Yesterday was rough. My son is teething and nothing can console his pitiful whines. I can handle it in the morning when I am fresh and awake (I’m a morning person) and full of life, but by two o’clock I am ready to drive to Rita’s and scarf down a large root beer gelati. Sometimes, I do. Sometimes we go to Rita’s and then take our spoil to the beach and I have a moment of peace and indulgence while my son explores the shells and the bugs and the sand. This isn’t always a bad thing, but when the thought of it is what gets me through the day…it ain’t good.
All I could think about yesterday was Rita’s. Every little whine or whimper from my son turned into a fog horn in my head: Riiiiii-Taaaaaaaa’s. At first I found myself running to old behaviors in order to combat the Rita’s foghorn, some less desirable than others:
“Your body can’t afford to eat Rita’s right now; you’re putting way too much faith in the seams of your yoga pants as it is.”
“Jennifer Aniston probably doesn’t eat Rita’s. You’ll never look like her if you do.”
“Every bite of Rita’s is one more bite on the pile of reasons why you shouldn’t feel comfortable around pretty people.”
I view my internal life like a year in the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. In Hogwarts, teachers award points to students who perform well and take points away from students as punishments. Each student is a member of one of the four houses of Hogwarts (Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff, and Slytherin) and their points are magically pooled together according to their houses. At the end of the year the house with the most points wins the House Cup.
Everything I do during the day either earns me points or loses me points. Throughout the day I will check on those points to determine whether or not I measure up to the house of “beautiful”.
If I go for a walk: “Ten points to SLIZerin!” (I’m really a Hufflepuff, but Lizzlepuff just sounds dumb…)
If I eat veggies and hummus for lunch: “Ten points to SLIZerin!” (LIZendor could work too, but it’s not as good as SLIZeran)
If I crack halfway through the day and eat a candy bar, or drink a milkshake, or binge on rrrriiiiITTTTAAAAA’s or something along those lines: “Fifty points FROM SLIZerin and detention with Professor Umbridge!”
The point system is not always fair.
- Replacement Therapy
“You don’t need Rita’s, just drink a can of deliciously cold La Croix instead! It’s a treat!”
…Five La Croixs later: “I NEED RITA’S!!!!”
“Instead of Rita’s why don’t you go for a walk?”
….45 minutes later: “How did I end up at Rita’s? I should probably get some sustenance for the walk home. One large root beer gelati please!”
“Do you know what is just as good as Rita’s? A blended frozen banana.”
“Alright, you can eat Rita’s but you have to run 6 miles to work it off.”
45 minutes later…. “I’m too weighed down and tired from all that gelati to work out.”
As much as I want to say yesterday was a bad day (it seriously sucked…) I can’t, because in terms of learning about me and my tendencies, it was a great day! I learned so much about how I try to control my out of control cravings. I was able to recognize that these tactics, although they worked in the past, are not helpful to me now and honestly, they are just plan mean. Instead of feeling empowered and encouraged I just felt ashamed and hopeless.
So, I did what I have learned to do when I feel ashamed and hopeless: worship.
At first I just prayed. I knew that God was supposed to be what I went to to satisfy my cravings and help me with my struggles, so I prayed:
“Dear Lord, please help me to stop thinking about Rita’s gelati. Help me to not think about how tasty it is and how perfectly the Italian ice and the gelato mix at the very bottom of the cup.” Shit, this isn’t helping…I just want it more!
No, “praying” or more accurately, talking at God, wasn’t working. There was too much Liz involved; too much “oh me, poor me, I don’t have this, I don’t have that, it’s not fair, blah blah blah.” What I needed was to keep my mind off of me, poor me, and onto something greater, something bigger, and who better than God himself?
And so, my worship dance party began. I’m not going to lie, It was hard at first; I kept getting thoughts of, “this is supposed to be better than Rita’s?” But the more I focused on the words of the songs I was singing, the more I got lost in them.
“You shine brighter, than every star in the sky, your light shining, in the dark of the night, Jesus forever, I find all that I am in your love, love, love.”
“Take me, this is all I am, you’ll never stop loving us, no matter how far we run!”
“Your grace comes like a wave, crashing over me, grace comes like a wave, crashing over and over and over.”
“From the ash I am born again, forever safe in the savior’s hands…You are, you are, you are my freedom, we lift you higher!”
“You will never fade away, your love is here to stay, by my side, in my life, shining through me every day!”
My son and I were dancing and he was quiet for the first time all day. And then I was crying. God’s grace in me, over me, surrounding me. God’s love forever stuck on me, a tattoo that cannot be washed away, marking me as his forever. I didn’t even realize I was feeling guilty over not being able to help my son with his teething pain, and feeling even more guilty over being frustrated with him for his endless whining, until that moment. That moment I pressed into truth, and not just muttering words with the hopes that it would “fix” me, but singing about the greatness of my creator and believing it. When I looked Him in the face, my iniquities bubbled to the surface of my being. I saw them, I felt them, and then he scooped them away and I danced. You know, like one of those blackhead pore strip commercials.
I praise Him, oh wonderful creator, oh cleansing love, oh beat of my heart!
I cannot help but dance! My feet cannot remain still in your presence
Your goodness flows through me and over me and I must flow with it
The ice of my heart melting into raging rivers,
Rivers wild with love
The day wasn’t over and I didn’t feel completely recharged, but that worship session gave me enough juice to make it through to six o’clock when my son finally fell asleep. Side note: he woke up crying at 7:30pm and my reaction was abysmal; I snapped at my husband in frustration. Luckily, my husband had it in him to lovingly put our son back to bed, and I decided it was time for me to go to bed too. But here is the point, maybe feasting isn’t the problem, maybe it’s what I’m feasting on. Is worship a form of communion with Christ and his body? When I worship am I feasting on the bread of life and gulping down living water? Is that just weird?