Stay on the Path

Stay on the Path

Guest Post by Susan Bradbury

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Cathy Maher recently shared the above Truth Card.

Thinking about this one: I have FREEDOM to walk in the Spirit when I keep my boundaries. It is just like when you go for a walk in a park or nature reserve and you see a sign that says, “Stay on the Path! The sign is posted there to protect you…the path itself is safe. Off the path there may be a drop off or poison ivy or animal traps, etc. It is only when we choose to veer off the path because something catches our eye and we think, “oh I think I just wanna step off for a moment, pick a flower, etc…no one will notice.

Stepping off the path can ruin the beauty of the journey for others to enjoy. We need to stay on the path as an example for others also. We don’t realize the impact of our feet. Sometimes there are reasons WHY and we don’t always know them…but the signs are posted for our protection and the protection of those around us.

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When you think of stepping off the path…think again!

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Just like the path in the park has signs, God has signs posted along our journey.  These guiding markers are there for our protection.  The signs of hunger and satisfied are simple, quiet ways that God gets our attention.  They are not there to stop us from enjoying ourselves.   They are there so we can get the maximum pleasure from this life as we follow Him!

Do you feel backed into the corner by life? Patsy Clairmont gives you hope in this video.

Trust Me and find out you are safe… ~Jesus

Here are the boundaries video resources that have helped me the most:

  • Boundaries
  • Boundaries Webinar
  • Week 9 Boundaries Workbook
  • Keeping Boundaries Under Stress video
  • Click HERE  to find great blog resources on boundaries.  These have been very helpful to me!

I have made a “Why I love keeping my boundaries” list…When I review the benefits it is easy to decide to stay within my boundaries of 0 to 5.  Why not consider making your own list? Also, be sure to make some Truth Cards to glance at when you are tempted to jump the boundaries! You will be amazed how much easier it will be to stay on the path!!

How about YOU?

Ask yourself:

  • What is God speaking to me about a FREEDOM FOCUS?
  • How can I see my boundaries in a different light?
  • How can I ENJOY THE JOURNEY?

Susan BradburySusan lives in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  She is the Mother of four great kids and Grandmother to one.  In her spare time, she enjoys gardening, writing, crocheting and a good movie with a cup of herbal tea!

Caught In The Act

I’m pretty sure my neighbors are grossed out by me.

The windows in our kitchens face each other. Occasionally, we both have our curtains pulled back and we can look directly into each other’s kitchens. I can’t count how many times they have must have witnessed me stand in front of my kitchen sink or trash can and spit out a mouthful of chewed up food. Gross, right?!

What they don’t know is that they’re witnessing obedience to the Lord in those gross moments. They’re catching me in act of proclaiming my freedom over food.

Like many people, “unconscious” eating is something that has plagued me through the years. It’s like my brain doesn’t register that I’m eating until I’m halfway through a bag of tortilla chips. The hardest things for me are the “little foxes” that sneak in so easily when I am cooking or doing the dishes after a meal. One minute I’m cooking chili, and the next minute I’m eating spoonfuls of it out of the pot in the name of “testing the recipe.” One minute I’m doing dishes, the next minute I’m eating the last piece of garlic bread so it “doesn’t go to waste.” I walk by the kitchen and grab one little cracker. Harmless, right? It’s just one little cracker….

I truly treasure the moments where I am able to catch myself in the act of breaking my boundaries. In the simple (and sometimes gross) act of spitting out the food, or removing the spoon from my mouth, I am able to return to obedience in the Lord.

In those moments, I am able to take my thoughts captive just as Paul says “we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” 2 Corinthians 10:5. In this moment, I am able to say (often with the food still in my mouth) to myself ” STOP! What are you doing here Becky? Let’s evaluate. Is this what staying within my boundaries really looks like? Does the Lord delight in me swallowing this bite of food or in surrendering it to the trash can? Am I willing to give up this momentary bite of pleasure in exchange for freedom? Will I choose to honor God and my body by not eating this bite because I’ve already reached my 5?”

Catching myself in the act often looks like:

-Removing a spoonful of food that I’ve put in my mouth in the name of “tasting”

-Spitting out a mouthful of food the second I realize I am not within my 0-5 boundaries

-Pushing the chips and salsa away from me so it’s not within arm’s reach anymore

-Putting away the box of crackers so it is out of sight

-Putting the sandwich down, closing my mouth, lifting my eyes and saying “No, Lord. I will not eat outside of the boundaries you have set before me. In this moment, I chose to die to myself. I chose to honor and obey you.” 

I often look just like this picture below when I catch myself in the act!

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Catching myself in the act has almost become a discipline for me. It is a discipline of turning immediately from my disobedience. “Repent! Turn away from all your offenses; then sin will not be your downfall.” Ezekiel 18:30. God delights in our every effort to turn from our selfish ways as we choose to obey and return to Him. And I believe He honors even our smallest act of obedience. Every bite we surrender outside of our hunger is an act of worship and obedience that he delights in!

How about you? Have you “caught yourself in the act”? What does that look like for you? Do you have any stories of turning from rebellion to obedience? Have you seen the fruits of obedience in your life? How do you defeat temptation in the moment when you want one more bite?

Sacred Ground

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I don’t know about you, but Thin Within has been immensely powerful in my life. Through this journey, I have found freedom and power, forgiveness and grace, the ability to demolish strongholds and the conviction to pursue obedience. Virtually every aspect of my walk with Jesus has deepened and has been strengthened. My Thin Within journey is sacred ground to me and I aim to protect it!

I think that often when God is up to something really big in our lives, when He is doing a NEW thing in us… Satan is also up to something. Satan is up to setting traps for us to fall into, manufacturing lies to whisper to us, creating scenarios that distract us and doing everything in his power to try and halt the progress. He will stop at almost nothing to try and get us off the path to victory.

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” 1Peter 5:8

Notice that Peter doesn’t say the devil just dabbles around at trying to interfere or that he halfheartedly is looking to distract you every now and then. Nope. He is looking to devour us. To destroy our progress, to throw us back in bondage and to keep us from doing God’s will (2Tim 2:26). He is prowling around like a lion, looking for every opportunity he can to ensnare us and drag us back into a pit of bondage.

If you don’t know it yet, I have news for you: Satan doesn’t want you to experience victory in Thin Within. Because if you did, you might just continue to grow closer with Jesus and you might just find freedom and deliverance. And so, the devil will try every way he knows how to keep you from staying on the course God has set before you.

Ever wonder why you find yourself sliding back into old patterns or habits? Ever wonder why days go by where you just couldn’t seem to remember to pray or spend time reading your Bible? Ever wonder why you just keep finding yourself unconsciously eating in front of the TV and before you know it, you’re at a 7? Ever wonder why it’s so hard to shake distraction and just focus on Thin Within principles? Ever have a rotten day where everything went wrong and the only thing that seemed to help was coming home and binge eating your way through pizza and M&Ms? Ever feel tempted to just quit this whole 0-5 thing?

The devil is in all of that.

The devil is the author of all lies and deceit. He is the father of distraction, discouragement, self- sabotage, unhealthy patterns and bondage to sin. There is a method to his madness. And he’s not going to let up.

But the good news is that Jesus isn’t going to let up either! “Greater is He who is in you and he who is in the world.” 1John 4:4  We have nothing to fear!

We can combat the the devil because we have the power of the blood of Jesus Christ on our side. We are equipped to fight against the rulers of the darkness and to take on the spiritual armor of God so that we may stand against the devil and the “powers of this dark world” (Eph 6:12). The belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shoes of peace of the Gospel,  the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit (the Word of God) are all available to us! Christ is victorious in the end- He will crush the devil under our feet (Romans 16:30)! In Ephesians 6:18, just after he talks about these dark forces at work against us,  Paul tells us to pray in the Spirit at all times and to constantly be alert and persistent in our prayers.

And so my question is this…..are you taking the time and effort to diligently combat the work of the enemy in your life and your Thin Within journey? Are you praying against his traps, lies, tricks, distractions and schemes against you? Are you calling on the power of the Holy Spirit to fight with you and to equip you for battle? Are you living your life as if you’re in the midst of a great cosmic battle or are you just ho-humming your way from one day to the next? Are you ok with sitting passively on the sidelines as the enemy threatens to suck you back into bondage?

Believe me, I am the last person who is going to give the devil more credit than he is due. I am not ever willing to attribute more power to him than he deserves. I will never live my life in fear of him. But, I do know that he is real and that he really wants to see me fail as he wraps the chains of bondage around me again. And the only way to defeat him is through diligent prayer and the power of the Holy Spirit.

Some of you may have picked up on the fact that Thin Within has been a part of my life for 11 years. In 3 of those years I walked in victory. In 7 of those years I was stuck in bondage, unable to break free no matter how hard I tried. And for the past 9 months I have found my path back into victory (thank you Jesus!!!!). I firmly believe that for the 7 years that I remained a slave to food and obsessive thoughts about weight/diets/body image/ eating etc., I was blinded from the fact that satan had chains wrapped around my legs.

One of the things that has helped me break free in the last 9 months has been bravely engaging in spiritual warfare. I pray against it every single day. Every day. It’s not something I just do when I feel him closing in. I am not reactive in my fight, I am proactive! There’s not a day that goes by where I’m not on guard and fighting hand to hand combat. It sounds scary, but it’s not…I promise. 🙂  It’s actually pretty simple, but incredibly powerful. I just pray something along the lines of:

Lord Jesus, I ask for your protection over my heart, mind and body today as I resist the devil and his attempts to drag me back into bondage today. In your name Lord Jesus, I proclaim that I have power through the Holy Spirit to defeat strongholds and traps, lies and temptation. Thank you for the armor of God and I ask that you would empower me to wear it as I go out today and demolish everything that satan tries to put in my way. Go with me today and keep me alert as I fight for this journey with you Lord. In Christ’s name, Amen.

And occasionally, I will quote Scripture at the devil. I do this especially when I can sense he is tempting me or trying to throw an obstacle in my way. I’ll let him know what his future is (hint: Jesus wins!) and I will let him know that I’m not giving in easily. If he wants to try and invade this sacred ground the Lord and I have cultivated through Thin Within, he is going to have to fight me for is because I will not give up easily!

If you’ve stuck with me through reading such a long blog post, my hope and desire is that your eyes will be opened to the power the lies in spiritual warfare. The Lord always fights on our behalf, but we too must keep our eyes open and remain vigilant to fighting this battle. As the enemy puts pressure on us, we can press further into our God.

 

How about you? Are you aware of the spiritual battles in your Thin Within journey? Can you sniff out satan’s attempts to halt your forward momentum and throw you off track? Are you ready to put on your armor? Are you willing to stand firm in Jesus as you fight together?

The Finish Line

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Thin Within has been a part of my life for the better part of eleven years now. I’ve had many ups and many downs. Each time I have started Thin Within, I have envisioned an “End.” Whether it’s a certain number I see on the scale, a size that I wear, or even just a place where I finally don’t always think about food and weight. There has always been a finish line in sight. A point that I hoped to reach where I could say “I finished! I did it!”, close my Thin Within book and I walk off into the sunset.

But, if you have spent the last 12 years entrenched in disordered thinking, believing and eating, you can’t always expect to be “cured” in 12 weeks. Real change is something that happens over time as God teaches us the beauty of obedience, boundaries, forgiveness and submission as He gently leads us on a path of wholeness.

Is our God a mighty Healer who can heal us from our sin and struggles with eating with just the snap of His fingers? Yes, absolutely! But is He maybe more interested in our healing process than the end result? Is He maybe more interested in our learning about surrender, confession, obeying boundaries and dying to ourself than He is in us releasing 20 pounds? Quite possibly.

I firmly believe that God uses Thin Within as a tool for sanctification in our lives. Sanctification is the process of being made more like Christ (1Thess 5:23). And guess what? Sanctification is not always pretty or easy. And it doesn’t always happen overnight, just like how we don’t always “get” Thin Within overnight or release 20 pounds in 12 weeks.  But this refining process is for our benefit! If we’ll just stay on the journey long enough, we’ll see that God is using our challenges a means to equip us for lasting change and victory. If we will relinquish our finish line, we will invite Him to take the time He needs to change our hearts and minds forever. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather have lasting change that takes a while to take hold of, than lose 20 pounds quickly only to regain them again next year.

I’m slowly learning that for me, there is no finish line when it comes to Thin Within because Thin Within has been weaved into God’s sanctifying work in my heart. And sanctification is a lifelong journey. I am in this thing for the long haul. 

This is not a diet or a quick fix. It’s a way of life. Something that will likely be with me until I am old and gray. I can almost picture my 95-year old self saying no to a second helping of JELL-O at the local nursing home because I’ve already reached my 5. 🙂

So if you’re feeling tired and worn down or if you’re discouraged how long it is taking to “get” Thin Within, take heart! This is a lifelong journey my friends. God is using your struggles to help you become more like Jesus through His sanctifying work. Often times God uses our moments of discouragement and despair to usher us into a place of freedom and growth. We have our whole lives ahead of us as we invite God to change our hearts, renew our minds and transform our bodies. Not having a finish line or and end in sight frees our hearts up to enjoy the journey a little more.

 

 

How about you? Do you see Thin Within as something you’ll stick with for the long haul? Will you remain committed to allowing God to use this as a tool of sanctification in your life? Will you push past the tough times and see this journey through?  Will you relinquish your finish line?

Pregnancy and Thin Within

Pregnancy and Thin Within

Christina at 35 weeks!

Christina at 35 weeks!

Christina, has done a great job in this video sharing with us how Thin Within–eating between the boundaries of physical hunger and physical satisfaction–works ALL the time…even when pregnant!

By the time this is posted, Baby Smith might have entered the world! 🙂

Here is what Christina says about this video:

“One thing I really wanted to emphasize in this video is that eating 0-5 works no matter what.  And it sure has worked during my pregnancy.  Praise God!  There is no magical eating plan.  No one is going to tell you what foods to eat.  We are completely free through Christ to choose our palate.  No matter what you have going on in your life, whether you deal with food allergies, food intolerances, or your activity level, abilities, metabolism, whether you exercise or not, your age, whether you are pregnant, breastfeeding, etc., 0-5 works!  Our body has been fearfully and wonderfully made!  God has designed it in such a way that we can know when we are hungry and know when we’ve had enough to eat.  It’s so awesome!”

How About You?

Do you think you have the exception to the fact that 0 to 5 eating works consistently whether you are an athlete, more sedentary, pregnant, lactating, or not? If so, will you take your “exception” to the Lord and ask him if it is possibly an excuse to keep your eating from his direction? (Ouch! I can’t believe I just said that…)

The Answer You’ve Been Waiting For Is…

The Answer You’ve Been Waiting For Is…

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 “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence,

so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

Hebrews 4:16 (NIV)

The picture above is of my beloved Great Pyrenees, Duke, and a litter of foster puppies who raided his personal food bowl one afternoon. Duke, as you can see, was patient despite their poor judgment. Weighing just eight ounces shy of 150 pounds, Duke is immensely strong. The Pyrenees breed was created to protect flocks by being strong enough to kill any predator, even a bear. The massive chest, the powerful jaws, the legs as thick as bricks all point to an alpha male that can take down any opponent. Which is why I love watching Duke with those little puppies. Those fluffballs regard Duke as a living playground. They climb and claw and bite. Duke lets them disturb his naps, steal from his food bowl, and run away with his toys. I’ve seen them nibble on his nose and his ears, and Duke will only sigh and occasionally groan at their misdeeds.

Their foolish youthful indiscretions should put their lives in great danger. After all, Duke was bred for massive strength. Yet it is precisely Duke’s strength that keeps the puppies safe. His massive power gives the puppies a lot of leeway in their behavior. His strength gives them freedom. He is so big, and so strong, that he is not threatened when they growl or jump or bite. They can hurt him, but they can’t wound him. He is patient with them, because he’s not just powerful; he’s kind.

Yet when I sit down to pray to my heavenly Father, as I contemplate His massive power, sometimes I get nervous. My chest feels tight. My jaw muscles tense, I shift my weight in my chair. My body tenses as if to run; how can an all-powerful God be completely good? How can I trust so much power? Isn’t power similar to anger?

No. It’s not. If we’ve seen too many Hollywood movies, or if we grew up in a dysfunctional home, we may have forgotten that power and anger are worlds apart. God is powerful, but He is good. He is kind. That’s hard for me to grasp, and I’m thankful that every prayer is a baby-step to understanding God’s big, beautiful heart of love. Each prayer is a little invitation to see great power demonstrated through love. Mighty strength displayed in kindness.

Scripture tells us that this is how He wants to answer our every prayer. Psalm 119 is one of many passages that tells us God answers our prayers according to His loving kindness. Let me say that again: He will answer you with love plus kindness. Whatever you pray for today, His answer will be love. Plus kindness. If you eat past 5, if you spend past your budget, if you’ve betrayed a friend or you’re struggling with shame and regrets, His answer to you is love. Plus kindness.

Sometimes when I pray, I like to write my prayers down as if I am writing a letter to a friend. I may describe a situation or problem then ask on paper, “What is the most loving thing that could happen here? What would be the kindest thing?” When I am confronted with an action I must take, I ask, “What would love do? How would kindness act?”

I pray for everything and about everything. I have only begun to understand and believe that Love and Kindness are always the answer. Every problem and every failure needs both, and God knows we are weak. He knows we often use poor judgment, and that what we desperately need is what He has already promised. He is ready and willing to love us, exactly as and where we are. His enormous power and strength are demonstrated in His love and kindness toward our weakness. We are free to approach Him with confidence, and even boldness, because He delights in revealing how His love and kindness can transform our worst moments into His greatest miracles.

What About You?

When you pray, what do you expect? Do you fear punishment or expect love? What does your expectation tell you about your beliefs?

Think of your greatest problem or battle today. What is the most loving thing you could do? What would a great kindness be?

Can obedience be a form of kindness to yourself? When you submit to God’s ways, do you experience a freedom and joy that seem closely related to kindness and love?