I’m Just a Girl Who Can Say No

A few weeks ago, I decided to participate in Thin Within  which is a grace-based approach to losing weight and healthy eating. I have a weekly blog on their website, but wanted to include it here. Perhaps readers will find something valuable to apply to their own lives…

Sun rises on a new day, but I’m still a creature of habit. I roll out of bed and head for the scales which draws me like a Siren.

Surely there’s a mistake. I wiggle my feet on the scale’s cold glass, but the digital numbers remain the same.

So I drag myself to the kitchen for my next habit—coffee. While it’s brewing, I open the refrigerator to get Half and Half. The carton sits on the second shelf next to last night’s leftovers.

“What should I make for dinner?”

My husband hates that question at 7 a.m., but I have to plan ahead. Thaw the meat; buy the ingredients. Meals don’t just happen. If I was the only one in the household, I could eat a bowl of cereal. Pop some popcorn. Have an apple, but I’ve others to consider.

After I’ve been caffeinated and studied the scriptures mentioned in my Thin Within Workbook, I drive to the grocery store. My irritable stomach grumbles. Are you nuts? How dare you take me here when I’m a zero. Look at all this food. You’re killing me.

I pat my belly. Behave yourself. You can have some peas and carrots when we get home.

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I weave the shopping cart among the vegetables and fruit. Avoid the ice cream aisle. I came for fresh produce, eggs, and chicken breasts, but a bag of Fritos sneaks into my cart.

I frown, but then I’m reminded: “Just because You’re losing weight doesn’t mean Hubby stopped eating snacks.”

Good point. I head for the check out line…before I’m tempted to visit the cookies…and set my groceries on the counter’s conveyer belt. 

While the female clerk rings up the food, I notice I’m conveniently hemmed in by two metal racks. Candy on my right. Magazines on my left.

One offers worthless calories and a quick sugar high. The other offers me recipes and a fast pass to lose weight. I study the headlines which are designed to bait my vanity.

“New Water Cure—Drop 8 lbs in 7 days”

“Lose 10,20,30 Pounds—in Just Weeks!”

I’d buy these magazines in a heartbeat if I thought losing weight were that easy. Only, I know better. The female models on the magazine covers are string-bean thin and half my age. I suck in my gut. I can lose weight, but I’ll never look that good. 

 Time for a Truth Card. “God doesn’t look at my outer appearance, but on the heart.”

The clerk pauses. “Anything else?”

I glance at the candy bars in their brightly-colored wrappers. My stomach begs me like a spoiled child sitting in a grocery cart, “Can I have one? Pretty please with a cherry on top?”

I remember 1 Corinthians 6:12 from Thin Within’s introduction.

“Everything is permissible for me – but not everything is beneficial. Everything is permissible for me – but I will not be mastered by anything.”

“No, thank you.”

My stomach sinks. It’s not used to hearing me say, “NO.”

I pay for the food and escape the store waving my receipt like a victory banner. Who knew? Renewing my mind with God’s Word really works!

But my smile fades fast because my belly’s turning somersaults,  and it won’t give up. “Yippee. Let’s eat something to celebrate! Got any Fritos?”

Are you Afraid?

You’ve felt it, right?

Skin tingling, warm neck, heart palpitations….

Compliments of FEAR that rises in your belly even though your mind tries to be rational.

My daughter used to scream whenever she saw a spider on the wall. Using a tissue, I’d grab the innocent, unsuspecting creature, and flush him down the toilet.

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“How can you do that?” she’d ask.

Because I’m not afraid of spiders.

I am, however, afraid of falling from great heights.

A few weeks ago, my husband offered to buy me lunch at Half Moon Bay near San Francisco. Instead of driving four hours, he wanted to fly me there in a two passenger (tandem seating) Citabria. Otherwise known as a taildragger plane.

“It’s only a two-hour flight,” he said. “It’ll be fun!”

Flying, fun? I had a panic attack before I got into the plane.

It’s not that I don’t trust my husband as a pilot. He has thousands of flying hours. But there’s something about sitting in a small area (behind the pilot) with a few inches of light-weight materials (metal, wood, fabric) between me and 3,000 feet of space that makes me….AFRAID!

However, I wanted to be courageous.

While Husband flew the plane, I made myself smile and repeat the Bible verse: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” I can do this…even this.

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I also listened to a podcast on anxiety.

The narrator’s soothing voice instructed me to, “Place both your feet on the ground.”

That’s the problem. My feet aren’t on the ground.

“Breathe deep.”

Smells like jet fuel.

“Close your eyes. What do you hear?”

The loud rumble of a single engine with a propellor which I pray doesn’t quit in midair.

Such were my anxious thoughts while my sweaty hands clung to each side of the plane. Not unlike the way I cling to the metal cage of a ferris wheel. As if that would cushion my fall!

When the plane finally landed near the Pacific Ocean, my husband mentioned the breathtaking scenery we’d flown over. I couldn’t comment. I missed most of it because my eyes were squeezed shut.

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As for lunch, I didn’t have an appetite. I stared at the menu, wondering, How much is a bus ticket home?

Do I hear laughter? He who is without fear cast the first stone.

Fear is first mentioned in Genesis when Adam told God, “I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself.” (3:10)

God knows our propensity to be afraid.

Afraid of objects. Afraid of the unknown. Afraid of change.

Afraid of death, man, failure, rejection.

And yet, whenever fear is mentioned in the Bible, scripture reminds us that in every situation—even death—God is always present and all-powerful.

Therefore, we will not fear though…..

I know this to be true. And “the truth,” Jesus said, “will set you free.” This includes freedom from worry and fear.

That means I must habitually renew my mind by immersing myself in God’s Word in order to know the truth.

And then cling to Truth regardless of sweaty hands.

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Otherwise, I’ll fly through life with my eyes closed. Unable to enjoy the journey.

What makes you afraid?

Broken Lives in Search of Glue

She told me, “The man committed suicide.”

Just couldn’t live on this planet one more day.

I didn’t know him, but a knot forms in my gut while I wonder about the people in my life.

Is someone in despair? Would I recognize the signs?

 

I’ve talked with people who tried, without success, to help a loved one…

Change his behavior. Make her happy. Seek counseling. Point them to the Lord.

Forever haunted “If only I had done this, said that.

Haven’t we all been there?

Been the person with good intentions who knows what’s best for another person. Only the other person won’t listen!

We stand there with a tube of super glue in our hands. Looking at the mess of a person; fallen and broken. Realize that even Humpty Dumpty’s men couldn’t put him back together again.

 

So how do I help a human being who doesn’t care enough to—”help me help you.”

And why do I presume to have the answers for someone else when I can still see the jagged scars where I tried to super glue my own broken pieces back together?

Fact is, there’s only one answer that will help.

One Truth that endures  when we find even ourselves in quicksand because the enemy who “seeks to lie, steal, kill, and destroy” loves to…

Chip at our self-esteem. Break our spirit. Convince us.

  • “This is good as it gets!”
  • “Who cares?”
  • “What’s the point?”

Until we’re broken, and feel beyond repair………….

That one Truth—Jesus Christ—says, “Come to Me, all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)

Then true to His Word, Jesus lifts us from the pit of sin and self-defeat and does the IMPOSSIBLE.

Jesus picks up the broken pieces. Puts us back together again, and reassures us:

This isn’t as good as it gets.

 “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Someone cares.

In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” (1John 4:10)

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?” (Romans 8:35)

There is a point; an eternal purpose.

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son…” (Romans 8:28-29)

Even when we don’t feel God’s love, or comprehend His purposes,

Even in this….fallen world filled with broken promises, broken marriages, broken lives that break our hearts…and makes us weep.

Jesus tells us to “Come, and find rest.”

Are you broken?

Is your heart breaking for someone else?

Then Come!

Which Church Does God Attend?

Amazing grace how sweet the sound…”

Voices rose in unison, but it was high school students instead of a robe-clad choir that sang the lyrics.

Harmonious music filled the building, but it was acoustical guitars rather than a piped organ that played the notes.

Florescent lights rather than religious fresco paintings stared from the ceiling.

Wooden bleachers instead of mahogany pews,

A plain wooden cross on a concrete wall instead of stain-glassed windows….

This was the scene in a high school gym, chapel service in a Christian school.

No visual match for the magnificent architecture and religious artifacts I’d witnessed on a trip to Europe where Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox cathedrals dominated the landscape.

And yet, in this remote, unassuming school, God’s Spirit was present.

Wooing teenagers; igniting hearts for Christ.

Youthful hands, raised heavenward, proclaimed God’s holiness.

Troubled souls came forward and asked for prayer.

As a parent, I worshiped with the student body; observed a glimpse of God’s grace and glory revealed in “His church” which isn’t made of bricks and mortar.

“Do you not know that you are a temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” (1 Corinthians 3:16)

 Can I wrap my mind around that fact?

Regardless of church affiliation or denomination, as a follower of Christ, I belong to the:

Body of Christ (Romans 12:5)

Bought with His blood (Acts 20:28)

Brought together as one to “worship Him in Spirit and Truth” (John 4:24)

“For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, ‘I will dwell in them and walk among them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.” (2 Corinthians 6:16)

 Surely the splendor of a cathedral is reminiscent of Solomon’s Temple; a microcosm of God’s own beauty and majesty.

But Jesus told a Samaritan woman the place of worship isn’t important. How people worship matters.

“Woman, believe me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, shall you worship the Father. But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4: 21, 23,24)

God is spirit, He is everywhere.

And “the spirit or the soul of man, as influenced by the Holy Spirit, must worship God, and have communion with him. Spiritual affections, as shown in fervent prayers, supplications, and thanksgivings, form the worship of an upright heart, in which God delights and is glorified.” (Matthew Henry’s Commentary)

Even in this place….chapel service at a high school gym.