To me, one of God’s coolest personality traits is his sense of humor. It makes him seem more “relatable”. If you doubt God’s sense of humor take a listen to the things I saw on the way home from the gas station this afternoon. I’m convinced God set these up back to back just for my sheer pleasure.
#1 I drove past a beauty shop with a HUGE sign out front that read in bold print
I was driving past, glanced over and had to do a double take. I was like, wait, did that sign just say “Perm Sale”? My 1st thought was, “I didn’t even know that perms could go on sale, that’s just nuts!” That thought was immediately followed by, “Man the perm industry must have really taken a hit. If advertising that perms are on sale doesn’t give them the boost they need nothing will”. My final thought was “I better call Frenkel and tell her that perms are on sale at this very moment. We’re searching everywhere for all of the these couponing deals and here this little gem just fell right into my lap!”.
At the next light I see one of those “Smoke Shack” places with an even BIGGER sign out front that said “Join the Smokers Club”. Now, they weren’t talking about the “everybody smokes, ‘join the club'” type of club. They were talking about a real live smokers club! Like the “Sams Club” only for smokers. One with rewards and points and discounts for buying in bulk. The whole 9! So then I thought “Dang is someone trying to tell me something? Am I supposed to get a perm and pick up smoking all in one day?” That’s a lot to bear Lord but you just say the word and it’s done. Haha
Last but not least.
The sticker on the back of the care of lady (I’m assuming it was a lady anyway, if it wasn’t that just made things a lot worse) in front of me had me rolling! You know those adorable little family wondow decals with the stick figures. The ones with stick “Mommy” “Daddy” “Jonny” “Sue” and “Rocky” all together as one big happy family? Well this chick had one with her and her 5 CATS! Seriously, I am not making this up. I would never joke about things of this nature. It was a lady, and then not one, not two, not three or four but five cats! Really? I’m just gonna leave that one alone. I won’t dare say more. It’s just wouldn’t be right. But….if you come up with something and want to post it as a comment that wouldn’t be quite so bad would it?
Here we are folks, day 30. Let me start with a warning to my readers (both of you, you know who you are). If you’re looking to be uplifted and encouraged this morning drag your mouse to the top o the screen in your google tool bar type in these two words “Joel Osteen“.
- Good Ole’ Joel
I’m quite certain that at this very moment he’s teaching a fabulous message about joy and overcoming just for you! Heck, I’ll probably make my way over to his blog after I’m done pitching a little toddler fit over here on mine. Then I’ll probably have to put on my big girl panties and come back here to start a new post in which I’ll apologize for complaining. Then I’ll talk about how each day is a gift from God and we must not let the devil steal even a second of our joy. If you’d rather here me talk about that then I suggest you skip this post and come back later after I’ve been schooled by good ole’ Joel cause right now I’m ticked and I’m lettin’ loose!
I guess you’ve figured out that I am not quite myself today. While the old me would have apologized for that, the new me is going to lovingly and firmly say “DEAL WITH IT”(I sure as heck am trying to). It’s okay sometimes to feel crappy, especially when crappy things happen. Our society is so hell-bent on being “good” and “okay” all of the time that it makes me sick. No matter the circumstances, we are expected over and over to smile, nod and say “fine, you?” when some asks how we’re doing. Well ya know what? Sometimes things aren’t “fine” and that should be allowed every once in a while don’t ya think? Sometimes, someone asks how I’m doing and I want to just blurt out “pretty crappy actually, my dog just died, my 2-year-old pitched a raging fit in Everman’s while I was trying to pick up my vitamins and I’m not sure if I’ll make my mortgage payment this month. But, I’m trusting God and hanging in there. How bout you?”
You know what though? Most people don’t want to be bothered with the details of someone elses life. When they ask how you are they want a simple exchange of pleasantries and nothing more. That’s why I’m so grateful to serve a God who wants to know me intimately. He cares that my heart broke this morning when I woke up to let my dog out and he wasn’t there. He cares that my son and I both left the health food store in tears the other day after a complete meltdown and he desire is to bring us financial provisions we are faithful with the finances that he provides. Our Lord Jesus Christ cares about our comings and goings, numbers our steps and promises to provide for those who love him. Mathew 7:7-11 assures us of that. Just one of the reasons I’m glad to serve a loving, caring and mighty God.
Back to the whole “ending the fast portion of this blog. I thought I’d have all of these insights on day 30. I pictured day 30 something like this…wake up- feel great, get on the scale-feel great some more, enjoy my coffee-while feeling great, go to the gym-followed by more feeling great, I think we all see where this is headed. I hate to burst your bubble guys, I hope you didn’t expect for me to get on here today and tell you that if you just followed the same plan I did you’d suddenly be closer to God, thinner, happier and an all around better person. Sometimes things don’t go as planned. Actually, my day has gone more like this…wake up-feel anxious, miss my puppy-feel depressed, get on the scale-feel defeated, go to the gym-finish yoga feeling good, start the spin class-leave in tears within 15 min. and head home worn out upset and tapped out. Not exactly how I’d hoped this day would go but those are the cold hard facts and I’m into being “real” so there it is.
So I guess what I’m trying to say here is that sometimes life doesn’t go as planned. Sometimes you stub your toe getting out of bed and it all goes downhill from there. Our days don’t have to be filled with rainbows and butterflies to be worth living. Sometimes it takes being knocked down a few times in our own strength in order to stretch our hand toward a mighty God and ask him to help us back up. We must look beyond our selves and our vain attempts to “be better people” and just lay prostrate in the throne room of God, cry at his feet a while and beg him to tear us apart piece by piece and put us back together according to his plan for our lives.
It’s easier said than done, but I think I may finally be at that point. It’s hard though, I’ve had times where I really thought I had given something fully to God, I’d pray, cry, beg him to take it, think I had already given it to him months before and not understand why I was still struggling with the same issues again and again. Then one morning God gave me a vision. It was He and I sitting across from one another on the concrete. I had a big red ball in my hand and were bouncing it back and forth. I’d bounce the ball his way and say “okay, God it’s yours, I can’t do it my own strength, take it please”. But always, just before he had a full grasp on the ball I’d get scared, pull back and mumble some nonsense about it being “my ball”. That was powerful to me, he showed me that as much as I wanted his help I didn’t truly trust him with “my ball” yet. How crazy does that sound? The God of the Universe isn’t responsible or capable enough to care for “my ball” but I am? Nonsense! My plan obviously isn’t working out all too well so why not let the one who created me do what he does best and re-create me in his image rather than the image this fading world is shoving me into?
By the way, I have gotten some really amazing revelations during this time of fasting and praying and plan to share them soon but today just wasn’t that day. God will tell me when and I’ll jump on the opportunity to glorify him for all he’s done in our lives during this time of drawing near. Until then, this is the verse I’m hanging onto with all my might today is Deut 2:3 You’ve circled this mountain long enough, now turn and go North!
- My homeland, Anchorage AK
Questions for response and ponder
1. What dead ends have you come to over and over and how to you plan to approach them differently this time?
2. What mountain have you circled for way too long and have you decided to turn north rather than continuing to wear a trench around its base?
Perhaps we had better start from the beginning. Maybe not the beginning, that’s a little extreme. Perhaps we had better start from 28 days ago.
You’re probably wondering, “why 28 days”? 28 days ago I hit a “milestone” and we have to start somewhere so why not start there? On June 15th 20011… dare I say? No, it’s too painful. But I have to get it off my chest. I…I turned…29+1! “That’s not so bad”, you say “29+1, at least you’re not yet 30”. That’s what I thought too! At first, but take a closer look. Did you know that 29+1 in fact does equal 30? Heart wrenching I know. But, it is what it is. So there, I’ve said it! I’m 30! Thirty and Thrilling! Thirty, flirty, and thriving! You can put it however you want but none of it softens the blow.
Okay, back to the story. 28 days ago I was turning 30, and if that wasn’t enough to depress me I was also hopelessly addicted to caffeine, refined sugar and all other highly caloric, terribly unhealthy sweet treats and just counting the hours on my Garmin 110 until I could kick back on the weekend with my hands wrapped around a tall, dark and handsome seasonal brew.
Ah, Brutopia. The place dreams are made of. Okay, so maybe I’m being a smidge overly dramatic but it’s only because it’s been 28 days since the thick, frothy foam of a dark local brew has touched these lips. Oops, now I’m getting ahead of myself. I digress.
Let’s just clarify, by all measures I am a completely healthy and in shape individual. I’m not over here sitting on the couch all day stuffing cheetoes down my throat. I eat an extremely healthy diet. Outside of the coffee, diet coke, beer, and bread pudding, I am meticulous about what I allow to pass through these lips. I don’t eat fast food (yuck!), I bake with whole wheat flour an flax, I eat fruit and veggies all day long, carry whole almonds and carrot sticks as a snack, and drink 78 gallons of water a day (a bit of an exaggeration yes, but you get the point). I’ve even been dubbed “the healthy one” at work and offered compensation to pack healthy lunches for my coworkers. I’m not kidding about that either. On top of my “good” eating habits I am a fitness fanatic. I workout anywhere between 3-5 times per week and finished my 1st half marathon just over 3 months ago.
Me and my boy af the Gulf Coast Half finish line
Despite all of my effort I was, tired, grumpy and 10 lbs above my “ideal” weight. I was sick of battling with sugar cravings and caffeine headaches and the extra calories in that dark beer weren’t helping matters any either. They say life begins at 30, that your 30’s are the best years of your life. Well, I was stressed, depressed and done trying to fix it all with my own sheer will cause obviously that wasn’t working out for me too well. It was then I decided enough was enough. I had to look further than myself for the help I needed, I had to look up! It was that day I drew a line in the sand (literally, I was celebrating my b-day at the beach with a few of my besties) and called a fast.
Me and Teresa soaking up the sun
This was not the “no solid food” kind of fast you most often hear about. I have a 2 and half-year old to chase after all day for goodness sakes. I need some sort of sustenance to keep my body moving. No food = one grumpy momma and that wouldn’t benefit any of the involved parties. I used one of my favorite bible verses for the basis of this fast. 1 Corinthians 10:23 “All things are permissible, but not all things are beneficial.” This verse calls for some serious meditation. Basically what they’re saying here is “yeah, you can do that if you want to, but should you? How is it helping you in any way?”
In my situation, the bottom line wasn’t that I found it wrong or sinful to eat a slice of double chocolate gooey butter cake and wash it down with a Lazy Magnolia Southern Pecan occasionally, but was it benefiting me in any way? Not once did I have a brownie and a latte and lose weight, have more energy, or become a better wife or mother. Surely I never threw back a beer or two and set a PR. So I decided to set it all down and walk away for a while. 30 days to be exact. No sweets, no alcohol and
no caffeine half the caffeine. I wanted to shock my system, break out of my comfort zone and force myself to find other, healthier ways to release steam, ease tension, stay energized and beat my cravings.
That’s the long and short of it. But for now, here I am. Day 28, hence the whole “28 days later” title up top. Brilliant I know! A lot has happened during these past 28 days, my body has begun to change, my mind…well, sometimes I think I’m going nuts but that’s a whole nother story. Let’s stop here for now. I’ll chronicle the changes that I’ve experienced over the next few weeks (kinda a self-help blog I guess) and if you’d like to read about, be my guest. Maybe this journey of mine will help more than just me.
Now that I’ve just spilled my guts on the world-wide web, I’d like to hear about you! Here’s a question to ponder.
1. Have you ever found yourself having the whole “it’s permissible, but not beneficial” debate over something or someone in your life?
2. Did you lay it down and walk away or keep dragging it around a while?