Thursday, February 20, 2014

Your Basic All-In-One Blog Post

I once had a four-in-one screwdriver.  It felt good to know I was covered in life's circumstances, as long as I only needed a small or medium flathead or Phillips screwdriver.  This is a four-in-one blog.  I tried to separate them, but the ideas were as entwined together as headphones that have been in my purse for a week.

I have often found myself eating to medicate my emotions, as I'm sure a number of people can relate to.  I would have the thought in the midst of the gorging, "Why do I do this?  What makes me do this?"  The first thought I had was, I am eating because I don't know when I will eat next, which makes me sound like I live in a third world country.  What I discovered, through some soul-searching, was that food was the only thing I could control and by golly, I'm going to have a lot of it and that is my substitute for control.  I am going to be confident by consumption.

That's why the word consume in our verse this week really caused me to stop and think.  Because of God's great love, we are NOT consumed. 
His compassions are new and never give out.  God is always faithful and He is my portion, meaning to me that He is enough. 

I don't have to be consumed by my need to be in control.  I don't have to branch out in the only way I can find to feel good.  We are not consumed -- when we trust God.  When I do it my own way, I eat myself up to 100 lbs over my goal weight.  That's a whole bunch of needing to feel like I am in control!  And it didn't even work, past the ten minutes I was stuffing my face.

God has shown me through this study that He is enough.  I am made for more. 

I don't want to be like the people in the Bible who "made their stomachs their god."  I want to make my God the satisfier of my soul.  I've recognized that a desire to eat is not necessarily a need to eat, but may be a craving for the Heavenly Father that knows and loves me so wholeheartedly, fully, and completely that He made me to crave him. 

Who is my God?  The Faithful One who waits for me every morning with water for my thirst and food for my soul.  What do I want most?  A relationship with someone who understands me, has my best interests at heart, is always right, and IS trust.  Renee Swope shared this verse in the Encouragement for Today devotional:

"'For your Maker is your husband — the LORD Almighty is his name — the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth. The LORD will call you back as if you were a wife deserted and distressed in spirit — a wife who married young, only to be rejected,' says your God." Isaiah 54:5-6 (NIV)

I am so thankful for this study and the great friends I've made in my small group.  I am closer to God than I ever have been and rely on Him more fully than ever before.  It has truly been #beneficial.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

What Happened to My Picket Fence? or #Truth

Crazy.  Just absolutely crazy.

Your life is a composite of so many things -- it could include kids, a job, aging parents, health issues, husband issues, your own wants, dreams of vacations, and, oh, by the way, E is the letter of the day because it starts the word early, which is when  you need to leave because that's where the gas gauge needle is pointing to. Crazy.

Aaaahhhhhh!  Really?  Is this what it is?  Somehow this is not the perfect life I envisioned as a 20 year old!  I thought that I would get married, have kids, have a cute house, and live a life like I saw in a lifetime of Southern Living magazines.
Well, I'm here to tell you that marriage is not a magic key to happiness, kids grow up and want to have their own lives, and food stylists do not come to your house every day.
The truth is that God is here and He has a plan.  The truth is that we are called to deny ourselves (what?  deny?  I'm more about the getting....) and take up the cross of Christ

So in the path of my life, I have developed a close relationship with God that is such a joy.  I enjoy praise and worship so much, just because I love talking about the names of Jesus and the cross and the blood and how God cares for us.  It's because I have walked paths of faith completely blind that I know the character of God, and when you truly know what God is like, when you have seen that glimmer of "I AM," then you can't help but praise His name.

However, "perfect" is not a part of my life.  In no way, shape, form, or manner is anything perfect.  In fact, I am given to emotional rollercoasters that are not fun.  To counteract this, God gave me a thing that I want to share with you.  It's a truth journal.  It's got two columns. When I get all bent out of shape because my thoughts are beating me up, I write down in one column how I feel.  That is the "how I feel" column.  The other column is labeled "the truth is..." and it is usually the exact opposite of the feelings column.

So, for example, if I am having a down day because I am single with absolutely no prospects, I may write something like, "I am never getting married and all my friends are getting engaged or dating great guys."  Then I could write in the truth column, "Sharon got engaged and Friend X has a date for Valentines.  That is far from 'all my friends.'  And never is a bad word to use because I can't know what God has for me." Maybe I'll throw in a verse like "Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for Him to act." – Psalm 37:7a

I would highly recommend starting a truth journal.  God didn't create us to be a maelstrom of emotion that constantly keeps us in a state of non-peace.  I think you will be pleasantly surprised!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Chocolate Stash

Oh, you know who you are.  You, the mom or other woman who surreptitiously buys chocolate "for work," or "for Sunday School," or even better (and by better, I mean less believable) "stocking up for Valentine's/Easter/Halloween/Christmas...because it's a good deal."

My mom is one of these people.  For decades, she has had a stash.  A chocolate stash.  The actual stash location has moved over the years, but I know at any given time, there is a bag of chocolate or graham cracker cookies coated in chocolate or chocolate minis SOMEWHERE in her house.  To her credit, my mom is forever trying to lose those pesky THREE pounds she "needs" to lose.  Uh-huh.  It's like that.

Once, while putting some laundry away in the cavernous closet she has, I heard the unmistakable crinkle of a plastic bag containing chocolate.  Like a jungle cat on the prowl, I started looking, aware I had unearthed the new stash location.  Under hanging clothes, in a bag, were some chocolate miniature bars.

For this PMS chick, that was alllllllllll it took.  I ate a few, and then carefully put them back, knowing that I could come back to that stash, as long as I kept it secret, meaning, don't tell the kids.

I am so fortunate that God is not like me!  When He says, "And I will give you treasures hidden in the darkness—secret riches. I will do this so you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, the one who calls you by name," He is promising to take his stash of amazing and share it with me openly, without wanting to hold some back for later on! 

The next, and coolest thing, in my humble opinion, is that He does this, not because He values treasure and secret riches (or secret stashes of chocolate), but because He wants me to know how personally He loves me.  This is so mind-blowing!  Jehovah Elohim, the term used here, means Lord God.  Like the Really Big Kahuna. The CEO. A deity so important and at the top of the chain wants to call ME, a chick that falls for chocolate like 4000 dominoes, by NAME and He wants to give me treasure, riches-- not just convention-hall swag with his name imprinted on it.

So here it is -- I am so highly valued by the God of the Universe.  I truly am made for more than Poptarts.  Or chocolate.  I am made to be the recipient of treasure.  Riches.  That makes me not only want to seek God out more, but to stand up straight and be confident in my role as a child of God. 

Stash?  Don't want it.  God's Treasure?  Seeking it.  Won't you join with me?