The Sufferings of Christ

It’s been a long, painful week. Stuff happened. As it seems want to do. 

I live in my imagination a lot, and what I imagined at the beginning of the week was myself, a gunshot wound to my chest, bleeding all over, entering into the throne room of God and just collapsing on the floor in front of him. No words to say. Just, here I am. Here’s what shape I’m in.  And while I was laying there imagining this, the phrase that came to my mind was, “Enter into the sufferings of Christ”. 

I’ve been thinking about that phrase all week. My imaginary hole in my chest has been bound, wrapped up in bandages. Healing medicine poured over it. I’m still walking slowly and carefully, feeling very fragile, but I’m whole. And I keep circling back. What does that mean? Why do I have to enter into the sufferings of Christ? What is the point? 

My prayer over the years has been, make me more like you Jesus. More of you, less of me. I admit, when I say that, what I mean is, I want to be more loving, more patient, more kind, more selfless, etc. I was not thinking of these verses from Isaiah 53, verse 3 and 4:

He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted.

Familiar with pain. Took up our pain. Bore our suffering. 

No, I was definitely not thinking about that when I said I wanted to be more like Jesus. 

My husband and I have done some soul searching this week. Questioning some of our choices. If a choice leads to pain and suffering then it has to be wrong, right? But I keep coming back to the fact that we made these choices because we felt it was an obedience to God and what the Bible teaches. And it still led to suffering. And that kind of hurts the brain.  

Enter into the sufferings of Christ. In doing this, does this mean that I am becoming more like Jesus? Not only sharing in his joy and love but in his pain and suffering?

When I hit my crisis it wasn’t long before I turned to one of my friends for help and comfort. And yes, she’s a close friend so I would have turned to her first anyway, but it was so much more meaningful because I knew she had been in a similar situation to mine. She could empathize and give good counsel. She had already suffered through this and could meet me exactly where I was at. And she was kind of a physical Jesus to me in my sufferings. Only possible because she had suffered herself. Does suffering make us more able to be the hands and feet of Jesus? 

Through all of this, I can testify. God is faithful. He heals the brokenhearted. He breathes hope on my soul. When I am at my lowest, I find his presence the strongest. The Holy Spirit has been faithful to whisper scripture in my ear that has kept me from falling into anger or judgement. 

Funnily enough, God was gracious enough to allow me to get Covid this week. Yeah, who needs covid? But, because of that I have been able to cancel a multitude of appointments, completely clear my schedule and just have time to rest and process. I’m still getting better, but my husband only had to take one day off to take care of the kids and household before I had enough energy to cover the basics again. 

Enter into the sufferings of Christ. I’m still figuring out what this means, but what I do know is that it is a journey that makes me more like Him. And that is what I want. 

Fat Fridays: Restriction=Binge Eating

I”m writing this on a Thursday night. It has not been a great day as far as health is concerned. Yesterday I was jogging and I didn’t take the time to put the right shoes on, and I ended up pulling something on the side of my knee. Not real bad, but noticeable enough that I knew I had to rest it today. So, I told my trainer about it and she cancelled my jog for today and said no walks or runs for a couple days. I think I’m going to do some strength training tomorrow. But, I was really looking forward to my jog, and being inactive hasn’t been great for my mood. 

Then, earlier this week, I was talking about some problems I was having and my trainer suggested that I take bread/wheat out of my diet for a little while and see if it solves the problems. Ok. I can do that. Except, on the same day that I decided to do that, our neighbor, who works in a food pantry, ambushed me. While I was out, she dropped off two cakes, cinnamon rolls, carrot cake sandwich cookies, and muffins. She needed a home for them and thought of us. I walked in the door and was bombarded by baked goods (my number one weakness) and I caved and ate two cookies before I even gave myself time to think. I did manage to stop after that, but felt crummy for caving in the first place. I sent a lot of the food with my husband to his work to share, but we still had two cakes in the house. The kids asked if they could cut one of the cakes this afternoon, and me, just wanting these things gone, said yes. And then suddenly there was chocolate cake everywhere and I caved again. And then I made the family chicken alfredo while I had a chicken salad, but still caved again and ate some alfredo. 

And I’m sitting here thinking, what on earth is wrong with me???? 

And I realized what it was. It all started with deciding to cut bread/wheat out of my diet for a while. I do really, really, really, bad when I feel like I’m being deprived of something. If someone tells me I can’t have something, I immediately crave it. I get this mentality of, better eat a bunch now, cause I’m not going to be able to get any later… 

I have done a lot better these past months telling myself I can have whatever I want in moderation. And as I’ve started counting my calories, I’ve gravitated towards nutrient dense food just so I can get more bang for my buck. I mostly eat Ezekiel bread now, and no more than two slices at a time so I can keep my carb load low. I made that choice naturally without having to set strict guidelines about which kind of bread I can eat. If I feel like I have freedom to choose whatever I want, I am much more likely to make good choices. But if I feel like I am being restricted, it sets off a bunch of weird cravings and bingeing. 

So, moving forward, I think I’m going to have some good bread alternatives laying around the house (I found some gluten free ancient grains waffles, and I found some low calorie popcorn), but I’m going to give myself permission to eat whatever I want. And hopefully, without the weird emotional response to restriction going on, I will feel free to make better choices. We’ll see. I’ll let you know how it goes.