Sometimes I feel like a Golden Retriever when it comes to food. If it is there…I have to “retrieve” it. It is meant for me! I have a golden and know that sitting patiently with not one, but TWO tennis balls in front of her…well, it just wouldn’t happen. Sort of like those moments of temptation when I know I plan to eat, eat more, or eat again and the momentum is carrying me forward. I wonder…could I garner the strength to wait for a moment before going after whatever-it-is? Like this dog in the above image?
One of the biggest blessings in my life is getting to be one of the coaches for Thin Within. Through this ministry, I have had the blessing of “meeting” many of you one-on-one (via Skype or the telephone). God has used many of my clients to speak truth into my life and give me great tools to use myself as well as to share with others! One of my very favorites to share is what one client created and called the “STALL” tool. (If you are out there reading this, let me know if I can credit you!)
Any time food is within reach, it is a great idea to get in the habit of using this tool automatically. Of course, we want to extend grace to ourselves, giving time to develop a new habit just as we would any habit:
Take a moment and, before eating, S.T.A.L.L.
The dictionary definition of “Stall” is “to bring to a standstill.”
If we have the power of Christ living in us, if I can do all things through Christ who dwells in me as a child of the Lord like the Scriptures say I can (see Philippians 4:13), then when I am making my move to eat (like a retriever after a tennis ball!), it is totally possible in the strength that the Lord provides for me to apply this tool before I take a bite. I want to S.T.A.L.L. or “bring to a standstill” forward momentum. Just for a moment….
Using this tool…each letter of the word S.T.A.L.L. stands for something:
S – STOP
T – Turn. Sometimes this means literally, physically…away from the open fridge or cabinet, away from the second helping, or a little more abstractly, momentarily away from the desire for that taste, bite, lick, whatever-it-may-be.
A – Ask. Ask the Lord what is going on right now. Is my body in need of food? Is my desire for this lick, bite, helping because this high-performance “machine” that is my Holy Spirit-indwelt body needs fuel? Or is it something more impulsive or, even, of my flesh? I can ask the Lord if there is physical need or if this is emotional hunger or spiritual hunger? I want to ask Jesus to impress upon my heart what he would have me to do about what I am experiencing. Does it require food? Or would whatever-it-is best be “fed” another way?
L – Listen. Jesus said in John 10:27: “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” This tells me that when we listen–truly still our hearts and listen for him–that we will hear his voice. Sometimes this may come through wisdom he has given us through other means previously. Sometimes it may come through a Holy Spirit-led prompting. (I don’t think it necessarily means audibly at this point, so please be open to other ways you may “hear” him!) It may be a whisper that says, “Yes…” Or a whisper that says, “Enough.” It may be a shout out “Are you kidding?!?” (Just teasing about that part. :-))
Most tools don’t take us any farther than this place and there we are, left dealing with what we know God wants us to do in cold stark contrast to what our flesh is screaming at us to do. My favorite part of this tool is that it pushes me beyond with the second “L” in the word STALL. The second “L” is…
L – Love. Love what he tells me. I like to challenge myself to love him. Would eating this now or for this reason be an expression of love for the Lord? Of love for what he has laid on my heart? Of loving concern for the body he has entrusted to my care for this season of life on earth? Am I loving what he has told me?
If we get in the habit of “STALLing” before we start munching, we might discover that victory is just a few precious moments away!
How About You?
Can you practice S.T.A.L.L. before the next time you eat? If you try this, please share your results here with us. Others may be encouraged to give it a try!