Breaking the Habit Cycle

Time for some real talk…

Back in September, I was diagnosed gluten sensitive. After nearly 2 years of not knowing what was wrong – I have an answer. (One I don’t like, but an answer).

So, for more than 6 months, I’ve known the biggest cause of my stomach woes. Yet, I keep in this cycle of gluten free, and then allowing some back in my diet (and then suffering because of it, so back to gluten free).

With this cycle comes all the horrific side effects: headaches, irritability, increased anxiety, major digestive issues, and more.

Each time I say I won’t do it again, then, a week or two later, there I go on a gluten binge again.

Monday night, as I found myself desperately in the presence of my Abba, in a world of pain after a stressful and heartbreaking day, which followed one of these binges (due to lack of time/access to better choices), realizing how often we are like this in our spiritual lives.

I was so desperate for His word & comfort because of the magnitude of my negative feelings – a terrible day at the office. But what of the rest of my recent times?

Well, netflix, work, & other “obligations” have kept my attention.

And, it’s this way with our sins, too, big or small. We think “never again”, and then the enemy comes in and tempts us once again. And, we cave. We give in & feel the convictions followed by “never again” promises that fall flat.

Though, it isn’t always just sin. Notice I put netflix first on the list? It’s where all my time seems to have been going when time isn’t accounted for by something else. Then again, that makes it an idol, huh? Now, we’re right back at the sin…

So, how do we get out of the cycle?
Well, obviously, I’m not good at that part yet. But, I can tell you:

  • First, we decide – really decide never again. We make a real, conscious choice to actually change the behavior.
  • We repent. This means a complete 180. A turn from what we once did, and to a new way of behaving.
  • pray. On our own, the cycle never ends. He is our strength. He is the only way the cycle ends.
  • We surround ourselves with Godly accountability. Again, we cannot do this alone. Godly accountability relieves some of the pressure, and gives us people to rely on.
  • We extend and accept grace for ourselves. Not as something to take for granted or take advantage of, but to genuinely extend ourselves grace and accept His grace. We will mess up. It will happen (especially early on). So, we pick up & we move forward.

Hopefully, I can do this – both in my physical need (gluten-free) & in my spiritual needs (God always priority).

And, if you find yourself stuck in that cycle, I pray you can also break it and really put God as your priority.

Let me know below if there are any ways I can pray with/for you in this area. 

You’re never too far…

Until you’re dead.

“Satan will do everything he can to create space between you and God.” – Ryan Summers; youth pastor

There is so much truth here. God’s word tells us there is a battle going on every day, not with flesh & blood, but with the unseen. An enemy prowls around looking for people he can devour.

But, his devouring is not what we often think of.

He seeks to kill, steal, destroy in the daily. He will find little things that begin to separate us, and before long we are standing before a chasm, thinking we can’t get back.

But, the truth is, we are never too far…until we’re dead.

The enemy has a way of convincing us, though, that we are too far.

I have seen it over & over, in my life and in the lives of those around me.

For me, I am in one of those times. Since Thanksgiving, it’s been the little things that have begun to add up:

  • Being un-able to help all the time at church due to crises at work, due to sickness. A separation.
  • Being sick – constantly. Just when I get past one, it’s another.
  • Being exhausted from afore mentioned crises & sicknesses.
  • I began to do less in regards to my bible reading/prayer time.
  • Pulling back from the positive influences in my life.

All of these things have brought me to where I am tonight, even more exhausted. Missing that part of my life, which He didn’t give up on, I did. And, wondering, “can I even cross the chasm? It’s been so long, I don’t know where to start, what to read, what to pray…”

The truth, as I’ve said, is that I’m not too far…until I’m dead.

And, regardless of how low I feel today – whether I’m in the pit or the palace, on a mountain or in a valley – I am still alive, so I’m not too far.

The enemy would have us believe that not knowing where to start, or thinking we’re too far, is a good excuse to not do anything about it. He keeps us away from Christ by keeping us paralyzed by apathy. The truth is, not knowing where to start isn’t a good excuse.

There are bible reading plans all over the place. Most chapters in Psalms & Proverbs are short. There are devotional books designed for five quick minutes a day.

There are verses that are easily memorized and stored in your heart for deserts like this, that will open the way back.

Turn on some worship music that ushers in the presence of God. Or sit quietly in your special place. Opening your heart to the truth that you are still able to find redemption in Him.

As for prayer? One place to start is with your remorse, and desire to cross the chasm by way of the Cross. Start with your repentance & gratitude for His grace & mercy.

And, trust that you are never too far…and that your rest will come, even if you don’t feel it right away. Trust in your Abba’s mercy & love, wait on the Lord and find your rest.

“But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.” – Isaiah 40:31

 

Stewardship…or something

As I have started to think about my dreams – my Tiny House & traveling youth ministry…a PhD & a plot of Pacific Northwest land – I have been going back, back to the dreams that started it all…

fullsizerender

And, I have been thinking forward, forward to what the future may hold.

In high school, I had visions of a youth ministry/program. Running groups for teen moms. Teaching young adults about taking care of themselves & the world around them. Giving a safe place. Providing groups for the depressed & anxious, lonely & alone.

Without being a teen mom myself. Before I knew what sustainable living was. Having no idea of the extent of social media or the means/location God would send me, God still awakened these dreams in my heart.

Yet, I don’t know that I have been a very good example in my own life of these ways of living. ..

“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your bodies.” – 1 Cor. 6:19-20

“God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” – Genesis 1:28

When I read these passages, I am reminded: my body & this earth are not my own. I am meant to be a steward of them, and take care of them.

However, as I have been reflecting on these old dreams, and my life up to now, I am not sure I have done my best to take care of either…

I do have a goal to live a more sustainable life, to live in a manner of being a better steward of what God has given me. I want to be able to teach that to others.

But, up til now,  I really don’t think I can say I have done my best here.

Struggling with depression for ten years, and a continuing struggle with anxiety, kind of left me depleted of some of my natural resources.

When you’re depressed, you can be fatigued, irritable, and unable to function at times. You may not fuel your body the best, may not sleep well, and may not care to let the love of others care for you, even as you cannot manage to care for yourself.

Yet, God has been showing me over the last few years, what a free life can feel like. What beauty comes with taking care of ourselves and the world He’s blessed us with.

So, as I continue to prepare for the dreams He is opening up to reality, I will continue to strive to be a steward of the body He’s entrusted me with; and I will begin to look at ways to be a better steward of the environment – living more intentionally, less cluttered. More sustainably, less selfishly.

I’ll let you know how it goes 🙂

I’ve Grown Weary

The sky was dark, as with every morning.

Panic. I’m going to be late!

My eyes shoot open. Thinking it’s Monday, I’m ready to shoot out of bed at 6:15.

Then I remember, it’s Sunday. And, I have two more glorious hours of sleep.

Snag in the plan, though, I slept through my alarm.

Apparently, the sleep is needed this weekend.

You see, at the end of a long week, I’ve grown weary. And, I suppose, recently, weary in general.

But, I managed to roll out of bed and get to Sunday School, and what a day to go. A day when we were discussing Hosea – a beautiful reflection of how God really works – a God that is in the business of pursuing.

You see, I want to say I identify with Hosea, but more often than not, I fear I am more of an Israel (or Gomer, as it were).
Easily tempted by the trappings of this world.
Often finding myself in my own selfish pursuits.
Overruled by desire.

And, I’ve grown weary.

I’ve grown weary of seeing brokenness around day in and out.
I’ve grown weary of not turning to my Abba as I should.
I’ve grown weary of not being where I thought I’d be, even if I’m where God has placed me.
I’ve grown weary of being surrounded by the temptations & trappings of the world.
I’ve grown weary of finding myself in my own selfish pursuits.
I’ve grown weary of being overruled by the desires of the lights of the world.
I’ve grown weary of holding on to my own brokenness and sin, instead of turning from them to the arms of God,

But, I have hope.

I have hope that God is in pursuit, always.

I have hope, that like he did with the people of Israel, He still pursues His people.

Hope that He knows where our choices today will lead tomorrow, and He still steps in to try to get us where He wants us.

As He told the people of Israel through Hosea:

“I will betroth you to me forever;
I will betroth you in righteousness and justice,
in love and compassion.
I will betroth you in faithfulness,
and you will acknowledge the Lord.”
– Hosea 2:19-20

Even with all of their turning to their own prosperity, their own desires, their own sins, God still opened Himself up for them.

He did this for Humanity with His son. Christ is that redemption.

And, in Christ, I find my hope:

I have hope that though I’m not where I thought I’d be, I am where God has led me.
I have hope that, despite the brokenness around, Humanity, as a whole, will still come through for one another.
I have hope that, even though I have my own brokenness, I can turn it over to my Abba; and that I learn to do so more and more each day.
I have hope that God will provide a way out when tempted by the trappings of this world – I need only be open.
I have hope that my salvation is secure in Christ – and I cling to that hope each day.

And so, even though I have grown weary, I will rest in Him. And, I will continue to work each day to be more like Hosea and less like Gomer.


This week, I am joining in with Kate over at Heading Home for 5 Minute Friday. This week’s prompt is Weary.

The Growing

This week’s Tuesday @ 10 word is “Grow”… so many ways one can go with that.

But, tonight, I don’t feel much grown.

After many tears today, especially the last couple of hours, my eyes burn; left my throat sore & raw, my lungs burning from irregular air flow. My body exhausted.

Instead of feeling grown, I feel like I have spent the day as a scared kid.

And, I tell myself I thought I was past all this:

Every time, I swear it’s the last time…
I swear I’ve learned the “signs”
And can stop the onset.
It’s a Lie!
Still, they come, like a flood.
Air escaping, throat tightening
Thoughts 10000 miles a minute
Out of Control.

But, I always tell myself, 
“That’s the last one.”
IT’S A LIE…
I can no more stop them 
Than I can make the Sun stop shining.
And, I’m Tired.
Tired of pretending.
Tired of running.
Tired of acting so strong,
When really, I seem to be the 
Weakest Person I Know.
Yet, every time I think I can’t go on,
I am Amazed that I am able to
Make it through
Just One More Day.

So, maybe the growing is not in stopping, but in accepting. Maybe the growth is the process, the timing, the learning.

Perhaps, the growth is in loving oneself, even when an “episode” has happened. Maybe, just maybe, the real growth is in being able to make it through

Just. One. More. Day.