Tortured by Possibilities

Monday started well – checking my email on my phone after waking up in the morning, I found an email newsletter with an article from Tania Frankie titled “Dependent”. Here’s a few paragraphs of it:

 

Apart from Me you can do nothing. John 15:5, NASB

Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God. 2 Corinthians 3:5, ESV, emphasis added

God who works all things in all persons. 1 Corinthians 12:6, NASB

Now may the God of peace… produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ, every good thing that is pleasing to him. Hebrews 13:20-21, NLT
 
Beloved, I’m telling you in the above verses that I don’t merely meet you half way; I am your way! I don’t supplement your strength; I am your strength (Ex 15:2, Ps 118:14). I don’t call you to use as much of your ability as you can and then to rely upon Me for the rest; I am your ability (Zec 4:6). Beloved, without Me you can do nothing.
 
Walking in this truth calls for deep humility and a radical surrender and letting go. Paradoxically, you are unable to produce your own humility, to radically surrender or to let go. You must rely upon Me for these things, as you must rely upon Me for all things. Truly, you are utterly dependent upon Me whether you realize it or not. And understanding and embracing your dependence is a glorious blessing that will bring you to a place of deep faith, trust, peace, joy, and increased awe and love for Me. Beloved, this is what I want for you. This is what I want you to grow in for the rest of your life.
 
How many times have you tried so hard to surrender, obey, love, trust, do the right things, avoid the wrong things, find the courage, muster up faith or joy or peace or gentleness or forgiveness or…? You fill in the blank. What are your struggles? Where do you long to be free? What do you want changed in yourself and in your life? What are your hopes, dreams and aspirations? Beloved, in all these things turn to Me because I am your ability in all things and in all circumstances; I am your sufficiency; I am everything you need for life and godliness (2 Pe 1:3).
 
Tania Frankie
Copyright, 2012

 

SO HOW DO I DO THIS?????

I definitely haven’t been living as if the above is true. I guess I need to keep coming back to this article.

On Monday my parents arrived home from two months overseas. In the atmosphere of celebrating them coming home with my bro & sis, I lost the plot with eating. And today, too (as in Tuesday). I went ahead with the Daniel fast* breakfast and lunch today, but bailed at dinner in the city (catching up with an old friend). It’s depressing typing this out again and again. “I did the wrong thing again.” “I did what I knew I shouldn’t do.” “I’m stuck in this cycle.” I know I can choose to do the right thing — but honestly, in the moment I don’t want to. So then — once again, I feel I need to make a covenant on this. Daniel fast for x amount of time? I want to hear, though, and be settled in what I’ve heard — not just step out into a binding agreement like a covenant without knowing for sure it’s where I’m being led. Though I feel it must be God’s leading — the idea has been echoing around in my heart, and nothing else has worked!

Am I trapped in a perfectionism/performance attitude towards myself? If I am — then I’m also definitely trapped in sin. Father, I pray for your help.
* a “Daniel fast” is eating only undesirable foods i.e. vegetables, a la Daniel chapter 1. It simply makes eating somewhat boring a lot of the time and removes freedom of choice in what to eat.

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Perfected by the Spirit

Hard day yesterday.

I was going great — happy, joyful — up till I sensed after church that I was being religious with all this. That’s one of the key triggers for me. As soon as I feel like I’m hearing that I’m being legalistic with this whole process, or (often) when someone else suggests I am, I ran back to safety (=eating whatever I want). And generally this means lots of sugary food… Which it definitely did in this case.

I fell into a hole after that which I didn’t manage to climb back out of for the rest of the day.

But after messing up at church, I did finish the fast I felt I was supposed to do. So that’s a small victory.

One of the things God gave me yesterday was Galatians 3:3 — He reminded me I need to spend time worshipping. Having begun in the Spirit, I should never try to switch back to being perfected by the flesh… A harsh view of God can lead to both fear of God’s punishment and resentment towards God. And bitterness is a deadly thing. Lord, I want to know how to step away from bitterness every time it arises! Keep my eyes set on you and my mind clear of those wrong mindsets!

First post!

Finally, the first post! I’m excited to be starting this blog.

I’m gonna share the battles I go through with this eating issue in gory detail, if needs be… and also whatever God’s doing in my life. Me-and-God is really bound up with me-and-food. It’s been this way for a long time.

It’s been an interesting couple of days. I’ve always felt the Spirit has said I should fast Fridays. Yesterday I didn’t, though, thinking I’d do the fast today instead, even though I wasn’t sure if He’d given me the go-ahead on that. It’s a cold winter and we stay out late in the city, and if I don’t eat I get cold. Maybe I’m just being a wuss. But it wasn’t real fun the other week when I did it!… Though at least I actually did the fast! Often I don’t carry it through. Like I said, food is a real issue for me. And unfortunately I’ve taught myself not to persevere, and to give in to doubt easily.

But I didn’t do it today either.

Last night I got hit with so much joy after one of the team shared a word from God for me. She saw Jesus overjoyed at a session I’m gonna be teaching in a few weeks’ time on evangelism. It was such a powerful experience of who He is… And for what seems like a while I’ve been far from seeing God in this light — the joyous, excited Father that He is. I’ve been super-aware of my disobedience towards Him (which has been daily), and I haven’t felt He’s been happy with me at all. Anyway, the whole night last night was wonderful after that. I felt so happy and so full of joy, and everything flowed. I want this every day!!! It wasn’t so hard to obey with eating in that state, either, and dinner was a couple of apples I packed in my backpack.

Today was worse in terms of disobedience. I decided to ignore what my heart was telling me and do what I wanted again, all three meals… And yet God was present to me afterwards each time. The Spirit’s been on me today despite the fact that I’ve ignored what He’s told me to do, and He’s brought me back to clear-mindedness each time. Thankyou, God…

I feel like I need to make a covenant with God about this. Cos the way I’ve been running it thus far hasn’t worked.

A question I have in this: where is the balance between learning to discipline myself and bring my will under my control — and becoming weak so His strength is made perfect in me? I want to love Him and His commands, and lean on Him for the grace to carry them out. But even love for Him comes from Him. And yet! — there’s a need to seek Him for more!! It’s kinda hard to nail this process on paper. Maybe I’m not supposed to be able to.

*****

As I’m sitting here writing this my brother and his girlfriend are watching ‘The Motorcycle Diaries’. It reminds me that there’s so much pain in the world, so much that must grieve Jesus. There’s so much more going on than me and my issues… And so many ways God’s planning to give to this world through me, with me.

Why this blog?

I’m a believer in Jesus, and for almost four years now my relationship with God has been severely damaged by a little cluster of issues that haven’t been dealt with. My heart has drifted away from putting Jesus first and choosing Him above other things. I’ve been struggling with an addiction and battling independence in myself, which surfaces specifically in the sin of gluttony, and also in other areas.

Basically, I’ve been really overly focused on food. It’s an emotional/spiritual addiction. Looking at my photo, you might think I’m insane to say that — maybe you think my real problem is that I should eat more! But the issue isn’t really about nutrition, and though I do eat more than I need sometimes, it’s not way more than I need. (I haven’t exactly gained much weight because of this issue.) The real issue is what food means to me. It’s become my god, and lust for it has been my fuel for a long while now. Pretty sad, frustrating and disheartening… But God has said through Him I can overcome!

I was inspired to start this blog by another blog I came across (http://thecovenantdiet.wordpress.com), which is being written by a Christian struggling with some of the same issues I’m struggling with. I’ve decided to start this blog because, honestly, nothing else has worked. I haven’t come to freedom after a long time and plenty of false starts. I need something outside myself to keep myself accountable, and to help me to see my thought processes objectively.

But the best is yet to come! This is my journey into surrender and freedom.

And why ‘Jacob’s Staff’ as a title? The Bible says Jacob wrestled with God, and God touched his side and put his hip out of joint. I imagine he had a limp from then on. Genesis mentions that when he was about to die he “worshipped as he leaned on the top of his staff”. Hearing Paul Young (author of the wonderful book The Shack) speak on this subject at my parent’s church here in Australia — along with a prophetic word from a friend — planted a desire somewhere deep down in me to walk with a spiritual limp like Jacob, in total dependence on Jesus. This image has really captured me. I want to walk in His strength, not mine — to lean on Him the rest of my life. I want my heart to be consumed with God again.