listening for God’s voice, part 2

Posted: July 23, 2016 in Uncategorized

(If you are starting here, be aware that this is part 2.  It will make more sense if you’ll back up to the previous entry and start there!) 

Then, there’s the ongoing discussion about all things body.  I was sure I was on point a few years ago as I went through a “letting God teach me to love my body” journey.  I was learning and growing.  My body was getting steadily more fit, more pleasing to me, more energetic.  I had the answer, and it was fun and beautiful.  I felt like truth was exploding inside me daily.

This got derailed when arthritis showed up in my feet and took over the script.  Slowly at first – just a bit here and there – and then with increasing regularity, it made its voice heard.  Eventually it canceled my running, or even walking.  Even standing, much of the time.

The hard-ass in me can talk back, answering about different ways I might exercise and stay on task.  Certainly a profusion of helpful other voices have offered those solutions.  It hasn’t gone like that, though.  It took me literally years to understand how angry I’ve been about the arthritis.  It’s not the pain that makes me angry – I bear that with relatively little fuss these days.  It’s the inability to move in the ways I had just learned to really love moving.  I’m angry about that, and I’m currently in the process of finally allowing myself to see and feel that anger, and offering it unfiltered to God, who is the only one that can help me move through it rather than staying here forever.  Meanwhile, I’m not working out, and I’m realizing that’s as much due to the anger as it is to the great pool of  exercise possibilities that have been wrested from me.  And I’m realizing that the anger is so great that I’ve abandoned most effort at letting Him teach me to love my body, which doesn’t seem lovable to me in its current refusal to play nicely and do what I want it to do.

In addition, I did an elimination diet around this time last year, in which I lost a bunch of weight and learned that I’m somewhat allergic to dairy, terribly negatively responsive to highly processed foods, and dangerously allergic to sugar.  If you’re thinking “allergic” is the wrong word, the definition I’m using comes from that used in the AA “Big Book,” which I won’t quote here (you have Google too, right?) but basically boils down to this analogy:  when I take in sugar, it marches straight to some switchboard in my brain and turns off self-control and satiety, where food is involved.  When I’m eating sugar, there is no amount of food that is ever enough.  I am ALWAYS down to eat most anything, I consistently eat substantially more than I need, to the point of discomfort, and I am literally never not thinking about what I will eat next.  The answer to the question of how much food I want is one word:  more.  I eat too much in front of others, and then a lot more when no one is looking, just like the alcoholic who hides her bottles around the house.  I resolve not to, and then I do, with a consistency I’d rather have toward a better end!

On the other hand, when I cut sugar out, I can eat food as simple fuel, in reasonable quantities, and then not even think about it between meals.  I am 2 different people, depending on my current relationship with sugar, which I suspect is true for any addict and their relationship with their addictive substance/behavior/whatever.

For sure these two problems together present what feels like an immovable mountain for me.  I know things to do, and I’m doing a lot of them, and also NOT doing a lot of them.  I know things not to do, and I’m avoiding a lot of them, and also diving headfirst into a lot of them.  I’m both guilty and unrepentant, trying harder and giving up, dreaming and being “realistic.”  I am Paul, doing what I wouldn’t, and not doing what I would.

At the same time, I know God can heal my feet, and I don’t believe He will (horrified I would say that?  He knows.  We’re talking about it.)  So I’m praying that good old, “I believe, help my unbelief” prayer and working on not saying hopeless things, either aloud or inside of me.  I feel like He has challenged me to push into this.  I’ve gotten enough miracles to know this feels like one of those instances.  Also I’ve lived through enough unexpected turns (like the failure of the sale of the house we live in) to be sure I don’t always clearly understand precisely what He’s doing or saying.  I’m listening, and working on my language, and trusting Him to fix all the junk in me that I can’t fix.  I’m pressing with intention to be willing to do whatever He puts before me to do, especially if it makes no sense.  And I am steadily certain that if my feet never change, He is still good and isn’t playing a game.  This will make sense on the other side, if not here.

As far as the sugar – that one’s more straightforward.  He’s shown great grace and mercy in uncovering my allergy/addiction.  The fact that I’m still consuming sugar is on me, not on Him.  I know stuff to do.  I’ll do it, or I won’t.  He’ll love me either way.  I get a choice about my health.  I’ve got an amazing pocket full of tools from the 12 steps, and I’ve got the simple and clear evidence that I can flip those switches back into proper position with the simple move of once more eliminating sugar.  When I was amidst that elimination diet and daily marveling at how sugar had lost all hold on me for the first time in as far back as my memory reaches, the friend who had guided me to that diet warned that if I started again with sugar, it would be in control again.  I remember feeling incredulous when she said it.  “Why would I go there again?  This feels so good!”  And here I am, back on the other side.  I’m sugar’s “bitch,” and I’m as much a mystery as the domestic violence victim who can’t leave her abuser.

God’s voice is in the midst of this mess.  He’s been telling and showing me ways to freedom for years.  He doesn’t stop talking.  The amazing thing is how much I can hear and know, and still not attain.

The beauty is I know that while some people might be frustrated with me, He’s not checking out in frustration.  He works with me where I am.  His presence along the journey is a greater thing than the destination.  And the great grace He offers me helps me not to live in condemnation while I’m falling short of living in victory.

We’re talking.  He’s gracious and merciful.

My story isn’t over yet.

(Too much transparency?  I don’t know about you, but I get annoyed with how we only tell hard stories when we’re past the hard parts – when we believe we have resolution.  Welcome to the middle of the story, and an extra warm welcome to fellow strugglers who needed to know today that everyone else doesn’t have it all together.  I’m not alone, and neither are you!  Let’s watch together for what God’s doing, okay?)  

(A part 3 follows soon. It’s answer-less as well!)

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