Pause. Be Still.

I feel shame when I am around Christian women who are skinny. It’s stupid, but it’s true. There is a part of me that thinks that if you are a good Christian, God will bless you with beauty and health. So when I am around skinny, healthy, beautiful Christian women, I feel wrong. I feel like the extra meat on my bones screams, “I sin way worse than you do!” or “I’m trying and failing miserably at being a good person.” I know this isn’t true, I know this is all a lie from the evil one, fabricated to trip me up and stop me from doing what God has called me to do. But how on earth do I fix this?

YOU don’t. I do.

The spirit of God whispered these words amidst the blaring lies playing on repeat over the loud speaker in my brain. “You do what though? How do you fix this? I want to know.”

Pause. Be still.

There was a familiarity in those words that I could not place. It was separate from the “Be still and know that I am God” verse I so clearly knew.

Pause. Be Still.

Pause. It was an order. It was a call for a time out. Whatever is going on in your brain, body, and spirit, just pause it. Step away from yourself. Stop.

Be still. Now, listen to the stillness. Stop moving, stop jumping around, stop trying to figure it all out, stop trying to fix everything, just be still.

So what you are saying, God, is that…

No. Pause. Be still.

But I just want to contemplate…

No. Pause. Be still. Now is the time to pause.

But I don’t understand, I just need a little more infor….

No. Pause. Be still.

Ok, pause. Now, I’m still. I’m listening for your voice in the stillness. I am hearing birds and the HVAC and some ice fall from the ice maker. I’m listening for your voice. I’m listening for your voice. I’m listening for your voice. I’m listening for your…

STOP THIS NONSENSE. ELIZABETH, PAUSE. BE STILL.

It wasn’t an angry command. It was a firm command. And that’s when I recognized the familiarity.

Every time…EVERY… TIME my son needs a diaper change it’s like a wrestling match. He wiggles and flips and flops against my restraining arms and as soon as I lift an arm off of him to undo his diaper, or to unfold a new diaper or to try and secure a new diaper, he just flips over and is crawls away. He is so fast, it’s like he is on a mission. I am constantly holding him still and saying, “Pause. Pause. Pause. Now is the time to be still. Pause. Be still.” At first he struggles against me violently. “Sammy. Sammy. SAMUEL. PAUSE. BE STILL.” After that He will usually quiet down for a second or two before I must repeat the sequence, and eventually his diaper is changed and he is on his way again, but it has taken quadruple the amount of time it would have taken if he had just been still to begin with. But it doesn’t matter how many times I explain that to him simply because it is way above his cognitive understanding at the moment.

This is the exact same struggle I am in with God my father. Something feels wrong, I feel soiled, and I want to be clean and fresh. I don’t know how to go about changing my own diaper, in fact I don’t even know that’s exactly what I need, so instead of pausing and being still while my father goes to work on cleaning me up, I struggle against the stillness.

“I need to be clean! I must figure out how to do it! Now is not the time for stillness, everyone can smell how dirty I am! I’ll be still once I am clean, but now I need to figure out how to clean this mess up.”

Pause. Be Still.

How long will I continue to try and fix my body and the mess I feel inside and outside, before I submit and let God do the work for me? How long am I willing to delay his cleansing touch just so I can “do it myself” only to find out I can’t do it myself and I need his cleansing touch?

And does being still mean I’m not supposed to try and work off calories?

Pause. Be Still.

But, God, do you want me to stop trying so hard to lose weight? Is that what you mean?

Pause. Be still.

So, you want me to continue to work out daily and eat well?

Pause. Be still.

Yea, I get it, but, what does that mean?!

Pause. Be Still.

Where is that “be still” bible verse? Maybe if I research all the Hebrew and Greek words in the original translations then I will get some deeper understanding of how to…

PAUSE. BE STILL.

But I…

PAUSE. BE STILL.

But…

PAUSE. BE STILL.

Pause. Be Still.

PAUSE. BE STILL.

Pause. Be still.

PAUSE. BE STILL.

Liz vs. Cravings: A Realistic Battle

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:

  1. Shame

“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.

  1. 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.”

FALSE.

  1. Compromise

“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?

Does This Blog Make You Uncomfortable?

I’ve had some push-back about the title of my blog, “Too Fat to Love”. I’ve been told it’s too negative and that every time I read my own blog title my cells will remember it and think it is what my body wants…to be fat and unloved.

I don’t fully disagree. I don’t completely understand or believe the cell thing, but as far as my title being negative, uh yea, it’s negative. Does that make you uncomfortable? Does it make you uncomfortable that I or anyone else (maybe even you) might ever feel too fat to be loved? Good, that should make you uncomfortable.

But here’s the thing, I’m going to let you off the hook, it’s not your responsibility to fix it. And I’m not saying that in a “shut up and mind your own business way”, I’m saying that in a “hey, this is reality; you can either accept it or ignore it, but please don’t try to convince me I need to ignore it because I’m doing some deep internal and emotional work here. Oh and also, God told me to (that’s the Christian argument stopper right there…amiright?)”

With that being said, here is what God has been revealing to me about this blog title, “Too Fat to Love.”

Everything is redeemable: This title is not the end, it’s the journey. God is showing me that when I feel too fat I can’t fully love others (usually because I’m jealous or comparing), let alone accept love for myself. I will say it again, God keeps telling me this title is about the journey. I know the end, I am loved. I don’t always feel loved but I know how it ends: I am loved. But God wants me to write about the journey, not just the end. The journey is uncomfortable; the journey has blood, sweat, and tears. The journey requires perseverance, courage, and faith. The journey is all about hoping for what is unseen, and can I add in, hoping for what is not felt? The journey is where healing is found. The journey is where I press into Christ. But part of the journey is recognition and coming out of denial. “There are times when I simply feel fat. And when I feel fat, I feel like I don’t deserve to be loved.” It is only when I recognize those thoughts that I can then ask myself, “why?” It is only after I name those feelings that I can identify the lies behind them and then begin to fight them.

This title is about the battle. This title is about the first step. This title is for all of those people out there who maybe believe this lie too. But most importantly, this title is ALL ABOUT REDEMPTION. And redemption always points me to Christ. But guess what? To have redemption we need to accept that we have a need for it. If I didn’t need saving then I wouldn’t need a savior.

So does this title make you uncomfortable? Good, because it’s reality. Sometimes I do feel too fat to be loved. But guess what, the title is just the beginning. The title is me coming out of denial. The title is me setting aside my pride and telling you guys, “hey, I don’t have it all together and I need a savior…no, not you…Jesus. I need Jesus!” This blog is about my journey with Christ to find love and to feel loved in all circumstances… even the negative ones, because guess what, God is THAT big. God is THAT powerful. God is THAT great that he can save me from the negative of negatives. Every single ounce of me is redeemable, yep, even every single cell.

But I Ain’t Bread and Butter Hungry

” ‘ But I ain’t bread and butter hungry,’ said Davy in a disgusted tone. ‘I’m plum cake hungry.’
‘Oh,’ laughed Anne…’that’s a kind of hunger that can be endured very comfortably, Davy-boy.’ ”  – Anne of Avonlea by Lucy Maude Montgomery 

I don’t really know hunger. I’ve never been hungry for more than 18 hours or so. Actually, that’s not even true, because the first couple hours of that 18 hours I wasn’t hungry, I had just eaten. Like I said, I don’t know hunger. So why do I constantly feel hungry?

But not just any type of hungry. I don’t want rice and beans. I don’t want hummus and veggies. I don’t want split pea soup. I want mac and cheese. I want ice cream. I want pizza. I want foods rich in fat and flavor. Which tells me that I’m not REALLY hungry. I’m just not satisfied. And no amount of food can satisfy a dissatisfaction that is not real hunger.

Ecclesiastes 5:10-11

Whoever loves money never has enough;
    whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income.
    This too is meaningless.

11 As goods increase,
    so do those who consume them.
And what benefit are they to the owners
    except to feast their eyes on them?

The more I eat to try and satisfy my “hunger” the bigger I get. And the bigger I get, the more I need to satisfy my new “hunger”. I have so many options that food isn’t just food, it’s a wealth, it’s a status, it’s a source of happiness.

But why am I so dissatisfied when it comes to food, what is that I am really hungering and what can possibly satisfy my outrageous demands?

The Reality of My Food Addiction

The triggers are everywhere. Has anyone else noticed an issue with this or is it just me?

I’m just relaxing for the evening watching a show and then BAM: ice cream craving. No one in the show is even eating ice cream, someone just said the word. I hear the word and all other sounds disappear.

*whispers* ice cream

*louder* Ice Cream

*YELLING* ICE CREAM!!!!

Damnit, I want ice cream right this moment! Not just in the moment I am writing about, but like right now as I write this, I want ice cream.

It doesn’t take much to trigger my food addictions. Have you ever been to a 12 step program where one of the rules is not to use explicit language because it can be a trigger to others? For example, if someone started talking about getting high and they went into details about the trip and how it felt, etc. it could trigger a bunch of people in the group who then might go out that night and get high, so explicit descriptions aren’t allowed. If anyone feels like something is triggering them, they simple have to raise their hand and the speaker must stop their description.

So what do you do when your drug of choice is food and everyone talks about it, and eats it, and posts it on Facebook and Instagram, and advertises it, and, and , and, and!!!

I can tell you one thing, you do NOT binge watch Gilmore Girls! As much as I love that show I can guarantee that my coffee intake increases by about 50% and my junk food cravings sky rocket. The last time I watched that series I swear I put on 20lbs. Let me clarify something, this does not mean we need to get rid of the show Gilmore Girls (please God, no!!) or make people stop talking about food. This doesn’t mean that I get to go around telling people to stop talking about food. This means that I, Liz, need to start facing these issues I have with food. It’s MY problem when I hear the word, “brownie” and immediately need something to satisfy my brownie craving, it is not the fault of the person who said, “brownie”. Unless, of course their intentions were deceitful, in which case they will have to answer to God for their actions, but it is not my responsibility to change them and that’s going down a whole different rabbit trail.

Most nights after dinner, when Dean and I watch TV, I have to put my guard up and renounce every single food craving that emerges simply due to hearing foods named or seeing foods on set. It doesn’t even have to be real food! Does anyone remember Reptar Bars from the cartoon, “Rugrats”? What about that oozy cheesy pizza from “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” or lollipops and ice cream from any cartoon?

Maybe I should just stop watching TV….

BUT cutting out TV isn’t going to cure me of my food addiction. It will probably set me up for more success at home than what I am having now, but what’s the real issue here? The second I go to the fair, or a restaurant, or the grocery store, or Sam’s Club…basically the second I step out of a controlled environment my food addiction is skewing my view of the world. My thoughts revolve all around food:

“When will I eat next? When do I want to eat?’

“What will I eat next? What do I want to eat?”

“Where will I eat next? Where do I want to eat?”

“Mmmm is that a waffle cone I smell? I want it. ”

“Oh man, they are just pumping that fresh bread smell into the air aren’t they? I want it.”

“Mmmmmmmm gaaaarrrrllliiiiiicccccc. I want it.”

Have you ever looked out a window with blinds? When I was a kid, I used to spy on my neighbors all the time from my bedroom window. At night my blinds were drawn and I had to lift up a single blind with my finger to see out. If an object moved out of my very narrow line of vision, then I had to lift up a different blind to find the object again; sometimes this very small, but significant movement, made the difference between seeing something happen and not seeing something happen. And every night, despite the enticing promise of scandal or a funny scene, I would have to stop spying because my arms would get too fatigued to keep holding up the blinds.

My food addiction is like a set of blinds over my eyes. Some days the blinds are open and I can see pretty well. Some days the blinds are shut and I have to use a lot of energy just to see a very small sliver of the real world through my thoughts about food. And that usually means I am missing a lot of life due to food. I spend so much time worrying where my next meal will come from I don’t enjoy what’s happening in that moment. What if I get hungry while I’m hiking? What will I do? And on top of that, all that energy I spend trying to navigate life around my food thoughts is enough to exhaust me!

Goodness gracious, Liz! You’re not going to die if you miss a meal! This is so embarrassing to admit because I have never once in my life gone hungry because food was not available. NOT ONCE! I’ve gone “hungry” because I refused to eat something at dinner as a child. And that hungry wasn’t even real hungry. I missed ONE meal…ONE! And I missed that meal out of my own ability to refuse a meal that I didn’t like the taste of! That in itself tells you I was not really, desperately, hungry. Even when I was in Kenya and we ended up not having lunch, we still had lunch, because guess what? I packed a bazillion Luna bars in my bag just in case something like that would happen.

What I really need is to look at these food addictions. What am I running from? What am I searching for? What am I scared of?

I want to be full.

I want a reward.

I want to taste goodness.

I want to be satisfied.

I’m scared of being hungry.

I’m scared of missing out on goodness.

I’m scared of regret: regretting not eating something and later wanting it; regretting eating something and feeling guilt or shame over it later.

I’m running from loss.

I’m running from inadequacy.

I’m running from imperfection.

I’m running from unfairness.

I’m starting to recognize that I have a HUGE issue with envy: “I want to be eating that too…”, “I want to be able to enjoy eating kale like she does…”, “I want to want to stick to eating foods that are healthy…” I so badly want to be skinny, healthy, active, etc. but I so badly want to eat junk and drink with friends; I can’t have both. I so badly want to feel good in my skin with regard to my looks and physical health (no stomach cramping due to too much sugar and bread), but I so badly want to feel good in my skin with regard to eating yummy things; I can’t have both. Not in my current emotional and physical state anyway.

I fear writing these things because I know I will receive messages, comments, and emails from other men and women that say, “Eat that donut! You can feel good about yourself and eat what you want!”, “Love yourself where you are at and redefine what healthy means to you,” “Don’t let society tell you that you aren’t beautiful and worthy just because you carry some extra junk in the trunk.” And although there is SOME truth in these words, it isn’t the complete truth, which means it’s entirely a lie. Here is the honest to goodness truth:

I cannot eat whatever I want and not feel guilt or shame because the guilt has nothing to do with the actual food and everything to do with the fact that I am running to food instead of Jesus. Don’t tell me to not feel guilty over worshipping an idol instead of my Lord. Don’t tell me that I should not feel shame when I worship food instead of Jesus, when I cry out to donuts and Frappuccino’s during hard times, instead of my creator. The guilt I feel is a helpful reminder that I am sinning when I overeat and thus that I NEED JESUS for forgiveness, love, and help!

 “21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.

24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another.25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.” Romans 1:21-25

 

As much as I try to make it so, loving myself does not come from redefining healthy. Sure there are some lies I believe about health, but guess what, redefining what healthy means for me isn’t going to change the fact that I have an insulin resistance problem and an addiction to sugar and carbs. I can tell myself that it is healthy to eat grain and sugar in moderation all I want and it won’t change the fact that, for me, it simply is not healthy physically or emotionally. Believe me, I have tried this for years! Four years to be exact. I can’t have sugar in moderation because if I have the smallest amount I need more and more and more and more and more. Would you tell an alcoholic to love themselves where they are at and redefine what it means to be healthy? If you redefine alcoholism then you won’t be an alcoholic!

Uhhhh no…that’s not how it works. I wish it did, but it doesn’t. This is called denial. And this here is a simple problem of acceptance. I am not accepting the body God gave me. I am not accepting that I have limits. I am not accepting that I am human and not God; I am desperately holding onto the position of ruler of my body and captain of my soul, BUT I am not the god of myself.

19 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;20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

 

Now this I know:
The Lord gives victory to his anointed.
He answers him from his heavenly sanctuary
with the victorious power of his right hand.
Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.
They are brought to their knees and fall,
but we rise up and stand firm.
Lord, give victory to the king!
Answer us when we call! Psalm 20:6-9

 

And as far as not letting society tell me what should and should not be beautiful or worthy, that’s just a cop out, a scape goat, and blame-shift. Guess what? I am a part of this society. I judge others, because I AM A SINNER, because I chose to believe the lie that I have a right to judge others. Yes,  I do believe that society has influenced me and the way I think, but there is so much more that needs to be done than “not listening to society.” I need to start listening to God. I need to start influencing our society by starting to let God heal the brokenness in me instead of denying that I have any blame in my own brokenness.

14Then we will no longer be infants, tossed about by the waves and carried around by every wind of teaching and by the clever cunning of men in their deceitful scheming. 15Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into Christ Himself, who is the head. 16From Him the whole body is fitted and held together by every supporting ligament. And as each individual part does its work, the body grows and builds itself up in love. Ephesians 4:14-16

I don’t want my fix, I want HIS fix. I don’t want your fix, I want HIS fix. I want HIM to be enough for me, but when I run to food I never give HIM a chance to show me that HE IS. And when I run away from my part in the blame I just perpetuate the problem and ensure that it will continue to affect me and my community. And if you wave a donut in my face and tell me, “eat this, and you will be happy; surely you can eat this and feel no shame.” Then I will be forced to say, “Get behind me Satan!” Because God has told me I make an idol out of food, and I am sick of these stupid fig leaves of shame because I do not listen to Him. I wish to walk in the garden with my Lord once more. I wish to be completely exposed in his presence and feel no shame. He has given me a fix and all I need to do is accept it and press into Jesus. Easier said than done, am-I-right? But there is no better time than now. There is no better moment than this.

17So I tell you this, and testify to it in the Lord: You must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. 18They are darkened in their understanding and alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardness of their hearts. 19Having lost all sense of shame, they have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity, with a craving for more.

20But this is not the way you came to know Christ. 21Surely you heard of Him and were taught in Him in keeping with the truth that is in Jesus. 22You were taught to put off your former way of life, your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23to be renewed in the spirit of your minds; 24and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4: 17-24

 

“Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” John 6:35

iPhone iDol: iNeed iAm

My son’s ability to sense a cell phone in the room and then zero in on it is incredible. He will go to extreme lengths to try and get it, even stop in the middle of his first morning feeding if he so much as catches a glimpse of it. He is seven months old. It was fascinating at first, even funny, when he would drop everything to go after mommy or daddy’s phone. We would think, “Oh, he must know that we think they are important because we always have them.” Dean and I really try to be present with Sammy when we are with him; which means not sticking our noses in our phones all day, but there is still a lot of time that we spend on them and Sammy wants what we have.

Recently, I had started to feel a little uneasy about Sammy’s obsession with my phone, but it wasn’t until this morning that I understood the true capacity of what my phone really was. Sammy was eating ravenously, it was his first morning feeding and it had been 10 hours since he ate last. I knew better than to have my phone anywhere in Sammy’s line of sight. If Sammy saw the phone he would stop everything, even eating a meal he so desperately wanted and needed just so he could try to possess the device. All of a sudden Sammy stopped drinking and started squirming around and fussing. He must be experiencing some gas or discomfort. But no matter what I did or tried he still squirmed and fussed. Then I felt it, a weight in the front pocket of my sweatshirt shift: my cell phone.  I looked down to see Sammy’s chubby little fingers retreat out of my pocket, knuckles white with determination and strength, he had the phone in his clutches. Just for a moment his face shown of shear victory, until I pried the phone from his hands, lobbed it to the other end of the couch, swiftly followed by a pillow, which, upon landing, hid the phone from view.

This phone was becoming a problem. I didn’t even remember it was in my pocket, but he knew, he found it, how did he find it? No, this phone was already a problem. But the more I thought about it the more I realized that this phone wasn’t so much of a problem for Sammy as it was for me. Last night my phone’s battery was almost dead. I plugged the phone in at an outlet in the kitchen, so I could try to be more present with my family. But I found myself constantly searching for my phone. I would look for my phone in my pockets before I remembered that it was in another room charging.

Who is that actress? I know her from something else… Feel around for my phone to find an answer.

These menstrual cramps are miserable…Feel around for my phone to complain to a friend and find some essential oil mixtures to help.

I need a little break…Where is that phone?

Do we have plans tomorrow? Search for my phone to look up my calendar.

What is the weather supposed to be tomorrow?

That video of Sammy in the bath was so cute, I want to watch it again.

Did our lawyer email over his retainer contract?

I need to remember to find a David’s Bridal to get sized for my friend’s wedding.

I’ve seen this episode so many times, what else can I do while I watch? Chess? Facebook?

What are other people doing right now?

I want to talk to someone…to connect.

The list goes on and on and on. I need my phone, where’s my phone, I’ll check on my phone, maybe I can find it on my phone… I’m obsessed. It has become such a part of me that I didn’t even realize it; my phone has become my god. My phone is an idol! I know, I know, we have all seen those videos about how we miss things when we are on our phones. We all KNOW our phones can suck us in, but we also all KNOW that our phones aren’t all bad, it’s all about balance and blah-blah-blah. It’s so easy to blame the phone and declare, “I will give up social media for lent!” or “I will put my phone in another room while I am home!” or “I will take my email off my phone!” and hope that things will change. But no matter how long I refrain or how many promises I make about my phone, I always seem to get sucked back in. Why?

When it comes down to it, it’s not really about the phone at all. I have these desires engrained in me. I want to connect with others. I want to know and to be known. I want answers. I want purpose. I want guidance. I want rest. I want success. I want recognition. I want to remember. I want to plan. I want comfort. I’ve been going to my phone for understanding, purpose, communion, guidance, knowledge, remembrance, and the list goes on. I have been going to my phone when I should be going to my God. And the worst part? I’ve been teaching my son that the answers come from a phone…. A PHONE!!! Not Jesus, but a phone! Sure, I pray out loud with my son every night before bed. I pray with him when he isn’t feeling well. We read books about God. We listen to bible stories. We go to church. We have times of worship. We do all these things, but even with all of that, when my first response is to check my phone, I’m teaching my son that phones come first. I’m teaching my son that communion comes from the phone, comfort comes from the phone, rest comes from the phone, etc, etc, etc!

My phone itself is not bad, but in my brokenness I have turned it into something that God never intended it to be. Why is it so easy for me to choose a phone as my god instead of recognizing that God is God? I don’t need to stifle my desire for rest, communion, purpose, guidance, etc. Those are not bad desires. God created me to have these needs and desires, because guess who those needs draw me closer to? HIM!

Satan would love to try and get me to believe that I am horrible person for this. But I’m not. You know that, I know that, but there is that little nagging feeling inside me that says, “I failed again.” But guess what? I didn’t fail, I mean I did, but I didn’t. Is it failing if you fall down and get back up? No, I didn’t fail, I won’t ever fail. Not because I’m awesome or great or whatever, but because He is! Jesus said, “it is finished!” and it is! I have already won. We have won. I am still fighting, I am still running toward my Lord, but even a fall is not a complete failure when I know that nothing can keep me from winning because Jesus has already won the race for me. Recognizing that I am NOT God is a victory. Recognizing that I NEED God is a victory! Recognizing that I am trying to fill my need for God with something else is also a victory!

Philippians 1:6 “For I am confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will continue to perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”

God is working in me, He is perfecting me. I have not been called a failure, but progress. This is my resurrection. I am not dying, but I have already died and now I am rising back to life. There is hope.

The other day I was practicing yoga. I have not been able to fully express an arm balance for over two years now due to the tendinitis in my wrist and subsequent muscle loss. The other day I was practicing crow pose, a pose where your hands are planted into the ground and your knees rest into your armpits so your feet can lift off the ground. I haven’t been able to put my full weight into my hands and lift my feet of the ground in ages, and the other day was no different. However, I was able to lift one foot off the ground. If I looked at my practice from a perspective of what I have done before it looks like I’m getting worse. Once I had both feet off the ground, but now I only have one… is it possible that pretty soon I won’t be able to lift even one foot off the ground? But the reality is so different! I had both feet off the ground once, and then I was broken and needed both feet on the ground, and now I am regaining my strength and I am able to take one foot off the ground. I am not getting worse, I’m getting better. I was well, I got sick, and now I am on the mend. But the evil one is trying to convince me that I was well, I got sick, and I’m getting sicker.

I won’t believe that for a second! God is doing a good work in me! He is revealing his Truth to me. He is mending me. I am not perfect, and I won’t be until the day Christ comes again, but I am on the mend! I am not dying, I am being resurrected!

So back to the phone, I have not failed, I am not a bad mom, I am not a sad excuse for a human. No, I AM human. I am not God and I am recognizing my NEED for God…and that is a victory!

Worship with me:

 

“Does Your Mom Know You are Wearing That?” *REVISITED*

I know I made this entry several days ago, but I am putting it up again and this time I am not simply going to look at it. I am going to destroy the lies and take the plunder! 

“Elizabeth, does your mom know you are wearing a midriff shirt?”

What was a midriff? What does she mean does my mom know I am wearing this shirt?  Of course my mom knows what I’m wearing, I’m five, my mom helped dress me this morning.

It was warm out,probably summer, and my outfit looked like sunshine. Bright yellow. That’s all I really remember, bright yellow with a small red or pink pattern on it, flowers? Boats? Lady bugs? It was sunshine, I felt like sunshine and then suddenly I was unsure of my sunshine.

“I’m sure your mom would not want you showing your belly button.” What? Why not? What’s wrong with my belly button? My mom let me wear this outfit, she let me be sunshine! But just in case, I spent the rest of the day trying to hide my belly button from my friend’s mom.


For years I didn’t understand why showing my belly button should be shamed (it shouldn’t be- that’s between me and God). It wasn’t until I hit puberty that those little flutters in my stomach and heat in my face let me know that there is something about belly buttons that is exciting (yep, I went there…puberty…). But not belly buttons of a child. I had no lust in my heart, no desire to tempt a brother or sister; I was a child and my intentions were to look like sunshine, I was not at fault in this situation. And I know there are some of you out there who will say, “but there are broken people who lust after children.” Yea, that’s true, but I was not created to live in fear of the broken. It is not my responsibility (as a five year old) to protect a broken man or woman from lustful thoughts. That shame is misplaced and needs to be destroyed!

Psalm 139:13-16

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.

Psalm 100:3

Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

Psalm 127:3

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.

My belly button is a reminder that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. My bully button is a reminder that I was knit together in my mother’s womb. My belly button is a reminder that I am a reward! I am a heritage from the Lord! I am His and my frame is not hidden from Him. He knows it all, I need not hide in shame, He knows it all, I am a gift and He claims me as His own.