It’s the time of year when we, at Thin Within, again offer our hearts and minds to the Lord who chose to come to earth to bring salvation to us. Salvation from eternal separation from God, but also to save us daily from futile ways of thinking and living.
Join us for our December Surrender. Below is sample of the first 4 days of our “December Surrender.” Come on over to Mighty Networks–our Thin Within Community–to listen to each mind renewal meditation as it is posted daily.
This morning, I am studying Jesus’ own words in John 6: “Truly Truly I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.” (verse 53)
Woah…Can you imagine the response of the Jews listening to Him? They clearly thought Jesus was speaking of literal cannibalism. Jews took very special care in what they ate, so this would have been reprehensible to them.
They got it wrong. But they responded assuming they had it right…Verse 66 tells us: “After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with Him.”
Jesus required the impossible (or so it seemed) of His followers. But where there seems to be no way, he makes a way. He is the WayMaker. I need to remember that.
This morning as I paused with Him about this requirement to take in His flesh and His blood in order to truly have life, I asked Him what it means to me personally, today. He laid on my heart that it means that I will “make room” in my “stomach” — my LIFE — for him in ways that are foreign to me and also common place, perhaps.
As insignificant as it may sound, I instantly knew he was asking me to surrender the last few bites of my “typical” breakfast. Probably a 3rd of my breakfast.
It isn’t about the food…it is about my heart. My heart wanted to react and say “NO! It is *only* a few bites! Surely that doesn’t matter to the Lord!”
Right. The food doesn’t matter to the Lord. My heart DOES. If I sense His leadership and minimize the importance of his call and turn my tail…THAT is the sin…not the food. I am adding another layer of callus to my heart.
I have a stronghold (heart) problem. Not an eating problem. Take care of the heart issue and the eating will follow.
Lord Jesus, thank you that you moved in my heart today to read a difficult passage. You call us to the IMPOSSIBLE. To “eat your flesh and drink your blood.” Lord, I know that this means dying to myself in the moment…and saying yes to you … in the moment…no matter what you are calling me to do. The little “insignificant” requests you make of me are not little and they are not insignificant. Help me not to miss that you are doing a deeper heart work…In your majestic mighty Name, Amen.
How About You?
Do you sense the Lord inviting you to “make room” in some way in your life for more of Him? To be able to really take him in…to feast on him, we have to make room for Him. What will that look like for you today? Feel free to share it with us.
No matter what the motivation behind or purpose for it, a get-away is a good idea! One get-awayer might be wanting to simply get away from the routine and cares of daily life and have a change of pace. Another wants to get away to visit or do something fun, exciting, and different. And yet another wants a get-away where they just relax and do absolutely nothing.
But additionally, and sadly for me, “vacation” has been synonymous with “license to EAT everything I want”! I have basically deemed vacation a time to vacate my food boundaries, toss all reason and restraint to the wind, and indulge my taste-buds in whatever sights my eyes might behold. Bad idea!
But my days of wayward appetite indulging have been getting challenged and are drawing near to their end. I had been participating in Heidi Bylsma’s Thin Within Coaching group for a couple of months prior to our trip, and it was clear that my old appetite regarding vacation feasting would not be getting to accompany me this trip. Actually it just needed to be killed and buried forever.
So I had determined in my heart and mind that our most recent vacation would be different. I was not going to be focused on FOOD, but rather on having fun with Dave, doing the various outings we had planned (which included some “rising above” experiences ~ like ziplining through a mall 115 feet up and going on a helicopter ride), bubble baths with Dave, and just relaxing in our room.
And, even though it was hard on my flesh ~ which just wants to eat whatever it wants whenever it wants ~ the Lord helped me rise above the temptation to eat when I wasn’t hungry.
For most of our time there, I was both “doing” and “being” very well with my eating, meaning I had surrendered my self indulgent heart to the Lord and was not allowing our trip to be about food. This alone was fun! A new experience for me, which, on one hand, I’m embarrassed and sad to say, but on the other, “better late than never,” right?
But there were a couple of days while there that I was struggling to keep afloat. It took me a while, but I finally realized at least one of the reasons…
Several “concerns of life” had piled up.
Kind of like on a freeway when one car rams into another, and then the car behind that one rams in to the first two, and then the next car back crashes into those, and so on… until there’s a huge pile-up!!!!!! (I do realize that the photo above is of toy cars on a village map carpet. There were actually plenty of real-life photos of car pile-ups, but in case any of you have been in a traumatic car accident, I thought the toy car pile-up would be less traumatic. 🙂 However, when I showed this photo to my little 2-year-old grandpunkin, Henry, his eyes popped as he said “UH-OH!!!” So he “got it”! 🙂 )
There were quite a few concerns that I had allowed to pile up. I don’t need to get specific as to what those were as it doesn’t matter. What does matter is that we all have our own pile-ups of concerns, and I had not been dealing with mine.
A more “natural” way to put it is that my emotions had gotten “constipated.”
This was because I was not taking my “concerns” to the Lord. Nor was I even recognizing things were piling up that I needed to take to Him! I was just kind of unconsciously stewing and mulling over several different things that had stealthily snuck their way in to my subconscious. I was unknowingly letting random thoughts and feelings churn around in my mind and heart, which naturally clouded and clogged up my emotional state.
(By the way, my time with Dave was absolutely wonderful, so these concerns had nothing to do with him, but were going on “elsewhere” in my life.)
But then I “came to” and became aware of what was happening, and realized that I needed the Lord to pull me out of the quicksand.
The Lord actually brought a few things came to my rescue!
First, I came across a sweet but powerful little video in the larger Thin Within Discussion and Support group on Facebook. It was by Asheritah Ciuciu, a very sweet, Jesus-loving gal who has done lots of short encouraging videos like this one here. This particular video was about quieting our minds and emptying our burdens before the Lord, and receiving what He has for us in exchange. She has you hold your hands down and empty out everything you can think of ~ one by one ~ that’s weighing on you; just dump it all before the Lord. Then turn your empty hands upward and open them to the Lord to receive whatever He wants to give you.
(I was originally able to watch this video in the above-mentioned Thin Within Discussion and Support group, however Asheritah has since changed the way her videos are viewed, and it can be viewed only from inside her “MyOneThingAlone” community where monthly membership is available. You can learn more at www.myonethingalone.com.)
It’s just a very simple tool, but because I’m very visual and hands-on, it was really helpful to me. Right there in the hotel room! (Dave was gone, so I had this time to myself.) And it gave me a hand-on way (literally) to UNconstipate ~ or unclog ~ my pile-up of burdens!!!
It’s actually a very practical way to “take every thought captive,” and then DO something with them!
GOD SPEAKS TO ME
Through Heidi’s book. By the same name. 🙂 The Lord knows I need reminders and reinforcing, so to add to, clarify, and confirm the above hands-down and hands-up exercise, along came some gems on Days 23 and 24 in Heidi’s book, God Speaks to Me!!!!!!
On Day 23, Heidi talks about being able to “discern what is best.” It dawned on me that I have never thought of “discernment” as being something to use in the area of eating. Like I hadn’t thought of it as discerning when I’m at a 0 or a 5, or as discerning what kind of food I’m hungry for or that would be helpful to me right now.
I thought of “discernment” as a “spiritual” tool used in a counseling or prayer setting. “Common sense” is what I have called what I use to determine my food issues. So I was kind of separating my eating from the “spiritual” realm. But in reality, it’s all “spiritual”!!! And I needed to integrate the two worlds!
So I asked the Lord for discernment in this matter of eating, and then also for self-control to accompany and activate that discernment!
COMING FULL CIRCLE
Then on Day 24 of the same book, God Speaks to Me, Heidi leads us to hear the Lord asking us to “draw near to Him, to come close, to eat what will satisfy, to rest in His presence and cease carrying my heavy burden.” Aaah! The whole “heavy burden” thing again! This delightfully brought me full-circle back to Asheritah’s video with her little tool for how to lay down our burdens! Not that you couldn’t do it on your own without her little tool! I just like her “visual” for doing this.
I want to add that a “heavy burden” is not necessarily just ONE big burden. It can certainly be that, like dealing with cancer, marital infidelity, unemployment, an extended illness or death of a loved one, just to name a few biggies. (Or “heavy-ies”?) But it can also be many smaller things. Imagine a wheelbarrow packed full of many weeds, dirt chunks, and rocks from around the yard. Each one is not heavy in itself, but it all adds up. Lots of little things all piled up – and not handed over to the Lord – create one… big… heavy… burden.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, 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.” (Matt.11:28-29)
Does your appetite need to have its “license” revoked? Does it need to be sent on a permanent vacation ~ away from being in charge of you? Or if it’s extra tenacious, willful, and wayward like mine, it just needs to be put to death. Of course, appetites don’t usually die a quick, easy death. But you can surrender it, and ask and allow the Lord to help you get victory over it, which He does by transforming our minds and our hearts!
The Thin Within groups are an excellent way to get very practical, loving, grace-based and wisdom-filled help and companionship on this arduous journey! Really good idea!!!
About those burdens… Because of how deeply they affect us as well as how we live and respond to Life, I want to look more closely at those! All burdens are not “happenings.” Some stem from other sources, like wrong thinking, or heart issues that have us spiritually constipated. So how did they develop? What did they come from? How can we recognize them? And then how can we deal with them in practical ways? More on that in my next blog post!
Right now I am involved in a study called “A Taste for Truth” by Barb Raveling. It’s a great way to learn to renew my mind and fits nicely with eating “intuitively”, or 0-5. A few days ago, I joined the discussion on the chapter regarding emotional eating. My good friend Deanna Burris, who is leading the class asked us some questions and gave some advice that I wanted to share with you.
Do you remember the first time you ate for emotional reasons?
Gals, we have tools to use that will sidetrack our desires to eat emotionally today. We can renew our minds before we eat out of our emotions. If we miss renewing our minds before eating, we can renew our minds after and that will bring us closer to making this a habit.
Barb says at the end of this lesson, “When we stuff our emotions with food, we miss out on so much. We can change that by developing a habit of going to God to talk through all those hard situations in our lives that make us want to eat for emotional reasons.”
Share what you discovered about those “Hard Things” in your life as you worked through today’s Bible Study.
Emotional eating came early in life for me.
I was put on a diet at 5 yrs old and wasn’t allowed to have sweets. However, my sister was allowed to have them because she was skinny and I was not.
I remember feeling ugly and unloved while my sister was the favored one.
The first memory I have of emotional eating was probably when I was around 8 years old. My family was visiting my aunt’s house and she had a bowl of candy on her coffee table. At one point I was alone in the living room and so I saw an opportunity to eat candy. As I was eating it, I remember how good I felt and powerful and loved! Thus began my pattern of sneaking food. This is the beginning of my unhealthy relationship as food being my friend and comforter.
From the time I was a child, I learned that food helped ease the sadness and feelings of being unloved or insecure with myself. It made me feel like I had power when I would sneak food. I have learned now that I have done this into adulthood without even realizing it. As I used food to cope since early childhood, it became ingrained in me to respond to emotions with food.
··· God Gives Hope! ···
God has opened my eyes to my emotional eating thru the book “HUNGER WITHIN”. He continues to show me ways to STOP this behavior thru the study of the book “A TASTE FOR TRUTH”. Renewing my mind about my identity in Jesus helps me a lot. Scripture about God being in control and His love and provision also keep me feeling secure in Him and I don’t reach for the food. I have learned that food is a lier. It is certainly NOT my friend and DOES NOT love me back! I am learning with these tools God has given me that only HE truly satisfies.
He loves me right now, right here wherever I am on the journey.
Food is just a tool for nourishing my body.
.God has more work to do with me regarding emotional eating. Because of this, I am excited to announce that Deanna Burris and I will be offering a group study of Barb Raveling’s book “Freedom from Emotional Eating”. We will start in mid September and end by the end of November.
This class is for people who already have the basics of Thin Within down and are ready for the next level.
We will not be discussing weight, diets or any jargon regarding good or bad food choices. This way, we can be free to not be tempted to return to diet mentality while God is healing us from emotional eating.
I admit it! I have some clothes that just do not fit!
Mostly, they are too tight! I have kept them in my closet even though they haven’t fit for years. Yes, friends. These are my “skinny clothes” and really are out of style. These few favorite pieces of mine are from a time when I was much smaller than I am now. This was a time when I got down to my “goal weight” with Weight Watchers. I even worked for them! BUT, in order to maintain my “lifetime” status, I had to eat very little and exercise a whole lot! I was hungry and got tired of eating the foods from my “zero point” list. I had to exercise more and more to earn points to eat and was terrified of missing a workout. I was also terrified of gaining weight.
This was not living in freedom!
So why am I holding on to these clothes that were from a time in my life when I was completely entrenched in diet living? Isn’t it really diet mentality that tells me to hold on to these clothes “just in case” I may ever be that size again? You know. When I find that perfect “diet”?
WAIT! I’m DONE WITH DIETING!
It’s time to give those clothes away!
SPIRITUAL OBJECT LESSON
When I think about getting rid of clothes that hold me back to that diet mentality, I am reminded of something that was in the sermon at church on Sunday.
In Colossians 3 and Ephesians 4 we are told that we are supposed to put off the old self or “clothes” and be clothed with the “new self” or a new attitude.
Therefore, if you have been raised with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Keep thinking about things above, not things on the earth, for you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God…….So put to death whatever in your nature belongs to the earth: sexual immorality, impurity, shameful passion, evil desire, and greed which is idolatry…… You also lived your lives in this way at one time……But now, put off these old clothes…..Put off the old clothes with its practices. You have been clothed with the new man that is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of the One who created it. (Colossians 3:1-3,5-8a,10 NET bible)
Everyday we are called by God to put off or take off the old clothes and to put on the clothes of our new life. So we take off those old, soiled, smelly clothes of our old self (for us in this setting, it may be taking off the diet mentality, beating ourselves up, not loving our bodies, perfectionism, etc. or overeating ) and get rid of them. But something happens overnight. When we wake up the next morning, and hanging on the closet door in plain view of our eyes are our old clothes! Only now they look bright, clean and oh so alluring! They are comfortable. They are what we like or are used to. They call to us. They whisper our name. BUT, they drag us down and away from the wonderful and FREE life in Christ. AND, guess what? They lie to us, for now that we have learned a new way to live in Christ, these old clothes REALLY DO NOT FIT US ANY MORE!
God has another plan for us. He has a new set of clothes that is our new self. We may need help putting on these clothes and NOT changing back into the old clothes. That is why we have the Holy Spirit to help us. He will help us with this new way of living. This new way is peace and life and FREEDOM.
So, now back to those clothes in my closet that don’t fit.
I am GETTING RID OF THEM!
No need to have clothes that not only don’t fit, but also keep me longing for an impossible body shape and size.
So, why go back to our old ways, our old life, our old sin?
Lets take off these old, smelly clothes!
They really don’t fit us anymore, despite how comfy they may seem!
Let’s put on our NEW CLOTHES and walk in the way that leads to LIFE!
I have a favorite bowl/large mug that I enjoy eating cereal out of. It is somehow the perfect shape and size. It is also special because my daughter gave it to me.
This is especially true when I eat a bowl of cereal before going to bed. Even more true when I eat the cereal in front of the TV….
Somehow, every time I eat cereal out of this bowl-mug, I end up eating too much. I have a really hard time stopping until the bowl is empty! I know this. I know this bowl is too big. I know I need to change to a smaller bowl or mug.
BUT THIS IS MY FAVORITE!
AND….I WANT to eat while watching my show!!!
I know I should not eat in front of the TV(for some reason I am only tempted to do this if I get hungry right before bed and I have been watching something already!)
BUT I’M HUNGRY AND I DON’T WANT TO PAUSE THE SHOW! WAAAHHHH!
I have a stern look at what is going on here.
Yes, I become a “mom” to that 2 year old-temper-tantrum-throwing self inside! AND, I OBSERVE and CORRECT!
When I start really looking at it, I observe that my favorite bowl/mug is too big. I observe that when I eat in front of the TV I eat mindlessly and usually too much.
A realization hits.
I talk a lot about surrender. I surrender my body shape and size. I surrender the food so I can eat within hunger and satisfaction.
Am I willing to surrender my favorite bowl/mug?
Am I willing to surrender the TV show?
It sounds so trivial now that I write it here but when I’m in that 2 year old throw-a-fit mood, it isn’t trivial right then!
As insignificant as it sounds, God is asking me to surrender these things because it is causing me to stay emotionally attached to food.
So, here is the plan.
I am going to hide that favorite bowl in a place where it’s very inconvenient to get when I am tempted to use it.
I’m going to find a cereal bowl that is the right size (about a fist sized portion) to get me from hunger to satisfaction so I won’t overeat on cereal.
I will turn off the TV when I’m eating. (Period. End of discussion.)
Sounds simple, huh? But we all know that sometimes things that appear simple are really more than that.
What things do YOU need to change, surrender or give up to break an emotional tie to food?