Autumn Leaves 3 Column

Friday, January 28, 2011

The Yoke of Over-eating

“I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt so that you would no longer be slaves to the Egyptians; I broke the bars of your yoke and enabled you to walk with heads held high.” Lev. 26:13

Most people today aren’t familiar with the term “yoke”. A yoke is a devise enclosing the heads of two draft animals together, usually oxen, so that an individual can drive them to perform tasks such as plowing or pulling a wagon. Oxen are large, powerful, animals and if you’ve ever seen a team of oxen performing a task of pulling a plow, it truly is amazing that one man can manage these animals in such a manner. In the above Scripture, I was caught by the word-picture of God breaking the bars of the yoke that enslaved the Israelites. As we can see from the picture, it would take a lot of power to break the bars of a yoke!

I have been enslaved in a yoke, a cycle of over-eating causing gain and loss that has accompanied me throughout my adult life. This last “gain” cycle started a few years ago with an event that was incredibly painful to me emotionally. I had absolutely no responsibility in what took place (meaning I was not involved with the event directly) but the consequences had a tremendous effect on me personally. I realized that I had felt powerless over the outcome of the event, an outcome that caused me pain! Looking back at my emotional pain and loss at the time, I am recognizing that my response to pain is to return to my yoke, the yoke of over-eating as a source of comfort, rather than turning to God.

My daughter Shannon shared something very powerful with me a while back that God has brought to my mind again and again. We were discussing why I turn to food and I said something to the effect that when I eat I feel better. And she looked at me and she said, “Mom, you don’t feel better, you feel different.” Wow! That statement hit me square between the eyes! She was right, I didn’t feel better; what I felt was numb, an absence of the pain. But then the numbness would wear off and the pain would return. So how was I going to be comforted in my pain and begin the process of removing the yoke of over-eating? I’ll share that next time! Meanwhile, I would love to read your comments and hear what gives you comfort when you feel pain.

And by the way, for accountability’s sake, I’ve been working out three days a week for the last month! Not easy, but satisfying!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A Fallow Season

“You shall sow your land for six years and gather in its yield but on the seventh year you shall let it rest and lie fallow, so that the needy of your people may eat; and whatever they leave the beast of the field may eat. You are to do the same with your vineyard and your olive grove.” Ex. 23:10 - 11 (NASB)

As you may have read in the above Scripture, the Mosaic Law states that every seventh year, the Israelites were to leave the ground unplowed, to allow it to lie fallow, to rest the land. This resting allows the land to renew itself and to regain the nutrients that were used by the previously planted crops. I’ve been pondering and studying this idea of the year of resting, this “fallow time.”

Oddly enough, presently in my spiritual life I feel like I’m in a “fallow” season. While I personally have been “OK”, I’m emerging from a season of crisis in the church I attend and the lives of people closest to me. I’ve referred to this crisis season in past blogs, especially about the church I attend. Some of those particular issues have been somewhat resolved and a period of healing for the people of the church is taking place, including in my own spiritual life.

However, some of the collateral damage of this recent crisis season has been completely unhealthy for me physically. Several years ago I worked really hard and lost a significant amount of weight, but in the midst of the recent crisis, I found myself returning to some really bad eating habits and I have gained back quite a bit of the weight I had lost. So, now begins another season of hard work to attempt to lose this weight again. But I’m realizing that it may be more important to gain a deeper understanding of what emotions I experienced during the crisis time and why I respond with eating (and eating and eating)!

Therefore, while I focus a lot of energy on the physical exercise it will require to get back in shape and lose (quite) a few pounds, I’m also trying to take the time to sit quietly before Jesus and learn to recognize the emotions that send me to the fridge for comfort. I picture this season as a “fallow” time as God restores some much needed truth to my soul so that my “field” (i.e., physical body) is renewed. I would like to invite you to be a part of this journey. I will be recording my discoveries in this blog and will keep you updated as to my progress. I will NOT share the pounds with you, but I will share the progress of returning to a healthy exercise regime and the spiritual lessons that I know God will be pouring into my heart. I would appreciate your prayers as I “bare my soul” here in my blog. I pray that God will bless all of us with His truths, strength, and comfort.

So, I’m off to go exercise. Pray for me…I need it!

Monday, January 3, 2011


“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Eph. 4: 22-24

I love the beginning of a new year! Like a blank canvas on which to paint a new picture, a new year is filled with endless possibilities for the future. There are new resolutions, new plans, and new dreams all of which seem achievable in my mind. I can make the choice to focus on my writing, speaking and teaching. I can resolve to get my house re-organized, the gardens edged and composted. This may be the year that I finally clean out those closets and re-structure my filing systems! But then reality sets in. I’m still the same person that I was on the last day of the old year…or am I?

I am not the same person today that I was yesterday…if I’m paying attention. Every day I have the opportunity to apply the truth of Ephesians 4: 22-24 to my life. I have the opportunity to put off the “old self”, to stop doing things the way I’ve always done them. I can do something different! By allowing the Holy Spirit to make me new in the “attitude” of my mind, I can make new choices. I can choose to put less food in my mouth, to move a little more today than I did yesterday, to put things away rather than dumping them on the table. I have been created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. And so have you!

Let’s encourage each other to do one thing differently! Just one thing! One thing is do-able. And as we make one small change, we will be able to see and recognize the manifestation of the Holy Spirit helping us to do just one thing; which just might encourage us that we are new, different and the possibilities are endless! It may not be easy, we may not succeed perfectly, but it is do-able! Happy New Year!