I do it, and I do it big. Here's to not forgetting about it.

Archive for August, 2015

The New Testament Diet

This summer, I grappled with the ethics of so-called ‘cheating‘ on a diet. Since then, I’ve gotten to a healthier weight but still struggle to eat in a way that doesn’t constantly make me feel guilty. I don’t believe that it is good for me to think about food in the way that I do. I’m looking for some freedom. I was reminded that there was this guy who wrote a lot about the freedom that I have in Christ about 2000 years ago:  

 One can hardly surmise how the Apostle Paul wrote 1/3 of the New Testament without even a snack on his desk. Wonder-working power, indeed. 

“All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify.”

‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭10:23‬ ‭NASB‬

This. I believe that much of the time, we balk at the idea of limits. I must come to terms with the fact that any restrictions I may follow are self-imposed. I am free to eat as I please, but is it really best for me? I wrote before that I know I cannot be perfect, but I should eat in a way that is profitable for that which I am trying to achieve. I want to keep my colon shiny, right? I want to be able to race, free of inflammation and injuries. How does one measure how little unprofitable food she should eat and stay in the black? Blonde Oprah says two or three times a week, and I GUESS I should trust her, eh? 

Eating is a spiritual matter. Think of the words we often use to describe it. ‘Sinful.’ ‘Decadent.’ ‘Guilt-free.’ Quite frankly, few decisions that we make are NOT spiritual, whether we choose them as such. I feel comfortable when I say that abusing my body with unhealthy food is sin. The question becomes, what constitutes abuse? I don’t think it is imperfection. I suppose I just have to A) find out what my boundaries are and B) get accustomed to changing them as my body changes. 

“For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace. What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be!”

‭‭Romans‬ ‭6:14-15‬ ‭NASB‬‬

It’s almost as though Paul felt the need to say the same thing over and over because people need to hear the same lessons in a million different ways. Hmm. 

I am free to eat as I please. At 30, it is easy to pretend that sinful eating does not have consequences. I consider my past obesity to be a blessing, because I have been able to learn some valuable lessons while being blessed with a body young enough to bounce back from my sins. I know firsthand how sin brings forth death in this instance. 

I must die to myself daily. I must admit, it feels weird to say grace before I eat and thank God for a meal that I KNOW is crap. I am thankful for the means to get the food, regardless of its quality. “Allow me to use the energy to glorify you.” Oh, dear. Let’s not eat things that aren’t aimed toward this end. 

Being Made Clean

I had my first colonoscopy today! 

Because I have been dealing with GI issues for much of the past year, my GP recommended that we get to the bottom (heh) of it by ruling out anything serious. Y’all know how it works – when you’re getting a picture taken, you clean up and present your best self. Sadly, a shower wasn’t sufficient for this procedure.  As such, I consumed my last solid food was 36 hours prior to the exam. 

I woke up yesterday anticipating a fairly miserable day, knowing I wouldn’t eat anything aside from chicken broth, water, or white grape juice. Moreover, I wouldn’t be able to ease my menstrual cramps with any anti-inflammatory medication. At 3 PM, I saddled up and took the first dose of my laxative, anticipating the worst:   

 
I wasn’t sure if I could Bear (sorry) what was surely to come. In truth, I would describe what ensued as more tedious than painful. My stomach never hurt. I simply got urges to use the restroom at ridiculous intervals. At around 7 PM, I reported to Adonis that I was “only” going about twice an hour, having forgotten that this was still quite a bit. I smiled and laughed a lot – indeed, I was reminded of how satisfied I can be with little food. Not once that day did I feel extreme hunger. Each bout of broth (carefully timed, of course) was delicious. 

The second and final dose of the medicine was at 10 PM. I couldn’t imagine having anything left to give! I found myself appreciative of simple tastes and, curiously enough, of other people. The bathroom is a lonely place, y’all. I was engaged in conversation and would have to excuse myself in mid-sentence. I was afraid to go to bed because I didn’t want to miss any important appointments. By 2 AM, the storm had calmed. 

I woke up this morning feeling nervous about breaking my 30 year run of no general anesthesia. “Will they give me too much? Too little?” I’ve seen loved ones tolerate it well but all that came to mind was a show I used to watch as a teenager – When Anesthesia Fails.  “What if I wake up normally conscious but those a$$e$ messed up mine? What if they kill me? Nobody will get the music right at my funeral!!” I know it was ridiculous for just a colonoscopy, but hey. I’m tryna live here. 

Thankfully, the most painful part of my experience was my copay. The nurses at my side were great. The doctor joked that I didn’t do the prep properly because I was in such good spirits and did not describe it as terrible. I suppose that laying down with an IV with nothing to do except challenge myself to remember Bible verses for nearly 2 hours was helpful. 

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, with prayer and supplication and thanksgiving, make your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. 

Philippians 4:6-7. Over and over, I repeated this to myself before the moment of truth – the anesthesia. I watched as the anesthesiologist attached the vial of white milky goodness (Propofol) to my IV. “Hey wait I’m not ready! Did you do it?” She reassured me that the doctor was still to come and talk to me first. He talked to me, I saw her push down and I asked her if she did it. “Sure did,” she says. I felt a weird tingle in the upper half of my body. The next thing I knew, my Mom was waiting with me. 

Result – my colon looks fantastic! The only recommendation is to up my fiber game. It will be another 10 years before I need to do that again, but I hope the biggest lesson stays with me: I need less than I think to be satisfied. 

 

The Death of Summer 

Well, summer has once again come to an end. Every June, I have said to myself, “I know what I’m going to do! I am going to work a little each week of summer to ensure that I have the smoothest start of the school year possible.”  

 Yeah. Didn’t happen. 

I’m your classic procrastinator. Most times, I would rather not act simply because I’m fearful that the outcome will not be what I feel it should be. I generally will not act until the fear of the consequences of not acting is greater than my fear of failure. When it comes to the beginning of the school year, I end up scrambling to prepare because I fear being an ineffective teacher more than I fear being an imperfect one. 

I frustrate myself. When am I going to live more like the Christ follower I am? I am living a life of fear until I absolutely must be faithful…or else. It frightens me to think of how many blessings I must miss, especially given that a life of procrastination does not lend itself to real, peaceful rest. There are things you just don’t plan for, like 2 family deaths within 48 hours of each other, one happening the morning you return to work. 

Regarding work – it has to work out, heh. God has been both faithful and gracious and I will do my absolute best to be the music teacher my students deserve and give them a great year. Because this: 

“The LORD is compassionate and gracious, Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭103:8‬ ‭NASB‬‬

I’ve squandered more time than I care to think about and received some stark reminders this week that there will come a time when there is no more time. This first world life of mine can be scarily deceptive. Every day is a fight to remember why I must continually submit my will to His. 

It may sound weird, but the two funerals I will attend in as many weeks make that fight easier. Death makes it very difficult to run from reality. I am hugging everyone around me more tightly and was able to take an important step today that I’ve been putting off for much too long. 

My relationships with the spawns of Adonis have been good, but one has made me more nervous than the other. The Big One is more like her father, who won’t tell you he needs things but when you offer, or just show up and do it, you know he needed it. Lil One, mercifully, requires a *tad* less intuition. I reached out to Big today and told her I would see her tomorrow at her godfather’s funeral, and she said something that helped me be brave, and I quote: 

“You’re da best Joan. Thanks for being a great future step-mom.”

If that doesn’t give me hope for a solid relationship with lots of room for growth, I don’t know what will. So I took a leap and told her I loved her and got the I love you return! Mind you, I had made the decision to love her as soon as I knew of her existence, and have liked her since I’ve met her, but I’ve been sitting on it because I didn’t want her to reject me, quite frankly, or see me as trying to replace her mom. I’ve simply deferred to less explicit ways of showing love by checking in with her, hugging, etc. I look forward to being there for Big One and telling her in person! 

The death of a loved one always sucks. You wonder if you told them the right things. Did the right things for them. Death, however, also brings rest for those who no longer must fight. I hope and pray that I continue to die to myself, that I conquer fears more quickly and live the life of faith that will enable me to experiences the Lord’s blessings to the fullest and help others on their journeys to do the same. 

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