Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Changing Your Focus (Part 3)

Reflections (Deibert Park)

One day in early January, I had lunch with my daughter.   We went to a “meat and three” restaurant.  The meat choices were a fried chicken breast or chicken and dressing.  The vegetable choices weren’t that great either, either fried or “carby.” 

I chose the fried chicken.  I fully admit it was quite tasty and I ate the whole thing!   I nibbled a little on the vegetables.  I left plenty on the plate, and left feeling comfortable, not full.

As soon as we were in the car headed back to work, guilt set in.  I ate fried food!  Do you know what the dieter mentality does?  It lies.  I ate a normal-sized plate of food, but because it wasn’t what we’d consider diet friendly, I wanted to mentally beat myself up.  That is very destructive behavior, and it makes me want to eat.  A lot.  Such a reaction doesn’t just affect a diet (which I also consider destructive behavior, at least for me), it affects how I feel about myself.  It zaps my strength, and it steals my focus.

That’s not freedom.  That’s not even sane!  Thankfully, I recognized it for the lie it was, and I tossed the pseudo-guilt out of my mind, and went on about my guiltless and free day... 

...and I lost 18 pounds in January.

I certainly don't want you to think I'm at a place were I am fully trusting God and not relying on myself at all.  That, my Friend, is a battle I fight most days.  Why?  Because of impatience, for one thing.  Trying (and miserably failing) to rely on myself my whole life, and old habits die hard, for another.  

I have had a sudden realization that there’s going to be a Part 4
of the Change Your Focus” saga.  I know you are excited.

Let’s talk just a moment about power and authority.  As a child of God, as a believer in Jesus Christ, we have access to the power of the Name.  But we also need authority.  How do we get authority?   By one way only:  Getting closer to the Source...our heavenly Father.   How do we get closer to the source?  Simply put:  by prayer and fasting, by spending quality time in the Word, and being in constant communion with Him.

When I start getting closer to Him, I recognize that instead of focusing on food, what to eat, what not to eat, how much to eat, etc., etc., I realize I need:
  • To :::gasp::: love others.
  • To not gossip.
  • To quit complaining and start listening.
  • To help others.
  • Did I say “stop complaining?”   Yes, murmuring and complaining is a big one for me.  It can be an attitude not just words.
A great benefit of changing our focus to the Father and seeking Him first in all we do, is a greater understanding.  I begin to realize just how dependent I really am on Him, and I do not have to rely on myself! What a relief!  (While I talk a lot about losing weight, changing your focus will help any issue you have.)   When I am tied to what the scale says…whether I lose .5 pounds in a week or 18 pounds in a month…if my focus is on the numbers, then when I don’t see the loss I want, I find myself slipping back into the pit, back at square one, trying to figure things out myself (with short-lived and limited or NO success) instead of trusting the One who can really help me.
For reasons of His choosing, God has allowed my family to have a issues with diabetes, high blood pressure, and some other conditions.  For my own good, over the years, God has shown me (through doctors, counselors, friends, relatives, and even an Overeater’s Anonymous leader) that sugar is addictive to me and detrimental to my physical and mental well-being.  When I am in the throes of gluttonous behavior, I am disobedient and I can't even love myself...much less anyone else.  How do I show God that I love Him?  By my obedience. (John 14)   The simple fact of the matter is, when I don’t eat sugar-laden food, I feel better mentally and physically, and I am much more positive about everything.  I’m nicer, too.   Giving up sugar is not relying on myself, it is obedience.  (And I didn't do it without His help.)   I also don't allow myself to think about "never eating sugar again."   One day at a time, that is truly all I have to manage.
This post is now well over 600 words.   I guess that’s enough for Part 3, isn’t it?

PS:  I'm not telling anyone what to do or what not to do.   To that, I would say you do what works for you.  You find that way that you can live with the rest of your life.  I never found that in any thing I've tried, so I'm now working on relying on God's strength...which is what I should have done to begin with.  

4 comments:

  1. I know what you mean about diet mentality, it is easy to slip into it if we think we eat something we "shouldn't". Its not the occasional "forbidden" food that we eat that has us where we are at trying to lose weight, but its the continual eating of food that we know is not healthy for us that gets us into the trouble we have with weight. You know you can't eat sugar laden food. I know I can't eat daily chips and candy though I really would like to eat them daily :) It is so true to take the focus off the food and put it on Who really matters!

    betty

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  2. I wholeheartedly agree. :)

    In several posts a few posts ago, I mentioned reading AA's Big Book. despite how that program is currently spun (Not to mention what OA has done to it), the actual book, as originally written is very God centered. The name "God" is used most of the time, not that whole "Higher Power" thing.

    At any rate, the focus is NOT on alcohol. Abstaining from alcohol is a given. What IS focused on it what we would refer to as dying to self adn living for God and others. What you listed in this post is listed there.

    At one point, the author says that if you're prone to alcohol cravings--even if you're in a place where drinking occurs--then "you still have an alcoholic brain" and that is because your experience with God has not gone deep enough and you aren't walking it out towards others.

    That whole focus on God, having an experience with Him, living for Him and dying to self--rather than on all things alcohol (hear food for me) as the secret to maintaining sobriety resonated with me.

    Unless I'm reading into it, this post says the same thing.

    I need to refocus. Oddly, I got off of this aspect by tryiing to get a better hold on it. :} I came across a book called something like, "The Fruit of the Spirit: Becoming the Person God Wants You to Be" ( I've forgotten the authors names, but you'd recognize them.)

    I thought it would give me how-to's in allowing God to grow that Fruit since AA is basically saying to develop a way of thinking/feeling/being that exemplifies a Fruit of the Spirit filled life. (I've already figured out that my TRYING to develop that fruit doesn't work. :} sigh.)

    The book was an exercise in futility and, oddly, distracted me from the focus I was wanting to deepen. Yesterday, I decided that I need to pick that Big Book back up and lean into Jesus again. While indulgence in sweets and (for me) gluten is a given (or as AA puts it, the return of sanity), that is not my focus. I reminded myself that my focus must be on Jesus--and walking that out to His glory.

    And here you are--telling me the same thing! :D

    Thanks, girlfriend. (And I do apologize for writing a post-length comment.)



    Deb

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  3. P.S. CONGRATULATIONS ON LOSING 18 POUNDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Your commitment to being (Not just talking about it) sugar-free is encouraging to me. It makes me want to walk my SF talk for real. (I did start out well...)

    And, you know what, Margaret? When I am on track with the SF thin,, I am not following diet rules. I don't care if the food is fried or not. As long as it is not gluten or sugar laden, and I'm not eating gluttonously (remember my SF/GF cookie event), I'm doing what I need to do to return to sanity (As AA would put it). I have a pretty hared time hearing Jesus thru a sugar haze. That ain't freedom. No, ma'am, it isn't. But neither is focusing on food rules, focusing on abstaining, or focusing on controlling ourselves by trying to eat little bits...so we can say we are free. blech.

    Back to this post, I guess. :D Focus on Jesus, remove the source of insanity, focus on Jesus. :D A very nice 3-step plan.

    And--CONGRATULATIONS on a month well done.

    I need to get back there...

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  4. I love this Spirit filled post. Let us run the race with our eyes fixed on the Author and Perfecter of our faith!

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