out of the whirlwind

I mentioned the other day about how I started walking on January 1st of this year.  By God’s grace, I’ve been able to continue that daily streak.  Unfortunately, I haven’t been nearly as consistent with another daily habit.

And it’s a rather important one, but hey, just showing up and being real over here.

Many years ago, I started completing a “read through the Bible in a year” schedule every other year.  Last year was the first off year I wished I had made it an annual practice instead.  So, this year I was really looking forward to starting on January 1st; however, I didn’t begin until somewhere around the 18th (at least I think that’s when I started).

This was partly due to having kids home from college (read “lack of routine”), being exhausted from the walking challenge, and attempting to follow a different reading plan than I’ve done in the past.

Over the years I’ve discovered that I prefer reading chronologically when I do a read-through and I have a version on my Kindle that I started using a few years ago.  This is a New King James version (pictured left), which is good.

This year I thought I’d change it up.  You see, my mom had told me about the Bible Project’s annual reading plan and I was really excited to do their program because I love their videos. Their version is “sort of” (but not really) chronological so I thought I could make it work for me.

I guess I’m just a bit spoiled by the ease of using my Kindle first thing in the morning because after weeks of trying to follow the new program (and failing to be consistent because it was far less convenient and more time consuming and not really chronological), I decided to go back to the habit of using my Kindle… but with a twist.

I love, love, love the Bible Project’s overview videos, so, when I begin a new book, I seek out their video summary(ies) for that book.  This has been a really interesting addition to the read-through experience.  I did just realize that they have an app now too.  I haven’t had a chance to check it out just yet, but it looks pretty cool.

Most recently, I went through the book of Job (yes, I’m still behind in my reading schedule, but slowly catching up).  I’ve read this book many times over the years and it’s generally felt rather laborious with all the flying accusations and seemingly conflicting messages.  With friends like Job’s, who needs enemies, am I right?!

Anyway, after years of reading and sermons, I get the general theme of the book, but I really like how the guys at the Bible Project sum it up.  Check it out if you’ve got a few minutes!  My favorite part is when God speaks “out of the whirlwind”.

There’s something about reading Job that just makes you tired and thankful.  Most people will never endure the amount of suffering he did… I say “most” because I know there are still plenty of people who have gone through some really horrible things which would rival even Job’s experience.  The grief and frustration in this book are so palpable they are exhausting.  Thankfully, the gratitude comes from realizing that no matter what happens, God is still in control and worthy of our trust.

I wonder if Job’s “friends” fell on their face when God spoke to Job out of the whirlwind.  What an incredible picture.  Even though life often resembles a whirlwind of chaos and pain and frustration… isn’t it nice to know He cares enough to speak to us in the midst of it?

So, until tomorrow, I pray we’ll continue to show up and allow God to teach us to trust Him in every circumstance.

 

 

the feeding window

When you go through a drive-through, you know what it means to be told to “pull up to the window”.  You’re gonna be paying hard earned moolah and then receiving a bag of something to eat which resembles food.  I am all too familiar with the fast-food window experience from start to finish; however, this isn’t about fast-food, or even “good food quickly“.

You’ve probably already guessed that I’m talking about intermittent fasting.  Everywhere you turn, this concept has been showing up in some form or another for a few years now.  It’s almost a bit faddish.  I’ve read quite a bit on it in the past couple of years and it seems there is actually some value in shortening one’s daily “feeding window”.  For anyone who hasn’t heard of this before, the feeding window is a set number of hours when one eats their meals.  Outside of that time-frame, you abstain from eating (also known as fasting).

It really is a pretty simple concept with several modes of execution.  Personally, I prefer the 16:8 method.  Since there is a plethora of information online and in books, I’ll just share my personal experience.  I attempted to try it out last year and managed to get in several solid weeks of consistent 12-16 hour fasting days.  While I didn’t drop significant weight (probably because I believed that I could eat anything during my feeding window and still lose weight), I learned three things very quickly:

  • the first few days are the hardest
  • choose a “window” that will work the most consistently with your daily routine
  • I slept better and had more energy once my body adjusted to the window

Fast forward to 2020… Eight days into the new year, I decided to do the Green Smoothie Girl Detox (which was mostly a good experience that I’m sure I’ll discuss later). Intermittent fasting is recommended during the detox and I followed it almost to the letter for 26 days.  Most days my fasting window was around 15 hours.  During this second experience I learned something else:

  • shortening your eating window AND cleaning up your diet (even if the caloric intake is the same) eliminates the constant desire to eat

When I graze all day long, I want to eat more.  I really believe something about that fasting window being in the 14 to 16 hour range daily shuts down my seemingly insatiable “hunger”.  It’s even more obvious when I try to eat at the same times every day (think “routine”).  Within a few days, my body adjusted and just wasn’t hungry between mealtimes.  Cleaning up the diet as well seemed to make this phenomenon even more significant (but we already knew cutting out processed food makes us crave it less, right?).

I cannot tell you “scientifically” why this happens for me, but as someone who has been plagued with constant feelings of “hunger/cravings” for decades, it was nice to experience a bit of a reprieve.

After I finished the first 26 days of the detox, I started over with the program hoping to continue since I was finally releasing excess weight instead of gaining or maintaining it.  Unfortunately, during the second round, I lost a very dear friend to cancer (I miss you, Patti) and I’ve been off plan since February 13th.

Prior to this, my eating window was 10AM to 7PM.  That’s a 9 hour window, although it wasn’t unusual for me to stop eating at 6 or 6:30.  I found this to be a window that worked well with my routine most of the time, until emotional eating kicked back in due to grief.

So what does this have to do with “showing up“?  Because on Tuesday (February 25th) I resumed my shortened feeding window.  Technically it started Monday night when I stopped eating by 7PM.  Rather than let my emotions continue to run amok, I am choosing to show up, renew my mind, and run to God for the strength to live within the boundary of intermittent fasting.

So, until tomorrow, I pray the Lord equips you to just show up in regard to your personal food boundaries.