The Zero Calorie Solution to Stress

I don’t talk much about my job on here, but it has been stressful lately because one of the people in my department retired recently, and so my workload has increased significantly. This morning, I got overwhelmed just looking at the work piled up on my desk, and I felt more frazzled as the morning wore on.  By the time lunch rolled around, I was ready to just zip through a drive-thru and order large fries and a large chocolate milkshake so I could feel better.  Or at least, I told myself that eating such food would make me feel better.  I was so close to going, too–so close to succumbing to the very strong urge to respond to stress by eating–but then I reminded myself of a few important things:

1.  Eating junk would not make me feel better.  If anything, I would only feel worse because not only would I have work stress to deal with, I’d have to deal with the guilt of eating things I knew I shouldn’t.

2.  Eating junk would not solve my problem.  My work would still be there when I got back, and no amount of french fries could change that.

3.  My impulse to turn to food to comfort me shows me what I value and what I trust.  If I truly valued and trusted Christ with my life, going to Him with my burden would have been my first instinct, but instead I thought of food.

All of these thoughts swirled around in my head, and I managed to avoid the drive-thru.  Instead, I took a few deep breaths in my car and prayed and asked God to give me strength, not just to face my job, but to face (and conquer!) the temptation to self-medicate with food.  And you know what?  I felt better.  Jesus tells us to cast our burdens on Him, so why don’t I take Him up on that more often?  Why do I believe Satan’s lie that I am facing everything on my own?  The love and grace and power of Christ is mine for the taking, if I but ask.  As 2 Peter 1:3 says, his divine power has given me all that I need for life and godliness!

And guess what? 

Prayer is calorie-free. 🙂

Thoughts on Romans 8

I’m 21 weeks along now. Woohoo! I feel like I still have a long way to go, though, and I guess I do. I imagine the last few months will fly by, however, and we certainly have plenty to do to get ready for Charlotte’s arrival: select bedding; decorate (and possibly paint) the nursery; get all the furniture; buy tons and tons of diapers and all the other needed supplies; finalize daycare plans; and select a pediatrician. Whew! That’s quite a list, and I’m sure that’s not even everything.

Sometimes I get a little overwhelmed when I think about the fact that in 19 weeks or so we’ll have an actual baby to bring home. I wonder if I will be a good mom and if I will know what to do when she cries. I worry about going back to work and how I’ll balance being a Christian, a wife, a mom, and an employee with only 24 hours in a day. I even worry that she’ll inherit all of my worst traits: my procrastination; my tendency toward pessimism; my insecurity; my obsession with food and weight, etc..

But you know what? All of those worries do nothing but leave me fearful and exhausted, and that’s a far cry from the abundant life Jesus wants me to experience. I have been reading Romans 8 this week, and when I am find myself fretting and laden with guilt, I remember verses 1 and 2:

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.”

And when I feel so overwhelmed I don’t even know how to pray, I remember verses 26-27:

“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.”

And then come my favorite verses:

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The love of the Father for me is so great, how can I let myself be swallowed up by fear?

Today I choose to rest in His love. Won’t you do the same?

Pregnancy: A Weighty Issue

One thing that I did not anticipate about pregnancy is the wild, crazy dreams I would have. I have had a lot of very vivid dreams. From what I’ve read/heard from others, those dreams can sometimes be nightmares. So far, none of them have been too bad, save for one.

In that dream, I hopped on the scale for my weekly weigh-in, and to my dismay I had gained FOURTEEN POUNDS! I was horrified and immediately started crying, trying to figure out how I had lost control so quickly. It was awful, and the dream stayed with me after I woke up. I even went and weighed myself just to make sure I hadn’t in fact gained that much weight (I hadn’t).

This dream, while perhaps not a nightmare to some, was rather nightmarish to me, and it preys upon one of my biggest fears about pregnancy: gaining weight. I know gaining weight is a natural, necessary, and expected part of pregnancy, but I am still very nervous. I worked really hard the past 2 1/2 years and lost over 90 pounds, and it’s going to be hard to see the scale going up. Granted, the reason for the higher number on the scale makes it more than worth it, but I am afraid of gaining more than I need to.

The week I found out I was pregnant, I weighed 170.2 pounds, so I am considering that my starting weight. I actually lost a bit the week after that and was at 168.8, but that did not last long. I’ve been fluctuating between 169 and 170.something ever since. I suppose that’s not too bad, and I haven’t gained an insane amount of weight, but I’m only a little under 9 weeks into my pregnancy! I have a long way to go, and I just hope that I can keep the weight gain at a healthy, manageable rate.

So what’s my goal? To gain 25-30 pounds. That’s a very healthy weight gain, and I could even stand to gain less than that because I am still overweight, but I think 25-30 is realistic for me. I know it’s possible; I just hope it’s possible for ME. I am hungry ALL.THE.TIME. right now, so it’s been a struggle not to use that added hunger as an excuse to indulge. I have to remember that the food I’m eating is fueling my growing baby, and that is more important than satisfying my desire for ice cream 3 times a day.

I also need to remember that I only need an additional 300 calories every day, and that’s not a lot when it comes down to it. Where I’m having trouble is figuring out what my caloric intake should be. When I was still actively trying to lose weight, I would eat between 1500-1700 calories a day. So does that mean that now I should eat 1800-2000? Or should I eat more than that because I’m not trying to lose weight and therefore am simply trying to maintain my weight? (I don’t even know if that makes sense now that I’ve written it out!) Basically, I really don’t know, and I guess ultimately the number doesn’t matter as much as my attitude toward food and the choices I make about what I eat. I don’t want to be so obsessed with this that I miss out on the joy of pregnancy, so I’m going to have to find some balance.

I’d love any advice/suggestions any of you have to share!

P.S. I’ve decided to keep my blog here for now, if for no other reason than the fact that all the cute URLs I thought of are already taken. 🙂

Friday Five: Fears I Want to Conquer

In honor of the book I’m currently reading, Running Scared: Fear, Worry, and the God of Rest, I decided to list five of my fears in the hopes that I will one day be able to call them former fears.

1. The fear of gaining all my weight back.

2. The fear of not finding a new job.

3. The fear of failure.

4. The fear of trying new things (which is definitely tied to #3).

5. The fear of being disliked.

If you had asked me before I read this book if I am a fearful person, I would have said no. However, I soon realized that is far from true. I am afraid of a lot of things, which is why I also constantly worry. The book is really opening my eyes to see how damaging patterns of fear and worry are to my relationship with God, and I am learning so much. Here is just one quote I have been pondering:

“We tend to judge God’s words by our own feelings and sensory observations. If we feel orphaned, we believe we are orphaned. If we feel a sense of impending doom, the worst will in fact happen. If we are told that God reigns, but everything seems to be in chaos, we twist God’s revelation about himself to fit our understanding of the data. Scripture, however, reveals the things we can’t see with the naked eye, and God’s self-revelation is a higher authority than our feelings. When our feelings conflict with God’s communication, we must side with God’s interpretation.” (Running Scared, p. 68)

How awesome is that?? What we feel often is not what is true, and just as I have realized that about my insecurity concerning my arms, I’m also realizing that about the many fears and worries I fight every day. The truth is not found in feelings, but in God.

Do you consider yourself a worrier? What do you fear?