No Refuge In The Graveyard

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As we prepare for a lifelong health journey, one of the greatest challenges is overcoming our thoughts and habits that seem to immediately transport us to the diet graveyard. Once there, we begin telling ourselves what we can and can’t eat, start gnawing unconsciously on carrots, throw prepackaged low calorie meals in our shopping cart and resign ourselves to the doldrums of the next round of RE-losing; already our spirit is weeping.

Living on a health journey, what I promised to accompany you on, is much different than dying on a diet. This journey is not something you get on and off of like a wagon.

Just recently my family and I spent a few days in the Redwoods in Northern California. It was a brilliant example of the path we face on a health and wellness journey.

The path is somewhat narrow, but has ample room for company and to maneuver comfortably. There are towering, insurmountable obstacles all around. There are so many new things to learn and explore, it can be as interesting as we are willing to make it. There might be burned out trees along the path from a much needed cleansing of the forest floor to allow for new growth. There might be a fallen tree along the path that forces us to recalculate our route or gain strength to overcome it. The path is long, but not straight; we can only see a short section of the path, but when we look up, it’s clear that God planned the big picture and it’s all in His control.

If you have been preparing yourself for this journey, maybe you’ve tried every diet known to mankind, bought several gadgets promising a body that you were never meant to have, possibly sought out pills, shots, miracle shakes, workouts, you know, if you’re like me, please let me reassure you…
breathe, relax, we won’t be revisiting the diet graveyard.

We will be learning to live abundantly, the way Jesus intends.

So feel free to kick off those hiking boots for now. Starting with my next post we are going to stop surveying the landscape and begin enjoying being in the midst of it.
Until then, let this word wash over you.
Psalm 91:1-2
Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my god, in whom I trust.”

So Abundant Life Can Be Yours,
Rhonda

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I’m Hungry

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Have you ever noticed when you ask God to draw closer, He reminds you that He has not moved, but indeed you have? Recently, I decided to participate (with a couple girlfriends) in a Seven “fast”. The idea was based on Jen Hatmaker’s book Seven: an experimental mutiny against excess. So, each of us chose seven foods to live on for one month. I was hoping for and quoted to myself often, “More of Him, less of me” (a continuing theme of the book). I needed the reminder, believe me.

On day three of this “experiment”, I was emotionally raw. God knew the desire of my heart. He was drawing me, He was close. I was so hungry for more of Him, more of His presence. I needed Him.

The previous night’s incident was still fresh on my mind. I had discovered a foil covered plate with the last carmelita on it. What’s a carmelita, you say? It’s a carmelly, sugary, wonderful cookieish dessert thingie. Glancing from side to side, I quickly took a nibble and threw the rest of it right in the trash. Remember, I’m on a fast! It’s all good, not too much damage. I left the room quickly. No one saw. Whew. But…yes…15 minutes later, I entered the kitchen, noticing that all available witnesses were deep in conversation AND SNACKS, I dug the discarded temptation out of the trash and devoured it.

Yes, yes I did. Even knowing I would have to confess to my “Counsel” (the girlfriends) the next day in our daily check-in, I ate.one.lone.carmalita. I had done the right thing. I threw it away. I walked away. In only a moment the last nibble sweetly and bitterly eased its way into my failing flesh. All of my failures that I had been trying to hide from Him, and myself, came plummeting right onto my heart. In somewhat disbelief I made my way to the bedroom, crumpled to my knees and cried in my weakness. I prayed for everything I was lacking to be who He intended for me to be. I was no longer hungry for a treat. I was hungry still…but only for Him.

The next morning (day 3) I was listening to Keith Green as I was dressing. I had heard this song so many times before, but this time the words rung out so loud in my heart, like I had never heard them before.

How can you be so dead
When you’ve been so well fed?
Jesus rose from the grave
And you, you can’t even get out of bed
Oh, Jesus rose from the dead
Come on get out of your bed.
(Asleep in the Light, Keith Green)

I quickly turned to my husband and through the knot in my throat and the tears running down my face forced out, “Did you hear that, did you hear what he said?” In a broken voice he answered. He felt it too. God’s presence. I had grown lazy and complacent. I had slowly replaced my REAL time with Him with meaningless and frivolous activities (isn’t anything in comparison?). I am so grateful for a God and Savior that cares enough to meet us where we are, who puts our past as far as the East is from the West and who promises never to leave us! Thank you, Jesus!!Thank you that your mercies are new every morning!!

The word “health” carries many meanings depending on who you ask. In addition to eating great and nutritious food and taking good care of our bodies physically, I believe true health is divine; of or from God; extremely good.
It’s also remaining IN The Vine, John 15:5, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”

The health journey is a lifelong one. So lace up those favorite hiking shoes, not too tight now, I want you to be comfortable. You might get some blisters along the way. Or trip up. Or even get completely off track. Let me tell you, Friend, it will be worth it. I’ll be right at your side, not shaking my finger at you (remember the carmelita?). A journey is so much more fun when we have company; someone to help us back up when we have stumbled, brush us off and give us some Living Water.

So abundant life can be yours,
~Rhonda