Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Living Outside Myself

I woke up this morning almost in "mourning."
The depression came when I talked to some people yesterday and heard about the tragic life circumstances they faced. Tragic may be a little over the top description, but my heart ached for all of them.

Yes, I know God is the answer but that didn't lessen the heartbreak I felt for all of them. I shared with my husband and he gave me the same answers I had already given myself about God, etc. And they didn't help until. . .

We went to lunch with a couple and got into a deep discussion. They shared some things they'd been facing. I encouraged them with the encouragement I needed. We are only accountable to God and that's where our eyes are supposed to stay. Not on the problems around us or even the victories. God is IT.

Our preacher has been preaching on living outside ourselves. That means turning our focus on our brothers and sisters--and God.

When our time together ended, I felt better. Hopeful. More faith. Blessed Assurance-like. Why? Because I spent a few moments living outside myself thus falling into the arms of Jesus. He has the answers. Instead of looking around us at what we see wrong in our world, we have to keep our eyes on the One who is our Life. Our world doesn't mean the Earth. Our world is where we live and the people who live in it with us.

My concerns are still valid for the ones who are facing difficulty, but my job is only to pray, show them mercy and the love of God. I have to keep my eyes on Jesus and ask the Spirit to be my guide just as He led Jesus.

How many times have we heard someone ask What Would Jesus Do? Instead of sinking into dispair or becoming judgmental, first we need to know the answer to that question.

What did Jesus do when he saw problems around Him? He prayed and lay them at His Father's feet. I did pray and He gave me a way to not only lift my own burdens but those of my brothers.

I can't make my world a better place (the world I live in and the way I'd like it to be), but I can show mercy and lift my brother up by showing the love of God.

I feel better. I hope you do, too.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Four Days and Going Forward

I started writing this blog and hit some strange key which highlighted everything and deleted it all. Just as well. All I was doing was rambling about how much I don't know and how frustrated I am over Weight Watchers. I think I'm doing it right but I'm not sure. I do know this: I'm eating quite different than I was before. I don't even have heartburn now which tells me the food I'm eating is better for me.

I spent a lot of time today writing a novel I'm excited about. It's hard for me to have to stop once I get going. But stop I will for most of the rest of this week. Too much going on every day. Things I want to do, even love doing, while in the novel-writing place inside of me, my characters are speaking. "Get us out of this place and onto the next part."

I once heard an author say she'd left her protagonist on a train for weeks and couldn't figure out how to get her off of it. My characters are safe and I know where they're going, but getting them there is the problem.

I have books to read for research on the Revolutionary War period. We stood in line forever yesterday at a closing Borders in order to buy these books discounted. I can hardly wait to read them. In my book shelf are several books I want to read, too. They're waiting.

Tomorrow daughter-in-law and grand girls are coming over. Wednesday is lunch with friends and shoe shopping and small group meeting at night. Thursday is Bible class and Friday is WW weigh-in and later tea with girlfriends. All of these are important to me and I wouldn't miss a one of them.

On top of all of this stands a food plan and the need to exercise. If I lose even a tiny bit on Friday, I will count it as a win. If I don't. . .I won't give up.

With the coming week full I need to sleep, but here it is after midnight and I'm awake thinking of all that is coming tomorrow and next week.

I think I'm doing something right. I mentioned not having heartburn since starting WW last Friday. That's big. I'm full and satisfied. I know this sounds silly, but I already feel skinnier. I'll know for sure on Friday and will report back.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

A New Beginning

Well, I'm going to go for it.

In the morning I will attend my first Weight Watchers' meeting.

About 25 years ago I ate myself into overweight. I prayed and prayed, but I didn't get any answers on how to get it off. I tried diets that didn't work and continued to pray.

One day I wandered into a book store (one of my favorite places in the world) and looked at book titles. One jumped out at me. When I say it jumped, it really did. The title: "There's More to Being Thin Just Being Thin" by Neva Coyle. I knew I had my answer. That answer was a scripture: "Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you." So that's what I did. Instead of concentrating on losing weight I meditated on God and His Word. And I followed Neva's diet plan. I even asked God, just like she told the reader's to do, how much I needed to lose.

I counted calories--faithfully counted them, and in 4 months I'd lost all I needed to lose. And I was much closer to God, which was the real goal.

Since that time, when I felt I needed to lose weight, I tried counting calories again. Each time I lasted about a week before I gave up. I didn't even try this time to go that route. I knew I needed another answer.

So I prayed and asked for direction and gave it to God--until last week. That's when I talked to Him mano-y-mano. I don't remember what I said, but I got real honest with Him. That very day led me to Weight Watchers and a Wii.

I can't stand exercising just for the sake of exercising so I got the Wii. If I'm playing a game I enjoy, then I'll exercise. I bowled and played golf the first day. I used to bowl and I'm much better on Wii than I ever was in real life. :) I'm still not good at golf but I'll get the hang of it. I have more games and will try all of them. And I'll count points, whatever that means.

As for the reason I want to lose weight now. . . It isn't to look better (maybe a little) but it's to feel better this time. I have a new knee and want it to last me the rest of my life. Being too heavy will wear it down faster. Also, I would like to be able to breathe when I bend over and put on my shoes.

I'll let you know how it goes.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Overcome by His Love

Oh, Lord,
I want to tell you what you mean to me.
I want to write you a sonnet of love.
How can I express a lose so deep--
A love so dear.
Not a love caused by what you've done for me,
Though that is more than I can say,
But a love grown out of Love.
A love for the Giver of Love.
Love-the word is inadequate to express what I feel.
I can only fully express my love in the tongue of the Spirit.
I want to be with You.
My desire is for You.

I wrote this in December of 1983 after God had lifted my spirit out of a time of pain.
It came back to me after a dream I had last night.
In the dream Christmas was coming and I was making plans.
Sadness was all around me--my own, others--the sadness of life in this world and of families split apart for one reason or another.

Before Jesus was arrested He told His disciples--us--after a long discourse concerning the Holy Spirit that's recorded in John 16: "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world."

Life on this earth isn't easy. Every day we hear of friends who have diseases, people who hurt others, sadness, strife, death, war, disunity and more. In our own lives, as in the lives of my own family, we have heartbreaks. And we have no control. We can't make them better.

When I wrote the words from 12/1983, I was hurting because of something that was happening in the lives of people I loved. I prayed and read the word and listened to the Spirit, searching for peace; for comfort. Proverbs 4:20-22 came from somewhere that day: "Give attention to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your eyes; keep them in the midst of your heart; for they are life to those who find them, and health to all their flesh."

I know many people doubt the Bible. Others believe every word came out of the Spirit of God. All I know is this: these words are a guide and they come to me when I need them the most. The Spirit speaks to me through these words, and when I heed what they say, I am healed. These words tell me what my spirit knows: God loves me and because He first loved me, I can love others.

Some days I can feel His love so strong it takes my breath away, it takes my words away and the only way I can express myself to Him is through His Spirit. When I do that, the tribulation of the world falls away and I see that He has overcome all the sadness and sorrow I have.

Romans 8:18 "For I consider the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us."

2 Corinthians 4:16,17, 18 "We do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. While we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal."

Funny how God takes His word and shows us that it is the mind that is being renewed because we reside in the soul. When our minds are renewed, we don't look at what is going on around us in the same way. The Word of God, whether it comes by reading or by the Spirit in some other way, is our "treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us." 2 Cor. 4:7

I pray that God will speak to you by whatever means you need today so that you may have peace in the knowledge that Jesus has overcome it by His Love.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

On the Road Again

I changed the way my blog looks this morning. Not sure it will stay like this with all the raindrops. But it's time for a change.

We bought a Wii yesterday that's going to be part of my exercise plan. I'll walk, but I can't walk fast enough to work up a sweat, much less a heart rate that will burn calories. But if I'm "playing" I might enjoy exercising, and I don't like doing anything that isn't enjoyable.

I've had two exercise bikes that ended up rusting from sitting in the garage unused. Too boring.

I bought a treadmill because it had a place to put a book. Read while walking on a treadmill? You've got to be kidding.

My next, and last, piece of equipment was an elliptical trainer. I watched 30 minutes of House Hunters while using that. After the knee surgery my PT told me that wasn't good for the piece of equipment they planted into my knee. Another PT said he thought -- get that "thought" it was all right. Talked out of that, I sold it and decided to walk.

Walking is so boring! If I walk with my husband, I get breathless (even walking as slow as I do) talking. How do you walk with someone and never speak?

The reason I decided on the Wii is because I watched Jennifer Hudson on Oprah. She has lost 80 pounds with Weight Watchers. I don't need to lose 80 pounds--yet, but if I don't get busy soon, I'll be there. She plays basketball and jumps rope, things she did as a child, when she exercises. I love to bowl in Wii and haven't tried any of the other games. But, if husband can get it hooked up, I'll try them all--plus walking.

Which brought me to the eating part. How to manage that? For 17 years I lived on a no starch, no sugar diet. I had to. Last year I discovered white oak bark tea. I drank this tea twice a day and it did something miraculous to my body. After a few months I could eat sugar and starch again.

In the stressful months during the house to apartment to house move, walking on a cane with knee pain day and night, I ate to soothe my stress and added more pounds than I like to say. (I don't weigh unless I'm at the doctor's office, and they count it in grams. I won't let them tell me the truth and I refuse to weigh at home and face that truth for myself.) I've gone up two sizes from where I want to be. I have a stomach that looks like I may deliver any moment. Ugh! I feel awful.

I looked up Albuquerque Weight Watchers. None of the meetings are near my house. I mean they are far away. WW can be followed on line. I'll figure something out. I need a food plan.

Last summer I started asking God to show me what to do. Maybe I wasn't ready before now. I don't know any other reason for Him to wait to tell me this long. Could be He lets us wait long enough to be desperate. Well, I'm there.

This isn't the first time I've been desperate about my weight. Years ago I was overweight and again, I prayed. I found a book by Neva Coyle and began counting calories. I lost down to the size I wanted to be in four months. (I wasn't as overweight as I thought!) I can't count calories again. I know. I've tried. Doesn't work for me any more.

The Bible says anything is possible with God. I believe it and am on the road to live out those words.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Wait For It

I'm excited today.

Last year was a real downer for me: moving, knee surgery, rehab, physical therapy. I gained weight, which was the biggest downer. Since then I've felt old and negative (my daughter was right), tired, grumpy--really in a deep funk. I've talked to God about it--more like whined--but nothing seemed to change. I went to bed tired and woke up tired, didn't want to go out of town. I've been huddling in my cave.

Again today I talked to God about it. I asked Him to give me something that would get me out of the hole so I can, at least, make the effort to lose weight.

He did it. Why am I surprised? I'm not quite sure how it's all going to work, but for the first time in about a year, I feel like the cloud has lifted.

What I really want to say is this: God is faithful. He isn't so concerned about our "outsides" but He's really into what's going on "inside." If you have something you've been praying about for a long time, hang in there. He hasn't forgotten and He's not answering. The time will come. Wait on Him.

Have a wonderful day!