Peace: Walking Through November

~ week one ~

There are a thousand reasons to lose your peace this time of year.  There is the juxtaposition of serving real need straight through the holidays and feeding/buying/satisfying me.  Go ahead and be honest.  Go ahead and laugh out loud if you need to.  Both laughter and honesty are good for the soul.  The truth is wherever you land on the spectrum of self and other centered, you will be fighting the good fight of peace from now until January 2, 2016.

The reality is most of us will have a two sided list.  One side looks like supplies for shoebox stuffing parties, love bags and food pantries.  The other side is filled with gift lists, holiday menus, decoration ideas and party plans.  Between both lists, we have the capacity to lose our peace and purpose in the midst of so much to deliver.  But, I think, instead, we can choose to breathe in small and simple.

Small living is something that has been working its way into my soul for awhile now.  Small living, in part, means simplicity.  Think of spring cleaning of the mind, body and soul.  Think about organization; mental clarity, like first things first; clear purposes; financial order and internal peace.  These are basic truths.  I have learned to bring these things to the forefront of my life planning and decision making.  I can say things like I have a plan, I (think) I know where I am going.  Simplicity helps me stay on the course I believe God has planned for my life.

The other bend of small living speaks to living and moving and breathing as if every single moment and encounter matter.  This means knowing my poeme – – or the poem that God has put in me to express in this lifetime.  To know the sound, feel, space and touch of my poeme.  To know that poeme can direct and breathe right into your planning and decision making.  I think this is where peace begins.

Peace is something that grows within.  It’s a reservoir to pull from when life kicks, screams and yells in your direction.  It’s also a quality that permeates your daily grind.  It comes from a deep sense of knowing on the inner spaces of your self that you are loved.  You are perfectly and wonderfully designed.  Peace comes from the knowledge that your imperfections have the potential to bring out the miracles in you.  Peace frees you up to believe in dreams, passions and hopes for yourself and others. Peace lets you choose from what is better to best.

Peace is something we have to fight for these days.  Especially as the season calls Game On.  The season is committed to making your list and budget twice its natural size.  Before you unknowingly commit yourself to the madness, draw from God’s peace.  Find your simplicity.  Find your way of living small.  Find your simple path with the full knowledge of God’s desire to do far more than we can hope or imagine.  That way, we will see more of Him in this season than we could ever have hoped or imagined.

By Sasha Katz

Stop Talking to Yourself Like That!

By AbbyA

Bindu: Skinny. Fat. Average Jane. Supermodel Janelle. We all have issue with our bodies.

AbbyA: I remember being big for my age as early as 6 or 7. I am not sure if I actually was, but I sure felt big compared to all of the other little girls my age.

JMathis: I have been a yo-yo dieter since elementary school.

Bindu: And is it me, but why is okay to wear bikinis out in public when it’s not okay to wear our bras and underwear out in public? Aren’t they one and the same? Or am I the only prude who thinks so?!

AbbyA: I actually wanted to wear a bikini (at age 6 or 7). I remember picking one out and my granny lovingly, discreetly putting it back.

JMathis: Between my college years and until about age thirty, I was a pretty “successful” anorexic. Most of my twenties were spent tricking my body into staying thin—on the surface, at least, it looked like I had everything under control.

AbbyA: I just know that the college girl who loved her mom’s cooking (me) was rudely awakened by the extreme thinness all around my university campus. But because of my own mother’s wonderful balance and view of food, I lost weight in that environment but never deprived myself to the point of an eating disorder. I think I just like food more than being skinny.

Bindu: For those of us who are no longer in our twenties and especially those of us who have had kids, that means not eating. Ever again.

AbbyA’s Friend: Ok, self-disgust to me is having no time to take care of the way I look and knowing that I need to lose 20 pounds but can’t stop stuffing my face with food.

Lysa TerKeurst: . . . I was constantly bouncing between feeling deprived and guilty. All. The. Time. I was either feeling deprived because I was trying to watch what I ate or feeling guilty because I’d slipped back into the ‘eat whatever I want’ phase. Deprived. Guilty. Deprived. Guilty. I couldn’t stop this incessant bouncing until . . .

AbbyA: Sort of strange, but I really don’t think about it that often until I look around me, and momentarily, compare myself to other moms. What is that?

JMathis: By my thirties, however, and particularly after having a baby, my body just stopped cooperating with these parlor games. No matter what shortcuts I used to lose weight, my body rebelled even more, and stubbornly held onto every calorie ingested.

AbbyA’s 5 Year Old Daughter: Mom, why does your butt go over the side of the toilet?

AbbyA’s Mom: Why overeat? It’s just food. We can wake up again and eat tomorrow.

Lysa TerKeurst: Now my goals have nothing to do with a number on the scale. My goal now is peace. Peace. And I can assure you, no treat in this world tastes as good as this peace feels. From Nothing Tastes As Good As Peace Feels, by Lysa TerKeurst,

JMathis: Make peace with yourself today. Make peace with your body today. Make peace with your Creator today.

Bindu: And even if your body is less than ideal, resolve to find your peace with it. Several years ago, I came to the conclusion that it was futile to fight my body. I was never going to be a supermodel so why was I bothering to hate and fight it so? I might as well accept the way God made me and do my best to take care of it.

AbbyA/Final Thoughts: Fellow sisters, I don’t think there is another area where we do more self-talk. Yes, talking to ourselves. We do a good job at kicking ourselves in the face and not such a good job of building ourselves up when it comes to our bodies. The bottom line is that we are His hands and His feet. Our body is His temple. We are physically made in His image. Better yet, we belong to Him. This area of body image and food is so vast that it is hard to wrap it up in one thought. But, I think the answer is, that wherever you are, get wrapped up in Him. There is no better way to bury an idol – – whether the idol is your body or the food you put into it – – than to seek refuge in the one true living God. Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of [your enemies], for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.  Deuteronomy 31:8.

Mastering Your Bon Jovi Moment

By AbbyA

You can’t serve two masters. That is what pounced around my mind as I was trying to decide how to gloss over an important scheduling decision. I was trying to please two significant relationships by compromising my time with one and my truthfulness with the other. I really am not feeling transparent enough to tell you the scenario. You know by now that this is rare for me. In any case, remember Bon Jovi‘s Shot Through the Heart? That’s how the words, “You can’t serve two masters” pierced me. Not such a big deal in the end. I made the right decision.

A few days before, a new jogging acquaintance shared with me that she really couldn’t control herself when it came to food even in the face of diabetes. I literally ran into her a few days after my “You can’t serve two masters” experience. I had the idea to tell her that you can’t serve two masters – both God and food. Not sure in which direction she ran after that comment.

I work out with a group called CrossTrainers. We’re doing a study by Lysa Terkeurst called Made to Crave, Satisfying Your Deepest Desires with God, Not Food. Whether it’s food or something else that you’re craving – – really anything that you have an uncontrollable desire for, Lisa makes a lot of sense. She told this extraordinary story where, on the one hand, she was instructing her teenage son as to boundaries in a relationship he had gone too far with, and on the other hand, she was ready to congratulate herself on her hard day with her son by shoveling chocolate into her mouth. She says it was right then that Bon Jovi shot through her heart (my words not hers). How can we lead others, in their deepest need, to choose God, while we are feeding our own selves with food, instead of God?

Check out the study. If you don’t have the time, see how my Bon Jovi moment resonates with you. Have you made any recent decisions where you had to choose your Master? Did you choose right?