Chapter 18 and Chapter 19 Reflection Questions (Made to Crave)

Chapter 18 Reflection Questions

  •  “’Everything is permissible for me’—but not everything is beneficial.  ‘Everything is permissible for me’—but I will not be mastered by anything” (1 Corinthians 6:12).  When it comes to healthy eating, what are the things that are permissible for you but not beneficial?  Is there anything permissible that might nevertheless have the potential to master you?  How do you feel about the idea that you may have to avoid some foods forever?

Having had Type 1 Diabetes for almost 28 years, this is a loaded question.  Anything with carbohydrates and sugars is permissible, but definitely NOT beneficial.  Oh how I crave those items that for so long have “off limits” to me!  What’s the saying, we always want what we can’t have?  I think that is one of Satan’s greatest hooks for us.  “Why can’t I have that?  What’s the harm in having that?”  Oh we are so naïve when we give into that question! 

I have written about this before:  knowing some foods are not beneficial, I have to plan ahead for them.  Like today, I drove to my hometown to hang out with some family and friends.  Just two days ago, my aunt and uncle’s ice cream shop opened for the season.  Yes, it is 7 degrees Fahrenheit outside.  And yes, I did have a small ice cream treat.  I knew I was coming home to this possibility, so I brought extra insulin and took an extra dose of my fiber supplements today.  And I drank lots of water.  Now, I am not going to eat ice cream every day.  I know that is NOT beneficial for me.  Do I WANT to eat ice cream every day?  You bet I do!  I like to joke that it runs in my blood.  😉  Do I NEED to eat ice cream every day?  No.  Nor should I.  It is NOT beneficial for me to do so.  Instead, I can enjoy a delicious serving of Greek Yogurt.  I found a blackberry mix, a lemon mix, and a black cherry mix that are heavenly on my taste buds!  Hooray for Aldi!

There are so many wonderful foods, including vegetables, which are delicious AND beneficial!  I think when we create these road blocks focusing our eyes and thoughts on the “should not,” we lose sight of the bounty before us that says, “Yes, this is good.”  Isn’t that what happened to Eve and then Adam in the Garden of Eden?

  • “I can” is a powerful little statement for a girl feeling deprived.  In what ways might you incorporate these two very small but mighty words into your healthy eating journey?

Focusing on the positive things and turning away from the negative things by just rephrasing something can be very powerful.  Already I am thinking about what I wrote above and how I can rephrase, “I should not eat ice cream every day” into something positive like, “I can eat ice cream when I go home to visit my family” or “I can eat a delicious Greek Yogurt every day.”  I can be creative with movement so that I can get more exercise in.  I can have fun with my son AND get a work out because of it!  I can.  I can lean on the strength of God in the midst of my weakness and battle with temptations.  I can trust in His victory.  I can rely on His Promises to be true.  I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. 

Think of an old-fashioned balance scale, the kind with a pan on either side that counterbalances one weight against the other.  Imagine placing in one pan all the things you need to give up and in the other pan all the things you’ve gained and will continue to gain.  Which side holds the most weight and significance for you?

In the things I gain by obedience to Christ, I see hope, longevity, energy, joy, freshly cooked foods rich with nutrients and flavor, my son learning to eat good foods (he already desires to eat anything I am eating, and reaches for my food!).  What is beneficial for me is also beneficial for him!  This is more than my journey.  It is important that I stay on this path for myself, and to honor God, and it is doubly important that I teach my son to walk this path as well.  My journey to health is beneficial for me, and beneficial for my family.

  • “We like to identify our shortcomings, form them into a club, and mentally beat the tar out of ourselves” (page 184).  In what ways have you identified with and punished yourself for your shortcomings?  Instead of punishing yourself, can you imagine giving these things to Jesus and asking Him to chisel them away?  How might the truth of His compassion help you to break free from your shortcomings in ways that self-condemnation cannot?

This is something I have been battling for a long time!  Satan likes to remind us of our past, and convince us that we are just destined to fail again and again.  “You failed before.  Just do it again.  What does it matter?”  Yes, I have fallen to temptation before.  Yes, I am weak.  And my God gives more grace.  God gives me strength.  God teaches me how to reflect without the abuse and the torment.  God teaches me to see the way that would have been the out, and says, “Next time, you are able to remember this moment.  Next time, you CAN take My Way, THE WAY to take you away from the temptation.”  The biggest difference here is reflecting with growth vs. torture and condemnation. 

Yes.  With His strength, I CAN.  I can stand strong with God’s Shield of faith, and with His strength, I can see those flaming darts from the enemy extinguished. 

 

 

Chapter 19 Reflection Questions

  •  Standing in the checkout line at the grocery store, Lysa experienced a victory she attributes more to mental and spiritual changes than to physical changes.  What factors have made the biggest difference in the victories you’ve experienced with good?  Is it food planning?  Spiritual disciplines like prayer and dining on the truth of God’s Word?  Changing your go-to scripts?  What things are key to your ongoing success?

I am definitely eating out A LOT LESS!  This is a victory!  We are cooking fresh foods for dinners, eating leftovers for lunch (or a sandwich or cereal with yogurt), eating less processed foods.  My sister-in-law and I sit down to meal plan the week ahead.  It helps with grocery shopping, and keeps me focused.  We are purchasing healthier foods, and I am snacking less because of that.  No candy bars, no bags of chips.  I am not purchasing sodas for the home (I do have a diet soda on occasion when I go out with my husband once in a while), and I am drinking more water, sometimes milk, and I drink my coffee black 90% of the time.  French Vanilla creamer is a weakness that I allow myself once in a while.  Preparing for allowances of a treat is helping me.  I look forward to our delicious dinners, and I look forward to my treats and am learning to eat them slowly so that I may savor every bite. 

  • God’s promise in Psalm 107:17-20 is that He hears our distress and He heals us with His Word.  In what ways would you say God has heard your distress about your struggles with food?  What role has Scripture played in helping you to experience God’s healing?

I know the Lord knows my struggles in every area of my life.  Specifically with food?  I am not sure.  However, He has given me peace time and time again regarding my illness.  He has given me joy in the midst of depression.  He has given me strength in my weaknesses with self-image, with sexual temptations, with relationships.  I know He will continue to strengthen me with HIS strength, and that temptations with food are able to be conquered by seeking His face, and His way of escape and victory.  Scripture is integral in overcoming struggles and temptations; it is God’s TRUTH with which we slay the enemy’s minions.  I think often on Ephesians 6:10-20  “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.  Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.  For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.  Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.  Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,  and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.  In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one;  and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,  praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,  and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel,  for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.”

  • “To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God” (Revelation 2:7).  This verse indicates that it’s not only possible to overcome our struggles but that there is a reward for those who do—and it involves eating!  How might this promise encourage you as you continue on your healthy eating adventure?

I know once I am in the presence of the Lord before His throne in paradise, NOTHING in this world matters.  All of the delicious temptations of food and other “feel good” stuff mean nothing in that moment of grace and majesty in the presence of the Most Holy God.  I don’t know what that fruit from the tree of life will taste like, but I am can only imagine it will be far more delicious than anything we can ever come up with in any kitchen here on earth.  Psalm 119:103 gives us a glimpse:  “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!”  Will the tree of life contain the fruit of His Word?  What will it look like?  How will it be presented? 

Does this promise encourage me?  I am encouraged by the fact that one day, I will live eternally in the presence of my God, that my Savior Jesus Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead to conquer MY sins. 

I desire to serve my King, my Father, my God.  I desire to rest in His presence.  I desire fellowship with Him, and shelter in His Wings.  That drives me.  His Truth, His Promise.  That is all.

In Christ Alone…In Christ alone my hope is found, He is my light, my strength, my song; this Cornerstone, this solid Ground, firm through the fiercest drought and storm. What heights of love, what depths of peace, when fears are stilled, when strivings cease! My Comforter, my All in All, here in the love of Christ I stand. (Getty)

Advertisements

Intentional Sacrifice

P31 OBS Blog Hop
Lysa talks about lasting, sustainable discipline and the importance of making one wise choice after another. What will this look like for you after our study ends? Do you believe it is possible?
One sacrifice I am making and want to continue to make is my early morning quiet times.  I have been attempting to get up prior to my 1-yr old (sometimes he is up before me, sometimes I am up well before him).  I have been getting up between 6 and 6:30 each morning, which is early compared to the 8-9 a.m. I was doing prior to the study.  I am enjoying this quiet sunrise, a fresh cup of coffee, God’s Word, and time with His spirit, time to reflect on the study, time to blog my response to God’s instruction in my life.
From the choice to arise each morning ready to commune with God, I hope to make more beneficial choices:  I have been eating breakfast on a more regular basis.  Each morning, my quiet time begins with checking my glucose levels and prayer.  I want to continue checking my glucose levels throughout the day.  Lunch time today was a success, and a good one!  102!  🙂  I’ll check again before dinner, and again before bed.  Last night before bed was 76!  I am so excited to see these levels beginning to show up in the average range once again!  I have lost about 10 pounds, and my jeans are starting to slip down.  Not enough yet to drop a size, but we are getting close!  I have been enjoying yogurt, kale, green beans, apples, berries, cheeses, soups, crockpot meals with lots of veggies and healthy meats.  I have avoided the temptation, thanks be to God, from running to the grocery store to buy  ice cream!
God is faithful, and He is teaching me to listen to the cues my body is giving me, to the prompting of His Spirit, to drink water instead of grabbing a candy bar.
These small lessons are adding up in big ways.  For this I am quite thankful, and am looking forward to continuing in this direction.  I am going to continue with the online Bible study of Made to Crave Action Plan, and am also on Chapter 3 of Lies Women Believe.  This book so far has been reaffirming the lessons I have learned through Made To Crave, and I am excited to take these lessons even deeper.
God has also been pressing on my heart to question my reasons for wanting to lose weight, to get healthy.  He has been teaching me a lot about what it means to be His daughter.  With these reasons (for my health, for energy, for longevity, to glorify God with my food choices, with my actions, with my body) and these lessons, I am prompted to do more than just a blog post.  I am working on compiling these thoughts and lessons into a book.  I am so excited about this process!  I’ll keep you posted on the progress, and reveal glimpses of the material here and there.  I don’t want to reveal too much, as that would give the book away!  😉
So is all this sustainable?  I hope so!  I know I am far from perfect, and I know there will be moments when I will fail (example:  the pizza from last week).  When that happens, I have to cast my cares before the Lord, let go, reach out for His hand, and stand up again.  Then I will take one step after another, get back on the path, and keep on going.  The more I learn, the more I am able to recognize those ways of escaping the snares of the enemy.
The verse for this week reminds me of that also:

Therefore let him who stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. – 1 Corinthians 10:12-13
Nothing I face is unknown to my all-knowing God.  He knows what I will face each moment of every day of my life, past, present, and future.  He has given me opportunities to reflect back on moments when I did fall, and in spite of the taunting of Satan at my failure, God reveals to me escape hatches I could have taken and to look for those when Satan brings that temptation my way again.  You see, when we fail, when we fall, Satan takes notes.  “Oh, that worked on her this time!  I’ll bring it on even stronger next time then.”  We have patterns that develop through our weaknesses (food, sex, drugs, relationships, phobias, etc.).  Each temptation then has more and more heat, more and more pressure intending to bring us down even harder with the intention to keep us there.  God has other purposes.  With His Strength, we can have victory over temptation, we can break the chains of lies and sin because of the Blood of Christ shed on the cross and His victory over death when He rose from the grave!  We can say NO, and understand that we are not garbage because of mistakes of our past.  We may be broken, and we have the most amazing Creator, the Potter who can mend us with a simple turn of His potter’s wheel.  What Satan meant for harm, God can turn into the most beautiful work of art!  We are HIS MASTERPIECES!
One of my favorite stories teaching this message is You Are Special by Max Lucado.  Enjoy the story for yourself.

Chapter 17 Reflection Questions (Made to Crave)

Chapter 17 Reflection Questions

If you had been in the room with the three pastors Lysa describes at the beginning of the chapter, how would you have answered the question, “Is discipline really sustainable?”

Ultimate discipline is the GOAL.  Yes, perfection in discipline is hard to sustain, but the mindset of discipline is sustainable. It is part of the sanctification process. 

Galatians 2:17-21  But if, in our endeavor to be justified in Christ, we too were found to be sinners, is Christ then a servant of sin? Certainly not!  For if I rebuild what I tore down, I prove myself to be a transgressor.  For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God.  I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.  I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.

1 Corinthians 6:11-20  And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.  “All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything. “Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food”—and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.  And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never!  Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, “The two will become one flesh.” But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. 18 Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own,  for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

Yes, sanctification is a process.  Discipline is part of that process.  With the help of the Holy Spirit, it is sustainable.  When we lose our focus, we fall away from that disciplined routine and struggle to get back up.  So, “turn your eyes upon Jesus; look full in His wonderful face.  And the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.”

 

Lysa points out the crucial connection between holiness—being set aside for a noble use—and daily disciplines with food (page 168).  How do you understand the relationship between your food choices and your ability to “put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:24)?

I am still working on that connection, I guess.  I have known how true this statement is in terms of sin in general, especially for sexual sin.  When I view my overeating as a sin, though, this statement Lysa shares makes complete sense.  I am eating in abundance out of fear, out of boredom, out of distraction.  Fear that we won’t have money to buy more food, so I better enjoy it now.  (lie from Satan.  God is our provider, and He cares for us!)  Boredom because I am not getting up to exercise, walk, play, work…Distraction because I am still watching Murder She Wrote (Season 9 now….). 

“The very next choice we make isn’t really about the food…It’s about whether or not we’re positioning ourselves to live the kind of God-honoring lives in which, by God’s strength, sustained discipline is possible” (page 170).  Does this idea encourage you or frighten you?  Why?

This choice is empowering in that every choice we make has ripple effects to our walk with God, our relationships with others, our opportunities to witness.  In our weakest of moments, God’s strength empowers us to be victorious so that HE may be glorified.  If and when we fall to the temptations around us, God’s grace abounds.  Not that we should go on sinning and falling intentionally, but we should be striving to grow, to turn toward God in faith that He will provide that way of escape. 

Romans 6:  Dead to Sin, Alive to God

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound?  By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?  Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.  We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.

Slaves to Righteousness

What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed,  and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.  I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification.  For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness.  But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death.  But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
 
Take a moment to reread Lysa’s “Unsettle Me” prayer (pages 171-172).  Is it a prayer you feel you are ready to pray for yourself?  What fears would you have about praying this prayer?  What excites you about the possibilities of this prayer for your life?

“I dare you, dear soul of mine, to notice the stark evidence of a spirit that is tainted and a heart that must be placed under the microscope of God’s Word…Unsettle me in the best kind of way.  For when I allow your touch to reach the deepest parts of me—dark and dingy and hidden away too long—suddenly, a fresh wind of life twists and twirls and dances through my soul.”

I have prayed prayers similar to this.  One thing I have come to understand is that we are not made to be “comfortable,” but to be stretched to a place where we must rely on the Lord.  Whether that is in giving of our time, our money, our things, moving across town, across the state, across the country, or around the world, whether that is in inviting people into your home or bringing a meal to someone who is hurting, God seems to ask of us what we never thought we would be capable to do. 

It is scary to pray these kinds of prayers, because we never know how God will respond!  Am I ready to receive the call He has for me?  Am I ready to act upon that call?  So, to follow this prayer, I pray for the Holy Spirit to equip me, to be my strength, because I am weak.  I truly am.  In all of this, my prayer is always for God to be glorified.

“One wise choice can lead to two, can lead to three, can lead to the sweet place of utter dependence on God and lasting discipline” (page 175).  Do you esteem your small, daily food choices or do you tend to feel they don’t really matter all that much?  How might your life be different if you could achieve utter dependence on God and lasting discipline?  What benefits would you most enjoy experiencing?

I am finding myself getting hung up on the “big picture” of this struggle I have with food.  There are so many foods that should be “off limits” to my taste buds!  So, I am going day by day.  I am planning to enjoy my fruits and vegetables, my crockpot meals, my baked tilapia, my occasional pasta meals; and I am planning to enjoy the occasional cupcake, a girl scout cookie, a mini-candy bar.  I love Peter’s vision in Acts 10 about the sheet of food that comes down from the heavens.  Here it is, from the NLT:  “The next day as Cornelius’s messengers were nearing the town, Peter went up on the flat roof to pray. It was about noon, and he was hungry. But while a meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance. He saw the sky open, and something like a large sheet was let down by its four corners. In the sheet were all sorts of animals, reptiles, and birds.  Then a voice said to him, “Get up, Peter; kill and eat them.” “No, Lord,” Peter declared. “I have never eaten anything that our Jewish laws have declared impure and unclean.” But the voice spoke again: “Do not call something unclean if God has made it clean.” The same vision was repeated three times. Then the sheet was suddenly pulled up to heaven.”  Nothing is truly off-limits then.  No person is off-limits either, right?  The Gospel is for all of us, regardless of background.  And food is to be enjoyed.  Of course, we encounter people who are not safe, who are abusive, who are dangerous, who tempt us.  And we encounter food that is not beneficial in different forms:  like food that are common allergens or have lots of sugars, bad fats, high calories, high-glycemic index, etc.  So, I return to the question, “Yes, this is permissible, but is it beneficial?”  Yes, I am to love my enemies and my neighbors, and myself.  Sometimes, loving ourselves means setting boundaries around ourselves to be protected from harm.  These harmful elements in our lives can be people, things, foods, beverages, addictions of any kind. 

I need to pray about these boundaries that need to be set.  I want to glorify the Lord in how I interact with others and in what goes into my body, His temple.  The discipline that develops through this practice of specific prayer and preparing this temple God has given me, I know I will love the opportunity to give Him the glory! 

Chapter 16 Reflection Questions (Made to Crave)

Chapter 16 Reflection Questions

Have you ever been lured in by the promises of an infomercial or fad diet?  What was it about the diet that appealed to you most?  Did it guarantee quick results?  Promise you could eat whatever you wanted and still lose weight?  What about it made you think, Maybe, just maybe this one is a sure thing?  How did you feel when it didn’t deliver as promised or you gained back the weight you’d lost?

Yes, I have!  I have done hypnosis, a variety of different eating plans, different supplements.  All of them worked short-term, and I still struggle with the long term.  I am taking fiber supplements now, so I know this one is good for me, when I remember to take it.  This is not an easy fix.  I am breaking a list of bad habits that started during one of the weakest moments in my life:  adolescence.  You know it is true!  This period in our lives is when Satan digs his claws in so deep, it takes the rest of our adult lives to recover from the wounds once we do break free!  More than dieting, it is important to learn my own limits.  I have to retrain my brain to recognize when my stomach is full.  I need to learn to interpret the signals my brain is sending.  It is not about dieting, it is about knowing and responding to the needs of my body, mind, and soul.  It is not about dieting, it is about living as a temple for my God.

Lysa describes her experiences of diets as sacrificing for a season and then regaining the weight when she gets tired of sacrificing.  Instead, she says she is now “on a journey with Jesus to learn the fine art of self-discipline for the purpose of holiness” (page 158).  What do you think about this distinction between diets and a journey with Jesus?  How might your decisions about food and healthy eating change if you could really see them as part of a spiritual journey rather than a diet?  Is this an idea that feels possible for you or unrealistic?  Why?

I love this distinction!  Even before I started reading Made to Crave, I had started referring to this stage in my life as my “journey to health.”  Sojourning with Christ makes this even better!  Decisions when grocery shopping are getting easier.  God is equipping me with strength to turn away from the candy bars and 20-oz sodas in the checkout aisle.  I walked past the 50-75% Valentine’s Day candy this past Friday.  VICTORY!  Now, I have had a few peppermints and butterscotch candies the last few days, and I just dropped one of the peppermints into my coffee cup.  That candy will last a few cups, and will gently infuse my coffee with that peppermint flavor.  No cream, no sugar generally in my coffee, it is nice to occasionally put something in my cup.  So yes, walking with Jesus and asking Him for help in my food-decision-making process is an amazing support in grocery shopping, in meal planning, in interacting with my husband and sister-in-law during meal prepping and partaking. 

“God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.  But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).  This is a promise with which many of us who grew up in church are very familiar, maybe too familiar.   Do you believe, really believe way down deep, that this promise applies to you and your temptations with food?  For Lysa, God’s “way out” is to plan in advance what she will eat.  How hard is it for you to look for a way out when temptation catches you off guard?

February 1, 2014, I posted this in my blog:  “I have dwelled on this passage many times.  Also many times, I have failed to take the way of escape.  What I am learning is sometimes the way of escape appears before we are entrenched in the situation.  Like with sexual temptation, the way of escape is prior to being alone with the person of your desire.  If we do find ourselves alone with that person, we still have time to “escape” the fall:  walk away.  All the way up to the moment of the act, we have every opportunity to say no, to get up, to walk away.  The earlier we find that way of escape, the easier it is to take it and stand firm.  The same is true with food.”

It is so hard to see that way of escape, especially in the midst of the temptation. 

When my husband and I were courting, we set our boundaries very early in the relationship.  We had to.  It is easier to set the boundaries in the beginning rather than try to put them into place when they are needed.  Because we had set the initial boundaries, we were able to supplement those boundaries with additional supports as needed.  For example, we set the very strong boundary of “We will not kiss, because it is a gateway to desire more physical intimacies and deeper temptations.”  We learned quickly our most tempting situations.  Alone on the same piece of furniture, that temptation grew dramatically to embrace and make out.  So, we added to the “No Kissing” boundary the need to sit on separate pieces of furniture when we were alone.  Then we added “open the blinds” to that so that the world could see in and help keep us accountable.  We realized that the more tired we were, the lower our inhibitions.  So we gave ourselves a curfew.  We had to part ways by 10:00 in the evening.  Having a clear picture of the purpose of our boundaries helped us scaffold strategies to help maintain that end-goal.  Our first kiss was on the altar, after we both said, “I do” and our vows.  And now we kiss every opportunity we get!  😉

For food, learning to set those boundaries now, building that strength and endurance through Christ, helps us get to a place where a special occasion serving of wedding cake is ok.  Just one piece, though!  We want to make sure there is enough for everyone!  Having a scoop of ice cream at a birthday party is ok.  Just one scoop, though!  We want to make sure there is enough for everyone!  See the plan here?  Enjoy the food we CAN eat daily!  (Man, I am really learning to enjoy kale!)  Savor every bite you CAN take.  Then, when special occasions do come, you know your body’s limits and can have a small serving of something in addition to your healthy, delicious foods you eat daily.

“Idolatry, in the case of food, means the consumption of ill-sized portions and unhealthy choices because we feel like we deserve it or need it to feel better” (page 159).  Do you agree with this definition?  If so, when was the last time you committed idolatry with food?  What prompted you to do so?  If not, do you believe it is possible to make an idol out of food?  Why or why not?

Oh yes!  And I do this way too often!  Second helpings are my culprit.  “Oh that tasted so good, I WANT another helping of that!”  Yeah, I think I just heard an “Amen!” to that…

I know I have been writing a lot about being an emotional eater; just last week I ordered a pizza to fill the hormone-driven pleas of my body!  At least I got tomatoes and mushrooms on it, right?  See, we justify our cravings!  “That was healthier than…”  “At least I didn’t…”  “But…”  The justifications only justify the fact this we are idolizing food!  So, what can I fill my body with instead of pizza?  Instead of girl scout cookies?  Instead of chocolate?  Water, yogurt, music, scripture, fruit and vegetables, baked tilapia…oh baked fish is so yummy!  Healthy food really is delicious!  I think I forget this way too often.

There are two elephants in the room when Lysa talks about feelings of deserving certain foods or needing a treat to get by:

    1. Elephant 1:  “It’s my party and I’ll eat cake if I want to.  Don’t tell me I have to give up all treats for all time.”
    2. Elephant 2:  “I don’t think this sounds like a spiritual journey.  I think this sounds like a legalistic approach to eating.”

With which elephant do you most resonate?  Do you feel you can eat treats as you usually do and still make healthy choices?  Do you resist the idea that your battle with food can become a liberating spiritual journey?  What past experiences inform your views?

Elephant #1 is the one in my room right now…Has been since my very first visit with the dietician after my Type 1 Diabetes diagnosis.  And you know what?  The advice of the dietician has changed so much over the last 3 decades, I hope I am still doing this ok!  Seriously, starch exchanges, carb counting, visualizing…so confusing!  I generally stick to carb counting, as I found a nifty app on my phone (www.myfitnesspal.com) that I can pretty easily find the carbohydrate content for any food (in almost any restaurant or grocery store too!).  I can even enter in my recipes and it calculates everything for me!  This method seems to be the easiest for me with my insulin dosages too, as my fast-acting insulin is based upon a carbohydrate ratio:  1 unit per 8 grams of carbs in the morning, and 1 unit per 10 grams of carbs from lunch on.  Easy enough, right?  Good thing I have a bachelors in mathematics!

The hardest part of having diabetes is the restrictive diet.  I know I have written about that before, with the whole wanting to break free of the “diet restrictions” factor.  The Type 1 Diabetes will never go away, unless the Lord chooses to “remove the thorn from my flesh.”  I am learning that I can eat in moderation, and include a sweet treat once in a while.  The problem is learning what “once in a while” means.  For a while, I was allowing that to be multiple times a day.  “Once in a while” means maybe once a week, or 3 times a month.  You know, Sundays at church, baby shower, bridal shower, wedding…special occasions.  And that the AMOUNT of the sweet treat should be just enough to savor the flavor and take minimal insulin. 

Well, that’s Chapter 16 for me!  Now I shall continue to dwell and reflect on these questions, words, and where to go from here!

Chapter 15 Reflection Questions (Made to Crave)

Chapter 15 Reflection Questions:

Congratulations!  You’ve been chosen to participate in the latest reality TV show.  How much would your eating change if you knew that dozens of hidden cameras were strategically placed throughout your home, car, and workplace, recording everything you ate and broadcasting it live on a local cable channel?  Would your eating change a little or a lot if you knew that nothing you ate was secret?

I have a feeling it would change a lot.  The way our kitchen is arranged (small kitchen, so not much room to do otherwise), I have to walk past the refrigerator every time I enter and leave the kitchen.  So do you know what I do?  I open it.  Every. Stinkin’. Time.  Why?  I know what is in there!  I do all the grocery shopping!  I think I will print that graphic of the Got-To Scripts and hang it on the fridge door.  That might remind me of the “hidden camera” too. 

As Lysa was modifying her eating, she had to flee some temptations because her brokenness could not handle certain freedoms.  What areas of brokenness in your life aren’t yet capable of handling freedoms?  How do you typically respond to temptations in these areas?

Glucose testing.  I have to just do it.  No skipping.  No days off.  Just do it before every meal and before bed. I have to keep an eye on my cycle schedule too.  I guess my weakest days are the 2 days prior to and the week of my cycle, as I learned this week.  Also this week was harder to do my Bible study time in the morning because my son has decided to start waking up two hours early.  So…maybe I need to get up earlier now too.  Silly boy…

Other temptations I need to flee…sitting on the couch all day, putting off work, making better use of my time throughout the day, grocery shopping while hungry. 

When it comes to boundaries with food, it’s important to focus on what we can have rather than what we can’t have.  When you think of what you can have right now, for what three to five foods are you most grateful?  How might focusing on these foods are you most grateful?  How might focusing on these foods keep you from dwelling on the foods you can’t have right now?

Peanut butter, greek yogurt, strawberries, apples, tilapia, and almost any kind of vegetable!  Last night, I made Kale.  In a deep sauté pan, I put a splash of soy sauce, lemon juice, and olive oil.  Then I used my garlic press to freshly press a clove of garlic.  Heated up, put in the kale, stir and mix, cover, steam…oh so green and oh so tasty!  I had a big helping of that (2.5 cups is a serving size1).  I also baked tilapia with lemon juice and lemon pepper seasoning.  I LOVE it!  And asparagus with rice.  What an amazing meal! 

I do love to cook and bake, and have been exploring recipes that are easy to make, healthy, and delicious.  The other day, I chopped up a green pepper, mixed in a tomato, black beans, chili powder, and a can of tuna fish, sautéed it to make it just warm enough, and then ate it with a spoon.  It was amazing!  I could imagine the flavors with chicken and an onion as well, so this is a mixture I will continue to work with and modify.  I thought it would be great on a flour or corn tortilla as an alternative to the standard tuna salad.  It is fat free!!!!  No mayo!!!!  How cool is that????  Oh, and I ate the leftovers of that lunch for dinner, straight out of the fridge with a spoon.  It was great cold too.  😉

Lysa describes seven healthy boundaries that are helping her on her eating adventure.  For each of the boundaries listed below, place an X on the continuum to indicate whether the boundary feels more like a punishing restriction or a hedge of safety for you.

 

God has given me power over my food choices.  I hold the power, not the food.  So, if I’m not supposed to eat it, I won’t put it in my mouth.

This is so hard for me!  I have struggled with this since I was 6 and was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes.  I used to sneak ho-hos at school.  Little Debbie is evil, I tell you!  Seriously, though, Zebra cakes and oatmeal pies in high school, then ice cream in college, candy bars and donuts now…Though I have been quite successful at resisting the urge to go down the street to the donut shop.  What I am finding, because I had such a restrictive diet at such an early age, it is easier for me to manage when I PLAN a day for a treat.  The key is to plan it.  If I don’t plan that day, I tend to splurge more frequently.  I need to be better about planning these treat days, and to plan for a moderate treat instead of a full-on blow up in my face treat.

I was made for more than being stuck in a vicious cycle of defeat.  I am not made to be a victim of my poor choices.  I was made to be a victorious child of God.

The other day I was craving a pizza.  And I ordered it.  And then I ate it.  And then I realized my weakness, wrote a blog post about it, my bitstrips cartoons that night showed a pizza chasing me, and I decided to leave that weak moment in the past.  It happens.  I don’t need to be stuck by that choice, and I have the opportunity to move on.  To move beyond the weakness, the fall, the poor choices is what victory is about.  Learning from mistakes is sometimes more rewarding than avoiding the mistakes altogether.  Sometimes is the key word there.  In the past, I have beaten myself up so much for falling to temptation.  This time, I am not broken.  Disappointed, yes.  Broken, no.  I took time to look at the situation, realize where the weakness was coming from, and am creating a plan to conquer hormones for next month.  That is victory to me.  Recognizing the patterns in my weaknesses, and addressing them so that I may continue to be victorious in staying on the path to health.

When I am struggling and considering a compromise, I will force myself to think past this moment and ask myself, “How will I feel about this choice tomorrow morning?”

This is something I need to do more often.  And more than just asking about tomorrow morning, but asking the question, “Do I really want to take another injection of insulin for this?  Is it worth it?”  I have that immediate impact that I face in addition to the size of my hips the next day. 

When faced with an overwhelming temptation, I will either remove the temptation or remove myself from the situation.

This is a possibility.  I have deleted the Amazon app from my phone so that I am not tempted to quickly shop for something.  I also deleted Candy Crush from my phone too.  Yeah, I am addicted.  Stupid colorful candy pieces…

I know I can’t always remove myself from a situation.  I feel like I would be a hermit if I did so.  But I can plan better for those situations.  Bring my water bottle with me and sip from it.  Set a limit for holiday treats, and then give myself little bits toward that limit throughout the day instead of all at once.  Utilize portion control.  And, if the weather is ok, I can go take a walk and then come back.

When I’m invited to a party or another special occasion rolls around, I can find ways to celebrate that don’t involve blowing my healthy eating plan.

I think what I described above will help with this as well.  Portion control, a set limit that I can slowly reach throughout the day, take a walk to burn some calories and then come back, keep my water bottle with me, keep a healthy snack in my purse (or the diaper bag…)

Struggling with my weight isn’t God’s mean curse for me.  Being overweight is an outside indication that internal changes are needed for my body to function properly and for me to feel well.

This is true.  And those changes go back decades now.  I am thankful that my husband is helping me make those changes by making those changes for himself too. 

I have these boundaries in place not for restriction but to define the parameters of my freedom.  My brokenness can’t handle more freedom than this right now.  And I’m good with that.

This is something I am learning.  More and more I am realizing that the commandments of the Lord, these parameters for healthy living, and the necessities of caring for my body with diabetes are all safeguards that help me maintain balance and protect my heart, soul, and body. 

Take a moment to review your responses.  What do they reveal about how your view boundaries?  Which boundary feels most like a restriction?  Is this something you’ve struggled with before?  What boundary feels most like safety?  How might you lean into this boundary to give you strength and confidence with the boundaries that might be harder for you to keep?

The most restrictive one for me is the first one.  I think I have an ok plan in place to help stay within the boundaries most days.  I am learning that too strict for me is a challenge, and just makes me want to break free.  So planning those excursions just outside the gate of “strict” will help me maintain focus on my overall goals.  None of these boundaries will be easy, and none of really feel safe.  And I am ok with that.  I need to adjust my time management so that I can plan more effectively.  That, for my success, will be key.

Emotional Triggers–Week 5 Blog Hop for Made To Crave

P31 OBS Blog Hop
Emotional Triggers ~ Our desire for unhealthy treats (and other things not beneficial to us) are often triggered by difficult emotions linked to past hurts. After reading Ch. 13 do you recognize any triggers in your struggles?
**Warning: THIS POST MAY BE A TMI POST**  Proceed with caution…  😉
Oh man, this hit me big time yesterday.  And the day before…I think I just had the WORST day in my monthly cycle I have EVER had.  I should have known when on Monday I was so ravenous I could not eat enough to satisfy my hunger!  Then yesterday, I had lost so much blood I think I scared myself into a pizza from Papa Johns:  Spinach Chicken Alfredo with tomatoes and mushrooms…At least I ordered the thin crust, right???
5507_10201199969430907_1831494614_n
I want to start by sharing my reflections on Chapter 13 from my blog post a few weeks ago:

Chapter 13 of Made To Crave is called “Overindulgence.”  On page 101, Lysa writes, “Indeed, our souls are thirsty and ravenous vacuums.  If we fail to understand how to fill our souls with spiritual nourishment, we will forever be triggered to numb our longings with other temporary physical pleasures.”  This is not just limited to food!  We fill the empty void with drugs, sex, alcohol, cutting, sleep…the list goes on and on.

One of my favorite psalms is Psalm 42.  Take a moment to read it, letting the words sink into your soul..

  • As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God? My tears have been my food day and night, while they say to me all the day long, “Where is your God?” These things I remember, as I pour out my soul: how I would go with the throng and lead them in procession to the house of God with glad shouts and songs of praise, a multitude keeping festival. Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me?  Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.  My soul is cast down within me; therefore I remember you from the land of Jordan and of Hermon, from Mount Mizar. Deep calls to deep at the roar of your waterfalls; all your breakers and your waves have gone over me. By day the Lord commands his steadfast love, and at night his song is with me, a prayer to the God of my life. I say to God, my rock: “Why have you forgotten me? Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?”As with a deadly wound in my bones, my adversaries taunt me, while they say to me all the day long, “Where is your God?” Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me?  Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.

These words speak to me deeply and remind me that even in my grief, despair, frustration, desire for food or anything else, God is with me.  He IS my HOPE and my SALVATION.  Lysa also mentions Lamentations 3:22-24 “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.  I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.’”

And so I will wait for Him.  I will learn to desire the Lord to fill the voids in my life when it seems only food (cake and ice cream) will do.  I do overindulge way to often:  on coffee, cake, candy, cereal, even apples and peanut butter and Murder She Wrote.  And none of this is good for the diabetes, right?  See, it is all connected.  This battle has many fronts.  And by the grace of God, “we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” (Romans 8:37)

In the last two months, I am recognizing that my triggers seem to be emotional and hormonal.  I do track my cycles, so I can definitely see the correlation with Monday’s and Wednesday’s craving episodes.  Hopefully today will be better!  And I have another month to brainstorm some strategies to overcome the cravings brought on by hormone fluctuations.  I think I will try iron supplements the week of my next cycle.  For emotional triggers, I think it would be helpful for me to blog through the situation, searching scripture to fight through the lies of the enemy in those moments of weakness and stress.

I know blogging won’t work for all the stress-points.  For example, one of my stresses right now is my son who is refusing to eat or sleep.  He has been up since 5:30 this morning (thus the lateness in my blog post today), is on his 4th bottle (2 of milk, 1 of diluted apple juice, and now 1 of water), is very cranky, and is refusing to nap.  I gave him teething tablets because I am certain he is teething.  I just want to go shave my head and hide away in my bed right now.  I am seriously fighting the urge to grab my husband’s clippers, plugging them in and going crazy on my scalp.  I think it is time for a salon day…

Today is a new day.  Leave the pizza in the past, let the stress go, and pray for wisdom and strength that comes from the Lord alone.  And pray for my son…he really needs some rest, and his momma needs some sanity!

Chapter 14 Reflection Questions (Made to Crave)

Chapter 14 Reflection Questions

“Each time my heart felt a little empty, my stomach picked up on the cues and suggested I feed it instead” (page 138).  Do you feel a similar connection between feelings of emotional emptiness and physical hunger?  Do you feel you are able to distinguish between physical hunger and emotionally triggered hunger, or does it feel the same to you?

This has been my past!  I feel like I am just now, at almost-34, beginning to understand the difference.  Also, I am recognizing that sometimes hunger is a sign of thirst, so I am grabbing water instead of another yogurt, animal crackers, or tortilla chips. So, what I need to do, is when I feel the desire to eat something, start with water.  Then prayer, worship music, scripture, human interaction, glucose checking.  Then food last if my stomach has started growling

Lysa describes how she used the phrases of Philippians 4:8 to park her mind in a better spot about the painful relationship with her father.  Using the phrases below and Lysa’s example as a guide (pages 141-143), invite God to give you a better place to park your mind about a painful experience from your own past.

  • Whatever is true…Lord, Your Word is truth.  When I get sucked back into the past by the enemy, may I find the Truth of Your Word:  that You have a plan for me, that You have written all of my days, and that whatever I have experienced, You weave it all together for Your Glory!  2 Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
  • Whatever is noble…May I turn to You, may I seek Your wisdom as I model for my son.  May I ask myself, “If Zander sees me doing this, what will he learn?”  I want to teach my son, the son You have given me, to be noble.  Jesus is the perfect example of nobility, in John 10:11; “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”
  • Whatever is right…May I seek to obey You, Lord.  Without the help of Your Spirit, I fail at obedience!  Fill me, Holy Spirit, with desire for obedience, with strength with which to stand and flee from the temptations the enemy brings!  1 Peter 3:  But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,  having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.  For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.
  • Whatever is pure…Lord, I confess my sins to you!  Purify my.  Psalm 51:  Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.  Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have broken rejoice.  Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.  Psalm 119:7 How can a young man keep his way pure?  By guarding it according to your word.
  • Whatever is lovely…Lord, You alone are lovely!  May I turn my eyes toward You!  Psalm 84:  How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts! My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God.
  • Whatever is admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy…God alone is praiseworthy!  Mighty are His Works!  So Psalm 150 seems appropriate here:  Praise the Lord! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens!  Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his excellent greatness!  Praise him with trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp!  Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe!  Praise him with sounding cymbals; praise him with loud clashing cymbals!  Let everything that has breath praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!

 

A mosaic is a work of art made up of hundreds or thousands of tiny, broken pieces of glass or ceramic tile.  Lysa describes how God is making a mosaic of restoration and healing in her heart, gathering up her broken pieces and making them into something beautiful.  Can you imagine God doing something like this in your heart?  If God used the broken pieces of your life to make a beautiful image, what do you hope it would look like?

Oh yes!  Though I have always described it as a patchwork quilt, this image is incredibly beautiful!  I think the image of a quilt came to mind because my mom frequently describes our past as “part of our fabric.”  The experiences of the past have helped to shape me into who I am today, and they are each a part of my fabric.  So it makes sense to imagine God artistically hand-sewing another colorful piece onto this majestically beautiful quilt that is my life.  Psalm 139 reminds me that He had ready every piece of material needed for this quilt even before I was born:  “Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.” I praise God for that!  Now, when those pieces are dark and full of tragedy, it is hard to cling to this idea.  Over time, though, I am always able to come back to this.  Thank you, Lord, for Your patience and persistence in my life!