Jan 25 2011

Made to Crave - Day 17

 

Day 17: Don’t Fence Me In!

Based on Chapter 15 of Made to Crave by Lysa TerKeurst

 

Thought for the Day: Boundaries are not restrictive fences meant to keep you from enjoying life, but gifts from a God who cares about your well-being.

 

Sometimes, the words “no,” “boundaries,” and “limitations” stir up feelings of deprivation and resistance in my strong-willed self. But I’ve learned that I must embrace the boundaries of the healthy eating plan that I chose. I must see these limits as parameters that define my freedom.

 

I learned this principle through my sweet, little dog, Chelsea, who isn’t the brightest canine around cars. She’s obsessed with trying to attack the tires crunching against our gravel driveway inside our fenced-in yard. As a result, she had an unfortunate encounter with a moving vehicle about the same time I started my healthy eating plan.

 

After Chelsea’s injury, the vet informed us that helping her heal meant we’d have to keep her calm for three weeks. This recommendation sounded crazy considering it’s hard to keep Chelsea still for three minutes! Worse, she was forbidden to bite or pull at her bandages and stitches. So, the dreaded cone was placed around her neck to keep her injuries out of reach.

 

As Chelsea healed, I was the master of her new limitations. She punished me with hours of whining and crying. She constantly tried to escape through our fence and kept snapping at her bandages. However, my love for this dog wouldn’t permit me to let her to harm herself. Her brokenness couldn’t handle that kind of freedom. Not yet.

 

As I watched Chelsea struggle, I was struck by the way her situation applied to my issues with eating healthy. My brokenness couldn’t handle freedom with food outside the boundaries of my plan. Not yet. Eventually I would be able to add some things back into my diet in small quantities. But not yet.

 

Since my brokenness with food runs deep, my new healthy habits need time to run even deeper. Here are a few of the boundaries I’ve created to ensure success on my healthy eating adventure:

 

I am not made to be a victim of my poor choices. I was made to be a victorious child of God.

I can find ways to celebrate that don’t involve blowing my healthy eating plan.

If I am in a situation where the temptation is overwhelming, I will have to choose either to remove the temptation or remove myself from the situation.

Struggling with my weight isn’t a curse from God. Being overweight is an outside indication that internal changes are needed for my body to function properly and for me to feel well.

 

 

I’ve learned that boundaries aren’t restrictive fences meant to keep us from enjoying life, but gifts from a God who cares about our well-being. Whether you are staring at a party hors d’oeuvre table of all things cheesy, or ready to bite your friend’s head off as she reminds you of the healthy eating plan you chose, I pray these boundaries help you like they’ve helped me.

 

 

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

Jan 21 2011

Day to Crave - Day 15

Day 15: I’ll Have What She’s Having

Based on Chapter 10 of Made to Crave by Lysa TerKeurst

  

Thought for the Day: Just because a woman is skinny doesn’t mean that she’s healthy. The struggles are similar, just in a different size package.

  

One problem with trying to eat healthy is when you sit down next to a skinny girl who wolfs down everything on her plate. It makes me want to say, “I’ll have what she’s having.” A similar frustration pops up when Ms. Petite picks up her kids in a cute tennis outfit that I could never wear.

 

The paradox of comparing ourselves to other people is that we become blind to what we already have in the face of what we don’t have. Our hearts are drawn into a place of assumption. We assume that everything is great for those who possess what we lack.

 

But here’s the kicker. Everyone has not-so-great aspects their lives, things that they will have to learn to surrender or sacrifice. Sure, my size-two friend could eat all the snacks she wanted, but she’s got other struggles for which she has to depend on God. For instance, consider that skinny girl in your life who eats whatever she wants and makes you think, “How unfair.” Yet listen to what she might say in return, as someone once shared with me: “I am one of the skinny girls, but don’t mistake skinny for healthy. I battle depression, self-esteem issues, and verbal abuse. The list seems endless. Being little doesn’t make a person any more happy or faithful or joyful. The struggles are similar, just in a different size package.”

 

Life as a Christ follower will always be a learning process of depending less on our own strength and more on God’s power. James 1:3–4 says,

 

The testing of your faith develops perseverance, and perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature, complete, not lacking anything.

 

 

Why not make this a daily prayer, first thing in the morning: “God, I recognize that I am made for more than the vicious cycle of being ruled by food, body image, and comparing myself to others. I am thankful that You made my body unique in ways that I can serve You and in ways that turn my reliance upon You. I need to eat to live, not live to eat. So I keep asking for Your wisdom to know what to eat and Your indwelling power to walk away from things and thoughts that are not beneficial for me.”

 

Oh sweet sisters, this truth should be the cry of our souls and drown out Satan’s lie that “she has it easier.” Our taste buds crave many things to satisfy, but only persevering with God will make us truly full.

 

 

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

Jan 20 2011

Made to Crave - Day 14

Day 14: God Is My Portion

Based on Chapter 13 of Made to Crave by Lysa TerKeurst

  

Thought for the Day: “His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” (Lamentations 3:22–24)

 

 The term “portion control” took on a whole new meaning for me one day when I read the response that God’s people had after Moses led them out of slavery in Egypt. God had performed several sensational miracles to help them escape their captors. Yet they panicked when food became scarce. They even asked to go back to slavery in Egypt where food was supposedly abundant. But God planned to use their desire for food to teach them about daily dependence upon Him.

 

As Israelites traveled through the desert, each morning God would rain down exactly what they needed for nourishment—a provision called “manna,” which I imagine was something like little, sweet, potato flakes. They were to collect just enough manna for the day. They couldn’t gather extra, except before the Sabbath day of rest, or it would rot. This daily process was intended to put them in the habit of dependence on God, and only God.

 

However, the Israelites began to grumble and turned their hearts against God. So He took them on a detour. Instead of heading straight to the Promised Land of freedom, they wandered in the desert for forty years while they learned how to truly depend on God.

 

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to spend the next forty years of my life learning this lesson. I want to stop grumbling about my weight and embrace this valuable lesson to walk in the freedom of God’s provision. As we apply this same process to our struggles, we can find that God is the perfect portion for everything we need, every longing we have, every desperate desire of our soul.

 

God is there when my husband and I have a big argument, my kids are unruly, a business deal doesn’t go as planned, or the bills start piling up. Instead of grabbing a tub of ice cream or ordering pizza, I ask God to be my daily portion in these tough times.

 

For example, if your boyfriend breaks up with you, instead of inhaling a big bowl of chips and dip, ask God to be your daily portion of companionship in this lonely time. “God, I hate this rejection and hurt. Sometimes I feel like the loneliness is going to swallow me alive. I can’t deal with this on my own. Will You be my portion of healing and companionship just for this day?”

 

Or, when your kids are driving you crazy, instead of chowing down three pieces of chocolate cake, you might pray, “God, I so desperately want to be a patient mom. I don’t know if I can be a patient mom the rest of my life. But with Your portion of strength I can rely on You in this moment and not try to medicate my shortcomings with food.”

 

Whatever your situation, ask God to be your daily portion of companionship, provision, and patience—over and over. Soon, you’ll find yourself walking in victory over those things instead of looking back over tears and a pile of cake crumbs.

 

 

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