Thursday, March 29, 2012

What is inside your box?

A box.  Such a simple object, yet it can have such a powerful meaning.  It can define your life, and put you in chains.  It can lock you up and never let go.  Why?

I have been reading a fabulous book my sister suggested a couple weeks back.  Actually she discovered it from singer Mandisa's website.  She was going to read it, and then let us know if it was worth the read.  Well, I naturally got very curious, and since the last time we talked she had still not picked up the book, I jumped the gun and purchased it on my own.  The book is titled, Made to Crave by Lysa Terkeurst.  And so far it has hit home on several key points I have been struggling with and rediscovering since I started this new weight loss journey back in January.  One of them is about our box and identity.

My Pintrest profile statement:
Foodie and wine lover. Loves to cook, explore, and drink wine and write all about it. And yeah, I do other stuff too all from the great state of Arizona.

My Twitter profile statement:
Foodie and wine lover. Loves to cook, explore, and drink wine and write all about it. Follow me for good conversation!

Now, the first time you read these two statements above you may say, nice description, what's wrong with that.  And you would be accurate.  However, these statements have defined me since I wrote them a little over a year ago.  I have put them in my box and said to the big wide world via the internet, this is who I am; these are the things that define Renee.  Then I closed my box tight, clingy hopelessly to it, wishing disparately that no one tries to open it.  And that was the problem.

Those statements are not me.  Yes, they are what I may like to do, but not who I am.  Since I have been content to live my life out of that box I filled for the past year, it has defined all my daily choices. 

Foodie is the first word in both those statements.  Once inside that box, that means I not only love food, but live to eat food and not just any food but the best I can get my hands on.  Then once I get my hands on that food item, I must find a way to prepare it the best I know how; otherwise I can no longer call myself a foodie.  Being a foodie also means my travels center around food and what different foods I can taste.  Being a foodie also means I am no longer content to just cooking from the same tried and true cookbooks, I must explore new recipes at the expense of my sanity, I am a foodie damn it.  That was in my box.

And what is the second statement, wine lover.  That one has been in the box forever, and alone it can be a great thing.  Yes, I love to drink and enjoy wine, but it became a part of me, in my duct taped box.  And what does a wine lover look like. Well just like a foodie, everything, every inch of my being was consumed with wine this, and wine that.  Internet reading, twitter tweeting, book consuming, blog writing, about wine filled my days.  They say knowledge is power, and yes it is, but whose knowledge and whose power are you following?  I was following very happily, yet inwardly struggling with the wine box I put myself in.

And finally cooking and exploring, again fine sounding on their own, but once in my box, deadly.  I have always loved to cook, and received that love of the kitchen from watching my mom prepare endless meals for our family while growing up.  It was how she showed her love, yes, she showed it other ways as well, but she loved to cook for us.  That passion was transferred down to me once I got married.  I started cooking for my husband in our tiny 500 square foot apartment, and never looked back.  Again, it was my way of taking care of him and showing my love.  Sounds harmless right, but that defined me.  And once in my box, if I failed to cook, failed at a new recipe, failed to get it just like the picture, my life was doomed.  How could I call myself a home cook if I don't cook tonight, I am a failure.  How could I call myself a home cook if I have never made a quiche, or a soufflé?  Failure. 

Once in the box I had to live up to those standards.   If not who am I?   I may have to open my little box and take something out, but that is scary because I like my little box.  Without the box, what do I do?  I will answer that later.

What does this have to do with weight loss?  Everything!  Wine, food, cooking, exploring, all great things, but as your identity they are useless.  Or as my dad would say, useless as tits on a boar hog!  Why are they useless?  Well for one, it made me gain weight, and has always made me gain weight regardless of how I defined it.  The more you think about food and wine, the more you want to eat and drink the stuff.  I don't care who you are, if that is all you are dwelling on, it will overtake even the most common sense, self-disciplined person.  I mean I was going to Weight Watchers for a time, and you want to know what I did as soon as I got home, my deep dark secret, I ate.   And I did go home and eat a freaking apple?  No, I ate, candy, chocolate, cookies, anything forbidden that I could get my hands on.  Why?  Why not, I had just weighed in, and regardless of the result up or down pounds, I needed a pick me up, a pat on the back for a job well done.  And that good job was, I was starting a new week on Weight Watchers. Plus, I had just spent the last 30 minutes listening and talking about food.  It is just like anything in the world.  If you think about sex all day, well what do you want to do, have sex.  And if you can't, well that leads to frustrations and anger.  Same with food.  If food in is your identity box, it defines your very existence, your life and everything surrounding it.

We all put or have put ourselves in a box, it is just human nature.  We need or as my book says, we crave the desire to be able to define ourselves and let others know what we are about.  We crave unconditional love, acceptance, and power.  And if we create a box we feel we are happy with, we can share that box with others.  Hey, maybe this guy or this group has the same box as me, okay I feel accepted, and I feel loved by this.  Well what happens when their box changes and yours does not?  What happens if you open your box and try to fill it with something new?  That perceived love, that perceived acceptance, is gone.  Now what?  Start over?  Become depressed?  Dig deeper into that box, add more, and subtract some?  Give up?  Or give in?

I have been a Christian since the fifth grade, and only recently did I start to look into my box and see that it is all crap, shit really.  It is all stuff I filled in because I needed to define me, I needed to tell the world who I was, I needed to blah blah blah.  What is wrong with that statement?  Filled with I's.  Who I am is not who I put in the box.  Christ wants to ripe open that box, and fill it with one thing, Him.  He wants one statement in that box, Renee you are a child of God.  That’s it.  Not food, not wine, not cooking, not anything but Child of God, period.  And you know what, I realized today at 33 I am ready and willing to allow him to take the stuff out of my box and fill it with Him.  Why today, because today I opened up and was real, today I listened.  Today I was willing to say, yes I believe You, yes, I know what I have done, and yes, I can let go, I can allow You to open that box and start to shake out the trash. 

Will I still try to fill that box again, who knows.  I  know what I am capable of, I know I can very well be stupid, fill it with garbage and tape it up again.  However, that again would be a defining thing, which would be putting myself and Christ in a box.   Can I be a hypocrite?  The famous line people like to use against Christians.  Well yes I can be and so can you.  We are all human beings and that very reality makes us hypocrites.  The difference is, I do not live in hypocrisy, I live in Truth.  I may and will slip up, I just might take back all the control tomorrow, it is possible, but the Truth is, Christ will kick my butt back to where I need to be.  He says, go ahead and try it on your own, but you know it will not work and when you fail, I am right here, ready to lead you back, ready to empty your box and fill it with Me.   And He leaves our box open, not taped shut.  Every day is new, and every day brings new challenges and new joy.  And I am willing and ready for both.

What is in your box?  Are willing to let go?

Now I know this is not a popular answer to weight loss or anything for that matter, but it is the only answer.  If you choose to agree, awesome, but if you choose to disagree, that's okay too.  It is your life, just click the mouse away from this post, no problem.  But this is how I choose to live my life, and I also choose not to hide from it anymore.

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