It’s been almost a month since we last talked about weight loss, heart issues and all that other stuff. Live and in person? I am thinking about it and working through junk every single day. So Jessi and I are back at it today. Be sure to head over there, too!
In March, I chose to do a whole30. There were lots of reasons that you can read right here. The quick summary is that I saddle EV.ER.Y.THING with weight loss and how much and how quick and then I don’t lose anything. It’s going to be a lifelong battle for me.
I want to lose weight. I feel better when I’ve lost weight. I’m tired of being caught in an endless cycle of failure. I know that’s not how God intends for me to live.
But. The whys aren’t always right. In many corners of my heart the whys are acceptance and approval and swallowing the big fat lies about success and your body that our culture eschews through every media outlet. I’m trying to migrate to a place where I aim to glorify God in all that I do including what I choose to eat to nourish my body AND the commentary I allow to run across my brain about my appearance. I want to be constantly moving in the direction of taking all things to Him instead of stuffing or applying an ill-fitting band-aid, whatever my pace or however much I falter. Also? Grace. Just grace in the midst of recalibrating my heart and mind.
So. Life after whole30? On a regular basis, I still stay away from grains and legumes and soy and sugar and sugar substitutes and dairy (except for the occasional sprinkle of parmesan cheese). I have come to call the times where I stray exceptions. I’ve enjoyed a few exceptions over the last three weeks. I’ve tried to keep them as unplanned as possible and as unobtrusive as possible. No getting lost down the rabbit hole for days on end after a piece or two of pizza. I’ve also emotionally eaten two paleo muffins. Womp womp. I’m still trying to figure out if paleo baked goods are exceptions but I’m pretty clear on when I’m running to food because I’m sad or tired. It’s kind of anti-climactic, right? TWO! PALEO! MUFFINS! (Gold star if you can identify the movie influence.)
It feels a little wobbly on this side of limiting my food intake so much. It appears that I’m in a sort of maze where I just have to figure out how food effects me and allow that to motivate my choices. I don’t really know where I’m going except that I still need to learn what it looks like to choose food for its nourishment value instead of its distraction abilities. And that is my plan. To examine and surrender every opportunity and failure with food. To continue to choose non-processed, healthy foods. To take captive any thought that doesn’t fit under the banner of Christ’s grace and love toward me. To be diligent and rise early and make active choices. Practically without all the writer speak: stay close to whole30, get some kind of exercise for 30 minutes a day–three of those days being a jog (and I’d love to get consistent with some kind of resistance training, possibly HIIT) and confront emotional eating.
One tool I’d like to sharpen a bit is how I reward myself. Food is almost always a reward for hard work or a day gone off the rails because I deserve a treat after all of that. Instead, I’m going to try:
Fresh flowers (bought or found).
A trip to the library.
New nail polish.
A coffee date (tea for me).
A fresh list of fun things or hopes.
What about y’all? Any good ideas for rewards? Are you in this maze with me?
It’s a classic story, really. We were never going to get a dog. But then it was a Monday afternoon and we were sitting around the dining room table with the afternoon light spilling through the our wide, old windows.
Let’s make a Christmas list.
They hemmed and hawed over a few small things.
What they really want is a dog. I said that to my husband.
And two weeks later there we were meeting Grover at an animal shelter.
It was a surprise, the kind we didn’t let slip until we were on the way to get him.
This dog. He’s still very much a puppy. He’s old enough to sleep through the night and be house-trained. But he’s still very much a puppy.
He’s big and doesn’t know it. He’s goofy. He’s adorable. He loves to be petted. We all love him. Very much.
He’s also got a bit of rascal in him.
I am learning that my own special brand of trying-to-get-everything-perfect-right-this-very-moment-or-else-it-is-a-failure crazy extends to this corner of my life, too.
Apparently God is not above using a dog to minister His grace to me.
Here’s how I want to start 2013. It’s something I’ve been wanting to say to you.
I have a beautiful place to live, to be.
Here’s why. It’s not because of all the things in it: the old and creaky tables that tell stories or the crisp and new white chairs my mama got me for my birthday. It isn’t those things or the pictures on the wall or the well used hardwoods or the shiny banister on the stairs. No, none of those things make right now beautiful. It’s not because my husband has the perfect job (he doesn’t) or my children always, always smile sweet and compliant-like (they don’t). It’s not because every little thing my straining heart has ever chased after is finally slipping into my grip (it’s not).
Right now? It’s beautiful because I chose to believe it is. That’s it. Imperfection doesn’t negate beauty. Rough spots don’t disallow beauty. Bitterness can’t wash it away. Bathrooms with wall paper falling off in big, fat sheets don’t erase beauty. Pain can’t rob my right now of the beauty that is there. Raisin like, wrinkly dreams on the back burner can’t chase beauty away.
Beauty is a fact. It’s part of God’s currency in this world. He is original beauty. He created it. He owns it. He bestows it. It is always present. Always.
The way to make beauty in your life? Is to believe that it is already there. Right there in the midst of all the things you never really did want and the halfway done things that make you throw your hands up in the air and the hope that is so much like a wisp that it trails right through your fingers. Right there, beauty is shimmer shining and glinting and if you wet your dry and scratchy disappointment eyes with the balm of belief you will see it.
Choosing comes first. Decide for it. Decide to believe in the God of beauty. And then? Like a baby hearing his mama for the first time, you’ll know the tinkling of tiny beauty bells. And then? You’ll put your hand alongside the Beauty Maker’s and He’ll make lovely things through you.
Whether it’s the walls that make a home for your heart or the skin that wraps your tender soul up or the fences that mark out what your life looks like right now, let 2013 be the year you decide for beauty. You’ll waver. You’ll fight. You’ll want to give up. Don’t.
When words fail we can pray that God’s faithful and true help is felt in the most powerful way.
Here’s something true. I got my beautiful advent calendar all hung but we haven’t done any real activities in any sort of organized fashion like we have in years past. It’s just for looking at this year.
We’re woefully behind but we’ve been doing that Jesus Storybook Bible Advent reading plan from Pinterest. Every night we read at least a couple of days worth so that maybe we’ll catch up this week. I have to tell you something. I have fought for my children over the last couple of years. There have been some hard moments. But. Listening to them read those beautiful words by tree light is grace rubbed in good. I especially wish you could hear our girl read with her chirrupy voice and sky high eyebrows. It’s something sweet. (Right here you can print a pretty little chain for the reading plan). Afterwards we’ve been singing a Christmas carol or two.
It’s very simple and sweet and I think I’ve just decided that we won’t be DOing a whole lot for Christmas. I’m interested in a whole lot of BEing. Except for paper garlands. I went a little crazy with those this year. I’m sure that next year I”ll go back to planning all the fun things but for today we’re going to draw close and anticipate Christ together in a different way.
This is just the right season to revisit belonging. Last week, I was all jazzed up about it. Here’s why. God told Jeremiah that He knew him before He even formed him. Do you know what that means? It means that He perceives us even though we might feel like a blurry blip in an ocean of more important. He sees us. He stops and takes all of us in. He notices us. All of who we are stands out to Him. All of it. He knows our hearts and minds and faults and failings and victories by experience. He shows up and loves us. We belong to Him, to His heart.
Jesus submitted to come as a pink cheeked, warm skinned baby one night in Bethlehem and we were on His mind because we belong to Him. Our hearts are meant to be His and He came to buy back what we’d sold.
In November I won a giveaway on my friend Caroline’s blog. I got $100 with the promise that I would use it for rest or risk. I did. And you can read about what happened right over here.
This post is part of a 31 day journey. See the rest of abide: love where you live right here.
How do you set up camp in a shady spot? Build up strong truth walls? Preserve your hedges? Find protection from buffeting winds?
Let’s talk about how to build shelter into our homes.
1. Know the truth. You can’t discern the lies and attack filled thoughts unless you know what’s really true. Study what God has said about home or work or your season. Put His promises before your eyes over and over again. No one seeks out shelter because they’re supposed to. We do it because we need it. Lean into your needy place. It can be good. Write His word out. Print it. Keep it around you.
2. Reduce information consumption. There’s some part of all this stuff at our fingertips that can be inspiring. But it’s just information. You’ll never be able to embrace where you are and find reprieve from the restlessness of this world if you keep feeding on what others tell you home should be. This month? I’ve had to take one day a week to fast from the internet. No blogs. No social media. No email. Nothing. Just being present in my right now. Something about writing every day leaves an open space in my heart that I have to be very careful with.
3. Do the everyday for the right reasons. Left unattended, normal maintenance becomes a heavy burden. But. Doing it in order to build self worth or feel successful is no more freeing. Still the every day living things have to be dealt with. Know your thresh hold. When does a bit of mess mean you’ve been living life and when does a bit of mess mean that you feel unsettled and not at peace? Whatever you do, do it so that you can be fully present. Dethrone comparison. Don’t let keeping up with others be your motivation. That fades. And they live with messy things, too. There are very few people in this life that don’t have some frayed edges.
4. Find resting spots in your day. I like to do something called starting your second day. It just means that I try to find the natural break in my day and pretend it’s just begun, that I’m full of the energy of a fresh morning. When I can, I try to make time to tend to a few daily things that bring peace when they’re tended to. Then I like to make just a few minutes to read, write, do something life giving. The only hard and fast rule I have for that time is that online things are not allowed. No extra voices. Just quiet type things. Then? I get started on my second day. It doesn’t happen every day. I might have gone all summer without a second day. I might still be trying to find my rhythm in this new school year. One thing is true. It’s never too late in the day to pretend you’re just beginning.
Do you have some way that you protect shelter in your life?