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Waking up with my Wal-Mart Guy!

Several years ago, I had just given birth to my first child, a beautiful (and huge) baby boy whom we named Bradley “Cole.” As joyous as we were over his birth, it was absolutely devastating to me that I’d gained over sixty pounds (more than double the amount of recommended weight gain) during my pregnancy. I’d had the baby, but the weight was still there!

Honestly, the weight itself wasn’t the biggest problem. I knew that I was heavy, but even more than that, I knew how I’d gotten there. I was bound again to an eating disorder that had nearly taken my life just a few years prior. I was alone and in pain. I was once again in bondage to an eating disorder that was consuming my life! As the saying goes: Eating disorders aren’t as much about how much food you consume, but rather how much food consumes you!

Unmistakably—I was consumed! It was the first thing I thought about when I woke up in the morning, and the last thing I thought about when I went to bed, not to mention all the hours in between. If I wasn’t thinking about eating, I was thinking about not eating. The more miserable and depressed I became, the more I buried my pain under more food. Soon everything in my life was falling apart! I’d allowed food to become my God and I knew that was a sin and I knew better.

Knowing that I couldn’t continue to live like this, I decided to get serious with God in prayer! Night after night, I would sit and rock my newborn baby, praying that God would deliver me! When he was asleep, I would sit alone in my chair and just cry. When no one was around, I would lay face-down on the floor and plead for God to help me. I had been asking God to deliver me and change me, day after day, week after week, but no answer! It was like God just wasn’t hearing me!

One afternoon, in all of my misery, I decided to leave the baby with my mom and escape to do some shop therapy…something else I knew better than to do! But  it was there in Wal-Mart that something defining happened that would forever change my outlook on prayer!

Anthony and I were in the check out line just waiting for our groceries to be rung up when a friend of my husbands came walking up to us in line.  I can’t really tell you his name.  I just called him the Wal-Mart guy because that’s the only place we would ever see him.  He didn’t work there…we just happened to run into him almost every time we were there shopping.  Anyways, he walked up to Anthony, put his hand on his shoulder, and said “Good to see ya’ man!”  Then looking over at me, pointing at my [still] enormous belly, he said words I’ll never forget, “Hey, not much longer huh?”

It didn’t take him but a moment to realize that he had just stuck his foot so far down his throat that neither he, nor I, could breathe.  The room seemingly stopped.  It was all the nosey cashier could do to bag faster and not look up.  The “Wal-Mart guy’s” eyes were as big as saucers as I imagine his heart was probably beating out of his chest.  My knuckles were turning white and my eyes welled up with tears.  I could envision myself literally leaping over the cart between us and pummeling the man half to death- I wanted to “lay hands on the man suddenly!”  All I knew was to write that check and get out of there before I broke.  I knew that given my already unstable frame of mind and roller-coaster emotions that I had better just get to the car!  I wrote my check and tried desperately not to look at anyone- especially him.  I didn’t know what I wanted to do worse…scream, hurt him, or squall like a baby! I nearly ran to the parking lot!

But then—somewhere between the double exit doors of Wal-Mart and my parked SUV— God spoke to me in an undeniable way. Almost instantly, I was reminded of every tear I’d shed about my eating disorder, and every prayer I’d prayed concerning my weight gain. I could literally see myself lying face down on my floor in tears, crying out for God to help me! Then, as I began loading my groceries into the truck, He brought my attention to all of the junk I’d just purchased at Wal-Mart—cookies, ice cream, desserts…

And then… an all-too-familiar scripture went scrolling through my mind—one I’d preached dozens of times before—the one found in 2 Chronicles 7:14:

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

 I knew exactly what He was telling me!

Later that night, I got alone with God and He was kind enough to illuminated two very important words to me in this scripture: if and then. As He pointed out: that passage didn’t say that God would hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land, and all they would have to do is sit there and look pretty while praying about it. No, it said if the people of God would do three things, 1) humble themselves, 2) pray, and 3) seek His face, then God would do three things that they were asking, 1) hear, 2) forgive, and 3) heal their land.

In other words, IF I wanted to be delivered, and IF I wanted to lose weight, THEN I would have to eat differently.  IF I was going to change, THEN I would have to get off of my complaining, excuse-making backside and DO something about it.  Praying for weight loss was pointless if my prayer was followed by a pint of Ben-n-Jerry’s ice cream!

I guess you could say it like this: this is where the rubber meets the road. Are we just praying that God will deliver us or are we willing to get into agreement with what He calls for us to do in order that we might be delivered?

Let me put it to you this way: Are your actions consistent with your prayers?

Mine weren’t! I was asking God to deliver me of my food addiction but then telling him to keep away from my food! Its kind of like a porn addict asking God for deliverance and yet refusing give up his favorite magazine or lock up his computer! Or a cancer patient asking God for healing while continuing to smoke 3 packs of cigarettes a day! Or an unfaithful wife asking God to improve her marriage but not being willing to end her extramarital affair! 

Friend, our actions MUST be consistent with our prayers! God wants to help us, but we have to be willing to do our part. I’ve heard it said this way: If we’ll do what we can do, then God will do what we can’t do! There are things that are required of us before we can expect God to intervene. This is not because God wants to exercise dictatorship over us; He simply wants us to turn to Him and trust Him. It is through our obedience to God’s commands that we show Him that we love Him, that we trust Him, and that we are ready and willing for Him to come into our situation and do His part. And when we do that, then and only then can we fully expect that He will show up, being faithful to His word, and work on our behalf.

“IF my people…THEN will I hear from heaven…”

Dear Lord, forgive me. Forgive me for asking You for one thing while doing another. Help me to keep my actions consistent with my prayers! Oh…and one more thing…thank you for caring enough to send me a wake-up call through my Wal-Mart guy that day! ;) I love you too!

Resist the Funk!

Have you ever been in a “funk”? (Well, that’s at least what I call it!) You know… the periods in life when, for whatever reason, we lose our focus and just can’t seem to find the energy, the motivation, or the drive to do—well, anything!

A “funk” can last anywhere from a day to a few weeks (if we let it!). It may be initiated by an event in life that deals us a blow to our spirit…or sometimes, we really can’t figure out why we feel like we do, we just know that we do! During a funk, if you’re anything like me, you just want to stay in bed, pull the blinds and shut out the world!

But, as hard as it may be (and trust me, I know how hard it can be) we must realize that, most of the time, it will not just go away on its own…

We must RESIST “THE FUNK"!! 

So while we may not always be able to control the circumstances of life or what we may feel at any given moment, we CAN choose what we do when a “funk” tries to set in. 

Charles Swindoll has said that he is convinced that life is 10 percent what happens to us and 90 percent how we react to it. And I totally agree.

So here are a few things that will help us to resist “the funk” and maintain a healthier lifestyle and better balance in our lives so that we can truly enjoy our everyday lives:

1) Get adequate sleep each night! And allow yourself a “day of rest” as God commands us in His word (Exodus 20: 8-10). It willkeep your brain chemically balanced and thinking more clearly throughout the day.

2) Start your day right! First, get out of bed immediately, don’t linger. Every day is a day that the Lord has made so greet Him as you wake; He is with you from minute one of each day. Then, even if you have to get up a little earlier each morning, give yourself at least a half hour each morning to pray, read the Word and set your mind on Gods perspective for your day—remember, things look much different from His perspective!

3) Get moving! The endorphins released during exercise will make you feel better almost instantly. Choose an exercise that you won’t dread doing—dance to your favorite music, ride a stationary bike while watching your favorite show, or go for a walk with a friend! Making it enjoyable will help you to stick to it! I do my devotional and pray while on my stationary bike each morning, that way I am getting two beneficial things done at one time—plus it keeps me from thinking about just how much I really don’t feel like doing it! :)

4) Eat good foods. You don’t have to go crazy with a whole new diet, just start by curbing back the ones you know aren’t good for you—the sodas (yes, even the “diet” ones), the sweets, the fast foods—and begin incorporating better, healthier foods into your diet each day. You’ll find that exercising and eating good foods feed a better overall attitude and almost instantly make you feel better about yourself!

5) Be patient with yourself! You didn’t get here overnight and chances are, it won’t turn around overnight either! Growth takes time so be patient with yourself. God loves you and is patient with you, so why not love yourself and be patient with yourself for a change! Cut yourself some slack. One day at a time…hey, one hour at a time if you must! You’re going to get there! Slow and steady always wins the race. Be patient with yourself.

6) Stay focused on the positive! What you focus on the longest will become strongest so surround yourself with positive things that will uplift you; positive, encouraging people, reading materials, TV shows and music help to promote good, positive thoughts. And watch your words! Don’t be your own worst enemy. No more criticizing yourself; Speak words of life into yourself daily and throughout the day. No more negative talk, no more “I can’t”. You can do all things through Christ (Phil 4:13).

7) Start small. Based on where you are, what you have and what you are trying to accomplish, set some specific short-term goals that can be achieved daily. Write them down and place them where you can see them. Greet each new day with your daily goal in mind. Again, take it one day at a time!

 8) Stay consistent. Remember, studies show that it takes 21 days to form a new habit, so set goals that can be achieved daily over a period of at least 21 days. Soon, you will notice that it’s become your lifestyle! If you stumble or fall, get right back up and back on course. Don’t wait. Let go of yesterday, everyday! Remind yourself every morning that today is a new day. God’s mercies are new every morning and so should you give yourself mercy if you stumble.

9) Find a friend! Resist the tendency to withdrawl from others! Ask a friend to help you to get (and stay) on track- ask them to keep you accountable to your goals. Give them permission to call you and check up on you. Let them bug you if need be. Ask for help. You are only as alone as you choose to be. If the friends you associate with are negative, lazy and unmotivated, find some new friends! You become who you hang around so choose your friends wisely!

10) Keep God first…and last! Just as you start each new day with God, finish each day with Him too. Before bed, take some time to assess your day and the progress that you are making. Keep a journal. Track your progress. Always take time to celebrate your daily accomplishments as well as ask God to show you areas that could use improvement. But stay positive about yourself. End each day with good thoughts—God thoughts! Then, start back at #1!

Have an awesome, “funk”-free day! :)

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Discover seven practical, biblical principles that will get you beyond the pain, the shame and the heartaches of life in order to achieve balance, fulfillment, confidence, and a true purpose for living.
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Real. Approachable. Inspiring. Encouraging. Engaging. Insightful. Relevant. Relatable. Funny. Honest. Passionate about Restoration.
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