Addicted

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Well I have been absent for a few weeks…. I have let life take over once again, and fell behind in my bible study of Stressed Less Living by Tracie Miles.  I miss my OBS ladies! But I’m back and re-committed in Chapter 8, Addicted to Adrenaline.

I have never really thought of myself as addicted to adrenaline.  Yes, I am quite busy working full time, trying to raise a 15 year-old and help a special needs 19-year old in our blended family, spend time with my husband, do bible studies, help out at church, and the list goes on….

But adrenaline?  I guess I never thought about it that way, but I sure do tend to feel overwhelmed a lot — whether it be worry about our finances, teenager drama/grades, falling behind on the housework…. that’s when things tend to spiral out of control for me.  I think about all of it and let it overwhelm me.  I suddenly feel like I am solely responsible for the academic success of the 15 year-old, finding a job for the 19 year-old, getting ALL the housework done, etc.  And when I can’t change things, I get frustrated, and depressed, and feel like a failure.

Chapter 8 reviewed 4 types of stress addiction, and this was difficult and eye-opening for me.  I easily saw myself as the “accomplisher”, trying to check things off a mental to-do list. But the one that kind of “snuck up” on me was the “dramatist”.  I realize that I am probably more in that category than I care to admit. I have suffered from low self-esteem my entire life.  It is that “giant” in my life that I have yet to tackle, even though I have looked at it many times, including with counselors.  I’m not sure if my low self-esteem causes me to search for any type of attention, good or bad, but when I get overwhelmed I tend to “dump” on whoever will listen. I’m always looking for someone to tell me that everything is okay, and that I really am a good person.  Because I really don’t believe it myself.

Wow that was hard to write.  I am in need of rescuing by our only Rescuer, the Lord Jesus Christ.  I was encouraged when I read that “God is not only capable of rescuing us from physical harm but also from emotional and mental harm, as well.” (p. 168).

Psalm 139:7 says, “Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will receive me; You will stretch out Your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and Your right hand will save me.”  I love the picture that creates…

I find myself at a crossroads.  It is time to get rid of this heavy burden I’m carrying —  this negative, gray cloud over my head.  The addiction to stressful overwhelming feelings and dumping all over anyone who will listen….

 

Lord, please please forgive me for my stress addiction, my “dramatist” attitude.  I lay it at Your feet.  Help me to see myself as YOU see me, and to always seek YOU first.   Help me to take one day at a time, be obedient to You and follow Your guidance.  YOU and ONLY YOU can bring me peace, and right now I am going “all in” for You.  

Thank you Jesus.  In Your Holy Name I pray, Amen…

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Healthy Tomorrow

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Well, ladies, I finally got to read Chapter 3 from our Bible Study “Stressed-Less Living” today.  Those statistics at the beginning of the chapter are frightening, but boy it made me realize that I am SO not alone in my stress!

One thing that I have found is that I am an emotional eater.  When I get stressed or upset, I turn to food (and not healthy stuff like fruits and vegetables).  Thinking about it, I have really begun to struggle with my weight over the past few years, which happens to correlate with my marriage to my wonderful husband with two teenagers.

He has great kids, but I have have never had a child of my own.  I have never raised a child, and I received my “welcome to parenting” with teenagers.  Yikes.  It has been a challenge, and throw on top of that a difficult ex-wife, and well, you find me eating a bunch of french fries and greasy burgers (my favorite junk food).

Reading this chapter has made me realize that I need to change my eating habits.  I have been trying to do this for the past year, but I can never keep to it very long.  Usually something stressful happens and I fall off the wagon and reach for the bad stuff once again, and I surrender to it and decide it’s just my “destiny” to be overweight.

The Lord is there to guide me.  I need to take advantage of that!  So my biggest healthy change that needs to be made is my eating habits.  I have decided that I will go to God when I am stressed instead of going for the  bad stuff.  I realize that this is not going to be easy, but that’s why we have God, right?

Pray for me, sisters.  This is going to be a tough journey for me, but a necessary one. Boy were my eyes opened on page 62 when Tracie compares ignoring stress to refusing chemo therapy when diagnosed with Cancer!  WOW!!!

So, what am I going to do, you ask? I am going to strive to begin each day with prayer about my struggle with food when I’m stressed.  I think I need to pray about it when I’m NOT stressed, so that hopefully once I become stressed I will just go to the Lord in prayer by instinct.

I included the scripture of Isaiah 30:15 at the top of this post, because it has reminded me that in quietness and trust is my strength.  YES!  I will begin each day with quiet time with my Lord and Savior, and HE will give me the strength I need to get through the day and make better food choices.

I can do this!!!!!!!!!

Mirror Mirror

In Chapter 2 of Stressed-Less Living by Tracie Miles, I found the stress assessment on page 50 to be pretty eye-opening.  It really made me think about all the things that are causing stress in my life.  I found out about HALF of things I wrote are in my control, yet I still stress over them.

I thought, “How can this be? If I have control over it, why don’t I just do something about it so I don’t have to stress about it?”  Hmmmm…..sounds pretty simple, doesn’t it?

Let me tell you about a couple of the items on that list of stressors that I have DO have control over:

1. Finances.  We all can control how much we spend.  Unfortunately, it takes time to get things under control once you’ve gone so far.  About a year ago, my husband and I took Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University at  our local church, Alliance Baptist.  We learned some great stuff about budgeting and how to approach our debt.  We have come a long way, and we have paid off my car and a few credit cards since then.  We have a personal loan that is getting paid off next month, and then one more credit card left.  It’s the biggest one, but once we get through that we only have the mortgage and my husband’s truck left.  This is huge! We have taken control of our debt and made strides.

So why am I still stressed you ask? Well, I guess that’s cause we are still living so close within our means.  We don’t have much breathing room, so to speak.  And I let myself worry.  Instead I should be giving it to God.

2. My weight.  This has been a HUGE (probably the biggest) cause of stress for me over the past year or so, where I’ve managed to gain about 25 pounds.  I’m a small girl, barely 5 feet tall.  Let’s just say I don’t wear extra weight well.  It all goes to my belly and thighs and looks terrible.

I never struggled with  my weight in the past, but lately it’s gotten out of control. I just look in the mirror every morning and I want to cry.  I stress and I stress.  I try to eat better.  I try different exercise programs.  But I just keep failing and no weight is lost, or some is actually GAINED, despite attempting to decrease my calorie intake.

I have sat back and thought about this a lot lately.  What is going wrong?  I used to watch what I ate and bump up the exercise when I gained some weight and it would come right off.  But I’m in a different season now.  I’m older, and I’m married to a wonderful man with 2 teenagers (mind you I have never had a child of my own, so I am welcomed into parenting with teens) and a very difficult Ex wife (one of the sources of stress that I CAN’T control).  My stress level has gone up significantly in the past 3 years, which has probably not helped my weight loss efforts.

But I have determined that the REAL reason I keep failing is because I haven’t given this to God (are you starting to see a theme  here?).  I OBSESS daily over losing weight.  I worry about how bad I look and feel like crap.  Yet as soon as something bad happens in my day, I find a reason to “break” the diet and eat something bad.  Or I’m tired and can’t seem to bring myself out of bed at the needed 4:45 AM in order to get my workout done and shower and out the door to be at work on time in the morning.  I think,  “If I could only get up at 7AM this would be so much easier.”

But I’m just making excuses. I think after looking at that exercise on p 50, I have finally realized that I need to STOP obsessing.  STOP listening to the terrible negative voice in my head that says I’m ugly and fat.  I need to GET DOWN ON MY KNEES and ask the Lord to save  me from this obsession.

Dear Lord,

Please hear my cry.  I am obsessing over weight loss, and it is doing nothing for me.  Lord, I give this over to YOU.  I lay it at Your feet.  I’m holding out my hand to You — please take it and guide me.  Help me to make healthy decisions.  Help me to want to exercise in way that’s fun for me and glorifies You.

I remember so many times where You have saved me when I was in need.  This is no different.  I know that You have plans for me.  I trust in You.  You know exactly what I need.

I commit to start my day asking for Your guidance.  I will live this out one day at a time with Your help.  Lord I am not strong enough to do this alone.  But with You, I can do anything.

Thank you Lord.  In Your Holy Name I pray,

Amen.

Stressed-Less

Hello OBS Ladies!!  If this is your first time visiting my page, welcome!  This is my second time participating the Blog Hop and I love it! I was going to do more with my page, but we lost our internet connection last night so now I’m having to improvise at work and don’t really have much time.  So…I’ll have to work on that next week.  LOL

My goal in this study is to learn how to fight stress once and for all!  I have tried so many things.  Reading Chapter 1 of our Stressed-Less Living book, I have found most of things I try to do are merely band-aids.  No wonder I never feel relieved of stress for long.  Sure, I love to do things like take a day off from work, take a nice walk, etc.  But those aren’t always possible every day (especially the taking off from work part). 

I am really hoping that my relationship with God will strengthen even more in this study.  I found in the last study (Let. It. Go.) that I became closer to the Lord.  So….I’m all ready to jump into this one!

The last question: Out of all the studies you could be doing, why did you choose this one?  Well that is a pretty funny question, because I am currently doing this study plus 2 others (and I wonder why I stressed – 3 bible studies, work full time, mom, wife, house to clean, etc!).  BUT – when I heard about this study I just knew I had to do it. 

When I read the beginning of Chapter 1, I felt like I was reading about myself!  Just this past weekend, I had a break-down.  We had too much going on, as usual.  We had a Sunday School social on Saturday at 5pm, and a birthday party for our neighbor that started at 6pm!  We wanted to go to both.  I had to bring a dish to the Sunday School party, so I made that in the crock pot in the afternoon.  I quickly realized that time was getting away from me (as usual) and I still had to get to the grocery store.  So, I rushed off.  While at the store, my plan was to buy some pasta or macaroni salad to take to the second party – but I forgot!

It was getting really late by this time.  I left the grocery store and it was 5pm! On my way home with the groceries, I received a phone call from one of the ladies in my Sunday School class, and she asked, “Are you guys coming?”  I was like, “Yes – the party just started didn’t it?  I’m running a little late.”  She proceeded to inform me that it started at 4pm!  My husband and I were sure it was 5pm.  She told me they were waiting on us to eat.  I told her I was on my way home with groceries, had to unload, and then fold a load of laundry from the dryer, and we’d be on our way.

Well that phone call sent me into a tailspin.  I hate to be late, and by the time we got there, we were almost 2 hours late!  Most everyone was done eating when we walked in…so much for the dish I brought. 

By the time I finished eating, I had major pain in my stomach.  But, I continued on with my husband to the next party.  We had only been there about an hour or so and I could hardly stand it anymore.  I just wanted to get to bed.  I was hurting pretty bad.

So my husband took me home and put me to bed.  I didn’t sleep well – woke up several times hurting.  In the morning I wasn’t better.  It was still hurting.  My husband said I needed to stay home and rest.  “But I have to do the check-in for the children’s area at church today.  They are going live with a new computer system – I need to be there!”  My husband said NO and made me tell her I couldn’t help today.

So I stayed home and I didn’t leave the house once that day.  Boy did that feel good.  My husband thinks I have an ulcer, but I don’t know.  By the afternoon I was feeling much better, and the pain hasn’t returned.  All I can say is I don’t want THAT to happen again.

 Enter new Stressed-Less Living bible study!  Just at the right time (of course – I love how God always does that!).

Well, that got a little lengthy, but I just wanted y’all to peek into my life a little bit.  I’m sure I’ll share more as we go.  Looking forward to this 12-week journey, sisters!!!!!!!!!!

Lean on Him

Wow. I can’t believe this is the very last week of Let. It. Go. It has been an awesome study. I have learned so much about myself, and it has opened my eyes to what needs to change in my life. I feel like I have been equipped with the tools to take it on! I’m sad to see it go, but I’m already looking froward to the next study. Oh – and the in-between study too.

Ok, moving on to this week’s entry..

Lean on Him. I will say of the LORD, He is my Refuge and my Fortress, my God; on Him I lean and rely, and in Him I [confidently] trust! Psalm 91:2 AMP. How does this verse speak into your life right now?

I chose this topic because I have a lot going on in my life right now. We are trying to get custody of my husnand’s 15 year-old daughter, I am having on-going issues with my weight, not to mention financial issues and work full-time too. The chores around the house never seem to get done.

I think God is trying to get my attention. I know that when I trust in the Lord, and lean on Him, things always seem to go more smoothly. So why don’t I lean on Him more? I guess sometimes we just need that gentle reminder when we let life get in the way. God is so good at those reminders, isn’t He? I have placed the video below on here. It’s a great song, and yet another reminder that God is all we need.

Sorry, I didn’t have too many words this week. This study has been amazing, and it was a lot to take in. I hope that I will continue to apply what I have learned, and continue to make positive changes in my life, with the help of our wonderful Lord and Savior. Without Jesus, where would we be???

What-EVER

Hi Ladies! I can’t believe the Let. It. Go. OBS is almost over! Where does the time go? I can tell you that God has really worked on me during this study. I feel like I have grown closer to Him more in these last weeks than the whole time since I have been saved (which was Oct 30, 2008 by the way).

Anyway, when I read Chp 10 Embracing your What-evv-er I really identified with it in a big way. I have spent a LOT of time comparing myself to others. The older I’ve gotten the worse it has gotten. I can remember comparing myself to others as early as junior high, but it probably goes back further than that. Lately, it’s been things like, “Why can’t we have enough money for me to stay home all day like my next door neighbor does?” Or, “Why can’t I seem to lose weight and be thin like my neighbor across the street who had a baby only a year ago?” WHAT AM I DOING WRONG, GOD?

These are my daily thoughts. They are terrible and damaging to what little self-esteem I gained while growing up. This is NOT where I want to be, and I know that, yet I have continued to have such negative thought-patterns, and girlfriends, it hurts your relationships. I have struggled to have women friends because of this. No one wants to be around a girl who thinks so little of herself. And then when I get rejected it just isolates me that much more. It’s put a strain on my relationships with my husband and kids. How can you be a positive influence on a child’s life when you feel no self-worth?

Okay, so I’d gotten this far in the chapter and I’m thinking. I need to STOP this. But how? Then I came to page 186: “When you see others owning, enjoying, being related to, or experiencing what you don’t have or wish you did, it may make you discontent. And discontentment can effortlessly morph its sneaky little self into overcontrol.” WAKE-UP CALL!!!!!!!!!!!

Wow. That really made me jump out of my skin. Reading on, I really liked reading about true godly contentment on p 193-194: “…true contentement isn’t merely having what we want. It’s wanting what we already have.”

Then Karen asks the question, “What do you already have?”

1. A wonderful loving husband, who truly “lives” out our marriage vows
2. A wonderful church family that I can depend on and serve
3. A job with a small company that is more like a family than an employer (really hard to find these days)
4. A roof over my head, a car to drive, and food to eat — things that I know I have taken for granted.
5. Good health. I may not weigh what I want to weigh, but I have a great immune system and rarely get sick

And that’s just 5 things!!!! So really, ladies, why am I so concerned about my neighbors???

What about you? What do you have? Just think about that for a few minutes, and you take on a whole new perspective. I know that I did.

We serve a WONDERFUL, AMAZING GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Serenity

 

I can’t believe it’s Thursday already, ladies of  Melissa Taylor’s OBS Let. It. Go. by Karen Ehman!  I chose to write about Chapter 8, because I’m always trying to control everything, even the things I KNOW I can’t control….

Reading this chapter really woke me up to how I live my life.  I have been saved since October 30, 2008, but I still don’t fully trust God.  In fact, sometimes it seems like I don’t lean on Him at all….silly, isn’t it?

I really started to “wake up” on page 156, where Karen writes, “What transforms our outlook and us is an attitude shift.  It’s God’s job to determine our circumstances.  It’s our job to cooperate with Him in the midst of them, adjusting and realigning our attitudes with the truth of Scripture.”

Attitude.  That’s something that I’ve never been good at.  Sure I can encourage my friends….telling them to hang in there and lean on the Lord….but do I do that for myself?  No.  I do what I grew up watching, which is a negative attitude.  My husband has caught me saying things like, “It will never get better.  We’ll never get out of debt.”

Well that just simply isn’t true.  Last summer my husband and I participated in Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University at our church. I was feeling overwhelmed by all of our seemingly endless bills, and feeling HOPELESS.   Yes, you heard me right.  But what was I forgetting to do?  Go to the Word.  Seek help.

The Dave Ramsey seminar at our church lasted 12 weeks.  And boy did we learn a LOT.  We learned that guess what – we can live without cable right now.  We can live without eating out all the time.  We made some simple changes, and slowly, we are working down our debt.  My car is now paid off, and one credit card is paid off.  The next one will be paid off in the next month — then we only have one credit card left!  It’s possible with a plan, and a little leaning on the Lord.  Through that time we learned to always tithe.  And you know what?  The Lord has blessed us…bills have gotten paid.  And finances no longer stress me out.  I’ve Let. That. Go.

This chapter made me realize that I need to let go of ESPECIALLY the things that I can’t control.  What woke me up to that was on page 157: “Yes, God’s will will prevail no matter what people try to do about it.  Especially evil men and women, Others may try to alter the situation by behaing badly.  In the end, God still gets his own way.”

What an awesome reminder right now, while in the middle of a custody battle for my husband’s 15 year old daughter.  She wants to come and live with us, and so we have started the process.  And her mother has tried to stop it.  But God’s will will be done, whatever that may be.  And His will is right.  It doesn’t matter how many times she tries to delay the hearing, it will come and a decision will be made….and God will be behind it.

I have spent SO MUCH time worrying over this.  And I realize that there is no reason to….God has got it all figured out already.  And no one can change it.  And we will adapt to whatever the decision is….whether she comes to live with us or stays with her mother and aunt.  We can REJOICE in knowing that God knows what is best for her.

That has really lifted a weight off me.  I am participating in the 48 Hour Joyful Praying Thankful Challenge. I have written out the Scripture on a notecard like this:

Stephanie,

ALWAYS be joyful.  NEVER stop praying.  Be THANKFUL in ALL circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:16 – 18

I have included a video (hopefully — never did this before I hope it works!) of a song called “Here” by Kari Jobe.  I like to listen to this song when I’m feeling especially stressed, or just need to feel God’s love.  This song just makes me “soak it all in” and I just love it!