later or shall I say many lessons later, here is your olive branch.  Don’t eat the cow in an entire meal.  Don’t eat out of frustration or stress or an emotional spin out.  Don’t do it.  The only thing that you will come away with is more guilt and shame not only for the situation that got you there in the first place but a whole lot of regret about how you personally handled your emotions.

Food may comfort you for a short time, but it doesn’t last to resolve your bigger need, which is the reason why your desire to comfort yourself with something that will only leave you hanging by a thread later.  Food can’t offer you true comfort like God can.

So when you are looking for comfort, and honestly we all are in this broken world we live in, then go to God first.  If God tells you to eat the whole cow in one meal then go for it.  But from what I have learned about the way He comforts, I go with that idea in mind to ask Him about it and He quickly distracts my ways to looking at my real heart problems instead.

Then we work on fixing those issues together.  And I forget about the cow and what caused me to think about eating it in the first place.  God’s love and grace is just that big, that no matter why you are looking for comfort He can supply each “why” need we have.  He supplies each and every one of our needs be it physically, emotionally, mentally, and of course spiritually.

This is how I learned not to turn to food from my emotional spin-outs.  The change didn’t come overnight, but it has come, and now I know how to eat right.  Food is the fuel for my body not my hurting emotions.  What I have learned is that God is big enough to handle all my emotions and yours too.  I can trust Him with the hurting places of my life, the disappointments, the unmet needs and self-control training that I need.

God can handle it all.  And knowing that gives me the most comfort!  More than eating an entire cow, that’s for sure.