Jesus is Better Even When We Eat Sugar On Sunday

I’ll get right to it… I caved into my sweet tooth and ate sugar on Sunday. Everything was going just fine until the rice crispy treats showed up on the table at the DiFazio’s. I love rice crispy treats. Taste, texture, can’t beat them. So, I justified it in my mind with, “taking a day off a week would make this more do-able.” I was busy that Sunday, enjoying hanging out with the young adults in our church at our monthly social event, The Gathering. So I woke up this morning with regret, knowing I’d have to confess here on the blog. That’s the wrong regret, obviously. It’s just pride that wants to conceal my pitiful display of idolatry/self-indulgence/justification. But what did happen over the weekend when I was having fun at weddings, socials, and church is that I actually got sidetracked from the Lord. 

So, here I am at Dunkin’ Donuts, and I am telling myself this: Jesus is better than my perfect performance. Jesus is so sweet that He forgives me for wandering in my heart – which is the actual sin. For leaving the God I love. He is ever consistent in the face of my inconsistencies. He is ever faithful under the ups and downs of my frail faith. He is able to bring rescue and reconciliation quickly so that I don’t have to give up and give in. I can continue to pursue Jesus as better than sugar! So I will. I will start again today. With all these donuts, and muffins, and coolatta signs, maybe I should find a different writing place. :)

Jesus is better day 4

Yesterday, I tried to call to mind specific aspects of who Jesus is throughout the day rather than just keep it in the nebulous, Jesus is better realm. This was helpful, and I want to try to do that more today. 

In particular, for whatever reason, I kept thinking about Jesus with the little children. He welcomed them, blessed them, and even used them as an illustration of what believers should be when we come to God. I thought about coming to Him humbly as a child, and asking Him for blessing…unconcerned about how self serving it is. I thought about why Jesus said we must become like little children, dependent completely on Him. Jesus who was the agent of all creation, the sustainer of the universe, and the Prince of glory welcomes lowly, dependent children. He welcomes me. 

Last night, I became a child in a different sense. I became the tantrum child that pitches a fit because things are not going her way. Mind you, I was far more sophisticated than a toddler writhing on the floor and screaming her lungs out. I was feeling anxiety and it was coming out with harsh words, and barking orders. It is so stupid when I think about it. I was trying to get everyone’s school supplies distributed. I have a child who is prone to venting big emotion and he was feeling overwhelmed by a few classes and this just fed the fire of my own anxiety. So rather than be the voice of calm faith for my kids as they get into the new school year, I was the voice of crazy trying to get everyone’s syllabus signed, supplies divided, and homework begun. 

I’ve been running around a lot and this has left things at home somewhat unattended. I feel behind and disorganized on the home front which is the launch pad for everyone who lives here. So this morning, I, a spoiled rotten brat child, am going back to my Savior, and I am asking Him to bless me with forgiveness for my sinful worry and anger. I’m asking Him to forgive me for my ludicrous self sufficiency. And I am asking Him to bless me with His power to do what He has called me to do with a gentle and quiet spirit that I know is precious in His eyes.

It’s a crazy week of establishing routines, getting back to the old, new normals of school life, and coming alongside my sons as they step into a far-more-challenging than expected senior year of high school. Every time I feel that tiny sorrow about missing sugar, I want to remember that Jesus is better than that quick, fleeting reward-escape-pleasure; and not in a nebulous way, but in a very specific way. Like when Jesus, the Savior of the world stops and lets kids, even the ones who throw tantrums, climb on His lap to be blessed. He is better!

Jesus is Better than Sugar day 3

Again, I had a relatively easy day abstaining from sugar yesterday because I was so busy. It was my sons’ first day of school, but it was only a half day. I felt like I spent the day running running running. I have a reminder on my phone to stop and acknowledge/ponder/consider that Jesus is better than sugar and that helps, but I think today I’m going to try something different. I want to encounter Jesus more in my day to day life, and removing a pleasure – like sugar – is a practical way to make me stop and say no to myself and turn to Jesus. I think I’m expecting that Jesus will in those moments, prove Himself or maybe reveal Himself is a better way to put it. I want it to be a profound moment that intersects with my emotions, reveals His glory, His love for me, and makes me love Him more. But I think today I’m going to go about it differently. I’m going to stop and think a little bit deeper about how and in what ways Jesus is better than sugar. Maybe I’ll try to call to mind some of His interactions with people in the gospels. Maybe I will consider the garden of Gethsemane, or the crucifixion, or the passages in Revelation about His glorious return. I think I was bypassing the role the brain plays between the moment of “Jesus is better” and a deeper revelation of Him that my soul craves. I need to think. to meditate. to ponder. We will see how it goes!

Jesus is Better day 2

Confessions: I didn’t eat sugar yesterday. Yay!!! But, I also was so busy that I didn’t actively seek Jesus as a better than sugar. Mostly I spent the day grocery shopping, getting a few starter school supplies, buying a new pair of uniform pants for each boy, and getting one last day in with my boys before they begin school. So, the good news is, I wasn’t very tempted…except for the chocolate cake that my sons weren’t eating. I pushed the cake, and it was gone by 4pm. Oh, and I almost forgot…I was binging on pistachios. Just a sugar replacement looking for food to do something for me. I’m going to try not to do that today because the principle of Jesus is better is what I’m aiming for, so if I just shift from sugar to nuts I’m not really making the most of this opportunity.

 

Observations/insights: What seemed to stay with me yesterday was the theme of humility. Trying to be actively dependent on the Lord, especially with such a long list of things to do. So a nice byproduct of knowing that I need Jesus to help me need Jesus and say no to myself is that I seem quicker to see my frailty in other areas as well. Not sure how that will work itself out today, we will see.

 

As an aside, unlike past times, I’m not cutting carbs. I’m eating fruit and whole grains. I try to run as my primary form of exercise, so when I cut carbs my legs feel like lead and I’m just miserable. This is better. We will see how it goes as the month progresses, but I’m feeling my usual amount of energy even without my quick fix of refined sugars.

 

Another aside, I’m trying something today that may or may not work. I dropped my boys off at school and headed straight to the local starbucks to write. It’s a busy place, so it may be too distracting. I find if I try to write at home though, I am always besieged by what needs to get done…dishes, laundry, etc. Maybe if I consider this my writing workplace, I have a shot at getting consistency in my writing. That’s a secondary part of what I am trying to do with this little Jesus is better project… get more Jesus, and get to more writing.

 

Wow, boring post today, but I want to keep the writing going whether or not I have anything interesting to say. J

 

 

 

Jesus is better than sugar, day 1

Yesterday was my first day of giving up sugar with the mindset, heartset of proving to my heart and soul that Jesus is better than sugar. Here are my confessions and observations for day one.

True Confessions: I did fine, except when I made Pioneer Woman’s chocolate cake and icing. I grew up calling it Texas Sheet Cake, and it is truly one of my all time favorites. This is what I agreed to bring to the Labor Day hang out at the Lockhart’s house. Sooo, I was doing just fine, truly, until some of the icing I was pouring on the cake spilled over the side and so swiped it with my finger and ate it without thinking. Then I realized what I did, but still ate more. What a pitiful display! But, that is all the sugar I consumed for the day. I’m not thrilled about the fact that I already blew it, but God used it as you will see in observations.

Observations/Insights:

1.  I didn’t have a super mystical encounter with Jesus as I repeated to myself throughout the day that He’s better than sugar, sweeter, and what my soul truly craves. I need to fight to not reduce this to a mantra. I want it to be a heart cry, not just some trick I do to turn from the cookie, candy, cake.

2.  God did speak to me rather pointedly as I listened to the first teaching in the series Grace Made Visible by Matt Chandler on a chapter in Isaiah when God is correcting the Israelites for their approach to fasting. I am not really calling this a fast, but it has similarities.Two encouragements I took away from the message were:

FIRST: Don’t be like the Israelites and fast thinking it makes God indebted to you (me). God doesn’t owe me weight loss because I was so self disciplined. God doesn’t ever owe me anything because I put on a religious behavior. 

SECOND: Fasting is supposed to produce humility. Fasting isn’t to get something from God, it’s to get God Himself. I was so humbled yesterday because I could see that I wasn’t even able to resist for 12 hours without cheating with a lick of chocolate icing. I’m not in condemnation over this, but I am humbled by it. I need Jesus’ help to say no to myself with this whole sugar thing. But even more, I need Jesus to help me seek Jesus in this so it doesn’t become an empty, vain pursuit of religiosity that makes me feel good about myself, or hate myself because I fail.

3. Throughout the day I kept hearing the whisper, “Jesus is better than sugar, but is Jesus better than being thin?” Honestly, I hate watching the scale creep on up there as I get older. I hate feeling in bondage to food. Those are very strong motivators to cutting the sugar. Again, I am humbled. I don’t just cut sugar so that I can press in to Jesus, find Him to fill what I was using sugar for. I am vain. I am proud. I don’t like getting fatter. So I have to wrestle with another Jesus is better question. Is Jesus better than being thin? That question scares and liberates me. Scares me because I think, well, this could be the beginning of a much bigger me. But it liberates me because I know that the answer is a thousand times YES. He is the beautiful one. He is the prince of glory. Not me in a thin body. However thin I could get, it wouldn’t satisfy my soul because I was made for HIS glory, not my own. 

So that is day one in a nutshell.

 

And out of the clear blue sky…

I need a place to write. My failure of a launch on my blog momentum isn’t that place right now. It’s a long, complicated story that involves unclear goals, high maintenance parenting, etc. For a variety of reasons, I feel incapable to write to help others right now. So, I need a place to write for me. I journal, but something about a semi public format motivates me to write better, and really to think better.

So I’m going to try a little something called “better than…” For the month of September I’m saying to myself that Jesus is better than sugar. So I’m giving up sugar, again. I’ll write about how that is working. Honestly, I really do believe that Jesus is what my soul is craving, but the practical experience of that is really rather elusive. Maybe if I pay attention better…and I will if I’m going to write about it… I will see just how this whole thing works in my real life. Jesus is all-satisfying. I tell my kids that all of the time when they are looking to what the world offers in satisfaction. But I need to feel it, live it for myself. So I chose something I run to comfort, for pleasure, for joy… sugar!

Here we go!