A stronghold is a place of defense, protecting what is inside from attack. It is a place of security, of refuge. A place to hide in times of trouble. A quick internet search displays castles and old walled cities. It made me reminisce of my time in Israel, which I still need to finish writing about, but I digress, strolling through Jerusalem my eyes beheld walls that once upon a time fortified the city. In passing on the roads, I saw caves, similar to what David hid in when Saul was chasing him. The Bible tells us in several verses that G-d is our fortress, our refuge. G-d is to be our stronghold.
The enemy, however, has taken this truth and twisted it. He has purposely used circumstances, feelings, activities, lies, and other things to keep us enveloped in a false sense of safety and protection. We have made choices that have led us to taking refuge in all the wrong places or things, believing the lie that our refuge is found here. Sometimes, we don't even realize we are in a wrong stronghold. We look to this feeling, activity, or person to meet our needs. We stay trapped inside the walls of this flawed, fabricated shelter, unable to walk in the freedom we were made for.
I have known the difference in these two strongholds, but in the last few weeks, it occurred to me, I was stuck in a distorted one and if I continued the path, I would be leading my girls into one as well. Not that they won't have them anyway, because I am no perfect mom, but this one I could change.
I have dieted or taken time off from dieting since 5th grade. That is approximaltely 33 years. Always on the search for the next plan that will help me be healthy or eating all the food out of frustration of restriction, emotions, or lack of progress. I have not taught my kids well. They see this distorted cycle. They reap the consequences of it. I see it in their actions and hear it in their words.
I have worked super hard at getting healthy over the last few years. I thought I had overcome most of my issues with emotional eating, only to realize theres more. I found "healthier" plans to help me with goals and worked out consistently. But, I was still in the cycle. Personal struggles and physical struggles have led me to gain weight yet again and yet again searching for the next plan. I have not been able to consistently workout due to physical issues and an unexpected surgery and exercise helps me with nutrition, by decreasing emotional eating. I found myself in the same place, I said I would never be in again.
A few weeks ago when I was seeing the stress regarding food in the faces of my beautiful girls, I was convicted of being stuck in this dieting stronghold. I was convicted of teaching my girls to have a diet mindset, but not teaching them to be healthy. I dislike cooking, it is never fun trying to make a meal conform to the latest diet. I never really brought my kids into the kitchen for this reason. In the midst of this discontent, I had a thought....
What if I quit dieting? What if I cooked something and made it as healthy as I could? What if I didn't track a single thing? What if I taught my kids moderation? What if dieting is keeping me from true health and lasting weight loss? What if I involved G-d in the process more? What if I took a break from all the diet voices in my head? What if I did not stress about it? What if I gave my kids freedom from their Mom's bad habits?
I recently went on a Quest with, Fellowship of the Sword. We had homework before it began and after that recently ended. It was suggested we move forward studying the book of James. I had been considering not dieting for 30 days, but in my workbook we were asked to consider repeating James for 40 days. I knew this is what I should do.
I began Tuesday on a 40 day journey of James and not dieting. In the past few days, I learned that nothing bad happens if I don't track and follow a plan. I have eaten, dare I say normal. I have eaten food that G-d made and food that is processed. I have had a conversation with my kids, telling them I haven't taught them well, asking them to forgive me. I am making Chinese food for dinner tomorrow, including tons of veggies. I can't wait to invite my girls to help. I have spent time in the Word. I did workout yesterday with modifications, but due to pain did not go today. I have felt no guilt. I have tasted some freedom.
I am not sure what will happen at the end of these 40 days. I didn't set up many rules for it or after it. I have ideas of things I might do in the journey of the 40 days, including fasting. On my Quest, I fasted for the time and it was an incredible day. But mainly, I am just taking one day at a time and following the Lord's cue that dieting and food has been a stronghold and it's time to break free.