Abundance is my word for 2014.
I didn’t anticipate how much doing The Daniel Plan would deepen my spiritual journey. I thought it would be a healthy, new beginning in changing my mindset and patterns about food and it would help get all that extra behind off of my behind… which it has, thank You, Jesus.
But, wow, my relationship with food has had some seriously messy, emotional, spiritual garbage attached.
As I’ve “cleaned out the junk and made room for abundance,” God has brought stuff up that I didn’t expect – that I didn’t know was there. Or, maybe I did know, but I just didn’t want to deal with it.
Stuff that needed to be turned upside-down and inside-out.
Stuff I was holding onto with a death-grip.
Ways I was medicating or numbing out hurt, anger, and disappointment (old & new) with food and bad habits.
Ways that I was choosing Self over God.
Ways that I was choosing my little go-to gods (my idols) over the one true, living, righteous, loving, omnipotent, relationship-seeking, fully satisfying God.
“We want to teach you how to treat your body with respect and kindness. We will teach you what foods to choose to nourish yourself and which ones to avoid. Most of all, we will show you how to create a nurturing, peaceful relationship with food and cooking that will automatically lead to weight loss, radiant health, and an overall sense of well-being.” (The Daniel Plan, pg 73)
God loves us too much to let us stay the same.
Luke 12:7 is one of my life verses:
What is the price of five sparrows — two copper coins? Yet God does not forget a single one of them. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows. — Luke 12:6-7
A gold refiner’s job is to heat up the metal with flames exceeding 1800 degrees Fahrenheit and agitate it, stir it up, allowing the dross (impurities) to rise to the surface. Then he can skim it off. God does the same thing in us (Zechariah 13:9, 1 Peter 1:7, Job 23:10)! He heats our lives up (with trials, struggles, challenges, traumas, natural consequences, difficult circumstances and difficult people) to bring the dross (the junk) in our hearts to the surface so we can face it with Him, clean it up, and be purified (changed).
It’s honestly such a relief that it’s God’s job to change me from the inside out. I can’t do it. I don’t even really want to do it since it’s uncomfortable and frustrating! I’d rather say, “I have enough character, thanks!” and stay the same ol’ messy, selfish, cranky, controlling, extreme, slightly unhinged me. But, it’s my job in this partnership with God to continue to choose a convictable heart when I’d rather make excuses and blame-shift and to cooperate when everything within me is thrashing and screaming for what I want! I want! I want! Or I don’t want! I don’t want! I don’t want! (Thus the need for the Rebel Yell Against Self!)
…Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in or der to fulfill His good purpose. — Philippians 2:12b-13
“Notice two phrases: work out and work in. We are commanded to work out while God works in us! That’s the cooperation required for change.” (The Daniel Plan, pg 55)
Do you love idols like I do? Are you an idolater, too?
It’s true. I am an idolater. I like my idols. Give me a choice between God and my idols, and I turn to idols way more than I would like to admit. Usually without really even thinking about it. I obsess about certain things, mull on them over and over and over. I let stuff take over my life. My heart. My time. And I let that junk wreak havoc in my heart, life, body, mothering, relationships, ministry, service, etc.
I can make an idol out of anything. Seriously. I’m great at it! (I thought about going pro, but the pay is not good.)
I hate the old habit of spinning and spinning on the stupid things I think will satisfy me instead of choosing God! Foolishness! I have rarely questioned: then what?
“So, what if you could learn the two most important words in the English language when it comes to your health: then what.
Then what will happen if I eat this? Then what will happen if I say this impulsive thing to my wife? Then what will happen if I stay up at night on the computer and don’t get good sleep for tomorrow? (The Daniel Plan, pg 42)
Here are a few of the many things I have had a habit of turning to during times of stress, disappointment, challenges, and grief:
- Carl’s Jr.’s Charbroiled Santa Fe Chicken sandwich with Crisscut fries and ranch
- Zoning out on TV
- Gossip (unloading on a girlfriend instead of giving a painful relationship to God and letting love cover the offense — 1 Peter 4:8)
- Criticism (including relentless self-criticism)
- Obsessing on how I could fix my broken marriage and relationship with my prodigal son
- Filling my days being busy, busy, busy — too busy to stop and quietly listen to God
Your list may not look like mine, but nothing we choose instead of God is healthy for us. Ultimately, not only are those choices dissatisfying (as all go-to gods are), but the consequences of choosing those things in lieu of leaning of God alone have a WAY higher price than we can imagine when we’re choosing them!
They can affect:
- Our kids’ future choices
- What we can do and not do
- What we can wear and not wear!
- How we feel about ourselves
- How we relate to God
- And so much more!
So, let’s talk about repentance. (Wait! Don’t go away!)
“The biblical word for personal change is repentance. Most people completely misunderstand the term. The popular conception of repentance is “Stop sinning! Quit doing bad things!” But the word actually means to change your mind. It comes from the Greek word metanoia, which means to change your perspective, think in a different way, make a mental U-turn. Of course, if you change your mind, your behavior will follow, but repentance starts in the mind, not in actions.” (The Daniel Plan, pg 59)
Repentance just means you STOP. Turn around. Go the other way. It doesn’t mean wearing burlap and flagellating yourself before an altar while singing Gregorian chants. It just means you have a real, honest relationship with the Lord and you allow Him the emotional access to tell you to knock it off when you’re missing the mark, when you’re wrong, or when you’re being a putz. And, when you hear His loving correction, you take a solid look at the mess you’ve made, apologize, and make a decision to not do that anymore. And we are forgiven and given freedom! (Even though sometimes the process of leaving sin — especially addiction — behind permanently seems agonizingly slow.)
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. — Romans 12:2
We need to “put off” (Ephesians 4:22-24), which just means to take off like you would remove dirty clothing:
- old ways of thinking
- old ways of acting
- old ways of speaking
- old ways of interacting
We need to “put on”:
- God’s ways of thinking
- God’s ways of acting
- God’s ways of speaking
- God’s ways of interacting
- The full armor of God (Remember? The helmet of Salvation, the breastplate of His Righteousness, the shield of Faith, the belt of Truth, the shoes of Peace, and the sword of the Spirit.)
And then we need to fill our minds (and our mouths) with God’s Word!
You know you’ve truly repented when you quit doing it.
Remember, though, when we blow it, we must choose to bravely get back up, dust ourselves off, ask the Lord for forgiveness and help, and keep going!
Be to yourself and others, as People of the Second Chance say, “a grace-filled snow cone on a hot, judgmental day.”
Choosing Him instead of holding onto the things that don’t satisfy, help, or comfort me, but actually do a world of harm, just leaves room for more abundance.
For You, God, tested us; You refined us like silver. You brought us into prison and laid burdens on our backs. You let people ride over our heads; we went through fire and water, but You brought us to a place of abundance. — Psalm 66:10-12
My Progress Report
FRIENDS — It’s been really fun having more and more people join me on The Daniel Plan! There’s a synergy that happens when we can support one another! Find your Daniel Friends!
FOOD — What’s been hard for me? I’m not gonna lie — I miss bread. I miss my beloved butter. True, sad story. Not so much at first, but it has become a mega-temptation… “Get thee behind me, butter!” Oh! And mayo. I actually had a dream about mayo…
Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. — Matthew 26:41
But, a huge bonus is how delicious food tastes after eating clean this whole time! Plain veggies roasted in coconut oil and pepper — delectable! Steel cut oats with currants and pecans — dessert for breakfast! Chicken breast with just a dash of cayenne pepper — exploding with yumminess!
This week I put together food emergency bags (The Daniel Plan, pg 96-98) to stick in my car, purse, work satchel, etc. They include:
- Grass-fed beef or turkey jerky
- Mini-packs of nut butter (almond, macadamia)
- Raw protein food bars (gluten-free, dairy-free)
- Organic nuts (almonds, macadamias)
- Organic seeds (pumpkin, sunflower)
Actually, I put food emergency bags together twice, because within a day my kids mooched everything out of the first ones, so these snacks are clearly kid-approved!
I also have been staying stocked up on easy-to-grab-and-go refrigerated snacks such as:
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Cut veggies & hummus or salsa
- Apples, blueberries, and blackberries (my favorite zarzamoras)
God, help me to choose You. Abba, help me to seek You first. When I’m hurting, lonely, worried, bored and my tendency is to wander on over to my idols for comfort or entertainment, remind my spirit that what I’m really thirsty, hungry, and in need of is You. Remind me of the price You paid for my freedom. Soften my heart so that it’s convictable and strengthen me so that I choose to change my mind (to repent) and obey You wholeheartedly, immediately, and permanently. And, Lord, help me to be that “grace-filled snow cone on a hot, judgmental day” when I blow it. Thank You, Jesus, for never giving up on me, for loving me so dearly that it blows my heart away. I love You. Amen.
Join the Conversation
What’s your word for 2014? Do you have an unhealthy relationship with food like I do? Have you taken stock of your idols and asked the Lord for help in kicking them to the curb?
Hey, Daniel Buddies, have you made some wonderful recipes? What’s your favorite so far? Have you put together your “food emergency” bags? Please leave a comment below! I’d love to hear from you! If you haven’t already jumped on The Daniel Plan bandwagon, join me! Be sure to let me know you’re getting Daniel Strong!