Thursday, February 20, 2014

Thank God for Chocolate Cake!

     Have you ever had one of those yukky days when everything goes wrong, no matter how hard you try, the whole day just flies out from underneath you, takes off on its own, and seems bent on messing up everything you do, stirring up more problems, more issues, and more work?  Ugghh!

     And then you feel discouraged, dumb, inferior, incapable, useless, withered, exhausted, done in, etc.  Uuuuuuuugggghh!!!!!!

     You go home, get into your comfy flannel jammies, feeling down and dejected, and your tummy grumbles – “need food!” But nothing sounds good – nothing that’s good for you anyway.  You need a treat, something yummy, something that’s not good for you, something bad – oh yeah, something that will make you feel good!  Aaaah yes, comfort food!

And then you remember – left over from last night – oh yeeesssssss!!!!!


Rich, dreamy, smooth, moist, luscious, soothing, soul reviving chocolate cake!!
Now, for those of you who don’t like chocolate – I will pray for you – because you are missing out on one of life’s most miraculous healing tools!!
But for those of you who know what I’m talking about – there’s just nothing like a big slice of rich, deep, yummy, super moist, super chocolaty, chocolate cake, topped with thick, rich, dark chocolaty, creamy icing! Oooooooohhhhh Lord – it just soothes my soul and all that ails it!!!!  Makes me feel delectably worthy and able again.

Thank God for chocolate cake!

 (And might I add here that I make a baaaaaaaaaaddddd chocolate cake!!)
     Well, what about when that delectable chocolate cake isn’t available? Or Heaven forbid – you don’t like delectable chocolate cake? (Unfathomable to me, but, hey, whatever floats your boat J

     I realized something a few days ago that put me on this thought path; having my daily personal quiet/devotional/meditation time, for me, provides that same delectably worthy and able feeling, deep down in my soul – that same delectable feeling that chocolate cake gives me after I have liberally imbibed. It simply soothes my soul and all that ails it.

      But, for me, just like that amazing chocolate cake, the right ingredients have to go into the mix, or I’m left wanting, feeling that something is missing.  Without the main ingredient – rich, decadent chocolate - it’s just not chocolate cake, right?
     In my quiet time, my main ingredient is God.  Like chocolate, God just simply soothes my soul. He and His awesome words of truth and love lift my spirits.  They assure me that I am not alone, that I am loved, just as I am, faults and all.  They tell me that, yes, I will have bad days along with the good, that there are times I will fail, times I will do the wrong thing.  They acknowledge I’m not perfect, but that it’s ok!

     And then they tell me I am beautiful, that I am beloved, and that I matter, that I am worth it, and that I am precious!!  No matter what!!!  And when I talk to God while reading these Words, I get that incredible, delectable, rich chocolate cake feeling, deep down in my soul.  And then everything is better once again. 

     So, I invite you – try some daily personal quiet/devotional/meditation time.  Reflect upon the good, positive things in your life. Everyone has some, every day of their life – you just have to look for them.  If you don’t already have an open, daily dialogue with God, I recommend you try it.  Today!  Just start talking to Him like He was sitting there right next to you.  Tell Him about your day; ask Him to give you peace.  Devour a piece of His rich, dreamy, chocolate cake – Scripture - as often as you can.  Guaranteed not to put pounds on you, instead, it takes tons of worry and sorrow OFF! Try some today and experience that soul-satisfying, spirit lifting, yummy, delectable, good feeling!

Yes, thank God for Chocolate Cake!

His kind is the best <3

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Light Bulb Moments

Oval Callout: Ah-Ha!!
Remember the last time you had a light bulb moment, an ah-ha moment, an epiphany?
That moment when a thought, an experience, something you just read, or something
someone said, becomes an extraordinary, maybe life-changing revelation to you? I had one of those yesterday.  It was something very simple, really, but, for me, it was powerful indeed!

I was born the second of 5 children, and was raised mainly by my mother after my parents divorced when I was about 8.  We didn’t have much growing up but the one thing we did have was love.  Though we didn’t spend a lot of time with Mom – she worked long hours to provide for us, attended school full-time to earn a nursing degree, and spent countless hours doing homework – she made sure we knew we were loved.  And as she showed us love, she also instilled in us a deep love and caring for others.  No matter how bad we kids might have thought we had it, we knew there was always someone, somewhere who had it worse.

Therefore, I grew up being aware of others’ circumstances around me and helping others became second nature. I grew up believing that other people’s needs were more important than mine, and if need be, I could lay aside my circumstance to help them. So, caring for others has always felt good to me.

As a result of growing up without a father figure influence, and having a very busy mother, I have struggled with control and self-esteem issues, manifesting into eating/food issues, such as bulimia (for which I have had treatment and celebrate recovery, J for many years), but still struggle with sweet addictions, and the pull of old, bad habits from time to time.  However, I have always felt that my issues impacted or hurt no one other than myself.  If I chose to live like that, it was ok because no one else would be hurt by it.  I could live like that and still be a loving, caring person, willing and able to help my neighbor when needed.  Sounds good, right?

Yesterday I realized how wrong I have been in thinking that way.  Contemplating a few questions in a book I am reading (Wonder Struck, by Margaret Feinberg**) it hit me.  These questions basically asked:

What does loving your neighbor as yourself, as described in the Bible mean to you?

Do you think you can truly love your neighbor if you don’t love yourself?

When have you not taken care of yourself and, as a result, found yourself caring for other people less?

First, I have always thought I loved “my neighbor” more than myself, and thought that was a good thing.
Second, of course I answered yes, I can love my neighbor fully with the love that God put in my heart for them.  It doesn’t matter if I love myself or not.
Then on the third question I of course began to answer that I haven’t cared for people less because of not caring for myself.
But, a little voice inside me said, “Wait – let’s think about that a moment. Is that really true?”

Hmmmm….well…when I am not caring for myself the best, and am in a period of “catering” to my food issues, when I’ve had some binging days and I’m feeling “fat” or guilty, I do tend to hide in my house and not take part in social activities until I feel less fat or guilty or whatever.  But that doesn’t hurt anyone else, does it? 

Well, let’s see, when I am hiding in my house, not wanting anyone to see me, I am not seeing anyone else either. If I am not seeing anyone else, then how am I to know if “my neighbor” is in need, and care for them?

Hmmm…well, I guess you could say then, that catering to my not-so-healthy eating/thinking issues, from time to time, and as a result, hiding myself in my house and not dealing with people –though not really harming anyone else –actually might be a little selfish behavior. And if I am being selfish with something - that means someone else is doing without that thing I am being selfish with and keeping for myself, right? Hmmm…thinking a little deeper…

Can this really mean that in my not-really-meaning-to-be-selfish behavior, I am actually caring for other people less?
Yes! I can see now that when I am not caring for myself correctly, I really AM caring for OTHERS LESS.  Not purposely, but yes, it’s true!

So, now I understand that even though I think I am doing no harm to anyone but myself on those days that I want to binge on sweets, the result of my binging does affect others.  It does cause me to be less caring of others, because in my feeling bad and my guilt, I am hiding myself away from them, taking away the chance of my ministering to them – or them ministering to me! 

I don’t know about you, but I don’t ever want to knowingly be less caring; I, nor anyone else, can make any good difference in the world if we are practicing being less caring, right?  In catering to my bad food cravings, even if not every day, and thinking that doing so affected no one else, I was wrong – my results do affect others, and not in a good way.

So, now I have new incentive to resist those tempting urges to binge on sweets instead of healthy foods, and to get proper exercise, not too much or too little.  In resisting those tempting little urges, not only will I be taking better care of myself, I will actually be caring for other people - more!

In closing, and as a thought for this week, I would invite you to ask yourself those same questions that Margaret Feinberg asks in her book study, “Wonderstruck” and see where you stand.  Will it be a light bulb moment for you too?

Blessings and much caring to you,

** WONDERSTRUCK, AWAKEN TO THE NEARNESS of GOD, © 2013 Margaret Feinberg,
Published by LifeWay