My name is Autumn Buzzell and I live and work in Ghana, West Africa with City of Refuge Ministries. Here, I run our school, Faith Roots International Academy, and get to be a part in rescuing and the healing of children who have been trafficked into the fishing trade, orphaned, abandoned, and those who just need a little extra loving. What an amazing gift this life is!

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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Made to Crave, Post #6

Last week, I read a chapter from the book called "But Exercise Makes Me Want To Cry"...and I almost cried at the title!

It's almost like I've been dreading this chapter coming.

I've been through seasons where I have been motivated to exercise, I'll lose weight, feel great...and then something else sets in and it's the same cycle again...weight gain, frustration, and the motivation is absolutely gone.

It would help if I found some exercise that I absolutely LOVED to do...but there is not a single exercise that I can say that I enjoy.

And then again, many people would probably say the same thing, yet they buckle down and do it.

So here it is, in Lysa's words (italics mine):

"If I was honest with myself, my issue was plain and simple--a lack of self-control.  I could sugar-coat it and justify it all day long, but the truth was I didn't have a weight problem; I had a spiritual problem.  I depended on food for comfort more than I depended on God.  And I was simply too lazy to make time to exercise."

It's painfully true.

And I mean painful.  It makes me want to cry.  And the tears come not because I want to depend on God more, but because I have to let go of my old friend, my old habits, and I'm just not sure how to do that and feel comfortable.  THIS feels comfortable.  Dependence on God...full dependence...well, that's scary.

Psalm 86:11-12 says, "Teach me your way, O LORD, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.  I will praise you, O LORD my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever."

She writes, "An undivided heart.  That's what my whole journey in conquering my cravings was about.  When it comes to my body, I can't live with divided loyalties.  I can either be loyal to honoring the Lord with my body or loyal to my cravings, desires, and many excuses for not exercising."

I think I'm beginning to see more and more how much these things are damaging my relationship with God. 

I long for intimacy with God.  I long for that time when I can sit at my Father's feet and worship.  Yet, this thing IS an act of disobedience.  How can I enter the courts when I daily choose other things over God? 

I can say it was a difficult choice to move to Ghana.  I can say it was difficult to sacrifice my life to teach and lead here.  And yet, the harder choice, it seems, is to live my daily life by honoring the King.

I know that God is fully honored by my obedience.  Yet, I forget to walk in it.

Stress comes in.  Time plays a role.  Chocolate...yep, that's part of it.  But, really, this is an issue of the heart.  I can't live with a divided heart...choosing to serve God with my life, but not serving him with my body.  It doesn't make sense. 

And yet, the internal battle to sacrifice this, to lay this down, to be motivated to change...it's warring inside of me even as I type this post.

Years back, when I was a summer intern at Peninsula Covenant Church in the Bay area, Tony (the young adults pastor) taught us an illustration he referred to as "The Triangle".  An upside down triangle was handed to each of us and we were told to think of as many sinful behaviors as we could think of at the bottom, the point of the triangle.  We listed all the normal "sinful behaviors" that we could think of...you know, those really "bad" sins.  (I'm pretty sure I didn't write "overeating and underexercising as a sinful behavior!)  Then, Tony talked to us about how we often deal with changing behaviors when we talk about our walk with the Lord.

God, help me change this behavior.

I need accountability so I can change this behavior.

But, the behavior never changes, or if it does, it often morphes into something else.  The behavior is always a sign of a deeper issue.

At the top of the triangle, we wrote in "God's Love". 

Until we fully understand God's love for us, his children...his individual...never-ending...powerful and mighty love...our behaviors will remain the same.  But out of his love for us, we walk into the truth of who the Son of God is, the sacrifice He made for us helps us to walk out our lives in and new identity, obedient to what we are called to, which changes our character, and then our behavior.

So, when I see an issue of disobedience in my life, I can't force myself to change that behavior.  I have to go back to the root.

I have to ask myself, What don't I understand about God's love?"...and He meets me where I am and changes me.

In so many ways, I feel like I walk in the freedom of God's love concerning who I am, my identity in Christ, my understanding of his expanding love for me...

I mean, I have moved to Ghana as a full-time missionary.  I share with teachers and children, everyday, the love of the Father.

Yet, it is physically apparent that I don't fully walk in that.

I need to be reminded of who I am in Christ.  I need to be reminded that I am loved by the God of the Universe.  I need to see his love as a change agent in my life and let THAT lead my heart...not my desire to forcefully change my motivations.

Oh, Father, change my heart.  Reveal to me more of your love.  I long for change, but I know that only comes from you.  Give me an undivided heart for YOU ALONE.


  1. Undivided heart~ It is something I struggle with daily! Thank you for the encouragement sister. I need to go back to the root and see Gods love. Your post really helped with my perspective on something that God wants me to change. Thank you! <3

    1. So great to be encouraged by your replys. You are a blessing Stephi"

  2. Dearest Friend, I had a few minutes and caught up on reading your blog. WOW! Autumn! You blow me away with your desire for Jesus and your honesty in walking throughout the tough places of obedience. You spur me on in my own battles! Thank you! Autumn, I admire you so much for your relentless pursuit of your Saviour. I am so thankful for you! Honestly, I think one of the best forms of exercise to be found here in Ghana would be hawking...so let's make a date! Whoot whoot! You can wear your dress and run hard after the trotros!!

    1. Robin Robin...you are too funny!! I will not be racing afyer any trotros, but thank you for your encouragement. You are such a blessing to me!