Day 31: In the end, and for now

This life we live?  This crazy beautiful, heartbreaking, wondrous life?  It does all have a purpose, despite that feeling of wandering lost in the wilderness at times.  Often, if you’re anything like me.

But one day, one day, it will all make sense.

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. (1 Corinthians 13: 11-12)

Right now, we think and see and live with earthly-based minds, because that’s where we are – in the here and now, down on this earth.  But on that day, that glorious day, when life and love all comes to completion in the heavens , and we come face-to-face with the One who loves us more than we can possibly fathom, everything will fall in to place, and we won’t be left wandering or wondering anymore.

For today, tomorrow, and all the days to come we have to live out here on earth, in amongst the people we love and don’t-love-yet, we have a job to do, a direction to follow that has been given to us so clearly, there cannot be any doubt.

We are to love.

Actively.

Every. Single. Day.

Even when it’s hard.

Even when it’s really hard.

Even when it feels like we need to turn ourselves inside out just to summon up one skerrick of love-as-God-tells-us.

This is who we are created to be, this is how God intended for us to live amongst each other.  And He sent His precious son Jesus to teach us this.  Even though the teaching involved pain beyond anything we can imagine.

This is why love is the biggest, the most, the greatest.

But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love. (1 Corinthian 13: 13, The Message)

Trust steadily.

Hope unswervingly.

Love extravagantly.

Right now, in my tired, worn out state, I can barely even begin to fathom what it takes to love extravagantly – what comes to mind is that it means to love like God.  To love each other like God loves us.

Without fear.

Without anger.

With hope, and patience, and endurance.

Writing about love, real love for 31 days has shown me that there is so much I have to learn, to discover, to embrace, I feel like I’ve only skimmed my fingertips across the surface of the His truth, of what it is He wants us to know and to breathe deep.

Love is the greatest.

Day 30: Love wins. Every time.

Love never dies. Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be cancelled. (1 Corinthians 13:8-10, The Message)

Love never fails.

Not now, not ever.

In the end, when this world as we know it is gone and we are living in the heavenly realms with the One who is love, it is love that will endure, not any spiritual giftings or anything else.

But for now, it is love that keeps going, love that never gives up, never gives in, never fails us.

When we choose to love, we are choosing victory and triumph over despair and hopelessness.  I know this, because I chose love, even when it seemed impossible, and He who is love defined made the way for the impossible to become so very real.

My husband and I are living proof that love never dies, love always wins, despite how things may appear at times.  Love changes, yes, and there are peaks and troughs and ebbs and flows, but it is always living and breathing within us.  And that’s because God is love, and whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them (1 John 4: 16).

I’ll leave you with this song that speaks so beautifully of this truth – love never fails, God never fails, even when we do.

Day 29: Trust and hope and perseverance (Part 2)

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We took our time, getting to know each other again.  And it was easy, no pressure or expectation, it just all flowed naturally.

Conversations when dropping kids off and picking them up, mainly superficial stuff, but we were mainly learning to feel safe with each other again.

Through all this, I saw and started living the trusting part of loving someone in action.  I had learnt so much about love, real love, over the past few years, and what this meant in a marriage.  I was coming to understand more and more that this message from God was less about how I felt, and more about being intentional.  By trusting God that it was His intention for us to rebuild our relationship as parents, and trusting Him that we would be safe in this, I had been given the opportunity to put this into practice.

It was my father in-law who first brought this passage of love, these words of God in 1 Corinthians 13 into focus for me.  I wrote this on my blog at the time (December 2007), and the words still ring true to me nearly 6 years later:

Yesterday I drove to another town to pick up my Nanna for Christmas, and as my mind was wandering, I was thinking about the kid’s aunties and uncles and cousins coming to visit their family for Christmas.  I was thinking about how it’s been a long time since I’ve seen the kid’s aunties (their dad’s sisters), and that I miss them terribly.  There are cousins that would have been my nieces and nephews if their dad and I hadn’t separated, and I’ve not met these kids who are such a part of my kids’ lives.  I cried, remembering how Christmas used to be with my former husband and his 4 siblings and their various partners and children, and grieved again for the life that once was, but is no more.

Today I picked the kids up for our family Christmas with my mum and step-dad, my dad, my Nanna and my sister, and we had a lovely pre-Christmas lunch.  After lunch, I took the kids to their (paternal) grandparents to drop them off, and got chatting to my former in-laws about Christmas and various arrangements.  My former father-in-law disappeared for a minute, and came back with two roses for me.  He told me he knows how much I like them, and that they’re nothing really, to which I responded that they were beautiful and certainly not nothing.  He took my hand and gave me a kiss, and wished me a Merry Christmas.  He then told me he still loves me, and his voice broke as he told me he always has and he retreated hastily into the house.  I struggled not to burst into tears then and there, and exchanged Christmas greetings with my former mother-in-law as I breathed to keep my composure.  Which I quickly lost as I got back into the car to leave.

My father-in-law took our separation quite hard, it was a couple of years before he could really talk to me again, and our relationship has been slowly rebuilding ever since.  This man loved me like his daughter, took great joy in his son’s family and was a big part of my life.  When I left my husband, I didn’t just leave one man, I left his parents and siblings and their families, as well.  And I miss them all.  So. Much.  I still grieve that they’re not part of my family anymore, not a part of the life I dreamed of.  It certainly wasn’t a fairytale family, we all had our ups and downs, but they adopted me as one of their own and I loved them dearly.  I couldn’t wait to be an aunty (we were the first ones to have kids), to see this family grow and love and enjoy each other.

We often forget that divorce doesn’t just affect the husband and wife and kids involved.  There are others, others who love us that we sometimes leave behind.  Sometimes for just a season, sometimes forever.  The journey I’ve been on over the last nearly 4 years is not one I had anticipated would happen in my life, and it’s been an unpredictable ride.  I’ve prayed for restoration of the relationships that were fairly suddenly broken, and God has certainly been doing His work in the kid’s dad and I this year, for which I am so grateful.  I see His hand in the rebuilding of relationships between other family members, and I give thanks that these relationships are so much better for the kids than how it’s been in the past.

Two roses showed me today what love can be.  People who love us can be hurt, wounded and  grieved, but as His word tells us, ‘Love is patient, love is kind…..it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails…’.  This verse was read at our wedding, and I know now I didn’t really understand it then as I do now.  I looked at it with romantic blinkers on, quite unable to grasp the enormity of what this scripture means.  The two roses my former father-in-law gave me today showed me what love is: ‘And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love’.  I believe love can change, the love we feel for people can change with time and circumstance, but God tells us that it remains, it never fails, therefore it never dies.   I know how corny that sounds, but it’s true, and I don’t think I fully understood that until today.

Even with this insight, and with the thought of God’s intention to restore our marriage always at the back of my mind, I still wasn’t convinced that this message from God was real.  I never thought of it as a promise at that stage, simply because it wasn’t what I wanted.  Ultimately, I didn’t trust Him or His words to me.

Then came the turning point, for me.  Nearly 2 years after we has started talking again, I started thinking more and more about being married to my husband again, and started to explore in my heart what that would be like.  Still as an abstract concept, but one I was giving more consideration to nonetheless.  I was finding it surprisingly easy to actively love this man, but in a brotherly, I-want-the-best-for-you sense, not because I felt in love with him.

But I still didn’t want this.  I didn’t want to commit to working on restoring our relationship, our marriage.  I wanted shiny and new, because that would be easier. 

I still didn’t trust God.

Until quite literally one day, I found I had no other choice.

I was in Queensland on a scrapbooking retreat weekend with a group of wonderfully faithful ladies whom I had met via an online scrapbooking forum.  They knew my story, and some of what was going on in my heart.  During the Sunday morning worship, we had opportunity to share and give thanks and basically tell some of our story, if we wanted to.  I didn’t. Not then.

But God had other plans, as He often does.

Sitting in the meeting room of the old restored Queenslander, I couldn’t ignore the thumping of my heart, or the voice that was gently saying to me ‘Tell them.  Ask them to stand with you.  Ask them to trust with you’.  So I did.

I was trembling all over as I stood up and took my turn to speak.  With a halting start, I told my story, our story, and heard the rushing in my head as I came to speak the words I knew I couldn’t hold in any longer.  I told the women that God had ordained to be with me there at that point in time that God wanted me to commit to trusting Him to restore our marriage, to follow His leading, and I didn’t want to.  I didn’t think I could.  It was impossible.

But I knew it wasn’t.

In that moment, as I spoke the words aloud that God had breathed into me more than 2 years earlier, I knew it was possible.  I knew, without doubt, it was the fairytale ending that could come true because it was no fairytale, it was God’s story.

And that’s when I started to trust Him.  I started to trust that what He had spoken to me was a promise that would be fulfilled, and I started to trust that He would change my heart, create anew what it needed to be to love this man as my husband again.

With that trust, as hesitant as it was initially, came hope – hope that began to believe in possibility, and seeing love lived real as it was supposed to be.  Of seeing brokenness mended, and beauty rising from the ashes.

My trust and hope in Christ that this promise would be fulfilled was not unwavering.  It was often dependent on what I was experiencing, what I was seeing, what I was able to control, and as time went on and things didn’t happen according to my timeline, my trust and hope sometimes all but failed.  But never completely.  And that was simply because of that deep-rooted, unshakeable knowledge that if God says He will do something, He will do it.

He doesn’t break promises.

He doesn’t go back on His word.

And He doesn’t give up on us.

Because He loves us.

It took nearly seven years from the time that God first spoke to me about restoring our marriage to my husband asking me if we could start again.  More than four years from the time I stood in front of God, in a room full of His daughters and said ‘I don’t want this, but I will trust You and Your goodness’.

It took believing in what was out of my control, patience, a lot of frustration (on my part), time, heartache, overcoming disbelief and standing in the truth of God’s word to get to where we are today.

In short, it took persevering with hope and trust to see His promise fulfilled, to be now living hope fulfilled.  it took real, active love to live out the story He had written for us.

The story that isn’t finished yet, that is still revealing itself with each new day, each turn of the page.

I can’t wait to find out what happens next.

What’s your story of hope? Are you living hope fulfilled, or still persevering, trusting in Jesus?

To catch up on our story, follow the links below:

Introduction

The story of us (Part 1)

The story of us (Part 2)

The story of us (Part 3)

The story of us (Part 4)

Trust and hope and perseverance (Part 1)

Trust and hope and perseverance (Part 2)

Day 28: Trust and hope and perseverance (Part 1)

Love….

Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end

(1 Corinthians 13:7, The Message)

Do you want to hear a story of trust and hope persevering without doubt, and never giving up?

I wish I could tell you one.  But I can’t, because that hasn’t been my journey.

When God first told me that He would restore my marriage, I didn’t want to hear it.

But as He was patient with me, and let this settle into my heart, I reluctantly began to trust that this was His best for me.

As time went on, and our relationship started to be re-built, I cautiously trusted Him more and more, until eventually, I fully came to believe that this was His plan for us.

And it wasn’t a truth I embraced.  In fact, it was something I resisted for a long time, and when I finally acquiesced and accepted that trusting God’s way, as opposed to mine, would make life a whole lot easier, there was a peace in my heart.

Until I started to live out that trust, and realised that my timing of events and God’s plans didn’t exactly follow the same timeline.  This is when I started to learn what it was to persevere in hope, despite what life looked like in front of me.

Because that’s what real love is.  Trusting God always, placing our hope in Christ and persevering in our faith despite what we see with our eyes.

I’ll tell you my story of this lesson tomorrow.  It’s one I’m still learning.

 

 

Day 27: Stories of love

It’s taken me until the end of the day today to write, because I just can’t get my head around my next post.

Trust and hope.

How do you fit that into one post, without putting the reader to sleep for the sheer length it would require?

So I haven’t even tried.  And then I came across this on (in)courage

 

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Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim his greatness.
    Let the whole world know what he has done.
 Sing to him; yes, sing his praises.
    Tell everyone about his wonderful deeds.

Let the whole earth sing to the Lord!
    Each day proclaim the good news that he saves.
Publish his glorious deeds among the nations.
    Tell everyone about the amazing things he does.

(1 Chronicles 16: 8-9, 23-24, NLT)

Go and tell His stories.  His love stories.

The stories of our lives.

Come back tomorrow, I’ll tell you my story about trust and hope.

Will you tell me yours?

Day 26: Love puts up with anything

(Please let me preface this post by saying when I talk about love putting up with anything, I am absolutely not talking about abuse in relationships, on any level.  Abuse of any kind in a relationship is never ok, and is completely intolerable and not at all a part of the definition of real love in relationships).

‘It always protects’ (1 Corinthians 13:7 – NIV)

We all put up with a lot in our relationships, simply by virtue of the fact that we’re all imperfect people.  In Paul’s first letter to Peter, he implores us to ‘Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins’ (1 Peter 4:8), and The Message bible translates this as ‘Most of all, love each other as if your life depended on it. Love makes up for practically anything’.

That’s a pretty challenging statement – love makes up for practically anything.

Anything.

Annoying habits.

Differences of opinions.

Doing things differently to how we do them.

Judgement.

Hurtful actions.

The hard stuff of love.

Matthew Henry asks ‘What cannot a lover endure for the beloved and for his sake!‘ , and from my experience, you don’t know the answer to that question until you’re in the thick of it.  And I’ve found that actually, when we love someone, we can put up with a whole lot more than we thought possible.  Not only that, we don’t highlight or publicise their faults, simply because we love them.

It’s not always easy – in fact, it’s often plain, downright hard and uncomfortable and irritating and sometimes painful.

But it’s what we do.

Because at the end of the day, as I said before, we’re all imperfect, and if we’re putting up with someone else’s shortcomings, they’re putting up with ours. 

That’s what love is.  Give and take.  Push/pull.  Imbalance.  Ebb and flow.  Lots of deep breathing.

When we love each other like this, we are saying ‘yes, you annoy me, no, I don’t like your behaviour and yes I’m hurt – but because I’m committed to this, because I’m choosing love, I’ll deal with it and won’t make it into a bigger deal than it is.  Let’s move on’.

Or something like that.

I know I’m probably not the only one thinking ‘I wish that was as easy as it sounds’.  I can only speak from experience, in that I’ve found it’s one of those things that gets easier with practice!!  And lots of deep breathing.  And counting to 5.  Or 10.

And talking.  Lots of talking.  People don’t know how they affect us if we don’t tell them, and in the long run, it’s a lot more effective to talk to someone about what we find annoying/irritating/hurtful about their behaviour than to just avoid a potentially difficult conversation.  Of course, that doesn’t mean people are always willing to change their behaviour or actions, and we are the only ones who can choose how we respond.

But honestly?  Just talk.  And listen.  And be willing to compromise.

How do you manage the imbalances in your relationships? 

 

Day 25: Love finds goodness.

‘Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth’ (1 Corinthians 13:6 – NIV)

I have to admit, I struggled with this verse when I was fleshing it out, trying to put into words what it means.  All I could think was that true love looks past the faults of the people we love, and looks for the goodness in them.

It’s taken me this long to think of It (duh), but I remembered that there have been great scholars who have delved deep, deep, deep into God’s words to help us understand them.  Matthew Henry has this to say about the verse:

The matter of its joy and pleasure is here suggested: 1. Negatively: It rejoiceth not in iniquity. It takes no pleasure in doing injury or hurt to any. It thinks not evil of any, without very clear proof. It wishes ill to none, much less will it hurt or wrong any, and least of all make this matter of its delight, rejoice in doing harm and mischief. Nor will it rejoice at the faults and failings of others, and triumph over them, either out of pride or ill-will, because it will set off its own excellences or gratify its spite. The sins of others are rather the grief of a charitable spirit than its sport or delight; they will touch it to the quick, and stir all its compassion, but give it no entertainment. It is the very height of malice to take pleasure in the misery of a fellow-creature. And is not falling into sin the greatest calamity that can befal one? How inconsistent is it with Christian charity, to rejoice at such fall!

2. Affirmatively: It rejoiceth in the truth, is glad of the success of the gospel, commonly called the truth, by way of emphasis, in the New Testament; and rejoices to see men moulded into an evangelical temper by it, and made good. It takes no pleasure in their sins, but is highly delighted to see them do well, to approve themselves men of probity and integrity. It gives it much satisfaction to see truth and justice prevail among men, innocency cleared, and mutual faith and trust established, and to see piety and true religion flourish.

Turns out I wasn’t too far off the mark in my understanding.

Look past the faults of those we love.

Don’t revel in their failings.

Delight in their strengths and goodness.

Love truth and justice.

Find the goodness and ignore everything else.

 

Day 24: Love doesn’t keep score

Forgiveness

via pinterest

We’re at the end of 1 Corinthians 13:5 – “Love……..it keeps no records of wrongs’ (NIV).

‘Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others’ (Msg)

Holding a grudge.

Tit for tat.

One-upmanship.

In short, unforgiveness.

This is what love doesn’t do.

It is very easy to hold a grudge against someone, to not forget when they hurt us, or do the wrong thing by us.  We are wronged by people every single day.  Usually by more than one person.  If you think about it, that’s a lot to hold on to.  And keep track of.  And think about what they should do to make it up to us.

Love doesn’t do that.

Love doesn’t hold a grudge.

Love doesn’t keep record of how people hurt us.

Love forgives.

Plain and simple.

I love this. I have forgiven those who did me wrong and have chosen to not have a hateful attitude to them. I pray for them daily and hope one day maybe we can be friends again

via pinterest

I can’t cover forgiveness in one topic, but the best explanation I’ve heard of forgiveness isn’t saying to someone ‘it’s ok’ or ‘it doesn’t matter’, it’s saying ‘you don’t owe me anything anymore’.  It’s saying to the other person ‘yes, you hurt me, but you don’t need to make up for it, I release you of any obligation’.  It’s not just forgetting what happened, and it doesn’t mean that work doesn’t have to be done to repair the damage in a relationship, but it’s letting go of a continual expectation on someone that they have to ‘pay’ for what they’ve done.

Forgiveness

via pinterest

And if you’re keeping score, holding things against people for how they’ve hurt you, and expecting them to ‘pay’ for it, you can guarantee that there are a whole lot of people out there thinking the same of you.  How much easier would it be to just let it all go?  To just drop what we’re carrying, because really, carrying stuff around is really hard work – emotionally as well as physically.  I once heard Dr Phil say that carrying emotional baggage is like having a pair of suitcases that you carry around with you all the time, constantly following you from place to place and they get really heavy.

Forgiveness

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How much easier would it be to put the suitcases of unforgiveness down and just walk away?

In the Lords’ prayer Jesus says we are to ask God to ‘forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us’.

Forgiveness is a directive from God.

Forgiveness is one of the foundations of our faith.

We are created in the image of God, and we are to live like Jesus.  The cornerstone of our salvation is that Christ forgives us for our sins, so if we are created to be like Him, that means we have to forgive those who sin against us, who wrong us, who hurt us.

Forgiveness

  via pinterest

This life of real love is not an easy one, and unforgiveness is one of the main barriers we come up against in our relationships.

Forgive someone, and the walls come down.

Put your pride aside, turn away from your self-righteousness and sense of entitlement, and just let go.

It’s what God does for us (without the pride and self-righteousness).  He just lets go of everything we do that hurts him, and because of that, we know true love.

Day 23: Love….is not easily angered

Anger...

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I found a variety of translations for this part of the verse (we’re still in 1 Corinthians 13:5):

is not easily angered (NIV)

is not easily provoked (KJV)

doesn’t fly off the handle (Msg)

Anger – ‘a strong feeling of displeasure and usually of antagonism’ (Merriam-Webster)

I would like to say that’s me, that I’m slow to anger and always able to keep my emotions in check.

Um, not so much.

I’m not an angry person, I can say that much.  But there’s a lot of ‘displeasure and antagonism’ that goes on in my head that takes a lot of effort to not let It out of my mouth, and at the end of the day, it still has a similar effect.  because anger affects us and hurts us more than the person it’s directed at.

Yes, we can say ‘they made me angry’, but really, no-one can make us feel or do anything.  How we respond to anything is entirely up to us, and we have to live with our responses.

When we act in anger toward someone else – in any degree – it causes them pain.  It is easy to give into feeling angry and responding in a way that blames someone else.  It is more difficult to look at why we’re feeling the way we do, and tempering our emotions and responses in a manner that won’t hurt someone else.

Anger results from something that happens that actually causes us to feel emotions that we’re not comfortable with – pain, fear, confusion, loneliness, shame, sadness.  Rather than look closer at what we’re really feeling, and why we’re feeling that way,  we respond in anger and end up hurting someone else in the process.  You could say getting angry is an avoidance process – blame someone or something else rather than look at ourselves.

Being angry with people is never helpful.  Being angry ranges from that feeling of frustration (displeasure) over the dishes not being done and grumbling about it, to the extreme of becoming physically and verbally violent and causing great damage.  In both scenarios, we have to live with what we’re thinking and feeling, and we’re the ones who have to live with the discomfort that anger brings.

For me, there’s a lot that goes on in my head that I don’t verbally or physically express when I get angry, but I still have to deal with those feelings regardless.  When I yell at my kids, it’s about me, not them, and whilst I might feel better for about 30 seconds, I feel worse for a lot longer because I know I haven’t acted in love.  When I sit and stew over someone I have to deal with who’s particularly frustrating, I’m the one who had to deal with how I’m feeling, and they never even know what’s gone through my head.  When I don’t keep myself in check and I speak before I think in the heat of the moment, I have to live with not only what I’m feeling that caused me to speak words that wound, but I then have to live with knowing that I hurt someone.

I have found that breathing and counting is a wonderful tool for dealing with anger, as simple as it sounds.  Count to 5 and breathe deep before responding.  This small pause in time prevents pain and wounding, for both myself and the people I love.

(Just after I published this post, I read this post over at (in)courage from the beautiful Ann Voskamp .  Go read it.  Now. Please.  I’m still letting her words sink deep.)

What are your ‘hot spots’ when it comes to anger?  How do you deal with it?

Whole 30: Madness or marvellous? Discuss.

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So, tell me, have you heard of this program?

If you have, put your hand up if you thought it looked totally crazy (my hand’s up).

Keep your hand up if you thought it looked totally crazy, but immediately knew it was something that would do you the world of good (hand’s still up).

Keep your hand up still if you thought you should do it, but immediately dismissed the idea because you knew it would be really hard (yep, still up).

Still keep it up if you dismissed the idea, but kept coming back to it, despite knowing how hard it would be (I’m still here!)

I know your arm’s probably aching by now, but keep it up if despite knowing how hard it would be, you reach a point where you feel so rotten, you know you have to do something, and Whole 30 starts to seem like a good idea.

That would be me last week.

I had allowed myself to fall back into terrible eating habits over the last few weeks, and reached a point where I had a nearly constant low-grade headache, I felt like I was moving through cement, and my head felt like it was filled with cotton wool.  This is pretty much what my brain looked like:

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I have had about zero mental clarity, and I’ve really noticed that my cognitive functioning has been affected.  Whilst I’m sleeping better than I have in a long while (I’m down to waking up maybe only a couple of times in the night, rather than 6), I am constantly tired and feeling like I need a nap.  I have no motivation, and whilst I’m supposed to be training for a 6.4km local fun run in December, I’m struggling to get moving.

On top of all that, my joints have been aching, which for me is bad news.  Nearly 4 years ago I was diagnosed with Psoriatic Arthritis (related to Rheumatoid Arthritis), and it took until earlier last year to get under control with the correct medications, after a flare up of the disease that left me barely able to walk and took a few months to settle.  During this time, I saw a naturopath, who diagnosed me with wheat intolerance (not gluten or yeast, just wheat), and after cutting out wheat from my diet, I felt so much better.

You would think it would be a no-brainer to never go back to eating anything wheat-related, wouldn’t you.  And eating a completely ‘clean’ diet, because of the auto-immune disease I have.  It may be a no-brainer, but I’ve really learnt just how powerful a hold food can have over you if you let it.

And I do.

Five years ago I had an accident at work and was left with a permanent lower back injury, and during the recovery time, I became a comfort eater.  I had previously responded to stress by not eating, but dealing with pain was a new thing for me, and food seemed to provide some comfort.

I’m sure you can see where this is going.

Fortunately my I learnt to manage and live with the ongoing pain that resulted from my injury, but I’d formed the comfort-eating pattern very well.  So when I started to develop the symptoms of the arthritis, and ended up in a lot of pain again, food became my go-to comfort source.

Yep.

Genius move.

When I finally got the right medication and changed my diet last year, and became well and virtually pain free again for the first time in years, I vowed and declared I wouldn’t go back to harmful eating behaviours, as I knew how much better it was to eat clean and avoid the junk.

Except I haven’t.  Because I’m human.  And somewhat addicted to food.

Ok, cut the somewhat.  I’m addicted to food.  This has taken me until only recently to admit to myself, let alone actually verbalise it.

So something has to change.  Actually, a lot has to change, and the Whole 30 program seems to be the ideal start.

I started yesterday (which puts me on Day 2 today), and for the very short version, this means that for 30 days I will not be eating:

Sugar

Dairy

Grains

Any processed food, preservatives, additives etc

Alchohol

White potatoes

Basically, all the foods I love.  And are really bad for me.

My diet will be made up of meat, seafood, eggs, lots of veggies, less fruit, nuts and seeds and ‘good’ fats.  I know this will be so good for me, but I’m already in mourning for what I’m giving up.  And feel like I’m missing out on.  At least I don’t have to give up coffee, and am quickly getting used to the no-dairy version.

I’m under no illusion that this will be a walk in the park, and am relying on the wealth of information, recipes and encouragement available all over the internet.  And it’s only 30 days.

Someone please remind me of that when I’m willing to spare my life for a piece of chocolate.

So tell me, what do you think?  A brilliant idea?  Or complete madness?  Could you do it? have you done it?