No matter what the motivation behind or purpose for it, a get-away is a good idea! One get-awayer might be wanting to simply get away from the routine and cares of daily life and have a change of pace. Another wants to get away to visit or do something fun, exciting, and different. And yet another wants a get-away where they just relax and do absolutely nothing.
But additionally, and sadly for me, “vacation” has been synonymous with “license to EAT everything I want”! I have basically deemed vacation a time to vacate my food boundaries, toss all reason and restraint to the wind, and indulge my taste-buds in whatever sights my eyes might behold. Bad idea!
But my days of wayward appetite indulging have been getting challenged and are drawing near to their end. I had been participating in Heidi Bylsma’s Thin Within Coaching group for a couple of months prior to our trip, and it was clear that my old appetite regarding vacation feasting would not be getting to accompany me this trip. Actually it just needed to be killed and buried forever.
So I had determined in my heart and mind that our most recent vacation would be different. I was not going to be focused on FOOD, but rather on having fun with Dave, doing the various outings we had planned (which included some “rising above” experiences ~ like ziplining through a mall 115 feet up and going on a helicopter ride), bubble baths with Dave, and just relaxing in our room.
And, even though it was hard on my flesh ~ which just wants to eat whatever it wants whenever it wants ~ the Lord helped me rise above the temptation to eat when I wasn’t hungry.
For most of our time there, I was both “doing” and “being” very well with my eating, meaning I had surrendered my self indulgent heart to the Lord and was not allowing our trip to be about food. This alone was fun! A new experience for me, which, on one hand, I’m embarrassed and sad to say, but on the other, “better late than never,” right?
But there were a couple of days while there that I was struggling to keep afloat. It took me a while, but I finally realized at least one of the reasons…
Several “concerns of life” had piled up.
Kind of like on a freeway when one car rams into another, and then the car behind that one rams in to the first two, and then the next car back crashes into those, and so on… until there’s a huge pile-up!!!!!! (I do realize that the photo above is of toy cars on a village map carpet. There were actually plenty of real-life photos of car pile-ups, but in case any of you have been in a traumatic car accident, I thought the toy car pile-up would be less traumatic. 🙂 However, when I showed this photo to my little 2-year-old grandpunkin, Henry, his eyes popped as he said “UH-OH!!!” So he “got it”! 🙂 )
There were quite a few concerns that I had allowed to pile up. I don’t need to get specific as to what those were as it doesn’t matter. What does matter is that we all have our own pile-ups of concerns, and I had not been dealing with mine.
A more “natural” way to put it is that my emotions had gotten “constipated.”
This was because I was not taking my “concerns” to the Lord. Nor was I even recognizing things were piling up that I needed to take to Him! I was just kind of unconsciously stewing and mulling over several different things that had stealthily snuck their way in to my subconscious. I was unknowingly letting random thoughts and feelings churn around in my mind and heart, which naturally clouded and clogged up my emotional state.
(By the way, my time with Dave was absolutely wonderful, so these concerns had nothing to do with him, but were going on “elsewhere” in my life.)
But then I “came to” and became aware of what was happening, and realized that I needed the Lord to pull me out of the quicksand.
The Lord actually brought a few things came to my rescue!
First, I came across a sweet but powerful little video in the larger Thin Within Discussion and Support group on Facebook. It was by Asheritah Ciuciu, a very sweet, Jesus-loving gal who has done lots of short encouraging videos like this one here. This particular video was about quieting our minds and emptying our burdens before the Lord, and receiving what He has for us in exchange. She has you hold your hands down and empty out everything you can think of ~ one by one ~ that’s weighing on you; just dump it all before the Lord. Then turn your empty hands upward and open them to the Lord to receive whatever He wants to give you.
(I was originally able to watch this video in the above-mentioned Thin Within Discussion and Support group, however Asheritah has since changed the way her videos are viewed, and it can be viewed only from inside her “MyOneThingAlone” community where monthly membership is available. You can learn more at www.myonethingalone.com.)
It’s just a very simple tool, but because I’m very visual and hands-on, it was really helpful to me. Right there in the hotel room! (Dave was gone, so I had this time to myself.) And it gave me a hand-on way (literally) to UNconstipate ~ or unclog ~ my pile-up of burdens!!!
It’s actually a very practical way to “take every thought captive,” and then DO something with them!
GOD SPEAKS TO ME
Through Heidi’s book. By the same name. 🙂 The Lord knows I need reminders and reinforcing, so to add to, clarify, and confirm the above hands-down and hands-up exercise, along came some gems on Days 23 and 24 in Heidi’s book, God Speaks to Me!!!!!!
On Day 23, Heidi talks about being able to “discern what is best.” It dawned on me that I have never thought of “discernment” as being something to use in the area of eating. Like I hadn’t thought of it as discerning when I’m at a 0 or a 5, or as discerning what kind of food I’m hungry for or that would be helpful to me right now.
I thought of “discernment” as a “spiritual” tool used in a counseling or prayer setting. “Common sense” is what I have called what I use to determine my food issues. So I was kind of separating my eating from the “spiritual” realm. But in reality, it’s all “spiritual”!!! And I needed to integrate the two worlds!
So I asked the Lord for discernment in this matter of eating, and then also for self-control to accompany and activate that discernment!
COMING FULL CIRCLE
Then on Day 24 of the same book, God Speaks to Me, Heidi leads us to hear the Lord asking us to “draw near to Him, to come close, to eat what will satisfy, to rest in His presence and cease carrying my heavy burden.” Aaah! The whole “heavy burden” thing again! This delightfully brought me full-circle back to Asheritah’s video with her little tool for how to lay down our burdens! Not that you couldn’t do it on your own without her little tool! I just like her “visual” for doing this.
I want to add that a “heavy burden” is not necessarily just ONE big burden. It can certainly be that, like dealing with cancer, marital infidelity, unemployment, an extended illness or death of a loved one, just to name a few biggies. (Or “heavy-ies”?) But it can also be many smaller things. Imagine a wheelbarrow packed full of many weeds, dirt chunks, and rocks from around the yard. Each one is not heavy in itself, but it all adds up. Lots of little things all piled up – and not handed over to the Lord – create one… big… heavy… burden.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matt.11:28-29)
Does your appetite need to have its “license” revoked? Does it need to be sent on a permanent vacation ~ away from being in charge of you? Or if it’s extra tenacious, willful, and wayward like mine, it just needs to be put to death. Of course, appetites don’t usually die a quick, easy death. But you can surrender it, and ask and allow the Lord to help you get victory over it, which He does by transforming our minds and our hearts!
The Thin Within groups are an excellent way to get very practical, loving, grace-based and wisdom-filled help and companionship on this arduous journey! Really good idea!!!
About those burdens… Because of how deeply they affect us as well as how we live and respond to Life, I want to look more closely at those! All burdens are not “happenings.” Some stem from other sources, like wrong thinking, or heart issues that have us spiritually constipated. So how did they develop? What did they come from? How can we recognize them? And then how can we deal with them in practical ways? More on that in my next blog post!