How many times have we heard that? It’s become pretty cliche. Of course, we would all say that we agree with this statement. We believe God is good. We believe He is out for our good. Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (NASB) It’s easy to believe this when things are going good. But what about when everything seems to be going wrong…
What about when your family goes through one trial after another? What about when you lose your main job at the beginning of the year, then you have to try and get more hours at your second job? What about when you lose your second job (now main job)? What about when you get a temp job that’s supposed to last for 1 month, then the project you’re working on gets delayed so you’re layed off (again)? What about when your best friend lives only 3 hours away but you never see each other because you’re both living below the poverty level? What about when you are starting to grow closer to the Lord, but all this stuff keeps happening? You keep wondering, “Why is all this happening? What have I done wrong? Why can’t I ever get a break?”
Is there a chance I’m asking the wrong question? So many of my years of life have been spent asking these questions. When bad things happen to me, I believe I’ve done something wrong to deserve this. I mean, that’s the only reason this should be happening, right? Because I did something wrong. I must have upset God. It’s because I haven’t read my Bible enough OR because I haven’t spent time in prayer…well it has to be because I haven’t been sharing the Gospel…
But, what if it’s not for any of these reasons? What if it’s not even about me? What if it’s about God? But how can that be? What does that mean? How can my situation be about God? What does God have to do with all this bad stuff happening?
So, I was going to copy and paste a bit from a John Piper article, but actually the whole thing is good! Instead I’m gonna post the whole thing lol
How is God’s Passion for His Own Glory Not Selfishness
A major question people have when they hear about Christian Hedonism is, How is God’s passion for his glory not a sinful form of narcissism and megalomania? The answer is: God’s passion for his glory is the essence of his love to us. But narcissism and megalomania are not love.
God’s love for us is not mainly his making much of us, but his giving us the ability to enjoy making much of him forever. In other words, God’s love for us keeps God at the center. God’s love for us exalts his value and our satisfaction in it. If God’s love made us central and focused on our value, it would distract us from what is most precious, namely, himself. Love labors and suffers to enthrall us with what is infinitely and eternally satisfying: God. Therefore God’s love labors and suffers to break our bondage to the idol of self and focus our affections on the treasure of God.
To see the God-centeredness of God’s love demonstrated in Christ let’s look atJohn 11:1-6, the story of Lazarus’ sickness and death.
Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 It was Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was ill. 3 So the sisters sent to him, saying, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.” 4 But when Jesus heard it he said, “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” 5 Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6 So, [οὖν, therefore] when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was.
Notice three amazing things:
- Jesus chose to let Lazarus die. Verse 6: “When He heard he was sick, He then stayed two days longer in the place where he was.” There was no hurry. His intention was not to spare the family grief, but to raise Lazarus from the dead.
- He was motivated by a passion for the glory of God displayed in his own glorious power. Verse 4: “This sickness is not to end in death, but for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it.”
- Nevertheless both the decision to let Lazarus die and the motivation to magnify God were expressions of love for Mary and Martha and Lazarus. Verse 5: “Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus . . . so he stayed . . . where he was.”
O how many people today – even Christians – would murmur at Jesus for callously letting Lazarus die and putting Him and Mary and Martha and others through the pain and misery of those days. And if they saw that this was motivated by Jesus desire to magnify the glory of God many would call this harsh or unloving. What this shows is how far above the glory of God most people value pain-free lives. For most people love is whatever puts human value and human well-being at the center. So Jesus’ behavior is unintelligible to them.
But let us not tell Jesus what love is. Let us not instruct him how he should love us and make us central. Let us learn from Jesus what love is and what our true well-being is. Love is doing whatever you need to do even to the point of dying on the cross to help people see and savor the glory of God for ever and ever. Love keeps God central. Because the soul was made for God.
People asked me, shouldn’t love be part of BBC’s mission statement (We exist to spread a passion for the supremacy of God in all things for the joy of all peoples through Jesus Christ)? I answered this is our definition of love.
Jesus confirms that we are on the right track here by the way he prays for us in John 17. I assume that he is praying for us (v. 20) and that this prayer is a loving prayer (John 13:1). Consider how Jesus prays in the first five verses:
When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, 2 since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal lifeto all whom you have given him. 3 And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. 4 I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. 5 And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.
This is the way God prays when he is being loving to his people. He prays that his glory be upheld and displayed.
The connection with us comes in verse 24, “Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.” The love of Jesus drives him to pray for us and then die for us, NOT that our value may be central, but that his glory may be central, and we may see it and savor it for all eternity. “That they may see My glory!” – for that he let Lazarus died, and for that he went to the cross.
See one illustration of Paul’s experience of this way of being loved. 2 Corinthians 12:7-10:
So to keep me from being too elated by the surpassing greatness of the revelations,1 a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from being too elated. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Many man-centered Americans who have defined the love of Christ as his making much of them, not his helping them to enjoy make much of him, would cry out to Jesus in this situation: I don’t care about your power being made perfect, I care about not hurting with this thorn!
O how we need to help people see that Christ, not comfort, is their all-satisfying and everlasting treasure. So I conclude that magnifying the supremacy of God in all things, and being willing to suffer patiently to help see and savor this supremacy is the essence of love. It’s the essence of God’s love. And it’s the essence of your love. Because the supremacy of God’s glory is the source and sum of all full and lasting joy.
End Piper – Start Michelle
In some ways, I feel like I’m dying. I feel like the Lord is sitting back and watching me suffer. I believe the only delight the Lord finds in all this is that He is being glorified. He most desires to receive glory in any and every situation we face. God will be magnified in our circumstances. The greatest joy is to see all that happening. It’s happening whether we admit it or not. God is receiving the glory whether we want to give it to Him or not. How beautiful to have eyes to see the work He’s doing.
My job situation(s) has been an area where God is receiving glory. He has removed me from a position that I hated. I tried every morning to fight to enjoy my job, but it was nearly impossible based on the circumstances. I was scared to lose that income, but knew it was the Lord who removed me. Next, I lost a job that I enjoyed. I enjoyed the relationships with customers I built there…but the Lord removed me. I was completely taken off guard, but knew the Lord had different plans for me. The next week I had started working a temp job. I was enjoying the opportunity to minister to my lost co-workers. Then, the very next week (today), God removed me, yet again. I had no control over any of these positions going away. The one in control though, was the Lord. He has been working out a master plan all along. I’m still not quite sure what’s going on, but I trust Him. I trust that He is working everything out for my good. Living most of 2015 underemployed (sometimes even completely unemployed) has not been fun, and certainly not good (in my eyes). What has been good though…seeing more of God’s character. I’ve seen His unfailing love for me through His people. He has laid it on several people’s hearts to financially support me. My uncle has been providing $120 weekly! I had one friend give me about $150 for groceries. Another lady gave me $100 on the spot. My best friend’s parents wrote me a check for $25 on her (my best friend’s birthday). As you can clearly see, God is good! God has been good this whole time. And God will not cease being good because I am, again, without a job. He has proven Himself faithful more times than I can count.
So, to summarize, “God is good all the time…all the time God is good.” I will fight to remember His faithfulness. This time in my life has been an Ebenezer. I will remember the work He has done and trust Him to continue the work to completion til the day of Christ Jesus (Philippians 1:6).
I woke up feeling fine. I had breakfast, then got hungry soon after. Had some watermelon as a snack before lunch. Lunch was good. I def felt full, almost wondered if it was too much food. I felt a headache coming on after lunch. I had another snack around 3:30pm. At this point I’m feeling nauseous. I decided to take a nap. I woke up not feeling any better. My head was pounding and I still felt like I could throw up at any moment. I stayed awake for an hour or so, then laid back down for a while. Maybe napped for 2 or more hours. It was around dinner time but I still never felt hungry, so I didn’t eat. I was trying to be good about listening to my body and only feeding it when it was hungry. I decided to eat around 8:30/9:00pm just because I hadn’t eaten anything since 3:30pm. The nauseous feeling made it really hard to eat. I forced myself to eat. I felt even more sick after. I didn’t want to do anything but sleep. My eyes were so sore. I’m guessing that’s from work and staring at a computer all day. I had to have a trash can by my bed in case I had to throw up in the middle of the night. It was the worst feeling ever.
I ended up googling the nausea symptom. From the stuff I read, it said it could be low blood sugar or hunger. I knew it wasn’t hunger because I felt it even after I ate. This morning (Day 3), I read in the book and it was saying the headaches were totally common for days 2 & 3. It still didn’t say anything about nausea. I’m still not sure what it was, but I’m glad it’s not happening right now. It’s 9am (day 3) and I feel fine. No headache or nausea. Let’s hope it stays that way.
I feel pretty good. I drank a big glass of water when I woke up this morning. I was surprised I could drink plain water but I didn’t really have a choice lol so I did it. I was able to walk Nash this morning. I forgot to eat a banana before so I was hungry soon into our walk. I ended up not eating until over a hour later though. I had a good filling breakfast… Or so I thought.
I was pretty hungry around 10am, which is unusual. I ended up eating lunch at 11:30am. I never eat that early! I enjoyed lunch. I had a snack of fruit around 1 1/2 hrs later. After work, I was able to cut grass for a family. I was nervous about having energy but it went well. Drank a glass of water after. It took me an hour to prepare dinner. It was amazing though!!! I’m exhausted now and it’s only 8pm. I’m falling asleep now as I’m typing.
I’ll report how the following days go.
I will be starting the Whole 30 tomorrow (July 1st). I tried the program a couple months ago. I made it maybe 10 days. I felt like a million bucks. I can’t really remember why I stopped. I do remember breaking it with froyo lol. I know I went into the program expecting it to solve all my problems. I was hoping it would change my overeating habits. I wanted to get this extra weight off that I’ve put on.
To date, I’ve gained a total of 70 lbs since I started this weight loss journey. Since losing the 130 lbs or so, I’ve gained a binge eating problem. I don’t want to call it a disorder because I haven’t been diagnosed, but it’s very real. I eat whenever I want. I don’t even have to be hungry. I just eat for any number of reasons. I’ll eat if I’m happy, sad, angry, bored, and so on. It would probably be the definition of mindless eating.
2 weeks ago I stopped eating fast food. I was trying to prepare for the Whole 30. I wanted to make as smooth a transition as possible. I lost about 5 lbs during that time. I’m sure I’ve gained a least a pound today though. I mean it’s the day before I start the program, of course I’m gonna go get Chick-fil-a and FroYo. I’ve not felt great today from these foods. I’ve felt very lethargic. I haven’t wanted to do anything. It just makes me want to eat more bad food. Instead of wanting to eat better food, that gives me energy, my mind has been telling me to eat more bad food. It’s very cyclical. The more I have, the more I seem to want. It’s as if I’m never satisfied. After I had the FroYo, I was brainstorming what else I was going to get. It’s crazy.
Anyways… my goal is to write everyday on the blog during the program. I would love to have a record of my experience. I’ll be taking pictures as well (that goes without saying lol). We’ll see what the future holds for me.
Prayer: Lord, please be with me during this journey. I want to honor You as I follow this program to learn what foods I’m allergic to. Please grant me the gift of self-control, so that I may live in a way that brings glory to your name. I want my eating habits to lead myself and others to worship You. Give me a good, constant perspective that it’s about ‘progress, NOT perfection.’ Thank you Lord for all the ways you’ve been working in my life until now, and I praise you for how you will continue to work. Amen!
Philippians 4:13. This is one of the most well known verses in the Bible. We have all used this verse at times to remind ourselves that nothing is impossible for God (Matthew 19:26). We are weak, but He is strong (2 Corinthians 12:9). God chooses to use broken vessels to make His name great. He delights to work through our weaknesses.
I have been struggling with my weight for the past year. On July 5th 2014, I weighed 150 lbs. Today, June 15th 2015, I am weighing in at 220 lbs. I have officially gained 70 lbs! In some ways I can’t believe this has happened…but when I really think about the way I have been living each and everyday, I’m really surprised it’s not more than this. As of late, the pattern of my life has been a constant binge. I don’t just eat a little of whatever (mostly sweets), but I’ll eat more than my fair share. I have this mentality that I went a year and a half not allowing myself these things and so now I’m going to make up for it. I’m not satisfied with just 1 cookie, I want 5 cookies. I eat past being stuffed. I eat until I am in pain. I’m not happy after I eat. The emotions I usually feel are shame, embarrassment, hopeless, discouraged, and the list goes on. I am not happy with my life. I am not happy with the way I have been living. I do NOT feel good in my body. I feel embarrassed to leave the house. Everyone knows that I lost a bunch of weight and now they can see I’ve been gaining.
I just got my Health Coach Certification through the American Council on Exercise (ACE). This would be really exciting if I were living out all that I’ve learned. I am a horrible example. I know that unless something changes soon, I will NOT be able to get a job. Nobody is going to want to take tips/advice from someone weighing over 200 lbs. It proves that I’m not living out the material I’m trying to share. I absolutely must strive to practice what I preach. I am a model of how to live a healthy lifestyle. I am meant to be an encouragement to those around me. That is NOT at all how I would describe myself right now. I am more the example of what not to do.
Anyways, things must change. I have been asking people questions about how they are being successful. I am learning about the food industry and how addictive sugar is. I have tried several different diets. I have been searching for the answer. I have been searching for what will get me back on track. Nothing seems to work though. I ended my Weight Watchers membership in May, but I had stopped attending meetings in probably March. I couldn’t handle continuing to gain weight every week. What was the point of continuing to go if I wasn’t doing the program. I’ve also tried Overeaters Anonymous. It wasn’t bad, but I haven’t kept up with that either. I feel like I’ve exhausted my resources. I don’t know where else to turn. The only place I have not truly and honestly turned to is GOD.
I would say that I’ve asked God for help along the way, but in the back of my mind, I’ve really believed I could do it on my own. I often believe the lie that I lost the weight before on my own. I know I did Weight Watchers, but ultimately it was because of me that I was successful. This is obviously not true. God truly is the One in control. God is the One who made the way for me to be successful. He took away cravings. He gave me motivation. He gave me energy and so on. God may use certain people or systems, but ultimately all things are possible through Him. He is the One who strengthens me to make good decisions. This is who I need to turn to.
Starting tomorrow I will begin (again lol). My goals are to not eat fast food, peanut butter, or chocolate. I am going to fight to ONLY eat my food at my house. I will not eat FREE food offered to me by others if it contains sweets. The goal is to get sugar out of my system. I’ve learned that sugar is just as addictive as cocaine. Basically, drugs are running through my system. The reason it’s difficult for me to say no to sweets is because I’m addicted. It’s not just about will power. I am literally having to fight against my brain. My brain is telling me “I need sugar now…or else”. So many times, I will like I won’t be able to function if I don’t get it. It consumes the majority of my thoughts. It’s a problem. I need to get this out of my system if I choose to be successful.
I am going to fight to believe that God can do it!!! God can strengthen me. When I want to shoot someone tomorrow because I don’t have any chocolate, He will be there. God will NOT leave me when I am craving peanut butter and I know it’s in the pantry calling me name. God will strengthen me to do this! I do NOT have to depend on myself. I can relax and trust Him. I can cry out to Him. He will be there for me every step of the way. I will honor God with what I put in my food. My body will be a holy temple to be used for the Lord’s work. People will turn to Christ and worship Him because I have a healthy relationship with food. He will work in my life, so that I am able to point others to Him. It’s all about Him!!
I can do all things through Him (Christ) who strengthens me!!!!!!!
I just finished watching the movie “To Write Love on Her Arms”. It’s based off the true story of a girl struggling with depression, mental illness, cutting, etc. I remember hearing about the To Write Love on Her Arms (TWLOHA) movement when I was in college. I saw someone with a shirt, but had no idea what it was about. Once I found out, I remember feeling excited that people were speaking out against cutting (and other forms of destructive behaviors). I thought mostly about cutting…up until watching the movie tonight.
As you know (those who have read my blog), I’ve struggled with food since I was a child. I obsess over it. It consumes the majority of my thoughts throughout the day. So, you may have noticed I haven’t written much in the blog for about a year. This has been partly due to life getting crazy and me not making the time to do it. It has also been due to NOT doing well with my weight loss. I had gotten down to 150 lbs in July of 2014. It all changed after that. It wasn’t fast, but a slow gradual change. I remember not knowing what to do with myself at 150 lbs. That wasn’t even my goal, but yet everyone kept saying I should be done losing weight. My goal, according to Weight Watchers standards, was 140 lbs and that’s the HIGH end. I never thought in a million years I could get to that weight. Starting out at 298 lbs!!!! The idea of getting to 150 was NOT even a dream. I never thought it would be possible.
It didn’t happen overnight, but gradually, I started letting myself have more treats. I kept telling myself I deserved it. I had worked so hard, so what’s wrong with a couple chocolate covered oreos at a friend’s bachelorette party or 2 slices of cake a wedding or frozen yogurt for no reason and so on. Those small compromises have brought me to where I am today. Today, I weigh a total of 191 lbs! Yes, I have gained over 40 lbs. The highest I had gotten back up to was 198 lbs. 198 lbs….I gained almost 50 lbs back! I just kept letting myself have whatever I wanted. I would mess up one meal, then end up having whatever I wanted the rest of the day. I had felt like I had already ruined the day, so why keep trying. This is the idea of “Oh, I have 1 flat tire, so I might as well go ahead and slash the other 3 to make it even.” This makes NO sense whatsoever. If I wouldn’t do that to my car, why am I consistently doing it to my body? I would gain some weight, then the next week, I would lose some. Then I would gain some more and lose some. This continued for months. It was probably July 2014 – February 2015.
All the while, starting in November I signed up to get my Health Coach certification through ACE. So, I am reading this book about helping others to live healthy lifestyles and I am binge eating. I remember reading about the Eating Disorders. When I read about Binge Eating, I felt like they were writing about me.
Some words from the Mayo Clinic:
“Binge-eating disorder is a serious eating disorder in which you frequently consume unusually large amounts of food. Almost everyone overeats on occasion, such as having seconds or thirds of a holiday meal. But for some people, overeating crosses the line to binge-eating disorder and it becomes a regular occurrence, usually done in secret. When you have binge-eating disorder, you may be deeply embarrassed about gorging and vow to stop. But you feel such a compulsion that you can’t resist the urges and continue binge eating.”
Again, this describes me! In my Health Coach book, it talked about how you feel out of control. You feel so compelled to eat. There were times when I felt like I would die if I didn’t get something sweet. I was addicted. I was addicted to ‘bad food’. I had gotten to the point to where I was eating fast food sometimes twice a day, but for sure at least once a day. I was literally letting myself have whatever I wanted. I did NOT deprive myself of anything. I felt like an addict. I felt like an alcoholic. I felt so out of control. I felt constantly ashamed of my actions. For a while, people were still complementing me on my looks and saying how proud they were of me. I couldn’t stand it! I felt like such a fake. I hated all the attention. I knew people would eventually start noticing I had gained. No one ever said it to my face. Never. No one called me out. I say, now, that I wish they had, but I don’t know what I would have done if they had. Well, I take that back, my mom knew the story. She didn’t know how bad it had gotten, but she knew I was gaining.
Anyways, I don’t know if I actually have or had Binge Eating Disorder. If nothing else, I know I have Disordered Eating. My eating is not ordered. lol. I have come to realize that I never really deal with my issues. I simply keep on going with life. I do not take the time to wrestle with ANYTHING! I have come to realize that I simply eat my feelings. I consistently eat…for whatever reasons. I eat when I’m sad. I eat when I’m happy. I eat when I’m lonely. I eat when it’s late at night. I eat for any number of reasons. I do not think when I eat. I just do it! It’s been my ‘go to’ for 28 years! It’s all I’ve been trained to do. I was never trained to think about what I’m eating…Or why I’m eating. I just eat. I know some of you may think “wow, she’s making a really big deal out of food!” Believe me, it’s not just about food. To some degree, it’s not about food at all. It’s about everything else. It’s about everything I don’t think about. It’s about EVERYTHING.
So…what does all this have to ultimately do with To Write Love on Her Arms?! Well, I want to be honest. Food addiction is something that isn’t talked about enough. I know they have hit TV shows about weight loss and what not, but they often do NOT get to the root of the issues. Again, it’s not about food, it’s about everything else. Writing this post is a step forward for me. I want to be open. Just like the girl in the movie said “I’m still messed up!” I feel like that will always be me. Even if/when I get to my goal weight, I will still be an Addict. I will be recovering, but none the less, I’m one step away from a Binge. All that keeps me is Christ.
Christ is my only hope! If you’ve read my blog, then you know nothing is possible outside of Christ. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for Him. God gives the grace I need for TODAY! Not for the week or month or year, but for TODAY. I need to come to Him everyday for my needs. My needs usually involve the strength, will-power…grace to not overeat. It is a daily struggle, but God is there DAILY. I am never left alone. If I choose to seek His help, He will be there to give me the GRACE I need to make it through. He who has began a good work will bring it to completion (Phil. 1:6). God started this whole weight loss thing and He will complete it. He will meet all my needs.
Let’s speak out about our issues so that we do NOT allow Satan to reign in the darkness of our hearts. We need to bring our issues to light, that Christ might reign. You are not the only one struggling. There are so many of us out there, it’s just a matter of admitting it and turning to the One True Healer…the Lord Jesus Christ. He makes all things possible!!!!