God often uses my animals to teach me lessons about how he relates to me. I have joked for some time that the reason I have had so many animals (chinchillas, dogs, one cat, horses) is because I need so many living illustrations to learn what most people might absorb just from reading a bible verse or two! Slow on the uptake. That’s me. 🙂
I moved away from home when I was 19, some 33 years ago now. I wasted no time in getting the BIG dogs of my dreams. Never having had big dogs and always wanting some :-), a Golden Retriever named Joshua and a German Shepherd named Morgan became my roommates, constant companions, and parental replacements. (My parents replaced me with a Llasa Apso.)
Joshua’s nature was—of all things—to retrieve. 🙂 That is all there was to it. When he was eager to please, he seemed possessed by a force that drove him to do the unthinkable–ANYTHING to retrieve something for the human who was the object of his devotion—usually me. 🙂
If no ball or stick was readily found, dirty laundry, garbage, blankets pulled off the bed, small children, all were viable alternatives! He just HAD to bring something to show his version of doggie devotion and love. His demonstrations were far from “perfect” (and were quite irritating at times, to be honest), but as his “master,” I recognized the heart behind it. After cleaning up whatever mess he made on his way to retrieving whatever it was, I loved on him, knowing that it was his nature to retrieve. I felt compassion for him, and appreciated even his imperfect obedience.
I still remember when God showed me that He does likewise with me. My earnestness to please him, no matter how misguided or “imperfect,” brings a smile to his face. He, too, cleans up my messes and has compassion on my crude attempts to please him.
Recently, a friend of mine shared about an episode of “The Very Best of Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan” she watched on Net Flix.
If you want to see the episode, check out Collection 1: Episode 7, Power of the Pack, about 32:35 minutes into the episode.
In it, Cesar says:
“Food to me is part of affection.”
I wonder if this accurately captures how God feels about feeding us, His children? Does he, perhaps, love us with food? Many of us love others with food, but I wonder if God’s expression of his love and concern is demonstrated in part by his perfect provision of food for us, his children.
“The food also we have to give to the pack when the mind is calm, submissive, which means they have to be in a very patient state of mind for them to receive this food.”
Oh! I wonder how long my God would have to wait to feed me if he waited as Cesar does…for my mind to be calm, submissive, and patient. I wonder sometimes, if that is why I don’t land on a “0” as soon as I wish I would. Maybe God, in his divine sovereignty, is waiting for my mind to be calm, submissive, and patient.
“At the same time, when I’m preparing the food, I’m happy doing it.”
Have you (or I) considered that God is happy providing the next meal that I will have the joy of eating when I am physically hungry? What a wonderful thought!
“So, I am sharing my love preparing the food for my boys, who work already with me and I now am going to satisfy the appetite.”
If a fallible human man is moved to show love for his pets by satisfying their hunger, then I know that my God has an even better, more tender, more perfect heart of love for me—one that intends to satisfy my appetites—in the very way they need satisfying.
The next scene in this episode, challenged me a bit. Cesar had his hands in the canned dog food and was squishing it together with the dry kibble. (Can I just say “ewwwww….”???) As he was doing this, he said:
“I like to use my hand—just because I feel more close to them. You know, my scent is delivered in the food, so they get to smell me in the meal too…”
How tender a love this is! What does our God do just to feel more close to us, his children? I wonder if our God wants each meal to be an opportunity for us to experience His “scent” delivered to us as well…that we might “smell” him in His provision. Cesar is willing to have his hands made a mess of in order to do this. I love the reason he gives for this…
“I want to be very intimate with them. And I want to be part of every single thing that they do. I really want to be everything they have… “
Does God say this about us to the host of heaven? That he wants to be very intimate with us? That he wants to be part of every single thing that we do? That he wants to be everything we have? The psalmist seems to think so as he responds to God’s overtures with the following:
Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. – Psalm 73:23-26 (ESV)
I think my God is a “Heidi Whisperer,” calming me, changing me, moving me from frenetic, undisciplined behavior, to being more calm, peaceful, settled in my own skin. I wish I wasn’t such a hard study. If Cesar can change a dog in just two weeks, well…oh yeah…I forgot. I am “slow on the uptake.” Verrrrrrry slow!
How About You?
Have you ever considered that God wants to use your struggle with food, hunger and satisfied signals, to be very intimate with you? How does it strike you to consider that he may want you to think of him as everything you have? Do you allow him to “deliver His scent” to you in the food He provides in the perfect time?
Photo credit: Sura Nualpradid via http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,fixing our eyes on Jesus…” ~ Hebrews 12:1-2
I’ve never been much of a runner. I tried to train for a 5k once and I eventually was able to run up to 3 miles, but I hated every single minute of it. Running was hard, my heart was rarely into it and I always found a way to talk myself out of training. So it fills my heart with joy that this verse in Hebrews isn’t talking about us literally running a physical race (praise God!). Our race is spiritual. But running a spiritual race is no less difficult than running a physical race!
The author of Hebrews tells us that there are things that hinder and entangle us in our race. Those things can look like: sin, disobedience, entitlement, pride, self-pity, fear, doubt, condemnation, lies, gluttony, distraction, complacency, negative self-talk, rebellion- none of these things are from God and they all hinder our forward momentum in our race. And we are called to throw them off. We are called to cast off those things that hold us back, weigh us down, hinder our progress and cause us to stumble in our race. The author of Hebrews doesn’t tell us to accept them, live with them, hold onto them, excuse them or wallow in them! Throw that junk away! Toss it aside! Banish it from your life! Shake it off! Get rid of it!
Can you imagine how quickly a runner would quit a race if he had dozens of heavy bags of garbage hanging around his neck? I doubt he would go 100 yards before collapsing and calling it quits! The same is true for us in our Thin Within journey. It’s going to be pretty tough to maintain our forward progress if we are weighed down by false beliefs, lies from the enemy (“you’re no good at this, just quit, you’ll always be overweight, this is too hard, you’re a failure”), rebellious attitudes or sin. Imagine how much easier the race is without being weighed down with all that stuff!
So how in the world do we throw off the things that hinder and entangle us, so that we can run our race? Luckily for us, the very next verse has our answer: “let us run with perseverance…fixing our eyes on Jesus.” Jesus has the power to speak truth over us. Jesus can set us free from the lies. Jesus can strengthen us in our weakness. Jesus forgives our sin, washing us clean. Jesus can change our hearts, our minds, our attitudes and our actions. Jesus can pick us off the ground, remove the bags of garbage that are hanging around our necks and set us back on our path. Jesus can set us free to run our race! Jesus can do all of this. We need only ask. We need only fix our eyes on Him.
Our race is serious business. So let’s get serious about casting off all the things that hinder us. Let’s get serious about praying consistently against all the junk that holds us back and keeps us on the sidelines. Let’s get serious about coming to Jesus and asking for healing, deliverance, hope and restoration. Let’s get serious about fighting all the lies we have believed by daily renewing our minds and speaking God’s truth over ourselves. Let’s shake off everything that hinders us so that we might run our race with freedom and victory!
How about you? What things do you need to shake off? Can you identify anything that is slowing down your forward progress? Are you diligently praying against the things that hold you back? Are your eyes fixed on Jesus or are you distracted by all the things that try to hold you back? What steps do you need to take to get rid of the junk that is hindering your race?
The first time I heard Mandisa’s song Overcomer on the radio, I just smiled to the Lord knowing that, yes, I am an overcomer through Him. It wasn’t until months later that I watched the official Overcomer music video that the song spoke even more to my heart. No matter how many times you’ve heard this song, I want to encourage you to watch the video. I have a feeling it will pull on your heartstrings as it has mine.
There are many battles that are faced in this life, but God is right there wanting to strengthen us and to help us overcome. Nothing is too hard for Him! He is able! We are more than conquerors through Christ Jesus!
Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh; is anything too difficult for Me? Jeremiah 32:27
Even as I finish typing out this post that I started a few days ago, I’m tired, I’m worn out, I’m weary. I’m tempted to eat and I’m not hungry. I just sat down and journaled through the emotional eating questions from the I Deserve a Donut app. It was so good to do that. I wrote out some scriptures that really spoke to me. I read through my God list. To be honest, I still feel like eating, but I know that food isn’t going to take care of the real issue. I am believing I will overcome this. I won’t give into the temptation to eat. God is my strength! Food isn’t my savior.
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:29-31
I AM an overcomer!
How about you?
What are you facing? Do you believe you are already an overcomer? Are you willing to stop in your tracks and renew your mind? Do you trust God to take care of what needs to be taken care of? Praise Him! Talk to Him! Journal! Read your God list. He is able!
It’s a few days before Valentine’s Day and I am sitting in my home in Atlanta, GA – you know, the city often called “Hotlanta.” Well, it’s been anything but hot this winter. We are snow and icebound today, unable to drive anywhere and we are experiencing the third round of school closing since the beginning of the year! (Ok, all of you who live in snowy places, don’t laugh at us. We just don’t have the equipment to clear our roads J .)
Today I am reflecting on the last snowfall just two weeks ago. Do you remember watching the news about the gridlock on our roads? The stories of people stuck on the highway overnight, many of whom had to abandon their cars the next morning? My family and I were fortunate to be at home that day by 3:30 and enjoyed time playing in the snow and then sitting in front of the fire. But, before I arrived at home, I was in traffic for 2½hours – that’s the time it took to leave work early and pick my children up from school. The drive usually takes about 25 minutes.
What surprised me that day, other than the unexpected traffic, was myattitude during the traffic jam. Of course, I didn’t know how terrible the night would be for many people – all I knew was that I had never been in traffic like this! And not one time, not for one moment, was I angry, frustrated, disappointed, or upset as I crept mile by mile to school and then home. In fact, I was content for most of the drive and actually joyous as times. How was this possible? I mean, I seriously surprised myself with my cheerful outlook. So, I thought back over the day to see why I handled the situation so well.
1) On my way to work that morning, I listened to my RenewingMyMind playlist. This list of songs fills me up with the Truth of God and allows me to worship Him on my drive. I remember intensely feeling the presence of God about 1 mile from work. He was so present and palpable that I was brought to tears. I know that His joy and peace carried me through the day.
2) Last year, I began practicinggratitude. This practice, begun during one of Heidi’s Bible studies, has changed my perspective on so many things – not just my body and eating and food. It has made me more present with my husband and children. It allows me to be thankful in the midst of folding laundry, driving carpool, working my job and raising (often stubborn) children.
3) You may have heard Heidi say “you cannot practice gratitude and entitlement at the same time.” That’s true. In the traffic, I was thankful for a warm, newish car, a full tank of gas and an XM radio. I’m not entitled to these luxuries and I was no more entitled to get home quickly than any other person stuck in the traffic.
4) The God List and the Praise Fest. When I worship the Lord and know His character and know how He loves me, the traffic just isn’t a big deal. If I focus on the things above and not on earthly things, if I have an eternal perspective rather than an earthy/daily/fleshly one, my attitude and thoughts do change. His peace, joy, freedom and His will become the desires of my hearts.
So, I know this post isn’t so much about eating, boundaries or body image, but I did want to share how my experience with Thin Within, Heidi’s blog and studies, and practicing gratitude have affected my life outside of food/body issues. It does take time, effort and practice, but God can change your mind, attitude and heart. You will find yourself changed from the inside out and the beautiful, godly changes will spill into all aspects of your life.
How about you?
Would you be willing to start a gratitude list? You may want to start by listing 3 things every day for which you are grateful – big and small. Write them on evernote, a notebook, in a Word document or on the TW app.
Are you renewing your mind daily with music, Truth cards, reading the Bible, or I Deserve a Donut, etc?
Are you adding to your God list and praising Him with it, out loud? If you don’t know where to start, consider the Psalms.
Image by Jeff Ratcliff, courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net
If you’ve read the Thin Within book, you’ll likely remember the story about the eagle that thought he was chicken. If you haven’t read the Thin Within book yet, I’ll recap for you quickly.
One day a naturalist was passing by a farm and as he looked over at the chicken yard, he noticed a beautiful eagle mingling with all the chickens. Perplexed, he stopped and asked the farmer why there was an eagle pecking corn with the chickens. Equally perplexed, the farmer told the naturalist that he didn’t know why the eagle was there. He explained that the eagle had been there for a very long time and refused to leave, fly or scare away. “He believes he is a chicken,” responded the naturalist. After multiple attempts to get the eagle to leave the chicken yard, the naturalist eventually had the idea to teach the eagle to fly. He put the eagle in a cage and hiked up a very large mountain. He took the eagle up where the rest of the eagles lived and the moment the eagle saw his natural setting and his fellow eagles, he realized who he was. He stretched his wings and flew…high above the chicken yard.
The moral of the story is that the things we believe about ourselves have a tremendous power over the actions we take. If we believe ourselves to be all the wonderful things that God declares us to be, we will likely behave like those very things. But if we believe ourselves to be failures, destined for defeat…guess what? We’ll likely behave (and eat) like one!
I remember one of the first times I began to believe that I was a naturally thin eater. It was after watching one of Beth Moore’s videos in her Believing God series. She recounted an argument with God that she had recently had over engaging in a tempting behavior that she knew wasn’t His best for her. “God! I want to do that! I think that will make me feel good and everyone else is doing it!” she exclaimed. “Why would you want to do that Beth? You’re a This. This-es do this, not that,” God said back to her.
It was like a light switch turned on in my brain. I am called to be a naturally thin eater through Thin Within. So why on earth would I ever want to stuff myself beyond a 5 or adhere to a diet mentality or do anything outside of God’s best for me? Behaving like someone wrapped in bondage is the opposite of the victorious freedom in Thin Within God has called me to!
I have found myself in many many many situations saying in my head “I’m a THIS! There’s no need to do that, because I’m a this!” Whether I’m tempted to eat past a 5 or order food at a restaurant even though I’m nowhere near a 0, knowing that God has called me to be a naturally thin eater, helps me act like one and gracefully bow out of any situation where I may be tempted or already engaging in a behavior that doesn’t align with the Thin Within boundaries that I have committed to.
It’s a wonderful thing to get out of that chicken yard and finally stretch your wings as an eagle!
How about you?
Do you ever feel like an eagle stuck in a chicken coop? What barriers might be in the way of you accepting, believing, and acting upon being a naturally thin eater? Are you ready to accept your identity as a this (naturally thin eater, victorious in Christ, obedient, covered in grace, redeemed etc.) and not a that (failure, stuck in a dieting mentality, rebellious, hopeless etc.)?
Eating is the main issue in my life that I have to be very heavily reliant on God with because of the struggle I have had with food. I have to rely on God for strength to overcome these issues. The key is surrender and to keep renewing my mind.
I have to be honest and say that when I “want” to and when I “choose” to be out of control with my eating, I back off from my relationship with God. YIKES! That is scary. That causes serious issues with complacency in my walk with God.
Food is the issue that I need His help the most with, but when I am not willing to change, I try to keep it hidden from God which is completely crazy! My track record shows that to be the case though. It reminds me of Adam and Eve covering their nakedness from God when they had eaten the forbidden fruit.
Genesis 3: 10 (NIV) He answered,
“I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”
YEP that’s me to a tee…hiding from God when I choose to be out of boundaries with my food. (Out of boundaries for me is out of control, eating what I want when I want it and you can’t tell me NO or I might just throw a grown up temper tantrum! And of course binge eating…yuck..sad but true).
Have you seen this paragraph from Thin Within Rebuilding God’s Temple Workbook Series, page B-4?
“Our God is unchanging. He has always dealt with His people with mercy and grace. Even in the garden when Adam and Eve were given only one directive, which they broke, God Himself provided the first ‘sacrifice’ by slaying the animals for the skins which their clothing would be made.”
So basically this tells me that I need to STOP! Go to God! He is not mean!!! (Note: Making a God List will really help you see God the way He should be seen.)
I am ready for a LIFELONG CHANGE!
This is what I want:
INTIMACY WITH GOD & Peace with Food and my body (His temple), and to be at my natural God-given intended size;
To see God for who He is (absolutely awesome!) and to see myself how He sees me.
When I stay in 0 to 5, hunger to satisfaction, eating and spend/invest time in prayer and renewing my mind with the Word and various, reputable resources (i.e. Soundcloud, here at the blog, Thin Within materials, Barb Raveling’s “I Deserve a Donut” and “Taste for Truth”), I feel like a person who has been set free from prison or captivity.
I knew how to do this 0 to 5 thing. I knew exactly how to do it and had fantastic intentions for this past year, BUT I just couldn’t bring myself to follow through, to renew my mind or to stay between hunger and satisfaction. I even knew, based on my past experiences, that I had the key to remove the shackles, but I just could not/would not do it! Why? It reminds me of Romans 7:15 that states:
“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.”
I really wanted change, but not badly enough to put any REAL, LASTING effort into it. I wasn’t ready to lay my lover of food down. Boy does that sound bad! It reminds me of Hosea.
When the Lord began to speak through Hosea, the Lord said to him,
“Go, marry a promiscuous woman and have children with her,
for like an adulterous wife this land is guilty of unfaithfulness to the Lord.”
I was promiscuous with my idol of food and I didn’t really want to let it go even though I knew that I would feel better, look better, and ultimately have the peace and joy that comes from eating that way and drawing close to God. But look at this. God is my Redeemer!
The Lord said to me, “Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another man and is an adulteress. Love her as the Lord loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes.” So I bought her for fifteen shekels[a] of silver and about a homer and a lethek of barley. Then I told her, “You are to live with me many days; you must not be a prostitute or be intimate with any man, and I will behave the same way toward you.” Hosea 3:1-3
Thank God for being my Redeemer. I didn’t feel worth redeeming, but do you think Hosea’s wife was “worthy” of being redeemed or that she felt worthy? Maybe it is hard for us to understand, but God sees us so differently than we see ourselves.
Hosea 14: 4 says “I will heal their waywardness and love them freely,
for my anger has turned away from them.”
In the Thin Within Rebuilding God’s Temple Workbook Series, page B-5, it says:
“As we cease from running and respond to God’s outstretched arms, we experience the joy of His presence as we choose to say yes to His will for us. He brings the captive out of captivity and restores us to a “land” of hope and promise. We are transformed from within by the renewing of our mind according to the Word of God.”
DO YOU WANT THE MAJOR KEY TO LASTING CHANGE?
Here it is.
RENEW YOUR MIND!
It is so vital to renew your mind. Not only should 0 to 5 eating be our weight release/maintenance tool, but renewing of the mind should be our maintenance tool too.
Hosea 13:6 says “When I fed them, they were satisfied;
when they were satisfied, they became proud; then they forgot me.”
God is satisfying me with 0 to 5, but I don’t want to get prideful or cocky about that. I have before! I stopped renewing my mind before and the end result was not a good one. BUT THERE IS HOPE! God is doing a new thing. I have laid the shackles down. I feel so free! I have over 100 lbs to get rid of, but I am not focused on that. I long for intimacy with God and to be restored to a healthy relationship with food and my body.
SURRENDER – that was my 1st step. Will you surrender today? Trust me…it’s worth it!
What About You?
Do you ever struggle with being willing to change? Are you ready to make a lifelong commitment to not only 0 to 5 eating, but also to renewing your mind? If not, what is stopping you? Have you surrendered to God instead of using your own strength? Let’s start today walking out a life of surrender to God, committing to eating 0 to 5, and renewing your mind. We can do this!
Adriane lives in NC with her husband, Shawn, and 3 kids, Marissa (10), Allie (8) and Judah (2). Adriane is involved in children’s ministry and also loves to co-lead worship with her husband.