The Perfect Teacher

Do you ever feel overwhelmed by emotions or life circumstances? 

Most of us are more susceptible to eating off our food plans when we are hungry, emotional, busy or tired. And for some of us, that’s every day! 

We need a plan that helps us take our thoughts captive and battle those tempting food thoughts. We need to practice stepping outside of the overwhelm and taking our emotions to Jesus.

Today I want to share with you how I handle those crazy, stressful moments when I am face-to- face with big emotions or food temptations. This is my step-by-step way of taking thoughts captive and submitting them to God. 

We’ll use word FOCUS to guide us through.

  1. Find a quiet place

The first thing to do when you are feeling overwhelmed or agitated is to step away from the situation. Get away from the noise. Step away from the food. Change the scenery. Press pause on whatever is going on and take a few minutes to be alone.

  1. Orient yourself to the present

Often our stress comes because we let our minds run into the future or get tangled up in the past. Try orienting yourself into the present moment by using your five senses. 

Focus on what you can see around you. How many colors or shapes can you find? How many different textures can you feel? Now close your eyes. What do you hear? What can you smell? What can you taste? Try taking a drink of water or some other beverage. Focus on the temperature, taste, and smell as you drink.

Just take a minute to really be right here, right now. 

  1. Connect with your emotions

Turn your focus to your own body. Do you feel tension anywhere? Do you need to cry? Are you angry or anxious? Breathe deeply and lean into those emotions. Acknowledge them without judgement. Assess if there is anything you can do right now to make yourself more comfortable.

  1. Unburden your heart

Now that you have calmed your nervous system, take a minute to unburden your heart! Talk to God about whatever is going on for you right now. If necessary, repent. Pray for wisdom. Jesus delights in carrying our burdens. You are not an inconvenience. Getting to help you gives Him joy!

  1. Savor Christ

And finally, savor Christ. Drink in the deep love and acceptance that can only be found in Him. I encourage you to mediate on any scripture you know. Singing a worship song. Pray a prayer of gratitude and praise. Just let yourself be with Jesus.

Savoring the truth of His Word renews our hearts and our minds. If you take the time to submit your heart and thoughts to God in prayer, then scripture promises that the peace of God will guard your heart and your mind in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7).

You may need to stop and FOCUS again and again. This isn’t a one and done kind of thing!

Rather it’s a daily, hourly practice that will help all of us take our thoughts captive and walk in the freedom we have in Jesus.

Do you need more help learning to FOCUS? Simply reply to this email and let me know what challenges or questions you may have that I can address in future posts. I would love for us to grow in this practice together as we all learn to savor Christ more deeply.

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The Perfect Teacher

For students, summer is a time of school break, fun and relaxation. 

But for teachers, summer is a time of planning, planning, and more planning!

I’ve been busy curriculum planning this week, thinking about what I am going to teach this next school year. So when I read through Psalm 119 in my Bible reading, that one little word, “teach,” stood out to me more than ever.

Over and over the Psalmist pleads, “Teach me, O Lord!” 

He uses the phrase “teach me” at least 8 times, “Teach me your statutes / Teach me your law / Teach me good judgment and knowledge / Teach me your rules” (v.26, 29, 66, 108) and the list keeps going!

The whole psalm is primarily about David’s delight in God’s curriculum plan: His will, His word, and His ways.

God is our perfect Teacher. 

Every blessing and every trial I face, the big and the seemingly insignificant, they are all just lessons that the Lord has prepared for me.

There are lessons in gratitude, joy, patience, and humility. Lessons in praying more and speaking less, and trusting God instead of trying to go my own way.

There are lessons that I delight to learn, like what joy it is to worship with my kids or to soak up the beauty of nature. 

But there are also lessons I would rather skip. Lessons in grief and temptation and forgiveness.

However, God does not leave us to choose our own curriculum. He knows what is best for each and every one of us, and he has an individual plan of instruction designed for our sanctification that will carry each of us through our entire life.

Nothing that happens to us is random or purposeless. He uses everything for our good and for His glory. 

So what does this mean for our lives with food boundaries? 

Simply this….

There have been many times I wished this struggle with food wasn’t the textbook the Lord chose for me. There have been many times I wished that he could have taught me self-control, faithfulness, and sacrifice some other way. 

But never once have I regretted learning the lessons. I delight in the growth that’s come because of them. Never once have I doubted the wisdom of the Perfect Teacher.

This week I want to encourage you to lean into whatever lesson plan the Lord has laid out of you. Prayerfully seek the Lord, and ask him to teach you, just like David did. Instead of grieving the loss of the foods we once loved, we can walk forward with joy, knowing that what we gain is so much greater than anything we could give up.

Let’s show up for this life as eager students, ready to learn and ready to delight in the Lord’s curriculum plan.

“Teach me, O Lord, the way of your statutes; and I will keep it to the end.

Give me understanding, that I may keep your law and observe it with my whole heart.

Lead me in the path of your commandments,

for I delight in it.” 

Psalm 119:33-35