Greater

For as long as I’ve ever been able to remember, music has been able to put into words what I cannot convey.  There are songs that come into my mind and spirit for a time to encourage me, to lift me up, to make me strive for greater things, to soothe me, and to comfort me.  I still hold firm that the anthem for this period of my life is Casting Crown’s “Thrive.” but this song by MercyMe, “Greater,” has been really spurring me on lately.

This song is positioned on my 5K training playlist right now at the point where I am ready to quit going forward.  The words and the beat spur me on the last stretch to meet my walking time goal.  When I reach the end of training for my 5K, timed accordingly, this song will be ending just as I am crossing the finish line. (Yes, I have it planned to be that exact).  This song has helped me to grasp the truth of 1 John 4:4-6 that says, “ You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them.  We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood.” (NIV, emphasis mine)
What lies of the world have you fallen prey to today? What have you overcome today?  I bet you’ve overcome more than you think.
Greater (MercyMe)
Bring your tired
Bring your shame
Bring your guilt
Bring your pain
Don’t you know that’s not your name
You will always be much more to me

Everyday I wrestle with the voices
That keep telling me I’m not right
But that’s alright

Cause I hear a voice and he calls me redeemed
When others say I’ll never be enough
And greater is the One living inside of me
Than he who is living in the world
In the world
In the world
And greater is the One living inside of me
Than he who is living in the world

Bring your doubts
Bring your fears
Bring your hurt
Bring your tears
There’ll be no condemnation here
You are holy, righteous and redeemed

Every time I fall
There’ll be those who will call me
A mistake
Well that’s ok

Cause I hear a voice and he calls me redeemed
When others say I’ll never be enough
And greater is the One living inside of me
Than he who is living in the world
In the world
In the world
And greater is the One living inside of me
Than he who is living in the world

There’ll be days I lose the battle
Grace says that it doesn’t matter
Cause the cross already won the war
He’s Greater
He’s Greater

I am learning to run freely
Understanding just how he sees me
And it makes me love him more and more
He’s Greater
He’s Greater

Extremes

Holy Moses.  I think we’ve already established the fact that my head is a scary, scary place to be.  But just in case we haven’t, let’s use a few situations over the last two days to cement the idea:

Unhealthy situation #1: The PT clinic did not follow my infinite wisdom and intentional pre-planning efforts to attain authorization for more PT visits before my current authorized visits ran out so that I didn’t have to miss scheduled visits waiting for insurance to approve more visits.  I was fuming when I went in for my last authorized visit on Monday and they told me they had just done something that day that I asked them to take care of a week ago, that I had already gotten the go-ahead from my doctor for them to do.  As I was doing my PT routine, I was so frustrated that they hadn’t listened to my concerns about getting authorization in a timely manner that I seriously was ready to walk out and tell them that I was finished with PT altogether.

How I should have reacted to situation #1: Suck it up, buttercup.  That’s life.  Yes, you’re probably going to have to miss one or two PT sessions waiting for insurance authorization.  Your body will not fall apart as a result.  Keep doing the home exercises and your exercise program in the meantime.  The doctor ordered 3-4 months of PT, you are not cured after 1.  Don’t harm yourself because you’re frustrated at the process.  Just let it be.

Unhealthy situation #2: The weight watchers site and app went down, so I could not track my food.  Contact the weight watchers IT folks and find that it will be several hours for them to fix the problem.  I just won’t eat.  Okay, that’s a bad idea. So, I ate a few low-point foods and wrote them down on an index card to enter into the app later when it was working.  End of story, yes?  For a sane person, maybe.  Nooo…I sat there and obsessed over it.  I could not stop thinking about food and the fact that I hadn’t made myself accountable for it by tracking it and that I was going to somehow gain all forty-five pounds back in the course of an afternoon.

How I should have reacted to situation #2: Suck it up, buttercup.  That’s life.  Technology fails.  You did your best by making good choices and writing it down to enter later.  That’s all you can do.  Move on with life.

Unhealthy situation #3: Skipped going to the gym and took a nap.  Feelings of guilt and shame overwhelm me because “I’m giving up.”  And again, because I did not exercise for one day, I am going to gain all forty-five pounds back in the course of an afternoon. But now that I’ve skipped one exercise session, I’m going to tumble down the slippery slope of skipping more and more.

How I should have reacted to situation #3: Suck it up, buttercup.  That’s life.  Cut yourself a break!  You were exhausted.  You needed to rest.  That’s part of a healthy lifestyle too.  One missed exercise session in the grand scheme of life is not going to make a difference.  You are not going to throw away every effort of weight loss from now on because of one choice.  Just make sure when you are making the choice, you’re looking at the legitimate reasons for making the choice and it’s not out of laziness.

Phew!  Are you exhausted yet? I am!  I have no idea where in life my thinking has gotten so twisted, but man alive…if I was ever this hard on someone else, I’d be up on inhumane torture charges in a heartbeat.  Why do I do this to myself?  When did this kind of self-talk become acceptable?  Why do I automatically jump to the worst possible conclusion at the drop of a hat?

Fear.

Fear of failure.  Fear of not being successful.  Fear of not meeting my goals.  Fear of disappointing myself.  Fear of disappointing others.  Fear of the future. Fear of disappointing God.

Whoa there, back up the train.  Fear of disappointing God. How? By trying your best? By committing each and every action to Him? By seeking His guidance? By committing in His power to change your life for the better?  You better check yourself, missy.  God doesn’t just care about the end result.  He cares about the process–how it’s changing me and molding me to be the person that He created me to be.  God doesn’t approve of this self-destructive behavior to glorify Him.  What example am I showing a non-believer of Christ’s love and grace if I cannot extend grace to myself and cut myself a little bit of kindness?

Ouch.  Something to think about today.

I’m not God, and I don’t play Him on TV

I’ve spent this morning waiting for the other shoe to drop.  I’ve been waiting for the phone to ring and the person on the other end to tell me what a horrible person I am and how dare I abandon them in their perceived hour of need and how I let them down, thus perpetuating the shame spiral I have already started in my own mind.

You see, I have this great ability to not place healthy boundaries with people that I provide assistance to.  I don’t say “no” enough, even when no is the greatest help that I can provide a person.  I want to save them.  I want to fix them.  I want to be able to meet their every need. (notice all that “I’s”?  Yeah, me too…)

That is wrong on so many levels, I realize that.  First of all, I’m not God–I can’t meet one’s every need.  Second, I overextend the level of assistance that my ministry is able to provide.  This is not good because it creates an atmosphere for disaster–yes, every case is unique and will receive different types of help, but there need to be consistent basic standards across the board. Third, I sacrifice myself, my time, and my sanity to unhealthy levels–which damages other things in my life, my relationship with my husband, and ultimately, my health.

Yesterday, I put a hard line boundary in place.  I was not going to drop everything I was doing at a moment’s notice to go and save a person stuck in a situation that they put themselves in.  I had a long day.  I worked hard.  I was in the middle of something that yes, I could have stopped doing, but in the long run would have hurt me by walking away from what my attention was on.  In the moment, I didn’t actually believe the words coming out of my mouth, saying that I would not take action in this situation.  For a split second, dare I say, I even felt a little empowered by my choice.

But immediately, I was flooded with guilt.  What if this person didn’t get the help that they needed right then? Would they be safe? Would someone else take care of them?  The questions reeled around in my mind a million miles a second.  I admit, the guilt overtook me.  Unknowingly to the person in need, when I finished what I was doing at the time, I went to check out the situation to see if help was still needed.  And it wasn’t.

I didn’t have to be the savior.  I don’t have to be anyone’s savior.  I can’t be anyone’s savior.  That’s not my job–it’s way above my pay grade.  That’s a hard lesson to swallow.

This tied right into the devotional that I read this morning about the double standards that I live.  How dare I counsel someone one way, and yet live my life in another.  I am not above God’s counsel.  I’m human.  I make mistakes and have to learn from them.  I have to make earthly boundaries to protect myself from earthly things–from the entrapment of becoming my own little god.  I have to remember to whom I’m accountable, humanly and heavenly.

Surprisingly, just putting this out into words has slowed the shame spiral I’ve been riding since last night.  This too shall pass.  And, if that phone call comes, well…it is what it is.  I’m standing in what I know to be the right choice for all involved.

(and in other news, I lost another 5lbs.–45 total gone now, YIPEEE!)

Breaking Point

That’s it! I’m getting a t-shirt that says, “It’s God’s business, not yours.”

I reached a boiling point last night where I was very bitter and angry over what seems like a constant barrage of unsolicited advice.  My head was going to explode.  The straw that broke the camel’s back was a statement that in order to be healthy you need to cut all grain out of your diet. (um, no)  It seems like once someone finds out you’re losing weight, they are automatically a health expert and are THE authority on what you should, and more often, what you shouldn’t, put in your body.  It’s coming at me from all sides–in person, online, from friends, from complete strangers that don’t know my food struggles, and from people that have zero business minding my food when they don’t have their act together.

Here’s the deal.  I don’t believe in deprivation.  I don’t believe in cutting out white flour or sugar or eliminating carbs or grains or dairy or this or that and the other thing from my diet.  I know from past experience FOR ME AND ONLY ME that when I cut out those things, they become an obsession to the point of unhealthiness.  My food is my food.  Why yes, I will eat that piece of cake (if it is reasonable within my eating plan for the day), and I’m going to savor it! (and boy, that lemon cake we had for dessert when we ate out on Monday night was divine–and I was able to eat it because I chose a healthy option for dinner and not the burger and fries that I really wanted) What’s working for me is working for me at this time.  Will it change?  Who knows…I don’t hold a crystal ball.  What works for you, works for you–and that is awesome, keep up the good work.

Like I mentioned a couple posts ago, I’m clinging back at the basics to avoid another plateau.  It may not outwardly show, but I am agonizingly scrutinizing every single crumb that I put in my mouth.  I am shamelessly begging God to continually show and approve what is good and edifying to and for me at every single moment of every single day and give me the power to resist what is not.  I am working to honor God with my body, for it is His creation, and will follow His leading and guidance. Period.

Does that mean that I won’t listen to others? Of course not.  I read the articles and listen to the science behind all these things and make educated decisions on whether it is chasing rainbows and unicorns or not.  I speak frankly with health care providers and have dialogue on what is right and what isn’t.  My point is, if you haven’t been invited to the conversation, there’s probably a reason, so…remember it’s an A and B conversation and C yourself out (please and thank you).  And I promise, when I need and want advice and input, I will ask.

To all the naysayers out there, whine away.  You’re not shaking my resolve.  I’ve got a higher authority going to bat for me this time around and I’m not alone.  God’s got this one.

Busted!

First, let’s party!  I finally busted my three-week plateau and lost another 5 pounds, bringing my grand total to 40 pounds lost!

Okay, party’s over.

At this part I started to write something negative, and chose to delete it.  If it’s not edifying to me, it’s not edifying to you.  Let’s try this again.

Like I mentioned in my last post, I’ve really concentrated on getting back to the basics to bust through this stalemate over the last week.  Therefore, all glory goes to God.  I’ve put in the footwork, but He’s blessed it because I’ve taken each step in faith–knowing there is something better for me on the other side of all of this.

When I started this whole deal, it was really just because I was cranky about my weight for the nine millionth time.  But I quickly realized all the other “weight” that I’m carrying that I have to get rid of too.  I’ve done a lot of crying at my desk lately.  God’s really been pushing me to look a lot of heavy stuff and be honest with myself about it.  It’s been some serious work to look at the muck and mire.  Just like weight loss, it won’t be conquered overnight…but I’m on the way.

I’ve come to find joy in the process.  I like organized routines, things that I can count on, specific ways of doing something.  Through my intentional time spent in God’s Word, devotionals, studies, reflection, and slowly opening up to others, I have found that I am enjoying the ride.  Instead of having tunnel-vision on the end result, I am rejoicing in the little victories and concentrating on the small goals–something that I haven’t done before.

So, for today, I choose joy.  There’s some circumstances around me that have my anxiety high that I need to deal with, but I choose joy.  I choose joy because God continues to bless me abundantly in the midst of it all. Amen!

Cockiness

“Define your week by obedience, not by a number on the scale.” -Karen Ehman

I’m falling fast into discouragement again.  Yesterday was a terrible day.  I’m in my third week of this weight loss plateau and doing everything I can to bust it.  I woke up feeling terrible from drinking diet soda the night prior (which I have now decided to give up).  I slogged through work in a fog and had to do some administrative discipline, not my forte.  I got to the gym and was miserable…I couldn’t even keep up my normal pace, I just wanted to leave before I even walked in the door.  I forced myself through it, I mean, a crappy workout is better than no workout, right?  Then I headed to back PT and sat in my minivan almost in tears because I just didn’t want to go.  I went anyway, and cried through the first ten minutes (thank God for patient PTs and techs).  I don’t know what my problem was yesterday, I was just in a bad way all around.

This quote stood out to me this morning when I sat down at my desk to have some devotional time before starting my work.  I think I’ve discovered the root of my downward spiral: cockiness.  At the start of my weight loss, I was in constant conversation (prayer) with God to get me through minute by minute.  I’ve become lax.  I’ve had a taste of a little success and have not relied as deeply on my sole source of motivation and encouragement.  It’s time to pull in the reigns again on all fronts.

What this looks like:

  • Get back to constant conversation with God over every. little. thing.  Each bite I take, each thought I have, every movement I make
  • Continued daily devotions, without exception, focusing on what I need to be working on
  • Tidying up my eating.  I’ve gotten a little free with my eating, especially on weekends–not overeating, just making choices that could have been better.  Just because I have the availability in my eating plan to eat it, that doesn’t mean I should.
  • Exercising properly.  It’s just 40 minutes out of my day.  Bite the bullet and just do it, and if I’m going to do it, do it right–no sniveling.

When I’m living in obedience, I’m doing what I need to be doing to live a free and healthy life.  When I’m in my head, I’m doing what *I* think is best, and not what God has shown me to be best for me.  I have confessed this to God this morning and asked for forgiveness.  Now it’s time to walk again in obedience to God’s leading, and not my own–remembering that it’s not “me against the world” but that it’s me following the One that’s gone before me to pave the way.

Victoriously Unsettled

“Unsettle me in the best kind of way.  For when I allow your touch to reach the deepest parts of me–dark and dingy and hidden away too long–suddenly, a fresh wind of life twists and twirls and dances through my soul.” -Lysa TerKeurst

Dude, this author is in my head.  She gets it.  I long to move past my unsettlement.  I’ve been unsettled.  I’m not content with where I am now, because I know I’m destined to be better than who I am right now.  Some of the dark and dingy has been exposed, and there’s more to come.  It’s not pretty, and I’m definitely not proud of it.  There’s a fine line I’m walking right now to recognize and realize the scum in me that needs to be ridded of and sinking into shame and guilt because of it.

I stand in victory today.  God is with me.  God is for me.  God has gone before me to pave the way for this journey of self-discovery and self-improvement.  I’m not alone.  I don’t have to fall apart, shattered into a broken person, to become a better version of me.  I used to think that was the way it worked, and maybe I still do a little bit…but instead of going backwards in order to go forward, I understand that I can move forward from right where I am.  Yes, I do need to look back at some of the past–there’s some hurts, habits, and hang-ups that need to be addressed there, but I don’t have to live in the past.  It’s just information for the journey.

I get glimpses of the future that I cling to with all that I am.  I’ve seen the person that I long to be, not in another person, but I’ve seen it in myself.  It brings tears to my eyes when this happens, because the feeling of sheer joy and freedom that accompanies it is simply overwhelming that I just can’t handle it.  I have images of the person that I know I’m meant to be seared into my mind’s eye, and that’s such an exciting thing.  Pictures of goals accomplished and victory over self litter the hallways of my head.  It’s a thing of real beauty.

And my humanness wants these things *right now*…and it’s just not reality.  Change doesn’t happen overnight, and I have to be okay with that.  So for today, I’m finding joy in the process.  I’m okay with being unsettled.  It’s okay to not have it all together.  Thanks be to God!