I started this post a week ago, but found myself struggling to finish it. As anxious as I was to move past this, I was trying to resist slapping some frequently-quoted-Bible-verse-bandaid to the end and really wrestle with what was going on. Hang with me here for a minute, and we'll pick up at the end where I left off:
Have you ever been on a crash diet?
I have. In our society, we want easy results, and we want them fast. Crash diets typically go something like this: drink 2 shakes a day, and then have one of our amazingly tiny bars that really don't fill you up at all, and you will lose 5 pounds in 7 days! What?! You mean if I drastically cut my calorie intake, I will lose weight? You're kidding...
It doesn't take a brain surgeon to find the flaw here: as soon as you go back to eating in your pre-crash diet fashion, you will gain all the weight back. Why? Because you haven't fixed the problem - poor eating habits - you've just temporarily changed your behavior.
I had an epiphany today.
It seemed like a fantastic idea to make a commitment to quit shopping for a couple of months. My hope was that if I just forced myself to have a little self-control, the satisfied heart would follow. In the same way that a crash diet might help you lose weight, but not affect lasting change, I realized that temporarily changing my behavior in regards to shopping wouldn't fix the root problem - having a unsatisfied heart.
Paul lays the smack-down on the Colossians:
“Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? 22 These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish with use, are based on merely human commands and teachings. 23 Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.
Paul is saying, in effect, "Why are you making all these rules about things that don't last? You think it makes you look good, but it really isn't working to restrain you from indulging."
So what does restrain me from indulging?
And that's where I left off - with a question - rolling around in my brain for 2 weeks. What does restrain me from indulging, and also, why do I want to?
Like most moms, my life is jam-packed with lots of good things: work, playdates, coffee with friends, Bible studies, church commitments, life group, exercising, spending time with my husband, etc. You know the drill. Sometimes I just hit the wall, and get completely worn out - know what I mean? I was having a particularly challenging day when the words of a song came to my mind.
"You, oh Lord, You are my hiding place."
Doesn't a hiding place sound amazing? Somewhere no one can find you, no one needs anything and you can find peace and quiet?
If you're wondering how this relates to workout clothes, that's good. I was too.
It finally occurred to me this week that I was trying to use online retail-therapy to hide. I knew there was nothing wrong with shopping, but I also knew I was spending too much time and energy there.
Have you ever felt like pond scum? I mean, like, want-to-crawl-into-a-hole-foolish? That's how I felt after watching this video on You Tube. What a waste of energy to hide in something so frivolous! I'm thankful the message of this song brings me back to what I need to hear when I feel like hiding: HE LOVES US! OH HOW HE LOVES US!
Do you know what Jesus did to give us a hiding place, safe in God's presence? Maybe you're like me and just need to be reminded:
Life does get hard sometimes. It really does. But Jesus paid the price, so that we don't have to do it alone. And on those days we feel like hiding, he's waiting, because he loves us - oh how he loves us!