Imma Pray for You

I had to pray for someone yesterday, someone that is not a very nice person.  Someone who created a current, horrific situation affecting people that I love.  And this same person has created horrific situations for other people that I love in the past.  This person is selfish, and mean. Long story short, unless this person has a profound change within their soul, she is going to hell.

And I HAD to pray for her yesterday.  Not because she asked me to pray for her.  But because I felt in my heart that she needs a profound change in her life, and we needed a miracle.  

I have no idea what has happened in her life for her to be such a mean and hateful person.  I know her parents. I know the area she grew up in. I know a great deal of her family. And nothing explains why she is the way she is…except Satan has got a hold of her.  

Satan…man…that guy is just bad news.   And when he gets his hooks into someone, really digs in deep, bad things will happen.

I have known for a long time, and personally experienced, Satan tries to throw things my way because I’m a Jesus girl.  Satan doesn’t like it when Jesus girls continue turning to God, no matter what hardships or war Satan tries to throw our way.  So sometimes the more we turn to God during a temper tantrum from the evil one, the worse the temper tantrum becomes.

And that’s exactly what happened.  Satan has tried throwing a temper tantrum, in human form.  And havoc ensued.

So how is it possible that I can pray for such a hateful person?  Well, the Bible told me to do it.

I look to these 2 verses for direction in how to pray for people you just don’t get along with.

“You have heard that it was said ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’  But I tell you love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.  He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”
Matthew 5:43-45

“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people-”
1 Timothy 2:1

Paul isn’t telling us to just pray for our friends, and people that we love.  People that we get along with, and the ones that are nice to us. No, no, no.  Paul is telling us to pray for ALL people.  

So while I fully understand that when you pray for people who just haven’t been very nice to you, you may start off doing so through gritted teeth and a locked jaw.  I get it. Been there, done that, gotten the souvenir t-shirt.

I feel you.  

When Satan starts using people to attack you, persecute you, do evil and vile things, his goal is not to get you to pray more.  His goal is not to get you to turn your back on the evil, and pray. Pray for the person that Satan is attacking. Pray for the situation.  Turn everything over to God, and let Him be the one in charge. His goal is to win! He wants you to crumple. He wants you to turn your back on God and think that He has left you to suffer this tragedy all on your own!

I urge you…don’t bow down to Satan and the things that he wants to happen.  

But rather…what an awesome way to thumb your nose at Satan!?!  Tell him that you aren’t going to cave to the pressures he is putting you under.

Turn everything over to God, including the person Satan is using to attack you.

Not today, Satan.  NOT TODAY!!

Be Gone, Evil Thing!!

Disclaimer: I am not now, nor have I ever been, a practicing Catholic.  I was raised in a small town, with a large Catholic population. And I have been to a couple of Catholic weddings in my life.  That is the extent of my relationship to the Catholic Church.

Banish: to compel to depart; send, drive, or put away.

Have you ever stopped, and realized that God has been working in your life, and answering your prayers, and you didn’t even realize it?

That happened to me.  This morning.

There are a lot of different pieces involved in this realization happening.  So I am going to attempt to be concise with the summary.  Yes, I said attempt.

I have always struggled with my weight.  I grew up the fat kid. And I was miserable.  And then I ended up the obese woman (weighing in at nearly 300 pounds).  And was even more miserable. And over the years, I ran the gamut of every single eating disorder possible.  

Every.  Single. One.

And (yikes) 13 years ago, I decided to do something about it.  I joined Weight Watchers, and lost a bunch of weight. And then I started running.  And then I turned into a marathon runner. All good things.

But over the years, no matter what, I have been obsessed with my weight.  I will say that when I was training for marathons, the number mattered a little less, because you know what, I could run 26.2 miles.  

But the number still mattered.

And a little over a year ago, I was uncomfortable.  I had been through a tough year, and I had gained weight.  Granted, I hadn’t crested 200 pounds, but I was getting close.  So I once again joined Weight Watchers, and I lost some weight.

I’m not getting paid to say this.  I think Weight Watchers is amazing.  Going to the meetings, which do, in fact, feel like an AA meeting, only for food, are wonderful.  The community is so supportive. It’s fantastic. Even though I’m not currently a member, I still think it’s amazing.  

Anyway…moving on.

A few months ago, I got sick.  In the grand scheme of things, what ended up being the cause of my illness isn’t horrific.  There are many, many, MANY things worse than what I went through. What I’m still recovering from.  The point is, I was sick. And I felt like a zombie ALL THE TIME.  And what happens when you’re sick, and you feel like a zombie? You often lose weight.

I lost weight.  

I wasn’t sad about it.  Because, I’m obsessed with the number on the scale.  

A month ago, I finally got a diagnosis.  And I got medicine. And a couple of weeks ago, I woke up one morning, and I DIDN’T feel like a zombie.  

One, unfortunate, side effect of the medicine is it can affect your stomach, mildly.  But honestly, I don’t care.

EXCEPT…it made the number on the scale go up.

For several days, I struggled.  Because there is a balance. I feel like a normal human being, but the number on the scale is going up.  And, being my own worst critic, I felt my self-worth being lowered, and lowered, and lowered. Because of the number on the scale.

So, I banished my scale.

Me.  The girl who has weighed herself every morning for years.  

I banished my scale.

Because, at the same time, other things were going on in my life.  

I made the conscious decision to make a greater effort to actually spend dedicated time reading my Bible.  And at the same time, I have been praying for God’s guidance on what I should do with my life. And let’s be real honest, I prayed for God to help me get my eating under control.  

You know, one of those prayers where I focus more on what I want than what God really wants me to do.

Guilty.  As. Charged.

One of the other things that I have consciously been praying for on Sunday morning’s before I go to church, is that God helps me hear the message He wants me to hear that day.  And since I started praying for that on Sunday morning’s my listening skills have improved during the sermon at church.

I’m going to say that 99.99% of the time, that the message I take away from the sermon isn’t what the pastor intends for the purpose of that sermon to be.

But it is ALWAYS the message that I need to hear.

That happened yesterday.

The sermon series that we are currently in is focusing on 1 Timothy.  Yesterday specifically talked about the end of Chapter 3, and Chapter 4.  One verse stood out to me. It also helped that the pastor made a joke about this particular verse.

“Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly.  For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.”  1 Timothy 4:7-8

Train yourself to be godly.

Physical training is of some value.

Godliness has value for all things.

Ok, so the joke the pastor made yesterday was about how since it’s RIGHT THERE IN THE BIBLE, that physical training isn’t everything…go ahead and eat the donut.

Except, I personally think donuts are disgusting.  And if (when) I fall to the sin of gluttony, it’s not going to be a donut.  Mexican food. Brownies. Yes. Donuts, no.

Oh, I forgot to mention…even though I banished my scale, I did weigh myself yesterday morning.  I nearly cried when I saw the number. But I weighed myself.

I haven’t even gained all of the weight back that I lost being sick.  And I almost cried. Because I gained weight.

Because I tied my self worth to a number on the scale.

So during the sermon yesterday, seeing the words Paul wrote in 1 Timothy about the qualities of what a leader should have, I made a decision.

The fact that we are currently less than a week into Lent is purely coincidental.  But having several Catholics in my circle of people, it has been a topic of discussion lately.  In addition, my BFF, also a non-Catholic, has decided over the past few years, to participate in giving something up for Lent, more as a test of her willpower.

So that got me thinking.  Which, obviously, can be dangerous at times.

I have never participated in Lent, or giving something up during Lent.  

And my own personal religion focuses more on your relationship with God rather than rituals just for the sake of rituals.

But I understand the concept of Lent, and believe that when done appropriately, it’s a cool thing.

So, the concept here is that you give something up to replicate the suffering that Jesus went through for 40 days in the desert.  

But what if we looked at it this way…

Giving something up for God.

So that’s what I’m doing.  I’m semi-permanently banishing my scale.  I’m going to focus more on my relationship with God than I do my relationship with my scale.  Because God is the one that provides me with the self-worth and self-confidence. A number on the scale, that’s not telling you (or me) all of the wonderful things that God has gifted me with.

I spent some time yesterday trying to lay out the “rules” during this scale banishment.  Do I just focus on eating healthy food and exercising? Do I still count calories? Do I just forget about weighing myself, and let the chips fall where they may?

Well, knowing myself like I do, I knew a few guidelines still needed to apply.  Because if I go out there unrestricted, I’m going to forget about any of the physical training.  It’s going to be chips and salsa all day. Only to be interrupted by brownies and cookies.

That isn’t going to accomplish the goal.

Over the past 24 hours, I have refined some of the guidelines that I am going into this with.  I am still going to allow myself to track calories. But only as a way to keep myself in check so I don’t go all full gluttony.  But I’m also not going to beat myself up for indulging in some Mexican food.  But I’m not going to weigh myself. I’m sure over the next few weeks, some of those guidelines may (will) change. But I’m flexible like that.  And right now, I’m thinking if I can hold off until Easter (I mean, it is that time of year), I will allow myself to weigh in again. But my hope is that by then, I won’t care enough to do it.

A very sad thought went through my brain yesterday on my way to church.  I was horrified at the thought of what would happen if someone invited me to go to lunch after church?  And of course, that was going to blow my getting back on track. And then I was going to get down on myself because I blew my calorie budget for the day.  Do you have any idea how far I would have to walk to work off all of that food? And I’m NEVER going to lose weight if that happens!!

Did you just read that?  How depressing is that? I was putting myself down, over going out to eat.  After church. With friends.

So I made a command decision to knock that off.  

Yes, I want to put healthy things in my body.  But I NEED to do healthy things for my soul.

You know how sometimes God just puts words in front of you sometimes, and you read through it.  And then you read it again. And it just hits you so deep in your soul that you know the only way those particular words could have been put in front of you at that exact moment was God.  It’s a God thing.  That happened this morning. Do you know Lysa TerKeurst? Have you read the things she writes? I haven’t met her. But her honesty, and willingness to share about her own messy life, and remaining one of God’s girls just hits my soul on a regular basis.  This morning, I read a prayer she wrote.

“Dear Lord, help me to see myself the way You see me.  Remove the lies that defeat me more often than I want to acknowledge.  You have set me free. Help me live like I truly believe that. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”

Lysa, thank you for writing the thing that I needed to read today.  

Because God created me.  God created me exactly how I am.  And God loves me. For exactly who I am.  

Not one person, not one single person, doesn’t need to hear that.  Understand it.

God.  Loves.  Me.

And that’s the most important thing.