Friday, April 29, 2016

Here's a thought....

One of the main points of this sugar fast has been to run to Jesus when the sugar cravings hit. Or when I'm feeling stressed and want to eat, I go to the Word rather than the fridge. Rather than building up the idol of busy and distraction when I feel the desire for food, I should spend some time in prayer. Running to Jesus and his Word rather than running to the Idols in my life.

This morning, I woke up early. I've been able to spend some time thinking about some of the things I've been reading. And I was struck by a rather simple idea. Why don't I deliberately start my day by running to Jesus rather than waiting till I'm tired, overwhelmed, stressed, upset, struggling.... to turn to him. Of course I know that turning to Him in those moments is good! And I'm confident that there will still be many of those moments when I have to remind myself and make myself turn to him, rather than one of my Idols.

Recently, I've been having a hard time sleeping. Sometimes, I'm wise enough to spend that time in the Word and in prayer. Yesterday, I started my day being encouraged and filled with reminders of why I'm doing this, what the big picture is. And yesterday was a good day. I still struggled, I still had to repent and turn away from my sin. But I just felt more,,,, confident.... content.... encouraged.... filled with His love....

I have two more weeks left in this fast. And while I would say that in general, I'm fairly good about having time in the Word and in prayer, I'm going to focus more on making those things the first things I do in the morning. Before I run. Before I get the day going. Before I snuggle with the kids. Maybe even before coffee (!!!!). I'm going to work on making sure that I am turning and running to him every morning.

And you know what still, after decades of being a Christian, still amazes me? He's there. Waiting to meet with me. Waiting to fill me. Waiting to commune with me. Because he's good. And faithful. And loving. He's my Father.

 “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but I will not be mastered by anything. 1 Corinthians 6:12

Direct my footsteps according to your word;
    let no sin rule over me. Psalm 119:133

Create in me a pure heart, O God,
    and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me from your presence
    or take your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
    and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

Psalm 51:10-12

Sunday, April 24, 2016

More thoughts from the 40 day fast

I am now over half way done!

The 3rd full week brought unexpected challenges. Turns out I didn't quite finish dealing with all the idols that I thought I had dealt with. Also, turns out sugar isn't so much of an idol in my life as food is.


This past week felt very similar to week 1, where I just really MISSED eating sugar. I've been having the most vivid dreams about sugar, dreams in which I devour donuts, cake and icecream. Sometimes I wake up unsure if I really "cheated" or if it was just a dream.

This past week has been full of reasons why it's okay for me to eat tacos and queso. I've slipped back into the habit of justifying what I'm eating. And even though I'm still following the guidelines that I set for myself, I'm not in the Word as much, praying as much and justifying unwise food choices.

This past week has also been a rainy week where baseball was cancelled, swim team practice was limited due to newly enforced rules and we played GUBs. I found myself spending less time with people (excluding the little people, of course. I spent LOADS of time with them!) and being highly irritable and edgy. I'm afraid that this edgy, grumpy mom came from a lack of busyness, which is a clear sign that the Idol of Busy is still going strong in my life.

This coming week, I have two goals. #1 Face the Idol of Food and Busyness head on. No more justifying, no more giving in, no more substituting. #2 BE IN THE WORD!!!! Isn't that the point of all this?! Yet here I am, taking another lap around the desert like the Israelites, needing another reminder of God's mighty hand, mercy, commandments and provision.

Here's what I've been reading and how the Lord has encouraged me.

From "Crazy Busy" by DeYoung

"The first danger is the busyness can ruin our joy... When our lives are frantic and frenzied, we are more prone to anxiety, resentment, impatience, and irritability. "

"The third danger is that busyness can cover up the rot in our souls... The presence of extreme busyness in our lives may point to deeper problems - a pervasive people-pleasing, a restless ambition, a malaise of meaninglessness."

"Jesus understood his mission. He was not driver by the needs of other, though he often stopped to help hurting people. He was not driven by the approval of others, though he cared deeply for the lost and the broken. Ultimately, Jesus was driven by the Spirit. He was driven by his God-given mission. He knew his priorities and did not let the many temptations of a busy life deter him from his task."

As a family, we're working through a read through the Bible in a year program. Though we're behind, I'm thankful for where we are right now., in Deuteronomy. God is preparing the people...the stubborn, idol building, blind to God's goodness people... to go into the Promise Land.

"And you shall eat and be full, and you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. Take care lest you forget the Lord your God by not keeping his commandments and his rules and his statutes, which I command you today." Deut. 8:11-12

We're also in Luke, during the time of Jesus's ministry. And what did Jesus do?

"In these days he went out to the mountain to pray, and all night be continued in prayer to God." Luke 6:12

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Thoughts from the 40 Day Sugar Fast

Today is Day 10 of my Fast. I am a quarter of the way done!

Physically, I'm in a really good place. I'm thinking about sugar a lot less, I'm not craving it as much and I'm not nearly as sad about the whole situation as I was just a few days ago. I do feel better, and I'm pretty sure I've lost a little weight, though I'm not weighing myself because I don't want this to be about the physical. This is not a diet. I'm not doing this to lose weight. I'm doing this to grow spiritually.

The beginning of this week was tough. We were challenged to go deeper into our fast to push ourselves and spend more time in prayer and in the Word. I fasted till lunch on Monday, and was really able to spend a lot of time in prayer and in the Word, as I had hoped. But by the end of the day, I was a wreck. I spoke with one of my sisters, who is also doing a version of the Sugar Fast, and she said that it really sounded like sin was being revealed, that spiritual growth was happening, which would explain a lot of the feelings I was having. Monday evening I was able to talk and cry with Curtis, who graciously encouraged me where I was at while pushing me to see the big picture of what was happening in my life and in our marriage.

I imagine there will be times when I want to reread and think over some of the scripture and other things that have ministered to me.

"And as He stands in victory
Sins curse has lost its grip on me
For I am His and He is mine
Bought with the precious blood of Christ"

"For thus said the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel, 'In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in thrust shall be your strength.' Yet you were unwilling..." Is. 30:15

Monday, April 11, 2016

40 day Sugar Fast

A week ago, I started a 40 Day Sugar fast.

For several weeks now, I've been struggling with feeling dissatisfied by my weight and how I was doing physically. I knew I could diet and lose weight. I could exercise and lose weight. But I couldn't understand how I kept getting back to the point of knowing that's what I needed to do.

I realized it was probably something more than just diet and exercise. But I didn't know what.

Then one day on Facebook, I saw a call for women to join a 40 Day Sugar Fast. The goal isn't weight loss. The goal is to tear down the idol of sugar in my life. I thought about it, prayed about it, and decided to join.

My previous experience with fasting has been much different than this. I've fasted from food for a day or two (usually in conjunction with a call from the session in a church wide fast). In high school, I participated in Lent.

As I prepared for the fast, I quickly saw how I was going to try to justify certain foods. "Diet Coke isn't sugar, it's a sugar substitute so it doesn't count." "That's a natural sugar, so it's not a problem for me to eat that." I realized that I wasn't really ready to break down those idol, I was just looking for ways to go through the motions of this fast. So with Curtis as my accountability, I set the guidelines for my fast. No added sugar. No Diet Coke. No desserts. I wasn't going to try to substitute my sugar cravings with natural sugars, but I wasn't going to totally refrain from natural sugars (that mainly being fruit).

As I start Day 8, I've had a chance to reflect on the experience so far. I also had a chance to really reflect spiritually yesterday in worship. The biggest thing I learned last week was that I'm so quick to build up other idols. As I worked to tear down the sugar idol, Curtis had to remind me to be careful not to build other idols in it's place. The Idol of Control. The Idol of Self Righteousness. The Idol of Busy. The Idol of Salt (who knew Pringles could be so tasty???).

This weekend, I found myself struggling in my marriage. I wanted to gripe and vent about my husband rather than speak highly of him to my friends. I only saw our differences rather than the ways God has used our difference to grow each of us. I was choosing to be petty rather than moving past minor annoyances. I was choosing to be unforgiving rather than being forgiving and gracious. All these feelings and emotions led to a restless night of sleep.

As I got up this morning, I was was planning how to basically be a bratty wife to prove to him what a lousy husband he was. But then a video, made by the woman who started the fast, popped up on my news feed. She talked about how at this point in our fast, it might be easy to let other sins that have been magnified (isn't that one of the goals of a fast??..... I don't know why I was caught off guard by it this weekend) take control. I clearly saw that was what was happening with Curtis and I.

So obviously, I have some work to do. And I'm thankful for the opportunity to do!