Saturday, April 28, 2012

Lows and Highs

I went to a Mandisa concert last night with a friend.

As we stood in line because we got there early, I watched other people arrive.  This concert was promoted as a Girls’ Night Out and I watched group after group of women park and walk over to the line.  My most frequent thought was, “There are a lot of fat women here.”  I soon realized how prideful that thinking is.  I have no basis for pride in what God has done with me the last almost three years, but there it was.  I’m certainly not model material but I was not only noticing the large women, I was secretly glad I didn’t look like them.  Not one of my best moments.  L  No, I don’t look like I used to, but I don’t look the way I’d like to either.  God’s not looking at the outward appearance, though.  He looks at our hearts.  My heart doesn’t run to food like it used to, but it sure ran to pride last night.  What did God see when He looked at my heart before the show?  Not ugly gluttony and self-indulgence but ugly pride.  Just as ugly.  Sin is sin. 

I saw a friend at the concert whom I went to high school with but haven’t seen in probably 20 years because we live in different cities now.  We’ve been friends on Facebook for a few years.  She just happened to have two seats open next to her family so my friend and I moved there.  FRONT ROW! 

Laura Story was also at the concert.  She sings the song “Blessings” and told us the story of how she came to write it.  Her husband was diagnosed with a brain tumor a couple years into their marriage and God wasn’t answering their prayers the way they wanted Him to.  You can find the whole story on YouTube. 

At intermission, they mentioned that the cafĂ© was selling snacks and that one of those snacks was cream puffs with strawberries and chocolate.  :-DD  After talking to my friend for a few minutes I went to get in line.  I wanted those strawberries and chocolate!  It turned out to be these cream puffs ...

half a strawberry (not a very ripe one)...
And a drizzle of Hershey’s syrup.  I don’t like Hershey’s syrup.  I got it anyway and ate it standing in line for the bathroom.  Then I heard Mandisa on stage so I left the line and almost ran back to my seat! 

I had a fun time watching Mandisa front and center! 

When the show was over and we were walking out I heard God say about the brownie I’d also bought (yeah) that I needed to throw it away as a sacrifice.  I knew I needed to but it was in my purse, there was a huge crowd, and I didn’t see a trash can.  On the drive home I obeyed, put the window down, and threw it out. 
So it was a night of lows and highs.  I’ve prayed about my prideful attitude and repented of it.  The brownie cost $1 and I’m sure was from a store mix.  Big whoop.  Obeying God in throwing it out was worth so much more than the benefit I would’ve gotten from eating it. 

In other news, I determined this morning that I WOULD fast supper today and breakfast and lunch tomorrow since I've gotten away from that pattern lately.  Then my mom reminded me that our family had been invited to a birthday party this afternoon.  Sigh.  I asked a friend to pray that I would be self-disciplined.  I did fine and had just water to drink.  When my mom and dad went up to get food my dad brought me the biggest strawberry I'd ever seen, probably 3 inches long!  If you know me at all you know how I am with strawberries!  This one was white on the top and bottom, though, indicating that it wasn't ripe when picked.  My dad went back to the food line and I debated what I should do.  I didn't want to disappoint him by telling him I was fasting and wouldn't eat it, but I didn't want to fail again either.  I ended up biting off the white tip and throwing it in the garbage.  Then I took a bite of the middle of the berry (it probably would've taken me three bites to eat this whole strawberry) but it was bitter.  I made sure my dad wasn't looking and threw it in the garbage.  When I told my praying friend what I'd done she texted back, "Ha, going from sneaking food to eat out to sneaking to throw it away!"  I never thought of it like that.  Yes, I did used to sometimes sneak food or get rid of the evidence of fast food before I got home.  Now I'm sneaking to throw it away and not eat it.  Is there any end to what God can do?!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Observing a Half-Marathon

Yesterday morning I went to support a friend who was running her first half-marathon.  I got to downtown Clearwater about 6:45 (yes, a.m.), parked, and walked several blocks to the starting line.  I didn’t see my friend or anyone else I knew, then I decided I should go back to the car and get my camera, so I did that.  I teared up and wished I was running, but there’s no way my knee would let me.  After the runners took off,

I started to head to the finish line at Clearwater Beach.  I didn’t want to drive because I know how crazy traffic is on Clearwater Beach, so I started walking but didn’t know how far it was going to be.  I ended up walking BACK past the car, kind of following the runners,

Hold on…alarm just went off.  Time to do 1:30 on the elliptical. 

Huff!  Puff!  I’m back.  Got my heart rate up to 167. 

and headed toward Clearwater Beach.  I walked up a HUGE bridge.  

with no problems.  I was only walking, but still…no problems!  I took a picture of the bridge from the starting line because it looked so massive.  Like my desire to run again.  Is this my mountain?  If I can just get to where I’m running over this bridge, will I have conquered?  Or are my knees my mountain?

I walked down that massive bridge, walked some more, walked farther, and kept walking.  All the way to Clearwater Beach.  As I made my way to the finish line, the first runners were coming across the finish line.  It was a little more than 90 minutes since the start of the race.  I’d been walking for an hour and a half.  Wow!  At a fairly fast pace, too.  Not exactly race walking, just my normal fast pace.  But I’d kept it up for 1-1/2 hours! 

I started looking for my friend’s family or anyone else I knew, but saw no one.  (Why does God keep putting me in situations by myself involving races?  I’ve gone to a few of them now and not seen anyone I know.  What are you teaching me with that lonely feeling, God?)  I did see some notable things, though.  Like this

The homemade message on the back of her T-shirt says, “I ‘m running because there’s food @ the finish line.”  Are you kidding me???  NOOOOOOO!!!  Big sigh. 

Then I saw this woman

At first I thought, “Oh, honey, let me talk to you.”  I wanted to tell her how Jesus has changed me and how He can change her.  After I took the picture and got closer to her, I saw that she was holding a 5K medal in her hand.  I assumed that she was holding it for someone else because if I had just run or even walked a 5K at that size I would’ve been wearing that medal proudly.  She even had the ribbon part folded up so that the whole thing fit in her hand and was hardly visible.  I saw her from the front later and she was wearing a race bib.  She had done it!  I was wrong!  Well then, you GO, girl! 

Hold on…alarm just went off.  Time to do another 1:30 on the elliptical. 

Huff!  Puff!  I’m back.  Got my heart rate up to 165 this time. 

I kept walking and was getting hungry.  Then I saw this


This is me in the blustery, gray day.  You can see the pelting rain on my glasses.  This is me happy after resisting Yuckdonald’s.  J

I kept walking and saw this on a T-shirt

I’d love to see this sign.  No, I’d love to run past this sign!  (Did I really just say that?) 

So let’s wrap up this lesson, boys and girls.  What have we learned today?  Remember when Jesus told Peter that the spirit is willing but the body is weak?  My spirit is very much willing to continue running.  The last few months I’ve thought that my body was weak.  Yesterday I learned that my body is capable of much more than I give it credit for.  There may be one more race added to my church’s running team’s schedule that I will at least walk.  Beginning this morning I increased my time on the treadmill by 50%, from 1 minute to 1-1/2 minutes every waking hour that I’m home.  I will start walking a full 3.1 miles instead of just 1 mile.  (How did I EVER drop back that far?)  I will run as my knee allows, finding a balance between the fact that my body is capable of much more than I give it credit for and the need to listen to my body and not do permanent damage to my knee. 

Hold on…alarm just went off. Time to do another 1:30 on the elliptical. 
Huff! Puff! I’m back.  Also, I remembered to do a plank this time, and upped it from 20 seconds to 30.  It wasn't easy.  1, 2, 3, 4, 5...just 20...6, 7, 8, 9, 10...your body is capable of much more than you think...11, it's not...13, 14, 15, 16, 17...YES IT IS...18, 19, about just 25?...21, 22, 23, 24...NO!  Keep going!...25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30!!!  Whew!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Voluntary Athletic Agony

Usually I fast supper on Saturday and breakfast and lunch on Sunday and eat again at 5:00.  That gives me time to get my energy built back up to run Monday morning.  This past Saturday, though, I intended to fast lunch and supper and just breakfast on Sunday because we had lunch at Sonny’s BBQ planned with immediate and extended family.  I didn’t want to fast lunch and supper on Saturday, though.  I wanted to eat.  It wasn’t a direct command from God, so I felt justified in modifying it to a liquid day.  Besides, I had smoothie left from Friday and figured I should use it up.  However, I didn’t just drink smoothie.  I ate a little bit of cheese and crackers too. 

A couple weeks ago I made up 80-calorie snack-size baggies of roasted, unsalted almonds to keep in my purse in case I got hungry and needed a quick snack.  Some of you may remember this picture I put on Facebook.

As I walked into church yesterday morning having had only smoothie for breakfast but plenty of it, I had the thought that I could have one of those bags of almonds.  I countered with, “But I’m not hungry.”  Within SECONDS I felt hunger.  I started to text a friend and tell her that old thoughts were attacking, but God interrupted and told me I needed to talk to Him first, so I went to the altar and prayed.  I told him I knew I didn’t NEED those almonds and asked him to help me resist them.  When I got back to my seat I took them out of my purse and put them in my daughter’s backpack so I’d have to ask her for them.  That would put an extra step in the process of getting to them and extra time for me to think about whether I really needed them or not.  (I just realized they’re still in her backpack 24 hours later!)  I finished texting my friend and told her that I need to honor God whether I have old thoughts or new ones. 

She texted back saying, “Satan has got our old number, doesn’t he?”  I love that imagery!  He sure does have my old number, but I don’t answer that phone anymore!  I actually do have an old phone that I never got rid of when I got my new one a few months ago. 

Once or twice a week I get a call on it, but I don’t answer it.  Actually, I never even hear it ring because I’ve turned the volume all the way down.  In the same way, I need to turn the volume on my old thoughts all the way to silent, like I did yesterday morning.  I don’t answer that cell phone anymore, and I got rid of my home number.  When satan calls that number he should hear, “You have reached a number that has been disconnected or is no longer in service.” 

I have a new number, literally and figuratively.  The longer I refuse to answer that literal old number and don’t use that phone, the fewer calls I get on it.  So it is with my figurative old number. 

We’re studying through 1 Timothy on Sunday mornings.  Chapter 6 verses 11-12 say, “You, [Michele] belong to God; so run (!) from all these evil things, and follow what is right and good.  Pursue a Godly life, along with faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness.  Fight the good fight for what we believe.  Hold tightly to the eternal life that God has given you, which you have confessed so well before many witnesses.” 

Our pastor said that the phrase “hold tightly” gives the picture of voluntary athletic agony.  Boy, do I know about voluntary athletic agony!  J  I need to be willing to be in agony if necessary as I fight this good fight, as I was and did yesterday morning when I resisted eating the almonds.  I endure the agony of aching feet and lungs because I know the end result is worth it.  I endure the agony of a stomach and taste buds that are calling for food they don’t need as I deny them what isn’t good for them, or at least not necessary at that time, because I know the end result of obedience to God is worth it. 

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Eating Is Sometimes A Bother

We went strawberry picking last week with some friends and family and to a park afterward.  I got Subway on the way to the park and decided to eat mine in the car so my daughter could drive.  I didn’t want a teenager with only her learner’s permit trying to eat while driving!  Also, this would free me up to hold my niece when we got to the park while the others ate.  My cousin’s husband remarked that I wasn’t eating and I told him the story.  He thought it was funny that I wanted to get eating over and done with, like it was a bother.  HA!  What a long way God’s brought me that eating is now sometimes a bother or just a task to do and not something I plan my day around. 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


I RAN AGAIN TODAY!!!  For the first time in 3 months!  Thank you, Brandice, for coming over and showing me the dynamic stretches to warm up.  They helped.  We ran about 3 sections and walked 1 for 3 miles!  I felt like this when I was running

but I was running! 

It felt good to push my lungs beyond what they've had to do lately.  It felt good to talk with Brandice the whole way and catch up on what's been happening in our lives.  If I had been by myself, I might not have gone the whole distance.  I haven't even walked 3 miles since January.  Ahhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!! 



Monday, April 2, 2012

Another Revelation

I felt bloated and hungry at the same time, but stuck it out for well over an hour.  Then I ate ice cream with strawberries.  I didn't think to measure the ice cream; I just scooped some into a bowl then sliced 5 or 6 strawberries to mix in with it.  While I was eating it, my brother texted me and we started having a fun conversation.  Before I knew it I had finished the ice cream, even drinking the last bit that had melted.  I now feel not just bloated but FAT.  L  I decided to go rinse the rest down the drain.  This isn’t the first time I’ve rinsed ice cream down the drain.  Or the second.  Or even the third.  I’m seeing a pattern here.  It’s not a good idea for me to keep ice cream in the house.  When I’m out, I don’t feel a need to get ice cream.  In fact, I honestly can’t remember the last time I had ice cream out.  It’s been YEARS.  The only reason this was here is that my daughter and her friend made fried ice cream last week and this was left over. 

When David sinned with Bathsheba, one thing that led to his downfall is that he was not where he was supposed to be.  He should’ve been at war with his troops.  I should’ve been at work.  It’s now 9:30 at night and I have at least another hour of work to do.  I didn't need that ice cream to ensure my continued survival.  I could've had nothing. 

I want to say, “Live and learn.  Learn from this, brush it off, and move on.”  This is starting to be recurrent, though.  It’s not enough to brush it off and move on.  I don’t know what else I could’ve done differently.  Earlier this evening I did wait and the hungry feeling persisted so I thought it was real.  Maybe it was.  I don’t know what I could’ve had instead.  No, I do.  I could’ve put some thought into it and come up with a better snack than ice cream.  I don’t have a grocery store in my house, but I do have enough things that I could’ve made a better choice. 

I just prayed and asked God to forgive me.  I’m starting over right now.  Not tomorrow morning.  Certainly not next Monday.  Obviously I don’t need to eat anything else tonight.  Tomorrow’s breakfast will be my usual steel-cut oats with homemade yogurt and strawberries.