Friday, June 15, 2012

Counting Calories

Counting calories is probably the hardest part of being on a diet. As I predicted in my last post (Instant Gratification) I cheated on my diet. Thursday was June's first day back in town. I hadn't seen her in like 3 weeks, so we went to lunch together. After lunch, a gchat dialogue went something like this:

June: I want cake.
Me: You want cake? I can get you cake. (I felt like being a nice friend on this particular day)

Note: I had no means of getting her cake. Once this truth was expressed:

June: I want a cookie.
Me: You want a cookie? I can get you a cookie!

So, off to Panera I skipped, to get a Toffee Nut cookie for June. I, personally, didn't crave/want/need a cookie, but there I was at Panera with LOTS of cookies and baked goods all around me. So, in the moment of truth at the cashier, I decided it was stupid to pay for 1 cookie with a credit card (b/c I never have cash). So...2 toffee nut cookies returned to the office. Once in my office, I felt guilty, so I had an inner dialogue that went  something like this:

"I shall only eat half a cookie..."
(1 second later): "I will only eat two-thirds of this cookie..."
(1 nanosecond later): "75%!! Kristen STOP!"

400+ Calorie Cookie Demolished.

I felt utterly disgusting afterwards. 400 calories is like a whole meal when you're counting calories. How is it that I ended up doing something I didn't want to do? How did I end up eating a cookie I had no intention or desire to eat?! Yeah, the cookie was great...but I wasn't in danger of the cookie. Until I put myself in danger of the cookie. Once I was in there, thinking about that cookie...I should have fled.

So what's my point?

We do the same thing as Christians. We put ourselves in, what I like to call, the "sin zone" and then wonder how we ended up doing something we didn't want to do. How did we end up doing something we had zero intention of doing? It wasn't planned at all! Even while it's happening (see inner thoughts above), you're trying to figure out how to stop.

It reminds me of something St. Paul said:

...I can will it, but I can't do it. I decide to do good, but I don't really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don't result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time.
...The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God's commands, but it's pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge. 
Romans 7:17-23

That's what happened to me with the cookie. I thought I was stronger than the parts of me that covertly rebel. And I wasn't. The diet was too new. I wasn't there yet. Same thing with Christians. Sometimes we think we can "handle" certain sketchy situations without having a "Kristen STOP!" moment, but oftentimes we have underestimated the strength of those parts of us that covertly rebel. And just when we LEAST expect it, they take charge. And we're somewhere in tears. Ashamed. Disgusted.

I should not have been in Panera where the cookies were. Georgetown Cupcake? Stay away. 

What is your "cookie"? Where is your "Panera"? And do you really have any business there? ...Flee!

But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil. 
1 Thessalonians 5:22

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Instant Gratification

Instant Gratification is when you get the thing that you want/desire as soon as you express or work towards that desire. It's immediate. You want it, you set out to get it, and BOOM it's in your hands.

It's an awesome thing that rarely exists in the natural world.

I'm not sure how we came to believe in and desire instant gratification. I think, maaaaybe, it started out with creationism. "Let there be light" and what happened? There was LIGHT. What?!?! Can I do that too?!!

Sadly, the answer is a resounding: nope. I have found that out in painful detail over the past two weeks. In the final days in Bali--whether due to all the noodles or all the rice, I don't know which--I realized I had packed on a few LBs. This was distressing, and I decided I would commence a weight loss plan upon my return.

It has been two weeks, and I am freaked out that I don't weigh like 13lbs less already. Why? Because I'm looking for instant gratification (IG). I know that IG in this circumstance is irrational and stupid, but I don't care. After I eat a particularly healthy meal, I feel my stomach (is there less fat in there because of that one meal?). After I work out, I feel my stomach (have I burned away all the fat yet?). I have done this every day (even on the FIRST day).

The key here for me is patience. If I'm patient, and I stick to "the plan" I will be nearly there in 5 weeks (per If I can wait 5 weeks, I'll get everything that's coming to me, but sometimes we can't wait, and the results are disastrous. 

There is a story that Christians have heard 100 times. It's so played that even non-Christians know the reference: The Prodigal Son.

I've always focused on the story being about the return of what's lost. And it is definitely about that. However, it is also a lesson in patience.

“There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them. 
Luke 15:11-12

Normally, people get their inheritance when their parents have...ummm...died. This dude wanted what was "his" when it still technically belonged to someone else. Is that crazy or what? This guy grew up watching his father work and build this inheritance, and maybe he started to dream of all he could accomplish with that money. Maybe he looked at his older brother and thought: "you are wasting your best years! There's a whole world out there to be just has to be financed!" And so he requests his inheritance NOW and leaves. Based on the story (see Luke 15:13), he clearly wasn't ready to have his inheritance. He wanted his life to start so badly that he almost ended it. He spent all the money and then a FAMINE came. Imagine that, broke in a famine. He almost died out there. And I wonder, what would have happened had he waited: 
  1. His inheritance would have grown instead of being lost
  2. He would have grown older and possibly wiser, better able to manage a fortune
  3. He would have gone through the famine at home, with his father who had storehouses of food/supplies.
What is my point? I realized that my patience issues go far beyond my diet. If I'm truthful, I will cheat on this diet. I will likely quit this diet. BUT, when it comes to the spiritual realm, I can't give up on living my life for God and start trying to find my own way just because I'm:

1. Not married
2. Finances are funny
3. Sick
4. Unhappy/Mad/Jealous
5. Whatever goes in these types of lists

I get to points when I'm thinking: "you are wasting your best years!"* and I go about trying to make myself happy by any means necessary. And I end up like the prodigal son: broke, in a famine.

Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God's will. Then you will receive all that he has promised. 
 Hebrews 10:36 (NLT)

Impatient people find it hard, exceedingly difficult, and then downright impossible to live out God's will for them, because they constantly see/are looking for another way. There has to be a better, shorter, more fun way...


*Please know that is a lie and a trick of the enemy. When I stop to think about it, I realized that I have had so many awesome experiences. And so many things have worked out in my favor, but when you're impatient about just one thing...suddenly your life is meaningless. Guard against such thoughts.