As I was heading down the driveway for a walk, I spotted several fresh new mole hills. Pesky, unsightly, and numerous…
I remember the saying about “not making a mountain out of a molehill” – which means that we should not make a big deal out of something that’s actually a little deal. Yes, good reminder. And I do agree with that. Especially since it’s easy for me to do that. It’s easy to get hyper-focused on my stuff, especially my hard stuff. When something is hurting me or making me angry or frustrated, it suddenly – or maybe gradually – magnifies and I now see it up close and personal. It takes over my time, overshadows my mood, and it drains me of emotional and mental energy. I let it come front ‘n’ center and allow it to take way too much of my focus and attention. Everything else shrinks into the background of my life.
How exactly do I do this? How do I make a small molehill into a big mountain? See the mole hill with the red arrow pointing to it in the photo below? That’s the same molehill that’s in the foreground in the above picture.
All I did to make it look big was to simply get up close to it. And then it looked more like a mountain!
My mind moseyed on down the road – our driveway, actually – and onto thinking about magnifying the Lord. How do I magnify Him instead of my mole hills – aka my problems, hurts, and frustrations? The same way! I get close to HIM!!! I keep Him in the foreground! I see everything else as being in the background!
Okay. That sounds good, theoretically, but what’s that actually look like? How do I live that out? Or live it in – into my heart?
This is where mind renewal comes in! And in Thin Within we are blessed with a PLETHORA of mind renewal tools. What I love about these tools is that they help me do exactly that – magnify the Lord instead of my stuff – some of which is like small molehills in size, and others are larger molehills! But nonetheless, the Lord is muuuuuuuch larger than ALLLL of them and I need to magnify HIM instead of my own stuff.
Here are several examples… (Click on any of them to see a larger, clearer version. If on a phone, you may need to turn it 90 degrees and expand to get the largest view.)
The God List and Praise Fest: The God List is something Heidi and Christina not only talk about a lot; they also DO it every day, with each other! You simply write down attributes of God
Truth Journaling: This is where we pour out our aches and frustrations to the Lord, then separate them into individual points, and ask the Lord to show us the truth regarding each one. In this, I truth journal about shame.
Victories List: These are victories we experience along our Thin Within journey. They can be big, small, or anything in between. No victory is too small to count!
Freedom List: These are indicators that are meaningful to you of what walking in freedom in the area of food and eating will look like. This first one is by Kathryn Felts…
This next Freedom List is by me… (It says “Truth List,” and that’s true, but it’s more a freedom list…)
Gratitude List: This can be generic, or it can be about something in particular, as mine is below. (This is just the first page of several.)
I Believe: An “I Believe” list is of any truths that you believe, or that you want to believe even more than you do. Like Thomas said “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief.” It can be a truth list, but saying “I Believe” about each truth just takes it a step deeper – to embed it even more deeply into our heart, mind, and thinking.
Truth List: A truth list contains truths about anything that needs to have some lies overpowered with truth. It can be written about a situation, a person, emotions… just anything that you want to understand more deeply about how GOD sees it. As you will see, they can vary widely! This first truth list is about a very difficult situation we were going through with a grandson on the autism spectrum, with frontal lobe damage, ADHD, and behavior disorders…
Here’s another truth list for when I fell and got a severe a head injury…
This truth list is about something much less severe – just the upcoming evening…
Who I am [My Identity] in Christ: This is simply truths from the Word that state who I am in Christ. Not who I make myself… not what I wish I could be, but truths according to God’s own word.
Victory Wall: Christina says: “This is such a fun and encouraging mind renewal tool! No victory is a small one. As we read each one again and again we are reminded that God is indeed doing a new thing is us. I like to build mine inside of my kitchen cabinets!
What Is Good? We look at what is good about something, especially something bad or sad, rather than at the obvious negative aspects. We look for what is good in your or another’s life and pray it back to God starting with “It is good.” You might start with a situation that’s difficult or downright horrible. Ask God to show you anything good about it or that can come from it. If you can’t think of anything, then call to mind an attribute of God and apply it to the situation, like this…
Your grown daughter is going through a messy divorce. You can’t think of one good thing about this, so think of an attribute of God, like…
“God is faithful.” Apply that truth to the situation: “God will be faithful to my daughter.”
“God Provides”: God will provide for my daughter.
“God Heals”: God will heal my daughter’s broken heart.”
“God is the almighty Counsellor”: God will counsel my daughter.”
“God is Light”: God will bring light into my daughter’s darkness.
“God is Hope”: God will bring hope to my daughter.
“God is the God of Comfort”: God will comfort my daughter.
“God is Emmanuel – God with Us”: God will be with my daughter even in the hardest, most painful times.
Or on a more generic note: It is good that my grandson is feeling better. It is good that my neighbor is so kind to me. … It is good that the debt is finally paid off. … It is good that the sun came out. … It is good that my husband got a raise. … It is good that our children like each other. … It is good that my son got that promotion he has been studying for. … It is good that my back aches less today than it did last week.
Isn’t it so much better magnifying God, His attributes, His gifts to us, what He can do for us and in us, and how He can transform us than staying stuck with our little mole hills? Enjoy using any/all of the above to magnify the Lord and minimize your own perspective, pain, and priorities!
There’s a certain person in my life that I’ve needed to do a lot of forgiving of. He/she has not been to me what (s)he should have been. Neither was another person in the same type of role in my life. Both did the best they could, at least I’m assuming so, but a huge void (picture a blast zone) was still created and left in my heart.
I have let God do a lot of healing and redeeming regarding this void and the resulting feelings of rejection, disapproval, and my unmet needs.
But I’m getting ahead of myself… let’s back up and get into the story…
Several times during the first decade or so of Dave’s and my marriage, I made mincemeat pies for this person as birthday [or “other special day”] gifts. I even made them extra-creative – like I’d make lattice-tops – by which I mean real, actually-woven crust tops, not just the punched ones.
Other times I’d form “the person’s” name out of pie crust on the top of the pie, or I’d make other embellishments for the pie tops, like leaves or pumpkins, even though it wasn’t a pumpkin pie – it was just autumn, the season of “this person’s” birthday.
It was no small feat to make these pies, especially with young children underfoot, and homeschooling, but I knew this person liked mincemeat pies, so I made them as part of gifts for those occasions.
One year we were at a big family reunion, and a group of us was sitting around talking about pies, including “this person.” Mincemeat pies came up at one point, and “this person” started recalling and raving about all the different people who had made memorable-to-him/her mincemeat pies over the years.
On and on and on (s)he went, raving about the many mincemeat pies (s)he’d eaten over the years. I just “knew” – in a “knowing” way, not an “expecting” way – that (s)he would eventually mention mine since, at that point, I had probably made at least five for him/her!
Do you think (s)he ever even eluded to mine? … Eeeeeeven once? … Nope!!! Not even once; not even a hint.
The group conversation veered on to other things without there being a word from him/her about the mincemeat pies I had made him/her.
I was crushed. Utterly shocked. And devastated. I wish I was exaggerating, but I’m not.
Dave and I have been married for 47 years now, and that was 35ish years ago. I in the three subsequent decades after that reunion, I did not made one mincemeat pie for “this person.” It was partly out of not wanting to be hurt again, but partly – a big part – out of unforgiveness.
Time went on, and “this person’s” spouse passed away. Many difficult, hurtful things happened through the time leading up to and after the spouse’s passing. There were some good things, but there were far more difficult things, and those created even more wedges between us.
Enter: our Thin Within small-group coaching phone chats.
We came to the chapter on forgiveness, and I thought “No, I don’t really have any unforgiveness issues.” I wasn’t being smug or in denial; I just honestly couldn’t think of anything. I’m not sure how, but the Lord (using Heidi and Christina, I’m sure!) peeled away some scales, and I realized with a sickening thud to my heart that I needed to do some – okay, a lot of – forgiving of “this person.” Uuuuuugh!!! It was a hard but needed revelation of my true state of heart and mind.
So the significance of the mincemeat pie that’s pictured below, is, well, pretty significant for me. For the first time in literally three decades, I had the grace to make “this person” a mincemeat pie.
Now you know… it’s one of my two dads – my father-in-law, to be exact. It was so wonderful and freeing to rise above – and not feel bound to – my anger and hurt, and do that for him! But that’s not all! The Lord gave me a sweet bonus! When I gave the pie to him, he started crying! And then he hugged me! Not just a quick one – extra long!!!
I really don’t think it had to do with the fact that I was giving him a mincemeat pie after having been on a long hiatus, because he never knew how that incident affected me. And, since my mincemeat pies of earlier years obviously hadn’t affected him enough to mention them in that conversation at the family reunion, surely he didn’t miss them during my hiatus…
I think it was just a blessing to him, especially since Mom was an awesome cook, and the last mincemeat pie he’d had was made for him, I’m sure, made by her. (Cuz it sure wasn’t made by ME, nor by his mom who was long-gone.)
The first pie (after the 3-decade hiatus) was a bit hard to do, but the Lord kept softening my heart and healing that wound. And it’s even gotten better! I now make him a pie for him every birthday, and there have been several! In fact, I even bought pie-slice-shaped plastic containers and I slice up his mincemeat pie and put them into the containers so he can put them in the freezer and pull them out one at a time! He has told me many times how much he appreciates these, and how delicious they are!
I am soooooo thankful that the Lord enabled me – “by the mighty power of the Spirit of the Lord at work within me” – to start making these pies for him again by first helping me release and forgive him.
Here’s Dad, Dave, and me a couple months ago. See Dad’s hand on my back? He’s actually rubbing my shoulder the whole time the picture was being taken! I know this because it was set to “Live photo” and I can SEE it when I press down on the picture! What a SWEET gift!!!
Really and truly, “it is more blessed to (for)give than to receive”!
P.S. For anyone wanting to make one of these pies… I have been unable to find jarred mincemeat in stores for quite some time now. So, believe it or not, I get it on Amazon! I am an affiliate with them, so if you purchase it through the link that’s in the jar, I may receive a small commission (at no extra charge to you.) It’s basically just a sweet, spicy, apply/raisiny filling, soooooooyummy!!!!! I bet you’ve passed it up many times at Thanksgiving and Christmas gatherings, thinking you wouldn’t like it, but I have a hunch that you WOULD!!! (As for crusts, I just use the pre-made, uncooked rolled-up crusts that come in a long box.)
At age 70, twenty years post-menopause, it takes a lot less to get me to a “5” than it did in my younger days! That has been very difficult for me, and at times very angering. So the idea of “miniature eating” has a softer, gentler, more fun and enjoyable feel to it, especially since I love miniatures! I even have a miniatures collection! So this has a sweet connection for me.
I enjoy using my miniature bowl, cup, and plate. Here are the two I got at a thrift shop – the best place to find them!
And here they are with food on them, and my hand in the picture so you can see how tiny the portions are…
When I first shared this concept and a few photos in a TW group I was in, someone expressed concern that this was “restrictive eating.” This is where we can get into some semantics, so I’ll just explain my heart and my thinking…
As far as the amount of food I’m eating, I’m still eating 0-to-5. 😁 In one way, eating 0 to 5 is “restricting” for me, but since I do not have any “bruises“ from my dieting days, which ended decades ago, using the word “restrictive” is not a bad thing for me. I never liked or did well with dieting back then, and once I heard about this intuitive, kind of eating, I knew it was right, and never looked back or felt connected to my dieting days.
However, actually DOING it was another thing! My sin habit has been eating what I want, when I want, and how much I want – regardless of whether or not I’m physically hungry. I call this “food greed” or “lust.”
So eating 0-5 – eating miniature – is a much-needed “restriction” of my gone-rogue appetite.
But it is kind and wise restriction, in the same family as self-control, self-discipline, cutting portions in half… So it’s not a restrictive “dieting mentality” thing; it’s just following my exact same Thin Within boundaries.
HOW MUCH FOOD?
I don’t measure or count calories. If I put what little I eat – the miniature amount it takes to get me to a 5 – onto a regular dinner plate, it has just a few little – and I do mean little – dollops of food on it. It looks pretty sparse. Thus the idea of using miniature, or just “small” plates and cups. This first picture is actually a doll plate that I got out of the grandkids’ toys. People know I love miniatures, so someone got me the miniature Coke glass.
Here’s a meal on a dessert-size plate. And I had made myself a mini biscuit along with the regular size ones.
Here’s another dinner on another dessert plate… (I realize there’s nothing special or amazing about what I’m showing you; just sharing out of my life.)
A friend had made a carrot cake for my birthday, and, knowing my “miniature eating” boundaries, served me this mini amount…
A miniature serving of popcorn…
A donut cut into fourths, three of which I put in the freezer…
And here’s a miniature pumpkin pie I made…
This is not at all legalistic! It’s just a “boundary inspirer” to help me think in terms of “less” and thus put my unbridled flesh to death.
What if the amount of applesauce I have in one little bowl is not enough? I have another little bowl! But just enough to get me to my comfortable 5.
You can be certain that my flesh is not fooled one bit into thinking that this tiny amount of food, just because it’s served on something proportionately cute and tiny, is actually the same [larger] amount of food. It’s just a way of helping the “boundaries fall for me in a pleasant place.”
I’ll close with a couple of truth cards that I made…
I have become quite a fan of specialty coffee! Peppermint mochas, in particular. Iced or hot, both are at the very top of my list of “Ways to Pamper Myself.” Massages, manicures, facials, and pedicures are also on that list, too! I’m not sure which would be #1 – they are all favorites!
The Dutch Bros. barista had written “Happy Birthday” backwards with caramel syrup on the under side of the clear dome top!
(As you can see, I’m feeling pretty pampered!)
But as I look in the mirror – yes, lovingly and gently, yet honestly – and see my excess weight, my guess is that 20% of it has come from peppermint mochas.
(As an aside, I’d say another 20% has come from “just one more bite”! … Another 5% from Thanksgiving dinners. … Another 3% from cookie dough. … Another 10% from “seconds”… and on and on…)
Not every peppermint mocha has been problematic – only ones I imbibed outside of my 0-5 boundaries. But that’s most of them because, for a long time, I somehow (foolishly) thought that, just because they were liquid, they didn’t count!
So the Lord has been speaking to me recently about my relationship with peppermint mochas. OK, He’s been trying to speak to me about this for a long time, but I have not wanted to listen.
Our youngest daughter, Carlianne, and I at Starbucks! (As you can see, I am an equal opportunity peppermint mocha lover!)
When Christina Motley shared in one of her porch chats what the Lord spoke to her about her mother’s Chocolate Chip Bundt cake and all things chocolate chip, I knew it was time to listen to Him on this matter.
In Fresh Wind Fresh Desire, author Heidi Bylsma-Epperson talks about “lies,” “little-T truths,” and “big-T truths.” We all believe many lies and little-T truths that have completely messed up our thinking. Lies like “I’m doomed to be overweight forever because I simply cannot get control of my eating.”
This lie is actually interlaced with a “little-t truth” because this may very well be your experience thus far. However it’s a LIE that you are doomed to stay this way forever because God’s Big-T Truth is that “In Christ Jesus, ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE.”
Because our wrong thinking messes up our minds and keeps us bound to frustration, failure, and hopelessness, these lies and little-t truths must be exposed and recognized as being exactly what they are.
They cannot be allowed to stay locked into our belief system; no longer our “bottom line.” They must be replaced with God’s big-T truths! And this is what we call “renewing our mind.” We truly will be transformed by the renewing of our mind!
Heidi and Christina talk about making Truth Lists. In this article called Truth Lists for the Real-Life Journey I compiled several of the Truth Lists they have shared. And Christina’s truth list about chocolate chips is included in that article!
So I thought maybe I should do some serious truth journaling regarding my problematic peppermint mochas. Thinking there probably wasn’t really all that much to say about it, I decided to give it a try anyway. It’d just be a short but sweet exercise at best. But I was surprised at what poured out. (Pardon the pun!)
So let’s get going!
🤨Little-t Truth:Peppermint mochas make me feel special and valuable.
🤩 Big-T Truth:I am just as special and valuable without one.
🤨 Little-t Truth:Peppermint mochas are a tasty way of pampering myself, and I looooove being pampered.
🤩 Big-T Truth:Yes, but frequentpampering of myself does not need to be such a main goal of my life! As a follower of Christ, I am called to a life of self-denial. Not a life of continual pampering. I need to allow the Holy Spirit to comfort my spirit and nourish my soul so that I do not have such a great need to be pampered. I need to imbibe more in the Living Water: “The Lord lets me drink from His rivers of delight.”
🤨 Little-t Truth:Peppermint mochas make a plain, regular occasion – like driving somewhere – feel fun and special. They “spice it up.”
🤩 Big-T Truth:They do do this, but not without me paying a high price:like taking me outside of my 0-5 boundaries, which I believe the Lord has set for me, and which I need to follow whether I feel like it at the moment or not. I also believe that God has “made my boundaries to fall in pleasant places.” So I need to find fun and specialness INside my boundaries and OUTside of a peppermint mocha.
🤨 Little-t Truth:Peppermint mochas taste delicious, feel good going down, and are a fluid form of entertainment that lasts a while.
🤩Big-T Truth:True, but I pay a high price for this “entertainment”; it is not a form of entertainment that blesses my body if I have one when I am not at a zero, and/or drink too much of it. (beyond 5) Just because they are delicious and feel good going down doesn’t mean I need to indulge myself in that way every time I want to do so. They are part of what has gotten me too close to becoming pre-diabetic. (Which I have actually crossed over into a couple of times, but come back out.)
🤨Little-t Truth:If I am at a coffee shop getting gift cards for people, I feel like I deserve to get one of these to as a reward for myself for buying them for others!
🤩 Big-T Truth:Unless I have planned to be – and am – at a zero and it’s a good time to have one, I need to just focus on getting a gift for others – not for myself.
🤨Little-t Truth:When it’s hot outside, an iced peppermint mocha is a cool and refreshing way to cool off.
🤩 Big-T Truth:Other beverages or treats are also cool and refreshing and without such a high caloric content – unless I am truly at a zero and only drink up to a 5 (max).
🤨Little-t Truth:When it’s cold outside, a hot peppermint mocha is warm, soothing, and cozy.
🤩Big-T Truth:There are other drinks and activities that are warm, soothing, and cozy as well. Like spending time with the Lord! HE is the ultimate in warm (Jesus’ warm love), soothing (the Holy Spirit’s soothing presence), and cozy (“giving a feeling of comfort, warmth, relaxation and intimacy” – which is exactly what our Daddy-God longs to give us!
So does all this mean I don’t get to enjoy my favorite beverage anymore? Nope! It just means I need to be going to the Lord more regularly to get what I really need, what I’ve tried too often to get from my froo-froo drinks.
And then when I do have one, it needs to be within the parameters of my 0-5 eating boundaries. I have actually done this a few times now, and I have to tell you I enjoy my beverage sooooooo muuuuuch mooooore! Because it’s not only giving me enjoyment tastebud-wise, but, because I’m actually hungry, it tastes even better than normal.
Plus I’m staying true to myself and to my Lord ~ and nothing tastes better than that!!! As Heidi says:
If you’ve been connected with Thin Within for longer than ten minutes, you’ve heard Heidi and Christina talk about Truth Lists.
These can help you get a breakthrough in an area of your life that is currently tripping you up, keeping you bound, or bringing you confusion or downright misery.
A Truth List is an excellent tool for renewing your mind. In fact, I’d call it “mind renewing on steroids”! Or a “fast-track to a sound mind” in an area you know you’re not sound in! It can really pack a punch to any wrong thinking that’s currently holding you captive, ineffective, or stymied in a certain area.
There is no one best or right way to do a Truth List. You just want it to include truths that will help you view a real-life situation the way God views it — which is the only right way, because God’s way is the only way that will bring healing and wholeness! Nothing else can or will free us from our wrong thinking — thinking that can derail us, spiral us downward into sadness or depression, or take us in a wrong direction.
How to make one? Where to start? … Just with something —anything— that is currently bothering you, keeping you from walking in victory, joy, or freedom, or something that continually nags at you, robbing you of peace.
As you will see below, each Truth List is completely different. None of them followed any rules. Each has its own style and focus. Some are long, some are short.
Some were shared in our small coaching group, where I gathered them for this article, and one of them I transcribed from a porch chat by Christina.
I share these with you today in hopes that they will open up for you the wonderful world of creating a Truth List for a real-life aspect of your journey!
Truth List about My Weakened Physical Condition
What is true: I am not my activity level. I am not my energy level.
However, God’s truth about this is that…
🌷 I am a child of the king no matter what my energy level.
🌷 I am a princess bride.*
🌷 No matter how I feel physically, I am part of a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a person who belongs to God.
🌷 No matter what condition my body is in, I have been called out of darkness and into his marvelous light to declare his praises…
🌷 And that is who I am most fundamentally. No matter how I feel physically or what infection I may be fighting or what blood clot is in my body, if any, I have been purchased with the precious blood of Christ.
🌷 No matter what I look like or how emaciated my body may be, no matter how little muscle or how weak I am physically, I am the temple of the Holy Spirit.
*And, speaking of “princess bride,” I have a special treat for you!! Here is the beautiful Princess-Bride Heidi herself on her Wedding Day, with several of her Thin Within sisters! (From left to right: Emily Felts (featured in the next section), me / Barb Shelton, Christina Motley, Heidi Bylsma Epperson, Judy Halliday (founder of Thin Within!), Jan Tabrizi, and Karon Ruiz)
And here are Heidi and her handsome Prince-Groom, Michael Epperson! (Wedding Day: June 29,2019) Michael MADE the chocolate cake, which was amaaaazing!!!
Truth List about Restoration and Freedom
by Heidi, Emily, and Bridget
Heidi asked our small coaching group: “Please share the truths you have added (or could add) to your truth cards or truth list from Hunger Within chapter 2.”
The first ones with the pink flowers 🌸 are by Heidi; the next ones with the white flowers 🌼 are from Emily; and the last ones with the sunflowers 🌻 are from Bridget. Thank you, ladies, for sharing your contributions!
🌸 I CAN be healed and restored through God’s power.
🌸 I CAN be set free from disordered eating.
🌸 In my attempts to “manage” or “control” the impact food and eating has on me, I create entanglements that enslave me even more!
🌸 Fixed formulas of restraint and a constant fear of failing will never work.
🌸 Any formula that prevents failure also prevents freedom!
🌸 I need to develop new and appropriate coping techniques to replace the disordered behaviors of my past.
🌸 It is entirely possible that all of the changes that need to be made are so threatening to me that I will be tempted to back away from having my grave clothes unwrapped and keep the grave clothes bound around me. I may even want to flee back into the tomb and pull the stone over the entrance.
🌼 As I accept the challenge of freedom and resolve the pain hidden beneath my eating, I am free to enjoy a peaceful relationship with food and my body.
🌼 God’s gift to me is resurrection — restoration and recovery.
🌼 Recovery from disordered eating is not only possible; it is what God intends.
🌼 Today I present myself to Jesus, ready to have my grave clothes removed: to give voice to my hunger within, and — in His presence — to listen to myself, body, mind, and soul.
🌼 God is in control of this process and he will comfort and sustain me. (from page 62)
🌼 My security and significance come from experiencing an intimate relationship with God.
🌼 An intimate relationship with God begins as I believe I can be restored and that God accepts me as I am, with all my flaws and frailties.
🌻 God’s restoration work is far more wonderful than the temporary relief of our weight problems. (from page 47)
🌻 By eating low fat and living by rules, I’ve created entanglements that enslave me even more. Hunger within is still active and rules will not kill it. Rules will not bury it because it’s not dead. It is very much alive.
🌻 Food rules and restrictions will not set me free.
🌻 Losing weight will not change my life.
🌻 Diets promise freedom and deliverance but don’t deliver it. (from page 46)
🌻 As He did for Lazarus, Jesus waited to help me:
so that I’d be ready to hear and obey;
because He knows that as sick and desperate as I am, this will not end in death; and
that HE will be glorified in this deliverance and restoration.
Truth/Gratefulness List about my Teenage Daughter
Those of you who have, or have had, teenage daughters know that it can be extremely challenging at times to communicate with and deal with some of the issues, communication challenges, and struggles that they have as they are growing up.
When I was having a particularly difficult season with her, I decided I needed to come up with a truth list, but I also needed to practice gratitude for her, so I incorporated gratitude into it. So whenever we were together and I was having a hard time, those thoughts of gratitude would came up in my mind and my heart and renew my mind about her.
I also want to invite God into the situation of parenting a teenager. So, for example, I might have a prayer time where I am focusing on just gratitude for her.
🌻 Lord, I am so thankful that she and I can get together and talk.
🌻 I am so thankful that she still opens up to me and tells me secret things, and confides in me.
🌻 I’m thankful that she confides in me about her friends and relationships.
🌻 Lord, I am so thankful for the times that she and I laugh together! We get silly and laugh and roll on the floor and giggle and have such a good time!
🌻 Lord, I am so thankful for my snuggle times with her! Even though, she sometimes pushes me away, as teenagers do, we still get on the couch and watch a favorite show together and snuggle.
🌻 Thank you so much that she and I go on coffee dates together. She loves that, and it draws her back to me. It’s a little something I can do for her.
🌻 Lord, thank you for my daughter. She is creative. She is smart. She is funny. She is passionate. She is a good friend to others. And I am grateful for all her good qualities right now.
Truth List Regarding Insecurity and Inadequacy
This truth list is written in the form of a paragraph rather than a list, but it’s all the same truth. And I have been praying through it often lately! I am hoping that God will use it in some way with one of you!
I am really struggling with insecurity and inadequacy. I have just prayed through the insecurity questions in Barb Raveling’s book, I Deserve a Donut, and she is right. God’s view of me is so completely different than my view of myself! And what does the world see? “Oh… she has a lot going on but she can handle it.” And there is a part of me that fears that the people out there beyond my family are thinking “She doesn’t have time for me. … She doesn’t care about me. … I am not important to her.”
I have been trying so hard to take care of everything and everyone, and there is just not enough of me to go around. I am not strong enough, not healthy enough, not wise enough, and there is just not enough time to do it all. I have been giving myself no margin to just rest and be.
Even my rest times have been busy, taken quickly in the living room and working on things while laying down.
God hasn’t called me to be everything to everyone. God hasn’t called me to be perfect. God hasn’t called me to live and breathe in my own strength. God hasn’t called me to figure it all out or know all the answers…
God has called me to be His. To let Him. To submit to Him. To rest in Him. To trust Him. To surrender to Him. To let Him be my strength. To invite Him into everything, and I mean everything.
God has called me to lay down my weapons, to stop striving and to let Him lead me, even carry me at times. God has called me to give Him my heart. But there is peace in surrender. Sweet, pure, perfect and supernatural peace. And that is what I am desperately longing for.
Truth List about Having an Illness
Here is the Truth List that Jesus and I put together a while back about one of my biggest challenges — my illness. You can easily change it up to fit your own needs. Hope this helps and encourages you in some way!
🌳 Jesus is my healer.
🌳 Jesus is healing me.
🌳 Jesus is in full control of the Lyme Disease treatment process.
🌳 Jesus knows and sees what I am going through… every symptom, its severity, its duration, and how I am limited because of it.
🌳 Jesus knows that the way I feel physically is very closely connected to the way I feel emotionally and spiritually.
🌳 Jesus sees and understands what I am grieving as a result of Lyme Disease. He grieves with me.
🌳 Jesus has not forgotten me.
🌳 Jesus is not confused or tired or absent or busy with other things.
🌳 Jesus hears and answers every prayer that is said for me by myself or someone else.
🌳 Jesus is in control of the timing of this journey and His timing is always perfect.
🌳 Jesus is using this trial for His own perfect plans and purposes in my life, and in my family and friends’ lives.
🌳 Jesus is strong in my weakness.
🌳 Jesus will provide what is needed for whatever He is asking of me.
🌳 Jesus is my Savior… not people, not food, not distraction, not what I can do or accomplish.
🌳 Jesus calls me to surrender to Him every moment of every day in the midst of this challenging journey.
🌳 Jesus calls me to love Him with my whole heart and to let Him order and arrange and prioritize my days.
🌳 Jesus will complete the work that He is doing in me.
🌳 Jesus is protecting me daily from much, much worse.
🌳 Jesus is doing a work in my heart.
🌳 Jesus will cause everything about this journey to work together for my good and the good of those I love.
🌳 Jesus is mine and I am His.
🌳 Jesus has chosen me to be His beloved girl, redeemed and washed clean and radiant in His sight.
🌳 Jesus does absolutely nothing outside of His boundless love and relentless grace for me.
🌳 Jesus will never fail me.
🌳 Jesus is with me.
🌳 Jesus has me.
Truth List about Eating with my Family:
🍔 Eating with my family is a precious gift from God.
🍔 My family includes three fun, silly, interesting teenagers and I love the stories that are shared at the table!
🍔 In a few years we will have an empty nest and I will miss family dinners.
🍔 Truly celebrating and enjoying family dinners has nothing to do with eating too much food.
🍔 Eating God’s way at dinner honors God and the precious gift he has given me in my family.
🍔 Being the last one to take a first bite ensures that I am being a servant of my family.
🍔 When I take even smaller portions, eat at a ridiculously slow pace, choose water as a beverage and listen to my body I am surrendering to God’s way of eating and that feels GOOD.
🍔 True freedom is being able to say “That’s just enough.”
🍔 God’s way is always best for me!
Truth List about Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake & Anything Chocolate Chip:
This has to do with emotional attachment to a food. There is a certain cake in our family that is very very important. Why? What’s the big deal?
Well, growing up, my mom was not a cook or a baker, and so she had just a couple of recipes that were very special. She needed some kind of go-to for potlucks, birthdays, and special events. She had one cake that she made my entire childhood – a Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake. It’s really easy to make, and it’s absolutely delicious!
That means every birthday, every gathering with others we loved and cared for, every church potluck, every time people came to visit, we had that cake! It was also special to me because my mom would involve my brother and I while she made it! And it would be a big deal… we would put in the eggs, and mix the batter, and make sure to alternate the flour and the sour cream… it was like an art on how to make this ONE special cake! And then we got to lick the bowl – who gets the spoon and the beaters? So you can imagine how special this cake was in our family!
Several years ago, my mom wasn’t able to make it anymore because of the Alzheimer’s Disease. But still do! I can make it in my sleep. I can whip it up in 10 minutes and have it in the oven. I try to make it often, and not just for special occasions. I also make it for my parents because it’s special to them.
(Here’s Maddie — center — with one of these cakes for her birthday! That’s Christina’s mom, Silke, on the left, and Christina on the right!)
So you can imagine how emotionally attached I am to this cake! And how impossible it seems to eat 0-5 with it. When I make the batter, I just want to eat the whoooole thing!
For years I didn’t really understand why! I thought: What is the big deal?!?!? Why do I have NO self control whatsoever with this one food? It’s a go-to for me, if I’m feeling very sad, or very angry, or upset… or celebratory!
And everything chocolate chip has become a go-to for me because of that cake: chocolate chip muffins, chocolate chip cookies, chocolate chip granola bars and scones, chocolate chips in yogurt, ice cream, chocolate chip cookie dough, chocolate chip mint ice cream, and shakes…
One day the Lord and I sat down together and we did some journaling. Well, *I* did the writing, and I tried to listen while He talked. I asked:
“Lord, I want to understand! I don’t want this to master me! Will You help me? Show me what’s going on here? And show me what is true from Your perspective so that I can make and enjoy this cake! And not eat to an 8 every time I do, and then I feel awful!”
So first, He showed me why I have this very strong emotional attachment to anything chocolate chip. (All the above that I’ve shared.)
And here is my very short Truth List about Chocolate Chip Cake: Only three truths, but it’s enough; it’s power-packed and it’s enough to help me each time I’m getting ready to bake it or eat it, or anything chocolate chip…
🍪 Chocolate chips do not own me; they remind me of love and nurturing from my mom and Omama.
🍪 I am not mastered by anything chocolate chip. I’m not! It’s just food! I’m NOT!
🍪 Chocolate chip foods do not provide comfort, love, nurturing, energy, or healing. They don’t! They don’t provide ANY of that!
As a special treat (quite literally), I thought it would be fun to see Christina’s Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake recipe itself! And she graciously consented to allowing me to include it right here! She doesn’t need it herself as she has it memorized and can make it in her sleep! But she wrote this one for a friend and had her get a picture of it just for this blog post! (Yes, she is that wonderful!)
And it looks like it is well used! Hopefully the Truth Lists in this article will be, too!
(Be sure to use Christina’s last Truth List if you make this recipe or anything chocolate chip, if this is a challenge for you as well!)
Thank you, Christina and Heidi for your candid contributions to this blog post!
And blessings on you, our dear reader and fellow sojourner, and on your process of using any/all of the above Truth Lists, as well as coming up with your own! – which we would love to see! Please feel free to share in a comment!
My flesh machinery has really been riled up these past few days, with food loudly and persistently calling my name, like, all the time! Awaiting zero has been harder than usual.
We are taught in Thin Within that overeating – eating when we aren’t hungry – can cover raw, uncomfortable emotions, thus numbing us and keeping us from dealing with emotions that really need to be dealt with, not buried alive or smothered.
Doing things that I know I should be doing often helps me ignore the loud calling of my name by food.
My food is to do the will of Him who sent me, and to accomplish His work.” (John 4:34)
I’m fully aware this is Jesus talking, and that I’m not Jesus! Or diety! But I believe that this principle – that doing the will of God is food to us – is true for us, too, and Jesus lived it out first to show us how to do it.
But still… right now all I want to do is eat! EAT EAT EAT!!!! UUUUGH!!!! (This is as embarrassing to admit as it is frustrating to feel!)
But the Lord reminds me… I am not without help! He Himself helps us:
Apart from Me you can do nothing…
But He has also inspired His people to create resources that help us more clearly see – and accurately apply – these truths. And He has given us many wonderful resources in Thin Within, especially via Judy and Arthur Halliday, and Heidi Bylsma! I am currently going through Rebuilding God’s Temple, and in the Week 10, Day 4 lesson, we are asked to take note of specific emotions that are stirred up in us while awaiting zero, and then also journal about them. So that’s what I’m going to do right here – share with you my process… for better or worse…
1. Identify the emotion that’s surfacing while awaiting zero:
That’s easy! ANXIETY!
2. Journal about it:
I know scripture clearly tells us to not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, to let our requests be made known to God…
And I totally get that and agree with that! Well, I totally agree with that, but I’m not so sure I totally get it, or I wouldn’t still be dealing with this stuff, right? But nonetheless, I am anxious.
The wonderful thing is that God knows us, He knows we will be anxious, and He has made provision for this emotion in these verses:
Pour out your hearts to the Lord for He can help.” … “Make your needs known to Him.” … “Come and talk with Me, oh my people…”
So I will take Him up on his offer and start pouring… making my needs known to Him… and coming to and talking with Him…
Here are my current anxiety-causers: (They really boil down to two.)
One is that I have a busy few days coming up, and I am anxious about how I’m going to get everything done. How do I best prioritize, not get side-tracked, and use my time the most wisely?
The other is that we will be having company staying at our home for several days. I have a melancholic personality and I enjoy – and actually need – time to myself. Having company will entail interruption to my usual quiet days – quiet because we are empty-nesters and my husband is retired. So this will be challenging to my flesh, especially since hospitality does not come easily or naturally for me – probably because I am basically selfish, and hospitality is basically all about unselfishness. It will be rewarding, too, I enjoy people once they are here, but I am still anxious about this.
So identifying the emotion and journaling about it got everything out in the open, and definitely helped, but now I need to take it to the next level and “finish it up”; I need to…
3. Pray it all the way through.
Okay, Lord, here I am…
Lord, You know all about the anxiety that is having a hayday in me right now. And I’m sure this is part of what’s drawing me so strongly to want to eat right now, to try to mask it or smother it or avoid dealing with it, or D. ALL THE ABOVE.
Of course I know full well that none of those will work, but that doesn’t mean I won’t fall for it, again.
Lord, I want to be honoring to you in how I eat, and I know I have not been, and for that I ask your forgiveness.
I come to You with the weightiness of my emotions, my selfishness, my confusion, my frustrations, my anger, and my insecurities…
…in this case, about hosting and entertaining guests. And I give it ALL to You, Lord…
You know what You want to happen with our guests, and I ask You to lead me that way and give me Your heart, Your love for them.
Help me think less about myself and more about them and their needs, and to make them feel welcome, and to show them Your love.
I also ask You to help me use my time wisely and get done those things that You want done, and let the rest go!
I cast all of these cares on You, Lord! I can’t fix them or get rid of them anyway, so I bring them to – and leave them with – You.
And I trust You with them, and to get me over any hurdles, and through any tough times that come up today and once our company is here. Please give me the words, the heart, the direction, and the wisdom I need in each moment.
Thank you, Lord, for everything You are doing and are going to do! Aaaaaaamen!
Many have found that having a prayer/accountability partner is a huge help on their Thin Within journey. And it only makes scriptural sense: .
Of course, we want the “third party” in that triple-braided cord to be the Lord Himself. As we all know, if He’s not in this with us, undergirding us, transforming us, drawing us to Himself, motivating us (with His motivations, not ours), and empowering us, then we may as well not even embark on this journey.
The Ecclesiastes author was speaking in general principles, but we can be more specific now that we have Jesus who has opened the way to the Father! So, before connecting with a prayer/accountability partner, we need to take care of that – as in get our hearts connected and our lives submitted to Him.
A prayer/accountability partner helps us stay connected to the Lord and encourages us to keep remembering that our help comes from Him, nudging (or maybe downright pushing) us toward Him!
And there are many ways we can do this! There are no rules; you can do it any way you like!
I prefer to do this thinking in terms of not receiving anything back; just in how to bless them. But see the very end of this article for a thought on that!
Here are a dozen quick, easy, and simple ideas to help you connect with your prayer/accountability partner. I share lots of pictures, each of which speaks 1,000 words! – making this a 22,000-plus-word article with very little actual reading!
1) Share a Scripture that blessed you.
Here are three options:
Type it out on your phone or computer.
Go to a Bible app and copy and paste it from there.
Take a picture of the highlighted verse in your Bible…
2) Share a victory.
Big, little ~ doesn’t matter! And maybe add why it was so significant ~ or so challenging ~ for you.
3) Share an accountability form you completed.
This is one of Emily’s, used with her permission. (These forms are at the back of the Thin Within Rebuilding the Temple workbook.)
4) Share an overhead slide that spoke to you.
These can be from a sermon at church or a workshop or conference you attended.
5) Share a devotional that ministered to you.
This one’s in one of my favorite devotional books, Jesus Calling.
6) Share a plaque or wall hanging you saw at a store that spoke to you.
7) Share a link to a blog article…
…or share a podcast that you know will encourage and bless your prayer/accountability partner…
8) Share a truth card you made or found.
I made all of these… (Even though you and I are not prayer partners, I hope they encourage you today anyway!)
(Bonus points if you use a photo they took and sent you ~ which this is! Debbie sent me this picture of the snowy scenery on her trip home!)
Here’s an article called Truth Cards 101 for more on how to make your own! It’s actually FUN! And there are LOTS of ways to do them and many sources for ideas – all of which I share in this blog article!
9) Ask: “How can I pray for you today?”
Another way to word this is: “Do you have any challenging situations coming up that you’d like to have me pray for you about?” I like that because I may not think of any prayer needs, per say, but, when asked if I have any challenges coming up, of course I do!
10) Share a challenging situation that you have coming up today.
I know I said this is all about blessing them, but most people enjoy knowing they are helping and blessing someone else. “It’s more blessed to give than to receive.”
11) Share a truth you wrote in your journal.
It might seem simple and unprofound to you, but it could encourage and inspire your prayer partner – like Emily’s blessed me…
12) Share an audio recording of yourself talking.
…about any of the above things… a scripture, an excerpt out of a book you’re reading, a truth card that impacted you, a prayer need or a situation you have coming up, etc.
Most people don’t like hearing their own voice, but remember that you’re not doing this for you; you’re doing it for your prayer partner!
You will need to find the audio recording – or maybe it’s called voice memo – feature on your phone. If you don’t know where it is, ask a friend who has a phone like yours if they can help you find it.
(This is just a picture of the prompt to access the one Emily sent me. I have not figured out how to get her recording into this article. If anyone knows, please let me know! Emily gave me permission to share hers!)
You can do as many of the above ideas as you want – or even just one – on any given day! Again, no rules. Just jump in and do something. And “any and all the above” give you a place to start.
Don’t get hung up or slowed down on doing it perfectly! Or on how much or how little you’re doing. Or on how consistently you’re connecting. Just DO it! And have FUN!!!
One last bit of encouragement… Even if you have a prayer partner who’s not able to bless you back as much as you would like, you’ll still be blessed because….
Who would’ve thought that my mind needed to be renewed about apples?!?! But God has been speaking to me about them and I am so glad! What started this string of related events was that my grandson, Jonah, came up to me one day with an apple in hand and, because I was actually at a zero, the apple actually looked appealing!
That was a bit surprising to me, because I have never been an apple fan. I might eat a few pieces when Dave slices up an apple, but I’ve just never been wild about them.
So I was pleasantly surprised to find Jonah’s apple looked good to me. I hoped it had nothing to do with Eve’s apple looking good to Adam back in the Garden. No way to know that, so I knocked that off the list as being a possibility.
What it did have to do with was the fact that I was all the way down to a zero ~ the perpetual challenge for me.
When I’m truly hungry, pretty much anything looks good to me at that point. But that’s okay; I’ll take it!
Jonah graciously let me have a few bites, and as I enthusiastically gobbled them down, I thought “Wow! What have I been missing?!?”
Jonah told me I should have one a day. To make sure I didn’t forget (he knows I have occasional memory issues), he fixed up this little set-up on the kitchen counter:
In case you can’t read the sign, it says: “Don’t forget to eat one apple every day, gramma. ~ Jonah.” This was a sweet confirmation ~ and reminder ~ that the apple is something good for me that the Lord had in mind since ~ well, it would appear since He first created Man and Woman, and put them in the Garden. I loved that God was redeeming the apple for me! But He wasn’t done yet!
The next morning, the very first email I opened was from Jeff Reagan who operates Patriot Health Institute (dot com). As one might expect from the name, both patriotic and healthy topics are Jeff’s focus. And I was pleasantly surprised to find an email from him that touted the merits of…
(You’ll never believe it…)
In fact, I will share an excerpt of it with you here…
Apples. They’re just too good for you to pass. Eating apples regularly is associated with a long list of benefits. And it’s a nice combo when something so good for you also tastes good. Apples reduce your risk of diabetes, because they’re chock full of phytonutrients that regulate blood sugar. They’re very rich in antioxidants, and more important they’re tops for “free phenolic compounds.” That means the nutrients aren’t bound to other compounds, so they get into your bloodstream more easily. Apples reduce stroke, fight bad breath, prevent asthma attacks, and can help you maintain your weight. Plus, they drive down C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation that, when elevated, means you’re on the road to heart disease. And not to compare apples and oranges, but they’re full of vitamin C too.
My gooooooodness! That’s ELEVEN wonderful benefits right there!!!
I knew the Lord was blessing me by opening up my interest in this wonderful world of apples and even, since I’m a bit dense, hammering it in a bit ~ though lovingly and gently.
But isn’t it just like Him to add a “cherry on top”?!?! Get this!!! ~ In the very next porch chat that Christina put out, she said at the very end: “And YOU are the APPLE of His eye”!
Thank You, Lord, for redeeming this amazing fruit that You created, and then for even using it to let me know how precious I am ~ we all are ~ to YOU!!!!
Christina and I are prayer partners for the current two-week span and she sent me this picture of the snowlady she and her daughters made in their front yard…
She wrote, “Fun in the snow! ❄️⛄️❄️ Isn’t she just adorable??? We named her Meridith!”
Recognizing that scarf as not only being Christina’s favorite flower, 🌻🌻🌻 but as having seen it ON her person in one of her porch chats…
Screen shot of Christina doing a porch chat
…I said, “Meridith is just toooooo cute!!!!! ⛄️ Did she have permission to use that scarf?!?!?? 😆”
She responded, “Of course! She and I are already becoming good friends! 🌼💕❤️🍃😀😀”
Aware that the warming weather would soon have “diminishing” effects on Meridith, Christina added “I don’t think she will be here long, though…😳☃️🍃.”
So the next morning I asked her, “How is Meridith doing? Is the warming-up weather imposing rapid weight-loss mode onto her?!?! ⛄️😄
(Just so you know, we DO actually talk about spiritual things as well! Right after this I shared my prayer for her from Psalm 22!)
On our Thin Within coaching call (with Heidi and Christina) later than afternoon, Christine told the rest of the girls in our group about Meridith, and sadly added that the sunshine had been shrinking Meridith quite a bit. A few of us shared with delight: “She’s melting down to her God-given size!!”
Christina went on: “Okay! Here comes the good part, girls! All Meridith had to do to shrink down to her God-given size was just be in the light and warmth of the sun! Isn’t that COOL?!?!?”
I said “I feel a blog article coming on!” and asked Christina to send me a picture of Meridith in her current melting state. Christina then asked me to do “before and after” pictures of Meridith, and to “use my magic” to put a face on her since hers had fallen off… which I did using carrot and leaf emoticons, and the “draw” feature of my photo editor. Not the greatest, but better than a blank stare!
So how might this look in real life? I started pondering what “melting in the light of the sun” might entail, and remembered I had already written about this very thing in a blog article I wrote a couple years ago called “How Does God Redeem Stuff?”
In it, I share five “methods” (actions, ways) God has led me to – and used in me to – redeem many things in my life. Two of those items – “expose” and “soak” – are perfect for our snowlady analogy as they explain what it means to expose ourselves to – and soak in – God’s warm light!
I’m going to share those two sections of that article here! (Well… Assuming I can get permission from the author! I hear she’s quite a stickler!)
Let’s start by thinking of a rock on the ground. It’s been sitting in the sunshine, so it’s nice and dry and warm…
Turn the rock over, and what might you see on the underside of that rock? … Scampering bugs, wiggling worms, dirt, mud.
What’s the best way to get the underside of that rock as warm, dry, smooth, clean and bug-free as the top of it? Should we urge the rock to go to a rock spa and get a make-over and scrub itself off?
Nope! Just turn it over and expose it to the Sun! Given a little time, the wet-turned-dry dirt can just be brushed off, leaving that underside nice ‘n’ clean – with no effort whatsoever on the part of the rock! All it had to do was let itself be exposed tot he warm rays of the sun.
Need a human picture? This guy is perfectly emulating this concept:
Likewise, I have had many bug-infested “rocks” in my life. Rather than try to clean myself up, the Lord has many times led me to just allow Him to gently turn one of my [many] rocks over in His loving hand and expose it to His warming, penetrating, healing, freshening rays! – which do all of the healing, cleansing work! All I had to do was simply lay there with my wound, dirt, or ugliness exposed to Him!
My mother-in-love made the most amazing pickles! But they didn’t start out their pickley lives as winners. They began as dill – or, for the sake of our analogy, we’ll call them sour pickles.
To be transformed into the amazing sweet pickles they became, all they had to do was SOAK in the NEW brine that I put them in!
God’s Word, theBible – “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God – what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2)
Worship – Whatever we look at, we become more like it. The more we focus on fashion, the more we want to be fashionable. (And thin!) The more we focus on food, the more we want it. But as we dwell on the Lord, the more we want Him, and the more we actually become like Him! And “As the Spirit of the Lord works in us, we become more and more like Him.”
(In the article I share a bitter, “vinegar-esque” thing we might soak in that actually aids in the transformation process, but we’ll just stay with the sugar aspect here.)
These pickles take a week to be completely transformed into the best pickles I have ever tasted! EVER!!! And they didn’t even have to go on a self-improvement kick! They just soaked in that transforming brine, getting sweeter as the days went by!
Likewise, if we soak in God’s Word, letting His “higher thoughts” soak into us, renewing our minds… If we get our eyes off of our sour selves and worship our mighty, loving God, we will become more and more like Him, and get sweeter as the days, months, and years go by!
So thank you, Christina and girls, for creating Meridith and sharing her with us, thereby inspiring any of us who are struggling to melt down to our natural God-given size to:
• lay down our striving to fix ourselves and…
• simply spend more time exposing ourselves to the Son, soaking in His healing warmth.