I WAS MADE FOR MORE!!!! This is my major take away from Chapter 5 of Made to Crave by Lysa TerKeurst. Also, I loved the unpacking of the Eph 1:17-19 passage. I don't know about you but going through Made to Crave is really starting to help me understand that I have the power to make the choices I know are right for my body. I have the power to get out of bed in the early hours of the morning and get myself moving. I have the power to ask for God's strength to mold my body into what it was MADE to be instead of the roly poly lump I've allowed it to become. Hear me out, I'm not simply trying to degrade myself here. I just want to be honest about where my choices have brought me and where they can take me, IF my power and strength comes from God!
Oh, one more thing before we jump in to the discussion questions for Ch. 5...I have made a choice to do something similar to what Lysa started for herself a few years ago. Starting today I'm embarking on a three-month journey where my eating plan will be grain-free, sugar-free, gluten-free, and dairy-free foods. I will also work toward being able to participate in the Steamboat Classic in downtown Peoria this June. The classic is a 4-mile race. I've never run 4 miles. I've never done a race in the summer. But, I have three months to train. I've done two 5-K's. And, I have Jesus on my side. Guess who else I have on my side? My good friend, Katie Post! I blogged last week about how I was fearful I'd thrown away that valuable accountability relationship. But, we talked this morning and, long story short, she was all ready to get started again. Yeah, grace! And, yeah, Katie! So, as I'm looking down the barrel of a long, tough, three months, I really need this book more than ever. Thank you so much for traveling this road with me. Are you ready to discuss Chapter 5? Let's do it!
Discussion Questions for Chapter 5
1. "I was made for more" is a spiritual truth that unlocks great power for Christians. When you think of your past failures and your current struggles with food, how do you hope this truth might help you? Jill's Answer: In the past I have always given up at some point and started to believe that this is just the way things are going to be. I'm always going to be the short, chubby one. So, at least I'm smart, can speak well, and sometimes even have a quick wit. :) But, it's not true. I was made for more than surrendering my body to unhealthy choices, severe fatigue, and a sedentary lifestyle. I was made to glorify God in every area, including with my physical health!
2. When you introduce yourself to someone you don't know, how do you define yourself? By your family relationships (as a wife, mother, daughter, aunt)? By a professional title, or lack of one? By where you live or go to church? What might your introduction reveal about how you understand your own identity? Jill's Answer: This is always hard because I don't really think that the way I introduce myself to someone is a good indication of how I define myself. I may say, "Hi, I'm Alyssa's mom" to another parent at pre-school, because it helps everyone figure out who goes with which child. Or, at a concert from stage, I would introduce myself at Jill Tracey from Doing Life with the Traceys on 91.5 WCIC. That just helps people know that the station is welcoming the event and that I actually work for the station. I.e., I didn't sneak back stage and snag a microphone; I really should be here. Although, sometimes I wonder about that. ;) Or, at a family reunion I'm usually saying, "I'm Alice's daughter", although I don't usually have to do that because I look just like my Mom did when she was my age. These are all just helpful indicators to new friends. They help give reference and tell a little about who we are, without telling the entire story. However, I do see the tendency to find my worth in what I do, in being a Mom, and that kind of thing. It is very easy to believe our worth comes from these things and it is something I have to do a heart-check for all the time! Usually, I just introduce myself as "Jill".
3. Lysa describes how she once defined her identity by her circumstances: Lysa, the broken girl from the broken home; Lysa, the girl rejected by her father, etc. Have you ever felt your identity was defined by your circumstances? If you were to describe your identity as Lysa did, what would be on your list? Jill's Answer: Absolutely! Growing up, I was Jill, the Sheriff's daughter, then Jill, the one who's parents just got divorced. In college I was Jill, Dan's girlfriend, for a couple of years, then Jill, the one with the long, pretty hair (I can't believe how much worth I found in that long, thick mane - ugh - it's such a pain to dry!). After starting my career I became Jill, the radio girl. That one is hard to shed at times. It was difficult in the early years to find friends who didn't freak out about the fact that I had struggles, that I sinned, and that I felt lonely and frustrated at times. Things are easier today. I think radio folks in general are more open with their own real lives. And, I've made it my goal to live my life genuinely on the air. So, most people who listen aren't surprised by my human issues any more. And, now, I'm also Jill, Jeremy's wife and Jill, Alyssa's mommy. These are two circumstances I don't mind being somewhat defined by. But, I never want them to take over the fact that I am Jill, the daughter of God and Jill, the fierce follower of Jesus! (***For more on how I falsely defined myself, see my answer to part two of Question 5!***)
4. Insert your name in the list of statements below. How does this understanding of how God sees you impact the circumstance-based view of your identity you listed in response to question 3? Jill's Answer: Jill, the forgiven child of God (Rom 3:24); Jill, the set-free child of God. (Rom 8:1-2); Jill, the accepted child of God (1 Cor 1:2); Jill, the holy child of God (1 Cor 1:30); Jill, the made-new child of God (2 Cor 5:17); Jill, the loved child of God (Eph 1:4); Jill, the close child of God (Eph 2:13); Jill, the confident child of God (Eph 3:12); Jill, the victorious child of God (Rom 8:37). What a great reminder that all of those statements above (in the answer to question 3) are part of who I am or the decisions and journeys I've gone through to become this woman right now in 2011. But, they are not WHO I am. I am God's girl. I am God's woman. I am a creation of and follower of Jesus! I saw a movie recently where a grandmother told her granddaughter something along the lines of "our past experiences and choices are what make us who we are". I used to subscribe to that way of thinking. And, yes, these things do play a part. But GOD makes us who we are. And GOD uses our past mistakes, successes and experience as well as so much more to mold us into the person HE wants us to be. Sometimes we resist this shaping of our character, but He is the one who makes us who we are! Such good news!!!
5. Reflect on the key themes of Ephesians 1:17-20: I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know Him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints, and His incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of His mighty strength, which He exerted in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly realms.
~ Be persistent: "I keep asking." Do you have any reservations about asking God for wisdom and power each day to help you on this journey? How do you hope persistent prayer might help you? Jill's Answer: NO - no reservations, I just need to remember to ask daily for wisdom and power. And, the hope is that persistent prayer will give me the strength to get through each day!
~ Embrace a true identity: "Glorious Father." With what untruths about your identity have you struggled? How might your life change if you could embrace the truth of your identity as a child of God? Jill's Answer: I think the untruth I've struggle most with is that I am Jill, the short, fat girl who is a good Mom and wife and works in radio. I've been trying to find happiness in the areas where I see success and "come to terms" with the areas in which I tend to fail time and time again! I've forgotten that God provides the power for me to have success in being healthy as well as in any area, because He is my Glorious Father who wants to give me good things in every area of my life!
~ Find the deeper reason: "So that you may know Him better." How might God use your journey toward healthy eating as a way to help you get to know Him better? Jill's Answer: My prayer is that as I remove the foods on which I have relied for comfort, joy, reward, etc, for so much of my life...I will begin learning more to rely on God. To turn to Him for comfort, joy, reward, peace, strength...for everything...instead of FOOD! I can imagine my prayer life with blossom and part of my regime will include reading scripture during my workouts on treadmill days. So, this will help me find that strength in Him as well. But, more importantly, I will find freedom from the bondage of addiction to food and freedom to live freely in His Grace!
~ Discover a hope and power like no other: That the eyes of your heart might be enlightened." To what degree do you feel like everything depends on you - your willpower and determination? A little, a lot? To what degree do you believe that the same power that raised Jesus from the dead is also available to help you? A little, a lot? As you reflect back on each day, how will you know whether you relied on your own strength or leaned into God's strength? Jill's Answer: In the past the answer to the first question would have been, "ENTIRELY"! And, the answer to the second question would have been "a little" or "NONE"! I saw God's power in huge things like healing a friend of cancer or providing the funds for the radio station through Sharathon or feeding children around the world through organizations like Compassion. But, in my "little" struggle with food, sometimes I felt guilty for even asking. How many people in the world hope to have one meager meal of rice a day with maybe some beans or chicken? And, here I am dealing with 60 lbs of excess weight. How gross! So many are starving and I can't keep myself from eating all the wrong things? There's a lot of guilt and shame involved in this struggle and it often kept me from asking for God's help. So, there I was trying to do it all on my own. By my own willpower or strength, which is quite limited at best. But, there is a power available to me that will help me defeat this burden. There is a power I can turn to for help on the tough days and grace on the days when I feel like I just can't go on. I would turn to God for just about any other struggle in life...why not this one? It's time to stop feeling shame and start turning on the power through prayer, reading the Bible, and reminding myself daily that GOD is the power, HE is the strength, HE is the answer to this lifelong problem with weight! Thank you JESUS for being the answer, yet again. Please help me not to forget! Please change my thinking and my habits. Please remind me every morning that I was made for MORE than this. I was made for a healthy life!!! Amen!!!
OK, I'm wiped. Tag...you're it. I can't wait to read your comments! Thanks and LOVE to you!