Monday, June 9, 2014

Made to Crave

This summer our church is doing a series called The Ten Commandments.  The moment I heard what we were doing visions of Charlton Heston came to mind in the 1950s film - hours of my life sitting bored with my parents watching this movie as a little kid.  By the way, this is not a review of the movie, any adult movie is boring to a six year old! HA!  I'm sure it's very good, and I should probably see it again as an adult.

But the feelings that memory conjured up had me anticipating a snoozefest.  I'll admit, I half listened through the first week and doodled on my sermon notes most of the time.  Later, I felt convicted about my attitude and since this sermon series is 10 weeks long, I should probably get my act together and open my heart and mind.  So I prayed before I walked into church this week that I would be open to hearing from God, even if I already knew the 10 commandments.

Our pastor often will say (I'm paraphrasing here of course! sorry Brady) that people say they want to hear and think about the meaty, deep theological stuff, but have we put into practice the basics truths of our faith yet?  The answer most of the time is NO! I may know the 10 commandments - but am I living them out?  That's the real question.

So week 2 jumped in at the first commandment:

And God spoke all these words: I am the Lord your God who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.  You shall have no other Gods before me. - Exodus 20:1-3
 The point of this sermon was this:  We all have idols in our life.  They may not be the little stone statue kind, but you can find them by probing into your hearts a bit with these questions:
  • What consumes your thoughts?
  • How do you spend your money?
  • What is something so important in your life that if you were to loose it, you would slip into despair?
  • Who or what do you make sacrifices for?
And this hit me like a ton of bricks - there is one thing in my life that encompasses all these things and it's not God - it's my body image.

In my life I have spent tons of money chasing this ideal - weight watchers, gym memberships, shakes, herbalife, eat to live, Atkins, Paleo, I could really go on and on.  I wake up and one of the first things I do is hop on the scale.  If the scale is too high, my day starts off in a funk.  I spent a whole year training for and completing four half marathons, and yet still I wasn't satisfied.

I was put on my first diet at six years old and have been fighting this body image battle ever since.

And I worry every day that I could pass on this terrible obsession to my children, just like it was given to me by my mother.

Sitting there during the sermon, I could see that I have been a slave my whole life to this obsession.

It is my #1 idol.

It's not easy to be vulnerable to others and talk about this issue, but since Americans spend more than $60 billion dollars each year on weight loss, I figured there must be someone out there who is struggling just like me - and maybe we could encourage each other.

A few years ago, I ran across a study called Made to Crave.  I thought about buying it, but just wasn't ready to tackle this issue.  I thought I could "fix" it on my own through one more diet, but of course - I was just chasing the impossible.

Made to Crave starts off with this basic truth.  We were all made to crave.  But crave what?  There is only one thing, one person in this life that can truly satisfy us and that is God.  Yes, cravings are real and we will always have them.  We should listen to them (they are in us for a reason!), but then satisfy them with the only thing that will actually fill us - God.

I am going to walk through this study over the summer.  If anyone would like to join me, feel free to privately message me.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Facebook...The Acceptable Form of Bragging

First off, don't get me wrong - there are LOTS of things I really enjoy about Facebook.  It's wonderful to share happy moments with your friends, celebrate success, get encouragement during those down times, share some thoughts of wisdom, or keep in touch with friends and family.  Those are all definitely not forms of bragging when done with the right intention.

However,  I do find there is this little slice of me that's using Facebook for another acceptable way to make myself feel better by...bragging.

Yup, I said it, bragging.

For instance, maybe I...

Post a picture of Mark and I out on a date night...translation...check us out - we are so connected relationally - aren't we rocking this whole marriage thing! (Don't look behind the curtain here, date may or may not have gone well, and we might have been too tired to even have a coherent discussion and often end up doing romantic things like toilet shopping at Lowes.)

Or list out my days accomplishments...translation...I am wife and mother of the year over here - check out what I can get done in just ONE freakin day! (Of course, I don't mention that the next four days were a wreck with dishes piled high and my husband searching for a clean pair of underwear).

Or post yet another pic of my latest craft...translation...Check out my creativity!  I am a pinterest queen! (Or really, look what I did while my kids scrounged for food in the pantry and stayed in their pajamas all day)

Or take a quick pic of my quiet time books/bible...translation...God and I are "tight" - I want you to think every morning starts like this and I am uber disciplined and in tune with the Holy Spirit.   (Or maybe I was more worried about getting an in-focus, artsy pic than listening to what God was telling me that day).

Yeah, this has been me on more than one occasion.  Facebook is dangerous like that.  So I think I have come up with some new rules for myself regarding Facebook...starting today...

I will not post anything unless it:

1. Is sharing something worthy of celebrating with others
2. Is uplifting or encouraging to another
3. Could help others walking through the same trial by reading about a challenge I'm having that day.  (Sometimes those are my favorite posts, when I see I am not ALONE in the struggle of something!)
4. Just plain informative!

I will see if I can keep my own rules - it WILL be hard, but ultimately good for me.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Content to Be Me

I  think I might start blogging again - I really miss it.  It's also good for people like me who have problems remembering what happened yesterday, let alone last year.  I love looking back at the posts when the boys were babies and thinking, "oh yeah, I forgot about that!".

This week, what's really on my mind is this concept of "owning who you are".  A chat with a good friend a few months back yielded this treasure - "Mel, everyone has their own 'thing' - and it doesn't make sense to copy someone else's 'thing'.  You have to find your own."  I'm paraphrasing, of course, memory issues, remember?  She obviously said it way better.

But this idea has really stuck with me ever since.  I admire so many women - there are just so many talented ladies out there!  And often, that admiration can turn into envy.  Why can't I have a garden like hers?  I would love to make quilts like that!  She is such a patient mother.  She is so outgoing.  And on, and on, and on.  And these are all wonderful things to admire...but that's where it needs to end.

So what's the defense to this streak of envy that preys on our hearts?  I think it's this:

Being content to be me.

Psalm 139:13-14
For You formed my inward parts;
You wove me in my mother's womb.
I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.

God create us uniquely.  Our special blend of talent, personality, and physical traits - there is no one like you!  And to wish to be someone else, is kind of like telling God He was wrong when he put you together.

So I am striving to be content in myself.  Not to apologize for being who I am.  And to fully embrace what makes me unique.

And although I can define the "me" now - that in no way limits the future "me".  I am not talking about ceasing to grow and learn, but loving yourself along the way.  Last year I couldn't have referred to myself as a "Runner".  But over the last 7 months I have become one.  That is a new part of me that I enjoy and am passionate about.   It also isn't the only part of me!  If I cease to run tomorrow - there is plenty more that defines my life and purpose.  I believe we all have many "things" that make us special.

If there was one thing I could wish for all of my friends (especially us ladies, we are so hard on ourselves) - it would be to love who you are and embrace the journey to who you are becoming.