by Heidi Bylsma | Jan 19, 2007 | Blog
On Wednesday and yesterday, God led me to focus on not dwelling on the past, using our Isaiah 43:18-19 to challenge me not to dwell on past successes or failures be they from just a minute ago or 10 years ago.
Today, as I was working on memorizing the verse, I asked him what he wanted me to focus on…My thoughts went something like this:
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! ….”
Yes, thank you, Lord that you are doing a new thing. I have seen that this is true…definitely. (Can you hear the complacency, ho hum way I responded to Him?)
“See, I am doing a new thing! ….”
I SEE! I SEE! LOL! Lord, I guess I am dim, I think I see…what else am I missing? I get the impression that you want me to SEE!
“See, I am doing ….”
Thank you, Lord, that you are DOING. You aren’t just sitting back watching, observing…you are DOING.
“See, I am ….”
Yes, Lord, I see that you are….
“See, I AM ….”
OH! LORD! You want me to see that in this journey, in all the things I am struggling with right now, you are *I* *AM*. You want me to SEE this as never before!
After over a week in another study of looking at scripture and Jesus’ claim to be “I AM,” the name for the One True God throughout scripture, and all that it means, God pointed out to me that this verse that He has led me to meditate on for years now (on and off) and since He restarted me in this TW journey in mid-November…well, this is what it boils down to…
Whatever the question…
Whatever the problem….
Whatever the need….
Whatever the *desire*….
God’s answer is…simply, “I AM…”
It is no wonder that songs about God’s sufficiency have been going through my head lately. It seems like the Lord wants me to have a plethora of bible verses, mediations, and words to songs mulling around in my mind about how He alone is truly my satisfaction…Most recently, a song on my Dance Praise (I do it for my exercise…it is wonderful and edifying and a TON of fun!)…”All I Need” by Bethany Dillon. I see that the Lord really wants me to learn this.
My skating along with “have I been obedient enough” has come to a halt. He is asking me point blank if I will lean on and in to Him and let Him be all I need, my Great I AM. Whatever I need, whatever I want…He is…I AM.
by Heidi Bylsma | Jan 19, 2007 | Blog
This is suffering. LOL! Ok, maybe not, but it sure seems close. Papa Murphy’s pizza isn’t even that good, but it is one of the few things that everyone in my family can eat and enjoy (somewhat). Hubby brought it home and I was at 0 for sure!!! But I KNEW I didn’t have the freedom to eat even two skinny pieces…I only had the freedom to eat one. Sigh…and the crust from one of my son’s pieces…given how hungry I was, the tiny miniscule morsel of pizza sure tasted good, even if it DID have too much sauce on it! 😀
But nuts! This sure isn’t much food! I guess I really *can’t* eat just for fun any more. See there? This really exposes the motives. I mean, I sure seem to want to do some aspect of eating for fun. No, I don’t mean that God doesn’t want me to enjoy eating according to godly parameters. I think He gets joy from seeing me delight in all the good things He has given us to enjoy. But I mean…there isn’t much quantity wise or time wise when push comes to shove. You can only stretch out a tiny portion so long before it gets cold or something. Eating in a way that honors the Lord offers no room to justify “recreational eating.”
Which makes sense. It is “recreational eating” that has created extra fat on my body and associated health problems (or potential problems). God knows best. I just find my will having a hard time (at times) going along with this!
It is amazing how little food my body needs to get by. Ok…so the Lord wants to be what gives me ultimate joy and satisfaction. I have practiced for years using food to give me joy….I mean…all the time, throughout the day (and night), even when not hungry. I see now that this attitude isn’t going to go away quickly…I mean, God has changed my heart a lot, it is true…since I began this journey again in mid-November (when he kicked my bottom into it).
But I was coasting along while “cheating” it seems. The reality is, I could get by with eating more than I needed while cutting back a lot and release a lot of weight in the process. It was easy to pat myself on the back…boy, I didn’t want to face reality. Reality, apparently, is…I still have a “thing” for food.
I want to be normal!
by Heidi Bylsma | Jan 18, 2007 | Blog
Nuts! I JUST WANT TO BE NORMAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Where all of this is incidental and not worthy of blogging about! LOL!
by Heidi Bylsma | Jan 18, 2007 | Blog
Wow…today has been revelatory. I can tell I am being prayed for by my fellow online support group members.
This morning, I waited…really waited…for hunger–powerful hunger…a definite zero…then I served myself less than I normally do for breakfast. It wasn’t until after 3pm when I was hungry again…powerful hungry, too. I knew God was telling me to make a smaller portion than I typically do for a meal of a particular thing that I enjoy eating (whole-body pleaser…sustains *and* tastes good). The portion that was small before was reduced by more than half. There was next to nothing on the plate. I wanted to gripe about it…a lot…but then realized, if I eat it slowly, it lasts just as long as twice as much….and I can see after that if I have followed the definition of 5 in the workbook “eat to the point of comfort”–if the hunger has been removed, basically. I could always make more to eat if I truly *need* more.
I can honestly say that I did that…hunger has *barely* (LOL!) been removed. I hope to arrive at a 0 when the family sits down to eat in a couple of hours, but I have to plan in advance to OBEY even if I am not yet hungry. And if I am REALLY hungry, I have to plan in advance to eat slowly and a TINY portion…now that I see it is taking so little to remove the discomfort of hunger.
The very cool thing is…and there has to be *something* good about this from my viewpoint, right? LOL! …The scale doesn’t have a pull on me at all today…for the first time in a while. I have been fighting something awful with myself about not weighing more than once a week. I didn’t start this journey with this struggle…so it surprised me when it cropped up. It is like I knew I was blurring the lines of obedience and eating even a bit outside of what God was laying on my heart that I should, so I wanted to use the scale to justify that I was being “obedient enough.” Today, having heeded his voice in my eating, I don’t need the “approval” of the scale. There is *no* draw, no pull. I know that I have done the right thing because God testifies to that. How cool is that! LOL! It is definitely sufficient. My brain can rationally think through all the reasons that I know that the scale is unreliable and not a useful tool for me on this journey…Before, it was like I was short circuiting rational thinking!
I don’t know if any of this makes sense, but I find it interesting how listening for the Lord’s voice and obeying it has resulted in another thing I struggled with to lose its hold on me as well. At least for today.
by Heidi Bylsma | Jan 17, 2007 | Blog
I am excited to have joined Pam Sneed’s online study group of the first quarter workbook. What a blessing! Pam is awesome! We had our first meeting on Monday night and God was definitely present! I have never seen anything like it in an online chat before. It was new to me. God really IS doing a new thing!
As I was reading the first lesson this morning in the Thin Within workbook, I thought that the way the definition of 5 was worded was very clear. Thought I would share it with you and hopefully it will help someone.
“When you are hungry and choose to eat only to a point of comfort, we call that a 5 on the Hunger Scale. It is when you have had ‘just enough’ and your body does not need more food. A 5 is not ‘full’ or ‘stuffed.’ It is ‘satisfied.'” (page B-6 of Workbook Quarter 1 2004 edition)
This is one reason why I personally feel uncomfortable when we talk about “hunger/fullness” as I know God doesn’t want me to look for “How *full* can I be without being uncomfortable?” I think He wants me to find that place of what it will take to take away the hunger…where my body no longer *needs* food.
I have found that if I *do* go to that place, my body needs far less food than I can imagine. I guess this is where I really have to face the fact that I *want* to be hungry more often to justify eating…and it exposes my heart and the connection I continue to have to food for the sake of eating.
Often when I waffle about what I will call a 5, it is plainly because I don’t *like* the truth.
Again, that may be me.
This week, I am finding a lot of sinful attitudes are being exposed in my life…things that I thought I was done with. It has been a hard week and it isn’t even half over yet! LOL!
I love the verse, Isaiah 43:18-19 that says “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland. Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.”
Today, God laid on my heart to apply myself to the first part of this verse: “Forget the former things.” I must forget the previous failures…even if they came earlier today. Or the failures of yesterday or last year or 10 years ago. I must forget it all and allow God to create a TODAY with me. Not only that, but I need to not try to coast on previous “successes.” The fact that God has removed 25 pounds from my body relatively quickly doesn’t somehow win me an award for checking out now. It isn’t an accolade. It isn’t an award to hang on the wall and be proud of. I must forget the former things. Even NOW he is doing something new…a new NEW thing!
TODAY, I choose to forget the former things and not to dwell on the past.
I also choose to apply myself to this definition of 5 in a fresh new way…I will eat “only to a point of comfort” and see what God does. I know this means letting go of a lot of food. I seem to have a way of trying to eat as much as I can before I get uncomfortable. NOT ok. I must return to eating only until I am not hungry any more.
NEW DAY! New MOMENT! Thank you, God, for Do Overs!
by Heidi Bylsma | Jan 13, 2007 | Blog
Another hurdle that I have had to (and have to) overcome is a sense that I can eat three meals a day. In the past, when I ate listening to my body’s hunger/satisfied mechanism, I had a higher metabolism and got hungry many many times in a day. I could literally eat 4, 5 or 6 times between the 0-5 parameters and release weight.
This time around, I get hungry much less frequently. In fact…so infrequently, that I feel like the three meals “I am owed” in a day to enjoy food…well…even that often isn’t necessarily legitimate. I am far from sedentary, but a lot of the muscle I once carried isn’t there any more. This may change over time, of course…certain seasons I work much harder physically than others because of the horses and caring for them, the fences, throwing around hay bales and the like. But right now, today, I know that often, my body just doesn’t need food as often as I *want* it to need food.
(Have you ever LUSTED for hunger? LOL!)
Here is the way it might happen for me… I wait wait wait for 0 in the morning when I get up. 11am rolls around and I am “not sure” if I am at a 0 yet. I “know” that my not being hungry for breakfast is ridiculous.
“Of course I am hungry!! I am ALWAYS hungry in the morning!”
I might even rationalize that even if I don’t feel the definite cues of stomach hunger that I have learned are legitimate 0, that since it has been SO long since I have eaten I better eat or else I will get dizzy or a terrible headache. “After all…”, I rationalize, “…I have virtually skipped breakfast.” (For some people, the concern about dizziness and headaches may be legitimate…for ME it rarely is!)
I might use this train of thinking to go ahead and eat.
This ignores what my body is saying. If I eat at this point, how do I know when to quit, for instance? It all becomes a guessing game. (The diet mentality sneaks in here and says “About that much should be the ‘right’ amount.” Once again, I have ignored my hunger mechanism.
Not only that, but I have claimed my right to do with my body as I please. God has convicted me that this is my pride again…I want to do what I want when I want…period:
“Lord! I should be able to enjoy at *least* three meals a day! They *are* small meals, after all! Will you take them away from me too?” (I can almost hear the serpent as with Eve in the garden, whispering to me about how God is holding out on me and how “mean” he is to deny me my rights….bleah)
When I really analyze this, I realize I feel this way for one reason, simply:
I do NOT want to give up food.
“Normal people…” (I again rationalize) “…eat three meals a day. My meals are so small. Of course I can still eat three meals a day!”
Truth is, if I really want to grow in my walk with the Lord, listening and responding to what He tells me is the key. Some days he may tell me I don’t need breakfast (or dinner…whatever!).
And please don’t misunderstand what I am saying. I am not saying that if I am hungry and I KNOW I am hungry I should bypass hunger and skip a meal to release weight. Nope. God has convicted me that, unless He lays a spiritual concern on my heart to fast and pray over, skipping hunger for any other reason is dishonoring him as well (until he tells me otherwise).
But I know I have said it and I have heard others say it…that we assume we will eat three meals a day…plain and simple. We seem to think of it as a part of being human or something–like taxes, brushing our teeth and other “necessities”…or at least I have in the past and I hope to get over this. I almost think of it as a “divine right.” In fact, a part of me looks at God cross-eyed and says, “Don’t be messing with my three meals a day, Lord!”
When I am most active, I might legitimately need to eat a bit more frequently. My body is reliable, though, and will signal the need for nourishment. Generally, though, I seem to be in the habit of thinking that if I rule out all snacking then that means I have been “good.” But my attitude is such that I act like three meals is something I am entitled to.
This sidelines listening to the Lord and to my hunger/satisfied mechanism.
I want to be done with this sort of thinking…
by Heidi Bylsma | Jan 13, 2007 | Blog
Something that God has worked with me on is related to some of the disappointments some have shared recently with not releasing more weight. This is still coming home to me, though, I must admit. I continue to be slow to learn.
In my case, when I don’t release weight, first I have to ask the Lord, honestly, if I am submitting to his will. This goes beyond this notion of 0-5 eating for me. I can *fake* 0-5 eating pretty well. You know what I mean? I can rationalize things…I have found that a subtle “dieting mentality” comes in and “helps” me with this…it will casually do an estimation of calories and whatever and say “See? I have ‘suffered’ and so I should release weight.”
But the reality God is trying to bring home to me is, the Lord wants me to love HIM more than I love food. No, it doesn’t mean He doesn’t find joy in my enjoying food, but delighting in food more than Him…well, that is a problem. He has laid on my heart that He has given me parameters within which eating food is to be enjoyed. It is like sexual intimacy…there are certain parameters. Within those parameters, it gives God joy for me to enjoy intimacy, which He created. I believe He delights in my enjoyment of food within godly parameters as well. Outside of the parameters of marriage, “sex” is indulging my fleshly lusts and is sin…Outside the parameters of my body calling for food, eating is indulging a fleshly lust and is sin. Or that is how He has broken it down for me. I need it made really simple! LOL!
It helps me to ask WHY am I eating right now? Am I eating because I am hungry and my body needs nourishment? Am I eating because I simply want to enjoy the taste (which is so fleeting!)? God has laid it on my heart to enjoy the taste of food (YES!), but only when my body needs nourishment. How perfect is that? 🙂 I can oooh and aaah about the incredible flavor of cheese enchiladas all I want when I am hungry! YIPPEEE! I get hungry pretty routinely! There will be loads of opportunities in my life to enjoy enchiladas with a totally pure conscience, eating them because my body needs sustenance! Why do I want to mess with that?
When I don’t release weight, I have to honestly evaluate if I have been truly loving eating beyond the parameters God has for me. Am I living like my body is my own to do with as I please?
For me, it comes down to that.
Sometimes, when I am not releasing weight, this is as far as I need to go to have my answer as to why.
BUT…and this is a big BUT…sometimes this is where it gets pretty tough. (As if dealing with brutal honesty over my love of my sin isn’t hard enough…) If I really truly think that I have been living for the Lord and He seems to confirm this through His Spirit, if I have been heeding His voice pretty diligently, and I am *still* not releasing weight (and this has happened before), then He has shown me to ask Him what He would have me be in this moment. How does *He* desire that I responsd? This can be so eye-opening for me. Almost every single time, He has asked me “Heidi, am I enough? Am *I* your very great reward? Or do you love losing weight or being thin more than you love knowing I am pleased with the choices you have been making?”
The answers to these questions really do a lot to expose my motivations. I have found that the Lord sometimes wants to purify my motives and can do this by restricting the movement of the scale for a season…I lived a long time losing weight with praise of men being my motivation. I love verbal accolades. I know for a fact that now the Lord wants me to love Him more than that (He always has).
Additionally, during one of these little struggles with not seeing the scale go down, God laid on my heart that I had a bit of an attitude…if *I* did *my* part, I reasoned, He would do *His* part and see to it that weight would come off. After all, wasn’t that what this was about? In essence I had a truckload of subtle, but insidious, pride going on there. I got disappointed with *God* when I didn’t see the scale doing what it “should” be doing. I was holding up my end of the bargain…now what about Him holding up His? This led to my throwing in the towel often enough. I got frustrated with God. I told you I was the Queen of Pride!
I hate that I like seeing the numbers go down on the scale better than delighting the Lord with submitting my will to Him in each moment. This time around, my journey is about learning to love Him more–no matter what happens. I am daring myself to get rid of my scale, in fact. I don’t have the courage yet. I know if I seek to put pride to death and live for the Lord, the weight will leave my body! I am just soooooo slow to learn it. I still really really like seeing the numbers get lower…nuts!
Don’t know if any of these thoughts can be helpful for anyone else or not. As always, I have been too long winded!
by Heidi Bylsma | Jan 7, 2007 | Blog
Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.
– Psalm 84:10
Over the past 3 weeks, I have, at times (often), ignored the voice of God when He has instructed me or sought to offer guidance. I have not been as consistent in honoring the Lord with my eating. As much as I would like to, I can’t blame it on “the stress of the holidays.”
If I am honest, I must say it is a root of rebellion and pride. I was disappointed by God. He had allowed certain circumstances to unfold in my life and I thought He should have done differently! Such pride!!!
This little thought, when allowed to run away, took me away from my single focus—that of hearkening to God’s voice and responding to Him.
Recently, I got on the scale with trepidation, fearful that my lack of diligence to eat only what my body needed, would be reflected in increased weight. I was surprised to find that I had not gained any weight.
But you know what? While I *did* thank God that this was so, the discovery of having maintained my weight through this time was empty compared to the ongoing peace that I have when I listen to His voice. When I respond to His voice in humility, when I thrill to hearing HIM…there is nothing like the peace that permeates my heart. Weight lost or kept off is *nothing* in comparison.
As I stepped off the scale, I pondered these things. Psalm 84:10 came to mind. I realized that fellowship with God is much sweeter than weight not gained (when it should have been), or releasing yet another pound or two. I wouldn’t trade fellowship with God for all my weight gone. No way.
I would rather be a doorkeeper if that is what God wants, than have everything that I desire—a thin body, for instance—if God ordains it! Better is fellowship with him.
The Sons of Korah are listed as the writers of Psalm 84. In Numbers 16 a rebellion was started against Moses and Aaron by Korah. Korah was a Levite. He already had an important job in service at the tabernacle (see Numbers 4). But the job he had wasn’t enough from his perspective—God had disappointed him as well. Korah felt he should be on par with Moses and Aaron. He wanted to be a priest. He wanted more, different, from what God had called. He instigated a rebellion and dragged many others with him. God judged them for this and many were slain.
Years later, “the Sons of Korah” wrote Psalm 84. This psalm reflects hearts content with what God has determined…even being a doorkeeper is better than something “greater” if that something “greater” is outside of God’s will. It is more satisfying to be in the place that God ordains than it is to be anywhere else that is outside of His will. What a change from their father’s attitude!
This touches my heart. If I am outside of God’s will, it doesn’t matter how much weight I lose or what accolades I receive from people. It is so empty. It truly is. How much more I would rather know in my heart of hearts that I am walking in obedience, joy, and peace, in fellowship with the Lord, heeding His sweet voice…than obsessively stepping on and off the scale to see physical “proof” that I am releasing weight.
In verse 2 of Psalm 84, the Sons of Korah write: My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the LORD; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.
This is my heart today. More than my pandering after a new physical body, I want a new heart, a new soul…one that yearns, faints, cries out for the living God!
I know that God has promised in His Word that those who hunger and thirst for Him will be satisfied. This desire, for Him, will be with me for eternity. I choose to nurture this yearning today, to allow the Lord to feed it. More than releasing all my extra weight, HE is my very great reward.
Lord, I pray that you will help me today to fix my eyes not on earthly things, but on things above. Help me to set my mind on YOU, and to have ears attuned to your voice. More than anything that I might seek here on earth, I pray that I might long for and yearn for You. Be my satisfaction in this day, I pray. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
by Heidi Bylsma | Jan 4, 2007 | Blog
Some things that have come my way recently that struck me as practical tips for applying oneself to 0-5 eating and heeding the voice of God…
1. Ask God if He wants you to abstain for just one day from drinking any beverage other than water. If He says yes, then prayerfully evaluate how this affects your ability to determine your hunger/satisfaction cues. If you are like me and cringe at the thought of not drinking a favorite beverage for a “WHOLE DAY!?!” prayerfully ask God if it is an idol…(I don’t want to think about this today…I will do this tomorrow! Bleah!)
2. When heating up some leftovers (like from a great meal you had out when you dutifully packaged up at least half of the portions served), rather than heat up the entire left over portion, take only a portion of *that* and heat it up to eat. It may not look like much food at first, but put it on a small plate, set down your fork and practice the “First Meal” exercise from like Day 15 I think it is. If you are not satisfied after you are done, you can always heat up more. This has kept me from overeating my leftovers a few times and also given me yet another meal of some of my favorite foods to enjoy. (Maybe this is obvious to others, but it sure wasn’t to me! LOL!)
3. This may seem to totally contradict item #1 above, but I found myself really thinking I was “hungry” and it was for something sweet. Well, when I did a “bodometer” and really checked in, I wasn’t hungry…not really. I gave myself a diet soda and my craving for something sweet went away. Later on, I can have something sweet if I still want it as part of hunger.
4. Don’t turn “discretion” into all out denial. I did this in December. I felt virtuous because I had chosen not to eat sweets as part of my meals any more. It felt fine at the time. It didn’t feel like denial. But at some point something clicked…and I went bonkers. Not full out bingeing as in the past (thank you, Lord!) but somethign went haywire! I almost bemoaned continuing. I was so disgusted with myself for having assumed I had been “delivered”!!!! The truth is, there is a happy medium (unless you are positive that GOD tells you otherwise!). I won’t use my 0 to feed a hunger for a sweet tooth any more. That isn’t where I feel God wants me, but I know that I *can* have a small bit of something sweet in there…and all is ok with the Lord. The trick is, am I *mastered* by it? If I am, then I have to re-evaluate it. The goal is to be able to co-exist in the same house as a bundt cake given us by the neighbors without self-destructing! LOL! That is what God wants! So, I must learn how to lean on HIM in those moments of weakness. Then maybe someday I won’t have to flush the thing before the neighbor has even gotten back to her hourse or inhale it before it has even cooled completely! LOL!
5. When God has given me freedom to have brownies in the house, rather than storing them in their original pan with a knife next to it for cutting as I go, cut them up into small pieces and store them in baggies. That way, I won’t be likely to keep carving on it without realizing it. Of course, sitting down to FOCUS on the pleasure will also help avoid unconsciously sucking up more of the stuff than I realize!
Enough from me for now!
Oh…about the Thin Again study. I don’t feel the freedom to do that study right now. If anyone wants me to send the study components I have dug up off my hard drive from doing it 5 years ago, I will gladly do that. Let me know! Right now, I am progressing through the Thin Within quarter 3 program materials.