Friday, April 15, 2011
Since this blog was started because of my issues with food and it's founded on a spiritual, God-centered approach to overcoming those issues, I want to share anything that I come across to help others who are struggling with overeating or emotional eating, too.
If you want to start from the beginning and understand a little more about this area of my life, you can read the first entry here.
This week I found an interesting news artice from Health.com on how emotional eaters can still stay slim. You can read it here. It offers tips on strategic eating for those who turn to food for comfort, without letting it get out of hand and becoming a problem. Michelle May, M.D. who is the author of "Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat" says that "you can comfort yourself with food and still stay thin by following some simple ground rules."
These strategies include: Only eating what you really love (otherwise, you'll eat more of something that isn't that good to reach a point of satisfaction), making it blow your mind (taking the time and focusing your attention on what you're eating instead of eating while watching tv or working. This distracts you from enjoying it so you'll end up eating more), not eating on an empty stomach, and bagging the guilt (otherwise, you miss out on the full pleasure of eating the treat you want. Guilt can lead to a vicious cycle. As we feel guilt for eating more than we should or for the wrong motives, we want to comfort and get rid of that feeling. So we develop an "I give up" mentality and just eat more!)
Two other great articles I read just this morning come from writers at (In)Courage. The first one titled "Honestly" is written by the author of "Made to Crave," Lysa TerKeurst. You may remember I mentioned her and her new book on my other blog last week. She discusses her personal battle with comfort-eating and her weight loss journey since realizing that she was ready to do something about it. It challenges us to face our problems that we're making excuses for or procrastinating dealing with and being totally honest with ourselves about our sin. She touches on the physical, spiritual, and mental aspects of the battle to change in this area.
Lastly, Sarah Mae's post titled "The Good Kind of Gluttony" focuses on the feasting of God's Word and promises, filling ourselves up with the Spirit of God instead of trying to find life and satisfaction in anything else other than Him.
I hope you take the chance to read one or all of these if you're struggling with this issue in your life. They offer great encouragement.
Also, in case you haven't heard about it, there's a whole ministry aimed to help people have a biblical approach to weight loss and overall health management. It's called First Place 4 Health. The group study started at First Baptist Church in Houston and has grown to become a nationwide ministry. They promote Christ-centered priorities such as prayer, Bible study and scripture memory. They address the entirety of a person- mind, emotions, body, and spirit- in the healing process as well. You can find success stories, recipes, health articles, workout dvds, books, bible studies and food journals all on their website. I know of a couple of women through my mom who have benefitted from this program or just from the "First Place for Health" book.
Again, I'd have to promote reading Lysa's "Made to Crave: Satisfying Your Deepest Desire With God, Not Food." I hope to read it soon when i'm not in the middle of two other studies! If you want to follow her blog, just click here. You can read her bio story, her daily blog, all the articles she has written, and watch videos of her speaking engagements!
Thursday, April 14, 2011
"The next day there was a wedding celebration in the village of Cana in Galilee. Jesus' mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples were also invited. The wine supply ran out during the festivities, so Jesus' mother told him, 'They have no more wine.' Jesus replied, 'Dear woman, that is not our problem. What does that have to do with me? My time has not yet come.' But his mother told the servants, 'Do whatever he tells you.' Nearby there were six stone water jars used for Jewish ceremonial washing. Each could hold twenty to thirty gallons. Jesus told the servants to fill the jars with water. When the jars had been filled, the water turned into wine. This miraculous sign at Cana was the first time that Jesus revealed his glory and performed a miracle. His disciples saw and believed in him."
I'm sure that we could all interpret this passage in various ways and discover numerous meanings in it, as is true with most stories in the Bible that teach us different lessons. This story is a significant one because it recounts the first instance in which Jesus performed a miraculous sign in a public setting with so many people bearing witness, including his disciples. Although their presence, and the role of the servants, is barely mentioned, I think there's something important to observe and consider regarding their part in the story.
If I had been one of the servants at this wedding celebration and Jesus asked me to fill an empty jar with water when they were needing wine, I probably would have at least shot him a confused, judging glance. I might have even asked him politely with hesitation, "Umm, Jesus, you do realize that they are out of wine, not water, right? I just don't want you to be embarrassed in front of all these people when you bring them water instead of what they asked for."
The servants didn't do this though. There's no mention of them questioning his commands. Despite what they may have been thinking about such an odd request, they did just as he asked them without hesitation or a word coming from their mouth. Now, you might say that's because they were servants and it was their job to do as they were told. This may be true, but as servants and followers of Jesus Christ today, aren't we called and expected to do the same thing?
How often do we as humans (especially women) question and complain when we first receive a request, instruction or command from God? I know i'm quick to ask "Why, God?" because I want to know where he's going with this. I always want to be in "the know" which shows that I'm not trusting God and letting him have authority in my life. I want to be spared from feeling embarrassed in front of other people so I often ask "Are you sure you meant to say that? Are you sure you want me to do that?" I assume that he's wrong or mistaken or I try to persuade him to change his mind. In general, we simply doubt the word of God. We doubt that what he says is true, that he will keep his promises to us, and that his way is really in our best interest.
What I learned from this passage is that instead of questioning or doubting God, maybe I should react the way the servants did and just obey him (without any hesitation, consultation, mediation or procrastination). Everyone who was there that day witnessed this miracle and his disciples believed in him as a result, as i'm sure many other people did because of what they saw. Perhaps when we choose to obey God and follow his will despite how crazy it seems, we too will witness a miracle. Other people in our lives might see it too and come to believe in Him. I wonder if the servants thought he was crazy. I'm sure they did because they were human like me. The important thing is they chose to submit to him despite what their mind and emotions were telling them. I could learn from them!
Or maybe they didn't think he was crazy, because as we see God answer our prayers, perform miracles in our life, and direct us in our decisions along good paths, we come to realize that he's proven himself trustworthy and good and right every time.
Perhaps if we trusted him more, doubted him less and handed ourselves over to him as empty jars ready to be filled with whatever he has planned, we too would witness and experiences more miracles in our lives. If Jesus could turn water into wine then, we know that he can still perform miracles in our lives today through his Spirit that lives in us. We can bring him our brokenness and emptiness. We can hand over our lives in complete surrender knowing that he can and will turn it into something good. God created the world out of nothing. Therefore, we can believe in him to create something out of our nothingness, or something grand out of little and something good out of bad.
We just have to be clean, empty jars (ready to trust and obey him) so that he can fill us up and work the miracle in our life that we're wanting, needing and waiting on him for.
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”
Since I became a Christian, I have always really struggled with forgiveness. I know that God commands me to forgive other people who sin against or offend me, just as He forgives me for sinning against him. And I want to! But it can be hard especially when the person is unaware of the pain they’ve caused you or they just don’t care and you never get an apology from them. Mercy doesn’t come naturally to our flesh because as humans we’re concerned with justice and fairness. God’s love and mercy, on the other hand, overlooks whether or not someone deserves to be forgiven.
Unfortunately, more often times than not, my flesh rears its ugly head and I refuse to forgive, at least immediately. This is especially true when it’s someone I dearly love and believed I could count on (such as a parent or our spouse).
I tend to hold unrealistic, impossible expectations of people to treat me fairly and kindly at all times. I’ve also struggled with holding myself to these same ridiculous standards. It’s just as dangerous for us to not forgive ourselves for past sins. We must believe God’s Word and accept our forgiveness from God through his
Jesus Christ so that we don’t live in guilt and shame and are held back from living the abundant life that he died for us to have. That’s a whole ‘nother topic though!
When someone close to me lets me down, my flesh wants to wallow in bitterness and withhold forgiveness as punishment on that person for doing wrong. But based on God’s Word, I know that that’s wrong of me. I’m not the one to judge and I have no right to harbor unforgiveness. Even if a person is continuously sinning against me and causing me strife, I’m called to follow
Christ’s example and forgive them every time ( Matthew -22 Forgive your brother seventy times seven).
It’s an area of constant struggle- almost a daily battle since every day there are opportunities and situations that arise when I have to decide to take offense or let the things people say and do go (Let go and let God!)
Peter says “When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate. When he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to Him who judges justly.” How often do we want to retaliate by speaking harshly back, giving the cold shoulder, or slandering those who hurt us? How often do we react with threats of punishment, such as choosing to spend less time with that person or not helping, giving to, and loving them anymore? I must remember that God sees all and He alone is the ultimate judge of all person (including myself, which motivates me to do what’s right before Him!)
Other verses that guide me regarding forgiveness:
Ephesians 4:2-3 “Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.”
Ephesians 4:31-32 “Get rid of all bitterness, anger, harsh words and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tender-hearted, forgiving one another just as God through
Christ has forgiven you.”
Romans 15:7 “Accept each other just as
Christ has accepted you so that God will be glorified.”
Mark “When you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against so that your Father in heaven will also forgive you of your sins.”
Proverbs “The wise person controls their temper; they earn respect by overlooking wrongs (offenses).”
1) Unforgiveness always keeps score or record of wrongs
2) Unforgiveness always boasts of its own record
3) Unforgiveness always complains (or dwells)
4) Unforgiveness has a martyr/ victim-like mentality or syndrome
5) Unforgiveness always alienates, divides and separates
6) Unforgiveness always is jealous when the other person is blessed
Father, please show me if there is any unforgiveness, bitterness, or anger in my heart. Open my eyes to any person I have not forgiven or any situation in my past that i'm not letting go of. I know that it's important to you that your children and those who claim to follow you display mercy, patience and love towards others- as you do towards them. I want to obey this command of yours! I don't want to give the enemy a foothold in my heart. I'm thankful for your forgiveness for all my sins and I want to glorify you by forgiving others of their's. I know that forgiveness doesn't make the situation right or excuse the person, but I surrender the need to seek punishment or vengeance to you, the one true Judge. I pray for the peace and freedom that comes with forgiveness. I pray for the strength through your Holy Spirit to be able to do it, since my flesh is so weak. I pray that you would be glorified through it Lord, working through me to be a witness to others and to that very person. It's in your Son's name I ask these things, Amen.