In the small coaching group that Barb Shelton and I are both part of, Heidi posted the following questions:
In the past, when you have committed to letting go of extra weight and keeping it off, what has been your largest hindrance? … What do you think you can do to overcome this hindrance?”
My biggest hindrance is staying focused and consistent, and therefore retaining the ground I have gained and keeping off the weight I have lost. I need to fully recognize and admit my weakness and my extreme need to stay focused and be consistent!”
Here is my – Kelly’s – response to Barb, and I hope it will minister to any of you who might be feeling discouraged…
I have two kiddos that play piano. My Rachel played for awhile, left piano to play violin, and then came back to piano.
Jacob, my youngest, has played since he was too little to reach the pedals.
Rachel practices with great passion and consistency. This has resulted in her racing right past her brother in terms of growth into harder pieces. She’s not scared off by the “hard.” In fact, she sees it as a challenge and goes for it!
Jacob, on the other hand, gets more and more discouraged as the music gets harder. He avoids practicing, he cries, he takes twice as long to learn a piece than he used to.
For him, it’s a real struggle. He does not practice consistently.
Are you following me? Ha!
Sooo, what this means for Jacob is that he has the ability to play. We know this! He just isn’t getting as far as his sister. He needs his musical dad, his musical mom (me), and his advanced-piano sister to all come around him and help him!
We cheer him on, hold him accountable and support him to get through the hard stuff.
How much is this like us on this journey?!?
As our family did for Jacob, we in Thin Within want to do the same for each other…
We cheer each other on…
hold each other accountable, and…
support each other through the hard stuff…
to get through the hard stuff.
I was a “Jacob” for sure at the very beginning of my Thin Within experience. At times, I’ve been a “Rachel” and I’m more like her now than I am like my son in this way. (Thankfully, and by the grace of God.)
But I can relate to both. You get my drift.
Like Rachel, we want to not be scared off by the “hard.” In fact, we want to see it as a challenge and go for it!
Practice, practice, practice! And we will get there!
A few years ago, I got to do something that had been on my Bucket List. My family and I went to the Grand Canyon while on a long tour out west.
I was so sure that my children would be as mesmerized and in awe of it as I knew I would be. And I WAS!
But one of my teenagers was NOT!
He complained, and complained, and wanted to leave the moment we arrived.
Boy, did that rain on my parade. I didn’t get to really take the time I wanted to inhale the experience. And what time we did spend there was overshadowed by his griping.
What was clashing was our very different perspectives. Mine was wonder of God’s creation and power; my son’s was boredom of caverns with dry dusty rocks.
The way we see ourselves and how God sees us is kind of like that trip. We look at ourselves and see the lumps and bumps and cellulite, and we think we just aren’t that exciting to our Father, ourselves, or our friends and family.
However, God looks at us ~ at what He has made ~ in awe and wonder, and says:
It is VERY good.”
Do you believe that? I sure don’t, if I’m being honest. Sadly, our society makes us think that we need to perform to be precious or valuable to God.
The teacher’s pet gets the privileges, right?
But God’s perspective is very different from ours.
It would be good to go deeper with this, to where our hearts might need a little (or a lot) of loving on…
Take some time to consider…
What are your thoughts about how God sees YOU?
Do you struggle with believing God sees you as a “Mighty warrior” in this battle of overweight and food issues?
I’d love to hear your thoughts about this in a comment.
It blesses my heart to know that how ever I view myself, God has a very different, a better view and perspective. Especially, if my view is negative.
Now, if only I could believe that in the battle!
One day, I was out shopping with my youngest son of four children. Weaving our way through many aisles, we eventually found ourselves in the cereal aisle.
With a house full of cereal eaters, which cereals I buy is always up for debate. I don’t know about your house, but in mine, food-consuming humans change their minds about this issue like the wind changes direction.
There we stood, unable to decide which cereals to bring home.
So, I did what any normal mother would do, I called my most finicky teenager for his opinion. Why waste time and money, right?
The conversation went something like this:
“Hey, I’m at the grocery and I’m in the cereal aisle. What do you want me to get? There’s this, there’s that…”
And in a very hurried voice, he shouted “I don’t know. Just get something sugary!” and promptly hung up on me.
I could hear other boys in the background. He was, quite obviously, distracted.
Well okay then, I let my youngest pick them out.
Later that evening, the picky one messaged me. He sort of apologized for hanging up on me and said “I didn’t mean to seem rude. I was just being rushed by everyone else.”
The Holy Spirit asked me, in that moment, “How many times do you do that to me, Kelly?” … Mic drop!
With endless demands of family, pets, work, church, and my eternal to-do lists, how many times do those things rush me, and I hang up on God? Or I cut my time with Him short.
All too often, I’m afraid.
I can easily say, “I’m so sorry, God; I’m not trying to be rude” and blame so many things for taking me away from Him and what He wants to talk to me about.
When all was said and done, I was not angry with my son. A little exasperated, maybe. I definitely appreciated his pseudo-apology. And, it was definitely not the way he usually engages with me. Yet, I never really thought about how often I do this to my Lord.
Am I taking advantage of Him because of verses like Romans 8:1 that says:
“There is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus?” (NLT)
Or, is God even hurt that I cut Him off? Is He exasperated when I hang up on Him?
Ephesians 4:30 in The Message Bible says:
“Don’t grieve God. Don’t break His heart. His Holy Spirit, moving and breathing in you, is the most intimate part of your life, making you fit for himself. Don’t take such a gift for granted.”
Ouch! Perhaps there are several yeses to those questions.
Helen Simons, in her blog for Brunstad Christian Church writes:
“We live in a fast-paced society, and most of us live a fast-paced lifestyle, with fast travel, fast communication, fast access to a wealth of information, etc. If, in the middle of this, I do not consciously set my mind on the things of the Spirit, I will not be able to hear his still small voice in my heart of hearts. When I do not listen to Him, I end up grieving the Holy Spirit, because He has so much to tell me that will bring me joy and happiness, and bring me to a life of freedom from sin and self.”
I might add fast food to her list!
I will say that, as I have hit the “change” of life, my body has begun to force me to slow down. I could fill my schedule regularly, but my body won’t cooperate.
I love being able to “do it all!” But at what expense? There is value in slowing down and not “hanging up” on God just to get to the things that are rushing me.
The sink full of dirty dishes can wait. The never-ending laundry can wait. Even meals can sometimes wait as I read, listen to a sermon, and respond to class participants and coaching clients. It actually feels good to stop, look, and listen to God.
When I do take the time to listen, I hear Him say “Worship me in song right now,” and He will lead me to just the right music on my playlist or the radio.
I can hear Him whisper “Go look in my Word” or in a certain book, and I’m instantly transported into the spiritual realm as He speaks directly to my heart and soul with just the right words.
If I slow down and listen, I can hear Him ask me “Will you pray for this person” or “I want you to confess to me.”
He is always in the business of setting my soul to be rightly related to Him. Here is where His power is stirred within me and my faith increases!
Ephesians 5:16-18 in the NLT says,
“Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.”
Amen and Hallelujah!
So I am making it a point to not hang up on God; to not, in essence, tell Him “I’ll call you back when these other things aren’t rushing me!”
I don’t want to fall into the trap of blaming other things in order to avoid talking and listening to God.
My heart’s desire is to be sure I do not hang up on God because He has so much more – and such greater things – to talk to me about than a favorite cereal.
It was silent, and I couldn’t see it, and I could not hear it. The water was cool and calm, easily flowing down the mighty river. The sun was shining and warming my face while the locusts buzzed, the birds sang, and a cool summer breeze blew through my hair. The scenery was wonderful.
In reality, I should have been hearing the ominous music from the movie “Jaws” playing in the background, because of what was approaching. I could hear fast-moving water ahead. Until now, my companion and I were oblivious, but there they were, rapids! The rushing noise made my heart start pounding. I started shouting to the guy in the back of the canoe, “STEER TO THE LEFT, STEER TO THE LEFT!” where the calm water was. But instead, the canoe was heading right for the rapids!
It was too late. We cascaded over rocks and waves. Then our flimsy canoe hit a concrete pillar from a bridge above and I was suddenly sucked into an undercurrent. I could not see because I was no longer in the canoe. I was under it, grabbing, gasping, thinking “This is it, I’m going to drown!” The water kept pulling me under as I clung to the boat.
Suddenly, in a moment of clarity, I thought to stand up! I stood up and pushed the canoe off of me, only to find that the water was shallow ~ only three feet deep.
By that time, all of my belongings for the trip had floated away and disappeared into the distance. I vowed never to go canoeing again, much less with that guy. But, I was alive! I returned home wet, muddy, and mad. The trip wasn’t all that I thought it would be.
The scenery was no longer picturesque.
What made me think back to a high school blind date, canoe-trip-gone-wrong, and dieting? It was the thoughts about the undercurrent. I have come to believe, as I’ve learned to renew my mind in Thin Within, that there are some main “undercurrent” lies that all diets seem to have.
Those lies are:
“If you eat this and not that, you will lose weight.”
“If you don’t eat this way, you will be overweight forever.”
Here’s another good one:
“If you consume our very pricey product and stay on it forever, your weight problems will vanish,” along with my money, I might add, just like my belongings that drifted away down river.
But, for so long, I didn’t really hear those lies, just like I didn’t hear the “Jaws” music. What I heard were the false promises. I would hear how easy and fun it would be to do their eating plan and workout. Before and after pictures of group members would mesmerize me and secretly make me wish that it was me in the photograph. I would hear “This is the good life, come join us. We’ll save you!” Sadly, I would hear what I wanted to hear.
I really could not hear the fast-moving waters ahead or feel the undercurrent before I got swept away by those other plans. As a result, God allowed me to “crash” many times before I was willing follow His lead.
Once I was ready to part with weight-loss plans that were failing me, God asked me to simply “listen” to Him. He asked me to hold onto Him and not the diet gurus.
Here is where I read this: In Deuteronomy 30 verse 20, It says, “Listen to His voice and hold fast to Him.” Him being God the Father. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines “hold fast” as “Something to which something else may be firmly secured“. I was holding fast to the canoe and had to let go to be saved. I now know, that I cannot hold fast to a diet or diet expert and truly hold fast to God at the same time. I need to let go, then firmly attach myself to Him.
I have also learned that I must shut out the voices of the world in order to hear Him better and in order to hear the lies that I was believing. I’m reminded, that if I am His sheep, I will listen to his voice (John 10:27). But, I had to do that by being intentional, getting out of the rushing waters, unloading diet books, magazines, social media groups, and anything that would crowd out the voice of God. Recently, I realized that even thinking about the number on the scale was taking space in my thought life. I decided to stop weighing so that I could stop even thinking about that number.
In the end, I’m thankful that God allowed me to experiment. He let me see just how shallow and useless those other plans that I tried to follow really were. When all is said and done, they didn’t get to the heart of why I was in the overweight and, at times, underweight condition that I was in and the results were always temporary.
Because of Thin Within, I have been willing to hear God warn me of what is ahead if I continued to follow the wrong messages. By committing myself to classes, support groups, and renewing my mind through those and other means, God continues to reveal the lies, and help me replace them with His truths through His Word, and other participants.
I have a feeling that it will be a life-long trip down river for me. But the scenery is amazing! I have been slowly releasing weight according to His time table and not mine; according to His ways, not the ways of the world.
I have been eating foods I enjoy and not what someone else says I should eat. Thin Within is the good life!
So, where do you find yourself today? Are you in the canoe going down the stream and going in and out of diets? Are you hitting the rapids and crumbling emotionally from listening to the world? Are you frustrated with the temporary results and watching your efforts and money go down the river? Or are you listening and hearing the Lord say “Stand UP, that water is shallow”?
Decide to intentionally listen to God today and, as the scripture says, hold fast to Him!
We usually search out and go on diets as a knee-jerk response to that moment when we step on the scale, look too long into the mirror, or fail to fit a clothing item that we used to wear with ease. We freak out at the number on the scale or the pants that would not button, and off we go on a diet hunt. Maybe we go back to a diet that worked “once upon a time.” Or we decide to try what so-and-so did to lose “X” number of pounds.
The problem with this is that it’s only temporary, and eventually we go “off” of the diet only to land right back where we started. Or worse, we end up even heavier than we were before we went off of the rails.
The word “diet” has its roots in the temporary. We “diet” for a one-time event like a wedding or reunion, for surgery, or for a “cleanse,” and then we stop and return to our previous way of eating. Deep down we know that it is not sustainable to restrict ourselves from our favorite foods for very long in this way.
Let’s be honest, we also know that if it was sustainable to stay on that particular diet, we would still be on it today!
So why do we go back to those “weak and miserable principles” referred to in Galatians 4:9? And what is the solution? We need some solid answers. Praise be to God our Father who can provide answers for all things, including our weight and food woes!
First and foremost, we need to ask God what HE thinks! What does He want for us as individuals? No diet or boundary is “one size fits all.” If there was such a thing, we would ALL be doing it!
However, here at Thin Within we subscribe to our natural hunger mechanism that we believe God gave us at birth. We define that hunger mechanism as eating between zero and five (0-5), which is our primary boundary. Zero is fully hungry, and 5 is “just satisfied”; not full or stuffed.
We believe that God never expected us to be preoccupied with food and diets, or our bodies (Matthew 6:25). He certainly talks about food a lot in scripture and had food rules for the Israelites. However, now that we are in Christ, or rather Christ is in US, we are given so much freedom!
Notice that I said freedom, not license! He tells us that we now have the fruits of the Spirit. One of those fruits, listed in Galatians 5:23, is self-control. He tells us that everything is permissible (1 Corinthians 10:23), but that nothing is to have mastery over us (1 Corinthians 6:12).
Then let’s roll up our sleeves and take a look at what we need to do!
5 Steps to Connecting Our Eating with God
1) We need to view 0-5 as being our life-long chosen boundary with God’s blessing. This is hunger and fullness on a definable scale. I realize that this may not be the boundary God leads everyone to. Barb Raveling says to look for a boundary or boundaries that you can keep for the rest of your days here on earth. For some, that might just be calorie counting, three meals a day, or low-carb eating. But chances are you are reading this article because, to you, those were diets and they just didn’t “work” for you. So consider that God may be prompting you to do zero-to-five eating!
2) We need to utilize whatever means we can to keep 0-5 as our primary boundary. Just as alcoholics need to avoid situations that would cause them to imbibe, like Joseph, we need to flee tempting situations when possible. I like to tell myself Romans 13:14 often and “make no provision for the flesh.” I do this by not purchasing certain foods that I know I have little self-control with at the moment. I do this by avoiding situations where I might lose control, like in front of the TV at night. It may be a temporary restriction or limited in scope (think of a single serving bag of m&m’s and not a five-pound bag). I know my weaknesses and that certain foods could derail my efforts if I have them easily accessible. This is different from saying “I can eat this but not that! And it might just be for a season.
3) We need to realize that we need God’s power! This should always be number one on our list. His Word says that “Without me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). NOTHING! I have to shout this to myself! Another verse reminds us that we need Him, the Holy Spirit, to bear the fruit of self-control in us (Galatians 5:23). Diets just do not provide God. IF they do, they might still tell you what you can and cannot eat just like a person in authority over us used to do. We want to mature beyond that. Think about it: Diets have the potential to keep us immature! How humiliating. We want to be grown-ups in Christ. It is shocking to think that a diet could potentially keep us from growing spiritually.
4) We need to find support. AA to an alcoholic is Thin Within Ministries to us. We need loving accountability. We need to be in groups where others can lead us through valleys and trials. We need cheer leaders, people to help us not give up! And let’s face it, we all need others who “get us.” We also need as many ideas as we can employ to do this 0-5 thing! Just as you would not visit a foreign country for the first time without a guide and a translator, you do not want to try to do this alone. It could be disastrous in a foreign country and it could be disastrous here.
5) And last, we need to actually believe and trust God! It’s one thing to realize that we need God’s power, but quite another to actually trust His direction each day and not get focused on the end result, whether that’s a number on the scale or an outfit we are dying to get back into. If we keep looking for the end result, we will not be focused on Him. We need to focus daily on keeping our boundaries with God’s help. Then the results become God’s responsibility. We do this by utilizing tools such as “The keys to conscious eating” found in the Thin Within workbook series in conjunction with renewing our minds (Romans 12:2), joining classes and groups for support, and maybe getting individual coaching.
It is the daily focus and disciplines that get us where we need to go (Matthew 6:34) one meal at a time, one bite at a time. We want to learn to be content with food and our bodies, don’t we? “For godliness and contentment are great gain!” as it says in 1 Timothy 6:6. Thankfully, that is not weight gain!