Are you wondering if eating intuitively is ever going to work for you? Are you wondering if you will ever get “good at” renewing your mind, taking your eating and food issues to the Lord on a consistent basis, actually release some weight? I’m here to tell you to stick with it. Don’t get discouraged. Let God who began a good work in you be faithful to complete it. He has started a new thing in you; don’t give up before you see the miracle.
I’ve been a blog writer, a class leader, and a participant of Thin Within/Hunger Within since January of 2005. I released a bit of weight in my first year, but not enough by my standards. God had more work to do in me. I have a pride problem. He is breaking me. I have a self-sufficiency problem. He is showing me I can’t do this on my own. I’ve dealt with selfishness. He is putting me to work for His kingdom out of my comfort zone. All this time I’ve been waiting for my weight to release, but He had other plans for me. He asked me to step back for a bit. He asked me to let go of the reigns for awhile. He asked me to let go of control. It has been hard for me to do this, believe me, and even though I have stayed in contact with my Thin Within/Hunger Within friends, it has been a lonely road for me. But, I am not alone for I am walking with my loving Father. The difference is I am walking with Him by myself, and I needed to do just that.
In January of this year, I let go. I really did. I disappeared for a season and spent time with the Lord. I renewed my mind. He showed me that there were foods that I wouldn’t stop eating in excess even though they made me feel unwell. He helped me to let go of them. He showed me how I’ve still been trying to control people and situations. He opened my heart and mind to new ways of communicating that has ushered in healing. He has released 30 pounds of pain in my life and 2 clothing sizes since January 1. He did it. I didn’t. I let go.
Dear reader, I read all the literature. I led others in the literature. I read the right Scriptures and made my “Truth Cards”. I signed up for classes and taught classes. All of that was needed and beneficial. A wonderful and firm foundation was built in my life through this wonderful ministry. What I had to learn though was that even though we walk this journey together, our paths do not look the same. When I didn’t have the results I wanted, my normal knee jerk reaction kicked in and I wanted to run away (give up). God held me fast, and He wouldn’t let me run too far. Just far enough for Him to continue the work He so diligently and lovingly started in me.
The gist of all this is that I am proof positive that eating intuitively with God leading the way works. The only way it won’t is if we give up. I’m asking you all to stick with it as I did, even if you are doing it “behind the scenes” as I chose to this year. There will be times when you want to quit. There will be times when it feels too hard. But, there will never be a time when the Lord is not there. Hold fast to the Lord as He holds you fast. Your miracle will come.
Friend, I am a writer, and the constant battle is in sharing my words. (I’m about to share a lot of them and it’s risky for me still!) If the enemy can shut down your voice he can shut down your soul, it’s an age-old tactic, and often comes when we allow him to direct our focus on others in comparison. If we compared ourselves with those who have spoken or lived before us – none of us would ever say a word! Your words are yours, and your story is yours, and all of it is handwritten by God for a purpose, and we need them! God doesn’t waste his creation, all his works point to His majesty…you are one of the many and as a woman – prized above all. As for mattering to Jesus, I struggle with trusting His nature as “good” because life has been and is Hard. Pain in childhood with assaults and whatnot, and hardships along the way in my own life or in the world we see daily, are fodder for the enemy’s lie that God is bad, can’t be trusted, comfort yourself at all cost with all means necessary. So God has been ever patient with me (who am I to accuse God of being bad??) and He has been woo’ing me with His goodness for some time now. He has slowly revealed to me His good intentions behind some of the darkest hours of my soul, and it is disorienting to realize that what I once thought was mean and cruel, was a gift for me. God has taken pain and transformed it into blessing, and I am practicing a pro-active trust for today’s pain – that it too can and will be worked together for some more good in my life (Rom 8:28). Also, I have thought about the woman in Jesus’ story, she lived in Samaria (where no respectable Jew went), and she was broken, an outcast socially because of her poor lifestyle choices, lonely, longing and grasping at Mr. Right Now to fill her emptiness. Did she matter? Not to those in her community. Was she an idiot? Some thought so. But what is Jesus’ thoughts toward her? What is Truth? John 4:4 reveals it to us, “Jesus NEEDED to go to Samaria…” Many took the longer route to avoid it but Jesus purposely went to the rejected place for the rejected woman. She needed Him, but He needed her too…He loved her, and went where she was and met her right in her “I don’t matter, I’m an idiot” season and spoke His Truth to her. She believed him too, afterall, He went out of His way (actually from Heaven to Earth), for rejected women…who else would do that? Because of her belief in Him, His truth – regardless of how others had treated her – SHE experienced freedom. AND lo and behold, she had overflow and shared His love and Truth with the same community that treated her wrongly. What?!? That’s a transformed life, not a slightly improved self-help plan in action. Sister was freed.
A lie I have believed is that life is hard, painful, scary, and God allows for it because He just wants me to suffer all the time…and cannot be trusted to care for me and comfort me, so I need to take care of myself and comfort myself in order to survive this wilderness until I make it Home. Like I said above, I’m learning that this is loaded with lies, like the one first launched at Eve, and made her doubt God, doubt His goodness, doubt His honesty. God used one word to describe Himself when He introduced himself to Moses in the cleft of the rock…and of all the words He could have chosen that would be true, He chose this one: goodness. God is good, and God is in control, and He works all things together for my good…no matter what mess I’m in. Therefore, whatever struggle or pain I face, God has a plan, and He has good for my soul…but it may not feel good for a while or in the way I expect. Comforting myself outside His boundaries for me will feel good for a moment or few, but it won’t BE good for me. Ps. 84:11 “God withholds no good thing from those who walk uprightly.” If He is withholding food from me, (not giving me hunger – or giving me satisfaction while I still have food to eat), than it is for a good reason that He is withholding it. If the food is good for me, He won’t withhold it…He’ll give me hunger and room to still eat before I’m satisfied. This may be a life-long lesson 🙂 Life is hard, it will bring pain and trials and I will suffer, but my hope is without end because God has goodness in Himself present with me in this life as well.
I have just finished leading a small group of wonderful ladies through Taste for Truth, a weight loss Bible study by Barb Raveling. I highly recommend this study. I believe it is best to go through it with some friends. The daily scripture reading and writing has opened me up to more healing by God, my Great Physician. He is so good and patient with us, His children. The things He wants to teach us take as much time as it takes. He is patient and He is teaching me patience during this lifelong journey.
On day 26 we talked about idols. I know that many of us, especially as Jesus followers, don’t have statues that we bow down to, but I know for me that I have idols. Food, for example has been an idol. My compulsive thinking about my weight and body has been an idol. Dieting has definitely been an idol. When I used to start a new diet, I tried so hard to be righteous in bowing down to the idol of the perfect diet that was going to take me to the perfect body size and health and vitality!! Sadly, what happens when I bow to an idol, the idol lets me down. They have no power. They are inanimate objects. We were asked in our study: According to the following Bible Verses, what do you have to be careful of when you really love something like food? I want to share with you the things that the Holy Spirit laid on my heart.
In Jeremiah 2:11-13 he asks, “Has a nation ever exchanged its gods? Yet my people have exchanged their Glory for useless idols. Be horrified at this, heavens; be shocked and utterly appalled. This is the LORD’s declaration. For My people have committed a double evil: They have abandoned Me, the Fountain of Living Water, and dug cisterns for themselves, cracked cisterns that cannot hold water. When I love food, or other gods, I am pouring my life into something that is cracked: those things don’t hold water! They bring hurt and destruction. And I have abandoned the One who heals and gives me Living Water.
Isaiah 44:17 says, “He makes a god or his idol with the rest of it (wood and things man-made is the example in previous verses). He bows down to it and worships; he prays to it, “Save me, for you are my god.” Is this not what I do when I run to food to numb or stuff feelings that I don’t want to feel? I make it (the food) a god and I want it to save me from my thoughts and emotions. The food fog sets in and I am lost in my ability to deal with what is going on; let along the ability to take those things to my Abba Father!
I love 1 Corinthians 6:12 that tells me that, “Everything is permissible for me, but not everything is helpful. Everything is permissible for me, but I will not be brought under the control of anything.” When food is my god, it controls me. I push the Holy Spirit aside and I let an inanimate object take control of me and then I eat it! The Holy Spirit is my Comforter, my guide in this Jesus following life that I am living. Yet, I push Him aside and say this thing, this food that is drawing me to it life a moth to a light is better for me than the perfect healing that I am being drawn into by the Holy Spirit. Lord, may I taste and see that You are good!!
Let’s face it…food numbs…and food brings about a fog in our minds that keeps us from dealing with the things that the LORD God wants us to deal with (with Him and through His strength). I’ve recently been given mercy to deal with the things I was numbing. At this writing, I am not being controlled by any food items. It took work on my part, but I did it and He is healing me.
What about you dear reader? Is food still an idol? Are you still running to it for numbing or stuffing of feelings you don’t want to deal with? Jesus asked the invalid at the pool of Bethesda (John 5:1-14), “Do you want to get well?” I believe you do, or you wouldn’t be reading this blog. It takes work. When you eat 0 to 5, all the feelings and emotions that have been stuffed and numbed come back to the surface. The tools to take them to the feet of Jesus are there in Thin Within/Hunger Within and Barb Raveling’s books. You too can be set free!!
We have tools to use on this journey toward intuitive eating. Some come naturally and some come with some pain, but they all lead to a closer relationship with the Lord and they all lead to healing if we do the work needed to get there.
It started with a negative emotion. Anger. I had an issue going on in my life that was making me angry. And, it wasn’t just the anger that was causing problems but the obsessive thoughts that went along with the anger. My thoughts and obsessions about what was going on was becoming an idol and they were making me want to break my eating boundaries.
I’ve been in this community for almost two years, so I know the right tools to use when these situations come up, but I wasn’t using them. I had grown accustomed to dwelling on the problem. Have you ever felt like that? Sometimes we are so comfortable with the bad feelings that it takes a special circumstance to get us to want to change.
My special circumstance is taking a small group of ladies through Taste for Truth by Barb Raveling. I felt as a leader that it was about time I use our tools to work through what I was feeling. So I did. The first thing I did was make a commitment to my small group to go through the Anger and Annoyance questions in “I Deserve a Donut” by Barb Raveling. I completed my commitment, but it was difficult. I was weeping by the time I finished just the first couple of questions. Wow, now I know why it is so hard to actually do what helps us! I have to admit that even though it was difficult, I felt better when I completed my task.
The next day our lesson was on Truth Journaling. I took what I had written for the first question and used that for truth journaling. This opened my eyes to some things where I was in the wrong and believed lies instead of the truth.
The following day, I went back to complete our lesson on Day 21. I once again used my anger issue for this lesson. Barb asked us on Day 21 in Taste for Truth to focus on a trial that is going on right now. Then read Hebrews 12:1-15 and record everything it says about how God wants me to handle this trial and what He is hoping I will get out of it. Here is what I learned:
Lord, You want me to lay aside the weight of this trial. It is not mine to carry.
Lord, carrying weight that is not mine to carry is a sin. It is in essence saying that I should take care of my own trial instead of taking it to You. Lord, keep me from being ensnared by obsessive thinking which draws me into sin.
Lord, You are calling me to endure this race I am running to You.
Lord, You are telling me that the way to endure is to keep my eyes on You.
Lord Jesus, You are the source and perfecter of my faith. I can’t grow in my faith without You.
Lord Jesus, You called me as Your own and You feel joy in that.
Lord Jesus, You endured the pain of the cross and suffered the shame of crucifixion for me, one of the sheep in Your fold. I praise You as You sit at Father God’s right hand in glory!
Lord, as I look at Your example I see that as I walk with You and lean on You that I will not grow weary and lose heart.
Lord, in my struggles against sin I am not doing well in resisting the pull. Lord, help me keep my eyes on You. Renew my mind as I turn to You.
Lord, I am Your child; Your daughter. Let me not take Your discipline lightly. I know that Your discipline shows Your love for me. You desire my growth into the likeness of Jesus and You want Your will and glory to show forth from my life. That’s what I want too Lord!
Lord, I can endure this suffering as Your loving discipline. Lord, show me what You want me to learn from this trial and show me how to use this knowledge to help others.
Lord, do not let me forget that I am Your child and that You love me.
Lord, I submit to Your discipline for my growth. Transform me and my life Lord. Make me holy for You are holy.
Lord, even though I feel emotional pain right now, I know that Your discipline will lead to and yield the fruit of peace and righteousness.
Lord, I submit and surrender to Your training.
Lord, strengthen my tired hands and my weakened knees. I want my life to reflect Your glory and to show how You grow and transform me.
After working through this issue using the tools we have at our fingertips, I felt healed from my negative feelings. I shared with my friend and accountability partner Deanna Lewis that I felt like I had been washed on an old fashioned wash board, put through a wringer and now I have been hung up on a wash line to hang in the healing light of the SON! It was hard. It was difficult. But it was so worth it!
If you are dealing with negative feelings and emotions that make you want to break your eating boundaries, may I introduce you to Freedom from Emotional Eating by Barb Raveling? There is more work for me to do and I am happy to announce that Deanna Lewis and I will be offering a group study of this book starting in mid-September that will end by the end of November.
This class is for people who already have the basics of Thin Within down and are ready for the next level.
We will not be discussing weight, diets or any jargon regarding good or bad food choices. This way, we can be free to not be tempted to return to diet mentality while God is healing us from emotional eating.
In our day and age, everyone is looking to reduce stress and negative emotions. We search for the newest product or program and believe the hype (till we try it and it doesn’t work). I do the same thing. When feeling blue (a softer word for depressed) I love to peruse the isles of supplements. I am a firm believer in doing things the natural way if at all possible. (Don’t get me wrong. I have had my stints on Prozac, so if you are on prescriptions, please don’t feel judged by that comment.) Here is one I bought and tried but didn’t seem to see any measurable results. (Again, if you take this supplement and it helps you, I give you a thumbs up!) What I want to share with you today is what I have found that works each and every time. This is a tried and true process as I am sure those of you who have found this can attest to the truth I am sharing.
The process? Go to God. Renew your mind in His Word. It is even His promise and God is not a promise breaker. What does His Word say?
Philippians 4:4-9 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again” Rejoice! Let your graciousness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable-if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise-dwell on these things. Do what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.
And in Philippians 4:11b-13 for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know both how to have a little, and I know how to have a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content-whether well-fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need. I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me.
And in Philippians 4:19-20 And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Now to our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.
Do you see the pattern? Rejoice in the Lord. Don’t worry. Go to the Lord in prayer. He will guard my heart and mind. Think on good things (I do this by turning off the news when I catch myself getting caught up in stuff!). Allow Him to teach me to be content for it is then that I can do all He wants through His strength. He will supply my needs. I don’t have to search for any other method but Him.
I want that peace: the peace that passes all understanding and that the world does not understand. I want His peace that shines in my heart no matter what I am dealing with or what is going on around me. How about you? Do you want the same thing? Try Jesus. He is the Real Thing!
The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie-deliberate, contrived and dishonest-but the myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic.
John F. Kennedy
As I look at the news these days, I wonder often what is true and what is myth. I don’t like to call what I hear as I turn on the TV or search the internet out and out lies (although some may be), but I fear a lot of what I am hearing is just not the whole truth. So, what is a myth? Merriam-Webster defines myth as an idea or story that is believed by many people but that is not true. As I look at my day to day life as I walk this road to recovery from disordered eating, I decided to look at some of the myths I am holding onto and to see if I couldn’t turn those thoughts around with some much needed truth. Here is what I came up with.
Myth 1 – Try to avoid pain at any cost. My family of origin did not deal well with painful situations and seemed to always run from them. If they couldn’t be run from, then we would sweep them under the rug. Our lives were about appearances, not what was really happening. I learned to run and hide from pain by hiding out in excess food.
Myth 2 – Excess food would take away the pain. I wonder why I have ever believed this because it is so untrue. But believe it I did (and sometimes even now want to believe it). Stuffing my feelings always leads me to self-disgust and anger that I just didn’t deal with the problem at hand when I needed to deal with it. When I run to food to deal with pain I still have the weight of the original problem and the problem of added weight.
Myth 3 – If I get thin, everything will be fine. This is true insanity. I would be the same person at my core no matter what I weigh. My family would be the same. If I feel unloved or unaccepted at my current weight, then those who make me feel that way wouldn’t be worth knowing if I were at a thinner weight.
I am currently working through Barb Raveling’s book Taste for Truth with a small group of wonderful ladies. What I really like about Barb’s book is that she doesn’t just ask us to read the Bible, but asks what the Word says about certain issues. Thinking about these myths, I searched God’s Word for the truth. If I am dealing with a painful situation, instead of running away or sweeping it under the carpet, I can cast my care upon Him, because He cares about me (2 Peter 1:7). Instead of stuffing my feelings, I can go to Him because His divine power has given me everything required for life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called me by His own glory and goodness (2 Peter 1:3). Instead of focusing on my issue, I can do what His word tells me and think on what is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, and commendable so that the God of peace will be with me (Philippians 4:8-9). And, when it comes to seeking what the world calls a perfect body, doesn’t the Word tell me to have nothing to do with irreverent and silly myths? To rather train myself in godliness for the training of the body has a limited benefit, but godliness is beneficial in every way, since it hold promise for the present life and for the life to come (1 Timothy 4:7-8)?
What about you dear reader? Are there some myths you need to face and replace with some good and sound Biblical truth? There is healing to be found in God’s Word.
Every day I have a choice about what kind of day I am going to have. I have sunny days, and I have what I call “Bad Cloud Days”. What does having a “Bad Cloud Day” mean to me and what can I do about them?
Those “Bad Cloud Days” come about when I let little disturbances or inconveniences “cloud” my thinking and cause me to feel bad and often makes me run to food for solace. Excess food doesn’t bring out the sun over my mood. When I am allowing outside circumstances control my mood and I run to food, then I have two problems instead of one.
There are things I can do to turn my day around. I can choose to write about what is bothering me (truth journaling). I can renew my mind in God’s Word (Romans 12:1). I can pray (Philippians 4:6-7). I can read over my truth cards (Philippians 4:8). I can pick up the phone and call or text a friend (or accountability partner). All these choices are great ways to put things into perspective. These simple choices help me to seek out the truth (John 8:32) behind the annoyance instead of lashing out, which then destroys any peace I might hope to have (Romans 15:13).
I can choose to allow those dark thoughts or feelings to build up and cause a storm cloud to cover my day, or I can clear away the dark clouds by writing, digging in God’s Word, talking it over with God in prayer, read uplifting notes, or phone a friend. I can choose to turn off the TV (the news today could put a cloud over anyone’s mood), put on some praise music and dance to the truth that today, I woke up and got out of bed. I can praise Him that this is the day that He has made. I can rejoice and be glad in it. As the sun (Son) starts shining over my heart, I can reach out and bring sunshine into someone else’s “Bad Cloud Day”.
How about you? Are you having too many “Bad Cloud Days”? A great question to ask: Is this going to matter in a week, a month, six months? One thing I know for sure…God will make a way when there seems to be no way (1 Corinthians 10:13).
A couple of weeks ago I shared about a recent detour I found myself traveling on. Detours are not a bad thing. They usually end up being a short trip off the path that leads back onto the road that leads to where you were headed. That is not the same thing as a roadblock. When we hit a roadblock, there is nowhere to go but back. When we hit a roadblock, it is time to turn around. This week I am going to share with you about a roadblock I hit, and how I had to allow God to change my perception about some things so I could turn around and find the right road to where I’m going.
If you are reading this, I hope you are at least familiar with what Thin Within/Hunger Within is all about. The basics are we eat (imperfectly) within the boundaries of hunger and satisfaction or if you look at a hunger scale, our eating boundaries fall between 0 and 5. We also have 8 Keys to Conscious Eating. They are:
Eat only when my body is hungry
Reduce the number of distractions in order to eat in a calm environment
Eat only when I’m sitting
Eat only when my body and mind are relaxed
Eat and drink only the food and beverages I enjoy
Pay attention only to my food while eating
Eat slowly, savoring each and every bite
Stop before my body is full
These keys are just guidelines and not “diet rules” and we also give ourselves permission to no longer label food “good” or “bad” and can enjoy eating any food within our 0 to 5 eating boundaries.
My roadblock came from #5 in the Keys to Conscious Eating, and I want to share this with you dear reader, just in case you may have experienced the same thing.
Since coming into this wonderful community, I have been able to let go of so many man-made diet rules and the beliefs our culture holds about the benefit of certain foods over others. This has been a long process, and I still find myself questioning the freedom we have, but I keep marching on and I so enjoy the that freedom. I really feel that I am eating food in the way God planned. But, I did hit that roadblock. Some of the foods I was eating and enjoying, my body decided it didn’t enjoy. I sat there looking at that roadblock and seriously had myself a hissy fit. My hissy fit made me realize that these foods seemed to have an unhealthy hold on me (and they make me feel unhealthy).
I had such a conflict, for I had been eating the foods I enjoyed and here I needed to let go of some of those foods, because they were actually making me sick. I had to battle not going back into diet mentality. After all, wasn’t putting certain food items on a “no-no” list a diet? Wasn’t I promised that I could eat all foods with thanksgiving?
Dear reader, the Lord reminded me of some important things in our Thin Within/Hunger Within journey. There are 3 Phases in this program (taken from 1 Corinthians 6:12). They are:
Phase 1 – Freedom Phase: “All Things are Permissible”
Phase 2 – Discernment Phase: “Not all Things are Beneficial”
Phase 3 – Mastery Phase: “I Will Not be Mastered by Anything”
He is leading me from Phase 2 into Phase 3. This is not easy for me, for I am letting go of some items that I really like to eat but no longer agree with me. But, because I want my recovery from disordered eating to point totally to the Lord, who is the One I want to have total mastery over my life, my heart and my all, I am letting go and moving into this next phase of my journey. And, I am letting go of those foods. I have the freedom to say yes to any food and now, with God’s help, I also have the freedom to say no (even to foods I enjoy but my body doesn’t). It was time to face that roadblock and turn around, listen to my body and listen to the Lord. I had to let it go that I was not going on that road any further.
This is another process I needed to go through to show me once again that this journey is not just about food, how I eat or my weight. It is more about living my life in full surrender to the leading of the Holy Spirit because I serve and love my Abba Father who loves me so much that He wants what is best for me. That roadblock was important for me to turn my heart from some items that were mastering me (and actually hurting me) back to the only Master I want in my life.
How about you? Have you hit a roadblock and you are finding you have to make some tough decisions in order to turn around and get back on the right road? Take to heart what is said in Hunger Within…”Freedom that is melded with discernment and surrender to God’s leading produces a radiant body and a life of deep abiding joy.”