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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Monday, December 3, 2012

Made to Crave, Post #7

Sometimes, I feel like I come to each chapter just when I am dealing with the same struggle.  Does this book have to follow my journey so painfully close?  And that's what it often feels like, opening up these pages...painful.

The chapter was about the temptation of foods we love so much...the ones that call out to us who struggle with food addictions and bring us in with promises of satisfaction.  The temptation of chocolate.  The temptation of all things smothered in cheese.  The temptation of...well...anything besides rice and stew...

And, of course, this had to come up before I headed back to the States.  A year away from my usual cousine-faves, like all things Mexican food (chips and salsa should be one of the food groups, right?), steak and potatoes, In and Out burger, cheese, cheese, milk, and cheese, and finally any sweet thing that might even look semi-delectable.  And it comes to this chapter.  This chapter that talks about temptation.  The artistic way of dodging the diet with the one comment that clears it all away..."That's not fair". 

I often think to myself...I live in Ghana and never get to taste these things.  It's just not fair to deprive myself of them when I'm in the States.

And yet, I'm convicted.

You see, a couple weeks ago, I talked about the struggle and the battle that goes on (and continues to war) within me about exercising.

And yet, I knew it was time.  And so, Kathy, Holly, Emily, Stacy and I started working out.  The plan was 5 days a week.  That probably hasn't happened yet, but 3 days a week is definitely more than I was doing before (which was absolutely none at all).  We're working out.  We're sweating.  We're trying.

And so, the next step, obviously, is the food.

But, the battle wars on in my spirit.  This fight between my longings for food and the reality that my body does not need it.  I know that when I take this on, things will have to change.

Lysa says, "Temptation doesn't take kindly to being starved.  I don't know what tempts you today.  But I do know this vicious cycle and I'm here to give you hope that it is possible to conquer it."

Hmmm...Temptation doesn't take kindly to being starved.  It thrives on the battle of the mind...the battle of the stomach...
And I know that so well, so everything within me wants to rail against that last statement.  My battle with my weight has been something I have faced since I was eight years old.  It feels IMPOSSIBLE to conquer.

But, I also know the truth...where God calls me MORE THAN A CONQUERER. 

She says about her own struggle with choosing to not eat sugar and the lies that came, "But in that moment of temptation, I realized having a pity party was a clue I was relying on my own strength, a strength that has failed me before and would fail me again.  I had to grab hold of God's strength and the only way to do that ws in invite His power into this situation....I mentally recited my go-to script: 'I am made for more. I am made for victory.'"

And I know that.  I know I'm made for more.  I know...when my knees are aching after running down a dusty African road...I've got to be made for more than this.  When I hide my food and eat, feeling instantly guilty of the choice that I've made, I know that I've got to be made for more than this.

"They may know they are made for more, but somehow Satan dissipates this truth with the rationalization: 'Special times deserve special exceptions and anything else just isn't fair.'"

And my rationalization regarding these special time has EVERYTHING to do with living and working and eating in Ghana.  So, when a visitor brings me an extra large bag of dark chocolate peanut m&m's, I'm going to eat them, because it's just not fair that I can't have them all the time because I live and work in a foreign country where this stuff is just not available.

And my rationalization coming home is usually much the same.  Eat as much of everything.  Indulge, indulge, indulge...because this is the last time you're going to get it for AT LEAST a year...maybe more.

Because it just isn't fair otherwise.

But, is it really fair what I have done to my body.  My knees will surely tell you no!  My figure will surely tell you no!

I hide behind a job "well-done" knowing that people will maybe see "me" there, as they surely won't see "me" inside this body.  I've done a pretty good job of hiding myself away.

I've allowed my weaknesses...my rationalizations...to guide my life in this area for pretty much my entire life.

"But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.'  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.  For when I am weak, then I am strong." (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)

And that is why I post these inner most thoughts here...I want to boast about my weaknesses because I want...oh, so desperately...for Christ's power to rest on me.  I want his strength to pour into my weary spirit and change my life.  I am so weak...and I need his strength.

"Weakness is hard, but weakness doesn't have to mean defeat.  It is my opportunity to experience God's power firsthand."

And that is what I want.  I want my life to be a testimony to God's power working in me.  Oh, I long for that.  I long for that more than I long for chocolate.  And that, I hope, is where the change is going to come.

"What if this battle with food isn't the curse we've always thought it to be?  What if it's actually the very thing, if brought under control, that can lead us to a better understanding of God?  What if we could actually get to the place where we thanked God for letting us face this battle because of the rich treasures we discovered on the battlefield?"

I want to be in that place.  I am SO NOT THERE YET.

"Life as a Christ follower will always be a learning process of depending less on our own strength and more on God's power.  The Bible teaches that this 'testing of our faith deelops perseverance which must finish its work so that we may be mature and complete, not lacking anything' (James 1:3-4)....This truth should be the cry of our souls instead of Satan's lie that 'it's not fair'.  Our taste buds make such empty claims to satisfy us, but only persevering with God will make us truly full, complete, not lacking anything."

Seems to be the mantra that God is teaching me these days. 

Less of me.  More of Him. 

I long to be mature in faith, not lacking anything, and in that fullness, experience the freedom in Christ regarding my issues with food.

I would say that my challenge is in going home and trying to maintain this perspective, but I know that the perspective doesn't change here either.  It is difficult for me to say no to so much here on a regular basis.

And so it begins.  Saying no to things that I know will draw me in to the places I just can't allow myself to go anymore (with God's help), because I am made for more than this.

That part of my life has got to change.  And it's going to start now.  One step at a time.  Trusting that God will provide the strength when the rationalizations start popping up...and the cravings...and the lies...

I am made for more.  I am made for victory.

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