Jan 28 2011

Made to Crave - Day 20

Day 20: The Curse of the Skinny Jeans

Based on Chapter 12 of Made to Crave

  

Thought for the Day: Tying our happiness to food, skinny jeans, relationships, or anything else sets us up for failure. But tying our security, joy, and identity to God’s love is an anchor that we can cling to no matter what the circumstances.

  

Once I reached my goal weight, I thought I’d never have a bad day again. I mean really, what could possibly trouble me if I could fit into my skinny jeans? Boy was I wrong.

 

A hurtful email showed up … a disrespectful attitude from one of my kids … a missed appointment … a messy house … a stressful situation at work … an unexpected bill. Here I was just hours after feeling thrilled at finally being able to wear my skinny jeans, falling prey to the same topsy-turvy stuff I used to think wouldn’t bother me if only I were smaller. This is the curse of the skinny jeans. The truth I’ve had to realize is that my body size is not tied to my happy. If I was unhappy when I was larger, I’ll still be unhappy when I get smaller.

 

For years, I tied happiness to my circumstances and hopes for the future. I thought, “I’ll be happy when my father comes back, when I get married, when I have kids, when the economy improves, when I lose those extra pounds.…” But even when some of those things came true, I was still dissatisfied. Surely there was more to me than defining myself by my circumstances.

 

One day I read a list of Bible verses that describe who God says I am, no matter the circumstances in my life, both good and bad. I took that list of Scriptures and started to redefine my identity. It was a stark contrast to the way I defined myself by circumstances or others’ opinions of me. I finally realized that these issues don’t define me. Instead, I could tie my happiness to the reality of who my heavenly Father says I am:

 

 

Lysa, the forgiven child of God. (Romans 3:24)

Lysa, the set-free child of God. (Romans 8:1–2)

Lysa, the accepted child of God. (1 Corinthians 1:2)

Lysa, the holy child of God. (1 Corinthians 1:30)

Lysa, the made-new child of God. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Lysa, the loved child of God. (Ephesians 1:4)

Lysa, the close child of God. (Ephesians 2:13)

Lysa, the confident child of God. (Ephesians 3:12)

Lysa, the victorious child of God. (Romans 8:37)

 

 

We were made to be set free, holy, new, loved, and confident. Because of this truth, we can’t allow our minds to partake in anything that negates our real identity. Tying our happiness to food, skinny jeans, relationships, or anything else will only set us up for failure. But tying our security, joy, and identity to God’s love is an anchor that we can cling to no matter what the circumstances.

 

 

For more information about Lysa TerKeurst and her book Made to Crave, please visit: www.MadetoCrave.org

Jan 27 2011

Made to Crave - Day 19

Day 19: The Power of “I Can”

Based on Chapter 18 of Made to Crave

  

Thought for the Day: “Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial.” (1 Corinthians 10:23, see also 6:12)

 

Reaching my weight loss goal is a precarious place for me. That’s because I find it is a blessing entangled with a curse. The “curse” is the assumption that freedom now means I can return to all those things I’ve given up for the past months. The sacrifices … the missed treats … the deprived taste buds high on salad and low on French fries. I’m tempted to celebrate, live it up, and invite all those foods I’ve missed to a little welcome-home party.

 

Yet, I can’t fling open the door to all of those missed foods without welcoming back the excess calories, fat grams, cholesterol, sugars, and addictive additives. Most of these guests fall under the category of junk foods. The interesting thing about these guests is that they send out little signals to our brain begging us to party with them again and again. A welcome-home party becomes an invitation to be roommates again, which spells disaster for what we hoped might be a lifestyle change.

 

A chips-and-chocolate girl like me can find it hard to un-invite certain foods to the party that have been regulars for years. It’s even more difficult to reconcile that they aren’t my friends. Some can be casual acquaintances on a very limited level, but others need to be banished for good. Only you can determine which foods are allowed back, and which are not.

 

One of my favorite Scriptures in this process is 1 Corinthians 6:12: “Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial.” I quote it over and over reminding myself that I could have that brownie, or that cheese dip, but they wouldn’t benefit me in any way. That powerful thought has helped to make a healthy choice, rather than wallowing in being deprived of an unhealthy choice.

 

So, lest we start mourning what will be lost, we must celebrate all that’s being gained through this process. “I can” instead of “I can’t” is a powerful little twist for a girl feeling deprived. For example:

 

 

“I can” helps me walk into a dinner party and find the conversation more appealing than the buffet.

 

“I can” helps me stay on the perimeter of the grocery store where the fresher, healthier selections abound and smile that I know this tidbit.

 

“I can” helps me reach for my water bottle and find satisfaction in its refreshment.

 

“I can” helps me look at the McDonald’s menu and order a fruit tray without even giving a thought to the Happy Meals that used to be snacks.

 

“I can” reminds me to look up a restaurant’s nutritional information on the Internet before going out, ensuring wiser choices.

 

 

“I can” reminds me that no food will ever taste as sweet as lasting victory!

 

 

For more information about Lysa TerKeurst and her book Made to Crave, please visit: www.MadetoCrave.org

Jan 26 2011

Made to Crave - Day 18

Day 18: I’m Not Defined by the Numbers

Based on Chapter 7 of Made to Crave

Thought for the Day: “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5)

I was in an exercise class one day when the gal next to me leaned over and shared concerns about her sister’s increasing weight. I was half listening and half straining to lift my aching legs when she quipped, “I mean, my sister now weighs like 150 pounds!” I didn’t know whether to laugh out loud or keep silent, because the number that horrified her was the exact number I saw that very morning on my scale!

However, I found great joy when I realized that my workout buddy’s statement didn’t rattle me.

It would have just a few years ago. It would have sent me on a tailspin full of crash diets and unrealistic expectations. However, there I was, at peace, in the midst of her harsh statement. I wasn’t at my goal weight yet. But I was in the process of investing wisely in my health and spiritual growth. I had been diligently filling my mind with God’s truths. These principles now protected me from thoughts of condemnation, jealousy, and defeat. This is what the apostle Paul meant when he said in 2 Corinthians 10:5:

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

When we’re familiar with God’s truth, we can literally challenge any comment with the questions, “Is it true? Is it beneficial? Is it necessary?” If the answer is no, then we don’t open the door of our hearts. We make the choice to walk away from the comment and all the negative thoughts it could harvest if we listened to it.

My classmate’s shock at her sister’s weight wasn’t beneficial to me. Therefore, I didn’t have to internalize her comment. I could leave it on the gym floor and walk away. That statement didn’t belong to me. I had a choice to make. I could feed that comment and let it crush my identity. Or, I could see it as a careless remark and move on with my day.

Standing in the gym, I desperately wanted to yell out three glorious words, “I am free!” In that moment, I had a small moment of victory over an identity disorder that I’d battled for a long time. I was no longer defined by a number on the scale, because my weight loss goal was peace. As we move through our healthy eating journey, remember that the goal shouldn’t just be a smaller measurement, but a larger measure of peace.

For more information about Lysa TerKeurst and her book Made to Crave, please visit: www.MadetoCrave.org

Jan 24 2011

Made to Crave - Day 16

Day 16: The “G” word

Based on Chapter 13 of Made to Crave by Lysa TerKeurst

  

Thought for the Day: “As the deer pants for steams of water, so my soul thirsts for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?” (Psalm 42:1–2)

  

Have you ever heard a sermon about your eating habits? I doubt it. Excessive drinking, yes. Excessive eating, never. At least I hadn’t until a historic church-going day when the preacher man pulled out the big “G” word: gluttony.

 

I rolled my eyes, as you have just done, and thought, “How dare you say to me that eating is a sinful desire?” But his point was brilliant and I took it to heart. How can we stand and wag our fingers in the direction of alcohol only to walk into the church-wide, covered-dish buffet and stuff ourselves sick with fried, covered-and-smothered, grossly caloric delights that buckle our paper plates and cause our stomachs to cry for antacids?

 

I want you to hear me. I’m not saying that eating is a sinful desire. What I am saying is, if you have a script like this (“I’m fat, I’m ugly, and I’m not capable of getting it together”) playing in your mind, then something is waging war against your soul.

First Peter 2:11 reminds us, “Dear friends, I urge you as aliens and strangers in the world to abstain from sinful desires which wage war against your soul.”

 

In other words, if something is waging war against your soul, it is a sinful desire. Now please hear me again. Eating in and of itself is not a sinful desire. God made us to consume food, but food was never supposed to consume us. And if food starts consuming us to the point where we cannot feel empowered, then that is a problem.

 

I imagine at this point you are wondering if we really need to go there with this gluttony thing. It’s not exactly the most girlfriend-friendly topic that makes you want to say, “Preach on, sister. I’m loving this encouragement!”

 

When we rely on overstuffing ourselves with food, drinking until we get drunk, or conducting an adulterous relationship, we are revealing a desperate attempt to silence the cries of a hungry soul.

 

Our souls have the same ravenous intensity as a vacuum cleaner; that’s how God created us—with a longing to be filled. It is a longing God instilled to draw us into deep intimacy with Him. The psalmist expresses this longing as an intense thirst:

 

As the deer pants for steams of water, so my soul thirsts for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?

 

 

Indeed, our souls are thirsty and ravenous vacuums. If we fail to fill our souls with spiritual nourishment, we will forever be triggered to numb our longings with other temporary physical pleasures that will never satisfy.

 

 

For more information about Lysa TerKeurst and her book Made to Crave, please visit: www.MadetoCrave.org