8 Tips to Get the Most out of Small-Group Coaching

8 Tips to Get the Most out of Small-Group Coaching

I have noticed that there are two types of people in Thin Within:

  • Those who stay on the fringes of the ministry, dabbling here and there, reading some, participating in a group or two –  which I did for years! And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it! I was welcomed, accepted, and loved, and I received much in the way of encouragement and resources. And I learned and grew. But there was no “connectaccountability” – meaning no one knew when I was coming or going, or how I was doing with the program, other than what I chose to reveal in a group.

Fringe-stayers; comfy, but you don’t go anywhere (at least I didn’t!)


But I personally could just not get to a place of fully embracing the Thin Within message or implementing it into my life. That’s why I was SO glad when Heidi and Christina began their small coaching groups, as this was the opportunity I needed to be part of the second type of Thin Withinner:

  • Those who jump in to the program head-first, with heart in tow, and become participants in a much deeper, real-time, connected way!

Woo-hooooo!!! So glad I jumped in!


This is now ME, too!!! And I like it much better than being in the first group! (Don’t worry, it’s much easier than doing the above jump would be, but it felt almost as scary right at the beginning!)

In fact, I love small group coaching – and Heidi and Christina(!) – so much, I’m now in my fourth group!

Perhaps you have made the jump into joining a small coaching group, and started out, but then got cold feet part way through and opted to pull out.

Or maybe you stuck it out, but didn’t feel you got out of it what you hoped.

No matter what boat you’re in – or not in – I have a few tips that will help you get the most out of your involvement with a small coaching group. Note that many of them are decisions.

1) Decide right up front – as in right now ~ that you will jump in to this program, specifically into your group, with your whole heart, and that you will give it all that you can! This isn’t just about Heidi and Christina giving to us, although they do much of that! It’s about what you bring to – and give to the group. In fact, if you decide to GIVE more than you receive, you will be even more blessed, because, as we all know, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Part of what they do is facilitate us connecting with and blessing each other! 

I’ve often gone to a call just feeling grimey, like I’ve failed (cuz I actually had!), and like I need a good cleansing. But after each of our calls, I feel like I have been washed fresh and clean – by the Word, by sharing my heart and being showered with encouragement, love, and compassion. My focus gets changed from being downward-focused, to being focused on Jesus’ cleansing grace, excited to jump back in whole-heartedly and right-heartedly.


2) Do your prep work for the call each week, as much as possible, not as a legalistic or performance-based thing, not just so that you can check it off your list (which, as confirmed “To-do-a-holic,” I do LOVE checklist-checking-off!), but rather, simply because these assignments are part of the work that God is doing to bring us out of Egypt and into his promised land! In our case, it’s the Promised Land of FREEDOM FROM EMOTIONAL EATING AND BONDAGE TO FOOD!!! I SO look forward to this, but, thanks to these coaching groups, I am much closer to it than ever before!


3) But, even if you are not able to do all of the assignment, or even any of it ~ and there will be those times – decide right nowthis very moment(!) – to come to every single call that you’re able to, even, if not especially, when you you don’t want to come! Heidi and Christina are sooooo gracious – ALL of the time!!! Even if we have been unable to do the assignments, we are still just as welcome on the calls! We have ALL been there, and there is no condemnation, and we have still gotten much out of our time on the call, with noone thinking less of us for it!


4) Show yourself GRACE ALL through the process, because that is absolutely the theme of this ministry, and at the very core of Heidi and Christina’s hearts! There have been many times that I have felt like I deserved a little bit of scolding, but that has NEVER EVER happened! I have received nothing but encouragement, grace, and love!


5) Determine that you will discard any and ALL thoughts of self-condemnation! This includes being down on yourself, feeling like a failure, or entertaining any ideas of quitting. Since what we are doing in these small groups is really part of our walks with the Lord – in an area we have heretofore kept in a dark closet of our hearts – there’s really nothing TO quit! This is very much part of our journey with God! We are just bringing an area of our lives into a place of allowing God to have access to it – to heal us, and bring us out of that darkness and into His wonderful light! Sometimes that light can be blinding and uncomfortable, but it’s the only place we’re going to get fully healed!


6) Decide, instead, that when you fail or “blow it,” you will “observe and correct,” and focus only on what you can learn from any failure. And we get plennnnty of practice at this with Heidi and Christina, who simply don’t accommodate any attempts to beat ourselves up!


7) Likewise, decide right now that, when the Holy Spirit shows you any sin, you will repent quickly! No groveling, no retreating from Him, no justifying, no pummeling yourself for doing it again, no pity party. Just quickly come into agreement with the Lord (about your sin) and REPENT! Respond to His loving conviction and come back quickly to Him. Do not allow it to keep you away from Him. He is our only hope for transformation anyway, so staying away from Him will only cut us off from our Source of power and change!


Jesus’ arms – and those of Heidi and Christina and everyone in our small group – are wide open to receive us and swiftly get us back on the path to peace, healing, freedom and victory!


This is actually more like what it feels like sometimes!!!


And finally…

8) Come to each call ready to be vulnerable and share what is truly on your heart! This is not the place to come with a happy-face mask and act like everything’s fine when it isn’t. This is truly a loving, caring, gracious group of ladies, under the loving and wise leadership of Heidi and Christina, and you can be totally yourself, totally vulnerable with them! You will absolutely FALL IN LOVE with these amazing people!


It’s like being part of a living, vital, growing, fruitful vine! We are all connected, all growing together, and in many ways producing sweet fruit together because of the input we all have into each others’ lives on this inter-connected leg of the journey. Yes, it’s difficult but we are in it together!


So – can you see why I am sooooo deeply grateful to be in a Thin Within coaching group with Heidi and Christina?!?

I know weight numbers are not a focus, but just so you know this really works from not only a spiritual angle, but from a physical one as well, I have lost about 30 pounds since starting this Thin Within journey! And I have another 20 or so to lose, which will put me at my natural God-given size, not necessarily “skinny.”

These small groups help me keep “walking in the light” where it’s much more difficult to hide in the darkness than when I’m “Lone Rangering” it! – which is SO easy to do when I am struggling and failing and sinning!


So if you are still on the fence, I encourage you to take this to the Lord, ask Him if this is something He wants you to be part of, and if so, don’t wait another moment to sign up and jump into this! It might feel like you’re about to do this…


…especially when you first join and come to your first group phone call. But I encourage you come to the water, LET GO of the rope – whatever is holding you back – and JUST JUMP IN!!!!


I can wholeheartedly assure you that…

the water is WARM!!!



How to “Take Every Thought Captive”!

How to “Take Every Thought Captive”!

Do you, like me, tend to carry a lot of “weighty matters” in your heart?!? Things that weigh you down emotionally and snuff out your joy? There IS a solution, and it’s in II Corinthians 10:5:

“…and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

“Taking every thought captive” is a great idea, and I know what it means generally, but I have certainly not been very good at actually implementing this into my own life!

Analogies help me “see” things more clearly, which, in turn, helps me know how to do something that’s difficult for me. The Lord recently gave me a tool to help me understand and implement this concept of “taking every thought captive” – which I’m excited to share with you.

Not all thoughts are created equal, of course, so only certain thoughts need to be taken captive. The ones that need to be “made obedient to Christ” are those that concern me and weigh heavily on my heart; any thoughts in the atmosphere of my thought life that wreak havoc on my peace.

Here’s what I’d like the terrain of my mind to look like on a normal basis:

But when obnoxious, pesky, mood-darkening thoughts dart around in my head like an asteroid shower, whacking me emotionally when I least expect it, they drag me right down emotionally.

These thoughts run wild, having a free-for-all on the otherwise serene countryside of my mine, trampling my peace as easily as wild horses trample flowers!!!

Some days they can totally derail me, and knock the wind completely out of my sails.

The cumulative result is that the heaviness of these thoughts often tempts me to EAT in an attempt to quiet them down or numb them – which, of course, never works. In fact, it only adds yet another “weighty matter” to the whirling mix!

It occurred to me that this whole crazy, destructive process is not the Lord’s will for my life! It’s a LIE, not the TRUTH, that I have to live this way! Even if it only happens once in a while, it’s still too much!!! (But, for me, it’s more than just once in while; usually a few times a week.)

(Actual depiction of actual thoughts hitting my mind!)

God wants me to stop allowing these haywire thoughts to assail me and effectively mess up my peaceful pasture!

So, instead, I need to take God up on His offer of giving me a “spirit of power, and love, and a sound mind,” take the proverbial bull by the horns, and round up these thoughts, taking each of them captive, and put them all into a “corral” where I can deal with each of them, one at a time, as I have time.

These thoughts come in a variety of forms:

• Some are things I need to ask the Lord about and get His perspective and/or direction on.

• Other thoughts I need to bring to Him and surrender to Him.

• Others I need to drag out into the light before Him, confess as sin, and repent of and ask forgiveness for

• Others I need to soak in His presence and get healed.

• And still others I need to put in a back burner, put a lid on, and not even think about until the Lord brings it back to my mind to deal with – another time, maybe  when I am more ready, with Him.

One thing I know for certain is that God does not want EVERYTHING to be out on the forefront of my mind all at one time. That just completely overwhelms me and freezes me in my tracks.

So that’s exactly what I did yesterday! Some rounding up of some “wild horses” and corralling them into a pen – on paper!!

Throughout the day, as thoughts came into my mind, rather than letting them harass me, I jotted them down, one at a time as they came.

By the time I got done, I felt pretty relieved and unloaded!! Of course, I still have much processing to do of these things, but I feel that they are now corralled, and waiting their turn to be tended to ~ because I have a lot of work to do!

I want to interject here that a major victory for me in doing this was that I did not get all perfect about it! The corral fence is very uneven and rustic, and my writing is just legible enough that I can read it later!

I would normally want to make a beautiful, straight, even fence and do my best writing, but instead I just let this be an exercise in dumping, not in perfectionism!

(No,  your vision hasn’t gone bad – unless, of course it actually has gone bad. The reason you can’t read my writing is because I blurred it, only because several of my points are private and not for public viewing. 😉)

I have a little plan for what to do with all these concerns next, as in how to deal with them on this paper (which, by the way, is on the back of a page in my Fresh Wind Fresh Desire notebook…)  Using a highlighter, I’m going to put a heart over each one after I’ve prayed it through.

If a concern is something I don’t know what to do about, I will ask the Lord to show me how to deal with it…

If it’s something that makes me sad, I will ask the Lord to lift the heaviness of it…

If it’s a mess I don’t know how to fix, I will ask the Lord for wisdom…

If it’s a wound, I will show it to the Lord like a child shows an “owie” to Mom or Dad and expects it to be taken care of and fixed…

At my age, (65, if you care; hah, I’m still 65 even if you don’t care!), I have fixed a good number of messes, hard things, and “owies,” both literal and figurative. Like the kind in people’s hearts.

But there are still many things I can’t fix, that I need to have my Daddy-God tend to, instead of holding onto them and letting them fester inside me.

Some of these matters I may end up coming back to many more times, and, if so, I will just put another heart – in another color, of course – over it! Some of them may end up with several layers of hearts on them if the matter is ongoing! At least it will not continue to be a pesky, pain-producing asteroid zooming around in my head!

And if a concern ends up answered and becomes a “done deal” that I no longer need to pray about, I will thank God for this, and then put an X through it.

And even if you have only a small number of weighty matters, you can still have just a small corral with only a few rounded-up “weighty matters”!!! Keep ’em under control before they get out of hand ~ and consume you!

I will close with a little amplification I did of Hebrews 12:11, as the Lord applied it to this new “corralling” tool:

For the moment, all discipline (in taking thoughts captive) seems painful (or pesky) rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained (and whose thoughts have been corralled) by it.”

A Berry Fruitful Lesson

A Berry Fruitful Lesson

I’d been picking berries over a period of a few days, trying to gather enough to make a batch of blackberry freezer jam and a blackberry pie ~ that I had a tiny piece of on a tiny plate, of course!


And, in so picking, I noticed something interesting that I hadn’t given much thought to before:  that the berries on a bunch all ripen at different times! Only one or two berries in any given bunch are ready to pick at any given moment.

For your farming education and berry-viewing pleasure, here’s a photo that I took of said berries, and then drew circles around each of the many bunches. (You may notice that a few of the bunches are lacking a dark, ripened berry ~ this is because I had already picked them off!)


This is similar to how I see myself as coming into “fruition” regarding growing in and applying principles of the Thin Within message! There are many areas ~ in Thin Within and in my life as well ~ that I’d like to be adept at all at once. Like immediately!!!  

But, alas, I am a slow learner. And  :::sigh:::  some days go better ~ and some worse ~ than others.

Just when I think I have one area conquered, I fail miserably the next day, as if I’m starting from ground zero! UGH!!!!! I know I’m really not, but some days it just seems like it!

Getting specific

One cluster of berries represents several areas that I need and want to grow and become more mature and skilled in! Like what, you ask?

Well, like…  waiting for zero…  stopping at 5…  which equals eating withing my 0 to 5 boundaries…

creating my truth cards…  reviewing my truth cards…  getting truths on my truth cards into my mind and heart…

drinking more water…  being more faithful at renewing my mind…  being more consistent at working in my workbooks…

eating more slowly…  exercising 0–5…  applying myself to conscious and undistracted eating…

running to Jesus instead of to food for comfort or help in decision-making…

truth journaling…  letting go of the dieting mentality…  learning to not beat myself up when I fail…

allowing God’s truth to replace lies…  for that matter, learning to even recognize lies!!!

And these are not things that I feel bound to do; they are things that God will use to set me FREE, “if I don’t get discouraged (or distracted) and give up”!!!

In fact, since I am berry ~ I mean very visual, I went ahead and labeled most of the individual berries in the bunch in the photo above so that you could visualize exactly what I mean right along with me!

(The above varying berry stages are not exact representations of MY actual maturity in these areas!)


Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could mature in all of the areas we want, all at the same time!?! But that’s not too likely given the fact that we are human, weak, and imperfect.

But, as long as we are on the Vine, and remain connected to Him, who is also the Vine Dresser, we will mature! And I assure you that it won’t be because of our own ability to hang on! It will be because of His life-giving, transforming grace that flows through the veins of our souls and nourishes, grows us up, and ripens us in the “wisdom and stature of the Lord”! In fact, He even helps us to hang on!

So as we “seek him first,” all these berries – I mean things – will be added unto us!

I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)


Heavy on the “apart from Me you can do nothing” bit!!! And thinking I can when I’m on a good streak is part of the wrong thinking that needs to be renewed in my mind!

Since that verse is about grapes, I thought it would be appropriate to include a photo of grapes ~ which turned out to be prettier than the blackberries! Aren’t the variations in color as they ripen amazing?!?! (Wish I looked this pretty as I’m ripening!!!)


Let’s close by praying through that same verse:

Lord, You are the vine, and I am one of your branches. My heart’s desire is to remain in You, and for You to remain in me, so I ask You to help me do this, Lord! Help me allow You to transform the “home of my heart” into a place You are comfortable residing in.

I want to be a fruitful branch of Yours, and to produce much tasty fruit, but I know this is a byproduct of allowing You to live Your life in and through me! For, apart from You, Lord, I can do nothing! (As in ZIPPO… NADA… ZILCH!!!)

Thank You for choosing to dwell in my heart, Lord!!! … Aaaaaaamen!!!!



Truth Cards 101

Truth Cards 101

One of the best tools for renewing our minds is Truth Cards! As you’ll see herein, there are many ways to do them, and no one right or best way! Thank you to all the ladies who allowed me to use their truth cards as samples to give you even more ideas than just mine!


I’m going to give you several options for styles of Truth Cards as well as how and where you can find content for them! You may, like me, want to do a combination of various styles, so be sure to read all of these to get ideas beyond what you might have thought of thus far!

To become more familiar with the concept, watch this video by Heidi Bylsma entitled “Truth Cards -Thin Within Support“! Have a note pad handy as she shares several of her own truth cards that you can use as ideas for making yours!







As you’re reading the Word, you might find a verse that, prior to now, didn’t seem like it would pertain to renewing your mind regarding food, but all of a sudden it takes on new meaning! You’ll also come across some really helpful verses in a Thin Within book, workbook, or a related resource, like Barb Raveling’s Freedom From Emotional Eating. For example:

“He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6)



These can be from any reading you do, Thin Within or not. It can be anything that stands out to you as being TRUTH that you want to capture and go deeper in you. Or the quotes can be things you hear in a video, such as the ones Heidi and Christina provide.

“I really can choose to put to death the deeds of the flesh and say no to ________.  … I am free to offer my body to God for righteousness.” (from Thin Within, page 140)



Barb Raveling’s books typically have many questions. These are to help us process the material for ourselves. Heidi has turned several of these into truth cards! For example:

“What will happen if you continue to reward yourself with food whenever you accomplish something?” (from “Reward Eating” in I Deserve a Donut by Barb Raveling)



These can be any truths or sayings you hear in passing, reading through posts in a Thin Within group or elsewhere on social media, or something God drops into your heart that you want to be sure to keep. It can be something profound, funny, or just helpful. For example, I found several in A Taste For Truth a 30-day study by Barb Raveling. I also turned something Heidi said into a photo truth card:




Heidi wrote under hers: “Life without boundaries; do you really want to go there?” (So we aren’t out to disdain ourselves!) Here’s mine using her idea:


If you are on the Thin Within journey and are using even just one or two of their many resources, most of the above content opportunities are coming at ~ splashing on ~ you all the time! Grab ones you like and get them onto Truth Cards so that you’ll have these life-changing, heart-transforming, mind-renewing truths in a format you can refer back to and get imbedded in your mind and heart! They will actually become part of your spiritual DNA!





There are several methods for making Truth Cards, and I enjoying using all of them! But if you want to stick with just one that you’re comfortable with, that’s totally fine!

Most start with a simple pack of spiral-bound index cards. The ones I got are 4X6″ and have lines on one side. I’m currently using the plain side to make mine. I’ll eventually hand-write on the lined side. Here’s the card pack I’m using:

There are other ways to do them (as you’ll see in a moment), but having them spiral-bound keeps them all in one place, making it easy to go through them.

In the Thin Within Discussion and Support group, people have posted lots of Truth Cards that they have made! (I’ll tell you at the end of this post how to easily find them!) I’m sharing a few of those truth cards herein so that you can see the variety of styles right here in one spot.

You can do them on your computer or totally free-hand; you can decorate them or just leave them plain! Here are several style options with samples of each.



You can write or print your cards freehand, in your own simple handwriting or fancy-schmancy calligraphy.


Judith Eastham made these two:


Jodi Ghere did her truth cards lengthwise:

(Start at the bottom and read upward! The word “grace” ends up covering you, with “the law” being under grace!)



For those who are computer-savvy, creating them this way is fun and handy! You’ll want to create a template, test it out, and adjust font sizes and margins to make sure your cards fit whatever cards you’ll be putting them onto. (I have a free printable for you further down!)

Here’s one I made using a photo I took and combining a verse with a truth:


Barbi Oakley Curtis created these three Truth Cards on her computer:



Kathryn Felts printed and then cut out the verse, glued it on to a card…

…and then cut out pictures (nostalgically appealing to all of us paper doll lovers of yesteryear!) that go sweetly with the verse, and glued them on around the verse.


Here’s one I made; how I decorated it is in #4 in the “Scrapbookesque” section below.




Those who enjoy doodling, crafting, and cut-and-pasting (literally, like with actual glue) can embellish their Truth Cards with papers, fancy fonts and/or pictures they get from magazines, newspapers, etc.


Amy Flink made this one:


This was made by Kathryn Felts:


Deanna Lewis hand-printed this and added a strip of designer paper on the left:



I type up my truths on my computer, and then format them into the size that fits onto whatever page I want it to go in. (I only had to format once, after that I just enter my truth sayings, and then resize the font to fit into that template.) Then I print them from my computer, and create mini scrapbook-like pages with using scrapbooking supplies I have on hand.


I used corner punches, designer papers, and a die for the scallops.

(This one above is a different size/shape from the free printable that I’ll give you shortly.) 


Cynthia Sullivan gathered scriptures she found in magazines and that people gave her, cut them out, and glued them onto index cards:


Marge Purvis’ sister had these made for her, with her name inserted into the verses!


(If I got any truth card credits wrong, or missed you, pleeeease let me know!)



Christina Motley suggested getting a flip calendar (old or new) and choosing verses from it that would work as Truth Cards. I loooove Thomas Kinkade’s art, so here is the Thomas Kinkade flip calendar I got:


For example, here’s one of the inside pages…


To transform it into a Truth Card, rip it out of the calendar, trim it, and glue it to a card in your card pack. Fast and simple! And it fit perfectly on the 4″X6″ card!


[OCD WARNING!!!]  I didn’t like having the date on there, out of context, so I covered it with a little punched-out piece that I wrote a related mini prayer on:

(You could just as easily write on a rectangular piece.)





First, here’s that FREE PRINTABLE! 24 Truth Cards that I created. 20 of them are just text, the last 4 are photos + text on the photos. Here are screenshots of them:





You are welcome to decorate them any way you like! Or just use these for ideas to hand-print your own! Here are the downloadable files:


24 Truth Cards (Word file / EDITABLE)

24 Truth Cards (PDF / NOT EDITABLE)


There are many ideas in the Thin Within Discussion & Support group!!! Amy Flink and Cathy Maher posted hundreds of pictures of their own Truth Cards! (Thank you, ladies!!!)

You will not necessarily print these out and use them (though you could), but this is a treasure trove of truth card statement ideas!!! Plus you can get ideas for how to decorate them, if that doesn’t come naturally to you! Here’s what they look like, once you get to that area:




Go to the Thin Within Discussion & Support group, click “join” if you aren’t a member, once you are (a member), click on “Photos” and scroll down to 2014. They’re easy to spot, as many of them are lumped together, as above!

Here’s how it looks on my computer. You can see “Photos” in the column on the left side.


Here’s the same page on my phone ~ “Photos” is circled in red. (File locations vary on different phones, but at least you have two ideas of where to look.)


Once you’re in Photos, scroll all the way down to the bottom, January 2014, and they’ll be nearby. Scrolling up…  and up…  and up…  you’ll find LOTS of Truth Card ideas!




I’d love to see any Truth Cards YOU create!



Be Hangry, But Sin Not

Be Hangry, But Sin Not

If I were to ask your family members whether or not they can tell if you’re having a hard time, what might they tell me? Don’t worry! I won’t be doing that! But I know that in the years when my kids were home (we’re empty nesters now), they could definitely tell. My mood slid down a slippery slope into a dark and troubled pit when I was upset about something, ticked at them, on “Day 27” of my cycle, or when I was low on food. Just to name a few!

It’s totally understandable that, when we don’t feel good, we struggle with our emotions. But some of us don’t even struggle when we feel lousy; we just have a pre-set, given, “default” response of giving in to it, and allow ourselves to descend into a hissy-fit of a grumpy mood.


“Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.”  (John 12:3)

This last part of the passage ~ “the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume” ~ made me think of the tone of our home when we’re getting hungry. I’ve heard it called getting “hangry” ~ which is “hungry and angry” at the same time. Perfect term for it.

And when we are in that zone, everyone in the house is only too aware of it. We let our cutting, negative, unkind, careless and uncaring words and tones spew onto whomever is in our vicinity.

We may not even need to do any rationalizing of our foul attitude as it has become a normal way of life for us. So there isn’t even any conscious dealing with it when we feel this way.

Would you agree that such grumpiness fills the house with the stinky odor of said hangry person’s crankiness? In case you’re unaware, it truly ruins the peaceful feel of “home.”

It results in people retreating to their own rooms, to the TV, books, computers, or games to escape. Those pastimes are all okay (unless they become an addiction and become the love of one’s life), but it’s not okay when they’re a regular means of escaping fellow house-dwellers.



For some odd reason, we seem to think we have a right to be hangry. After all, we are giving up something very dear to us…  and we do give so much to our families and people in our lives…  and we do work so hard at work and/or at home…  and we do feel so crummy…  I’m not getting to stuff my face and delight my tastebuds every moment of the day, so why wouldn’t I feel crummy, angry, frustrated, edgy, and irritated?

Did you know that feeling grumpy and acting grumpy don’t have to go hand-in-hand? Sure, I can feel grumpy; there is NO sin in that! But don’t have to act grumpy.

“Be (h)angry, but sin not.” (Ephesians 4:26)

The two ~ being (h)angry and sinning ~ are clearly separate here. We are told that we can “be (h)angry,” but then immediately told: “but do not sin.” And if God tells us to do something, we can be sure He will give us the grace to obey.

If my house (or office, or car) is to be “filled with the fragrance of the perfume,” then I simply don’t get to give in to acting grumpy or hangry. It’s not my God-given right to do it, and I would guess that more kids have been turned off to God by this than any overt, anti-Christian draws. Maybe not, but I wouldn’t be surprised. This sin habit of ours at least created some cracks in our kids’ foundations as they observed and experienced anything but the love and grace of Christ at work in our lives, in a real way.




  1. ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR SIN:  Start by coming into agreement with God and acknowledging that acting out your grumpiness is sin. It’s anything but cute, and it’s not okay. No more allowing it, justifying it, or ignoring it. (And then getting mad at the kids for being grumpy! A bit hypocritical?) No need to argue with Him about this. Sin is sin; there’s no excuse for it. Reasons, yes, but not excuses that make it okay. God knows your challenges and how hard it is to be nice when you feel grumpy. So just come into agreement with Him on this. And then…
  2. REPENT:  Repent and ask God for forgiveness. Don’t waste any time wallowing in the shame and embarrassment, or whatever you’re feeling as you have come to realize the truth about yourself. Just bring it to the Lord, confess it, and receive His forgiveness and grace. This is what He died on the cross for. He’s not asking ~ or wanting ~ you to waste a moment of time beating yourself up over this. And when you do, you are actually in a state of not receiving grace; you’re too busy having a pity party! Forgo that, and just position yourself under the cleansing waterfall (warm!) of His grace and mercy, and let Him wash away your sin. And then…
  3. ASK GOD TO SANCTIFY YOU:  It’s one thing to repent ~ and certainly a good thing ~ but that just opens the door to the process of actually starting to change and get that area of our life sanctified and redeemed. (See my article at Honeycomb Oasis entitled “How Does God Redeem Stuff?” for more on this process.) Thankfully, God is bigger than our sin and ready to help us in our time of need. And this would certainly qualify as a “time of need.” (Just ask your family if they agree!) Allow God to help you crucify your unruly flesh to the cross, and give you grace to be pleasant, despite how you feel ~ or what you desire but aren’t getting ~ at the moment. Better yet, we need to ask and allow Him to actually transform our hearts and minds so that we will be less likely to need grace, because our flesh, having been transformed into the image of Christ, is less and less likely to even go there. Here are a couple of my favorite verses. Note the underlined parts:

    “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. THERE I’LL BE WHEN TROUBLES COME. For he will conceal me there when troubles come; he will hide me in his sanctuary. He will place me out of reach on a high rock.” (Psalms 27: 4 & 5)

    “But we Christians have no veils over our faces; we can be like mirrors that brightly reflect the glory of the Lord. And, as the Spirit of God works within us, we become more and more like Him.” (II Corinthians 3:18)

By the mind-and-heart-transforming power of God that activates as we renew our minds, we really can get washed from and set free of this sin, and be softer and kinder to those we live with and work with, even when ~ especially when ~ we don’t feel like it.



Many years ago there was a special speaker at church, a man who operated in the prophetic. And the “words” he gave people were spot-on.

He had been to our church several times over the years, and do you think I ever “got a word” from him? Nope! Never.

I knew God could ~ and did ~ speak to me anyway, so I didn’t feel abandoned by God (or him), but, still, I always hoped to “get a word” from him.

Well, at the very end of one service, he asked “Is there anyone who didn’t get a word who would like one?” I shot up my hand, and he had me stand up, and asked my name. I said “Barb.” He waited a moment, and then said “The Lord wants to remove the ‘barbs’ from your personality, and make you softer and more approachable.”


That wasn’t exactly what I was hoping to hear! I wanted a nice affirming word, not something so convicting! I wasn’t humiliated; just humbled, and needfully so.

Well, that word was given when I had kids at home and was operating in a lot of “flesh” when hangry, angry, cranky and/or grumpy. And the Lord used that piercing word in the process of me allowing Him to get that area of my life sanctified.

I want everything about my life to bring joy to God’s heart. And that is what I want on the forefront of my mind when I’m feeling cranky due to my emptying stomach and wayward heart calling (yelling) out to me to EEEEAT FOOOOOD prematurely. I want to die to my flesh at that moment, and let Jesus’ nature be what others experience.

“When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial.”  (Matthew 26:12)

Pouring my rights, my desires and my emotional and physical discomfort before the Lord is part of dying to myself. Even if your name isn’t Barb, do you nonetheless have any “barbs” to allow God to deal with? I want the old me buried at the foot of the cross so that His sweet new life can spring forth.




This article started out as a section of my article, The P.E.R.F.U.M.E. Zone. But I had more I wanted to say, and, since that article was already very long, I pulled it out of the P.E.R.F.U.M.E. article and brought it here to its new home, where it could be expanded upon freely! Doubled, to be exact!

The P.E.R.F.U.M.E. Zone

The P.E.R.F.U.M.E. Zone

In the wide world of losing weight, despite all the tricks, tips, programs and techniques, there is only one way for weight to actually be “lost” or “released.” Are you ready? Here it is…

    To lose weight, the body must be allowed to utilize its own fat stores. 

In other words, our previously-eaten fuel reserves ~ also known as fat ~ must be accessed and used.



If, on any given day, I consume the same number of calories as my body uses, (not that I count calories, cuz I don’t,) my weight will stay the same because my food intake matched and took care of my body’s fuel needs.

And if you eat more food than your body uses, you will gain weight.

So, this means that…  even if you eat only healthy foods; even if you exercise, work out, use the stairs instead of the elevator, park in the furthest parking spot, and choose the menu item with a little heart beside it…

…if you do not eat less than your body actually needs to function, thus putting your metabolism into a state of being required to access its own previously-eaten fat stores to obtain energy, you will not lose your excess weight. It will stay exactly where it’s at, decorating your body.

But this is not an enjoyable experience, and is where many of us lose it ~ as in fail to lose our excess weight.

I have a simple tool, but first I need to give you a…



To understand where I’m going next with this, you need a basic understanding of what Thin Within is about. So here it is, straight from Thin Within’s “About” page:

“Thin Within is based on three principles: physical, emotional and spiritual. The physical principle emphasizes that we eat only when truly hungry and stop eating before we are full.

At Thin Within, we use what we call a “Hunger Scale” to track eating patterns. We encourage people to eat when they are at a “0”, or truly hungry, and stop eating when they are at a “5”, which is before they are full.

We don’t use labels such as “good” foods or “bad” foods. However, as people learn to respond to their God-given signals of hunger and fullness, and forego worldly legalistic food rules, they will begin to enjoy the freedom of making healthy well-balanced food and eating choices.”




One who typically diets might be thinking: “NO WAY! I can’t lose weight without being on a DIET!!!” Ooooh yeah, you actually can!  And much more enjoyably so. Many people have done so ~ just read a few of the testimonies at the Thin Within website! (Christine’s story, Deanna Lewis’ story, Kelly McGarry’s story), Marilyn Osborn’s story)

In addition to following these eating principles, emotional and spiritual aspects are also addressed:

“The emotional principle of Thin Within addresses the fact that we often eat in response to being upset, excited, anxious, nervous, depressed, lonely bored, etc.

At such times we turn to food to fill an emotional or spiritual emptiness, rather than for its intended purpose, which is physical nourishment. If this substitution becomes a habit, food can become an idol rather than a God-given gift.

The spiritual principles of Thin Within come in to play because it is often hard for us to eat from “0” to “5” in our own strength. We need supernatural strength and power to overcome fleshy habits and indulgence.

While food may provide some pleasure, physical nourishment it is not intended to provide spiritual fulfillment, which can only be met through a personal relationship with our Heavenly Father…”




There’s lots more, but that’s a good intro! Now let’s pull all this together.

No matter what my approach or plan, my body needs to use up its own fat reserves, which is going to mean some discomfort for me. It may be physical, emotional, spiritual, or any or ALL of those. And that is where the P.E.R.F.U.M.E. Zone enters the picture! (It may not be uncomfortable for all, but at my age, with my slower metabolism, it gets uncomfortable for me when I’m at a 0. Not pain; just discomfort.)


The P.E.R.F.U.M.E. Zone

The capitalized letters in this acronym spell “PERFUME” which stands for:  Previously-Eaten Fuel Utilization & Metabolism Enhancement Zone:

P = Previously 

E = Eaten

R = Reserve

F = Fuel

U = Utilization &

M = Metabolism 

E = Enhancement



This not a product; there’s nothing to buy. It’s simply a way of regarding and dealing with hunger. (I made it up, so you won’t find it on the Web.)

The “Previously-Eaten Fuel Utilization” aspect is simply allowing my body to utilize the “fuel” that I have previously eaten in excess, which I’m now storing as fat on my person.

So now I must allow ~ more like push ~ my body into that mode of accessing my stored fuel by eating less fuel than I use.

Very simply, this means I need to allow myself to get hungry so that my fat reserves are accessed for fuel. There have been times in my life when I have not felt true hunger for months. No wonder I am overweight! And that is precisely where the problem is for me!!! Because, very simply…



It is NOT fun, I DON’T enjoy it, and my “flesh man” wants to avoid it at all costs, cuz it just wants to EAT all the time!

But, if I’m going to lose my excess weight, I must stop that, and think and live O-5 eating.

Yes, there are other options, like surgery, but I don’t want to go there. (My sister did, and it was a good choice for her.) I want to bring the heart stuff (junk) that’s been lurking in the dark corners of my heart for years out into the light and dealt with so that I can live in freedom for the rest of my life.

Which, by the way, will be much shorter ~ or at least less comfortable and active ~ if I don’t tend to this weighty matter. (Pun intended.)

So I must allow my body to utilize its fat stores.

I have a feeling that when we are getting down to a 2 and a 1, we are actually starting then to access our fat stores. (If anyone knows, please let us know in the comments!)

And that is where the “P.E.R.F.U.M.E. Zone” comes in. It’s that zone between “starting to empty” and “true hunger.” However, for it to be the “P.E.R.F.U.M.E. Zone,” I must make a heart connection that I’ll explain in a moment. But first…



First, a couple things hunger isn’t

  • It’s not just wanting food. If you are not physiologically hungry, but you want or even crave food, that’s “heart hunger” or “head hunger.” Heart hunger is just as real as “true physiological hunger,” and it’s very very strong, but it’s not true physiological hunger.
  • Neither growling nor rumbling constitute true hunger, either. One or the other ~ or both ~ might accompany true hunger, but they aren’t reliable indicators that you’re truly hungry.

True hunger is where your stomach feels that gnawing, slightly burning sensation – aka a “hunger pang.” To be hungry can be (is for me) a bit uncomfortable, which is actually its purpose – to motivate us enough to get nourishment and thus enable ourselves to live.




But this is where it gets hard! Emotionally ~ because, as I believe I have mentioned, I LIKE to eat! I LIKE food!!!

A little while after we eat, (and how long depends on how much we just ate,) we start to feel our stomach “emptying.” This feels a little like being hungry, but it’s not yet true hunger. In the book God’s Chosen Fast, Arthur Wallis said that, when we stop eating, the walls of our stomach start to shrink, and that is what we are actually feeling at this point. So we shouldn’t confuse that with hunger. And that does make total sense.

But, no matter how much sense it makes, if my heart is not dealt with, and my flesh is still in control of my eating, head hunger kicks in at this point and beckons me to the kitchen… or to my purse where there’s a packet of trail mix…  or to Burger King where something yummy can be ordered real quick-like! But I’m actually only at a 3 or a 2 or a 1 at this “stomach-emptying-and-shrinking” point. I don’t get ~ or need ~ to eat until I’m all the way down to a zero.

So, instead of gleefully rushing to get food, I need to allow my body to shift into utilizing its own fat stores. If I take in food at this point ~ when I’m only at a 3, 2 or 1 ~ I will actually stop up the process of allowing my body to make this shift over to utilizing my fat- I mean FUEL reserve.

Because my flesh is strong, and it wants what it wants ~ food, in this case (in fact, food by the case sounds great!) ~ and, as I may have mentioned, it wants it now. so this is hard!

And this is exactly when I am in a prime position to enter the “P.E.R.F.U.M.E. Zone”!

Meaning…  I choose to sacrifice my desire to eat right now, and I offer up that desire to God as a living sacrifice. A fragrance to Him.

But I need His grace working in me to even be able to do this.




There are several Bible verses that shed more light onto the concepts of fragrance, perfume, and sacrifice.

“Walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”  (Ephesians 5:2)

Christ’s sacrificial act of giving Himself up was a fragrance to God. Likewise, I want my giving up my right to eat what, when, and how much I want to be a pleasing fragrance to God as well!

Giving up my right to eat (now and a lot) is actually part of “walk(ing) in the way of love,” as I am loving myself, which we are told to do in Matthew 22:39:

“Love your neighbor as yourself.”

By shedding my excess weight, I’m loving my family, too, because I’ll be better able to serve them, and hopefully for a longer time.

This sacrifice is “expensive” for me. It’s costing me full rights to myself. But our Lord, whose sacrifice on the cross was more “expensive” than I could ever imagine, is worth it, isn’t He?




Then there’s the matter of our mood when we’re getting hungry. “Hangry,” which is “hungry and angry” at the same time, is the perfect term for it. Is your grumpiness evident to all when you’re in a bad mood? Over anything, not just not getting all the food you want, when you want it?

If so, the other part of my sacrifice, is laying down my right to act out my “hanger” while in this grumpy-feeling state. Sure, I can feel grumpy; there is NO sin in that! But don’t need or get to act grumpy. What’s that scripture?

“Be (h)angry, but sin not.” (Eph. 4:26)


Since this doesn’t come naturally to most of us, the heart ‘n’ soul of getting and staying in the “P.E.R.F.U.M.E. Zone” is choosing to allow God to help me crucify my flesh to the cross, and to be pleasant, despite how I feel or what I desire.

(I delve into this more in my article “Be Hangry, But Sin Not.”)


So what does the “metabolism enhancement” aspect mean?

First, we don’t want to slow it down by eating too little or being hungry for an extended time! Like starving myself.

I read this at WebMD.com:

“You slash your daily calories to fewer than 1,000, and sure enough, the pounds melt away. But when you eat so few calories, you train your metabolism to slow down. Once the diet is over, you have a body that burns calories more slowly, and you usually regain the weight.” 

And once your metabolism has slowed down, weight is harder to release because the body, thinking it’s not going to get more food, slows down to conserve!

We want to increase our metabolism. We do this by increasing both activity and (thus, eventually) muscle.

Exercise is about more than just “using up calories” or “moving” and staying flexible. When we exercise, we are actually building muscle, and, what’s cool is that it’s the muscle tissue in our bodies that increases our metabolism by using calories even when we are just sitting! How cool is that?!?  So “Use it, or lose it” really applies here!

Drinking ample water also helps increase our metabolism. I think of it as lubricating the weight-loss process – which it does, literally and figuratively.

So when I first start sensing that emptying-but-not-yet-hungry feeling, I like to get a glass of water, (also a “sacrifice” because I’m not crazy about water), and then do some moving. When I most feel like just sitting and waiting for it to be time to eat, that is actually the best time to go for a walk and get myself moving, and also to renew my mind so that my heart gets pried off of food, and transformed into a heart that longs for the Lord more than it longs for food!

If waiting for true hunger is a challenge to you; if you tend to be cranky when you don’t get what you want, especially when it comes to food, and you want to view this differently and get more out of the process, apply these ideas about “the P.E.R.F.U.M.E. Zone” and get more spiritual mileage out of it!
Let me know in the comments how it goes for you, and any other insights you want to add!



A note to you who are


“not as young anymore”


When I was younger, losing weight was much easier. It was never “fun,” but it wasn’t nearly as hard as it is now at age 65.

As we age, our bodies tend to slow down, so our metabolisms naturally slow down, too. Partly just because of aging, but also partly because of not being as active as I used to be, which is partly because of aging. It’s a vicious circle that I have not done the best job of being on top of.

For me, there were the additional hindrances to being active that resulted from several injuries, plantar faciitis, and a knee surgery, each one slowing me down or altogether stopping me physically for weeks at a time. These also messed up my efforts and desire to have a regular exercise routine ~ which was already a challenge for me ~ and basically took the wind out of my sails. Or I let it.

Plus life just changes once children are grown up and out of the house. Less movement is required to maintain your normal day-to-day living, unless you have an otherwise active lifestyle or job, or unless you have a naturally active lifestyle and/or have applied yourself to physical exercise.

This is all a natural part of life, but we have to be UNnatural and very intentional to combat it.

So, at my age, I now have to allow myself to stay at a 0 for a little longer period of time if I want to release weight. The way I’d put it is that I have adjusted my “0” a bit. Since how we define a zero is quite subjective (who knows how and what we really feel), there’s room for adjustment anyway, so we have the freedom to define it in a way that works for us.

For example, I know of older gals who have said Thin Within doesn’t work for them. They did 0-5 eating for a long period of time, but didn’t lose weight. I wonder if they had adjusted their numbers a bit, redefining their “5” to be more what they had been thinking of as a “4,” and their “0” as a little more hungry.

As Heidi puts it, we need to allow ourselves to get “good and hungry.” If I only allow myself to get “barely hungry” for just a minute and then go ahead and eat, especially at my older age with my lower metabolism, I will likely not release weight.

So we just need to invite the Lord into this process and ask Him for wisdom and discernment in how to apply all this to our own unique situations, and also surrender our flesh and wills to His lordship!


Garden-Watering Lessons

Garden-Watering Lessons

I was watering our garden one day, trying to figure out how much is the right amount of water for my plants, and the right amount of time to water. I’m not exactly famous for having the most lush gardens or plants in my home; I tend to either over-water or under-water, and neither approach results in happy, thriving plants.


I noticed there were places where the soil got completely moistened with the water I gave it.

In other places it looked only barely moist.

And there were still other places where I had watered not long before, yet that were completely dry.

I realized that there were several things affecting my garden hydration efforts…



Of course, the amount of sun the area had beating down onto it played a big part in how dry it was, and how quickly it would become dry again.

In most analogies, I like to equate the sun with God and his warm grace, but this analogy is different…

Here I liken the beating-down sun to the “hard stuff” in my life. Things that are just rotten, awful, hard, painful, not going away, and that I have no power to change. They just keep beating down on me – and drying me out – like the hot sun in a parched desert.

It isn’t necessarily our “fault” if we have a lot of “hard sun” beating down on our life. It can be, if we’ve done wrong things that opened ourselves up to it. But there is much forgiveness for anything we have done wrong, and then we have a God who wants to walk with us through the consequences; not just put us through them as punishment.

But “the rain falls on the just and the unjust alike,” so many things that happen are not because of our sin or faults, but only because this is Planet Earth, where hard stuff happens. We are not in Heaven yet. That’s the next chapter. (And there are days I look more forward to getting there than others!)



Then there’s also the matter of the type of container or pot – or lack thereof – that a plant is in. A non-porous pot – metal or painted – does not allow nearly as much water to evaporate out through its walls as does a porous earthenware pot.

In fact, I’ve learned to not even put plants into smaller plain (as in unpainted) earthenware – “terra cotta” – pots as they dry out very quickly, and most of my plants die quickly in them.

At this point in my life, I am like a very porous earthenware pot. This whole thing of needing to die to my flesh in the area of food and eating is draining, in every sense of the word.


It involves allowing God to remove ~ as in peel off one layer at a time ~ my yucky “graveclothes” and reveal the stuff in me that either is dead, dying, or that needs to die.

I have to remember that this isn’t to annihilate me – though it feels like it sometimes in the midst of a painful process – but only to get me the end result of being healed and made whole and new. But it makes me “leaky” (including my eyes) and feeling very vulnerable. And greatly in need of a lot of God’s softening, moistening, refreshing and healing water.

Lesson from the pot type element: I need to allow the Holy Spirit to “seal” me in with His presence so that the watering of the Lord doesn’t just evaporate out!



I also noticed that the proximity of a plant to other plants made a difference in how soon the area would need to be watered again. I noticed that I was much less likely to see dry soil around plants that were close to other plants. The water seemed to soak through the whole area, probably through the common root system. And maybe just the interactive ambiance between them! Plus the shade the close-together plants created kept water from evaporating.


It doesn’t take too much imagination to translate this part of the analogy! Read any article on losing weight, or a testimony of someone who has lost – and kept off – weight, and they almost always include “accountability” in the list of tips.

We have also heard in Thin Within that our need for accountability is great. It took me a while before I finally started taking advantage of that here! Once I recommitted myself to doing this ~ to being in this kind of relationship – with you precious ladies here in the Thin Within community, I found it was absolutely priceless, and I now love it!

Being close to each other actually helps all of us retain our moisture and reduces the likelihood of “drying out on the vine”!



So how much time is “enough” time – especially with the Lord? It dawned on me, as I watered my garden, that I don’t need to focus on “putting in a certain amount of time” with the Lord, but that I need to give Him enough time to allow enough of His glorious healing and unlimited water to soak all the way down to my dry and needy roots; down to where my deepest need is.

I pray…that out of his glorious, unlimited resources He will give you the mighty inner strengthening of his Holy Spirit. And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts, living within you as you trust in Him. May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love…”  (Ephesians 3:14-17 TLB)


YES!!!  This is what I desperately need! My roots need to “go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love”! The rest of this passage in Ephesians 3:14-19 (TLB) has even more life-giving water as it elaborates on what this “marvelous love” is like:

…and may you be able to feel and understand, as all God’s children should, how long, how wide, how deep, and how high his love really is; and to experience this love for yourselves, though it is so great that you will never see the end of it or fully know or understand it. And so at last you will be filled up with God himself.


Getting filled up by the Lord isn’t so that I can say “I spent such-and-such an amount of time with the Lord today,” (which my “to-do-ish” nature gravitates to!), but so that my roots, the very core of me, can have all the Living Water I need to be nourished, refreshed, and healed. Transformed ~ from the INSIDE OUT! Psalm 1 says:

Blessed is the one … whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on His law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither — whatever they do prospers.


I have much on my proverbial plate in this season of my life, and am way too easily distracted to get to the things I want and need to do. I have too often simply – and sadly – not given my roots “enough” water, or my heart enough Jesus. It comes out in there being too little grace, too much negativity, and too easily feeling discouraged.

I am SO grateful for the various Thin Within communities! Each one that I have been a part of has been a sweet blessing, but a blessing that I have not “taken advantage of” nearly as often as I need to. Notice I didn’t say “as often as I should.” This is because there’s no “should”; only what I actually need.

I too easily allow other things to crowd in and take the place of spending the time I need to with the Lord. It’s also too easy to not connect with my sisters, especially when I’ve derailed and am not walking in the truth I know the Lord wants me to be. In other words ~ sinning and walking in disobedience. Like Adam and Eve, it’s much easier to hide. So, rather than being a part of the help we most desperately need, we drift apart from each other.

So, with me, will you re-state your desire to connect? Here is the two-fold intent that will keep us from drying out:

1) One is my commitment to give the Lord more time to go more deeply into me, down into the dry, crusty, dark places that are in need of His touch and His redeeming work.

2) And I’m also restating my commitment to come to my Thin Within community more often and to not only share nuggets of my journey with you precious ladies, but also to be showered with the refreshing “Living Water” that the ladies (and a few guys) here so lavishly share here out of their own walks with the Lord!

I am so thankful for the openness to so vulnerably share our journeys!

And the Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy you with all good things, and keep you healthy too; and you will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring.” (Isaiah 58:11)…




So how will we get watered?  One last verse comes to mind:

My heart has heard You say, ‘Come and talk with Me, oh my people.'”


…which I take to mean that He actually wants me to come and talk with Him even, if not especially, when I’m in a bad mood or a dark place, ashamed of my repeated failings, my sin, my battle with food addiction, my frustrations with myself, and the feelings of hopelessness that get a hold of me and try to drag me down into the pit of despair. I don’t need to clean myself up to come to Him; He wants to do that! I just need to let Him!

So, even when I’d rather hide,

by the mighty power of the Spirit of the Lord at work within me,” I will instead say: “…and my heart responds ‘LORD, (and you sisters here in the Thin Within community!), I AM COMING!’



Does this post look familiar? That’s cuz it first appeared here on the Thin Within blog over a year ago, on May 9, 2016 under Deanna Burris’ name!  I (Barb) was not officially blogging for Thin Within at the time, so Deanna posted it for me. However, I have since come on board TW’s blog team and wanted to both revise it and also to get it under my name for reference purposes. Hope this clears up any confusion. 🙂  I am happy to say that, in this last year, I have followed my own “two-fold intent” and am no longer dealing with “drying out on the vine”!


Objectionable Obligation or Inviting Opportunity?

Objectionable Obligation or Inviting Opportunity?

[Inspired by Terri Graham]

Am I the only one who finds it SOOOO hard to wait for a zero ~ “true hunger”? There are many things in my life that I do even though I don’t want to do them…  like doing the laundry…  dishes…  going places when I’d rather stay home…  I even shower, floss, wash my face, and make my bed when I’d really rather not!!!

And there are many things in the Thin Within world I do even if I can think of other things I’d rather be doing…

Having a phone chat with Heidi and Christina and our group? ~ I’d rather be napping at the 3:00 hour, but these chats are worth staying awake!!!!!!

Writing a blog post (which is like journaling for me)? ~ Lots of work, even drudgery at times, but a richly-rewarding process!!!

Making or reading through my Truth Cards? ~ Encouraging to read, fun to make!!!

Reading and commenting in the forums? ~ I love being encouraged and giving encouragement!!!

Adding to my God List? ~ A joy that helps shift my mood and my focus!!!

But waiting for zero? ~ UUUUGGGGHHHH!!!!!  I DON’T WANT TO!!!!


There!!! I said it!!! I just reeeeeeeally DON’T. WANT. TO!!!!!!!!

In my favor, there have been lengthy seasons in which I have been able to shift into that dreaded-yet-coveted state of being able to eat within the 0-to-5 eating boundaries. But then [whatever in the world?!] happens, and the weight that I so diligently and joyfully lost, inches its way back onto my person! Annnnd  :::sad exasperated sigh:::  the favor dissipates.



In the midst of one of these downward detours in my forever-long struggle, one day I happened upon a post by Terri Graham in the Thin Within Discussion and Support group on Facebook. (At least I was searching and not just retreating into a dark corner, which is my tendency in such times.) And Terri graciously allowed me to share it here. She wrote:

I just finished the chapter titled “Holy Struggle” in the Hunger Within book. A question following the chapter asks:

“Do you view the principle of choosing to eat only when hungry and stopping before you are full as an ‘objectionable obligation’ or an ‘inviting opportunity’? If you don’t see this as an inviting opportunity, why not?”

I realized that I do indeed view it as an objectionable obligation. Why? Because it is hard and takes time and patience.

My food (and my right to eat it) is “mine” and I really have held onto it like a petulant child not wanting to give up her pacifier when it is time. 

Today I confess this and I repent. I ask God to change my mind and my heart so that I will see it as an inviting opportunity. I need to renew my mind in this matter.

What about you? Why is this an obligation vs. opportunity? What are the truths you use to help you see it as inviting and as an opportunity?



So, getting real with myself (not my favorite thing to do,) why do I see this as an “objectionable obligation” rather than an “inviting opportunity”?

It feels like an obligation because my “flesh man” – which wants what it wants, and wants it now – is being restrained and constrained. It’s not getting what it wants right this very second.

Terri’s reference to the “petulant child not wanting to give up her pacifier” rang embarrassingly true as that very thought had just recently crossed my mind.

Many times, in the heat of a battle of whether to eat when I’m not hungry or to go ahead and indulge and eat more than I need (beyond a 5), self-discipline is the last thing I’m interested in! The image of a baby not getting what it wants is a perfect depiction of ME! Well, lacking the baby-cuteness.

So I thought I’d explore that a bit, and asked my friends on Facebook for photos of babies and their pacifiers. I actually only wanted one photo ~ of a baby whose pacifier had just been removed ~ so they’d be angry ~ which would give me an in-my-face view of what I myself must look like to God when I’m not getting my way.

What I got was several pictures!!! And I realized that, together, they made up a darling, but a little-too-vivid composite picture of my own attitudes toward food. Since this is not the cutest thing to see in a grown woman (me), I will let these babies “say it all” for me! Cutely, which my attitudes aren’t, but these babies are!


“I love my food. Totally contented with my food. See how contented I am?”


“You’re not really going to ask me to give up my food, are you?”


“But I wannnnnnnt it! I neeeeeeeeed it!!!”


“Nooooo!!! Please let me have my food!”


“I know!  I’ll HIDE some so no one will know about it!!!”


“You wouldn’t really take away something I cherish SO much, right?!?!”


“I’m warning you; do NOT take away my food! Seriously ~ JUST. DO. NOT!!!”


“Pleeeeeeease let me have it!!!!!  I waaaannnt it!!!”


“I CAN’T believe you TOOK it from me!!!!!!!!!”

(Thank you to the mommies of these little dolls ~ Shannon, Beth, Trieste, Maggie, Mandie, and Stacie, plus a grandma, Mary ~ for letting me use these precious photos!!! )



Okay, that was a fun ~ even though too-familiar-feeling ~ detour. Back to discipline and my distaste for it…  

I’m not off in disliking it. This verse in Matthew (11:28) says:

“For the moment, all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant…”


“Seems” painful?!?!? Feels pretty outright painful to ME!!! No “seeming” about it! But it’s in the Word, so it must be true. So I’ll come back to it in a moment.

Viewing “having to wait till I’m hungry to eat” as being an opportunity requires thinking beyond my current flesh-indulging state of mind and heart. However, it’s the only way that the rest of that verse can become reality, which is actually a pretty sweet reality:

“…but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”


And getting that peaceful fruit of righteousness is really the ultimate “opportunity,” isn’t it?!?! 

So, once again, back to Jesus’ feet I go to confess this sin of self-focus and self-indulgence, and repent. 



And I must remind myself (again) that repenting means I turn 180° and go ~ as in live and walk ~ the opposite direction! Not 360°! ~ a gaffé I’ve heard spoken by a well-meaning teacher! Which, if you think about it mathematically, actually means “coming full-circle,” right back around to the very state of sin we wanted to repent from. 

Not exactly repentance, but it sounds sadly similar to what I have too often done. 😣 (The verse about a dog returning to its vomit comes to mind.😣)

I ask God to change my mind and heart so that I will see eating only when I am at a zero as the “inviting opportunity” that it truly is. My flesh man can’t see this because of its inherent trait of being blind.

Solution? My flesh man needs to DIE so that my spirit man can be free to grow and thrive, which will enable me to see things as God sees them. This is no small feat (specially in ME), yet I know it is nothing that God can’t handle. And it’s totally accessible via re-surrendering my will and then renewing my mind on an ongoing basis!!! 



Back to the question of whether we see this as an “inviting opportunity.” I thought it would be fun to look into the word inviting a bit more deeply.

An invitation always bids the invitee to come to something. So what might that “something” be, specifically, if the Lord is the One doing the inviting?

Just for starters, here are three things I found in the Word that we are invited to:


1) Come to the Lord’s own TABLE.

Jesus, the King of Kings, invites us to dine with Him and tells us in Psalm 23 that He prepares a spread for us! And I’m sure is not just scraps! 

“You prepare a table before me, in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.” (Psalms 23:5)

(He’s not going to feed us flowers either; those are just the decorations!)


2) Come to JESUS and find REST!

This journey through life can be full of heaviness, but the Lord doesn’t want us to carry the burdens by ourselves! He invites us to:

“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” (Matt. 11:28)


3) Come and TALK with Him!

The God of the universe actually wants to converse with us! And He has time for us!!!

“My heart has heard you say, ‘Come and talk with me, O my people.’ And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.” (Psalms 27:8)


What we get out of the deal by submitting to God’s discipline ~ which, for us Thin Withiners, is 0-5 eating ~ far outweighs, outshines, and overshadows any pain involved. This is why I believe it’s worded that “all discipline seems painful…”  What’s truly painful is not accepting God’s loving invitation to embrace discipline and receive ALL that He has in store for us. Living with our self-indulgent heart day after day, month after month, and year after year is anything but pleasant!

Terri had a bit more to say:

“One of the baby pictures of a sleeping baby brought to mind, strangely or maybe not, the parable of the wise virgins. Does that food pacifier keep me from filling my lamp with oil? Does it dull my hunger for God? I think so. I need to make some truth cards for this.

Come, Lord Jesus, YOU are the answer to our every need!!! Help us GET this, HEAR this, RECEIVE what You are saying to us, APPLY it to our hearts and our thinking, FILL our lamps with the oil of the Holy Spirit, STOP dulling our hunger for You and things of You, and WALK IN VICTORY in this!!!!!



I’m sure there are many more “invitations” in the Word, and I’d love to hear any others that you find!!!

And I’d also love to see your responses to Terri’s two questions above:

What about you? ~ Why is this an obligation vs. opportunity?  ~and~  What are the truths you use to help you see it as inviting and as an opportunity?

Rising Up With Wings Like Eagles (or Jets, or Helicopters, or Zip-lining)

Rising Up With Wings Like Eagles (or Jets, or Helicopters, or Zip-lining)

Have you ever dreamed that you were flying ~ like literally flying?!?  I have, and ooooooooh my, it was exhilarating!!! With my arms stretched out front-and-side, in a mostly prone position, legs trailing weightlessly behind me, I flew a few feet above endless green rolling hills, with nothing carrying or pulling me! Just free-floating me, gently gliding over the rolling hills, soft breeze in my face! It was a most amaaaaazingly delightful experience!!!!!


One obviously can’t take pictures of one’s dreams, but I found this photo (above) on Pixabay that’s very similar to what I saw in my dreams. This is one thing ~ of many! ~ activities that I’m looking forward to in Heaven!

This has to be connected to my love of flying in a jet, which we did this last spring. Even though it’s not even close to being the same kind of flying experience as what I did in my dreams, it’s still a blast to take off (my fav!), and lift up off the ground…


Then rise up through the clouds…

(Dave and I take turns getting the window seat each trip we go on; if I really want to score points with him, I let him have it even if it’s my turn.)


And finally, we’re soaring above a soft carpet of clouds, looking down on them!


So it should be no surprise that Isaiah 40:31 is one of my favorite verses:

They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall rise up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”

Because we are still encumbered by our human bodies, flying on our own physically is impossible. Man has tried, but never succeeded. We’ll just have to wait for Heaven to enjoy that!

Likewise, because we’re still encumbered by our “carnal nature,” rising up into the spiritual skies is not easy; impossible on our own strength.

But not like the physical, we actually have access in the spirit realm to the ability to “rise up with wings like eagles.” So what actually holds us down?

I’ve come to realize that there are two major reasons for why I have a hard time “rising up” and and why I “faint” and “grow weary.”



Many years ago when I was at my ideal weight and out on my walk, I got to the crest of a hill and suddenly realized that I had not even been straining to get there, nor that I was even going uphill! In fact, I looked back to make sure I had been!

(actual crest of actual hill on my actual walk)


That’s how easy it was to walk with the right amount of weight on my body, and with my muscles in shape from walking and exercising regularly.

Because of my optimal state of health at the time, carrying the weight that was on me did not feel burdensome.

Now, with this extra weight I’m currently carrying, walking is soooooo muuuuch harder!!! Uuuuuuugh!!! It’s a continual strain to carry these extra 60 pounds on my overburdened, under-worked-out frame. Getting to the crest of that very same hill today is only with huffing and puffing.

But my physical body is not the only place I carry extra weight; my tendency throughout my life has been to carry my daily life burdens and not even think to hand them over to the Lord ~ well, until they get so obvious and painful that I finally realize I don’t have to keep carrying all this!

I have to admit that sometimes I’m carrying them because I don’t want to surrender something. So burdens of all varieties ~ emotional, mental, and spiritual ~ pile up. It’s no wonder that, with all the extra hard-stuff-of-life-type burdens on my heart, I find it difficult to rise up and fly as Isaiah 40: 31 says those who wait on the Lord will do!



It usually just suddenly dawns on me that the Lord wants and is waiting to help me figure out what to do about all the stuff that I have allowed to pile up.

Then I remember His invitation:

Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy-burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matt. 11:28-30)


God never intended His loved ones to carry or deal with this hard stuff by ourselves! He wants us to yoke up with Him and allow Him to carry the weight of the burden. We still have to go through the situation itself, but He carries the weight ~ or heaviness ~ of it for us.

So, I sit down with Him, often in my favorite chair or on my bed, and allow one burden ~ one pain, frustration, difficult thing ~ at a time come to the surface of my mind. Which isn’t hard; they’re all clamoring for attention!

Once one burden has surfaced, along with the pain and/or frustration, or whatever it churns up, I then let the Lord help me process it. I ask Him to either:

a) show me how to deal with it, or

b) help me hand it over and release it to Him. And to show me which is which.

After unburdening myself of each extra emotional, mental, or spiritual piece of baggage, I just wait…  letting His presence sink deep into my spirit and my raw emotions. Even though some or even all of the situation itself is still there, I feel so much lighter and freer because I am now relating to it differently!

By the mighty power of the Spirit of the Lord at work within me

I am now rising above it. It’s no longer dragging me down into the quicksand of depression and hopelessness!

This isn’t usually a quick process; it takes time ~ at least a few minutes, longer if you have more to deal with ~ to thoroughly process this with the Lord. But if you’re busy mothering, working, driving, or whatever, and can’t take more than a few seconds, at least do a quick burden-release to the Lord. That’s certainly better than continuing to carry it! But do come back to it ~ to Him ~ when you can take some time to really process things with Him.



For reasons you can now understand, going on a helicopter ride has been on my Bucket List! On our recent trip, Dave arranged for us to go on one!

With the six of us passengers all buckled into our seats in the helicopter, the pilot turned on the engine and the blades atop the machine slowly started turning around. (See one of them below left.) After a minute or so, though, the pilot turned the engine off and told us that the blades were not starting up as quickly or strongly as he thought they should, so he wanted to have the mechanic check the engine to see if something was lugging it down. He told us: “I’d rather check this out now when we’re down on the ground than have problems when we’re up in the air!” We all fully agreed!

The delay gave me some extra time to get a few pictures…  Left: the helicopter blade in question. Right: Dave and I with our headphones on, waiting to take off.


After some checking, it was decided that the engine was good to go, and we were off ~ and up ~ on our ride!

Here we’re soaring ~ errrr, uuuuh ~ coptering(?) over Las Vegas! (And, by the way, there are plenty of “good clean fun” things to do there!)


The aforementioned headphones were not to merely muffle the loud sound of the helicopter! We were able to hear the pilot’s voice through them, telling us all sorts of interesting things about the sights we were seeing! This is a great analogy of how the Lord wants us to put on our “spiritual headphones” and let them muffle out the loud voices of the world so that we can more easily and clearly hear His voice!!!


As I thought back on the helicopter’s slow start, I got to pondering what was lugging me down in being unable to stay consistent in rising above temptation and get my disordered eating in order. This took me full-circle back to my tendency to carry extra burdens…

I found this photo (on Pixabay ~ an awesome free photo source!)…


… and had fun adding all of the various struggles I could think of to each of the bags!


Yep! That’s a pretty accurate picture of what I feel like some days! For those of us with disordered eating, these things can propel us toward food to find comfort, solutions, distraction, and avoidance of dealing with the problems head-on.

Here are all the above bag titles listed for you:

  • Wrong understanding of God
  • Wrong thinking about food
  • Overwhelmed by life
  • Frustrations with kids
  • Hurt or betrayed by a friend
  • Hard stuff going on at work
  • Painful stuff going on in marriage
  • Chronic illness
  • No idea what to do with my future
  • Broken-heartedness
  • Can’t get myself to stay focused on what I need/want to
  • Anger
  • Depression
  • More to do than I have time or energy for
  • Money problems


Next I funneled all of those into the following six areas. I’ll address several of these in future blog posts, but for now, I’ll put an “antidote” resource after each to at least help you (me!) get thinking in a better direction. (If you’re in Thin Within, much of this will be review.)


1) Wrong thinking or understanding about eating and how it relates to God

     “Intro to the Thin Within” message by Heidi Bylsma


2) Inadequate or inconsistent focus

    “Truth Cards – Thin Within Support” video by Heidi Bylsma


3) Difficult situations that are beyond us to fix or change

    “What Can God Redeem” blog post by Barb Shelton 


4) Trying to “figure it out” or “do it all” on our own power

    “Thin Within and Walking in the Spirit” video by Heidi Bylsma


5) Brokenness, broken heart, depression, or illness (not our choice)

    “Does Healing Hurt?” blog post by Allison Mitchell


6) Anger and unforgiveness (our choice)

    “What Place Anger?” blog post by Heidi Bylsma


Much more can be said about each of these, of course! Whole books are written about each one. If you have found something to be particularly helpful, feel free to share in the comments!

Healing and resolution in all of these areas involve renewing our heart and mind. And this is exactly what Thin Within is all about! I highly recommend getting connected in a group and becoming committed ~ to the group, and to getting this area dealt with once and for all!



This love of flying is why, upon first seeing the Zoom Zip-line in Vegas, I knew I wanted to DO IT!!! This ride starts out at 51 stories high, but the rider is completely secured in a cradle harness that encases the torso, with both legs secured in individual leg braces as well. You “fly” along a zipline that takes you 1/3 of a mile through the Fremont Street mall. This isn’t Dave and me, but it’s exactly what we looked like ~ with the sky a little darker ~ when we went about an hour later.


Here I am right before it was my turn to get attached to the cable and be launched through the big door, which the four flyers in the above photo had just launched out of!


Here I’m zooming along the zip-line, approaching the end (where the photographer awaits), having just thoroughly enjoyed the flight!


Now, to get to where, “by the mighty power of the Spirit of the Lord at work withing me,” the photo above becomes a picture of me being able to consistently rise up through ~ and not get stuck in ~ clouds of depression, hopelessness, or temptation, and actually soar above them with wings like eagles! ~ or even jets, helicopters, or ziplines!