“The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.” (Psalm 16:6)
In Fresh Wind, Fresh Desire, Heidi wrote regarding boundaries: “The wooden fence protects a family dog from wandering off into a forest where predators lurk.”
It was interesting that I read this just a few hours after hearing some nearby animal predators doing more than just “lurk” in the woods we live in. I knew they were causing all the howling, screeching, and yelping going on not too far from our house! I didn’t see them, but the predators had to be a pack of hungry coyotes attacking a dog. The frantic, pathetic howling of the prey went on for several awful, horrible minutes.
It was agonizing for the animal, but it was also agonizing for us who were listening. By no choice of ours! Inside with the front door and windows shut, we still heard it loud and clear! And we could do nothing about it. The screeching and yelping eventually got quieter and quieter until, finally, the tormented prey was “quieted.” 😞
…and fences that keep horses in…
(I took both of the above photos out on my walk recently.)
…but neither of these fences would keep a predator out. And neither fence would have helped that poor dog, as both the coyotes and the dog were quite capable of slipping through them. Maybe not unscathed going through the barbed wire fence, but they could still make it through.
But I’m certain that if we did have a “thorough” fence around our property ~ like maybe a concrete wall or an electrical fence ~ and if the dog had been on the inside of the fence, and the coyotes on the outside of it, unable to get to the dog, that dog would have felt that “the boundaries had definitely fallen for it in pleasant places.”
The point, of course, is that, without any boundaries, those coyotes were free to attack whatever animal they wanted, and that dog lost any and all freedom it thought it had living out in the country.
BOUNDARIES ABOUND, ALL AROUND!
Boundaries are everywhere and come in a variety of ways. Let’s take a quick look at a few…
Marriage boundaries: We state our marital boundaries in our vows, which include loving, honoring, and cherishing this person, and no others ~ in the same way.
Road boundaries: The lanes, lines between lanes, shoulder, the concrete divider between freeway lanes all provide boundaries that, unheeded, have very unhappy consequences.
Clothing boundaries: It covers parts of the body that need to be kept warm and/or private; exposes (at least) the hands that work and face that needs to see, smell, and eat.
Organizing boundaries: Shelves, boxes and bins keep items separate and able to be quickly and easily accessed.
Time boundaries: Many aspects of our day ~ like getting up, going to work, meetings, naps, eating, shows on TV, and bedtime ~ have time boundaries that keep our day regulated and in order.
Relational boundaries: There are certain things we do and talk about with people depending on their relationship to us. Like I talk with my husband and closest friends about deep and personal matters, but not to mere acquaintances, bank tellers, or grocery clerks.
Store sections: Certain things can be found on Aisle 8 and others on Aisle 3; certain things in the bakery, and certain things in the produce section ~ all of which have boundaries within those boundaries!
Train boundaries: The tracks are very clear boundaries, and a train going off of them results in a literal “train wreck” and “derailing.” Tracks might seem very limiting, but a train has complete freedom to go anywhere the tracks can go only when it stays on the tracks! When it derails, all freedom is instantly lost!
Building boundaries: A home consists of boundaries in the form of rooms, which are made of walls, ceilings, and floors. And the outer walls are a boundary, too: I live in this house, and not in the yard, sidewalk, road, or next door.
SO WHAT CAN I LEARN FROM THIS?
I’m sad to say that I have not seen my food boundaries as “falling for me in pleasant places.” So, knowing the Lord wanted to teach me some things about them, I started pondering the above pictorial boundaries, and their various roles and advantages. Some pretty amazing truths surfaced. Boundaries…
:: close the gap on wondering if this or that is beneficial to me ~ like getting down to a zero is beneficial; getting to a 7 is not.
:: help me love and honor my body; overeating is not cherishing myself.
:: make me stay aware that there’s a heavy (pardon the pun) price to pay for a few moments of out-of-my-boundaries eating.
:: keep the eating dynamics of my life regulated and in order.
:: help me to not become discouraged, ready to throw in the towel, and thus “derail.”
:: keep me aware of the limits of food’s capabilities: it can feed and nourish my body, but it can’t satisfy my innermost needs and desires.
:: make it clear where I’m to be in my eating any given moment. (Eat when I’m at a zero; stop when satisfied, not stuffed.)
:: keep eating from becoming something it isn’t: a pastime or hobby. (I’m already there, so my boundaries are retraining me.)
:: not allow the enemy to devour me ~ along with my peace, hopes, desires, and goals.
:: give me freedom! I am free to go where the Lord wants to take me only as I stay on track and heed the wisdom-based boundaries He has given me!
Do “all the above” seem like they might be a lot more pleasant than I have been thinking? Living boundary-less – as my flesh would like to – leaves me wide open to be preyed upon by the enemy and every temptation he brings my way with the intent of basically devouring me. He wants to destroy my success, my peace of mind, my goals, my vitality and health, along with any possibility of a long and productive life.
Let me ask you: Are inheritances pleasant? How about prizes? How about joy? Guess what… These are all contained in this verse:
“The Lord Himself is my inheritance, my prize, He is my food and drink, my highest joy!” (Psalm 16:5)
When we have the Lord, and when we seek Him, and allow Him (as opposed to our flesh) to determine our boundaries ~ in anything, including but not limited to food ~ we have the Ultimate in pleasant! And, as such, I need to partake of Him more frequently. When I don’t, I am lacking in pleasantness in my heart, and I am prone to look for false, fleeting, momentary, or imitation pleasures ~ including but not limited to food, or at least eating it outside my boundaries.
But it could be anything ~ for some it might be alcohol, for others drugs, or excessive shopping, or porn, or… doesn’t matter ~ nothing satisfies our deepest needs other than the One who made us.
“Be delighted with the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalms 37:4)
That verse is easy to misunderstand, turn around and get mixed up, even disappointed about. Why? Because we are actually delighted with our own earthly pleasures, not really with the Lord. When we are truly delighted with Him, we will get ~ from Him ~ the desires of our heart because our heart is in alignment with how He created it to be delighted. Not with things that destroy us, mess us up, or steal our joy.
This actually goes right along with:
“Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matt. 6:33)
And one of those “things that shall be added unto us” is a fresh new view of godly boundaries regarding food! What we have seen as UNpleasant, God will turn to being a “pleasant place” that’s filled with delight, as (and only as) we surrender our will to His. For me, that means surrendering my (supposed) right to eat all the food I want when I want it, even if I’m not hungry! I have thought that eating without boundaries was the essence of pleasant and delightful. But nope! This is the essence of pleasant and delightful:
“The one thing I want from God, the thing I seek most of all, is the privilege of meditating in his Temple, living in his presence every day of my life, delighting in his incomparable perfections and glory.” (Psalms 27:4)
Those are the boundaries I want to live within and enjoy! The rest of the verse actually sums up what happens when I do:
“There I’ll be (in His presence, delighting in Him ~ the ultimate in pleasure) when troubles come.”
What kind of trouble? … Trouble overcoming temptation to overeat… Trouble with getting peace in a difficult situation. (Food will only take my peace; not give it!) … Trouble with feeling overwhelmed. (Food does NOT help me get UNoverwhelmed!) … Trouble making a decision or knowing what to do next. (Food has no power to help me make a decision; it only subdues the anxiety ~ for as long as it takes to eat it.)
If I enjoy peace, God’s presence, joy, not derailing or being destroyed, then yes, God’s boundaries definitely fall in the most pleasant of places. Not flesh-pleasing places, but truly, deeply pleasant places!
I am the Music and Movement teacher for my church’s preschool and I love it! Believe it or not, these little children teach ME lessons almost every day! I learn the art of forgiving quickly, finding wonder and excitement in little things, seeing beauty in the simplest of things and so much more. But, I also learn things that I don’t want to do. I learn lessons about myself. I learn lessons about God.
One of the most recent lessons that God showed me through my preschoolers is one of boundaries. I am currently taking the Holiday Victory class that meets just during the month of December. We are learning about keeping our boundaries of 0-5 as a way of living for the rest of our lives. BUT these boundaries are good and pleasant.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.
God gives me boundaries and rules in my life to keep me and others safe as well as to keep our lives running more smoothly.
Boundaries are everywhere! We have rules and guidelines in life, at work, on the ball field, at home, and in the classroom, just to name a few.
As a Music Teacher, I have rules in my classes too. They are not difficult rules, I mean we are talking preschool here.
Despite how young my students are, they learn that they are responsible for their own behavior while in my class. Basically, it’s your choice if you want to play or not. (as in…..play an instrument, play our music game, dance etc.) If you follow the rules, you get to play and have a great time. If you don’t, then you have to sit out and be bored. It all boils down to this: IF YOU DON’T OBEY, YOU DON’T GET TO PLAY. That’s it. Easy.
Now, let’s think about this. Isn’t that the way it is with us and God?
If I follow God’s boundaries for me, then I get to “play and have fun”. I get to eat anything I desire as long as it’s in the parameters of hunger and satisfaction. I don’t have to diet. I don’t have to obsess about my weight or my size. Yet, sometimes I feel like my preschoolers! When I see one of my kids throw a fit because she just plain ol’ doesn’t want to follow the rules, God reminds me that I do the same thing! (ouch! Really?)
I have even had children throw a fit because I won’t let them play with the fire extinguisher! (true story!) They don’t understand that my rules are there to keep them safe. (Hmmmm…..does that sound a little bit like why God has boundaries for us?)
Recently, I had a child who got angry simply because she just wasn’t getting her own way. We were getting ready to play bells with the song “Jingle Bells”. This is a favorite thing for all of my classes every year. Well, I had a child that just did NOT want to play bells. No problem, I don’t force a child to play an instrument if they don’t want to. It’s all good, right? Well, not today for my little friend Lillian (name changed). She got angry because she wanted to play something else. So she sat and missed out while all the other children had a wonderful time! They were dancing, singing, laughing and playing their bells! Poor Lillian didn’t even realize that she was missing out on all the fun! She was too caught up in the fact that she was not getting her own way.
Oh, is this just like me!!! How many times have I wanted to do things my own way? How many times have I not wanted to eat within my boundaries and either I did what I want anyway or sulked because I couldn’t have my own way? And so there I would be “sitting by the wall, sulking” when God has so much more for me to experience!
And God whispers to my heart….
Oh Dear One! How it is with you. I have so many wonderful things planned for you. So much more than this life can ever offer but you have to follow me to experience it. You cannot see nor understand what I have planned, but if you simply trust Me, I will take you there!
You see, just like I have rules and boundaries in my class to keep my kids safe, God has boundaries for us for our benefit. I am learning that these boundaries for us, this 0-5 eating are for our GOOD. It is for us to be at peace with our bodies. It is for freedom!
I am faced with a choice. Do I want to follow God’s boundaries and enjoy this beautiful life He has given me, or do I want to sit and sulk by the wall? Do I REALLY want to miss out on all the fun?? My answer is NO WAY!!! I want to be like little Lillian with her bells, jumping, laughing and dancing away to the music. I want to be FULLY ALIVE in Jesus and all that He has for me! Abundant Life….in Him and in the safe protection of His wonderful boundaries!
What about you? Do you think the boundaries of 0-5 are for your good? Do you have trouble staying in your boundaries? Do you find yourself “sulking by the wall”?
Let’s all follow God’s boundaries so we can “play and have fun” this Christmas without any guilt!
In less than a week (give or take), I will be holding our newborn son in my arms for the very first time. A lot of changes are around the corner, and I’ve been reminding myself to take it all one moment at a time, even with the lack of sleep a baby can bring.
I’ve been thinking a lot about what my eating will look like after the baby comes. Most of my journey with Thin Within and overcoming the issues I was having before, took place during my pregnancy. I shared a little bit about this before in a post about Pregnancy & Thin Within. To be honest, there have been times when I’ve wondered if after I have the baby, I will be tempted to go back to Weight Watchers. My accountability partner knows this has been a concern of mine. I have seen the Lord do some amazing things in my life, mind and body throughout this journey while being pregnant. In so many ways, it’s been such a blessing. One blessing is that I have paid no attention to my weight. And now seeing how I look and feel with only a few weeks of pregnancy to go, I want to give Him all of the praise, honor, and glory for helping me stay at a healthy pregnancy weight (whatever it may be). I can tell I’ve honored my hunger within the boundaries God has given me, and He has helped me learn to delight in my boundaries. Praise God!
The other day I was reading in Barb Raveling’s book Taste for Truth: A 30 Day Weight Loss Bible Study. She was talking about how she was breaking boundaries right and left. She said that instead of renewing her mind, her response was “being frustrated and thinking my boundaries didn’t work” (page 95). This spoke volumes to me because that’s exactly what I start to think when I break a boundary. “Oh, I guess these boundaries aren’t working for me (since I broke them), so I might as well go back to Weight Watchers.” But these boundaries DO work!
So if it’s not the boundaries that are flawed, what is it? It’s the LIES I am believing! So then enters the importance of renewing my mind (which I keep on crowing about–ha!). Instead of wallowing in my mess (remember my potty training illustration from this post?), I need to renew my mind about whatever lie that caused the boundary breakage.
This is huge for me. HUGE! I’m getting closer and closer to completely cutting off the lie that I have to return to a diet when I choose not to following my boundaries. Praise God!
When I was spending time with the Lord this morning, He was showing me that eating between hunger and fullness works all of the time in helping one to lose or maintain weight. There is no special program I have to go on in order to lose weight after having a baby. Eating 0-5 will work! So I won’t need a diet! I won’t need to measure, track, weigh, or focus on food! My boundaries are perfect boundaries!
Maybe you are reading this and thinking, “Whoa, ‘perfect’ is a strong word to describe your boundaries!” But if I didn’t believe that, then I’d be in trouble. They are perfect for me because it’s what the Lord has asked me to do and it’s the only thing that He’s given me peace about. So basically, I know it’s His will for me. It’s been my prayer that I would see my boundaries as delightful.
Here are some truths I have in my truth cards pertaining to my boundaries:
- I can stay within my boundaries in spite of temptation or even when I don’t feel like it.
- “Boundaries aren’t restrictive fences meant to keep us from enjoying life, but gifts from a God Who cares about our well-being.” Lysa TerKeurst
- “The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.” Psalm 16:7
- I don’t need a diet when I can just listen to my body. I can eat within my boundaries.
- Breaking my boundaries is not a reward.
- Boundaries make my life better.
- I feel immediate joy when I choose to honor my boundaries.
- Not even one bite outside of my boundaries.
Boundaries DO make my life better. They keep me safe. Some boundaries that I have for eating are: eating 0-5, eating while sitting and without distraction, and eating slowly so I can enjoy my food. These are the boundaries God has given to me right now, and I am really starting to see how delightful these boundaries are. I CAN stay within my boundaries!
So as I proceed into the next chapter of my life (being a mommy of two!), I know I can persevere in what God has already showed me to do: delight in my boundaries!
How about you?
Do you believe your boundaries are perfect? Or are you tempted like I’ve been to go back to a diet when you break a boundary? What lies have you been believing? What truths can combat those lies? Will you join me in persevering and delighting in your God-given boundaries?
you make my lot secure.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
surely I have a delightful inheritance.
This Week’s Video:
There are more video questions than normal this week. The reason for that is that Cathy is a fount of wisdom, knowledge, ideas, and inspiration. I want to be sure to “milk” our video interview for all we possibly can. If it seems like too much, then just do what you can.
1. What is Cathy’s definition of a boundary? (0:43)
2. How do you identify with Cathy’s definition? What is the parameter that you have for yourself with regard to your eating?
3. Cathy referenced 2 Timothy 1:7 at 1:15. Look this up in your bible and evaluate the place that fear, power, love and a sound mind might have in your Thin Within journey.
4. From 1:33 to 1:45 Cathy mentions some reasons that we may have trouble with “finding” our 5 boundary lines. What are some of the reasons she describes? Are any of these possibly keeping you from “finding” 5?
5. What does Cathy suggest will make the difference for us to be able to recognize our “5?” (1:50-1:59)
6. What role does evening eating have in your difficulties with staying within the godly boundaries of 0 and 5 for your eating? What would happen if you created a secondary boundary of not eating after dinner unless you had a very insistent “0?”
7. How can using Truth Cards assist you in accepting the truth of your identity and help you no longer to break your 0 and 5 boundaries?
8. Cathy’s 0 to 5 boundary has had to shift, as she has discovered she has food sensitivities. What has helped her the most? (4:46)
9. At 5:17 Cathy speaks about her struggle with condemnation and how she has broken free from it. Can you identify with what she shares? How would adopting a personal boundary about rejecting condemning thoughts help you?
10. At 6:12 to 7:53, Cathy mentions a relatively new boundary for her regarding the scale. How can you identify with what she shares? Should you adopt a boundary relative to the bathroom scale? How might that actually serve your boundary of eating within 0 and 5? How has using the bathroom scale helped you? How has it hurt you?
11. At 8:48 to 8:55 Cathy says she had to redefine what a good evening is about, what time with her husband was about. How can you change the definition of what a good evening is for you to honor your godly eating boundaries? How can you change what it means to bond with your loved ones and friends to honor your godly eating boundaries?
12. One of Cathy’s earliest boundaries (she has released 30 pounds so far!) was her body would belong to God. In fact, she asserts at 10:52 that it is a “necessary boundary to do this program.” If you struggle consistently with respecting your godly boundaries, perhaps this is the most fundamental boundary that you could establish that might help. What are your thoughts about this? Your fears? Your concerns?
13. Cathy shares some tips at the end of the video. The first is to “Keep it Simple.” How might you apply this tip from Cathy? The second is to “Make it Personal.” What changes could you make to approach Thin Within in a more personal way, welcoming God’s Truth to come deeply into your own heart uniquely?
14. Another tip Cathy shares is to pray for discernment and pray for a willing spirit. Can you carve this into your time with the Lord each day, to include a request for discernment and willingness?
15. Cathy’s final tip is to “Go Easy.” What are ways that you are too hard on yourself? What can you do instead? Even if you have not lost weight in a week’s time, what other changes might you take note of? (12:23)
16. At 12:34 we dialog a bit about a boundary of “What will I call progress?” This is where I refuse to use numbers or weights or sizes to evaluate our progress given that God is doing so much more in our lives than just weight/size. What are some of the things in your life that God has been doing?
Renewing the Mind – Pressing On
Pick One (book or workbook):
Trade Book Assignment – To Be Completed by March 10th
- Here is the Thin Within Book Study Guide Week 9 . Feel free to discuss it at our Facebook group or here! THIS WEEK, we will have a drawing for one of Barb’s books. The comments made last week and those made this week … all names will be put in a drawing to win either Taste for Truth or I Deserve a Donut and Other Lies That Make You Eat! Comment on this blog post or any others this week or last in order to be put in the drawing. You can enter more than once, too. 🙂
Workbook Assignment – To Be Completed by March 10th.
How About You?
One of the things I love about Barb Raveling’s book is how she helps us to see that boundaries are really what this is all about. Will we live according to the boundaries that God has so lovingly offered us? Or will we blow through our boundaries again and again? Do you need to take time to sit with the Lord and evaluate if 0 to 5 eating (between hunger and satisfaction) is something that you are convicted are from God for you? If you know that this is your primary boundary then creating secondary boundaries to help support you in your pursuit of honoring this godly boundary seems no where near so laborious. It becomes a joy to submit to the Lord in this way!