Welcome to Made to Crave Mondays!! I'm so excited to go through the book Made to Crave by my good friend and colleague, Lysa TerKeurst. Lysa's latest is not only a New York Times Bestseller, but a great tool for those of us striving to be FABULOUS who need a little motivation in the Getting Healthy department. Each Monday evening I'll post my answers to the next chapter in the book. Please feel free to post your answers as well, or just comment on something I (or someone else) have already said. What a great way to encourage each other on this crazy journey that is sometimes a whole lot more down than it is up. Hopefully together we can see an upward turn.
So, let's dig in with the discussion questions for Chapter 1 of Made to Crave! Here we go...
1. One weight loss company personifies craving as a little orange monster that chases us around, tempting us to eat unhealthy foods. Take a moment to reflect on your own experience of craving, recently and over time.
~ If you could personify craving based on your experience of it, what form might it take? Would it be like the little orange monster or would it take a different shape? Describe what your craving looks like and how it behaves. Jill's answer: Sometimes I believe my craving is way bigger than the little orange monster I've seen on those commercials. At times it's like a huge raging tornado that rips through my life and tears my will and resolve to shreds in a matter of nano-seconds. But, it doesn't go away quickly like a tornado, it hangs on like a drought. It's persistent, nagging, loud, and annoying. And, until I eat, it simply won't be ignored. Sure, there are times that I feel a little more in control, a little more prepared with healthy options and "filling" foods. But, the desire to be satiated is always there. I want, sometimes I think I NEED to know that more food is coming. More yummy things will cross my lips...even if I know it will be a matter of time. Just KNOWING that it's coming can be satisfying in itself. Is that a little crazy? Perhaps!
~ If you could sit down and have a conversation with this imaginary craving, what do you think it might say to you? (Jill's answer: "I own you, woman!") What questions would you want to ask it? How do you imagine it might respond? Jill's answer: I honestly never thought about having a conversation with my cravings. But, I guess it could be a good alternative to all the negative self talk and brow beating. Hmmm, what would I ask my craving? I suppose I would ask it to GO AWAY! And, I'm sure it would say, "FAT CHANCE, lady!"
2. How do you respond to the idea that God made us to crave? Have you ever pursued a craving that made a positive contribution to your life? What do you think distinguishes that kind of craving from the craving that leads you to eat in unhealthy ways? Jill's answer: I think realizing that God MADE me to crave makes me feel a lot better. I know Lysa mentions that we might see it as some kind of cruel joke by our maker. But, somehow, knowing this is all part of the way I was MADE to be helps me realize that simply fighting the cravings is not what I'm supposed to do. In fact, it's a futile effort. It's in me to CRAVE. It also takes a lot of the pressure off to force myself to be something I'm not. Realizing that I'm supposed to have this craving in my heart, in my life, helps me not to hate on myself so much. It's all about finding how to crave GOD rather than food. I have experienced a passion that's made a positive contribution to my life. I still remember the first time I sat down behind a microphone at a college radio station in Johnson City, TN. From that point forward I couldn't get enough. I wanted to know more and more about radio, communication, and the ability to encourage people with God's awesome message of love through this medium. A couple of semesters later I had a degree and an even stronger desire to follow this craving. And, here I am, 15 years later and not only am I still following this passion, but I've found a life partner who's doing the same. So, yes, I can see how God has made us to crave the things He has planned for us as well as spending time with Him.
3. It it's true that we're made to crave, how might it change the way you understand your cravings? Do you believe there could be any benefits to listening to your cravings rather than trying to silence them? If so, what might those benefits be? Jill's answer: I guess what I can understand is that cravings aren't just an annoyance. They're part of who I am. And, listening to my cravings rather than just trying to silence them can only be a benefit. I'm reminded of watching parents who just want their children to be QUIET. They do whatever it takes...bribes, yelling, punishments, threats...to get their kids to just stop pestering them. Have you ever seen that happen? Don't you want to shake that parent by the shoulders and say, "Why don't you take a moment to LISTEN to your child and find out what he needs rather than trying to get him to just leave you alone?!" I guess in some ways this is similar. Of course, that craving is not a child...but if it's part of how we're made, then it must have a purpose, right? It must be a good thing to stop and listen to the craving and try to figure out what it's trying to tell me. Am I craving more time with God, with my husband? Am I craving significance, comfort, rest? Even if it seems like I don't have time, it would probably be so much better to take a couple of minutes to ponder these questions BEFORE ordering a McDouble, fries, and a Dr Pepper.
4. The Bible describes 3 ways Satan tries to lure us away from loving God: craving, lust, and boasting...think back over the last 24-hours or the last few days to see if you recognize how you may have been tempted in similar ways.
~ Craving: meeting physical desires outside the will of God. In what ways were you tempted by desires for things such as food, alcohol, drugs, or sex?
Jill's answer: I am tempted by food ALL THE TIME! Some days are better than others of course, but it's pretty much always on my mind. What can I eat next, how long from now will it be? OK...I'll be fine between now and then. BUT, maybe I should have one of these cookies, just in case...argh!
~ Lust: meeting material desires outside the will of God. In what ways were you tempted by desires for material things - clothing, financial portfolio, appliances, vacation plans, cosmetics, home decor, electronics, etc.?
Jill's answer: I definitely faced a struggle with this right before our vacation last week. Wanting to make sure we all had what we needed for the cruise, I headed out to Old Navy. But, of course, I found a whole lot MORE than we needed. Before I knew it I'd spent way more than I'd planned to, just because I wanted us all to look cute on vacation. I don't usually go on shopping sprees but I do struggle with this type of thing from time to time.
~ Boasting: meeting needs for significance outside the will of God. In what ways were you tempted by desires to prop your significance - perhaps by name dropping, exaggerating, feigning humility or other virtues, doing something just because you knew it would be observed by others, etc.?
Jill's answer: It can definitely be tempting to find significance in what I do instead of who I am! Most days I'm totally able to remember that working for a radio station is all about letting God shine. He is using me. I am not the one worthy of any recognition. But, I'm sure anyone would struggle with losing sight of this fact from time to time. I would think pastors and all people in all types of ministry roles must have a constant battle in this area at some level.
Of the 3 kinds of temptations, which is the most difficult for you to resist? Which is the easiest to resist?
Jill's answer: I definitely struggle most with the craving. The easiest to resist would be the lust. But, I'd say I've struggled with all three areas from time to time.
5. Jesus quotes the truth of Scripture to defeat temptation. Have you ever used Scripture in this way? What was the result? How do you feel about the idea of using this approach to address your unhealthy eating patterns? Jill's answer: I actually have used Scripture (and Worship) in this way. Many years ago; way before Jeremy and I met, I was involved in yet another disastrous relationship. However, this particular man seemed especially intent on persuading me to betray myself in ways I'd never dreamed possible. I allowed myself to be persuaded and found myself full of shame and regret. But, also full of tempting thoughts to return to a situation that was extremely dangerous for my spiritual and emotional well being. I felt attacked by the tempting thoughts and flashes of thoughts and memories that could cause me to give in to weakness. So, I went on the attack myself. Every time one of those thought would flood my brain, I'd stop what I was doing (or go into another room), throw my head down and pray for God to take the thoughts away. I'd recite some words from the Bible or just starting singing a praise song to Jesus as loud and as passionately as I could. I did this for days, maybe even weeks, before I finally got the thoughts under control. What a relief! I have used this approach in other areas of life since that time so long ago. But, it's funny that I've never thought to go there in my fight to make healthy eating and lifestyle choices. That has got to change. My goal for this week to is to write out one or two verses that can help me in those weak moments of desiring a bad food choice. I'll keep them in my pocket and read them when I feel the temptation mounting. I'll pray for strength. And, if I can, I'll sing my heart out to Jesus so I can place my focus on Him rather than food! Wanna join me?
Whew! This is some soul searching stuff, my friend! Chapter 1 has definitely challenged me to rethink cravings and who/how I was made to be. Very encouraged by Lysa's writings, too. How about you? I can't wait to read your answers and/or thoughts. I'm really looking forward to continuing this cyber book study over the next several weeks and I'm so glad you're starting this journey with me. Please feel free to invite a friend or two to join us as well! I can't wait to read your comments!
Have a FABULOUS night, my friend! ~ Jill