BUT …

I just checked. There are five unpublished (and unfinished) blog posts in my queue. Most of them have a title, along with a short paragraph, maybe two. Nothing more. Just random ideas, barely starting to shape up into something worth sharing.

Not five minutes ago, I sat with my laptop in front of me, gazing at the blog posts waiting to be written. Surprisingly, my main emotion wasn’t guilt, though if I am honest there was this small pang of guilt starting welling up. But I swallowed hard a time or two, and soon enough it all settled down again as I forced myself to remember that writing is not my only job.

My last post was published on July 15th. I haven’t managed to write another full blog post since, though I promise it isn’t for lack of wanting to write. Trust me … I want to write! 

BUT

 

Isn’t there always a “but?”

I laughed right there because this is something I always caution my children about doing.  Whenever I reprimand them for neglecting a chore, they want to respond with, “But Mom …”   I shake my head, hold up my hand, and say, “There’s always a “but” to stop you from doing what you know you should be doing. It’s your job to not let the “buts” get in the way.”

Let me just go ahead and say it:  The BUTS have been getting in my way!

It doesn’t even matter what the buts are or why they are preventing me from writing. Sometimes, but not always, our excuses are valid. It’s what I wrote about in my last post about having Blogger’s Guilt. (By the way, that post was deemed “share worthy” by Faithful Bloggers and featured on their website! Here’s a link to view it there:  http://faithfulbloggers.com/struggling-with-bloggers-guilt/)

BUT … truthfully, most of the buts I’ve been using lately have been more because of my own laziness. I’m out of the blogging habit and I’ve grown complacent in regards to my desire to be diligent about writing for God.

It’s been a strange summer in my home. The typical schedule and routine has been thrown so far off course I don’t even know how to get us back on track. And yet here we are at the end of summer vacation and starting to ease back into a life of order. Homeschooling is back underway as of this morning. My summer babysitting job is drawing to a close at the end of this week, as well. No more camps. No more overnight visits with friends and family, especially on week nights. It’s time to get back into the daily grind.

And that includes me, too! In addition to all of my other jobs as wife, mom and teacher, I am planning to return to a diligent routine of writing every day. Not only because I desire to get back into my regular writing schedule, BUT because I need to write daily as it helps me focus on all of the things God has called me to do in my life.

Did you notice it? There was another BUT … and it’s actually a good but, because not all buts are bad.

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Do you know what my favorite BUT is? It’s in the Bible, located in Ephesians chapter 2. To really get the wonderful effect of this BUT, you have to read the verses 1-3 before you get to the verse with the BUT.

Here are a couple of key points from verses 1-3:

You were dead in your trespasses and sins … (verse 1)

 … we were by nature children of wrath … (verse 3)

In other words, like all other humans born on this planet, I am prone to being bad. My very heart leans toward self-centered, wrong behaviors.  (If you are a parent, you realize you didn’t have to teach your baby to hit or bite or throw a screaming fit. You did, however, have to teach how your child how to share and how to use manners and how to be kind to others.)

As much as I try, I cannot be perfectly good … not even on my best day.

Now comes my favorite part, verses 4 and 5:

BUT God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love that He had for us, made us alive with the Messiah even though we were dead in trespasses. You are saved by grace!

God knows I cannot be good on my own. I can try and try, and still will fall short of His perfection. So He made a way for me through Jesus Christ.

Trust me … this is the best BUT ever!

My life is never going to be perfect. I’m going to struggle with doing what I know is good and right, and being selfish. I’m probably going to give into a temptation of some sort, if not later on tonight then tomorrow for certain.

It’s only because of the “BUT” God has offered that I have hope to live a life on this earth that is worth living … as well as the hope heaven’s perfection in the next life.

This hope will not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. ~Romans 5:5

If you haven’t accepted God’s offer, I hope you will take the time to consider it. I’d love to tell you more about how this wonderful BUT can change your life, just as it has changed mine.

A Little Soul Food

Rather than just state the obvious and say that I am overweight, I’m going to be bold and spell it out as I never have before:

Personal issues with food, as well as a faulty perception of what makes a woman truly beautiful, have for years waged a fierce war on my soul. The heart-aching truth about this lifelong battle is it prevents me from finding full freedom in Christ. It  inhibits me from fulfilling my God-given callings to the degree for which I daily pray, hope and long to see come to fruition. And it holds me captive, keeping me from knowing all God has planned for my life.

I am tired of it. Tired of my weak and flimsy excuses. Tired of the yo-yo effects of my eating habits. Tired of feeling like a failure. Tired of comparing myself to everyone else. Tired of fighting the same battle … again and again and again.

Weak & Flimsy Excuses

It can’t be all genetics. Sure, there are a lot of overweight people in my family, but so far not a single one of them has ever stuffed a chocolate chip cookie into my mouth. Nor have any of them prevented me from choosing to eat a healthy diet. And not once has a relative ever blocked me from participating in daily exercise. Although my genetic make-up has perhaps given me a predisposition to weight struggles, it is still plain to see neither my genetics nor my family are the source of my weight problem.

It’s not PCOS either. It is true … I do have PCOS. And it is a fact many women with PCOS struggle with weight issues due to unruly hormones. However, I’ve long known the medical community not only recommends women with PCOS follow a specific diet, but that many PCOS sufferers find weight management to be relatively easy as long as they rigidly follow that diet. I’ve just never wanted to commit to making such drastic changes to the way I eat. Again … PCOS may be a factor, but it is not the root cause of my unhealthy weight.

I don’t have time to cook healthy.  Besides, it is too expensive to feed our family of seven healthy meals. Bologna! I have time to cook myriads of dishes that I want to cook, and money to buy generally whatever foods we desire to indulge in eating.

I don’t have time or energy to workout on a regular basis.  Ahem … considering I have an elliptical gathering dust in my bedroom, this excuse is so flimsy it just might fall apart by my merely mentioning it.

My excuses are just that … excuses.  They make me nothing more than a whiny bystander in my own life, content to repeat the same feeble justifications over and over to anyone who will listen. If I continue to excuse myself from doing the right thing, I will never find a solution to my problem.

The Yo-Yo Foodie

Weight Watchers. Medi-Fast. Atkins. Sugar Busters. Even the notorious Grapefruit Diet. I’ve done them all. Some with moderate success. Others with no success at all.

I’m a professional yo-yo dieter, eating healthy one week and not-so-healthy the next. The one thing I’ve never been is a truly committed dieter. The truth is I only wanted a short-term fix, rather than a lifestyle change.

Feeling like a Failure

I cannot think of a single time in my entire life I’ve felt successful in regards to my weight.

If success is measured in numbers, then not only is the number on the scale too high, but also my BMI.  And while my blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol levels all still fall within normal ranges, I’m always worried that the next doctor’s visit will tell a different tale.

Unfortunately, I have a habit of dismissing small victories and thereby thwarting my chances of success.  In the end, I discover once again I’ve missed out on the big victory altogether, whereas if I had acknowledged and celebrated smaller successes I might have enjoyed a different outcome.

The Comparison of Apple and Oranges

Oddly enough, I’ve never felt much like an apple or an orange. I’m more of a blueberry kind of gal, myself.

Still, even comparing blueberries to strawberries is pretty much pointless.  After all, comparison is the death of contentment.

While I don’t exactly need to look for contentment in regards to my health and weight, I do need to be content with my physical appearance. I have blue eyes, not brown. Light skin instead of a tanned tone. My frame is never going to be petite in any sense of the word. Wishing to have a figure like someone else is only a waste of my time and energy.

American society values slim, trim and fit. Being in shape and tiny is an expectation placed on females of every age. Pudgy even in the best seasons of this life, I don’t think I’ve ever once been thought of as slim and trim, and certainly not fit.  I’ve known that my weight and my appearance often causes others to “judge” me … at least until they get to know me. Yet, the worst of it is, even in my own eyes, I often feel “less than” as a woman because of my weight. It’s as if I think just by dropping 60 lbs I would instantly become a more valuable person to myself, my husband and family, my friend and to the whole of society. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

Tired of the Battle

I’m not just tired of the battle. I am weary and worn of it. I’m standing here with the end of the rope in my hands, no longer confused or uncertain or complacent about the situation. And I am unwilling to keep fighting this battle in the same way.

What may have started as a way to help my food-sensitive husband feel better has turned into much more. My eyes are opened to how my love/hate relationship with food is standing in the way of my love relationship with God. Craving and indulging in food has not just been my habit.  It has been my god.

Now that it has been recognized and acknowledged, there is nothing else I can do but either choose to continue doing that which I know in the depths of my soul is wrong,  or ask for forgiveness and turn to walk the other way.  At the very essence of repentance is a heart-felt change. Saying “I’m sorry. Forgiven me.” and yet continuing to wallow in my same old habits is not repenting at all.

A Light Bulb Moment

Today I was reading and came across these words:

Struggling with my weight isn’t God’s mean curse on me, but an outside indication that internal changes are needed for me to function and feel well. (pg 216, Made To Crave, Lysa TerKeurst)

And right below those words, I saw this Bible verse:

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland. ~Isaiah 43: 18-19

Today marks 2 weeks since Jon and I began eating healthier, following The Daniel Plan (by Pastor Rick Warren), hoping it would relieve many of his food sensitivity symptoms.  Thankfully, this clean way of eating whole foods, with it’s focus on more fresh veggies and low-glycemic fruits, lean sources of proteins, and  has done tremendous things in a short time for healing Jon’s gut problems.  Trust me … this is a huge praise, as we are continue to pray for his digestive health to improve.

While I’ve experienced some measured success myself in these last two weeks, dropping around 10 lbs and noticing an increase in my energy levels, I have never felt like this was something I was doing for me.  My only goal was to help my husband.

It was never once about my weight.

It was never once about my health.

It was never once about my PCOS-ravaged body.

Yet today, all that has begun to change. It’s as if I took my eyes off myself for just a bit, stepped back from my own issue to encourage and support someone I love, and ended up gaining a new perspective about my own situation.  And somehow, in the middle of it all, I feel as though God is indeed beginning to do a new thing in me … as though He is making a beautiful stream in my vast wasteland.

This one truth I know full well:

No matter what I battle in this life, there is no fear or condemnation in Christ. Rather, the battle is the Lord’s and all I have to do is follow hard after Him.

(Okay, so I know there is more to it than that.  Trust me!  At 41 years of age, I’ve been around the block enough times to expect there will be many hard days, many moments of struggles, and maybe even quite a few flat-out failures. But my focus will be on Christ and the new thing He is doing in me. And somehow, in this very moment, right here where I sit at the corner of my kitchen bar,  I’m feeling blessed to know I will no longer fight this battle on my own.)