CHEAT TO WIN???

In the last couple of weeks, I’ve read several articles on the best, most effective ways to lose weight, burn fat, and get healthy. After reading all of these articles – I’m not going to lie – I’m more confused than ever! None of the “experts” can agree on dieting programs, caloric intake, nor how much exercise is actually beneficial to shed pounds or maintain a weight loss. The truth obviously lies somewhere in the middle of these many conflicting programs. Image result for Diet experts

One program recommended 45-60 minutes of cardio, four to six days per week. Another program advised 30 minute cardio workouts, because anything more than that forces your body to burn muscle rather than fat – or so they believed. Several experts actually agreed that a HIIT workout (High Intensity Interval Training) offered maximum benefit with a minimal time commitment.

One program encouraged intermittent fasting, another one said fasting sends your body into starvation mode. One “expert” suggested eating lots of protein and no carbs, while another thought carbs were fine in moderation when balanced with protein and high fiber foods.  While yet another article recommended loading up on natural fruits – another proposed cutting out all fruits as they were loaded with too many natural sugars. Image result for exercise versus weight loss

Just yesterday, I read two different blogs with completely opposite viewpoints regarding how many calories we need to ingest everyday if we are working out and trying to lose weight. One “expert” said the more you exercise, the more you need to eat, while the other proposed working out a lot and eating less and practically starving yourself. Some “experts” firmly believe that 70-80% of weight loss is based on what you eat – and only 20-30% of weight loss is a result of exercise. So — is punishing ourselves in the gym a total waste of time?  Who knows? Image result for weight loss 80/20 rule

Two other “experts” agreed that in order to be successful in the long run with weight loss – you should allow yourself one “cheat day” each week. And you guessed it – yet another “expert” discouraged against any sort of “cheat day.” Many years ago, Weight Watchers introduced a program allowing members to “take the weekends off” from the program. It doesn’t take a genius to see the flaws in such a program. Members had a difficult time getting back on track and staying “legal” while taking every weekend off for a major food fest. Image result for rachel green, once a cheater always a cheater

Why can’t all of these experts get on board to make weight loss universally balanced and easy so we all can be winners?

The reasons should be obvious – the “experts” are as unique and individual as we are. We have different bodies that react according to our own specialized DNA and genetic makeup. What may work for your identical twin, your spouse or best friend – probably won’t work for YOU.

This was never more evident to me than during my stint as a Weight Watchers employee. Week after week, I encountered husband and wife couples who battled the inequality of weight loss challenges.  In most instances, the wife was the primary cook in the household. The wives prepared identical meals for themselves and their mates. Men generally are allowed more calories (or WW points) because of body composition of men versus women. When the couples ate the same exact foods for an entire week – more often than not – the husband frequently lost twice as much weight as their wives. This of course, created a lot of relational dissension. The wife’s complaints, not surprisingly mirrored one another with the standard issue: “It’s just not fair!” Image result for It's just not fair

The cold hard fact is, it really ISN’T fair! Especially when factoring in that men are more prone to weigh with their shoes on, and oftentimes without removing their wallets, phones and change-filled pockets. Women on the other hand, remove everything – sometimes down to their jewelry. (And once, even – a set of false teeth!)

The bitter pill of reality that we women are forced to  choke down with much anger and chagrin – is that when it comes to the battle of the sexes and weight loss – LIFE IS NOT FAIR! It’s for this reason, that I always seem to sabotage myself if I give in to a cheat day. If I succumb to my primal urges to cheat with high caloric debauchery and gluttony, eating what I want – be it a single snack or Lord forbid, one entire pig-out day – the climb back up the Weight Watcher wagon feels as though I’m scaling Mt. Everest.

If I’m going to cheat, my brain and the ruling factions of my common sense alter ego rarely agree on how much is too much when eating non-sanctioned foods. Keep in mind, once you decide to open that Pandora’s Box and cheat on your eating program – it takes your body and your brain a nanosecond to remember how easy it is to eat all of the wrong foods.

Once the palate is teased with a sugary and/or salty, crunchy snack – it can be hard to keep the junk food hounds at bay. What the flesh wants, the flesh wants – especially if its been denied tasty treats for long periods of time. (Oh wait – maybe that’s  just ME!) It’s risky to reintroduce forbidden foods to our bodies – even in small amounts. It quickly becomes a race to see what will transpire first? Will it be the common sense, career dieter’s flood of guilt that alerts our hungry brain and quickly halts the cheat before too much damage has been done? OR will the stomach stage an intervention by vomming up all that justifiable cheat day junk food? If our body  has adjusted to less food or healthier food choices for a significant amount of time – we may not be able to tolerate an over-indulgence of junk food the way we once did.Image result for Friends, once a cheater always a cheater

Sometimes I think the Barftown Express makes more sense. Once you get that nasty taste of regurgitated snacks in your mouth – the last thing you want to do is eat anything, anytime soon. Let’s face it, a major puke-fest can be a blessing in disguise if it will keep us from further cheating. When we cheat without restrictions, it quickly becomes so much easier to wash down guilt with a sleeve of cookies with an ice cream chaser. I’m a seasoned “expert” at washing down guilt – which is at the very core of most of my food addictions.

I admit, I am definitely no “diet expert.” I do have, however, an extensive resume that includes decades as an exercise junkie. I’m also a card-carrying member of the Clean Your Plate Club and I’m the unofficial self-proclaimed Queen of the Yo-yo dieting parade.  During my tenure, I’ve learned a thing or two about food, exercise, balance and creative caloric juggling. I’ve learned what works for me and what most definitely DOES NOT work for me. The most important of which is, listen to your body! BUT remember – your body is not the boss of YOU!  You and only you, have total control of what goes into your mouth, and how much to push yourself when it comes to exercise.

Do not try to duplicate the program of someone who has experienced a recent weight loss. Your body is unique to you. Weight loss is one of those things that we can’t catch like an air-borne virus. Keep some sort of a food diary so you can figure out what works for you and how your body reacts to certain foods.Image result for Psalm 139:14

Learn your cheating triggers and have some sort of counter-measures in place to stop the cheater in its tracks. No foods need to be completely off limits, unless you are one of those people who has zero self-control over your appetite. If one chocolate chip cookie will satisfy your craving – then eat one. Savor it. Enjoy it! BUT you don’t have to eat the entire plate of cookies. If you know yourself well enough to know that you have limits and can’t be trusted with any type of food cheats – then DON’T CHEAT! Know your limits. Set some boundaries.

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Find an exercise routine that doesn’t bore you to tears. Join a sport team or walk with co-workers on your lunch break. Make exercise fun. Burning calories shouldn’t be another chore you hate. Engage your body several times a week in something physical. You don’t need to join a gym if that’s not your thing. Just get moving!

The most important aspect of getting healthy is to invite God into your life to walk beside you when you feel like giving up and chucking the whole healthy lifestyle thing. Find strength in the Lord when you are tempted to fall face first into a vat of ice cream or when your body rebels and refuses to get on board with your exercise routine. Image result for Isaiah 41:10

You get to tell your body who is boss! If you need a cheat day – then do it and proceed with caution. Remember though, long-term cheating won’t do you any favors. Long-term cheating is definitely not a cheat to win situation.

I’m tempted to say, “life is short, so do what makes you happy.” In the long run though, being overweight and out of shape makes few people happy. We always have free-will and the choice of … Don’t worry – be happy! Or Stay strong and committed and BE HEALTHY!

QUOTE OF THE DAY:

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Unconscious-Subconscious-Insomnity-Insanity

Sometimes it feels as if the entire universe is conspiring against you when all you want to do is sleep. Each night I crawl into bed, my body bone-weary and over-tired; my mental acuity checked out and settled in for the night – but then … NOTHING! Why is it, when both your body and your brain are on board and ready to head to Slumberland – YOU JUST CAN’T SLEEP! Image result for images for I can't sleepInsomnia continues to be a major problem for me, pushing me to the edge of insanity. Part of my continuing problem – is that when I finally do fall asleep, my mind is so active, never powering down, that I dream the craziest, most bizarre things. Like mini movies in my mind, these dream movies that originate in my unconscious subconscious are so fantastical that I wake completely exhausted from the crazy adventures in my “sleeping brain.”

Years ago, I went to bed every night begging God to visit me in my dreams. Some of my favorite stories in the Bible, involve people who were visited by God in their dreams. “God, I WANT THAT!” was part of my nightly, bedtime ritual. After about 10 years of praying this, with little or no communication from the Lord, I stopped praying about my dreams. It bears noting that God works on His own time schedule, and He has a profound sense of humor and irony.  It was only AFTER I stopped seeking God for dream visitations, that He chose to show up in a big way. Image result for images for Acts 2:17

For nearly a year straight, God blessed me with some of the coolest prophetic dreams. Dreams that were all related and thematic in nature, that were specific instruction to me regarding a book project. God spoke into existence my second novel, The Name resulting from three dreams. So when I say this book was co-authored entirely by a ghost writer – that specifically means, THE HOLY GHOST. The Name: A Novel

Over the course of a week, God gave me three separate dreams. After the first dream, God waited a couple of days before He gave me the second dream – but what was so bizarre, was the fact that the second dream picked up exactly where the first dream left on. The same thing happened with the third dream. After the third dream, God specifically told me these three dreams were to be the subject of my next book. Of course, I proceeded to argue with Him about how daunting a task it was to take this project on. I felt completely unworthy (not to mention, overwhelmed) to be given such a monumental task.

After a few more dreams confirming this was indeed a challenge from God, I picked up the gauntlet and ran with it. It took me a few months to write the story and around six months to edit, re-edit and edit some more, before I finished the project. Throughout the entire journey, God continued to speak to me through my dreams almost nightly. Especially on those days when I struggled with dialogue or the story progression. Nearly every single dream involved water. Being swept away in a current or struggling to stay afloat was the most common recurrent dream. Image result for images for being swept away in a flood

When I had these dreams, God was faithful to remind me that He was writing the story. As long as I followed His direction and kept my eyes on Him, I would not succumb to the elements trying to take me out. He wasn’t going to let me drown or get in over my head. Many times I wanted to veer off in a different direction with the story.  Whenever I tried to go my own way, the drowning dreams intensified. God kept the story on track and moved it forward through the recurring dreams. Many days I merely needed to show up and turn the computer on. The Holy Spirit worked through me; I was simply on auto-pilot trying to get my fingers to type faster to keep up with the story the Holy Spirit unfolded.

Lest anyone should think writing everything at God’s command is easy – you should know that because I KNEW without a shadow of a doubt that this was GOD’S STORY – I suffered more attacks from the enemy than ever before in my life.

For months, the enemy did his best to slay me physically. I had such foot and knee problems that I could barely walk for months. Literally! During that time, I logged so many hours in the recliner, I could have been a test pilot for Lazy-Boy. Knowing these attacks were purely supernatural and orchestrated by Satan, I surrounded myself with a support system that included people praying for me who were willing to come to my house and lay hands on my feet, if need be.  While in the physical – it proved to be uncomfortable for someone who rarely lets anyone breach her circle of safety, the  prayer coverage was a necessity paramount to my success and overruled my discomfort.

Once the enemy figured out that I was getting “inside writing information” from God through nightly dreams, he did his best to block the flow of my dream creativity. I was seized upon and punished with horrific nightmares. Many a night I would awake screaming. My husband can testify to this! The dreams were so frightening and demonic to the point that I began to dread going to sleep every night. Image result for images for being satanic nightmares

For extreme circumstances such as this – it pays to know your Bible and know it well. God, in His goodness, allowed me to be semi-conscious when my subconscious was unconscious (I know – right! Image result for emoji faces for confused). I battled myself through the nightmares by speaking Scriptures repeatedly until I came fully awake. The nighttime nightmare rituals lasted as long as most of the writing of the novel. Image result for images for 1 John 4:4

Finally, just weeks away from completion of the book, God showed up in a big way one night during my fitful sleep. As God is my witness, I awoke from a nightmare to see three ethereal beings standing at the end of my bed. In an instant, God calmed me with the knowledge that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit were watching over me, so I need not fear the enemies in my mind in my dreams. Image result for Trinity Father Son Holy Spirit Art

After that night – the nightmares stopped. I completed the book and successfully published it a few months later. To this day, the story remains one of my personal favorites. Shortly after the publication, I was invited to a book signing at a Christian book store. The manager of the story did a little Q & A and asked which of my books was my favorite. I quipped, “that’s like asking me which of my children is my favorite!” But – truth be told – The Name is secretly (well, maybe not so secretly) my favorite piece of work!

This book isn’t going to set the world on fire. I have no idea how many copies it’s sold to date. A few thousand … maybe??? Let’s face it … I’m basically a nobody with a small following. It’s a very simple story about an innocent little girl who believes that The Name of Jesus can solve just about any problem. I believe this to be true as well. This, however, tends to be a controversial topic in a world driven by things other than God these days.

The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me.
    I will protect those who trust in my name.  Psalm 91:14 (NLT)

I’m honored that God chose me to write this story. Whether it ever becomes a best-seller (while unlikely) was never the point. The purpose of the dreams and the corresponding book was simply about obedience and trusting God. Whatever path this book takes is entirely up to God. I am merely a vessel.

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That period in my life was such an amazing adventure, I find myself “begging” God to visit me in my dreams again. I’m ready for another big adventure! I’m ready and waiting to be divinely inspired – even if it means that I’ll have to do battle with the enemy again. Call me crazy for wanting to invite that sort of challenge into my life – but hey, life is short. If you can’t spend your days doing what God has called you to do – then what’s the point? Image result for Images for 1 Corinthians 1:27

I guess, the joke is on me and these “dreams” I used to pray for, are a clear case of “be careful what you pray for!” God certainly has done his part and filled my unconscious mind with dreams. My dreams of late haven’t exactly been fodder for the next book, but they at least, are certainly entertaining.  If my brain is going to continue to work overtime and keep me from rested slumber, at the very least I hope there’s a new book in there somewhere! The last book came when I least expected it, so perhaps there’s a remote possibility that this insomnia is working up to something amazing. Lord, I hope so! If I’m going to be half crazy from insomnia … hmm, foggy brain can’t complete a simple thought and I really am half crazy working my way up to a full-on crazy!

In the meantime … happy reading … happy writing to all of my fellow creative word junkies!

QUOTE OF THE DAY:

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FAKING FINE

Yesterday women the world over celebrated Mother’s Day. I know this day can be particularly challenging for those who have lost children or for the children whose mothers are no longer with them. Women who struggle with infertility are likely more troubled by this day of honor than most. My heart goes out to all of those women who hate the painful reminders of Mother’s Day and all that this day is NOT. Image result for Images for mother's day

My mother passed away 16 years ago. She actually died the day BEFORE Mother’s Day. Some years, Mother’s Day falls on the exact date of her demise – but most years – Mother’s Day and the anniversary of Mom’s passing are within two days of one another.

Sixteen years is a long time to be without your mother. My mom and I didn’t always see eye-to-eye on things and frequently argued over one of the most important issues in life: knowing Jesus as our Savior. Our relationship was fraught with all manner of emotional dysfunction for reasons that are far too complicated to share here. Even now, years later, I continue to walk in regret and guilt regarding the way our mother/daughter relationship ended. My mother passed quietly in her sleep with NO warning beforehand. Consequently, the abrupt end to her life and our relationship left me with unanswered questions and unresolved pain from childhood trauma.

All these years later though, our many disagreements are inconsequential. The fact remains, I miss my mom. Now that I am a grandmother, I find myself missing my mother more than ever. I look at my children and the amazing people they are and the children they themselves have borne – and I think, “I wish mom was here to see how well her grandchildren are doing.” I’m saddened that my mom never got to know the joys of being a great-grandmother, as well. It sucks that she’s missed so many important milestones. Image result for grief

The grieving process plays out differently for each and every one of us who have experienced loss. People who’ve never suffered through the loss of a loved one, would argue that 16 years is more than enough time to get over it. Nothing could be farther from the truth. You don’t simply just get over it when someone you love is no longer in your life – no matter how many years have passed. The statute of limitations on grief has no expiration date.Image result for grief

Most of the time – I am fine when I talk about my mom or her passing. On the days that I am not fine —such as Mother’s Day, my mother’s birthday, MY birthday, the anniversary of mom’s passing and just about every single major life event that happens with me, my children or grandchildren – I’ve honed my skills and become proficient at faking fine.

You know how it goes … may even know firsthand the discomfort of the “How are you?” question and found yourself formulating the requisite, “I’m fine,” response. Because let’s face it … when most people ask you, “How are you?” they really don’t expect, nor do they welcome a real answer that’s likely to be wrapped up with truth, pain, tears or anger. Many of us KNOW this, which is why the only response is usually “I’m fine.”

Personally, if I know someone REALLY well, I may press for further explanation if I deduce, someone is anything BUT fine. When you can tell that someone is totally faking fine, you have to be willing to gamble and press for a genuine reply. Image result for I'm fine

The problem with pressing those that are hurting is – emotions can be messy and complicated. We oftentimes realize (after it’s too late) that we may have dug ourselves in deeper than we expected and bitten off more than we can chew. Few of us like to chew on someone else’s messy feelings – especially if we have more than ample trouble processing our own complex emotions.

Relationships and friendships require a lot of work if they are going to be mutually successful and satisfying. Nowadays, society has made it far too easy to isolate ourselves and hide behind our social media personas. We may have several hundred Facebook or Twitter friends and followers – but how many of those “fake friends” would drop everything to come and cry with us or grieve with us when we find ourselves in a faking fine situation?

I’ll be the first to admit that I could be the president of the faking fine club. It really is easier to hide behind my computer and pretend that I’ve got everything together than face interrogation and possibly risk revealing buried emotions. It’s tough to open myself up to anyone. I’d rather not pick at emotional wounds that have finally healed — or at the very least — scabbed over. Image result for I'm fine

Faking fine is just one of the skills I perfected with my mom while she was alive. I had very few open, honest and soul-bearing conversations with my mother. But then, I suspect my superior skills were an inherited behavior passed down from her, as they were inherited and passed down from generations of Sicilian women before her. She and I were never able to communicate beyond a superficial level. We were a family that never talked about anything and denied everything.

Life is filled with shoulda, coulda, woulda regrets. I’m unable to go back in time and undo all of the relational mistakes I made with my mother. That relationship is sealed in stone. Rather than live with the continual regrets and guilt though – what I CAN DO is forgive her, forgive myself and press forward and learn from those past mistakes.

Today is the day to move forward and become a better mother and cultivate the relationships with my children and grandchildren I wished I had with my own mother, but was never able to achieve. Above all, it’s important to realize that a life wasted faking fine really doesn’t make life better or easier. So, while I didn’t have the relationship I longed for with my mother while she was alive – she is teaching me a thing or two about life from the grave. I don’t want to live and die faking fine for the rest of my days left on this earth. Image result for regrets

How are YOU? Are you faking fine? OR are you someone who is really good at discerning and helping others who might be faking fine? Pick a team and dive in. Make sure though, that whichever group you fall in to … you invite Jesus along for the journey. Jesus can free you from failures, fears, false feelings, friendless futures, faking fine … and pretty much EVERYTHING life throws at you.

My friends, if someone is caught in any kind of wrongdoing, those of you who are spiritual should set him right; but you must do it in a gentle way. And keep an eye on yourselves, so that you will not be tempted, too. Help carry one another’s burdens, and in this way you will obey the law of Christ. Galatians 6:1-2 (GNT) Image result for Galatians 6 1-2 Restoration

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QUOTE OF THE DAY:

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Once An Addict … ???

It started with something as simple as ICE CREAM. Somehow though, the ice cream opened up a whole can of metaphorical worms. The grocery advertisement proved to be a temptation almost more than I could bear. My flesh wanted desperately to download the digital coupon. In my mind, I plotted how I could rearrange the freezer in order to hide my slide down the slippery slope of my addiction. The coupon was for Blue Bunny Ice Cream snacks and pints of Blue Bunny Sundae concoctions – all of which fuel the fantasies of one hopelessly addicted to … well … FOOD! To someone like me – those grocery ads are quite simply – food porn!  Image result for images for Blue Bunny Ice cream

It’s not just supermarket ads either. Let us not forget – Cupcake Wars, Cake Wars, The Great British Baking Show, Spring Baking Championship, Kids Baking Championship – and ALL manner of Food Network Shows that feature the word BAKE or CAKE in the title. You can easily turn off the Food Network Channel, but of course, there are all of those other television mediums that zing you with their restaurant ads and snack commercials. And YES – even the weekly supermarket ads are extremely challenging. They ALL send me into a fit of caloric lust for which there is little escape. Image result for Depressed Cupcake

The likelihood of me actually downloading the digital coupon and making a trip to this particular grocery store are slim to none. It’s not a store I frequent – plus there’s that whole thing of being techno-challenged by downloading anything on a two-year old phone that has little to no storage space. I knew in my heart I was safe from falling down that particular rabbit hole BUT that didn’t stop me from entertaining those fantasies of falling. And fall I did, for several minutes at least.

In my mind, I could see myself buying six (it would have been more, but six was the coupon limit) of the most decadent flavors of gooey, chocolaty, chocked full of peanut buttery, treat-filled, creamy ice cream ever concocted in an ice cream manufacturing plant. In my mind, I wanted to devour every last morsel of the forbidden frozen treats – one pint at a time, one cup at a time, one bar at a time. And heck, if I was going to sink to that level of debauchery, I might as well download the digital coupon for Double-Stuff Oreos, Nutter Butters and BOGO (buy one-get one) Donuts while I was at it. Let the flesh experience a total and complete breakdown of normal, common-sense, Herculean restraint and Weight Watcher will-power!Image result for no willpowerWhile part of me is proud of the fact that I knew without a shadow of a doubt that I would never succumb to such a temptation – the OTHER part of me was faced with the reality that although my flesh is able to abstain – my mind was diving ALL IN, face first and devouring as much as I could, as quickly as I could. For several minutes, I mentally undressed every frozen ice cream bar and fondled every unearthed candy-coated peanut butter bunny.
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Once an addict – always an addict – at least FOR ME. True – I may not actually hide in the pantry and devour snack foods in secret as I once did. But there’s no denying that to this day, I remain an emotional food addict.

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I have a friend who swears that if you are an addict of any sort, those addictive behaviors can very easily seep into other areas of your life. My friend swears that having one addiction, makes you more vulnerable to many other addictions. His beliefs are borne out of a past life of surviving simultaneous addictions to alcohol, cocaine and gambling.

I don’t dispute this argument, especially after a being coerced into visiting a local casino last week.

I’m not much of a gambler, per se. When it comes to casinos, if it weren’t for BAD LUCK, I’d have NO LUCK at all. Truth be told, I seem to have a very UN-lucky streak and free stuff rarely just magically comes to me the easy way. I positively hate throwing money away “just for the fun of it,” especially since “extra” money is really hard to come by in my household. But, visiting out-of-town relatives convinced me they really wanted to visit the casino before they headed home – and it would be oh-so-much-more-fun if we ALL went together. Isn’t that what families are for? Who am I to argue with someone who plays the “family first” card?

Not surprisingly though, the moment we  hit the casino floor – everyone scattered to divide and conquer their own particular favorite machine or table. So much for spending time with family! I opted to circle the casino floor a couple of times, mainly for the benefit of adding steps to my fitness tracker. Plus, I wanted to get the lay of the land and size up my machine choices before blindly throwing my money away on the first machine I saw. Image result for Casino slot machines

My stingy nature being what it is, I watched and waited for the right machine to call to me. Sadly, every machine that whispered my name, all repeated the same message: LOSER! After a mere 15 minutes and down by $15.00, I knew when to cut my losses. I found a comfortable chair near the lobby and alternated between checking Facebook, reading my emails and playing Slotomania on my phone. (How much of a loser do you have to be to go to an actual casino and play casino games on your phone???) With almost two hours of wait time ahead of me before rejoining the family, I engaged in one of my favorite pastimes of a little eye-opening people-watching session.  Image result for people watching

I deduced that my friend really knew what he was talking about with regards to addiction.  Though it may come in many colors and styles – no matter how you label it – addiction is all the same and possesses the addict fully and completely. Here it was the middle of the week and the middle of the day and the casino was packed. (The over-flowing, multi-leveled parking garage SHOULD have been my first clue!) How is it so many people have time to hang out in the middle of the day, for hours on end and throw away so much money? Throwing away hard-earned money on the hope that you might just be that one to strike it rich has a certain appeal – but clearly comes at a high price.

Years ago, I once sat next to a woman who won $5,000.00 on a slot machine and rather than cashing in (as I WOULD HAVE), she continued to dump money into the same machine for the hour that I was in the casino. For the love of all that is holy, WHY??? Unless of course – she was a serious addict.

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Many of these people seemed to corroborate my friend’s theory of multiple-addictions as well. The largest percentage of the casino patrons who held vigil at slot machines that seduced with their flashing lights and bells and whistles – ALSO smoked and imbibed of the free liquor being offered. And don’t get me started on the obese guy I saw seated at a Black Jack table, sitting in an electric scooter, smoking a cigarette (in spite of the oxygen tube hanging from his nose), drinking a beer, and eating from a large trough of pasta that had been delivered to his table. The only thing missing from this picture was a high-priced hooker sitting behind him wishing upon his lucky four-leaf clover and rubbing his rabbit’s foot necklace. Can you say multiple addictions? I think so! Image result for different types of addiction

While it may seem as though I’m standing in judgment of these people – I promise, I am not. If anyone understands the power of addiction – it’s me. I will likely always be a food addict. To my way of thinking, a food addiction is probably one of the worst  – because let’s face it, we cannot survive without food. You can’t say that about cigarettes, liquor, sex, gambling, shopping or most other addictions.

My list of past and present addictions is a lengthy one. Some of these addictions are rather benign, while others … not so much.  I would wager If people are honest, just about everybody harbors some sort of secret addiction. Heck, how many of us are addicted to our cell phones these days? Or coffee? Or diet soda?  At what point though – is an addiction just an addiction and not Obsessive Compulsive Disorder? OR does addiction start as one thing and then end up as OCD? Gambling in and of itself probably wouldn’t qualify as OCD, but whose to say that your compulsive need to buy a lottery ticket at the same place every week at the same time isn’t the thing that pushes you towards a full-blown addiction??? Sometimes there is no explanation for our weird quirks that begin simply and metamorphosis into addiction.

How can you know if you have a real bona-fide addiction? If you’ve ever uttered the words, “I can quit anytime I want to!” a little self-analysis might be in order with regards to your behavior. Simply ask yourself – “can I give this up? Can I walk away from _____________ whatever this thing is?” Image result for 1 John 5:21Perhaps if you are reading this, you can honestly say, “Yeah … I’m good. I don’t have ANY addictions.” If that’s you, that’s amazing! Good for you! In which case, I’m just writing this blog for my own benefit!

I know I have a problem in certain areas. Every day is a struggle. Every day finds me in pursuit of living a balanced life. The more I’ve come to understand the WHY of the reason I behave the way I do, the more I realize how lost I am and in need of a Savior. Will I ever get it right this side of Heaven? Only the God of Mercy knows for sure. With my every breath though … I’m going to do my best to keep pushing forward!

Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living. Romans 6:16 (NLT)

QUOTE OF THE DAY:

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