As I type this post, I am looking out the window over my backyard. Yesterday it rose to a balmy 67 degrees. Today it is snowing. Snowing so hard , as a matter of fact, and blowing equally hard, that the flakes are running parallel to the ground. Go figure?? Not that I don’t absolutely love it. A true winter gal here. It is not sticking to much since the ground is warm now, and I do feel a bit sorry for the nesting birds. But hey, I will take any and all snow I can get.
I started a new project today, and boy, did it draw me in! I recently finished reading Jane Johnson’s book Mercy Like Morning. Excellent read, and it ends with a pretty significant section of Bible study sessions to try out. So while I am done reading, I still have those sections to complete. But in the book the author mentions a Scripture study course that she tackled, called Search the Scripture: a Three-Year Daily Devotional Guide to the Whole Bible. She said enough about it that I was eager to check it out further.
After as much online exam as I could find, I decided to give it a try, which meant a purchase, and a book purchase, no less. But I made a logical and well-thought out decision to spend the money. And $18 for this huge manual seemed like a no-brainer.
I needed a notebook. I am abundant in those. I needed an NIV Bible and access to other translations. The YouVersion app provides access to all other printed versions of Scripture, and I have The Jesus Bible on my shelf that I had not cracked open yet. I received it a couple years ago and knew a perfect use for it would come along. After just a few days of study, it already contains lots of post-it notes, hand written notes and drawings. By the end, I can not even imagine how altered it will appear! In the introduction to the book, it is said that you will spend 20+ minutes on each lesson, but with Jane Johnson’s encouragement to go above and beyond, I spend upwards of 2 hours if I have the time.
She introduced me to this fabulous online study tool called Blue Letter Bible (www.blueletterbible.org); she clearly explained cross-references. Search the Scripture recommends a Bible dictionary and a printed concordance, but I will see if the church’s library has one to look at first before buying. I have a feeling that this website is the new concordance and dictionary, as opposed to the ink and paper books.
My first project was to letter “I am enough” on the page edges of the Bible, just in case I get overwhelmed and start to doubt my abilities. I am not a fan of most corporate Bible studies, because most lack the room to think. Often they are fill-in-the-blank kind of questions with little application. Search the Scripture is not like that at all. Most of the time spent in the Word is self-led, and then there are a few questions to tackle as well in the manual.
On the weight loss front, pretty much still sitting in misery and what appears to be failure.
He reminds me daily (or more) that until I start thinking about Him more than I think about MY weight and MY eating and My failure and My list of I-am-not-enoughs, there will fail to be victory over anything. Just the constant self-belittling for not sticking to the plan means that my thoughts are elsewhere. This is an entirely different way of living that I am not good at?? But God is asking me to go there.
He assures me so often during the day that I have His Spirit living in me, which means I have everything I need to control my eating. The fact that I don’t and have a long list of excuses as to why not, means idols are crowding out God and the Spirit’s work in me.
As a dieter, I tend toward my own glory as motivation for weight loss: I want to look better; I want to feel better; I want to live to see my grandkids grow up; I want to participate in things that I ban myself from as a fat person (swimming). It is really self-worship in its rawest form, right? But no one deserves worship or glory but God the Father, Son and Spirit. I should consider weight loss of utmost importance so that God is glorified.
“Wow, she was able to do that really hard thing by God’s amazing help and grace.”
“She is serving on a short term mission trip because by God’s power she lost all her excess weight so she could be healthy enough to serve!”
I was reading in Judges 7 recently, and verse 2 says, “The LORD said to Gideon, ‘The people who are with you are too many for me to give Midian into their hands, for Israel will become boastful, saying, “My own power has delivered me.”‘” So God found it necessary to REDUCE the size of the army Gideon had called together, so that when HE gave the victory, no one would be tempted to claim it for themselves. The original size was impressive: 32,000 warriors. God accepted a mere 300. And pretty much gave Israel a victory without them even fighting the enemies.
So if we put this in words a dieter could relate to, God does not want us boasting that this food plan or that food plan or how that way of eating gave us victory over our weight. There are TOO many to choose from. Victory and glory belong to the Lord. He has everything we need within His Spirit to lead us to victory without a lot of outward fighting.
But I have no doubt that Gideon’s tiny army had to set their minds and make determinations before they headed into battle. I cannot believe they were not scared and wondering if God indeed knew what He was doing. So they, nor we, can enter the fight without assurance from God that we are walking how He wants us to walk and where He wants us to walk and maybe even with whom He wants us to walk. Gideon’s army followed God’s how and where and with whom guidelines and God showed up.
So I too need to do that. God says concentrate on Me not when to eat; Me not what to eat; Me not how much to eat. What does that look like on the rubber-meets-the-road playing field. I sort of wish I knew, but it is fuzzy at best so far. But certain givens are out there for considering. Here are the principles I can list for now:
- God created food to be eaten. Fruits, veggies, grains, etc. My thoughts aren’t as wrapped around meat as a big food source yet. Maybe an occasional one? Maybe not.
- Food was eaten in its created form back in the garden of Eden. I have had times in the past-some recent, some not-where I have felt a definite call to eat raw. Maybe not forever, but for some time. And because I have never required myself to do that HARD thing, what if God is still waiting for me to obey that first ask?
- God gave us the ability to sense hunger and full and to know our bodies well enough to tell if we are fueling them properly. He wants to be sought out for those specifics.
It’s all about God. Period. A new week begins and new mercies arrive each morning. God requires center stage and He requires obedience to be shown your best life.
Lord teach me YOUR ways. Teach me hunger. Teach me full. Amen