Day Fiftyfour -- All the pieces...
by, 10-24-2010 at 02:40 AM (694 Views)
...are finally coming together for me. A question I asked myself the other day (and intended to answer sooner here but hadn't gotten to it yet) is "If all this is 'so easy' then why didn't you do this years ago?" There isn't really a simple answer for that, but I will do my best to try to define what makes me tick.
First off, we're talking about a lifetime of bad habits...multiple decades worth. Such habits are not easily broken, even with the best of intentions. One of my favorite things to do as a kid was to get a bowl of M&M's and snuggle up in bed with a good book...I could read and slowly relish the candy for hours.
Second, I had long ago developed a need for food as a source of comfort. It was like medicine, almost. This probably began in my teen years, but really became an issue for me after I married an Air Force man and began moving around the country and having little-to-no social roots to connect me to my surroundings. I remember when my oldest kids were really small and my husband was frequently deployed for months at a time...I'd get sooo stressed out...until I could go grocery shopping and fill the cabinets and 'fridge with all my favorite junky comfort foods. Only then could I begin to relax and calm down.
Third, I'm horribly lazy. Especially when I get hungry. I don't want to have to clean, chop, and prep veggies for a salad or actually have to cook something. Not when there's a perfectly good bag of chips sitting right there...or restaurants right around the corner with people that will happily fix my food for me.
Fourth, I'm an eternal optimist. You'd think that would be a good thing, but actually, it's just a powerful springboard for procrastination. Tomorrow was always going to be a better day. Today I can allow myself to indulge or give in or outright fail, because I know...I just know...that I'll get it right tomorrow.
And lastly, I'm a person who believes in God and the power of His Spirit to overcome all obstacles in my path. This knowledge has been all that has kept me going through the hardest times of my life. But when it came to THIS obstacle...or "these" obstacles, if we look at each one separately...I couldn't figure out how to apply that power to my life. I kept waiting for God to "fix" me. And when I continued to fail, I could lay it on His shoulders because He hadn't "helped" me enough yet.
SO.....the Eternal Optimist would start many a diet...and each time I just knew that this time would be "the one." I could muscle Bad Habits out of the picture and even trap Lazy behind the door with him....for so long as life stayed relatively smooth and calm. But the moment a storm hit, the Source Of Comfort would swing that door wide again. Some diets could feed Comfort...so long as his "points" were carefully counted. Bad Habits could be counted, too. Counting the cost of Comfort and Bad Habits will leave one mighty hungry by the end of the day...which sets up the classic opportunity for Lazy to come along and wreck everything. And I prayed, and pleaded, and wondered why I had to be so broken in this way.
I could find work-arounds for one or two of my issues, but another one always seemed to rear its head. After spending all my energies fighting off one and another...I had no strength left for a new battle....and I'd lose...again. But my Belief in God would never let me give up entirely. While I couldn't understand His seemingly distant ways, I never doubted His promises to me. And over the years, I've worked very hard to learn how to battle the voices of Habit and Comfort and Lazy, as well as many even more destructive voices that whisper to me constantly. I've learned not just to "love" myself (whatever that means) but to appreciate myself. I've learned to appreciate the person that God chose for me to be. He made me...very specifically me...with all my quirks and strength and wit...down to the very last freckle. I may not always understand me...but I'm finally beginning to LIKE me.
Which brings me to today...
First off, instead of trying to desperately to break bad habits....I'm simply focusing on building Good Habits. The old habits are still lurking and whispering, but I'm finding it much easier to simply not listen to them than it ever was to try and fight with them. Already, even after just a little over two weeks, they are a little quieter and a little more distant....and I do believe in time, they'll be almost entirely gone. So long as I continue to build those Good Habit muscles.
Second, I will always need comfort, but it need not be food. Instead of trying to find comfort in food, I need to seek out Peace. Peace within myself...peace within my surroundings...peace in the simple, quiet Love of my Lord. I can find Peace in a nap, if I need one. Or a walk outside on a beautiful day. Or listening to calming music. Comfort is just a bandaid to a wound. Peace is the cure.
Third, Lazy just needs to be shown the door. This is where the greatest Discipline comes into the picture for me at this time. Good Habits and Peace help make this possible. By only allowing myself certain options to choose from, and by being at peace with those choices, I find it much simpler to do what is necessary to create each healthy meal. There is always time for Rest when it is needed. Rest is refreshing and energizing. And feeding myself is NOT the time to rest.
Fourth, I'm still an Eternal Optimist. And I'm glad of it. But I will no longer use that as an excuse to procrastinate. I can believe that my feet will take me where I want to go...but if I never take that first step, I'll never get there, no matter how optimistic I am. I'm now stepping out...moving forward....and am just as confident (and even more so!) that I'll reach my goals and excel!
And lastly, I still Believe in God. But I now realize that He has already given me all the tools I need. His strength has been with me all along. Have you ever been looking frantically for something, only to discover some time later that it was in your pocket all along? All you had to do was to reach for it and it would have been there for you to use so much sooner. It's kind of like that. The strength I need to overcome bad habits, false comforts, and laziness has been there all along. Reminds me of an old joke I know....a kind of sad joke more than a funny one...
An old woman was trapped on her roof in the middle of a horrible flood. She prayed and prayed for God to rescue her. Some men came by in a row boat and offered to help her. She said, "No thanks, I'm trusting God to rescue me and He will." Later, some men in a power boat came by and asked her to get in. She said no and that God would save her. Late that night, a helicopter flew over and a man lowered down on a rope to reach her, but she refused to go with him as she was still waiting for God. In the night, the waters rose up over her roof and she drowned. When she stood before the Lord she asked him, "Father, I prayed and prayed and trusted You. Why didn't You rescue me?" And God answered, "I sent two boats and a helicopter!"
So there you go. I've stepped into my rescue boat....found all the right tools....and stopped waiting for some "miracle" to make it all easy.
To God, alone wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen
- Romans 16:27
With love to all who read...