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. 

A Lenten Challenge

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Ok, I know, Lent is longer than 30 days…but as part of this Lent season, I am doing my very best to give up Soda…for me that means straight up, full sugar, Coca-Cola classic (or, a Dr. Pepper, if Coke isn’t available).

To be honest, for me, a lot of it is the caffeine in it – I don’t do coffee or tea. So, it’s my old reliable.
But, it’s also the comfort. It’s what I turn to when I should be relying on Him, so it’s out.

Only, this year, as opposed to previous years, I hope not to return to reliance on it.

So, I’ve decided (beginning last friday, March 17) to track the next 30 days…because apart from strictly spiritual reasons, we hear so much what Soda does to our bodies – the amount of sugar and the empty calories. I want to know if that’s true.

Changing nothing else in my life, just cutting out soda, what will the difference be in 30 days?

I’ve replaced soda with water (and once a day: Lemon/Peppermint water (or just Lemon, or just Peppermint, or Lime/Peppermint) using my lovely Young Living oils):

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This is an example – love my lemon/peppermint mix. Typically, I use a metal cup. If using citrus continually, don’t use a plastic cup like this, as the citrus will corrode plastic over time (I poured the water from the bottle into my cup).

So, no extra exercise (which, for me pretty much is only whatever happens for work & house keeping, and, recently, downsizing/packing…), no change in diet. Just eliminating soda.

Now, I am not doing this to look better or live a healthier lifestyle, though, I do plan to continue moving that direction once I get this no soda thing down.

It’s one thing to be able to look down and love the body you have (which is where I am); it’s another thing entirely to be treating that body with respect & care (which is what I am working towards).

So, there is no end “goal” for me in this, except to cut out soda. No final weight or measurements, though I have taken starting weight and measurements (which I am not comfortable sharing, but will share the differences at the end).
I simply want to be able to eliminate my reliance on something that threatens God’s place in my life, and be at a healthier place than when I started.

Two caveat’s to this:

  1. Last september, I was diagnosed gluten free…since then, I have already made some changes to diet, namely: no wheat products. However, I still don’t eat the healthiest…I eat a lot of snack foods for meals, eat processed food, and a lot of dairy. So, though gluten is out, it hasn’t changed my weight much – being sick often has left me several pounds lighter over the past several months, but that has leveled off in the past month.
  2. Recently (for the past month or so) I have been drinking Zeal by Zurvita once a day to get my vitamins, as I am unable to take multi-vitamins. I will continue this as I go forward. Once a day, a serving of Zeal, which does give a natural caffeine boost & may skew results slightly:
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Zeal is actually a great addition to my life, since I cannot process most multi-vitamins…I don’t think any skew it may have will be enough to be much difference.

 

Find Rest My Soul

I didn’t realize until earlier this evening, but:
I’m tired.

Not just long day tired.

Exhausted of resources tired.

Emotionally. Spiritually. Physically.

Tired.

A year and five months ago, I packed up my car & moved my life 1300 miles away, in answer to God’s call – a move I knew from the start was temporary.

For the last few weeks, I’ve felt this desperate pull to rush it. Get out of here. On to the next thing.

Because I am tired.

I have not been faithful to myself & providing self-care.

In my chosen field, it’s no wonder my Clinical Supervisor emphasizes self-care as part of our evaluation of ability to do the job.

And, I’ve been neglecting the biggest area of self-care in my life.

My greatest source of self-care is my spirituality. I cannot let that go.

After all, my soul, the deepest parts of me, finds the greatest rest in God alone:

“Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
my hope comes from Him.”
-Psalm 62:5

I say kudos to anyone who can do this job without any kind of self-care routine.
Because, I absolutely cannot.
I will run out of life.
Run out of resources.

I get restless.
Get ahead of myself and my plan.
Get ahead of God’s plan.

I suffer in the areas where it matters most…this likely makes me less effective, less affective, with clients.

So, tonight, I put away the studying for the biggest test of my life in order to take a little time to re-focus & care for my soul.

If you have been neglecting self-care, or have no idea what works for you to recharge your soul & your life force, let me offer some of my favorite ideas below (you can also check out my self-care pinterest board):

  • Spiritual activities
  • Music
  • Painting/sketching
  • Writing
  • Reading
  • Drinking Water
  • Chocolate
  • Walking
  • Cleaning/organizing
  • Therapy, when needed (yes, even mental health professionals need someone from time to time)

So, it’s time to take my soul seriously. Finding my center once again.

Resting in the arms of my Abba.

I’ll leave you with the song that always kick-starts the process:

Still – Hillsong Worship – their live video is here.


What are some ways you make sure to take care of yourself & your soul? Share below.

Hope in a Hopeless World

I was talking to a family friend tonight, a fireman, and I made a joke as I always do about single Christian young men (you know, just in case the one I’m waiting for fights fires 😉 )

I’m not sure he understood the reason for the question but his “uh, not really Christians” answer gave me pause.

Recalling that Cousin’s husband, a paramedic, had once commented that his field & the fire fighting field you wouldn’t find a lot of believers.

And, I thought, how sad. For my field, which is notoriously lacking in faith filled people, and for their fields.

Surrounded by hurt, pain, brokenness, darkness, hatred, evil, and unknown each day, how do these people do it without faith? How?

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“The work is too heavy…you cannot handle it alone” – Exodus 18:18

As I shared on Instagram with my Bible study time last night, I know I can’t do it alone. It’s in my weakness, His strength is shown; in my limitation, His limitlessness is revealed.

Though some see faith as weakness, I have to be the container for the hopelessness of the hopeless. I’ve sat with & cried with so many who have no hope. I have wrestled with knowing my life may be the only light in theirs. And, it takes an incredible amount of strength to stand in faith at those times.

This field He has called me (and my firefighter friend, and Cousin’s husband) to is not for the faint of heart. And, sometimes, those of us in it need support and/or extra faith.

And, honestly, I can’t imagine being hope in a hopeless world without the Source of Hope. It just wouldn’t be possible.