Sunday, June 12, 2011

I Have to Not Just Want to Be Free, I Have to Be WILLING to Be Free

Wanting and willing are two different things.  Wanting is stomping up and down, demanding, insisting.  Wanting is pouting, whining, wallowing in self-will and self-pity.  I can want to be free, but still not be willing to do anything to cooperate with my want.  In other words, I can pray and I can plead and I can beg and express my want and my frustration forever and only make myself more resentful and bitter that God won’t give me what I want.

In contrast, being willing is saying, okay, I’m ready to cooperate.  I’m willing to go along with the truth I have to accept and allow into my life.  I’m willing to humble myself and to seek the guidance and the grace I need from the only Source that is always with me, always only a thought away.  In other words, I have to be willing to turn to God, as I best understand God, as often as I need to during my hours and my days.  Really, even in my hours, if that’s what it takes.  I have to be willing to cry out to Him in my heart as often as the lying, deceiving, self-defeating and self-destructive thoughts start badgering me again.

©2010 Colleen C. Harrison

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Surrendering to the Truth that Opens the Door to My Freedom

Well, first I have to remember that my unhealthy eating is an addiction and not just a bad habit that I can get under control.  You can tell when you’re bad habit has morphed into an addiction when you try and try and try (for weeks, months and even years if you’re as stubborn and proud as I am) to control it and you can’t for more than a few hours or days at a time.  Sooner or later it comes back in one of either two ways: ever so sneaky and stealthy, one little excuse at a time, or with a bludgeoning vengeance.

So, I have to remember that in my case my unhealthy eating behaviors are not the sign I have a bad habit.  I have an addiction, or in other words a destructive and even potentially deadly dependency that no amount of good intentions, pledges or plans, or personal resolve will control.

Once I have surrendered to that truth–bitter as it may sound and feel–and have allowed it to be established in my mind and heart, then I’m ready to do what has to be done to put my unhealthy eating into remission, one day at a time, for as long as I’m willing to be free of it.

©2010 Colleen C. Harrison

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Trust Me! I'll Catch You!

    I went in the kitchen like throwing myself off a cliff without a parachute.
    I went in the kitchen like the little girl trusting her father’s invitation to jump down into the black hole of the deep well where he was working.  “Jump!” He called to her.  “I’ll catch you.”
    I went into the kitchen taking no thought beforehand what I should eat.  I prepared myself in no way to confront food or control myself around it.
    15 minutes later, I find myself being invited by the Lord to do the only thing He wants me to do: “Record the miracle.  Tell the story to anyone who will listen.  Invite anyone who is ready to ‘let go absolutely.’”
    So here’s the miracle for this morning: Weighed and measured . . . 2/3 cup cottage cheese, 2/3 cup peaches without sugar; 10 raw almonds.

1 JOHN 4;16-18 --
16  And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us.  God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.
17  Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.
18  There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment.  He that feareth is not made perfect in love.
©2010 Colleen C. Harrison

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Six Days Out

 I'm six days out from my surrendering (yet again) to the fact that my body doesn't metabolize carbs like an average person.  That doesn't mean that I can't eat any carbs.  It just means I can't eat any carbs that are "refined" (i.e. have no fiber/roughage connected).  In other words, 90% of the carbs I eat need to have either fiber or fat connected.

I know, I know.  It sounds totally like anarchy or blasphemy from all the scientific studies and theories to say that fat is a bonus to me, but I can't help it.  I've tried for 30 years to make fats the culprit and pare them down, meanwhile eating refined carbs like average people--in moderation, just once in a while, etc.--but I can't do it.  Try as I might.  They cause me just about every symptom that alcohol causes an alcoholic (just on a toned-down scale) . . . and then some.

They cause me to crave them--the more of them I eat, the more I want.  To an alcoholic, one drinks too many and a hundred isn't enough.  To an carboholic like myself, one bite of refined carbs is too much and a whole batch of cookie dough or pan of brownies or loaf of bread isn't enough.  The more I eat those kinds of foods, the more I want of them.

Vegetables, even fruits, I can eat in moderate quantities, walk away, and never look back until the next time I'm genuinely hungry.  But not so with breads (pretty much all kinds--even ww) or anything with wheat or sugar.  Those things are like hard liqueur to me.  And things like potatoes and other grains are very slippery slopes for me.  I have to be very honest with myself about them and eat them with great respect--because it takes very little to push me over the edge into the "strange mental blind spot" the AA guys wrote about.  "Oh, just a little bit won't hurt."  Right?  Not for me.  And 30 years of trying to ignore that fact is long enough.

Oh yes, and fats?  I seem to be able to eat all the fat I want within reason.  I mean I can't eat it by the pound or by the quart, but I lose weight consistently without having to worry about measuring it.  My body seems to let a lot of it slip on through for some reason.  Meanwhile, my body holds onto every stinking calorie I ingest in the form of starchy, sugary carbs.

Six days out isn't much, but I can feel the fog clearing in my brain.  I can feel the arthritis letting up in my joints.  I can feel why it is that OA has the old slogan, "NOTHING TASTES AS GOOD AS ABSTINENCE FEELS."  I'd just make a slight tweek to that slogan, "Nothing tastes as good (or as sweet) as deliverance feels."

©2010 Colleen C. Harrison

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Letting God Flip the Switch to "Off"

This is the second morning in a row that I have spontaneously knelt down and prayed.  Not out of duty . . . but then again . . . in rigorous honesty, I have to acknowledge I was thinking about what a great day of deliverance I had yesterday and already trying to think of the way “I” made it happen . . . and that maybe part of what “I” did to make it happen was to kneel down and offer a formal prayer.

So . . . that’s how subtly motivations can be subverted and become less than for the “pure love of Christ.”  To kneel down, purely out of love for God.  To have no other motivation but love and awe and worship.  To kneel down out of spontaneous reverence for Him and an overwhelming need to bend my knee and confess that I have no other desire except to receive the Holy Ghost and through Him be made as one with my Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.  To confess that Jesus is my Christ, my Savior, my Messiah, my Holy One, of Eternal God.  To offer my whole soul as an offering unto Jesus Christ.

Let me try that again. I'll be right back.

I'm back, and immediately the words of Omni 1:26 come into my mind:

26  And now, my beloved brethren, I would that ye should come unto Christ, who is the Holy One of Israel
, and partake of his salvation, and the power of his redemption.  Yea, come unto him, and offer your whole souls as an offering unto him, and continue in fasting and praying, and endure to the end; and as the Lord liveth ye will be saved. (Omni 1:26)

This is the whole answer (for me at least) in one verse, in 63 words.  This is the whole solution to how to have your heart changed.  It is changed by Him once you have given your whole soul (body and heart and mind, life and will) unto Him.  It takes giving Him permission to be in charge of your heart.  It means letting Him flip the switch in your heart and set it in the “off” position towards your weaknesses.  In my case that is toward overeating generally and eating refined carbs (junk food) specifically.  It is also toward unwise spending.  I do a fair share of that unless I allow Him to flip that switch.
Once the switch is flipped, though, I have no need to diet or to budget.  I’m not living by the letter of the law (by the numbers).  I’m living as one with the truth.  I have surrendered to the truth about my body (that it can’t metabolize grains and sugars in a normal, average way) and the truth about my budget (that it can’t sustain me spending money in a mindless, addictive way–just because it feels good to spend money.)

So, it isn't an exchange between God and I.  You know, I'll kneel and pray, then He'll deliver me.  That's still too "arm's length."  The answer is to love God--to love Him enough to trust my life to Him, to love Him enough to surrender my bitterness about certain things in my life to Him and trust instead that all things (including not being able to eat like a normal, average person) is part of His allotment of challenges to me in this life.  It is to stop throwing myself against the reality that I don't want to live with and to embrace the rest of my life with grace and joy.
©2010 Colleen C. Harrison

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Treating My Unhealthy Eating Like an Addiction

Well, yesterday was my first day back on the path of  treating my unhealthy eating tendencies as an addiction.  That meant that I took my mind and heart off of trying to manage my urge to eat with outside-in techniques and started paying attention to my inside-life, again.  What's going on inside me (in my thoughts and feelings and urges) that's setting me up to pick up that first unhealthy kind of food--the kind that I know after a life-time of trying that I just CAN NOT eat in moderation? 

I'm back to getting down to the roots of why I can be so desperately willing to stop eating in unhealthy ways one hour and the next hour throw it all out the window for just one more chance to indulge in some kind of food that I find "delicious to the taste and very desirable."  Those words just give me the heebee-geebees when I say them. 

"and I beheld that it was most sweet, above all that I ever before tasted."  That's how Lehi describes the fruit of the tree of life or the "love of God." (See 1 Nephi 8:11.)

I think it is so interesting (at least for me personally) that the "love of God" and the "word of God" are compared with "sweet" and with "bread" -- which are my two personal biggest forms of addictive and compulsive eating.  And it is equally interesting to me that when I turn back to God, I find both love (assurance, comfort) and guidance (counsel, inspiration) and I feel filled, satisfied, fed, nurtured.

Last night before I went to bed, I spent about a 1/2 hour reading and journaling about the insights I gleaned from the first paragraph of "Bill's Story" in the Alcoholics Anonymous "Big Book."  I was stunned and so fed by the sweet and the bread that unfolded to me as I opened myself to the personal application of his story. 

Turning back to the first book ever written for treating addiction from a spiritual (inside-out) point-of-view is, for me, humbling myself and admitting that my unhealthy eating is NOT something I can just manage (chart and goal-set) my way out of.  It is humbling myself and admitting that I have an "addictive relationship" with certain foods.  Oh, I can "white-knuckle" control them for awhile, but unless God removes the tendency (disposition, inclination, temptation) from me so that I feel nothing for them--sooner or later, when my guard is down, I'll lose "my cool," my resolve, my whatever . . . sanity? .  . . and start behaving in a crazy, out-of-control way around those substances/foods.

Thanks for letting me share . . .

©2010 Colleen C. Harrison

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Another Trip Around the "Mulberry Bush"

Wow!  What a trip around the proverbial “mulberry bush” the last couple of months have been for me.  I haven’t been back here to this blog because right after I started it and made my first couple of posts, I got caught up in yet one more vain attempt to manage my eating of unhealthy carbohydrate foods.  That, for me, is the EXACT equivalent of an alcoholic trying to manage his alcohol consumption.

I think the phrase “vain attempt” fits really well for me, too.  Why?  Because it is so plain to me that it is vanity on my part to keep trying to manage my life.  In the Book of Mormon, there is a really diabolical character named Korihor who was an “anti-Christ” or in other words an “anti-Savior” person.  He taught the people that we prosper in this life, not through Divine intervention, but by our own “management of the creature,” and our own “genius” and “strength.” (See Alma 30:17.)
Being a child of the modern age (since the 1950s), I’ve grown up with those very ways of thinking and believing riveted upon my hearts by the teachings of secular science.  According to that way of thinking, there is no source of divine guidance or power.  Mankind as a whole and each of us as individuals have to do the best we can to prosper in this life by management of our behaviors, by our own brains, our own IQ, and by our own strength.  It’s all about us and our abilities because there simply isn’t anything or anyone greater than us and our own management, genius and strength to turn to.  There is no power greater than ourselves and we evolved from apes.  We are the highest, most intelligent life form on earth and even in the heavens, as far as we can observe.  There’s no one “out there,” there’s nothing going on that is the slightest bit personal or interested in us.  We’re on our own.  There is no such thing as a “God.”
And then there are the people that believe there is a God, but that He put us here in this life to prove that we can be independent and prove ourselves worthy . . . and that He expects us to do that on our own, without any help from Him until we’ve shown Him what we can do without help from Him.  Only then will He get involved in our lives to save us–only after all that we can do.   These people believe that the instructions to do many good works “of our own free-will and choice,” somehow translates into doing these good works by our own management, genius, and strength, too.  This is the kind of person I was like for years.  I believed in God in exactly those terms.  That’s how I saw His character and personality.  He put me (all of us) here and then stood back and gave us the smallest amount of help possible so we could demonstrate what we could do on our own, without Him.  I know.  I know.  I already said that.  But you know what?  It bears repeating, because it is one of the most “anti-Savior” ways of believing and thinking that a person could ever blunder into (with a lot of help from the adversary, Satan, who is doing all he can to convince us that God either doesn’t exist at all–or better yet, to convince us that God does exist but has veiled us, taken away our memory of eternity, and left us on our own in this lost and fallen situation of mortality.)
Anyway, I went back to trying to believe that I needed to pay close attention to my behavior around food and eating and keep track and make it a predominant subject of my time and attention–manage it–and that maybe this time (shored up by loved ones that were doing the same program), managing my “creature” would be the answer.  After all, a lot of people that I love and admire were doing it and it seemed to be working for them.  Surely, with their fellowship and a clever new way of keeping track of myself (my creature), I could lean on the “arm of flesh,” (the power of mortal sources of management, genius and strength) and triumph over this weakness.  Never mind that God has told me plainly that He gave me my weakness in order that I might be humbled (not puffed up by my own triumph over it), and come unto Him so that He could make my weakness become a strength unto me. (See Ether 12:27.)
Well, two months of trying that way of dealing with my unhealthy eating inclinations has done nothing for me at all weight loss wise.  True, I haven’t gained anything in the two months, but then I haven’t gained anything in the last several years.  What it didn’t do was help me stop eating those substances that are addictive to me (grains and sugars) or help me stop eating compulsively (compelled or driven to in order to distract myself from the many fears and sorrow and disappointment and other negative feelings that the adversary, Satan, is always trying to tempt me into.) 
So, anyway, here I am again–back at the only option or way of dealing with my unhealthy eating (kinds and quantities) that has ever worked for me–thinking of it as an addiction or in other words, as something that only God can deliver me from.  Only by relying wholly (not just in part to help me, but totally to carry me) upon Him to bless me with the power (grace) of God (of Christ, my Savior) to go through my days delivered from my enemies–my compulsive and addictive eating tendencies and the negative thoughts and feelings that Satan uses to get me abandon God and rely on my own management, genius and strength. 
Satan is a Liar and his tactics haven't changed since the beginning with our first parents.  Think about it.  He used those same lies on them:  don't trust God, take your salvation into your own hands, rely on your own management of the situation, and your own genius, etc.  And to take it yet one step further at least in my ability to relate to his tactics, I find it so interesting that he used the same tactic then to get them to ignore and abandon the counsel and companionship of God–he got them to lust after something “delicious to the taste.”  Boy, do I relate with that form of lust. It's exactly what kicks in when I start thinking of the foods I just want a little bit of.  Just one bite.  Just one more time. . . .

No matter how hard I try to ignore it--this eating thing is a VERY spiritually significant symbolism in my life--and only a spiritual solution deals with the desire/disposition/inclination to do myself "evil." (See Mosiah 5:2.)

©2010 Colleen C. Harrison