Updated: Apr 27, 2021
I said I was going to talk about fasting again, but I want to take another side-trip. I hope you won't mind coming along :)
During my counseling appointment today, I told my counselor I am learning a lot about myself as I write this blog, and that I am surprised how therapeutic it has been. Later, we were talking about the anxiety and strong grief that descends on me at bedtime, and she suggested I use the same method to invite the Lord to help me process these powerful emotions. She talked about going deep, and my first thought was, "The deeper I go into those emotions, the more exhausted and worn out I am, and the harder it is to keep from going there the next day." But she wasn't talking about surrendering to the grief and anxiety. She was talking about unpacking it and finding the jewels God has for me, as I surrender my grief and loneliness, my worries and anxiety to Him. All I need is paper and a pencil, and the Lord's help.
She talked about David's transparency in the Psalms, his struggles with worry and despair, and I thought about that. Everything he wrote was so transparent and beautiful, so validating to the rest of humanity that even David struggled with faith in the hard times. Maybe the Lord will give me a new song to sing.
Tonight, In the still, quiet moments before sleep when my thoughts often drift to missing my husband, and the pain and suffering I see all around me, instead of either surrendering to tears or shoving it all down, I will instead invite the Lord to reveal Himself to me. Tonight I'm going to be mining for jewels.
Have you ever journaled? If not, why not? If so, what has your journaling revealed, and how have those revelations impacted you?
Updated: Apr 27, 2021
This is a scary concept for me, mainly because I went for a period of time intentionally depriving my body of nutrients in a vain attempt to gain control of my out-of-control life. I might have been successful in losing a few pounds during this time, but I was frequently woozy, and eventually it came with a trip to the other side of the eating teeter-totter. Still, I felt like I was in control. I liked that a lot more than bingeing on sweets etcetera and then purging them. Not eating was cleaner and easier to maintain, but it was unhealthy in every possible way. I was in my early twenties at the time, and I eventually stopped this behavior and was left with the compulsive overeating and no mitigating coping mechanisms. From that point on, it has been a journey from diet program to diet program, getting thinner, getting heavier, all the while knowing FOOD is in control. I know I'm being really open here, but its because I need to define the difference between that and what is happening now.
Forsaking food is a decision of the heart and mind, not the body. I am choosing to abstain for a period of time, in order to recognize and modify the power I have given food in my life. Because of my overeating, I do have quite a bit of energy stored on my body, and using that energy will help me drop the extra weight. However, that SHOULD be a side effect of making progress in developing a healthy relationship with food. If dropping the weight is the primary goal of fasting, no progress will have been made in effecting permanent changes. I must put fasting in its proper place, and be extremely careful not to embrace the feeling of power it brings, nor to surrender to the feelings of excitement and anxiety that begin as the fast ends. I can't control my knee-jerk response to either situation, but I can take captive every thought, and reform it intentionally until the new thoughts become my own. So, I'm treading very carefully, going very slowly, and being mindful as I go.
Because I've eaten a ketogenic diet for quite awhile (intolerance for sugar, gluten and many grains), becoming what is called "fat-adapted" wasn't difficult for me. I am not a doctor or scientist, but as I understand it, the body will use the fuel that is easiest to use. Carbs are easiest to use. The body can change that into sugar more easily and BOOM it has energy. Using fat already stored is more difficult, and usually requires aerobic exercise to first burn the carbs in the blood, and then the body can begin to burn the fat. If a person is fat-adapted, their body has adjusted it's pursuit of energy to use fat first, because there haven't been carbs available for a period of time. If this is true, it means my body is able to use the stored fat more easily, and thus I can lose fat, despite an inability to really exercise (I have several injuries right now in various states of recovery, and the combination of these makes exercise very difficult for me).
So I could be fasting a LOT more than I am. Many people following a similar way of eating do fast a lot more. But I am again going VERY slowly, very carefully, leaving room for the Lord to speak to me, and He is. As I choose to forsake food for a period of time, I am learning even more how much I love food and eating. I am learning that I need much less than I think I do, and I am learning that hunger is a good thing.
I'll talk more about fasting in my next post. If you have not subscribed to my blog, I encourage you to do so. I would love to be able to interact with you, and I won't be sending newsletters or anything intrusive like that. You'll simply get an email when I post, and then nothing else. I know it is difficult to sign up for yet another thing, but I hope you'll consider it.
Updated: Apr 27, 2021
Dear Friend, I felt I needed to take you on a little side-trip in my last post. I am trying to leave behind the remnant of the old me, to clothe myself in my identity in Christ, and that requires me to confront the lies that reverberate through my mind and heart, and to recognize that these are not part of the new person I am in Christ. In Luke 11, Jesus talks about how an unclean spirit can return to the place it was driven from, and I feel like He was saying we have to fill that space with HIM if we are to remain free of whatever evil we are evicting from our lives. Because, we go back to what we know! It is so frustrating to me that anytime I am in a period of testing, trials, or grief, I have a tendency to revert to those old coping mechanisms. I don't think I'm alone in this. Everyone has a different set of habits through which they try to find comfort, and mine is compulsivity. When under stress, I have a tendency to overspend, overthink, overcompensate, and overeat. There are probably other things I do, as well, but these I am very aware of. Pursuing other things in an attempt to satisfy deep emotional needs is a spiritual issue. The need in my heart for comfort, security, identity, confidence, validation was not designed to be met by anything in creation, but within my relationship with the Creator. He will fill the empty spaces, but first I must ask Him to reveal them, invite His correction, and then forsake them and allow Him to remove negative behaviors from my life and replace them with Himself.
All that I need, all that I truly want is found in Him, and this journey I am on is about finding Him in this struggle against compulsive behavior in my life, and finding myself satisfied in Him.
I want to encourage you to do some introspection of your own. I'd love to know your thoughts.