This has the potential of being an odd post. After all, I am writing about the victories through my journey of food, control, hearkening to God. For me, talking about victories is difficult because, for so long, I attributed victories to myself! I felt like conversing about my wins in life was a cheap shot at begging for praise. That is changing. With each passing day, I learn that any achievements I enjoy are all a gift from my Maker's hand, and so the glory should go to Him. That truth makes these triumphant moments less of a show-off and more of a praise. It is in this attitude I ramble these thoughts.
Hmmm, that attitude in itself is a victory. I do not think I could have said that, sincerely, a year ago. All my failures were because of me, so, boy, all my victories were due to my perfection. How that notion seems backward and presumptuous now! That is what happens when you embrace grace. I fail, yes, because of my sin, yes. But God in His merciful and glorious and unashamed love takes us and makes us, well, victorious! A Fair Lady, indeed.
Some positive effects of this change of heart are rather conspicuous. I hate to say it, but the "living dead" does not apply to me anymore. At least not completely. My hair can actually grow without frizzing, and that auburn streak abdicated its throne for my natural brown to reign. (I still do not know how I feel about that one. Auburn and chestnut are so much more romantic than brown....) So, too, the nails grow without breaking because they now receive enough strengthening nourishment - and have a healthy coral hue instead of the chilly lavender I sported before. Eyes are brighter, cheeks can glow (sometimes), lips are strawberry as opposed to blueberry.... I could name many more such improvements.
There have been amazing health benefits from a new heart. I can feel heat. See, before, I did not have enough fats and proteins for my nerves to conduct very well - or something like that. Toxins had attacked my body, too. This led to a total loss of certain feelings, like that of a hot stove. I would not realize the stove was burning my hand until someone alerted me. Well, now I can feel burns in a heartbeat. That does not seem to stop them, though... My hands and toes thank me for the energy I give them by keeping me nice and toasty. Last year, they iced over like the Arctic. The muscle cramps disappeared, so Joshua can sleep in peace without being awoken by blood-curdling screams. The incessant joint and bone pain (yes, bone pain) have also retreated in defeat. I sleep the whole night through now, which has exponentially increased my energy and lessened brain fog. This has led to a sense of having more time. By relaxing about time, I suddenly find more. Neat how giving things over to God works, no?
The last physical improvement I will mention has to do with touch. Before, I could not stand touch. Get away from me, people! My personal bubble is extensive, okay? Not anymore. I shall never be described as clingy, but now I do not have a heart attack when Mumsie gives me a hug. Odd problem, I know. It probably involved the whole control thing. People entered my space and interrupted my plans to give me a hug. It sounds so silly typing it out, but 'tis true, I assure you! The problem of Touch also touched on my food issue. I was not happy with the way my body looked or felt and touch aggravated my awareness of it. I was very high-strung. This all is different now, praise God!
Perhaps you observed the overlap between some physical and spiritual hurdles? To be sure, there was major overlap. A broken spirit does indeed dry up the bones. How many times did I repeat that to myself? But, my spirit was refreshed by the Ever Living Water, and you could see the difference in my body.
What were some of the spiritual triumphs, then? And, please, remember these are triumphs in my Lord, not of me. First of all, I am learning the art of rest (notice the progressive there; I am not done that one yet). It was mentioned above, but it cannot be emphasized enough. Time and relaxation are so intertwined with my Control lust that any victories along this road are, to me, significant. It has to do with trust and grace, two new concepts for me.
In whom do I trust, though? Since I had placed my trust in man for so long, relaxing grew impossible! Anxiety flooded my heart before, when it mattered what other people thought about my performance in work, school, and play. Now peace is making a home there, instead (again, note the progressive). After all, how can I perform to my God, who now has all my trust? He knows me better than I do, and He knows a far worse person in me than I know in myself. That kind of gives Him the advantage in any popularity contest, does it not? Living solely for Him frees me up to be what He wants, not what friends want or even family wants. That means I can act for Him without shame. He took on all my sins and knows them thoroughly. In fact, He went through more temptations than I will ever face! In His perfection, He knew sin thoroughly. That means there is no guilt with Him anymore. I can go forward with confidence in His salvation, His sanctification, His Love. It makes a difference. That is what being God-centered instead of man-centered is like. And it is beautiful.
Oddly enough, not living for others strengthened my relationship with them! I guess it makes sense. I cannot blame them if and when they snipe me. They do not feel forced to praise me, even like me, because I receive my worth from Christ, not them. There is less tension now, and that makes a whole lot of things easier. Rather than taking offense at my family's actions, I see them as brothers and a sister in Christ who love me because of God, not because of me. Their words are meant to lift me up to Christ, not tear me down. It was not their attitude or words that changed, however; it was mine. There are still people who are not too happy about my change. It is like I abandoned them, the worldly thoughts we thought together. You know? Those types of people (in reality, all of us at one point or other) like company to justify what they do. It is not pleasant when that company leaves. I know because I was there.
But the best triumph has to be Assurance, an assurance that comes from, and contributes to, a love for my Father and His Word. I know I am His! I know He knows me, good and bad! I know He chose me despite myself, so what can snatch me from Him? There are no more nights of wondering how I stand before Him. It is not Jonathan Edwards's dangling spider that resonates with me, but Edwards's unabashed joy. It is a joy to be loved. Much greater, then, to be loved by the perfect Lover. I cannot even pretend to love Him adequately, but His love for me planted in me a love for Him. It makes His Word really lovely. It is not a fevered thirst to squelch my fear of performance like before, but a calm, sweet longing for a well I know will always spill over. You know? Like Narnia's Repicheep knew the water in the East would be sweet.
So those are some triumphs. But I am still on the Journey. There is still news to tell. There is a lot about diet. Really. That is what we will see next time.