Follow by Email

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Cheater, Cheater, Muffin Eater!

You guessed it (or the title told you), I was taken down by a muffin! Really, I was taken down by my love of stuff, in particular, Free Stuff!

I Love stuff! I'm not a hoarder but that's only because I dislike clutter just as much as I like stuff so I'm constantly giving stuff away. My newest way to gather free stuff is by completing those customer surveys you get at the bottom of your sales receipt.

On Tuesday I took my children for a treat (cause I'm a good mom), I cashed in on two free muffins which worked out well since I only had two kids with me. Well, upon arriving at the restaurant my children (my picky children) informed me that they do not like muffins - great! I proceeded with my selections, presented my coupon and went about my business.
Later that day, without a second thought I cut the carrot muffin in half and took a bite....WAIT! My brain yelled as my mouth chewed....NO SUGAR - STOP - 30 DAYS - DENIAL.... Then it hit me. Just as the sugar filled my veins I remembered that I was fasting and I had blown it!

I was crushed, shattered, hopeless, devastated (all the while still wanting more of that muffin). I was totally blind sided, caught of guard. A muffin was not even on my list of foods to avoid. I was so focused on "real temptations" that I had stopped being diligent about innocent things like "muffins" so I failed.

Ephesians 6:11
Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.

1 Peter 5:8
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

Now, I can't be sure that the devil was in my kitchen cheering me on as I ate that muffin but the above scriptures clearly remind me of the importance of Being Alert and Diligent and that's where I failed.

The after effects on this stupid muffin is that I felt bad. Guilt, shame, anger, frustration, and everything in between flooded me even more the the sugar. I felt like a horrible person, a fraud. All the world would now see that I could not stand firm in my pledge - and that's where the devil was at work and where I was a willing listener to his lies.

I wasted the next few hours feeling sorry for myself. I debated giving up this blog and my commitment to change. I decided that I was incapable of changes, incapable of living a life that would be void of regret and intentional sin.
I was without Grace!
It hit me like a gallon of Hagan Dazs, I had no Grace!
I was so excited that I wasn't a failure. God had revealed to me yet another area of my life that needed attention (this revelation was not so exciting) - my lack of Grace

Romans 5:20 The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, 21 so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

2 Corinthians 12:8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

I have received God's Grace though I didn't deserve it. His Grace that is always extended to be and working on my behalf. His grace which in turn I need to extend to others and more often to myself. Accepting that I had made a mistake and needed to allow myself the grace to recognize it as just that a mistake. My hearts desire was to be steadfast and righteous, however, I have slipped - BUT THAT IS OK. I was not guarded and diligent but I am willing to learn, try again, and move forward. That is God's Grace! God's grace is not my grace (thank God) and I am still learning that. I need to receive His grace without restriction and extend it to my children out of love.

I told you that I had no idea where this blog was going. No idea what I'd say, who I'd offend, or who I might encourage. I am just a girl learning everyday. I asked for discipline and I'm getting it but I've gotta admit that it feels good.

Monday, June 27, 2011

I deserve some Toll House cookies!

They say it takes 21 days to form a new habit... I'm starting with 30, because I'm a bit of a slow learner.

Last I checked in I was being heavy disciplined regarding my lack of love and service for others. Well, after many apologies and conversations, I've made peace with a particular friend - certainly only by the grace and love of God alone because on my own I write folks off in about 5 minutes. That was day 7!

On to day 8, I was once again feeling pretty good (a full night sleep doesn't hurt either). After church we were attending a BBQ for which I volunteered to bring dessert and salad, easy right?

I tossed a salad, whipped up an additional pasta, then proceeded to cut open the Toll House cookies - that's when the monkey (the sugar monkey) went crazy. He decided to forego the back ride I'd been giving him and started pulling my hair!

Each second that ticked on the timer my craving (and the smell of that chocolate chip goodness) became almost as intense as child birth. I was way past a watering mouth , I was practically crying I wanted a cookie so bad. Why did I think I could cut, bake, smell, and deliver 12 warm cookies? It was 8:30am and I would have sold my child for a bite of a cookie! The worst part about all this was that that stupid monkey (also known as my mind) was telling me that I deserved the cookie!

Deserved it after all I'd done yesterday in obedience, all I'd achieved in the last week, all my victories. You see, that's the problem with me (and all of us really), we can easily justify why we deserve to have something. I'm not saying that all desires are wrong, or should be ignored, what I am saying is that doing what is right (what God commands and expects) doesn't qualify us for an 'treat'. Just like my kids, I complete the task and immediatly turn around and expect the reward. Not with every task do I have my hand out, JUST the ones where I think I've done a really good job - one worth noticing. Thing is God wants the exact opposite of me (of us), He wants me to do 'good deeds' out of love for Him, not for self-serving praise. Imagine that. Christ is so different then me; higher then us all:

Christ rewards me in ways far greater than chocolate ever could
Christ loves me far more then anyone every will
Christ gives me far more strength then I would ever muster up on my own

It's day 9 and I haven't fainted from sugar withdraw!
There's no plaque recongining my efforts, no mass following of my blog, and no definition in my abs (darn it). There's just me. Being humbled and disciplined, learning something new everyday and desperatly missing ice cream.

Oh yeah, those cookies currently sit at the bottom on my trash can. They were under cooked and undeliverable but taunting me WAY TOO MUCH to remain in the kitchen.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Endure discipline

In all my days of trying to live an intentionally disciplined life, one which will ultimately honor God and display His power - I've left no time to blog. I had no idea that a daily post would become so hard. Nevertheless, I'm here, 3 days behind but here!

On Wednesday I received a text from a friend who recently lost her husband. While I was glad to hear from her, my heart immediately became sorrowful - not for her lost but because of my neglect in reaching out to her.

You see, in my 9 years with Christ I've come to recognize the conviction of the spirit immediately. As a believer I have a bitter sweet relationship with the spirits conviction of my sin. Don't get me wrong, I am more than grateful for God's spirit and the power it has to change my life (I clearly remember my life just 10 yrs ago - to know me then and see me now still amazes me). The bitter part comes to play when God is working on me so diligently in an area that I just want to crawl under a rock and hide (because it's hard) or cry (because I'm not getting it).

After getting that text I immediately picked up the phone to call her, however, I knew there was much more that God wanted, even commanded of me.

In Hebrews 13:3 the Bible commands me to "..encourage one another daily, as long as it is called today.."

Phillipians 2:1-4 tells me, "Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others." That changes today!

A wise women once told me to Thank God for His discipline. Initially I grumbled at her when she'd say it (at the time I was receiving A LOT of discipline) now I understand what she meant and in Hebrews 12, God includes the following scripture just for me
4: In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5 And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says, “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, 6 because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.” 7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? 8 If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. 9 Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! 10 They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

So here I sit at 11:21pm enduring my discipline. Looking forward to the righteousness it will produce. Do I wish I could endure while eating some cookies and cream ice cream? In deed! Would it be any less painful with some warm toll-house cookies? Probably.
But you see my friend, I've made a commitment and I'm sticking to it!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Those darn camp snacks!

Sailing high off of day 2 success I woke up early, pulled out my Bible and begin a word study on Discipline.
As with many other word studies I've started (and not finished, of course) I stopped at the second reference in my concordance - Deu 4:36 "From heaven He made you hear His voice to discipline you.", while this scripture alone is quite powerful, it was actually the surrounding text that captivated me. In verses 32-39 Moses is again reminding the Israelites about what God had done for them, the miracles and deliverance from the Egyptians. Despite their journey, the parting of the Red Sea, the Manna that rained down from Heaven AND ALL THE OTHER COOL STUFF; they needed reminding (v39) "Acknowledge and take heart..that the Lord is God....There is no other". I am an Israelite! I'm way to quick to forget what God has done for me and how He has delivered me from many a Pharaoh.
After reading this over and over I was fired up and empowered to have a great day - Denying myself with joy!

Then I got to camp......

As you know, sweets (particularly quality ice cream) is my addiction. I come from a long line of ice cream connoisseurs. We not only love ice cream, we are ice cream snobs! Vocally belittling all ice creams made with more then the 5 ingredients us purist recognize - milks (whole), eggs, sugar (white), cream (heavier the better), and berries, chocolate etc. I remember growing up we went to the Ice Cream parlour as often as we went to school. Now with Diabetes rampant in my family we try not to turn every family outing into a hunt for the best cream in town, often times we fail.

Back to camp. Yesterday I proudly declined an offer for animal crackers - it wasn't even a thought. Well, today was cleary a new day. Today when we reached that stupid snack room all I could think about was that hard, flat, crumby animal crackers!

Those silly crackers weren't warm, moist, or even covered in ice cream BUT there I stood craving the elephant that lay within arms reach. The shameful part of it is that animal crackers were not even on the menu today, nevertheless, their visibility alone made me weak. I could hear the lion calling my name and I wanted to answer. Totally off-guard and taken by surprise I found myself using all the strength I had not to ask for a cookie. Looking around the room I searched for someone to tell my story to: someone to tell me that "I could do it" say that, "the cookie was not worth it". It quickly became clear that the 5 year olds looking back at me were not going to lead me thru temptation. I was all alone!

I'm happy to report that the lion and elephant did not break me! Those 5 year olds and their need for pretzel and water refills kept me too busy to get that cookie and I'm grateful!

And because I'm a bit of a gloater...I took my kids out for frozen yogurt and easily declined that too....take that temptation! You better come with something better tomorrow.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Telling the world

Today was pretty good! Decent night sleep (somewhat of a rarity for me), made it to the gym before 7am, volunteered at VBS, and got my hair did! Surprising, denying myself was not a struggle today, practically speaking I was probably just too busy to recognize the temptations but I'll count it as a success!

What I did have trouble doing was keeping my mouth shut! I found myself telling several people about my journey - not the blog - just the journey. I was asked to attend a meeting which would have lead to me committing to something I've got no business committing too, however, without a second thought, I went into an extensive (likely too extensive) explanation on how I am disciplining myself. I repeated this same conversation with my new hair stylist over a three hour appointment (not that I have enough hair for a 3 hr appt but that's how long it took). I'm starting to understand the saying "The truth will set you free"

No sugar, no shopping, no list, no guilt, and no darn 6 pack! So the score thus far is 1 for me & 0 for flakiness!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Here goes everything!

So...If you're reading this then I wrote it, and if I wrote it then I've gotta see it through! That is the whole purpose of this blog you see - to keep me accountable. I'm using my greatest sin of Pride as my greatest ally (no, I'm bragging about being Prideful, just being honest). The whole idea of 30 Days came about when I challenged myself to drop sugar for 30 days to see how flat my tummy could be (yes, pride again), however, the more I thought about it the more God showed me that a flat tummy was the least of my troubles. He started to show me (ok, remind me) of all the other areas in my life where I have not disciplined myself - finances, commitments, projects, daily quiet time, and many others in-between. So here I am...sharing with you my 30 Days of Self-Denial.

I'm a full-time mom and wife to an amazing husband (one who is so disciplined that I get nervous when he plans something). I kept an impeccably clean house, have raised three well-mannered children, and host great parties (none of which is scientifically proven). However, in spite of all these wonderful Stepford wives qualities, I am quite undisciplined! A wreck lose some might say! Don't look at my checkbook register because I don't keep one; open the armoire (in my bedroom of course, all other cabinets in my house are well organized) and you're liable to have something fall on you; my night-stand is full of half-read books and daily devotionals; and Goodwill is filled with DIY items which I donated after deciding that I just did not want to DIM (do it myself). Don't get me wrong, I'm not a major flake, I'm a faithful wife; devoted mom; and life-long friend. However, when it comes to smaller things, things that I've decided "don't really hurt or involve other people" I pretty much drop the ball (to be honest, I purposely throw the ball out the door) usually claiming that "it was a waste of my valuable time" (an easy claim to make as a mom). You see, I like the thrill of the plan! The idea of what could be is simply more interesting to me than the actual accomplishment. I am a short-term task master!

I'm guessing that taking this journey with me will be funny, awkward, intriguing, comforting, and everything in between. There will be some TMI moments (for which I apologize now), Biblical scriptures (for which I do not apologize), some pictures (of me going sugar withdrawal - I'm hoping these will bring in high ratings like that stupid show Intervention), and who knows what else. My hope is that by July 20th I'll be more disciplined, wiser, happier, grateful, and of course, slimmer (hey, I've gotta have some tangible result if I'm going to give up ice cream).

Read what you want and comment where you will. Just don't invite me out for desert!