Monday, May 23, 2011

A Fool in Boasting

I didn't want to write this, much less look at it. I don't want to look at why I do what I do because I'm ashamed to admit it - to myself or anyone else. But I would rather boast in my infirmities that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

It's hard to describe how badly I craved doughnuts and coffee this morning. I talked myself into it 10 times in a matter of 5 minutes. I reasoned in my mind, saying I'd limit the amount. I wanted to comfort myself with food - and I justified this saying, "It's not like I want to binge. I just want one or two. How much could that really hurt me?" One or two doughnuts in the whole scheme may not "hurt". But the reason I want them does.

Our culture says it's okay to turn to food when you're upset or stressed. Women from every generation are led to believe that this is "glamorous". How many chick-flicks include a scene where a usually thin, gorgeous girl is drowning her sorrows in a bucket of ice cream or box of chocolates? If they put a large woman in that role I have to wonder how "cute" would it be? Yet our society accepts this. Celebrates it.

What began as imitation in early years, has become habit for me. I turn to food to comfort myself. Why? I have this idea that I need to satisfy a craving. When really it's a soul hunger that needs satisfying. I have programmed my mind to think that food and fleshly satisfaction will make the ache go away. When did I start mistaking heartache for hunger pains?

The easy thing would be to blame "Legally Blonde" for my eating habits. Or to point my finger at Ronald McDonald for luring me underneath those double arches as a child. But ultimately the responsibility lies with me. Gluttony is one of American Christianity's most ignored sins. We like to believe that "The lust of the flesh" (1 John 2:15-16) refers to only the sexual sort. Lust is defined as a desire, longing, or craving. Few people would broadcast their craving for sex by openly seeking a brothel and publicly carrying out sexual acts. Yet Christians all over America herd into the Golden Corral each Sunday seeking to indulge - extravagantly - their craving for food. The definition of lust doesn't change with the object it is set upon. Lust for food is no less condemning than lust for sex. And you don't have to be overweight to be a glutton. This is a subject not often discussed and never addressed in most Christian circles. We are afraid to step on toes. Toes we can't even see for our bellies.

There is so much shame in the sin of gluttony - a shame I know too well. Over the years I have dieted in secret. I never wanted to admit that I was trying to lose weight because I'd simultaneously be admitting that I have a weight problem. I have dieted in darkness so that if I fail, no one has to know. But I am tired of hiding in darkness, because the fact is I'm not hiding from anyone. The evidence of my wrong thinking is plastered all over my stomach, thighs, and arms.

The word of God instructs us to confess our sins one to another that we might be healed. This is my confession. I declare this is the day of salvation. I will be be healed through repentance - changing the way that I think about food and exercise. In changing the way that I think, I will change the way that I act, how I eat, and how I move.

"Ho! Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and milk without money, and without price. Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in abundance. Incline your ear and come to me. Hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you - the sure mercies of David... Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake His way, and the unrighteous man His thoughts; Let him return to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon" ~ Isaiah 55:1-3, 6-7

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Ready Soul: Conclusion

I’m sorry this is so late in coming. Jordan and I hit the ground running after we got back from our vacation.
The title for this series comes from a My Utmost for His Highest devotional for April 18th that was so timely. Here are a few excerpts from that devotion:
…Readiness for God means that we are ready to do the tiniest little thing or the great big thing, it makes no difference...When any duty presents itself we hear God's voice as Our Lord heard His Father's voice, and we are ready for it with all the alertness of our love for Him. Jesus Christ expects to do with us as His Father did with Him. He can put us where He likes, in pleasant duties or in mean duties, because the union is that of the Father and Himself. "That they may be one, even as We are one."
Be ready for the sudden surprise visits of God. A ready person never needs to get ready. Think of the time we waste trying to get ready when God has called! The burning bush is a symbol of everything that surrounds the ready soul, it is ablaze with the presence of God.
It just so happens that the week before we left for Tennessee I’d been praying that the Lord would give me a ready soul. I prayed that God would open my eyes to see His kingdom, His people, and where He wants me to serve. Try to imagine my amazement when I found that prayer answered so specifically, so quickly. God visited us.
Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. I have evidence of Gods’ specific answer to so many prayers – from a single day! When I see this tangible proof of my Heavenly Fathers love for me, I can always feel my faith swelling to new levels. I want to list all the ways He answered prayers, just to summarize for you:
· He rolled away the rain clouds when we asked Him to
· He shielded my vehicle while we were driving in a onslaught of hail – only 5 pieces hit my car as long as we prayed!
· He provided shelter and safety for us during severe, tornado-laden storms
· He paired us with 2 young ladies who are a part of “The Remnant” of His kingdom – out of all the places we could’ve stopped or taken shelter, He orchestrated our every step to be in French Camp, Mississippi
· He provided an opportunity to serve, as unto Him
· Most importantly, He gave us new friends that we’ll never forget
In my opinion this proves that God is intricately involved in even the slightest details of our lives, such as whether or not it rains. He hears the cries of our hearts and longs to show Himself faithful when we trust Him with everything.
Jordan made the point after we returned that if we gave the Lord just one day of our lives, and He turned it upside down for His glory – imagine what He can do with a surrendered life! This is something I need to remember daily. Just before we left for vacation I found out that the State of Louisiana is going to consolidate some State agencies. They have since submitted the bill to the Legislature, and we are waiting to see how this will play out. An estimated 300 employees will be reduced to 150. I have about a 50/50 chance of keeping my job. Yet, I know that regardless of what happens, the Lord will take care of me. My heart is completely at peace about that.
God put me in this job. My first interview here, just over a year ago, was the worst one I’d ever done. I was flustered and unsure, and as a result I cried the whole way home, believing I’d ruined any chance of getting a new job. I am assured my Heavenly Daddy saw my tears that day with a twinkle in His own eye. I’m wondering what He’s thinking now as I’ve been prayerfully considering my future. But one of my favorite things to do is stand back and watch Him prove His faithfulness while I learn to trust Him.
In my life this is not a cliché:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.” ~ Proverbs 3:5-6
You can read the more detailed version of Gods faithfulness to us on this trip here: Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V