I recently realized that I was believing these kinds of lies: “God will accept me only when I am at my natural, healthy size. And if I’m not at my natural, healthy size, then God is disappointed in me. I am not acceptable until I meet that size.” As I type those lies out, I’m almost gasping that I would even believe such revolting things–but I did. And I also realized that I was thinking my “ideal” size was what I was hoping my natural, healthy size would be. My “ideal” was the image that our culture has made the standard. I was getting so tired of hearing the lies being played over and over again in my head. I needed to find out what God truly thinks about me when it comes to my body and size. Like, I knew that I am ‘fearfully and wonderfully made’, but does God really accept me when I don’t feel like I’m acceptable, like I’m fitting the “ideal”? Does He love me when I don’t feel very lovable? So I dove into scripture and searched because His truth is the only thing that matters. Here are some scriptures that I uncovered:
But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” I Samuel 16:7
That was a scripture that I have known for awhile in this journey. And I knew that God is more concerned about the condition of my heart, but it was really hard to let the appearance thing go. And I found myself trying to justify my body obsession with saying that “of course God wants me to take care of my body!” But taking care of my body, the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19) doesn’t mean obsessing over being a particular size or having some beach body. We all have such different bodies, created by our Heavenly Father, where no two bodies are the same. And he certainly doesn’t want us obsessing over a number on a scale, over our food, or our body image.
Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised. Proverbs 31:30
For some of us, it may be hard to read that and know that we will grow old, get wrinkles, and we won’t look like we did when we were 20. Aging happens. There’s no way around it. So putting our security in our body and appearance will probably, at some point, let us down. But if we put our fear and security in the Lord (for He never changes), we will be standing upon a Rock and we won’t be wavering every time our “beauty” passes. I want to focus more on the Lord and my heart beating for Him; I don’t want my life focus to be my body, body, body. Can I get an amen?
For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ. Galatians 1:10
This scripture challenges me to think about the motive of my heart in wanting to release weight. Is it to please the world and fit it’s standard? Or am I seeking to please the Lord and honor the temple of the Holy Spirit? He wants my heart to please Him first and foremost.
And He said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God.” Luke 16:15
Again, another motive check. Who am I trying to please? The world cheers on those who fit the image, but even for those who are desperately trying to fit the image, the enemy is always there saying you are too much or not enough. For me, even when I released the baby weight after having my middle child, the enemy was there saying, “It’s not enough! More! More!” The world says a certain look is what we should strive for, and basically, it takes a lot of obsession and sometimes desperate measures to meet that standard. God doesn’t want us trying to live up to the standard of the world. He wants us to live for Him and live up to what His Word says for our lives. We cannot serve two masters (Matthew 6:24). And I think it really breaks His heart when we are constantly striving to have a certain body instead of thanking Him for the one we have.
And that makes me think of another lie I was believing. I had such a hard time believing that God accepted me at my current size/weight. I kept on thinking, “Lord, you knit me together, but this current body cannot possibly be what you designed for me to be. How can you accept me as I am? Lord, my habits of overeating have brought me to this place, so how can you accept me when I’ve done this to myself?” And that’s why I absolutely have to go back to the Word of God and find out what He says about me because that lie can lead one down a treacherous, shameful, self-condemned path.
Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel— rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. I Peter 3:3-4
I think it’s nice to look nice. I think we should take care of our body, honor, and respect it. It means wearing clothes that fit your current body (stop trying to squeeze into something that makes you feel bad because it’s not currently fitting). I think it’s fun to have a hair style that we really like, and to wear jewelry, and to wear clothes that make us feel beautiful, but those things don’t make us beautiful. True beauty comes from within. The Lord will ask me, “What’s in your heart?” He’s more concerned about the ‘look’ of my heart. Am I kind? Do I speak kindly to my family? Am I peaceful and secure in the Lord? Am I compassionate and gentle? Do I walk in love?
“BUT NOW [in spite of past judgments for Israel’s sins], thus says the Lord, He Who created you, O Jacob, and He Who formed you, O Israel: Fear not, for I have redeemed you [ransomed you by paying a price instead of leaving you captives]; I have called you by your name; you are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you, and through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned or scorched, nor will the flame kindle upon you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior…Because you are precious in My sight and honored, and because I love you, I will give men in return for you and peoples in exchange for your life. Fear not, for I am with you;” Isaiah 43:1-5 AMP
I love, love, love, these verses! He created me! He formed me! He’s redeemed me! He calls me by my name! I am His! He is with me! I am precious in His sight! He loves me! Something the Lord has been asking me (once again in my life) is, “Am I (God) enough for you? If you never released weight, or even gained weight, am I enough for you?” GULP! I sort of don’t like that question because He asks it when it’s something I really, really, really don’t want or something I really do want. Sometimes, to be honest, the answer has been “no”. *sad face* And I know that I don’t have the freedom to move forward until I can say “YES!” And I’ve known for awhile in this journey that I needed to come to that place of being content with my weight/size no matter what. I knew I would have to come to a place of genuine acceptance. I fought it, hard. No way did I want to be content with staying at my current size when I knew there was weight to be released. Nor did I want to say I would be content if I gained weight. Are you kidding me? (He’s not kidding me!) But now I am seeing that I’ve strived after some “ideal” and I have to let that go and do what I know He’s shown me to do (eating between hunger and satisfaction). And I’ve had to accept that my natural, healthy weight is where I land when I’m consistently doing just that. God is enough to satisfy me if I never release weight. He is my all in all! And I am all of those things to Him, as that verse says, no matter what my current body looks like!
[And the Lord answered] Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yes, they may forget, yet I will not forget you. Behold, I have indelibly imprinted (tattooed a picture of) you on the palm of each of My hands; [O Zion] your walls are continually before Me. Isaiah 49:15-16 AMP
First of all, I think it’s almost impossible for a mother to forget her hungry child. And I think He’s making that point. When babies are hungry, they cry. And if you don’t feed them right away, they CRY even more. It’s pretty hard to ignore. This verse reminds me of how if a good father gives good gifts to his child, how much more will God give to us? (Matthew 7:7-12). If it’s hard for a mother to forget her hungry child, how much more impossible is it for God to forget us? Totally impossible! God will NOT forget you! Or me! And I love the Amplified version of this verse because it says we are TATTOOED on the palm of not just one, but BOTH of His hands. We are pretty special!!! I love my kids so much and I don’t have a tattoo on the palm of my hands of them. Ha! So just think about how MUCH He loves you! Wow!!! You, my dear brother or sister in Christ, are loved and accepted by Him!
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations. Jeremiah 1:5 NKJV
I love this verse because it’s saying that He had a plan about us before we were even formed in the womb. He specifically designed us to be the individual person that we are. He gave us a personality, likes, dislikes, our looks, etc. We are His masterpiece!
[He exclaimed] O my love, how beautiful you are! There is no flaw in you! Song of Solomon 4:7 AMP
He says we are beautiful! You are beautiful! He didn’t create you with a flaw! Not a one! We were made in His image. He gave you life! I love how this verse in the Amplified just puts it right out there; there’s no question or doubt that He says I am beautiful! No matter what the mirror may tell us or what the world says about our image, HE says we are beautiful! You are beautiful! He didn’t create flaws; everything in His creation was “good”. And that includes you!
For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:10 NLT
I never really looked at myself as His “masterpiece”. But I LOVE this way of looking at what He did when He created me and formed me. I am His work of art! You are His masterpiece! And then when we become a new creature in Christ–that masterpiece takes on even more in depth beauty!
For the mountains may move and the hills disappear, but even then my faithful love for you will remain. My covenant of blessing will never be broken,” says the LORD, who has mercy on you. Isaiah 54:10 NLT
I live around mountains and I’ve never seen one disappear, but just in case if one does, I will know that God’s love is even more faithful than the surety of a mountain staying put. So basically, it’s pretty much impossible for a mountain to disappear. So we can be sure that God’s love will ALWAYS be! His love is unfailing!! (1 Cor 13:)
What is the price of five sparrows—two copper coins? Yet God does not forget a single one of them. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows. Luke 12:6-7 NLT
There is really no point in knowing how many hairs we have on our head, but God says He loves us so much and we are so important to us that He even knows that number. We are so precious to Him! Can you see just how much He loves you and cares about you?
Whom have I in heaven but you? I desire you more than anything on earth. My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever. Psalms 73:25-26 NLT
This is one of those verses that really makes me see how God is totally enough for me. My security isn’t my health or how lean my body may be. I want Him to be the strength of my heart because I will always have Him–forever and always. He is my Rock on which I stand–no matter what! Forever!
And the last two verses I’m sharing are the same from Zephaniah, but I wanted to share two different versions because they are both so beautifully written:
For the LORD your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs. Zephaniah 3:17 NLT
The LORD your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing. Zephaniah 3:17 NKJV
He delights in us! Think about how when you have a baby: they sleep, they eat, they poop…oh…and cry. And eventually they smile, and coo. But the point is that even in those few things that they do, we delight in them. We love them just because. It’s not based on their performance or because of their looks. We just delight in them and they are so precious to us! The Lord delights in us and it’s not because of our performance. He’s like, “See that child of mine? I love them so much!” And then he rejoices over us with singing. This is such a beautiful description of how much He loves us. So just cuddle up in His arms and let Him sing over you. He is just so in love with you!
These verses have been such a blessing to me in the last week. I need to lean upon God’s word in this journey. His word never changes and it breathes life into my soul. I’ve been so encouraged as I’ve applied these truths. When lies arise, I take the thoughts captive and bring them under the obedience of Christ by remembering what God says about me in these scriptures. For example, today I saw myself in the mirror and immediately I started to criticize my body, but then immediately, God’s truth came in and raised up a standard against those lies (Isaiah 59:19). I’ve been using these verses to write scripture prayers. Before even getting out of bed in the morning, I open my notes on my phone and read through these scriptures. When I truth journal, I include what God says about me from these verses. And let me tell you, it’s helped so much! There are so many wonderful tools out there that we can use to renew our mind and to help us think on His truth, but there’s nothing like the unadulterated word of God!
I want to encourage you to keep these verses close to your heart! You are loved and accepted by Him! I’m praying that you will be transformed by these truths!
There are times when I have eaten something, even within my boundaries (Thin Within principles such as eating between hunger and satisfaction), and I will feel guilty for eating whatever that particular food was. It probably goes back to my dieting days of the food labeling (the “good”, the “bad”, and the ugly). Recently, I was tired of the guilty feelings that were attaching themselves to what I was eating, so I sat down and typed out some questions to quickly renew my mind with when the thoughts would come. These are some questions to ask yourself ad renew your mind with when you are feeling guilty about what you have eaten.
Feeling guilty about what I ate:
Why do you feel guilty?
Where is this guilt coming from (satan, diet, friend, etc)?
Did you eat the food within your boundaries? If not, what could you do different next time you are tempted to break a boundary?
What does God say about this situation?
What happens when you believe the lie? What is your habitual response?
How does God want you to respond?
What do you need to accept?
What can you thank God for in this situation?
Colossians 2:20-23 Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations—“Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle,”which all concern things which perish with the using—according to the commandments and doctrines of men?These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.
1 Timothy 4:4-5 For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving;for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.
Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.
Matthew 6:25 Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?
Matthew 15:11 Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.
If you are familiar with Barb Raveling’s I Deserve a Donut (app and book), these types of questions may look similar. When you ask yourself these questions, the Lord will expose the lie and reveal truth. I notice when I answer these questions and meditate on these scriptures, it helps settle me down and peace returns.
There are times when I need questions to help renew my mind that are about these specific circumstances, such as feeling guilty about a particular food I have eaten. Diets teach us that there are “good” and “bad” foods, and I no longer want to be under a law that says, “taste not, touch not” (Colossians 2:21). There are no moral values attached to food.
I hope these questions are helpful to you. I have a few other sets of questions that have been helpful to me as well that I will share at another time in other posts.
Are there any other sets of questions that would be helpful to you? Let me know and maybe I could come up with some questions.
Image courtesy of scottchan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
We’ve all heard it—“Get your body back” after having a baby. It’s in the media. It’s on the magazines at the check-out (usually criticizing or giving applause to the “success” of a celebrity that just had a baby). The fitness industry feeds into it. Comments are said from family. The pressure is there. Basically, it’s everywhere and frankly, it’s staring us in the face when we try (yet again) to try to slip those pre-pregnancy jeans on again (and they still don’t fit). So it’s there, as plain as day, that after we have a baby, we think we have to do everything in our power to work on “getting our body back”.
But guess what mamas? We need to let go of that pressure! “Let it go, let it go…” Oh wait, sorry, Queen Elsa gets me every time. *chuckle* Seriously though, LET IT GO! Whew!
When I was pregnant with my daughter Jeralyn, my dear own mama encouraged me to slather on the creams and lotions to prevent stretch marks. My thoughts were, “I didn’t try for 7 years to get pregnant to prevent stretch marks!” And I didn’t use one cream. Nothing. Zip. Nada. None. (And I had and still have no stretch marks even after having 3 babies—not sure why because I was gladly going to welcome them).
So I wonder what would happen if we all looked at our bodies after having a baby as a blessing instead of this thing we have to “get back”? What if we remembered the miracle of a baby when we see those stretch marks? What if instead of grimacing at our “extra-ness” after having a baby, we remembered those women who are doing everything in their power and spending a lot of money trying to get the blessing that made those extra parts? I certainly didn’t care if I had stretch marks because I waited so long for my baby girl—and now I need to remember that when it comes to the weight and extra-ness department.
Ladies, YOU are blessed to have carried a baby! God knit those babies in your womb! And they were fearfully and wonderfully made! We were made for this!
To be very honest, you may never get your body back. Say what??!! (Don’t make that face).
Personally, I never got my body back after having my daughter. I tried. I released all of the weight, but my body was still carrying a little pooch. And then I still had that same pooch after having my son. And that was after getting to what I believe is my God-given set weight. And I’m pretty sure that once I am at my set weight again after having my second son, the pooch will probably be hanging around (quite literally—hope you can see the humor in this). But you know what—that’s okay! I would rather be free and be at my natural, healthy weight than chasing after skinny and worshiping some deaf, dumb, and blind skinny idol. I am so done with all of that! A diet will only make me gain it all back and more. I don’t have the time or energy to obsess about some crazy exercise program (I just want to run, walk, hike and do the strength training my body enjoys (and needs)). I don’t want to succumb to fasts, cleanses, shakes, or crazy exercise programs.
When the day is done and I know I’ve mostly eaten 0-5 (this isn’t about perfection) and I’ve moved my body in a way that it enjoys, then I know I’ve done what I can. And if I still have the pooch, so be it.
I’ve actually heard of some women who don’t want to have babies because they don’t want to lose their body. In a way, that makes me very sad to hear because children are a blessing from the Lord. I’m sure any woman that’s been trying to have a baby for years would be like BRING IT ON. And by “it”, I mean the stretch marks, the extra-ness, the pooch, etc. I know this because I was one of them. And it hurt my ears to hear women complaining about their bodies after having a baby because I so badly wanted a baby.
“You may have big scars, stretch marks, and loose skin that bothers you. You might not have time to exercise the way you used to. All of these things can be seen as an offense against us—against our bodies…our bodies are tools, not treasures. You should not spend your days trying to preserve your body in its eighteen-year-old form…Motherhood uses your body in a way that God designed it to be used…But motherhood is what your stomach as made for—and any wear and tear that it shows is simply the sign of a well-used tool. We are not to treat our bodies like museum pieces. They were not given to us to preserve, they were given to us to use. So use it cheerfully, and maintain it cheerfully. When you are working hard to lose the baby weight (as you may need to), think of it as tool maintenance. You want to fix your body up in order to be able to use it some more. It might be used for more children, or it might be used to take care of the children you have. We should not be trying to fix it up to put it back on a shelf out of harm’s way or to try to make ourselves look like nothing ever happened. Your body is a tool. Use it.”*
I read that recently in a book and it really stood out to me. I’m in the thick of this. I’m only weeks past having a baby. So I get this. It’s raw and real right now. It’s so real that some of my shirts and pants don’t fit me. Does this discourage me? Yes. Plain and simple. Yes. Has it brought on thoughts about going on a diet? You bet. These are truths I’ve been speaking to myself about it:
I’m 7 weeks post-partum—I need to relax!
Wear clothes that I feel good in—I may even need to buy a few things that are more comfortable in the meantime.
Enjoy where I’m at right now—enjoy the baby and stop focusing on my body, body, body.
Eat and exercise 0-5—that’s God’s perfect boundaries for me and the best maintenance plan!
The “extra-ness” is because a little miracle took place in my womb! I am blessed!
Diets fail 99.5% of the time! Only .5% of people have lasting success on a diet! No thank you!
I am beautiful, loved and accepted just as I am!
I recently found this really great blog post talking about “getting your body back”. It has great tips on how to stop buying into the message that we have to “get our body back or else!” The media and our culture plays so much into what is deemed “acceptable”. But it’s not about our outward appearance, it’s about our heart and who we are in Christ. We are more than our weight, size, and body.
Am I saying you shouldn’t want to release weight after having a baby? No. What I’m saying is, even after releasing the weight, you may not have the same body you had before your pregnancy—ever. Or maybe you will. But reality is, your body changes after having a baby. And wouldn’t it be better to accept that (now) instead of trying to fight it, force it, and hate it into something else?
“Scars and stretch marks and muffin tops are all part of your kingdom work…So realize that your body is a testimony to the world of God’s design. Carry the extra weight joyfully until you can lose it joyfully. Carry the scars joyfully as you carry the fruit of them. Do not resent the damages that your children left on your body.”*
Ladies, we have so much to be thankful for. So when you look into the mirror and you see the marks left on your body because of having a baby, smile and thank the Lord because it’s a good thing. They are signs of such beautiful blessings. And then go kiss your baby (even if they have babies of their own). And if you are one of those babies, thank your mama for bearing the marks to bring you into this world…and tell her that she’s beautiful and that you love her!
If you’ve been following my posts in the last couple of years, you are probably familiar with my story. I have had my moments of serving the skinny idol. Two out of three of my pregnancies have been while I’ve been on this journey toward freedom). God has changed me and He’s shown me the truth about food. And now…I’m SO excited…to say that He is doing something SO HUGE within me and I just want to shout it from the rooftop! God is showing me what life is like when I stop chasing skinny. I want to share some more of my story.
Side note: I realize that I write a lot about my story. I could share the mechanics about how Thin Within works. I could share a lot of things, but I believe there’s something powerful that comes from sharing our story and hearing others stories. I hope my openness and transparency encourages you, wherever you are in your journey. I know my story is unique. I don’t have tons of physical weight to release, but I have had plenty of mental weight to release. I’ve never had an eating disorder, but I’ve been tempted to not eat at my lowest point. And I’ve had borderline signs of orthorexia. And I know that there are those of you out there who can relate to my story. I know this because you’ve reached out to me and shared your similar story with me. I see these kinds of stories more and more and I know I’m (we) are not alone. And if you don’t relate to my story, I hope you can find parts that you can relate to and that most of all, you will be encouraged to know that the same God who has freed me is the same God who will free you. He is no respecter of persons. He’s a good, good Father!
Isaiah 61:1-3 The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners,to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.
Recently, I found a publication that was very encouraging to me. It’s called Thryve. It’s an online magazine (although maybe it used to be in actual print at one time?). I found out about it through a newsletter from Wonderfully Made. Wonderfully Made is an organization founded by Allie Marie Smith (co-author of the book H.E.A.L.). Allie wrote an article for the Mended issue of Thryve. What she wrote resonated very much with that the Lord has been currently teaching me about letting go of this idea that I have to have the “perfect” body:
The problem is that, as we cling ever so tightly to the perfect version of ourselves, we are blinded by our own endeavors, to the cause and person of Christ. In the process of gaining the whole world (in this case our perfect, ideal self), we forfeit our soul. Chasing an ideal self leads to bondage. Resting in Christ leads to freedom. By living for ourselves, we become enslaved and imprisoned. However, by giving our lives to Jesus, we allow him to cleanse us of our addictions and show us the way to real life—a life free of destructive dependencies and brokenness.
I had been chasing skinny. I had been chasing after my “ideal self”. I had been captivated by the standard of the world instead of being captivated by Jesus Christ.
It’s interesting to me because last year my little word was “be free” and this year it’s “rest”. Allie sums up what Christ is wanting to do in me with one sentence: “Resting in Christ leads to freedom.” Honestly, I was terrified to let go of skinny. I remember the first time I read this truth written by Barb Raveling in her weight loss book study Taste for Truth: A 30 Day Weight Loss Bible Study:
Giving up the idol of skinny is essential for both our physical well-being and our spiritual well-being.
I did NOT want to give up skinny. I felt like it was giving up and accepting an imperfect body (hello!). I believed the lie that if I didn’t have that perfect, beach-body, sculpted, bikini-mommy body that it was less than what God wanted for me. I really believed that my “ideal” body was what God wanted for me and that I was failing Him and myself and my family if I wasn’t achieving that. It’s hard to even type those words, but that’s truly what I was believing. I would read and hear about how in order to find freedom that I would need to love and accept my body right where it was at, but I didn’t want to let go. I didn’t want to surrender and give up skinny. I thought that accepting my body was giving up.
It’s funny because I don’t even know where this “ideal self” came from. But I know the images I would see plastered all over weren’t helping. Skinny is everywhere. It’s held in high regard. Shame is put on less than perfect bodies. Culture paints a picture of what the “ideal” woman should look like and when we don’t reflect that image, we feel like a failure. And then we diet and feel bad when we lose, gain, lose, gain more, lose, gain even more, and so on and so forth. We set a goal for ourselves to BE that image. We count, weigh, measure and become fitness fanatics—and we lose ourselves in it—and pretty soon we are serving that idol. I was. I was bowing down to that ugly thing and berating my body when it wasn’t living up to that standard. Ugh.
I want to reflect Christ’s image, not the world’s image of “ideal”.
Lately, I have found courage through other women who have set out to encourage other women to be themselves, cellulite and all! Allie says, “May you have the courage to break up with your ideal self and stop striving.” The Lord is giving me courage. And I want to give you courage to BE YOURSELF! Be the person God has created you to be. You are not less of a person because you don’t stand up to some worldly standard. I feel courageous to LOVE myself and the body God has given me, accepting all of the parts of me—even the parts I used to scold and demand perfection from. I know there’s a lot of pressure out there to be this “ideal self”, but there’s also a lot of encouragement out there to stop living under that pressure (and as I find more of it, I feel the pressure released more and more).
I want to be that brave woman who says NO THANK YOU to the skinny idol. And I would love for you to join me. Will you join me?
We will never measure up to the standards of beauty of this world. I’m DONE trying to measure up to that. How can we measure up when the opinions of beauty are constantly changing? I’m also done paying the price of trying to live up to that standard. It’s cost me my time and energy that I will never have back. It’s distracted me from what’s most important. It’s cost me money. But praise God because He gives back what the locusts have stolen. He gives us beauty for ashes.
Something I’ve had to do is look away from the images. I’ve unfriended friends on Facebook, I’ve deactivated Facebook (for a season), and I’ve had to stop following feeds. I’ve had to ignore the magazine covers in the check-out lanes. I’ve had to stop asking the questions that would lead to diet talk. I’ve purposely had to look away. What feeds the image for you? You have to stop feeding the idol and starve it. You have to guard your heart and eyes from temptation.
Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. Matthew 26:41
I will set nothing wicked before my eyes. Psalm 101:3a
I really liked this article I read about one woman’s “cleanse” from the media’s display of skinny. I had to stay away from social media for most of last year because it created such an issue and temptation for me. It’s really interesting for me to see that others have had to do the same thing. So instead of thinking we need to “cleanse” by eating or not eating particular foods and/or diet, maybe what we really need to cut out is social media or anything that displays the image for awhile. It can definitely feed the idol.
There was another article in the Thryve: Mended magazine that hit me right between the eyeballs. This is from an article called So Glorify God in Your Body by Ashley Kirnan. She says:
We are influenced to idolize the “perfect” body, yet as believers we are instructed to FLEE idolatry.
OUCH!! When I read that, the Lord made it very clear to me that striving after the “perfect” and “ideal” body has been idol worship: worshiping skinny. The skinny idol. There it is…again!
So here God has created me…designed me…and I’ve been despising my body and ashamed of my body all because it doesn’t live up to some “perfect and ideal” standard! Hold it!! I am God’s MASTERPIECE!! He says I am fearfully and wonderfully made! Pretty much that says right there that I am beautiful and accepted and beloved—in His eyes!! He sent His Son and He gave me life. He saved me. He purposely designed me. He is enough for me.
Are you willing to starve this idol? Are you willing to say NO and stop trying to conform to the image of this world? Are you willing to be transformed by the renewing of your mind? Are you willing to let go of the “ideal” and thank God for His masterpiece (that’s YOU!)?
This may be letting go of putting your hope in a diet or in hoping you will reach a certain size or weight that was never designed for you. (I am not saying you won’t release weight, but for some, you are already at or very close to your God-given, set, ideal weight.) This may be relieving the pressure you’ve put on yourself to eat a certain way, exercise a certain number of days a week or hours a day, or to fit into that dress/pants/swim-suit (I’ve had to do this—wear what fits and feels good on my body instead of feeling bad when a certain article of clothing may not). And it may be accepting the love handles, your thighs, and how your body has changed after having a baby or getting older. But it does NOT mean giving up! What it does mean is taking that bondage, that heavy load, and laying it at the cross of Jesus. That weight (bondage of the “ideal” and “perfect”) was never meant for you to carry. You were meant for so much more—but it starts with you laying it all down and surrendering it.
And do you know what happens when you surrender? Do you know what happens when you begin to love and accept your body? You start to care for your body and honor the body God has designed. You calm down. You stop worrying about “skinny”. You listen to your body. You honor hunger. You begin to eat in a calm environment–all of those principles of Thin Within naturally happen because now you love, accept, and care about your body. You treat your body with respect. You relax. You stop demanding your body to shape up or squeeze into the skinny jeans you bought 3 sizes too small because they were on sale.
Will you join me? Let’s do this! If you are ready, let’s agree in prayer together:
Lord, forgive me for striving after ‘skinny’. I’ve made it a god and I’ve worshiped it. You are the One and Only God. You are my Savior, my King. Forgive me for comparing myself to others and trying to meet some “ideal” self. Forgive me for trying to squeeze myself into the “perfect” body. Help me to see my body as Your masterpiece and to be thankful for it. Help me to let go of the mental weight I have carried for so long. Make me whole and complete in you. Help me know who I am in Christ. In Jesus’ name, amen!
I had sweet baby Joel 5 days ago (when I started writing this). He came right on his due date (February 12th) weighing 7lb 4 oz (my smallest baby) and 20 inches long. He is healthy and sweet and sleepy. He does all of the things newborns do, including keeping his parents up at all hours of the night. He is a sweet addition to our family. We are all adjusting to the changes a newborn brings, and that includes adjusting to my post-pregnancy body. In fact, I think we can all use a little “adjusting” to our body. By adjusting, I mean accepting, loving, and embracing your body right where it’s at–no matter where you are at in life, no matter your current size.
I was inspired to write this post as I was laying down resting today. Suddenly, I realized that my belly was no longer rounded, but flat (at least as I was laying down) and squishy. Obviously, I knew that my baby belly was gone, but it was just this deep realization that the baby is no longer taking up residence in my womb and that my body is slowly going back to its “normal” shape and size. And instead of feeling this pressure that I *have* to reach my pre-pregnancy size, I felt this beautiful acceptance that I just had a baby and that my body is beautiful as it is. I felt my squishy belly and thanked God for the beautiful miracle that just took place. I give the Lord the glory and thanks that I’m not obsessing about getting back to a certain size, but that I can accept my body right where it’s at today.
So what is it like to experience eating 0-5 before, during, and after pregnancy? It’s amazing! As I’ve said before, eating 0-5 works no matter what and that includes all seasons of life, including pregnancy and after baby comes. My body knows exactly what it needs. Pregnancy isn’t an excuse to “eat for two” and breastfeeding is the same. Although, I find that I’m much more hungry while breastfeeding than while pregnant. And that makes sense because the body needs a lot more fuel to produce milk for baby. It’s pretty amazing how it really all comes together. I don’t want to spend too much time talking about how TW works with breastfeeding (that will be for a future post); I wanted to expound more on accepting my body after having baby.
During my pregnancy, I had my times of struggling with thoughts of being tempted to go back to a diet after having a baby. But the Lord has clearly shown me how diets do NOT work (95% of diets fail and you gain the weight back plus more over time). I struggled with thoughts about my body. I remembered that I was back in my pre-pregnancy jeans 2 weeks after having my 2nd child and I felt this pressure that I had better get back to that by then or if not sooner. Wow, such unnecessary pressure I put on myself! (A few days after I started writing this post, I am in the next size down jeans. So I’m not at my pre-pregnancy jeans size, but almost–praise God! And a few weeks after starting this post, I’m able to [mostly] fit into my regular sized jeans). But praise the Lord because my mindset is totally different now. I’m going to love my body and accept it right where it’s at. I’m going to do that by smiling at myself in the mirror and thanking the Lord for my body. I’m going to cherish and respect this body God has blessed me with by being satisfied with His provision and eat between hunger and satisfaction (0-5). I’m going to wear clothes that fit my present body.
One thing I wasn’t able to do much during my pregnancy was exercise. I had all of these different physical things going on and it just wasn’t working to exercise on a regular basis. I’m really looking forward to exercising again, but that could be weeks from now. I will rest and respect my body. I’m making an exercise goal, but I promise it’s not anything extreme or crazy. I’m going to exercise in ways that I enjoy and I’m going to wait until my body is ready and I’m well-rested. I’m no longer going to put this crazy pressure on myself to have that “beach body”. I’m not going to make my body a slave. I’m going to give it the love, acceptance, and respect it deserves. I am a child of God first and foremost. I’m not going to conform to this world’s image; I’m all done with that.
These are not empty words. These are all truths the Lord has been working and working on getting into my head (renewing of the mind). I am not a number on a scale or the size of my jeans. I am not my pre-pregnancy body. I am who I am because of Christ. It’s taken almost 3 years to (finally) accept these truths! I’m so thankful that the Lord is so patient!
Wherever you are in your journey toward freedom, stop and ask yourself: what would happen if I accepted my body as it is, today, in this moment? Would I give it more love? Would eating between hunger and satisfaction happen more naturally? Would I try shoving it into clothing that simply doesn’t fit or wear clothes that fit my present body? Would I compare myself with air-brushed images or say ‘thank you’ to the One who made my body?
I know not everyone reading this just had a baby. Maybe it’s been many years since you had a baby. Maybe one day you would like to have children. Truth is, no matter what your body has done or how it’s changed over the years, you can accept it and love it and respect it right where it’s at. You can honor God’s temple NOW. Stop thinking you will only do this when you are that magic number on the scale (get rid of it!) or when you are “skinny”. Thank Him NOW for the amazing miracles that take place each day in your body, whether it’s grown and birthed a baby, whether it’s gone through some miraculous healing, or even the simplicity of taking you from where you are to where you need to go and doing all of the necessary things needed for life (like breathing). You were knit together by the Lord in your mother’s womb. You were marvelously made!
Our body changes as we go through life. It’s just a fact of life. Let’s embrace and love and accept our body today! Honor your hunger and honor your body by eating within those beautiful boundaries God has so lovingly designed. Take care of yourself. When you look in the mirror, thank God for your body; purposely thanking Him for those parts you aren’t so sure about.
P.S. I found this really great article about the pressure the culture and media plays on women about getting their body back after having a baby and how it’s important to accept our new bodies. Let me know what you think!
Image courtesy of Mister GC at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
My Thin Within journey hasn’t been so much about the physical weight, but more about the mental “weight”. The weight of worrying about my body image, obsessing about food, fighting the diet mentality and temptation of going back to a diet, and bowing down to the skinny idol. I’ve had people ask me why I’m so interested in this subject. Like, why do I feel compelled to encourage others in their journey toward freedom when I *look* fine? And my response is this: We all deal with the same lies, whether you are overweight, underweight, or even at your ideal weight. The enemy is right there saying that you are too much or not enough. So my journey has been more about releasing the”weight” of my thoughts and surrendering the obsession. If I could weigh my thoughts, obsessions, struggles, and lies I have dealt with over the years, they would be considerably very heavy.
I did, at one time, have physical weight to release. I’ve been 25-30 pounds overweight. I’ve dealt with emotional eating. I’ve dieted and then sought freedom from counting, weighing, measuring. I’ve dealt with fears about food. I know what it feels like to never feel good enough and to keep on reaching toward those temptations. I know what it’s like to eat when I’m not hungry and then to keep on eating because of guilt and shame. And I know what it’s like to have God’s peace in this journey, to taste the freedom He has offered. I know what it’s like to be free from worrying about food and to no longer overeat.
But I still struggle. I still find myself tempted to research about diets. I still think I need to be a certain size and look a certain way. I still worry about the unknown. I compare past success on a diet program with success while eating 0-5. I want the guarantee that this works. And I compare myself with others.
Sometimes, for encouragement, I will skim through parts of Hunger Within. Recently, I found myself in Chapter 6: Dependence Not Addiction. And even though it’s a hard truth to swallow, I realize I have been dealing with addiction in this. As stated in the chapter, addiction means to “give assent–to give up or to give over”. Somewhere along the line, I had surrendered myself to body image worries, to comparison, the researching diets, etc.
If we give ourselves over to food, performance, relationships, or other compulsive behaviors, we may experience initial relief, so then we cling to them, making them the objects of our desire.
I have done that. And it’s crazy to think I have found “relief” in researching and obsessing over my body, but I have.
As these objects grow in importance, our behavior becomes habitual and we can no longer satisfy or relieve our needs in healthy ways. Even if we want to break free, we find ourselves enslaved. Herein lies the greatest risk to our relationship with God: the addiction itself, rather than God, becomes the driving force or focus of our life.
That statement right there is an eye-opener to me. I have looked to something outside of the Lord to try to satisfy my needs. Some of us do this with food: we eat outside of our physical hunger because there is a need–but only God can reach that need. Wow! I really want to redirect myself (change my habits) so that I’m not reaching toward the avenues of addiction, but instead, I’m reaching toward my Lord and Savior and His Word!
The objects of our addictions become our false gods. These are what we attend to, where we give our time and energy, instead of love. Addiction, then, displaces and supplants God’s love as the source and object of our deepest true desire. (Gerald May, as quoted in Hunger Within)
I don’t know about you, but I’m so tired of going back to the same old behavior. It’s that old rut of thinking. But God wants us to get on His path of righteousness. His WORD is a light unto our path! He wants to pull us out of that old rut and onto His path of life. I want to release this “weight” over to the Lord so I can be free! And I know that will happen as I continue to press into Him and seek His truth. HE is the one Who will change me from the inside out. I want to press into HIM, not into the diet books and lies that I’ve believed for so long. I want to go to Him instead of putting hope in something false. I know it starts in my mind. That’s why it’s so important to renew my mind. That’s where the change starts.
For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. 2 Cor 10:4-5
I cannot tell you how many hours I’ve prayed or how many journals I’ve filled (at least a few), asking the Lord for help, digging into His Word, seeking His truth as He dissolved lies. But I do know this–GOD is the One Who will change you. Your part is to go to Him, and HE does the transformation work! I cannot emphasize that enough. Renewing your mind is a vital part of this journey! Take those lies to Him. Lay them before Him and trust that He will reveal truth! Don’t give up! He will change you and one day you will realize that you aren’t struggling with certain things anymore. You will release “weight” and the physical weight. He will change you from within and it will not only be evident on the outside, but we will think and live changed. Praise God!
My journey isn’t over yet, in fact, recently it’s turned a corner and I’m so excited to share about that…but you will have to wait until next week. Stay tuned!
One of the biggest concerns I hear from those starting out on their Thin Within journey is about eating treats and sweets. It’s like there is this fear that to eat them, and that if they do eat them, they are going to indulge so much and gain weight. There is such a deep diet mentality that has taught them that eating sweets and treats is BAD. And isn’t that what diets teach us? That treats and sweets are evil temptations that have to be held at bay or they will ruin us? I really think this is a common fear when you are stepping out of the diet realm and into a journey toward freedom from the control of food.
I can understand this fear. When I first started my Thin Within journey, I was so fearful of eating carbs and sugar. I had believed a lie that they would literally kill me. It was the first thing I had to renew my mind about and seek God’s truth about. You can read about that in my testimony: CHANGED. And I praise God, because He has changed me in that area and I no longer fear eating tasty treats and sweets. I know I am free to enjoy those foods within hunger and satisfaction.
So I wanted to take some time to review some of what Thin Within talks about when it comes to our food choices. I believe our food choices are based on individual needs. No body is the same and it takes time to learn what is desirable and what isn’t beneficial individually.
In Thin Within, there are food categories called “pleasers”, “teasers”, “total rejects”, and “whole-body pleasers”. These categories help us determine our food choices. The description of these are found in the original Thin Within book for Day Eighteen. Here is a quick summary of them:
Pleasers: these foods bring physical satisfaction, they are very specific (you may even have to go to a restaurant to enjoy them), they can change from day to day.
Teasers: these foods are convenient, “tempting”, they look better than they taste, not very satisfying, wasn’t on your mind until your senses were “teased”.
Total Rejects: these foods are (for you) too sweet, too salty, too fatty, artificially flavored, don’t even taste good, don’t make you feel good.
Whole-Body Pleasers: these foods make you feel good overall, foods your body calls out for, they are enjoyable while you eat them, and they leave you feeling energized.
Everyone will have different foods that fit into these different categories. No one will have the same list for the same category. As you go about your Thin Within journey, you will learn about what foods fit in these categories, but you still have the freedom to eat them. If you have an intolerance or allergy to any type of food, you will learn to understand there is sweet freedom in choosing not to eat those foods. Your whole perspective on food changes as you go through this journey.
I used to be afraid that even though I have found freedom to enjoy all foods that at some point God was going to pull a switch and take away that freedom. But the Lord has shown me that He won’t take my freedom away; instead, He has helped me discern what foods fit into those categories. Praise God!
Personally, I enjoy a small serving of ice cream almost every afternoon. I have a favorite brand (or two). Personally, these brands of ice cream are delicious and very satisfying. One time we had a different brand of ice cream, which I ate one afternoon, and it gave me such a weird sugar high. I realized, then, that not all ice cream is equal (which sounds funny to say). I chose not to eat anymore of that particular ice cream and now I stick with my favorites. So can I enjoy eating ice cream? Yes. Has God given me freedom to eat it? Yes. And now I make sure I choose the kinds of ice cream that are delicious and satisfying.
Have I gone through periods of time where I didn’t feel “free” to have ice cream in our freezer? Yes, maybe a couple of times. And it was for a very short season and reason. It was something between me and the Lord. And you may have those seasons as well, and you may not. Everyone has their own, individual journey; that’s why it’s important not to compare or scrutinize someone else’s food choices. There are no BAD or GOOD foods listed here or in any of the Thin Within material. You are free to choose. Praise God!
During my 3rd pregnancy, I discovered that certain foods would give me horrible indigestion and just didn’t leave me feeling good. Normally, these foods are very satisfying. I realized that I had the freedom to choose to abstain from these foods for the remainder of my pregnancy. It was just for a season.
Last year, I touched on this subject in a post I entitled It’s Not About the Food. I encourage you to check it out.
So the question stands: can you enjoy sweets and treats? YES! And can you enjoy them without guilt? YES! God has given you the freedom to enjoy them along with ALL other foods. Consider your preferences. Ask Him for discernment. But do not attach food laws or rules. You are FREE to choose! (Romans 14)
Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For EVERY creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving; for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer. 1 Timothy 4:1-5
I cannot conclude without mentioning this important point: the more you connect any food with being “bad”, the more deprived you will feel and the more that food will tempt you to indulge and overeat. So if you legalize the food in the beginning (Phase One: Freedom Phase), it won’t matter if you have a gazillion of those things in your fridge, freezer, or cupboard–because you will know you have the freedom to enjoy those foods within hunger and satisfaction. But as soon as you start to label foods “good” and “bad”, you are on a slippery slope. I know this from experience. And this is a very common occurrence for those who are seeking freedom from the control of food.
So you are free to enjoy ALL foods! Even sweets and treats! The Lord will guide you in this! Ask Him for help and discernment! He will show you His kind of freedom for you in your journey. God is SO faithful! Oh…and you can enjoy ALL foods within hunger and satisfaction AND release weight! Isn’t that wonderful news! Praise God!
Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. Galatians 5:1
I’ve been reading a book called Parenting the Wholehearted Child by Jeannie Cunnion (excellent book by the way) and she talked about how we know we are loved and accepted when we know who we are in Christ. So that got me thinking about how I have spent so many years not feeling accepted because of my body or thinking that I needed to conform to a certain pattern or image of this world. I have learned that there are more issues if I don’t accept my body where it’s at; like I’m accepting defeat. So I started thinking, what would happen if I knew (really knew) and declared who I am in Christ? Because in Christ I AM accepted!
“Those of us who struggle with food, eating, body image, and weight may spend excessive energy performing for acceptance because we equate our self-concept with our outward appearance. When our reflection in the mirror is less than perfect, we may continue to try to improve ourselves and an abusive pattern of starving or stuffing ourselves may persist” (Hunger Within, Chapter 5: Worth Not Shame).
Heidi Bylsma shared an amazing file with me with many truths about who we are in Christ. Today I sat down, with the printed list, and picked out the ones I felt that were most applicable to me in the moment (of course all of them are). And then I wrote down (with some fun colored pencils) on a sheet of paper. I will keep this paper on my bathroom vanity to read each day and confess. These are truths I can renew my mind with. And I know as I renew my mind, God will transform me (Hebrews 12:1-2). As I declare these truths, I will believe them more and more.
You see, it’s not what I do that makes me who I am. It’s not my outside appearance that makes me special. It’s not how well I perform or go about my work. I am who I am because of who I am in Christ–because of what He has done for me. I am accepted because Christ accepts me.
You and I are accepted by Christ no matter what. This list tells us who you are in Christ. So when you look in the mirror, you can lift that chin up and be confident in the Lord despite what you see or wish you could see. You are His beloved! You are accepted!
“This undeniable, unavoidable longing for a sense of value is a sanctified hunger placed in us by God’s design, but we will never experience inner peace until we face the truth that nothing of this world–our appearance, our past or present performance, possessions, or the opinions of other–can fulfill our longing for security and significance…Our hunger within will persist unsatisfied until we can see ourselves not through the eyes of the world but through the eyes of our loving Lord” (Hunger Within, Chapter 5: Worth Not Shame).
When you know who you are in Christ and you know you can accept your body as is, you will start to relax and be thankful for your body. It’s not quitting or giving up. It’s not saying you will never release another pound. It’s being confident that the Lord loves you and accepts you right where you are at and that He will complete the work He has started in you. I really think this is a vital part of the journey toward freedom in this area of our lives, especially if you have been worshiping the skinny idol.
“When we accept ourselves for what we are, we decrease our hunger for power or the acceptance of others because our self-intimacy reinforces our inner sense of security” (Hunger Within, Chapter 5: Worth Not Shame).
When you know who you are in Christ and this journey becomes about what’s within, you focus on your heart relationship with Christ and not the number on a scale. If you are first starting your journey this may feel hard to imagine or accept because you just want the added weight gone. And I can encourage you that you will release weight in conjunction with the Lord working on your inner man as well. It’s pretty amazing!
Would you like to renew your mind with some truths about who you are in Christ? Here are some truths to get you started:
Who I Am In Christ
I am God’s child for I am born again of the incorruptible seed of the Word of God which lives and abides forever 1 Pet. 1:23
I am forgiven all my sins and washed in the blood Eph. 1:7
I am a new creature II Cor. 5:17
I am the temple of the Holy Spirit I Cor. 6:19
I am delivered from the power of darkness and transformed into God’s kingdom Col. 1:13
I am redeemed from the curse of the law Gal. 3:13
I am strong in the Lord Eph.6:10
I am holy and without blame before Him Eph. 1:4
I am accepted in Christ Eph. 1:6
I am blessed Deut. 28:1-14
I am a saint Rom. 1:7
I am qualified to share in His inheritance Col. 1:12
I am the head and not the tail.
I am above only and not beneath Deut. 28:13
I am victorious Rev. 21:7
I am dead to sin Rom.6: 2, 11
I am elect Col. 3:12
I am loved with an everlasting love Jer. 31:3
I am established to the end I Cor. 1:8
I am set free Jn. 8:31-33
I am circumcised with the circumcision made without hands Col. 2:11
I am crucified with Christ Gal. 2:20
I am alive with Christ Eph. 2:5
I am raised up with Christ and seated in heavenly places Col. 2:12
I am His faithful follower Eph. 5:1
I am the light of the world Matt. 5:14
I am the salt of the earth Matt. 5:13
I am called of God II Tim. 1:9
I am brought near by the blood of Christ Eph. 2:13
I am more than a conqueror Rom. 8:37
I am in Christ Jesus by His doing I Cor. 1:30
I am an ambassador for Christ II Cor. 5:20
I am beloved of God I Thess. 1:4
I am the first fruits among His creation James 1:18
I am born of God and the evil one does not touch me I Jn. 5:18
I am a king and a priest unto God Rev. 1:6
I am a joint heir with Christ Rom. 8:17
I am reconciled to God II Cor. 5:18
I am overtaken with blessings Deut. 28:2
I am healed by the wounds of Jesus I Pet. 2:24
I am in the world as He is in heaven I Jn. 4:17
I am a fellow citizen with the saints of the household of God Eph. 2:19
I am sealed with the promise of the Holy Spirit Eph. 1:13
I am complete in Christ Col. 2:10
I am the apple of my Father’s eye Ps. 17:8
I am free from condemnation Rom. 8:1
I am the righteousness of God through Jesus Christ II Cor. 5:21
I am chosen I Thess. 1:4
I am firmly rooted, built up, strengthened in the faith and overflowing with thankfulness Col. 2:7
I am a disciple of Christ because
I have love for others Jn. 13:34-35
I am built on the foundations of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the chief cornerstone Eph. 2:20
I am a partaker of His divine nature II Pet. 1:4
I am God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works Eph. 2:10
I am being changed into His image Phil. 1:6
I am one in Christ! Hallelujah! Jn. 17:21-23
I have all my needs met by God according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus Phil. 4:19
I have the mind of Christ I Cor. 2:16
I have everlasting life Jn. 6:47
I have a guaranteed inheritance Eph. 1:14
I have abundant life Jn. 10:10
I have overcome the world 1 Jn. 5:4
I have the peace of God which passes understanding Phil. 4:7
I have access to the Father by one Spirit Eph. 2:18
I can do all things through Jesus Christ Phil. 4:13
I walk in Christ Jesus Col. 2:6
I press toward the goal for the prize of the high calling of God Phil. 3:14
I live by the law of the Holy Spirit Rom. 8:2
I know God’s voice Jn. 10:14
I show forth His praise I Pet. 2:9
I always triumph in Christ II Cor. 2:14
P.S. I created a Sound Cloud recording reading these truths. Enjoy!
Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
I believe that 0-5 works all the time, no matter what. Like for instance, I know that eating 0-5 works during pregnancy, but I find myself doubting my ability to truly do that. Why is that? Because it’s hard to SEE the evidence of it working, because well, one gains weight while pregnant. It’s just part of the process and every body is different. So throughout my pregnancy I’m constantly wondering, “Is this working?” And then I’ll feel like the rubber doesn’t really meet the road until post-pregnancy. It’s sort of silly, but that’s how it’s been for me the last 2 pregnancies. I guess it’s that unknown. It’s trusting the Lord even when we don’t really SEE the proof.
28 weeks + 5 days pregnant with 3rd baby
Throughout my pregnancy, to be honest, I’ve battled with thoughts of this working after the baby comes. But I KNOW it does! I’ve already done this with my second pregnancy. He’s already been faithful to see me through and to prove to me His ability to help me release excess baby weight. But the thoughts are there, again, this pregnancy. “Does this work? Will I release the weight?” So the diet thoughts pop up. Doubts.
“Sometimes we are like the Israelites. Our newly aquired freedom may feel unsettling, even frightening. At first we may not trust it. We may be tempted to go back to the bondage, sitting around the “pots of meet”–the meal plans and calorie counting–to have something external dictate when, what, and how much we should eat” (Hunger Within, Chapter 3: Grace Not Legalism).
This morning I opened Hunger Within and the Lord showed me that I haven’t been putting my security and trust in Him in this area. He wants me to be so confident in Him and what He’s shown me even if this feels like a weak area. He showed me that I compare myself to others. My mom said something to me recently pertaining to something she and I both read about someone’s weight/health testimony. She said what works for one may not work for another. So true. What she said made me realize that I keep on comparing myself to others and thinking that their way should work for me too, when it clearly doesn’t. And most importantly, I need to lean upon what the LORD has shown me. There are areas of my life that I’m confident in and I feel very strongly and passionate about because the Lord has clearly shown me something. Like for instance, homeschooling: I know the Lord has called me to homeschool and I believe it’s for the long haul. I have peace in that. There are those rare times I question it, but otherwise I’m strong in my conviction of what the Lord has shown me. But when it comes to this food thing, I don’t feel as strong. I waver based on what is before my eyes, what I hear, etc. And it’s interesting, because I know the Lord has clearly shown me that eating 0-5 is His way for me, but I still have moments of doubt. I want to walk in that confidence, trusting Him and not leaning on my own understanding or what the world around me is saying.
Last week, I was looking for a photo in my photos on my phone and I happened upon this photo (above) of myself from last spring (May 25, 2015). Now, when I saw this photo, I was like, “Wow, I looked pretty good!” But then I remembered still struggling with accepting my body. And now I see how ridiculous it was for me to be so hard on myself. At this time, I had recently released about 3 more pounds (I talked about this in my Counterfeit Hunger post). I believe I was very close to my natural, God-given size. But I still found myself doubting. The enemy was right there saying it still wasn’t enough…that *I* wasn’t enough. What a stinkin’ liar! He wants us to doubt and he uses the same ole lie, “Did God really say?” You know, the same lie he used in the Garden of Eden. In this example, the lies would be, “Does eating 0-5 really help release weight?” “Do you really think you look good? Look at [name that body part].”
I’m sharing this picture not to be like, “Oh look at me!” But because I want to share how the enemy gets in there and tells us we aren’t okay when we really are. I know why I still wasn’t satisfied with where my body was; it was because I was comparing it to the images of the “perfect body” we see splattered around. You know, those Photoshopped, air-brushed photos. But it wasn’t just those images, it was what I was seeing on social media. Or it was me comparing myself to the fitness gurus I’ve seen on workout videos. The enemy will always give us something in which to compare ourselves if we are not satisfied in our present circumstances. I felt that my body wasn’t good enough, that I needed to try harder. I was doubting. I didn’t feel good enough–and that I shouldn’t be satisfied until I reached some level of fitness or “skinny”.
“Let’s face it, there always will be someone prettier, stronger, more handsome, or more successful than you, and the media images will continue to hold up standards of beauty and perfection that no one can match” (Hunger Within, Chapter 5: Worth Not Shame).
On May 27, 2015 (two days after that photo was taken) I wrote this in my journal: “I am doubting God when I am thinking about eating another way (diet). I am saying I would rather trust the world and have no peace and have confusion than to trust God and have faith and peace. Do NOT be conformed to this world! The world’s way changes.”
And that’s so true. The “image” the world accepts has changed SO much over the years, but that’s a whole other discussion.
I really want to stand securely in what the Lord has shown me. I don’t want to waver when my eyes don’t SEE the proof. I have to walk by faith and not by sight. I have to believe God’s way for me is perfect. He doesn’t want me to obsess. He wants me to follow His peace. He wants me to trust Him and rest in Him. In fact, that’s His one little word He’s given me this year for 2016: REST.
Come to me, all you who are weary and 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.
My one little word(s) for 2015 was: BE FREE and SERVE. I most definitely feel more FREE than I have in a long time. I’m not feeling as burdened by the heaviness of food obsession or body occupation. My journal is filled with less “woe is me I ate too much” and more of scripture prayer declaring what the Lord has done, is doing, and will do. My relationship with Him has been strengthened. I understand His grace so much more than I have ever in my 34 years of life. He has definitely been at work! And now He wants me to REST in Him.
Resting means putting my confidence and security in Him. Is He faithful to watch over His word? Yes! Is He faithful to fulfill His promises? YES!!! God is able. So I need to stop comparing myself to others. I need to be completely confident in what He has shown me and stop wavering based on what someone else says or does or looks like.
I spent most of 2015 off of Facebook and, at times, Instagram because it creates doubt, comparison, and obsession. Right now, it’s not a safe or healthy place for me to be. This is a personal issue. I’m just not strong enough (yet) to see all of that stuff in my face (especially this time of year) and to be able to turn down the temptation to research about diets. It’s been a stronghold that the Lord has been helping me overcome. I share that to encourage you that if there’s something in your life that is feeding the doubt, then back away from it. Prayerfully consider eliminating it. Doubt is like temptation to not believe what God says. And temptation leads to sin. The Lord showed me that the social media arena is an area of weakness for me. I do so much better without it. Again, that is my personal struggle with social media; it may be something completely different for the next person.
What causes you to doubt success in your Thin Within journey? Are you doubting that 0-5 works? There are lots of testimonies to read if you want to see “proof”. Build up your faith by renewing your mind in God’s word. Ask Him to show you His truth about what He wants for you in this journey toward freedom from comparison, food indulgence, not being satisfied, etc. He will be faithful to show you.