Thursday, January 8, 2015

One Word: Resolve

October 2014 was a big month for me. I didn't blog about it, because I honestly don't think I really understood how big it was.

Because it was just food. And this isn't a food blog. I don't share recipes, I share life. And my life doesn't revolve around food.

So in late September 2014 I posed a dietary question on Facebook- curious about the paleo diet in hopes to alleviate some arthritis pain.

Hold on- before I continue- this post isn't about the merits of the paleo diet or any other diet for that matter. It isn't about whole foods and I won't preach about the evils of legumes. This post is about choices. Resolve. So roll your eyes back into your head and keep reading.

A friend from college told me about the Whole30 program she tried and about how awesome it was. Another college friend agreed. I looked it up. Got a bit inspired. Decided to give it a shot. I didn't wait to start on a certain date- I just started. And so began a 30 day adventure in eating, cooking, research. Good days, bad days, but eventually more good days than bad days. And the 30 days left me feeling better than I had in a very long time.

After day 30 I was technically allowed to reintroduce food, but it didn't take long before I was back in the same ruts. The cravings that had disappeared were back with a vengeance and moderation skipped town with my resolve.

So when I entered 2015, I fully planned on trying again. Another Whole 30-this time with thousands of other people around the world. There was just one problem.

I didn't want to do it.

No matter how good it made me feel, I just didn't want to. I would take the pizza topped with pain and guilt because it just tasted so good. I was fully aware that what I consumed had very serious and direct consequences with my health, but the fleeting pleasures of cheese, and sugar, and grains was too much to bear. And what good was a life in which I had to think so hard about my food?

The Whole 30 was nothing more than an empty religion.

So why did I start it again?

Because I heard their voices.

I downloaded their book, It Starts With Food, as part of a free trial on I'm...uh... thrifty. Which is why I didn't purchase the book in the beginning. I wasn't sure I was ready to invest. But now that I had the opportunity to own the free audiobook? I could do that.

And that made all the difference.

I was playing the game I see played out in Christianity every day. We settle for the abbreviated, free-downloadable version of Christianity. Enough information to get me started, get me to the deadline. Enough rules to tell me exactly what I need to do. Eat this, not that. Do this, not that.

So is it any wonder that I fall so far the moment a forbidden food crosses my lips?

We all fall for this all. the. time. It is an overplayed, and painfully effective, trick of the devil- to pass off rules and rituals for true love and service. To deafen us to the voice of a loving God who desires to lavish upon us grace upon grace (John 1:16). Who wants us to have a life full of joy (John 16:24) at His own expense.

The laws made in love become the landlords of our heart the moment they upstage the grace and mercy of God. Good intentions are ingratious gods when they attempt to commandeer God's intentions in our lives.

And no amount of resolve can stand under the weight of guilt heaped upon our shaky legs as all our works-laden aspirations crumble around us.

But just as It Starts With Food reminds readers that their health is directly affected by what they shove down their gullet, the Bible reminds us that in everything It Starts With God. Our salvation, our spiritual health. It all begins, and ends, with God.

I was a little nervous to announce my One Word for 2015, because the very word implies testing. It implies affliction and temptation.

It is: Resolve.

But these verses calmed those fears:

To this end we always pray for you, 
that our God may make you worthy of his calling 
and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, 
so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, 
according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Thessalonians 1:11-12

Fulfilled in Him and by Him and for Him. We are more than conquerors in His power and grace.

In the spirit of those in the Bible who resolved to follow the Lord: Daniel, David, Jehosophat, Joseph, I rest confidently in the knowledge that no amount of testing will triumph God's power to accomplish His will in and through me.

And the same holds true for you. Now that's the way to enter the New Year!