Continued from Something had to give…
I have so much to say about this book that I’m sure I’ll write more about it on another day, but for now, let me introduce you to the book I’m currently reading. It’s called Made to Crave and was written by Lysa TerKeurst and I’m fairly certain she wrote it just for me. And maybe also for my friend, Audrey, who referred it to me. Just for the two of us. But, I bet if you struggle with your weight or body image, you just might get a thing or two out of it as well.
The title didn’t really catch my attention because I don’t have cravings. Unless I’m pregnant and then I have cravings for Chick-Fil-A that are so strong that if you don’t get me to the Christian Chicken place within 15 minutes someone’s going to get hurt. (I craved Great Steak and Potato Company’s Steak and Cheese with the first three boys. And tomatoes, which I don’t really like unless I’m pregnant.) THOSE are cravings. Strong desires for specific foods that take my mind off of everything else until the cravings have been met.
But in real life, non-pregnant life, I don’t have those strong cravings. Or so I thought. Basically, I had defined cravings to mean only those impossible-to-explain, impossible-to-ignore-without-inflicting-hurt-on-someone desires.
But I was mistaken. I do, in fact, have cravings! While the strong ones during pregnancy are quite obvious, at least they have a reason. The nonchalant cravings of real life have been sabotaging me my entire life and I never knew it. I was always aware that I have a sweet tooth but would have never said that I had cravings for sweets. (Or bread.) But after reading the first few chapters of this book I am fully aware that I do, in fact, have cravings, and, because they are so subtle, I was giving in to them more often than I would have previously admitted. And that was why I was having such a hard time seeing results in my weight journey.
There’s another reason.
Throughout my Christian life I’ve been told not to be one person at home, another at work, another at church, and still another on girls’ nights out. I do a fairly good job at that. I pretty much manage to be almost the same person everywhere I go. But I missed the point. The intention behind that message was to allow God to direct my actions in all aspects of my life. I had welcomed God into my home, my finances, my parenting (oh, do I ever beg Him to be all up in my parenting), my job as the boys’ teacher, and my marriage. But I’ve never E.V.E.R. asked Him to be a part of my exercise, diet, or health plan.
How in the world did I miss that?!?
One of the first things I learned to do when I wanted (craved) something that wasn’t good for me, was to say the scripture: “Everything is permissible but not everything is beneficial.” (I Cor 10:23)
Sure, I can have that extra roll but is it good for me to?
I threw out all of the junk in my house, which was mostly leftover from different events we’ve hosted. I don’t generally buy junk just for us to have around, but if we have a party and something is left over, we eat it until it’s gone. Not this time, baby! I threw it away! (Which was a big deal because I felt like I was throwing money down the drain.) In some ways, I was as excited to do this as I had been to cut up the credit cards a few years ago. It was a physical act that represented a new beginning.
And I’ve definitely seen a change in my mind, spirit, and body. Today I put on a pair of pants a friend gave me that were a size smaller than all the other pants in my closet. They fit PERFECTLY, until about an hour into the day and then I actually needed a belt! (You know how pants stretch throughout the day…) I don’t think I’m quite ready for a smaller size than this, but I’m getting there! So I’m more than a size smaller than I was to begin with. I got a good report from my trainer when she did my measurements, having lost several inches.
I’ve been doing two-a-day workouts for 4 weeks now. I am not fond of two-a-days. Not fond of them at all. I have two more weeks of that and then I’ll only have to do that twice a week… not that I’m counting down the days until that point or anything.
I believe making the changes in diet, lifestyle, and exercise are vitally important to the success I’ve had, but I’ve always been able to do this part. I’ve always been able to have the endurance to lose the weight. The hard part is to keep it off. And that’s where I believe fully that “Made to Crave” comes in.
If you notice all the pink and the little stickies to the right of the pink, those are some places I’ve added my thoughts to the author’s words. (There are some people who still use paper and pencils to take notes… I’m actually one of them, but this time I wasn’t patient enough to wait for the real book to come in so I’m taking notes on the iPad for this study. When I’m done I can email the notes to myself and print them out. I’ll then place that in my actually-made-out-of-paper journal.)
This book has taken me from seeing my diet/exercise life as a separate part of me to considering it part of my spiritual journey!
Let me give you an example. Last Sunday we observed communion with ChapelNext Wiesbaden. I hadn’t had many carbs in the previous few weeks, much less white bread, my favorite! When Matt served me the bread, which I believe represents the body of Christ, and I dipped it into the juice, representing the blood of Christ, I ate it, as I always do.
But this time the taste was so foreign to me and my tastebuds jumped into a happy dance. I almost poked the person next to me and said, “DID YOU TASTE THAT?!?” It was literally the best tasting thing I had had all week! And I’ve been eating GOOD, let me tell you. And then it hit me. God, on our spiritual journey over the past month, has asked me to hold back on things that were permissible but not beneficial. As a result of my obedience in that matter, I was able to actually enjoy the taste of the communion food, something that I normally take for granted. It was a small moment of realization for me that even in my enjoyment of the bite of food I had during communion, God was pleased.
We take communion seriously. We remember that last meal Jesus shared with His disciples just before He died on the cross, sacrificing His body and shedding His blood. They sat together in close friendship and ate a similar meal intimately. For the first time I realized my obedience throughout the week had made the experience of communion even more special to me.
I say all of this knowing that I’m well within the time frame I am usually successful. I can hit the work outs hard and lose the weight. My problem is that once I get there I usually gain it right back. Sharing all of this with you during the period of time I am usually successful is scary because I fear that three months from now I’ll be right back where I started. But the difference this time is that I am no longer relying on “self” but seeing this entire process in light of my walk with Christ.
I urge you to read this book. Take notes and ask yourself the hard questions. I am going to be careful to continue to ask myself whether the things I’m doing overall are simply permissible or if they’re beneficial.