Wednesday, April 7, 2010

I wanna be an eagle

As many of you know, I am in the midst of a couple of life's storms.  My mother is in ICU extremely sick and I am scheduled for several neurosurgeries.  I happened to catch this show on Animal Planet a few days ago.  It was about eagles and I found it just fascinating.  When an eagle sees a huge, dangerous lightening storm approaching from far away, he takes to the air.  He flies directly toward the storm and keeps flying until he can harldy keep even and upright, continuing toward the storm.  Right when he hits the edge of the storm, the updraft grabs him and sends him sailing straight up until he reaches the top of the storm and flies over it.  He is then in the beautiful sunshine, looking down on the storm, flying without any trouble at all.  It was one of the coolest things to see the updraft sling him up and over the storm, where he is still quite aware of the storm below him, and must still negotiate the storm until it passes, but he is not being pummeled by the winds and rain and lightening.  If the eagle did not take the updraft up and over the storm, the winds would likely injure or even kill him.  When the storm passes, he begins to fly back down to the altitude and terrain he knows. 

The question I have for you this week is the following:

How does this story relate to our journey of lifestyle change?

I would love to hear your thoughts on this, since all of us will experience storms in life. I want to be an eagle who rides the updraft of my faith up and above the storms of my life.  And maybe that was the thought of the author of this verse;

           But those who wait upon the LORD shall renew their    
               They will mount up with wings like eagles. 
               They shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not
               faint.               Isaiah 40:31  


Carol said...

I think of "waiting on the LORD". When I want to eat mindlessly, just to wait...
Listen to my feelings. Figure out what I really need. Ask the LORD what it is that I'm really hungering for.
I think His Spirit will pick me up and take me over the storm if I just wait on Him.

Gina said...

I love the eagle story so much!! Isa 40:31 is one of my favorite verses, partly because I would love to fly like an eagle, and partly because I still can’t imagine walking or running without being weary!

I spend a lot of time with the Serenity Prayer these days so I’d like to respond within that framework.

Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

The journey of lifestyle change is just one little part in the bigger journey of Life itself. Only when we integrate desired behavior changes into a framework of true internal change can we really live life differently. I find that most often the things I trip over and that get me off course in the journey of lifestyle change are related to the storms of Life, rather than what I’m trying to change. Just going to a birthday party with cake that I’m avoiding because of my choice to abstain from sugar is not necessarily a challenge. Going to that same party where I will encounter people with whom I have strained relationships, or going to that party after finding out bad news about a family member or when my own chronic pain is acting up…. Danger!!

So, when the storms come, what can I do? First I keep my eyes open and SEE the storms, rather than hiding through isolation and escapism. I spent many years trying to shut my eyes tight enough that I wouldn’t see the storms and could pretend they weren’t real. Remember closing your eyes when you were a kid and thinking nobody could see you?! Guess what… no matter how long we put off dealing with the storms or feeling our feelings, they will ALWAYS be waiting! Next I can accept the storm as it is without judging it or trying to figure it out. Acceptance is not the same thing as allowance and it doesn’t mean I LIKE the situation… simply that the situation or storm IS. Acceptance reduces suffering.

One storm I frequently need to accept is my fluctuating physical and mental condition. With Fibromyalgia and cyclical depression, I never know how I will feel when I wake up. It might be a blue day with pain bad enough that walking is difficult, or it may be a day when my spirits are high and I feel full of energy. I recently started taking a few minutes after I wake up, before getting out of bed, to do some deep breathing and a self scan. Checking in with how I feel, how I slept, what is hurting or feels good, is awareness. Once I’m aware, I can choose to accept and go from there. I have found this a much more positive start to my day than rolling out of bed and discovering that I must limp to the bathroom and that I feel un-rested and sad. The negative self-talk shows up in a hurry when I blindly move into my day without first checking in and allowing my body and mind to be where they are.

Gina said...

The courage to change the things I can,

Once I see a storm and accept it for what it is, I can see whether anything is within my power to change. I have found very little actually IS in my own power to change… but when I rely on my Higher Power that’s a whole different story! Laying my problems at His feet is like flying straight towards the storm, with my eyes wide open. I trust that an updraft of faith and His strength will carry and protect me.

My example specific to lifestyle change is the phenomenon of cravings or urges. It was only recently that I realized that an urge can actually be survived! In my previous experience, I could deny myself that cookie or cupcake for a day, a week, maybe even a month, but eventually I was going to cave and there would be a binge. Now I know that urges can actually pass. Who knew?! I can ride one out like it’s a wave and that specific craving will leave forever. Another one might show up in a minute, an hour, or a day, but that one has been overcome. For me, I have only found the strength to ride out those sugar cravings with the help of my Higher Power. To my great surprise, it actually works!!!

My new mantra is “His power, not will-power!” Will-power got me started many times but it never got me where I wanted to go. I finally believe that His power can and will because I’m experiencing it for myself. I can look a craving storm in the eye, fly right towards it, and ask God to lift me up and over and carry me until it passes. I won’t say it is easy but every time I have done this, I have found myself on the other side with giving in to the craving. The more time that passes with this approach, the less intense the craving storms are and the less frequently they are showing up. This image of the eagle being lifted effortlessly over the storm after it has done its part by choosing its position is a great new picture to pull from the next time a craving hits!

And the wisdom to know the difference

Finally, through deliberate conscious contact with God and quieting myself to hear His still, small voice, I am practicing knowing the difference. Practice may not make perfect but it does make progress!! When I ask God to show me the difference between what I can and cannot change, and then listen, I am developing a deeper relationship with Him. I love the Lord deeply but struggle with trust issues, even with Him. As Julie says often, “He can handle our doubts!” I can be scared and not 100% sure He will lift me up over the storm and choose to fly straight towards it anyway. Some call that “acting as if”. Act as if you believe it and you might be surprised what happens!


Howards7 said...

I've only been a part of HOPE for a short time but I've been hungry for lasting mind/body change for a long time. I'm not willing to compromise on cheap imitations like short-lived diets or quick fixe- so I believe that I am being readied for a mind-shift A few weeks back I mentioned an upcoming "storm" of my husband's deployment with the Army. Two weeks ago we found out that the rumbling-thunder was indeed a fast approaching deployment to Iraq for 14 months. We have five children and the thoughts of being the only adult in house of three teens,and two elementary aged girls, is scary. I know I have faced this storm head on. Next, I want to embrace the winds as they take me to the places of peace. I want to find soft, gentle self-care habits. I know that the Lord has a plan to bring me close to Him as I "mount up as wings of eagles".

orcalover said...

Eagles have always been a reminder to me to keep it simple and peace will come. I was lucky enough tov experience eagles first hand when i was on an island in northern vancouver island near alaska. I watched one eagle hunt for salmon right out of the ocean, near an in let. He dove down several times and then came back up into the air without his fish. Then again into the ocean but he didnt fly back up into the sky he stayed in the water. i was curious. He slowly started moving towards the land. That silly bird had caught a fish so big hed could lift it into the air. He had to swim it to shore and eat it there. It was awesome to see. He didnt give up and boy did it pay off:) i love you julie have fun on your trip. Tell your mom i am praying for her> many blessing to you nad your family, what a inspiration you are. Thank you>