Coming out of the back side of all things Thanksgiving, I have been reminded often this week that a heart and attitude of gratitude shouldn’t leave simply because a Holiday on the calendar is past. As I have thought about gratitude and how it makes me feel, I have once again gotten out Ann Voskamp’s 1000 Gifts to read. In preparing my 2019 Powersheets (www.cultivatewhatmatters.com), I now am sure that I need a 2019 goal of creating my 1000 gifts list. In working through these sheets, I am amazed at how God has intentionally brought things to mind that need to be there.
My bullet journal is going to be my go-to spot for finances and meal planning for 2019, so December is my practice month. I want to have landed on what works well so that I am more prepared for the new year. I am excitedly paying the last installment of a recurring payment in a few short days, and I am ready to turn that amount over to finishing up another payment much quicker. Once I have all my debts paid, it will look much more possible to begin moving toward working from home and delving into some other arenas that I think might be calling me.
My list of 2019 goals is pretty simple so far: the 1000 gifts list; weight loss and getting control of binge eating (this one could do me in just by itself); meal planning. I am trying to choose a word for 2019 that will encompass those goals. Leaning toward intentional but also have a half dozen other options, including the word chosen which might move into first place if I can define it better in my head. I often find that God totally chooses my word for me if I am patient and observant enough.
So there are 33 days left in 2018. Not many, right? With December as my proving ground, the excitement is building. I am going to start the meal planning process and find the best way to make it work for two of us, when one of us isn’t here for a lot of meals? But she really needs to take meals on the go instead of going hungry. My philosophy is that if there is food here at home to eat and take, we will more easily eliminate the eating out, where food gets less good for us every week.
This morning I was reading Luke 7 and the story of the unnamed woman who anoints Jesus with her perfume. As I have tried reading familiar passages with new eyes and an open heart, this account really raised questions:
What was the woman’s sin that the entire town knew of her status? I must admit I jump to thinking she was a prostitute. Sin that everyone is aware of is often sin that is visible. Like gluttony. What if this woman was a glutton, and I am calling her a prostitute. It is actually the same in the Lord’s eyes anyway.
Why did the woman come to see Jesus? She never utters a word. She silently goes about her weeping and anointing. Would she have simply left when she was done, or did she have a motive that Jesus saw in her heart. A need for forgiveness. Because he tells her that her sins are forgiven and that her faith has saved her. Oh for the joy of pouring my tears on Jesus’ feet and anointing them with perfume.
Who would have guessed that she had faith? But can you imagine how hard it was for her to come into this place where Jesus was eating with Pharisees? Nothing but faith that desired forgiving could have made her brave enough to do that! Do I desire what Jesus has to offer me ENOUGH that I will make myself super uncomfortable and awkward??
What does she really know about Jesus? She might have heard Him teaching around town. She might have witnessed Him healing people who were sick. I just know that SOMETHING she heard caused her heart to shatter into a million little pieces, giving her the CRAVING to meet with Jesus face to face and use her perfume (not an inexpensive commodity in those days) on the calloused, dust-covered feet of this man she barely knew. I know so much more about Jesus than she likely did, and still I lack her devotion and dedication on most days.
Whatever recurring sin this woman was labeled with, she had heard enough to have the confidence that He could overcome her sin, making her clean and whole again.
“You have to want to get well”
This was what Jesus said to the man lying by the pool of Bethesda John 5), but it was a question, not a statement. Maybe I am finally at the point where getting well matters more than food? Does getting well matter more than sugar. The Healer calls to me just as He did to this man in Bethesda: Do you want to be well?”
I laugh and think, “Who wants to stay sick?” But that is the standard place for an over eater to hang out, the place of sickness. Staying sick erases all incentive to change. Staying sick takes away everything, and it eliminates God from that first place spot in your heart. Because as long as you are sick, self and food have an equal first place.
Jehovah Rapha: the Lord who heals.
“I am the Lord who heals you.” Exodus 15:26
And this is where I stand on this edge of 2018. A labeled woman who has absolutely no way to overcome her sin on her own. Only God. But God. Even God. But certainly not me. And as I pray and seek, He is being so merciful to feed me info to help me in the journey I am about to undertake. I feel like for years this is always my game plan at the end of the year, and sometimes I do well at it and sometimes I do not. But I feel also like I have reached the end. It has to happen in 2019. I just cannot continue this way. Emotional and physical pain. Self-hatred. The list is pretty extensive.
And I know that it is necessary for me to slow down my life in order to succeed. So the first order of business is to be well prepared, well planned out and well prayed through.
Prepare to welcome December, the very last month of 2018 with gusto, knowing that 33 wake ups from now you will stand on the edge of all things new.