Awww Manna, I Am Sick of Manna

Exodus 16:32-35

31The house of Israel named it manna, and it was like coriander seed, white, and its taste was like wafers with honey. 32Then Moses said, “This is what the LORD has commanded, ‘Let an omerful of it be kept throughout your generations, that they may see the bread that I fed you in the wilderness, when I brought you out of the land of Egypt.’”33Moses said to Aaron, “Take a jar and put an omerful of manna in it, and place it before the LORD to be kept throughout your generations.” 34As the LORD commanded Moses, so Aaron placed it before the Testimony, to be kept. 35The sons of Israel ate the manna forty years, until they came to an inhabited land; they ate the manna until they came to the border of the land of Canaan.

Whenever I read about the Israelites wandering through the desert I get very self-righteous: “Dudes, just accept the awesome provision God is giving you! You’re in a desert and He is providing you with food, daily! Get over that boredom you have with it. It’s a miracle.” But I always seem to forget that these people have been wandering in a desert for decades!!!! I’m sure the Israelites were done praising God for his miracle of manna and had moved on to asking God to get them out of that stupid desert! I bet it was easy to lose sight of the miracle when the focus became the question: “Why, God, Why??!! If you brought us out of the desert then we would’t NEED the Manna anymore. Why are you keeping us here? Why should we keep following you? This is crap and not what I signed up for.”

I was reading more about the ark of the covenant and stumbled upon this quote from the-tabernacle-place.com  “The pot of manna was an uncomfortable reminder that despite what God had provided for them, the Israelites had rejected Gods provision.”

My first thought, “idiots…”

So of course I had to ask myself the question, “What does God provide me with and what do I reject?”

My answer: “His love.”

I keep having this thought, “If God loved me He would answer my prayers and I would finally be able to lose this weight. I would finally be able to wear high top converses with shorts and like what I saw in the mirror because my calves wouldn’t be ginormous. I would finally be able to wear those cute mid-drift tops with maxi skirts. I would finally be able to wear a bikini and stop worrying that my husband was looking at every other lady on the beach and wishing my body looked like that instead of what it does look like. I would finally be able to wear those slouchy, boxy, comfy tops without looking like I weigh 300lbs. I would finally stop wearing out the thighs of my jeans so quickly and splitting my pants all the time. I would be able to wear leggings in public without feeling like my giant ass was offending everyone, I would be able to drink a beer in front of women who weren’t drinking without feeling like they were thinking, “Oh, that’s why she is the size she is…”and the list goes on and on.

This is ridiculous! I know it’s ridiculous, but I can’t stop feeling this way. It doesn’t matter how many times I repeat the following verses in hopes that it will stick, because my heart isn’t in it. My mind wants to believe, but I just don’t feel it.

Do not let your beauty come from the outside. It should not be the way you comb your hair or the wearing of gold or the wearing of fine clothes. Your beauty should come from the inside. It should come from the heart. This is the kind that lasts. Your beauty should be a gentle and quiet spirit. In God’s sight this is of great worth and no amount of money can buy it.” 1 Peter 3:3-4  Mmmhmmm, ok , but I want to be beautiful in my husband’s sight and my sight and other people’s sight. I want all those people who hurt me to look at me and say, “Oh, I was wrong about her.” 

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” 2 Corinthians 4:16  But what about my outward appearance? Am I doomed to look like this forever? Uggggggg….

Instead of inspiring me these verses depress me. I know my motivations are wrong. I have had people send me verses about why I should believe I am beautiful the way I am, why I am thinking the wrong way, why I am striving after the wrong things,  and blah blah blah. But I’m blind, I’m blind and I cannot see. I need more than just bible verses and prayer. I need a miracle. It doesn’t matter how much I try to see my beauty if I’m blind. Because no amount of my will can make me see it because I’m blind! I need Jesus. I need Jesus to spit in some mud and smear it on my eyes and say, “Go wash the mud away in the spring” and then miraculously my sight is restored.

 

Food Hoarding

I raced down the basement steps early one morning before school. My mom kept our school lunch provisions in the basement store room so we knew they were only for school lunches. Eating a Dunkaroos, Twinkie, or fruit cup on a day that wasn’t meant for school lunches was out of the question. My three brothers and I kept a tight inventory of all of the school lunch provisions and this morning was an important morning. Dunkaroos came in packs of six and there were four of us kids. This meant that my oldest brother, J, would have already taken the fifth Dunkaroo for his high school lunch and there was one Dunkaroo left for me and my other two brothers to fight over. There was of course an unopened box of donut sticks for the losers to open, but Dunkaroos were rare in our household and worth a fight. My youngest brother was still in elementary school and wouldn’t be up until after my middle brother and I were on the bus to middle school. But when I went into the Dunkaroos box it was empty. I heard my middle brother sliding on his heels down the steps in hopes of making it to the bottom of the steps faster than if he ran. He was ready to wrestle for the Dunkaroo, it wasn’t claimed until it was in a brown paper bag. But when he burst through the store room door he saw me holding the Dunkaroo box with a perplexed look on my face. He quickly snatched the box from my hands and looked inside to confirm what he already knew to be true: the sixth Dunkaroo was missing.

We both mulled over the scenario in our heads, silently hoping to reveal the fate of the missing Dunkaroo before the other.

“Did you eat it?”

“No, did you?”

“No.”

So, it was either the oldest or the youngest who would be getting in trouble for this. But as we tried to crack the case of the missing Dunkaroo my youngest brother nonchalantly walked into the store room, reached behind a can of minestrone soup, and pulled out the last Dunkaroo before sprinting up the stairs and hollering, “MOM!!!” at the top of his lungs, in the hopes that my mom would save him from the wrath he was about to face.

Hiding food: I had never thought of it before. I was astonished that my youngest brother had out witted me with that Dunkaroo. He must have figured out, when he was making his lunch the day before, that he wouldn’t even get a chance to get a second Dunkaroo because he got up so late, so he hid a Dunkaroo. This practice soon became a norm in our household, and early morning lunch making turned into a hide and seek of provisions. Hiding food soon became hoarding food. We would hide items the second the box was opened and no one was around. I remember checking on my items to ensure their hiding places were not found out. I would hide items days in advance to ensure I would have something good every single day. I would search for my brothers’ hiding places so I could take their hoarded items to lunch first and then later pack my items when all the other good things were gone.

I didn’t realize I still had a hoarding problem until, well, yesterday. I was reading Exodus 16 about the manna and the Israelites. God told the Israelites to only collect enough manna for the day. He told them not to hoard any manna, and when some hoarded it anyway, the manna they were hoarding became maggoty and smelly and unfit to eat.

My initial thought was, “You stupid idiots, why would you hoard if God told you not to? Don’t you trust that God is taking care of you and will provide you with everything you need?” For the past two years I have started a new practice while reading my bible. If at any point, while reading I think, “I would never do that” I stop and think about where in my life I am doing just that.  Yup, I was definitely hoarding. I don’t hoard like I did back when I was in school, I’m not hiding my food from anyone else, but instead I’m collecting candy and keeping it in my pantry, you know, in case the sweet cravings become too much and I just need a sugar fix. I’m really setting myself up for success with that mindset, huh? I keep candy I wouldn’t otherwise eat, just in case. I keep stale chewy jolly ranchers, just in case. I keep chocolate that starts getting white on the outside, just in case. I can’t throw away candy because what if I find myself with a huge sugar craving and without a source of sugary goodness? The world will most definitely end if this scenario ever comes to pass.


 

What is wrong with me? Why am I so scared of being without sweets? What is it that sugar even gives me other than a headache and a queasy stomach? Goodness. I want goodness. I crave sweets when I need something good. And I’m starting to realize it’s not just something good to eat, but goodness in general. When I’m tired or unfulfilled, I look for fulfillment from food. But it’s so short lived. And afterwards I feel worse than I did before and then I end up doing it all over again because I need goodness more than I did before the binge. And the cycle continues, with some workouts peppered in there to help me feel less guilty about my overeating. This is an addiction.

And at least the Israelites were hoarding something they needed. I don’t NEED sugar to survive. I have food. I have never been without food. Well, I guess the Israelites didn’t really NEED their hoarded manna either, because God was providing for them daily. So why don’t I trust God to provide me with the daily goodness I need? Why am I not even going to Him when I crave goodness? Do I not trust Him?

And there it is again, “Do I trust God will provide for my every need?” My brain trusts that He will provide, but I live as if I don’t trust Him to do so.

Results of Dare #1

God called me to fast mirrors a little bit ago, and I’ve been chomping at the bit to get started. I was so ready to have an excuse to stop verbally abusing myself. If I couldn’t see my reflection, then I wouldn’t be able to point out all my flaws, right?

But after God called me to fast mirrors He showed me that this fast would need preparation, which, brought about Dare #1. dare1-post-itUnfortunately, Dare #1 meant looking in the mirror to find out what my thoughts actually were. Here are the results:

  1. How’s the hair looking? Meh, just ok…
  2. Where is that damned little chin whisker I keep feeling? Oh my gosh, where did all these chin hairs come from?! Eeewww, I am literally becoming Chewbacca. BBBBBRRRRRrrrrraaaaaaa
  3. That’s a pimple…that’s another pimple…and another…gotta pop them all!
  4. Woah, remember not to put your head in that position ever again, otherwise people we see that rolly polly double chin of mine.
  5. Can you see my roots? Ick, yup…so bad.
  6. Thank God I got my hair done and no longer have to see my roots!
  7. How does this shirt look? Any stomach lumps? What about back fat? Can you see the outline of my belly button? Yup, to all three…I need to change.
  8. What about these pants? How’s the muffin top? (*My muffin top is all that, whole grain low-fat, I know you want a piece of that, but I just wanna dance!*) Out of control! Woooo, why do you even still own these pants?! Because, when I do finally fit into them I will feel like I accomplished something. What, no longer being fat? I am NOT fat! Well, maybe a little…No, I’m not! That’s not what your husband said. Woah, excuse me, he did NOT say I was fat! Stop taking that conversation out of context! Well, you certainly FELT fat after that conversation… *Nice Imagination Liz walks away from Bully Imagination Liz*

Ouch. I am brutal. I fight dirty and don’t give up. Do you know what the worst part is? In writing down these abusive arguments I have with myself, I remembered something I said to someone in high school. I don’t want to write it down. It’s so mean, and I can’t even believe I would dream of saying that to another human being. But I guess if I can say it to myself, what is stopping me from saying it to someone else? I don’t want to own up to it, but I’m going to. Those words are floating around in the universe and I need to take responsibility for them so that Jesus can cleanse me of it.

I sat with a group of boys and girls at a lunch table in our high school cafeteria. A larger girl (but by no means fat) walked by our table and one of our group pointed out that, “she is way too big to be wearing that outfit.” We all laughed. Then someone pointed out that it looked like she had been crying. Another girl said, “yea, I heard her dance teacher told her she couldn’t continue dancing pointe.” My response….

“Her dance teacher was probably worried she would break her feet trying to hold up her fat ass.”

And we all laughed.

Did she hear? Did someone tell her? Do you know what the worst part is? I don’t even remember specifically who it was.

How could I say something like that? How can I continue to say things like that to myself? Why do I still think those things about other people when I want to love them? How do I stop this? How do I change these thoughts? I don’t want to be a mean girl anymore, even if it is just in my thoughts.

I started searching in my bible for answers, because I know it must be different than what I have been trying. I have tried to be good and nice and loving for years, but clearly those thoughts still exist and they still come out, although maybe not towards others as often as they did in high school, but they still come out towards me on an hourly basis.  I was surprised at how clear God can be through these ancient words. I’ve read these verses a bazillion times, but once again they are coming alive today for what I need now. (I wonder when the greatness of God will stop surprising me – hopefully never.)

Romans 8:5-8 Amplified Bible (AMP)

“5 For those who are living according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh [which gratify the body], but those who are living according to the Spirit, [set their minds on] the things of the Spirit [His will and purpose]. 6 Now the mind of the flesh is death [both now and forever—because it pursues sin]; but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace [the spiritual well-being that comes from walking with God—both now and forever]; 7 the mind of the flesh [with its sinful pursuits] is actively hostile to God. It does not submit itself to God’s law, since it cannot, 8 and those who are in the flesh [living a life that caters to sinful appetites and impulses] cannot please God.”

Okay, so I must be living by the flesh instead of by the spirit. I hold myself to standards of the flesh and thus I hold others to standards of the flesh, but all this does is produce hurt, death, and hostility. So, how do I live by the spirit? How do I let go of my fleshly desires and standards. I have this fear that if I let go of dieting, of calorie counting, of food, of my workout schedule that I’m going to become fat…too fat to love. What if Jesus’ plan for me is to be fat? What if His will for me is to be of average beauty and average or big size so others aren’t intimidated by me? What if? What if my husband dies and I’m alone and ugly and fat and then I’ll be alone forever. What if? What if God created me to be big and my husband rejects me for it. 

How do I let go of those fears when I have no idea what new thing I’m going to be grasping onto? 

 

 

 My Dear child, oh, my beautiful ,radiant daughter, I did not give you a spirit of fear and timidity by of power, love, and self-control (2 Tim 1:7). Do you know who I AM? Do you know my nature? Do you know how I treat my children? Maybe this isn’t about who you fail to be as much as it is about who I AM. You don’t seem to know me, the real me. If you knew Me, you would know that my will is good and perfect. I will not abandon you or harm you. I want what is best for you. You would be letting go of your fears to hold on to My hand, not some unknown thing. Come to Me, Come to know Me, the real Me. You will be amazed at the plans I have for you. 

Hey Jesus,

I’m done trying to be the king of my heart. I’m done trying to take your place. I’m done judging others and myself. I don’t want to fill this heart with more muck and tar and death. I want to keep it clean, I want goodness to ooze from me. I want you to shine through. Since I don’t know how to think good thoughts about me, I’m just going to think about you. I’m going to learn about you. I’m going to dwell on your nature. I’m going to fill myself with you, so maybe someday I’ll see you when I look in the mirror. I love you. I need you. I need you in every moment of everyday.

Amen.

 

WORSHIP WITH ME: “King of my Heart” by Steffany Gretzinger