Eating For Comfort

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As women we tend to have this unhealthy attachment to food, don’t we?  This tangible necessary substance we need for our bodies to thrive tends to put us on a difficult emotional roller coaster depending on how much self-control we have…or not.   Years ago, when I was in college, I struggled mightily with an eating disorder where food consumed my every thought–planning what I would eat, succeeding, failing, hiding, depriving.  So, I know…

Food gives us comfort, fullness, happiness, and even…peace?  Hmmn, yes, I think I feel true peace after downing a milkshake from my favorite shake place.  Well, at least for a few minutes.

Here are some great thoughts on this topic by Joyce Meyer:

                Spiritual Food For Spiritual Hunger

by Joyce Meyer – posted August 28, 2014

Make no provision for [indulging] the flesh [put a stop to thinking about the evil cravings of your physical nature] to [gratify its] desires (lusts) —Romans 13:14
Food addiction is easy, because food doesn’t come with the same stigmas as cigarettes or drugs. Unlike these vices, food has a legitimate—even essential—role in health. Only when it slips into overuse does it become a problem. But it’s so easy to get to that point! Food is reliable. Unlike spouses, friends, or great weather, it is always there. But that’s the problem. Any time we feel spiritually empty, whether through sadness, depression, or boredom, it’s easy to reach for food to fill that void. Soon, we mistake spiritual hunger for physical hunger, and food becomes the immediate answer to any drop in well-being.
You know where this leads. The more you try to treat your spiritual longing with food or other feel-good stimuli, the greater your soul’s cry for spiritual nourishment will be. The greater your disease will become. Fortunately, there is another source of comfort that is always there when you need it. Unlike bad food or drugs, it doesn’t leave you overweight, sick, or lethargic. It’s even free. That something is God. He is called the Father of sympathy and the God of every comfort, who consoles us in every trouble (2 Corinthians 1:3,4).
When I hurt, I have learned to run to God first, instead of another person or substance. I’m not saying this is automatic. It took me years to get this straight, and I still sometimes have to remind myself that what I truly need is spiritual nourishment. But learning this habit will do more to keep your mind and body sound and your life on an even keel than anything I know. Your spirit needs nourishment just like your body does. Don’t wait until you have a crisis in your life to start feeding it.


From the book New Day, New You by Joyce Meyer. Copyright © 2006 by Joyce Meyer. Published by FaithWords. All rights reserved.

 

How To Eat A Pie

This might surprise you, but there is more than one way to eat a pie.  I know, because this is what the current pie I am eating looks like:

pie

Why? Because it was my birthday yesterday and my dear friend Christine brings me a freshly baked (by her own hands) pie each year on this one day.  The pie comes with strict instructions: “DO NOT SHARE.” Which gives me great freedom to dig that fork in any which way I want.  I can just have a bite (ha!) or I can have a third of the creation all at once.

In my pursuit of slowing down and being grateful, this is finding extra meaning for me this year.  I am savoring the bites, and even flaunting them a bit in front of my children, who don’t really like apple pie (fortunately).  I am grateful, and I am living in the moment of the sugar and crust and delicious filling.

It’s nice having freedom for once to not conform to the “rules of the pie”–eight symmetrical slices to be shared and eaten politely on a plate.

It’s interesting that the rule my friend gave me actually gave me freedom.

Have you ever thought about that with the Christian life?

Too often we don’t see rules as leading to freedom, instead we see them as necessary evils that we either fight against or embrace legalistically:

“We shouldn’t wear this, we need to say that, we certainly don’t do those things, did you see what that person did?”  We tend to make it sound all judgy, with shouldn’ts and should haves. We heap expectations on others, while often ignoring our own misfires.

But God’s real plan for us is freedom.  How do we reconcile both?

Here are some thoughts:

God knew in his wisdom that some ways of doing life are better than others.  That is the key to understanding Jesus, and his tangible effort to connect us with his Father, followed by his death on the cross paying for our sin.  We have no laws anymore, no sacrifices to redeem us enough to be in God’s presence once again.  It is done.  We are connected through repentance and faith and belief.  We have freedom.

We also have choices to make every day, some good, some bad.  Our freedom to choose can sometimes be the very thing that imprisons us.  Adultery, murder (literally imprisons), dishonesty, gluttony, envy, idolatry,  just to name a few.

Back to the pie… what if I always ate a pie set before me this crazy, one-forked big-holed way?  What if I dug in to a delicious warm apple round at a party with my prongs, carving out the middle, going back in several times to get the best bites in front of a group of wide eyes.  Um, yuck.  My party days would be over.

God knows that some ways to live our life (eat our pie) are better than others, which is why in His Word he gives us instructions, guidelines, even commandments.  He knows that some “free” decisions in life lead to heartbreak, pain, suffering.

“Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy and slander of every kind.” 1 Peter 2:1.

Throughout the bible, God speaks of obedience and righteousness, and He also speaks of hope and grace and a future.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade–kept in heaven for you , who through faith are shielded by God’s power…” 1 Peter 1: 3-5

God has an inheritance for us, a living hope and a new birth.  He is not all about rules, there is so much more!

Yet he knows that if we tank our life in sin, we get buried in the heap of mess, guilt, regret, and shame.  There is no freedom in that.

Which is why there is freedom in the word of God, with all its wisdom and guidelines.

We are to live a life of passion and love because of the great love God has for us, his children.   At the same time, let’s pursue righteousness–let’s serve and obey God because we want to out of our love for Him, and because we trust him with our best life.

This is the balancing act of the Christian life.

Blessings,

Amy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Live Quiet

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Have you ever had a challenge that goes on for years? Possibly spiritually? For example, struggling to have a better prayer life, read your bible, inviting God into your daily life, etc. At different times in my life all three of those have applied, but mine currently, and for the past few years has been of a slightly different nature…my battle has been against busy-ness.

I am always busy. Part of it is my nature—I have a hard time sitting still, and I thrive on productivity. The other part is my season in life (a very long season albeit), raising three children and all the tasks that come in the instruction manual. The problem is, I am tired of hearing myself answer “How are you?” with, “Good, just busy.” It’s my standard answer these days. Can’t there be a better response than that? Like, just, “Good!” Or “I’m fine. A little bored, but enjoying the simple life.” Ha!

Can busyness hinder our relationship with God? Yes!  In a sneaky way, since we tend to think being productive and busy is a sign of our competence.  Yet, when we move too fast in life, we miss the small things God suggests to us. He does suggest…, in fact, he has a lot to let us in on if we have ears to listen. Like nudging us giving an encouraging word to a friend or stranger, or a conviction to bite our tongue instead of flapping it away in a gust of emotion, or an answer to a problem we just asked but then rushed off without listening to the answer.

We also miss the bigger things. Like His voice guiding our hearts to make a wiser decision when we are barreling toward what we think is best, or not finding peace during a difficult time when it is right there for our taking if only we slowed down enough to grasp it up.

When we live fast we live loud. Quiet is rare and uncomfortable. I know, because I tend to live in the fast lane, always productive, always moving from one thing to the next, with constant noise. Yet, it is in the quiet that we hear God’s whisper of love and joy. Quiet is hard for me. Sitting still is hard for me.

He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, ~Psalm 23.2

It is to this place of quiet that God wants to lead us! He knows that in stillness there is clarity.

I have been reading a book that is challenging and encouraging me in this area, which I’m sure many of you have read, and if not, may I recommend it as your next.

A Thousand Gifts, by Ann Voskamp.

Ann beautifully pens her thoughts and experiences of finding gratitude in life, and shares how she did so in slowing down, noticing beauty around her, really living in the moment.

Ironically, I have been reading this during an exceptionally busy time of my life. A time where my today’s TO DO list is much longer than it ever should be, and tomorrow’s is even longer.

In the words of the pages I am motivated toward change.

Slow.

Notice.

Breathe.

Quiet.

God is too grand and too wise and too personal not to experience….in his fullest. So I too look to thanksgiving to slow me down—when I am thankful for the miniscule and the exceptional, I am forced to slow the pace, like an eagle soaring above the water looking for his catch. Soaring, not speeding. Watchful in the now, not focused on the next.

Live today in the moment. I’m going to try!

 

What Defines a Good Summer?

Hello! As happens most summers, I disappear off the blogging radar. That is never my intention. In fact I picture, as school ends and summer gently drops its bags inside our front door for a good long stay, myself often sitting on our back patio sipping a cool drink, creatively forming my thoughts into titles and paragraphs while my children are doing something productive but happily entertained.

Why do I picture that which never occurs?

In reality, the transition from school to summer feels more like being dunked into a basin of shockingly cold water. One day our three mostly teenage age children are all very busy with tests and school and end of year activities, and the next they are sleeping until ten…ish, and then needing forty-two rides around town, and eating all the food in the house. It’s normal, and I am happy to stock up on extra food and up my gas budget, but It. Just. Happens. So. Suddenly. And I find that any agenda I had for the quickly passing hours in my day, blogging or otherwise, gets sent to the back of the line. Why do I forget this?

This pace continues for a week or two while I let them catch up on rest and the fun reconnecting of friendships outside of school, and then I introduce what the kids call, “That which no other mom ever does to their kids:”

Chores and some structure to the day.

This requires monitoring and checking on my part, usually a chart and some rewards dangling out there. It also involves a camp or two, a little volunteer work, and lining up some babysitting jobs, etc. This year I spent quite a bit of time before the kids began their occupation of the house, on-line, carefully picking out bible studies for them to work on during their lazy days of summer (I’ll share which ones in another post).  It’s my attempt to infuse some degree of productivity into their days—and to feel better in my mothering attempts.

Then, somehow, it’s the beginning of August. We have traveled as a family, gone to the pool, driven miles upon miles to activities and friend’s homes, grocery shopped, traveled some more, navigated how to get along, mowed lawns, BBQ’d, worked at our jobs, roasted marshmallows, water skied, done countless loads of laundry, dropped off at camp, picked up at camp, hugged, walked the dogs, and dealt with spiders (my summer nemesis).

And it’s already almost over?

Here is a snapshot of some of the things we’ve been up to!

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Dinner On A Restaurant Patio–one of our favorite things to do in the summer!

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Hiking in the Weminuche Wilderness with Family and Friends

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Hunter’s Baking Skills

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A Sweet Church We Toured Outside of Lake City, CO

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Camping with Friends

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A little Summer DYI Project—New Backsplash in Our Kitchen

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Picking Up Kids From Camp–this is Maddie and her wonderful leader Maddy!

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA                                                               My Husband and Son on Mission Trip In Albania

In the end, what defines a good summer? I think a little bit of all of the above. Some new experiences, some regular life, some structure, some fun and just doing all this together.

….And we are making our school supply shopping list in just a few days.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mature and Complete

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Last night as I tucked my thirteen-year-old son into bed, we talked about his disappointment in not receiving an academic award at school that he had missed by a hair.  Getting this award was a goal he set several months ago, so as you can imagine, he was feeling pretty low.  “Why even try next year, it won’t happen for me again,” he mumbled. I totally understand that mentality, yet as his mom I wanted to say, “No, try again!  Keep trying until you succeed!” And I did say something to that effect, but truly, when we take a step backward, meet with failure in our lives, don’t we sometimes just want to throw in the towel?

Here is a poem/saying I came across today (serendipitously, and will share with my son) that eloquently spoke to this topic:

Our entire life is made up of choices,

What we decide,

the action we take,

the attitude we display

All represent the steps of life.

 

Sometimes we take two steps forward

And one step back.

Some of us take baby steps

Some of us take giant steps

 

But the secret is not to let that

One step back turn into a failure.

Learn from the backward steps.

Step forward again.

 

~Catherine Pulsifer

God speaks to this topic also:

 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,  because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.  ~James 1: 2-4

It’s difficult in the midst of failure, unachieved goals, disappointment to feel like it is a “good thing,” but God assures us it is, and that the development of our character, that we are mature and complete,  is one of his highest goals, at which he will not fail!

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