Friday, 8 January 2016

Jesus Friend of Sinners

On New Years Eve my family went to the new years eve skate at the coliseum our church sponsors.  I was enjoying skating not really thinking about anything in particular and then I noticed there was a song playing.   I recognised it as:  "Jesus friend of sinner's" by Casting Crowns. You need to go to utube and listen to it because it is awesome!  I have heard it lots of times and have always liked it.  I enjoy how the song talks about not judging people, but loving them instead.  This is a value I have been passionate about since I was young.  But on New Years eve  the song hit me in a completely different way.  It overwhelmed me and healed me as I was gliding along amidst all those people.

I have struggled since I was a teenager with feeling like I am a failure especially when it comes to my Christian walk.  I think it stemmed from being a perfectionist and feeling like I had to be perfect for God to be pleased with me.  I felt like He was angry every time I made a mistake and when you are a perfectionist you make a lot of mistakes!  This tainted my life and made everything a struggle.  I thought that life was just hard and that was the way it had to be.  I thought that when God said we would have trials that the fear and sense of failure I was experiencing were the trails God was talking about.  So I just figured I needed to try harder to be perfect and endure all the emotional stress, failing brought on.  But I see now that I endured the very things that Jesus died to free me of.

What sort of things were effected by my perfectionism?  Everything I did was effected!  For instance, once when I was helping out with our youth group,  I created a permission slip for snow camp but forgot to change the date from last years slip.  Handing out a permission slip with the wrong date ruined my entire day.  Looking back I can see how silly this was because in the grand scheme of things it really did not matter to anyone else that the date was wrong.  The youth knew that the permission form was obviously for this year not last year.   My whole day made up of numerous events like the permission slip; of me judging myself, and finding myself lacking.  It was like I was continually playing this game to trying to be perfect and keeping score in my head.  If I lost any points during the day I would feel like a failure which led to depression and feeling like I did not deserve anything good.    But looking back I wonder if maybe I was trying to fix the hole in my soul, by being perfect.  I was sexually abused as a kid and it really messed me up inside.  I did not deal with what happened, or go to God to heal me, I just buried it all and tried to pretend nothing was wrong.  I think I was trying to fix my broken heart by being perfect and I felt that if I could just not make any mistakes the hurt deep in me would go away.   The devil had me right where he wanted me.   This attempt by myself to fix the problem added a huge amount of pain and stress to my life.  There was no way I could be perfect so this just made my failures more painful, and spiralled me further into hopelessness.  I was haunted by condemnation and felt unworthy and insecure, but all the while, I was careful to not let others see my weakness.  I taught others about forgiveness and grace but felt it did not apply to me.

So when I was gliding along and I heard the song about Jesus being a friend of Sinners I had an epiphany.  I realised that all the things I felt God was mad at me for - where sins!  That made me a sinner and the song said that Jesus was a friend to sinners!  This song about God's grace did not just apply to others but to ME.  God was not mad at me or even expecting me to be perfect he was wanting me to grasp His forgiveness and fully embrace His love for me.  He died to free me from sin, and did not expect me to try harder but to trust Him.  I couldn't do this on my own and I was not meant to even try.  Which is why my life was such an endless, epic fail. I was hoping that being good would impress God and somehow fix my broken soul.  But trying to be good without God actually fueled pride and separated me from God.  God is so not impressed when we try to be good on our own. The fact that I failed so often, when I tried in my own strength, was no surprise to God.  God was so aware of our weaknesses that He sent Jesus to die on the Cross to be our SAVIOR.    I totally missed the crux of Christianity : the fact that I needed a Savior to save me from my sin.   Not just to forgive my sins so I could have a relationship with God and get into heaven, but to free me from the power of sin in my everyday life.

All that pressure I had been putting on myself slipped away as I grasped that God's grace and mercy applied to me too.  I did not have to be perfect to please God, and my righteousness came from Jesus.  Relief overwhelmed me as I realised God loved me just as I was - a sinner - someone who makes lots of mistakes.  I did not need to marinate in condemnation when I blow it, but accept God's forgiveness, rejoice and move on.  All the shame I had been holding for years, washed away.  I could finally admit that I was not strong and that I had huge issues and that I was not the wonderful Christian I was trying so hard to be.  By believing all of Satan's lies I had tortured myself for years - wasted years.  But the the comfort that was flowing into my life as I skated around was so freeing.   Being free from pride and shame felt amazing.  I had been trying so hard to have it all together -  it felt great to have permission to be a mess.  It was going to be ok because my success did not rest in me but on God.   I didn't need to try to be good on my own strength.  That was not my job!  I could trust God to transform me and if I stay close and listen and obey, He will lead me and change me.   While I was writing this blog another Casting Crowns song came on that describes how I don't have to figure it all out by myself.  It is called, "Just be Held."   It is not by trying harder, that I become someone God is pleased with, but by trusting more completely in God, and surrendering all to Him.

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Gift Issues

This is the season for gift giving, but I have issues with gifts, especially the ones God gives me.  When God gives us gifts they can become tightly held possessions that we love more than God, which is not good.  This is something I have been painfully aware of, for most of my life.  In fact I am so afraid that I will become too attached to God's gifts, that I go the opposite way and don't allow myself to enjoy God's gifts at all.   I thought that this attitude was a super spiritual one, but lately I have been realising that fear is never from God.   Also it occurred to me that this may be part of the reason I struggle with depression.  But more importantly I realised lately that God wants me to enjoy the blessings He gives me.  James 1:17 says "every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows."   I would be pretty offended if I gave my daughter something super awesome for her birthday and she did not want to receive it because she might enjoy it too much.  There is a difference between idolising the gifts God gives which is wrong, and refusing to receive them at all.  So how do I find balance, so that fear does not prevent me from enjoying all of God blessings.

One solution involves focusing on the giver not the gifts.  I can do this by remembering to praise God for the gifts He gives instead of getting distracted by the gift alone.  It is when I let pride and greed in, and I forget about God that I am in danger of sinning.  But if I keep God first in my life I can enjoy the gifts and not worry about making them too important.  For instance, if I get a new sweater as a Christmas gift, it is good to praise God for it and enjoy getting to wear it.  Being thankful to God for the gifts is a much better solution than not allowing myself to enjoy the gifts at all.  Because the very act of trying to prevent myself from enjoying things causes a lot of despair and frustration.  God wants me to be experiencing His joy and peace not despair!

Another way to make sure I don't love the gifts more than God is to make sure I share the gifts.  If I am looking for ways to bless others with my gifts than I don't hold the gifts to tightly.  One of God's blessing that I have trouble truly enjoying is my horses.  I feel guilty that I have them when others who want horses don't have them.  But I can share my horses with those people and God can use my horses to bless them.  This prevents me from loving my horses more than God because I am willing to share them with whoever He asks me to.  Sharing keeps the focus off the gift itself and puts it on God who we are serving with our gifts. 

Sometimes I feel just a vague feeling of guilt or anxiety when I go to enjoy some of my gifts.  Is this because I am actually sinning or just Satan trying to rain on my parade, and tempting me with false guilt.  I have learnt that I can examine my heart and my actions to determine if I am sinning and not assume if I feel guilty that I have done something wrong.  For instance if I buy an MP3 player I really want, even when I don't have the money, I am sinning.  That is not a gift that God has given me, but I gift I have sinned to acquire and so I should repent and return it.   However if I have saved up, made sure my hubby is good with my purchase and I get an MP3 player then I do not need to feel anxious and guilty.  Then it is good for me to thank God for my new purchase and enjoy listening to some good music!  God does not want me to let false guilt steal my joy.

On a deeper level I think I might be afraid to enjoy God's blessings because in the past some things I have been given have then been taken away and that hurt.  I don't know how to deal with the pain of loss so I just prevent myself from getting attached at all.   For instance, in the past I have lost some close friends who have rejected me.   So I have shut down parts of my heart.  I have erected walls and limits on how happy I allow myself to feel, as my solution to the pain of loss.  Satan has lied to me and told me that to avoid pain I need to not feel pleasure. But I am starting to see that this is a lie from the pit of hell.  God has other solutions for dealing with the pain of loss; much better solutions!  Without going into to much detail, (that will be another blog) what are God's solutions for the pain of loss?  They involve grieving, trusting, and expecting God to comfort and restore.  So I don't need to prevent myself from enjoying the gifts.  I can enjoy what God gives me and trust God to heal me and restore me if loss happens.   Jesus said in John  10: 10 "the thief (Satan) comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows).  Trusting God gives me the freedom to enjoy what He gives instead of letting Satan steal my joy.  

Thursday, 10 December 2015

a new dimension

Last Sunday we had a bit of an incident before church.  In the past something of this magnitude would have ruined my whole day.  So what was different about this time?:  I handled it God's way and that changed everything.   Sometimes it can feel that the Bible is an old irrelevant book that has no real barring on today.  But this "old" book is where I learned the revolutionary new way to respond to unexpected difficulties. It says in Philippians 4:6&7:"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."  In the past I struggled with anxiety on a good day so if anything went amiss my anxiety would go into hyper drive.  This seemed to just make the situation I was struggling with worse.  I would get stuck in this negative funk that coloured the situation and made me feel hopeless.  I played out the worst case scenario in my mind.  Then the complaining and questioning God would begin.  Since I was planning for and expecting the situation to go badly it did.  When you approach challenges with this mind set it causes emotional torture but I think it also effects the outcome of the issue in a very negative way.   My experiences in the past have prov en this true.  

But Sunday I approached my issue with a different attitude; the one God asks us to have in Philippians 4:6&7.  Sunday morning I had gotten dressed in my church clothes and was just sitting down to relax for a bit and there was a knock on our door.  Ashley who boards horses with us and does the chores on Sunday morning apologetically informed me that the horse water bowl was angry and violently overflowing.  Her horse Pal thought we had done it on purpose and was happily drinking from his personal horse size water fountain.  Regardless of Pal making the best of the situation, this was a bad situation that needed immediate fixing.  This is not he first time this automatic heated water trough has malfunctioned.  It has won many a battle in the past and even the times I have conquered it I have taken 4 plus hours to wrangle it back into control.  Usually I give up and have to call in the big guns: my husband or father.   Just the mention of water trough issues is enough to send me into a spiral of anxiety that ends in panic, complaining, and failure.  

But this time God gave me the strength to not go there, and deal with it His way instead.  So I started to pray instead of beginning with complaining and frustration.   Now in the past I thought I was praying but saying "God please help I seriously can't believe this happened to me!" and then slipping into self pity and doubting that God would do anything is not really prayer.  At least it is not very effective or pleasing to God.  But this time I was not praying with a negative attitude.  I was able to give control of the situation to God and trust Him to fix it.  Trust is so much more fun than anxiety.   Instead of being mad that my water bowl was acting up I thanked God out loud that I was blessed enough to have a heated water bowl for my horses.  I think in the past when I was complaining I was giving the devil permission to wreck havoc in my life.  By complaining and thinking the worst I was agreeing with Satan instead of agreeing with God.  So this time when I agreed with God the "peace that transcends all understanding" that is talked about in Philippians materialised in my heart right there in the middle of my problem.  I did not panic this time, I calmly but quickly proceeded to fix the water bowl.  

I knew the first thing I had to do was get the water turned off to the bowl.  But that was not as easy as it first appeared.  I rushed to the basement where the shut off valve is only to remember that wood was blocking it.  This meant I would have to go around the wood furnace and the water heater to the dark spidery area behind to get to the valve.  So I rushed up stairs where I searched 3 places before finding the flashlight I needed to crawl behind everything.  Then when I crouching past the water heater I flipped some switch and hot water poured all over me.  Each of these complications in the past would have plunged me further into anxiety and panic.  But this time I was depending on God not on me and He came through.  The peace that was guarding my heart continued to pour into my spirit and so I just screamed and closed the switch and continued on to the water shut off.  I could not remember which way to turn the tap but remembered righty tighty lefty loosey and got it done.  I carefully returned past the furnace and water heater and ran up stairs.  I throw on a coat over my wet church clothes and went outside past the barn to waiting the water trough.
The couple days before I had been transferring all my notes from last years day timer to my new one.  One of the notes was from the last time I had to fix the water trough.  God had prompted me at that time to write down what I had learned the hard way through trial and error about how to fix the water trough.  I was so glad I had listened and wrote stuff down because now I needed to use it to avoid the pitfalls that had resulted in hours of extra work the last time.  In the past I would have got bogged down second guessing myself and wasted a lot of time deliberating about what to try first.  But I thanked God for planting the needed wisdom from the last time I tried to fix the trough freshly in my mind.  When I got to the bowl and saw that the float was no longer attached, I did not get stuck I just confidently reattached the float.  I also asked Ashley to help which made it so much easier.  In the past I would have wanted to try to do it myself and that never ended well.   I was not totally sure that I had the float on right but instead of freaking out about it I just left everything else off and first ran down and turned the water back on.  When I returned to the trough and could see that it was all operating well then Ashely put the cover back on.  The last time I tried to fix the trough it had taken me about 4 hours but this time with trusting God instead of being anxious it took 15 minutes.   Not only did it get fixed but while fixing it I did not loose my peace.  I could victoriously go back inside and change into some dry clothes and be on time for and enjoy church.  David said in Psalms "with my God I can scale a wall".  I say "with my God I can calm an angry water trough!"    

Sunday, 29 November 2015


Is waiting agony for you? For most of my life until recently, it has been torture for me.  The sermon this week shed some light on why being left hanging has been so hard in the past.  The way I was handling waiting was all wrong and I was sabotaging God's solutions.  In the last few weeks God has been specifically teaching me about this area of waiting.  Today the topic of the sermon was waiting and what Jason had to say lined up perfectly with what God had already been teaching me.  I love it when God's spirit arranges for confirmation!  So what was it in this weeks sermon that was so helpful?

First of all while waiting we need to embrace our vulnerability.  In the past I have been ashamed to even admit my areas of vulnerability and certainly not embraced them.  But recently I have experienced the difference being humble and honest can make.  Last week we had a truck incident.  The dash display died, the engine light came on and it would not shift into reverse or park.  So we took it in to get a quote of what was wrong and what it would cost to fix it.  I don't know how you respond when your vehicle breaks down.  This is not a situation where I normally shine.  I just find it frustrating to have an extra unexpected bill thrust upon me and I don't handle it well.  This particular bill was for 1500 just for parts with labour on top of that. Yikes!  I think part of why I freaked out about car repairs in the past is that I never really planned for it.  I would whine to God about why He would allow our car to need repairs when He know I would have to get the money out of the line of credit.   I was living dangerously and just hoping that it never happened.  How unreasonable is that!  I think my coping technique of denial was a rather poor choice.  I was denying that it was my weakness of not planning ahead that had me in such a pickle.  God convicted me about half a year ago of this very fact, and since then we have been paying into a vehicle fix fund each month.  So when my display went cu put I was not as stressed as I usually am, because I had saved some money to have it fixed.  I had faced my weakness and allowed God to correct it.

However, I am sad to say that at the mention of 1500 I still freaked out.  That is huge amount of money - way more than was in the vehicle fix fund.  It was then I applied point two from the sermon: Search for God.  In the past my habit when something bad happened was to I whine to God, but that was the extent of my contact with Him.  I probably don't have to tell you that whining is really ineffective when it comes to finding solutions to problems.  But this time I stopped the fit of questioning fear and evil foreboding.  I gave this problem to God and then waited for Him to come through.  If we are anxious, and imagining all kind of horrendous things that might happen while we are waiting it is agony.  I had to admit that my own weakness of responding in this manner was not making waiting a good time for me.  The problem has never been that God was taking too long to answer - the problem was me.  I seem to be saying that a lot lately!  So I admitted to God that I was having a problem with worry, fear and hopelessness when it comes to owing huge amounts of money to fix my truck.  Admitting my vulnerablity again.

Why did I respond automatically with fear and anxiety when faced with a problem.  Obviously I was having trouble trusting God or I would have been experiencing His peace.  If I can't trust God why would that be?  It says in James that when we ask God for wisdom we should not doubt or we will not receive from God.  Could my doubt not only be causing misery while waiting but preventing me from receiving God's answer?  Times in the past when it seems like God has not come through were all times when I was doubting that He could or would help me.  God was not silent just for the heck of it but because my doubt was preventing Him from answering.  Again the problem was me!  So this time I examined why do I feel like God will not answer me in particular.  Why do I fear the answer and feel like God has awful things in store for me in the future.  I am not expecting God to do good things just to do things that will "develop my character" and that I will barely make it through.  Wow writing that down really shows how silly a thought that is.  What was point two of the sermon again: Search for God.  I realised that I had not been finding or trusting the true God.  The God I was serving was not like the God described in the Bible.  Where did I get such a negative view of God.   Satan had whispered a boat load of lies into my head and I had bought them hock line and sinker.  If you think God is out to get you than waiting certainly is not a happy place to be.  So again the problem is me and my wrong view of God.  But the solution is easy - search for the real God and get reacquainted.  Getting to know the real God blew my fear and anxiety out of the water and then I was able to ask for wisdom with faith and God answered!

I gave God my truck and control of the whole situation.  I renounced fear that I might be disappointed and decided to try faith for a change.  I did not even spend hordes of energy trying to figure it all out first so I could let God know how to fix it.  In the past this bossiness on my part would often lead to disappointment when God did not fix it the way I wanted Him too.  I put the creator of the universe in a box I created with my limited brain - not my most shining moment!   So from now on I don't want to limit Him at all, which is why I give Him total control of the truck situation.  My job is joyfully trust God to sort my life out and just do what He tells me.  I don't need to feel shame that I can't fix it because my need just sends me to God who is the strong one anyway.  That way God gets the glory too, which is how it should be.  I searched for God and when I found the right, true one I trusted that He was working on the situation and that He had good planned.  Being free from anxiety and fear made waiting so much more fun!  In fact waiting was not even an issue, because the outcome was not something to fear but something to look forward too.

So what was God's answer?  How did God help us with our truck.  It is a good thing I did not try to figure it out because vehicles are really out of my realm.  God gave the answer to my husband, who was able to order a used part on line from the states and put it in himself.  We were able to cover it with the money we had saved so far in the vehicle repair fund. God is good.  Trusting instead of worrying while waiting really is better for our stress levels!  Then as a bonus God meets our needs.  No wonder Satan has been lying to me for so long.  He is the thief who comes to steal and destroy.  Jesus came that I might have life and have it to the full!!


But don't get stuck in your vulnerability  

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Incest & Murder: the unraveling of a family (yikes!) - 2 Samuel 13-14

      The sermon on Sunday was about David's messed up family.   It reads like a soup opera or a talk show -  so much drama and so much sin.  I have found that sin always leads to drama one way or another!  It may strike a cord with the world, but is it relevant to us church going folks?  Incest or any form of sexual abuse is something we would hope God would protect us from, especially in our Christian circles.  But my heart can't help hurting for Tamar who experience such horrible things because of her brothers sin.    Despite my church going status, God has brought  many people into my life who have experienced the damage of being wronged in this way.  It appears that being a Christian does not grant you immunity from being harmed by others who choose to do the unthinkable.   I have to be honest: this has torn my heart apart and caused me to doubt God's goodness and faithfulness.  What is God doing about this heinous problem - where is He?

     Well this year my doubt met it's match when I took the wounded heart.  The wounded heart is offered by our church for victims of childhood sexual abuse.  I had felt that God was prompting me to take it for a number of years now.  However, my abuse was pretty minor compared to what Tamar and many of my friends had endured and was not inflicted by a family member, so I did not think the abuse was effecting me.  But God still kept whispering when ever it would be advertised.  Finally this year I signed up for the wounded heart and even went, and it has been the most life changing thing ever!  My doubt and pain has been met head on by the Creator of the Universe and the lover of my messed up soul.

      Before I took the Wounded Heart, I was single handedly trying to wrangle all the crazy emotions that are a natural result of being wronged in such a deep way.  I felt overwhelmed and condemned for having such strong and dark feelings and because I was ashamed I buried them.  Now if you asked me about how I was coping, I would proudly tell you how I was learning to live above my feelings, I would probably even offer to teach you how to do it too.  But really it was just a super spiritual way of saying I was in denial.  Denial is not healthy and oh how I know that now!  The fall out of 30 odd years of denial was a far worse than the damage done by the initial abuse.  If only back then when I was first abused,  I had brought my pain and brokenness to God and trusted Him with it instead of trying to pretend it did not bother me and I was fine!  But I listened to Satan when he whispered in my ear that I was weak for feeling such emotions and God wanted me to buck up and just get over it.  I felt like I was now an object of condemnation and I did not deserve to be blessed or happy anymore.  I was mad at myself for feeling and so I tried to teach myself how to ignore my feelings.  Emotions were seen as invalid or maybe even sinful.  

     God was longing to wrap me in his arms and comfort me as only He can but I couldn't go to Him because I thought I needed to fix this myself.   So as the years went by my doubt and frustration with God grew - although I did not admit this to anyone.  I was desperately trying to fix this hurt deep in my soul and the method I picked was trying to be a good Christian girl.  I decided that if I could just be perfect maybe whatever was wrong with me would go away.   If I could just please everyone in my life maybe then the depression and despair I lived with on a daily basis would finally disappear.  You don't need to be a rocket scientist to see this was not a great solution.  But I was so messed up inside at this point that I was not seeing things clearly.   God wanted to comfort me and bring healing but the lies I was believing preventing me from giving Him control and from trusting Him.  I was shooting myself in the foot over and over but blaming God for my pain. 

But then I finally listened to His gentle voice and took the Wounded Heart.  Through it I realised that it is not that God was not strong enough to heal me it was I was preventing Him from doing so.   Through this group I was able to uncover some of the lies that had got me to such a horrible place.  I was able to see that God loves me and is not disappointed in me.   He was feeling compassion and fierce love for me when I was abused not expecting me to forgive instantly and stop being so emotional about it all.  He wanted to hold me in his arms and soothe me and fill the hole that had been ripped in my soul.  I have value and I am a cherished child of the King.  He wants to bless me and I don't have to endlessly make up for my deficiencies.  He accepts me now despite all the sin I ended up getting into by not trusting Him.  I do not have to be perfect before I can rest in Him and rejoice.   My healing process has started and I have hope that was completely missing from my life before.   I am half way through the wounded heart program and am looking forward to all the awesome things God is still going to do.   I can trust God to continue my healing as my brain gets a complete overhaul.  My mind needs to be renewed in a big way but I have a big God.  I have a faithful, good God who loves me and that changes everything :)

I don't know how to express my Thanks to all the leaders of Wounded Heart so I will just ask God to personally bless them in one of the many creative ways at His disposal.

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

It's all a matter of faith - food

      My eating healthy journey is going well.  I am not perfect and still occasionally eating things I should not.  Every time I make a good choice it is easier to make the good choice next time, so I am feeling energised.   My weight is still not going down the way I want it to, but I keep reminding myself that the goal is obeying God not losing weight.  This frees me to rejoice in the progress regardless of how much I weigh.  I found a scripture when I was doing the Bible study Made to Crave by Lysa Terkeurst that has really helped me get to the core of my eating problem.   It is Psalm 78: 21-22: " Therefore, when the Lord heard, He was full of wrath; a fire was kindled against Jacob, His anger mounted up against Israel, Because in God they believed not [they relied not on Him, they adhered not to Him] and they trusted not in His salvation (His power to save).  This verse is referring to when the Israelites were in the desert and they wanted food.  Even though God had miraculously provided water in the desert they did not believe He could give them food too.  I think I have the same attitude as the Israelites.  I don't trust God with my food and that is the core of my problem.  I want what I want, and I don't want to give the eating choices I make to God.  I don't trust him that He has the power to save me from the cravings that cause me to eat things that make me sick and fat.  I want to keep eating the things that are bad for me, that God has called me to give up.   I am afraid of losing the tiny bit of happiness I get from eating those bad things.  But God is the source of my joy and I can trust Him to replace the happiness of sin with a more lasting joy that is not tainted.  God does have the power to save me from my cravings.  I have seen that when I trust Him and rely on God, He can enable me to eat the healthy things instead of the junk.  It still hurts a bit to say no to 5 cupcakes but it is exhilarating to push through that pain and find the strength to make the healthy choice.  God is faithful and able and He is giving me the strength to win more battles in this food war than I lose.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Is my scale an idol? - food

So I am on a journey now of learning to get my happiness and peace from God, instead of the contra ban food that I crave.  It is going well.  Difficult at times, but I am learning to lean on God's truth instead of my addiction to food.   So you would think that since I have been following God's guidelines and not binging on fat and sugar, that I would be losing some weight.  However, the scale has been very disappointing lately.  I am not losing weight at all!  As a result I am struggling with depression and self-pity.  Why am I going to all this trouble to eat healthy, if I am not seeing any success in the weight loss department?  To be honest I am a bit ticked off at God.  The disappointment I feel makes me want to eat some cookies to comfort myself.

Why does the scale have such power over my emotions?  I am realising that I feel it is wrong to rejoice and relax, unless I have reached some specific marker of success.  I do not deserve to be happy when I am an obvious failure at meeting my weight goal!  Because I have not had success at losing weight, the feelings of anxiety and failure overwhelm me.   Until I have arrived at my goal, there seems to be no way to banish the anxiety and depression.  I must wait until my weight has gone down to be content and feel like I am succeeding.  This having to succeed before I feel joy or happiness, does not apply to just weight, but pretty much every goal I set in my life.  No wonder I am on anti-depressants and upset inside most of the time.  Add to that, that my goals I am shooting for are often perfection!  I have set impossible goals! I have sentenced myself to never being able to be happy or satisfied or feel like I am worthy.  This is crazy!  My own mind is the enemy of my soul.  This is why I need all my ducks in a row so desperately.  I have tied peace and joy to reaching all my goals and having everything just ducky and perfect.  So that has become my all consuming desire: to get everything in my life perfect and then I can relax and rejoice in things.  I can't ever accomplish that and even if I could I would find that once I arrived at perfection it was empty and unsatisfying.  I can not fill my soul by being perfect.  I can only fill it with God and a relationship with Him.

So what do I do now that I realise that I have set losing weight as determined by my scale, as the marker for success?  I am pretty sure that this is not the marker of success that God wanted me to set as my goal.  I guess I am trying to get happiness out of a scale instead of from God.  That is as empty as trying to get joy and peace from sugar and fat.  I just replaced my idol of sugar and fat to an idol of a scale.  I find journaling a great way to hear what God wants to say to me.  About a month ago I wrote down some stuff God said to me and maybe I should pull that out and see what He said.   OK here it is, "Let me be God and put the cares and responsibilities on my shoulders.  Rejoice in all the answers and blessings and praise me even when your mood is in a funk.  Obey minute by minute and let that bring you joy and peace.  Get back into developing good habits (such as eating right and brushing my teeth)  Your goal is obedience to the spirit, and to obey you must stay close to me.  Trust your emotions to my care and don't fear or worry but trust and rejoice.  Grab a hold of my peace and don't let go.  Evaluate your success by your lack of fear and your obedience to me, not by worldly markers.  Go for the gold, go for the best, Go for God!"  

Wow what he had me write down a month ago is overwhelmingly relevant for me right now!  God is so good and wise and supernatural.   Here are the clear answers that I have been longing for.  My goal needs to be obedience to God, which is this case is following the guidelines of healthy eating that He has been showing me.  My goal should not be losing weight as defined by the worldly marker of my scale.  I need to leave that to God to look after in His time.  I need to rejoice in each answer God gives and each little victory He enables me to succeed at.  The path to joy and peace is not in perfection or success as I define it, but in trusting and obeying God and looking for stuff to rejoice in all along this journey.  Peace is something I can decide to grab a hold of by getting it God's way not my way.  My way is so not working!  I can be a peace even if the scale does not show any progress.  My peace comes from obeying God and following His spirit.  I can be peaceful and joyful because I am obeying him and eating healthy.  I don't need to punish myself until I get to what the world says is success.   I can let go of the anxiety and be satisfied and happy right now.  I have been believing a lie and now I can replace it with the truth.  Satan has been stealing my joy and peace, and I do not need to let him do that any longer. I am not doing this perfectly but that is OK because I will not be perfect till heaven, and I am just aiming for improvement and obedience.