Tuesday, March 26, 2013

lent brought change.

this year i knew it was time to give up sugar for lent. i tried last year but failed somewhere in the middle and then didn't get up from there. God doesn't love me more or less for fasting, so who cares, i would think. but in my freedom, i had lost something that God was wanting to show me. it was a gift actually and i rejected it.

this year, i thought, it has to be sugar. i'll give that up again. as much as it pained me to think that thought, i knew it would be good. i bake practically every day. of course, i could give up many other things that consume my life for 6 weeks, but this was the one i felt pressed about. there are lots of things that rule my day, but there is something about food. food is a part of everyone's day and it guides social events and family plans and daily routines. i knew it would jack me up. bad.

and it did.

the first week was quite hellish. in fact, the first three days yelled, HEY! you're addicted to sugar, if you ever wondered. 
 addicted? no. not me. i just love baking. and eating crap. all day. and wait, i'm a little miserable and i can't say no.

and so God was kind. He did a work in me and i surrendered. i prayed a lot for help. it sounds silly, but i was struggling against a completely legal substance that i had used as a sort of drug. i worshipped it. and so there it was...this was a sin issue, a worship problem.

so when i started looking at it as a sin issue, that's when things started changing. i was praying more, repenting more, seeing my sin more. and needing God MORE. honestly, i don't now how people change on their own...i have no will power, so the only explanation i have is that God is working a miracle in my heart. i really relied on him for lasting heart change.

in the second week, after i got past the intense withdrawal from no sugar, i began to notice a couple of things. i was skinnier (i didn't want to lose weight), i wasn't taking 2 hour naps (this has been a 4 year conundrum), my cystic acne on my neck was getting smaller-- these weird, painful knots on my neck that i had off and on since in college, were shrinking. my periods were lighter and shorter. what? i wasn't starving all day because i started intentionally eating. i was less angry.

God was doing something. and He was changing me.
i was hungry to learn more about how food was hurting me and i was hungry to learn how it could help me heal.

lent gave me space to see all this. and God gave me the space to see Him. praise Jesus that He uses whatever He wants for His Glory. and why does He even care about my diet? what a God we serve that cares for the details of our health and our diet!

i'm going to do a series here on what changed during these past weeks. i'm excited about it and i pray that maybe you'll see the value of fasting from something you hold dear. specifically if you love sugar. there will be a challenge at the end. if you're up for some crazy change. a sort of create-your-own-lent-even-though-lent-is-really-almost-over. there's something about an elongated fast that creates space to see things you were blind to before.

i hope you'll stick with me over the next couple of posts. i'm going to be talking about what i was eating, what my kids were eating, some recipes, some health stuff, just whatever information from these past weeks that i can conjure up. it will be here. it won't be a long "series" and it won't be detailed. i'm not a doctor or an expert, but i can tell you how letting go of sugar has changed me.

maybe it will inspire you to ask God to work in your own heart?

70 comments:

  1. The first time I read about this on your Instagram I felt like I had just read someone's BIG NEWS announcements, like "we're having a baby" or "we're engaged" because honestly...getting your life back in that way is SO huge. It makes me want to HUG people when they get it, because it's such a sneaky thing that (in my opinion) the devil uses to hold us back. Not all hyper - spiritual...but I mean, listen...he's been using food to cause us to stumble since day 1. I should probably write you an e-mail, because I could schmooze about this for DAYS. It's so exciting to get food (and our bodies) back! I am beyond excited for your series and will be cheering from across the ocean :)

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    1. that's what it feels like...like a film is being lifted off my eyes or a fog is leaving. CRAY.

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  2. looking forward to reading more about this! the need for me to give sugar up has been staring me in the face, but I keep falling back to the "God will love me even if I don't" excuse. Thanks for writing!

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  3. wow! this is encouraging! i am excited to following along through the rest of the 'series' and see how you did it! i might even be tempted to join along too!

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    1. do it! do it! do it! i feel like i found the cure to cancer and i want everyone to join in. :)

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  4. My husband and I did a Whole30 a few months ago, and I was shocked at how addicted I was to sugar-- physically and emotionally. I thought my husband was going to be the whiner, but it was totally me. My diet improved significantly since that time (I, too, noticed that a lot of my skin issues, etc., got so much better that I decided to stick with it), but recently I felt the Lord leading me to fast from even my "healthy" sweet snacks during the day while I pray for something specific for my husband. It's been so good.

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    1. isn't it funny how we'll justify sweet things...like this isn't a desert. it's a cereal bar. LOL. when i'm totally using the cereal bar as a desert. or at least that's me.

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  5. amazing! thanks for sharing your story. i did this last year for not lent but when i was going thru a very painful time in my life. despite my surrounding, i noticed much the same results as you. bloating was gone. i prayed for strength...every day He surprised me with His grace. I couldn't believe how clear my mind was...every day it was a like a layer of film left my perspective and each day i could see clearly in a new perspective and one that was reaching to strive for a deeper relationship with Jesus (despite my heartache) and to the world God has called me to shine in... thank you for being honest and sharing your experience! i gave up chocolate for lent this year...failed, got up, failed, repented,...

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    1. all of life is repentance, isn't it?

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  6. Well, Jami, I am so looking forward to reading your post on this. It couldn't have come at a better time.... Last night I laid in bed and CRAVED chocolate. I mean it hit me like a ton of bricks. I wanted to get out of bed and rummage through the cupboards in a crazy eyed sort of way..... It was bizarre.... but has happened many many times before where I have caved in and satisfied that craving. So I am happy you are doing this. Good for you.

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    1. i have done that so many times! i was like a slave. :/

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  7. "god gave me space to see him."

    i love how he cleans our clock when we least expect. turning us from our way and showing us his vision for us. the best sight. praise jesus.

    i'm excited about his work in you! so encouraged as you've been sharing this journey. terrified that i keep feeling the nudge to join you. it puzzles me, how sugar seems to be more difficult to let go of than drugs ever were. wth is that about? anyway, looking forward to your posts, jami girl. love you so.

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    1. seriously. i thought i was just giving something up. and surprise! God was sitting right there chatting with me about my harmful addiction. join me. we'll do it together. texting all the way... lol

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  8. Whoa. Sugar is my downfall. Sugar is a sin for me. I have sorta always known it...but reading this post...made me have to admit it. Peeps for breakfast? Yes, please. Cake for lunch? Of course. I am starting a healthy eating diet today...because I do need to loose weight. Because I don't need to worship food. Because I need more room for God and less room for Peeps. Thanks for writing this, I may just have to return to this post a few more times as I venture into Week One of no sugar!

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    1. lean in close to Jesus. it's super hard to let go of a habit like sugar...but God always makes us a way when we submit to his call. he is so kind.

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  9. Thanks for sharing...I gave up sugar and fell off for a few days but I remain committed to doing this. I'm thinking I will try to continue in some manner after Lent is over as I can see some positive change happening. Looking forward to reading what happened for you!

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    1. repent and get back up. repent and get back up. that's all i feel like i do. LOL

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  10. I'm in. When do I start? I need a specific start date because I need mental preparation time. And can it be after Easter dinner so I can eat coconut cake for dessert? I love sugar. However, I'm a teeny bit chubby around my waist and possibly angry and middle aged and tired and surely menopausal. Be glad you're not me. :)

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    1. i'm not sure of the exact date but i would say pick a monday! :) and then follow along with the series for encouragement.

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  11. My husband and I decided to go a full month without sugar, caffeine, and processed foods. Like, 100%. Then after that we will allow ourselves one treat a week - either a dessert with coffee or maybe a burger for me. That's my issue - I'm a huge burger and fries/ steak and potatoes girl. Anyway - we're on day 3 and I have to tell you it's not so much fun right now! We're both realizing how much we actually are/were addicted to caffeine and sugar! Looking forward to things getting better in another week! :) I can't wait for this series!!!!!

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    1. it's so freaking hard. why is it so hard! it's just food. but that's why fasting is so good. we see how we turn anything into must haves, and gods.

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  12. Wow. Amazing what can happen when sugar is gone! I gave up sugar and bread for a diet, and watched things change, but how easy it is to get back to eating crap when that diet is no longer "needed", now I'm back at square one. To see this as a sin issue totally changes the game, because you're right, it's a completely legal addiction! I'm definitely inspired by this, and I look forward to some of those recipes you mentioned you'd be sharing!

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    1. it's true, i'm looking at this more long term. lent and the space it created just helped me see the need to completely change my habits. so at first i looked at it as short term...like, let's just get through this! and now i see, i am needing to be obedient and actually submit this part of my life to Christ. it's better than sugar though. ha.

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  13. I look forward to it, Jami! My hubby and I are trying to eat less sugary foods, so I know this "series" will come in handy :)

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  14. Jami! This is amazing!!! I seriously got chills when I read it:) When I gave up sugar for 6 months a few years ago, my life changed so much as well. But what I love most was how you were so obedient to God's calling on something you thought was seemingly insignificant, but turned out to be for HIS glory, and for your benefit. God is so amazing the way he works. Thanks for your inspiration!

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    1. God is surprising sometimes! thanks for your kind words.

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  15. I love this!!! We are trying to cut back on sugar too and need some good suggestions. As you know my husband may struggle with this...What Brian and cookies... you know about that!

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    1. courtney! i miss you guys. i see pictures and freak out because it seems impossible that your littles are so big.

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  16. I most certainly have a sugar addiction. I have been doing better over the past 3 months but haven't eradicated it quite yet. Looking forward to the series! My heartfelt thanks for sharing your experiences.

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  17. I look forward to this series. Sugar is my weakness as well. I have had the desire to eat a more vegetable based diet, but haven't followed through. I'm interested to see what you have to say!

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  18. I needed this today. Thank you!

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  19. Great post .....something I have been meaning to do ....I to love sugar and literally search for that fix at night! I welcome your post Ty ....for now I pat myself on the back 10 days smoke free!

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    1. yay for being smoke free. that is HUGE!!!

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  20. I am so excited about this series. I have struggled with obesity for the past few years, and I know that for me, it is a shame and more importantly, a sin issue. Can't wait to hear how He is working in your life through all of this!

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    1. totally, i think without repentance and letting God do the work, i will just see the problem and then go try and fix it. then i fail. then i try and fix it...and then fail. and it produces so much shame. this time is different. i just repented and said, i'm stuck. you do the work. and He totally is working a miracle in my heart. it's still difficult, but i feel like He is doing the work and not me.

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  21. love this. i'm addicted. i'll be tuning in! ;) -leslie smith

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  22. Have you ever done the Daniel Fast? you should definitely look into it. I also had an addiction to sugar (and still would if not careful). though I have blogged about the sugar thing some I have never talked about the Daniel Fast, but this is exactly what has happened to me. you should definitely check it out!!

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    1. yes i've heard of that and think it's great. i am just sticking to minimal sugar for now...and perhaps God will want me to do that too. we'll see. baby steps. LOL

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  23. i really look forward to your series. being honest i've always thought that asking God for help with food issues was kind of silly. reading this i've realize i've been dumb to not understand that if something even food has a hold on you somehow, and in my case it's a deadly grip, then it controls me leaving me with no will power. 'i have no will power, so the only explanation i have is that God is working a miracle on my heart.' bam. that made sense. His power is the one I want over me. not the power of food.

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    1. seriously. He showed up. because anyone who knows me will say that this is totally crazy for me!

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  24. this is very inspiring. I tried to give up my legal drug of choice, diet coke, and got down to 3 a day when i normally drink 7 or 8 a day!!! i am continuing my own personal season of fasting as i pray for the Lord to change me and help me run to His arms for comfort and not coke. i'm definitely seeing how little self control i have and how in the moment i think "it will satisfy!" when only Jesus does.

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    1. it's so freaking hard. why is it so hard?! it's just food. but that's why fasting is so good. we see how we turn anything into "must haves" and gods. we are so quick to worship things other than God. praise Jesus that He is kind and good and saves us even when we turn away!

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  25. I'm truly on the edge of my seat.
    Realizing that I chose sacrifice for Lent when what God was calling me to was Obedience - a broken and contrite spirit.

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    1. totally love that verse you referenced

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  26. i love this. because this year i was like you last year. i feel ashamed. but, His grace is enough and i'm going to do it again. how can i refuse this gift that you speak of?! can't wait to read more from your journey.

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  27. OoooOoo! I'm really excited about hearing about this!!! Seriously!!!

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  28. This is SO me! I really can't wait for more of what you have learned? I am wondering about the sugar...I assume you mean the stuff found in candy, cookies, soda, etc, right? Not the kind found in fruit? Fruit is good right? It's a food God created. Not that processed garbage. Or do I have to wait for the series to get the reply. Do tell.

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    1. right, fruits are good and good for you. i will elaborate more on that. :)

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  29. I know that more than anything this is a heart issue. But on a physiological level I encourage you to read David Gillespie's Sweet Poison. Very informative book on how sugar effects our bodies.
    I don't want to sound at all patronizing, but I'm proud of you. Well done.
    I, too, have discovered some things about my heart condition through lent, thanks to your encouragement.

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  30. This sounds totally lame, but my pregnant self just does not want to read this right now. And, I know the reason I don't want to read this is because it is so true in my life, but SO MUCH HARDER when pregnant. GAH!!! I never even crave candy or eat it until I become pregnant and then I can't buy the stuff without thinking about it/eating it ALL the time. Yes, I did so eat almost a whole bag of jelly beans the other week that I bought for a special treat FOR MY KIDS (who got none!). Anyway, that being said, I totally see how certain things, especially foods, have a hold on me...and I want to do something about it...just don't go writing convicting things when I am pregnant for pete's sake! :)

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    1. i totally know how you feel. that's one of the reasons i don't want to get pregnant again. because of my body and how out of control i feel. my body morphs into this crazy thing. ugh. but i think God is changing my heart on that. i'm basically saying my hormones are bigger than God. i'm like, hands off the pregnant lady, God! i don't have to change because i'm hormonal! LOL. anyway, that's my struggle i'm working through and repenting through. all of life is repentance.

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  31. Seriously. This gets me SO excited. I too am lacking in all things will-power related, and this past year, God has radically done a crazy miracle in my heart and brainmatter, but instead of sugar, my drug was the socially accepted drug of anxiety and worry. He went "hey. this is SIN. and i am gonna kill it dead despite you." And then He did it. I always feel like these kind of dramatic heart changes have to come because of some stellar contribution on my part, and He taught me that good golly, my effort is worthless, and I am utterly in need of a Savior. I am so encouraged to hear of God working in this way in your heart! Really truly. And I can not wait to read about what you have learned health wise. Those tomatoes are delish looking. Thanks for sharing.

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  32. Thank you so much for tackling this issue and being brave to share about it on your blog! After I had my son, I gave up sugar for 30 days. Partially to deal with my addiction to it and partially to lose that extra pregnancy weight. It worked halfway...I lost the weight BUT as soon as I started eating treats again my love of too many cookies came back. At the beginning of March I realized I had gained back every pound I had lost and am back to where I started. About 2 weeks ago, God confronted me again...NOT about my weight, but about my HEART. I'm also on this journey of fasting from sugar now. Because I am realizing that I worship my comfort and I love physical pleasure more than God's word at times. I love telling myself YES instead of eating with thankfulness to the glory of God. I pray that God will continue to reveal more of Himself and his Heart for you during this process and I pray that He will bless you and others as you testify to his work!

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    1. totally know how you feel. i'm looking at this more long term... lent and the space it created just helped me see the need to completely change my habits. so at first i looked at it as short term...like, let's just get through this! and now i see, i am needing to be obedient and actually submit this part of my life to Christ. it's been better than sugar though. ha.

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  33. Cool! Can't wait to read more!

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  34. you kicked me where it counts with this one. can't wait to read more. I've been working on decreasing my sugar intake over the last couple weeks. baby steps for me. (although that's not even true. cause it feels like giant steps already. i was eating a LOT of sugar too.)

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  35. Looking forward to the coming posts! I have recently found your blog and really love it...and I live n KC too. :) On day 2 of a random sugar fast because I have been feeling enslaved...I have not been praying through my angry withdrawal though... Maybe tomorrow will be better. I feel so hungry. Maybe I consume a lot more calories in sugar than I realized? Weird I have never heard of anyone else getting cystic acne in the neck... I do and especially in times of high stress. Thanks for sharing these things you've learned and how god is healing you!

    J

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    1. for reals. cystic acne is like sin...it's under the surface, painful, and the bump and the pain point to some greater issue below the surface.

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  36. Amazing timing to read this. I'm on day 2 of a random sugar fast and feeling all angry...but it's the right thing and now I'm praying for god to do a miracle in my heart as well. I love to bake. Everything about it. Also...good to know you've seen improvement in cystic acne! I have it sometimes in painful places in my neck...thanks for sharing! Looking forward to more.

    J

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  37. Good job! And thanks for sharing what you learned and how your grew. Question: did you substitute the sugar with say.. stevia? Or anything else? I have found that sugar is in practically everything, its hard to get rid of. And I never make it passed the first few hours.

    I look forward to your series!

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    1. i do use stevia in my tea in the morning. it's not the same as sugar but i've come around to it since it takes the bitter edge off plain tea.

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  38. I love this (and need this) so much!! Can't wait to read more! Thank you.

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  39. I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to this series. I've been feeling called to do a fast like this and reading this has made me feel extra motivated! I am definently open to trying!

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  40. Hey, long time listener first time caller! Lol I just wanted to say that I'm super excited about this series. I've been feeling called to do something like this. I'm definently open to trying! Goodbye cake pops *tear*

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  41. I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to this series. I've been feeling called to do a fast like this and reading this has made me feel extra motivated! I am definently open to trying!

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  42. thats an amazing journey you are going on. i dunno if i'd be able to do that. not that i'm all about sweets all the time or anything but i dunno.

    i'm a new follower.

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