Those People

Encouragement and Hope

looking out the window

Have you ever stared across the room and wondered why you couldn’t be more like “those people”? Sometimes we get inside our own head and stir up emotions that we cannot seem to shake. I say this with raw honesty. Nearly 10 years ago, I was at the lowest, darkest point in my life. I still remember it like it was yesterday.

I can remember feeling like it was impossible to be ‘normal’. There was a time in my life when I was so broken, so lost, so empty…all I could do was breathe from second to second. I was so filled with shame, remorse, sadness, and emptiness, that I wanted it all to go away. My mind would not shut off. I contemplated ending my life. I used alcohol to numb the deep emotional brokenness. I turned away from God, my family, from everyone and everything. I reclused into…

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Falling off the Wagon

Photo by Pengsheng Guo on Unsplash

I was on Weight Watchers for over a year and lost almost 70lbs. I had a good ways to go but things were looking good. Then it happened….life. I was laid off my job, Weight Watchers changed to a different program (of which most liked but I didn’t like the change) and then the dreaded holiday season full of yummy sweets and carbohydrates. Now, here I sit knowing I’ve gained some of my weight back and feeling bad physically as well as mentally.

Thank God for my husband! He was also complaining about all the eating and gaining he has done in the past few months and we have both decided we are going to purge our kitchen of all bad things during the New Year. We have decided to go on the same eating plan (low carb/low sugar) because we both have noticed the difference in how we feel when we eat properly. To be honest, I’m both looking forward to the change and concerned.

You see, I’m addicted to sugar (as are most Americans). The idea of cutting all this out of my diet (sugar through sweets and through carbs) is a bit concerning. I guess the only thing that scares me is my attitude. I tend to get a bit grumpy when I first go through the withdrawals. If you have ever been addicted to something and then quit, you know what I’m talking about. With both my husband and I doing it at the same time, living in our home together might be a bit challenging. Please pray for us….seriously!

This all gets me thinking – what does scripture say about gluttony and imbalance? Why do we find it so easy to over do it but so hard to strike a balance?

The author from plainsimplefaith.com defined gluttony below and it is one of the best examples I’ve seen.

“Gluttony, in short, is the sin of idolizing pleasure (cf. 1 Cor. 10:14).The prodigal son (Luke 15:11-24), who wasted his inheritance on sinful pleasure, was guilty of gluttony. The college student who lives for frat parties, thinking that drinking and hooking up is the definition of happiness, is guilty of gluttony. The successful businessman who has sold his soul pursuing more power is guilty of gluttony. The mom who binge-watches soap operas and devours sleazy books of the 50 Shades of Grey variety is guilty of gluttony.”

So I’ve come to realize something. When I go for those sweets and those carbs because they are good and they put a smile on my face for the moment and then I keep going back for that same “feeling” I get, this is not only gluttony but it is simply idolizing pleasure. Oh how often I do this! Not just with food but with many things.

I often times choose my comfort over what is needful. There are times I would much rather sit in front of my TV and binge watch Big Bang Theory than sit down with the Word of God and study. There has been countless times I’ve chose to read a cheesy romance novel than to read the Word of God. I sit on my rear end and worship at the feet of my comfort.

For the New Year, I believe I’m going to be all in on crucifying my flesh and feeding my spirit (Galatians 5:24). Not only with what I put in my mouth but also what I put in my head. I don’t want to be guilty of “playing” Christian and not truly living out my Christian faith.

So who’s with me? What do you say sisters….lets crucify the flesh and feed the spirit together!

Love y’all and have a spiritually prosperous New Year!

For Your Good and God’s Glory

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Photo by Amar Yashlaha

Like myself, I’m sure all of you have had times when you are in a deep valley and you wonder if you are ever going to get out. I know that in the times I was there, it felt as if my prayers went nowhere; like I was in the valley of DRY bones. If you have found yourself at this moment – HANG ON – God is certainly in control.

I can not count on my fingers and toes how many times I’ve heard, “Satan is attacking.” And don’t get me wrong, it’s true. In those dark moments when it seems like nothing is going right and you are sitting with all this concern and worry in your head, Satan certainly is attacking. But here is an idea – God is allowing Satan to do what He is doing. God is allowing Him to only go so far with you (a Job-like experience).

Does this mean God doesn’t love you? NO of course not! Rather, God loves you enough to put you in situations where you can grow. While we are on the mountaintop and everything is going good, although it’s a reprieve from the wiles of the Devil, there isn’t much spiritual growth that happens there. The growth comes in the valley. It comes in those times when all we have is Jesus. Let’s look at what Jesus said to Peter:

And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.  Luke 22:31-32

He said, “…and when though art converted, strengthen the brethren.” We are to take these dark valley moments and turn them into a testimony and teachable moments for others. We are supposed to use them to strengthen others. EVERYTHING we are given is for OUR GOOD and for GODS GLORY! How can we ever help others when we have no idea what it is like to be in their shoes.

One of the sayings I try never to say (although it pops out of my mouth from time to time) is, “If it were me, I would do ______(fill in the blank).” The truth is, we never really know what we would do in any given situation unless we’ve been there.

Look at the times in your life – those dark valley moments and glean from it what you can and use that testimony to strengthen that brother or sister going through a hard time. Let them know you know how they feel and how you held on to the hand of Jesus throughout. Use it! Use your experiences to do what Jesus told Peter to do; strengthen the brethren.

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