“If you faced any challenges in this last month, raise your hand!”
Several months ago I wrote a blog about this. Over the last month or so, I found I needed to revisit it as a reminder to myself! I can imagine that a lot of us who read this can relate to challenges that happen from time to time. Maybe you face challenges every day! So, I think it is worth looking at this subject again.
One BIG challenge I am facing every day is with my body. I am currently going through menopause (or have hit menopause….) and my body is doing some strange (and unexpected) things! One thing in particular that I really don’t like is my body just doesn’t want to release weight but instead would rather shift it to different areas of my body! Add to that hot flashes, occasional dizziness and appetite spikes and cravings.
Another challenge has been many different and big life changes going on with my family. My son just graduated from college, my husband just resigned from his ministry position at our church (he was bi-vocational) and I just went full-time at my job. (which will not make up the difference financially….but that’s another story of faith!)
.Add to that my family coming to town for my son’s graduation (I wrote about that in an earlier blog).
Then for his graduation trip, we went to Disney World for a week! Yes, it was fun, but can we say FOOD, FOOD, FOOD???
I found it has been difficult to stay focused and eat mindfully with all the challenges going on.
All of us can relate to the struggles of life.
- You might have three little ones running around and pulling at you from every direction.
- You might be one of those people that have to carpool all over the place and that is your life.
- You might be someone who has a sickness in your family or you are a caregiver for your aging parent.
- You can fill in the blank.
We all know that life can be stressful and unpredictable.
How in the world do we stay focused?
How in the world do we not just jump right back into a pan of brownies and swim around while throwing it all in our mouths? How do we keep from going back to food for comfort and sanity?
Although, I don’t have the answers to all of these questions, I can tell you what I do.
I just keep practicing.
- I practice saying “no” when deep in my heart I already know that I don’t need the food.
- I practice eating 0 to 5.
- I practice the different keys to conscious eating that help me stay in my boundaries.
I can only do this in HIS strength, which means I also practice some other important things!
I surrender things to the Lord
Sometimes I am giving the Lord the same thing over and over because I’m going through a hard time. That’s what I have to do. I surrender it up to the Lord and I lay it down at his feet.
I take time to spend with the Lord.
Even if it’s just a sentence prayer in the shower or praying while I’m washing the dishes. It may even be just singing a simple praise song over and over again. It may be renewing my mind with His word or listening to worship music.
I know that if I seek Him, keep renewing my mind with His truth and try to follow Him as best I can then I will remember:
HE IS BY MY SIDE. ALWAYS. NO MATTER WHAT.
He will meet me where I am and give me the strength to carry on.
I DO NOT practice BEATING MYSELF UP!
I don’t practice beating myself up when I mess up. I have to stop and I have to just take a moment to say,
“Lord I knew that that extra piece of pie was not going to make me feel better. I thank you that after I took one bite, I realized it and I knew I wasn’t hungry and so I stopped.”
I don’t beat myself up about the one bite. I celebrate the fact that I only took one and I walked away.
Maybe for you it’s that you ate the whole piece of pie (or whatever). BUT you don’t have to beat yourself up for the one piece. Celebrate the fact that you didn’t eat the whole pie! Try to look at the positive and cling to what God is doing in you!
I try to focus on the good things that God is doing. I try to thank HIM.
6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. -Philippians 4:6
This peace that he talks about may not be something that’s instantaneous in my soul but it is a peace that’s deep in my soul knowing that no matter what, He is still there with me.
Basically, it comes from building a relationship with the Lord. Relationships don’t come easy and they don’t come instantaneously. There’s a give and take in relationships. And it is the same with the Lord. I’m not going to be perfect. Only God is. I can rely on His perfection to help me get through the rough times.
So, no matter what rough time you might be facing….how big or how little… remember to PRACTICE.
PRACTICE relying on Him, renewing your mind with His truth, surrendering to Him and allowing Him to love you through it all.
Last week my son graduated from High School! YAY! But that meant I had some family coming in and guess what??? I was afraid of being judged because my body is doing weird shifting and “stuff”! UGH! Because of this, I have been feeling very uncomfortable in my own skin!
So, last week I had family who stayed with me that could be very judgmental (and sometimes VERBAL ABOUT IT!) regarding body size and shape.
Yep….one visiting family member has been obsessed about weight all her life (hers and everyone elses!) and another one is….well an abuser who is better now, but still says hateful things and has unrealistic expectations (and sometimes expects his way like a 2 year old would). Another family member is very judgmental but usually only says it behind your back.
That was a cocktail environment for emotional eating if ever there was one!
AND a set up for insecurity.
The closer the day came for them to come visit, the bigger my body felt and the more insecure I became!
Taking it to the LORD!
So, I “journalled” about it, I kept renewing my mind about who I am in Jesus and I prayed A LOT. As I took all this to the Lord, He gently whispered to me:
My Love for you, Dear Child, is not based on the size or shape of your body.
I had a realization. (It sort of made me say “duh” because it is NOT new information for me….but oh how the evil one likes to sneak his snaky little ways into my mind!!!)
I WAS EXPERIENCING BODY SHAME!
I haven’t had that in a very long time and thought I was done with that!
But you know what? The evil one is attacking me because GOD is doing HIS work needed to heal me. I am working deeper on issues of codependency. I am back to surrendering my food to God and not thinking about other ways to lose weight….
Yep, I’ve surrendered my food and my love of food to the Lord….and am doing this before I eat each time to recenter my thoughts….but I realized….
I NEEDED TO SURRENDER MY BODY TO HIM TOO………AGAIN.
ALSO, Jesus helped me see my family members through HIS eyes. They are broken people just like me. They may be critical of me and other people, but IT IS BECAUSE OF THEIR OWN DYSFUNCTION to control and THEIR OWN INSECURITY.
They no longer will have control over me.
JESUS HAS ALL AUTHORITY!
HE CALLS ME HIS BEAUTIFUL CHILD AND HIS BELOVED!
For your royal husband delights in your beauty; honor him, for he is your lord.
I have loved you, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself.
Ever so gently, I felt HIM whispered to my heart….
“My Child, I (the God of the universe!) do not condemn you (2 Tim. 1:7), so why does it matter if imperfect people condemn?”
So, Dear Readers….guess what?
I am taking OFF that cloak of shame that the evil one has placed upon my shoulders!!!
I don’t have to wear it! And every time those shameful thoughts come in my head when something doesn’t fit or I feel uncomfortable in my body, I will say
“I take off this cloak of shame!”
“I WILL not wear it!”
I WEAR THE CLOAK OF JESUS’ LOVE AND ACCEPTANCE!
My Dirty Little Secret (part 2)
Last week I shared with you my “dirty little secret”, about how I wanted to give up and was so discouraged because my body was not releasing weight. I have been so frustrated because I *felt* like I have been eating between hunger and fullness! Why, oh why have I not been releasing weight but seem to be going in the wrong direction? I was even tempted to go back to a diet!
The thought of going back to a diet is like asking me to go back to prison!
I just can’t do that!
So, As I usually do, I cried out to the Lord to show me what HE wants me to do with all of this. I have been praying and seeking HIM.
The next day, I wanted to share what God revealed to me with my good friend and accountability partner, Deanna Burris (who is another author for this blog). We feel comfortable enough to be honest with each other and so I had already shared my frustrations with her.
And now, I want to share it with you:
Good Morning, Dear Friend.
I think God has whispered something to me today. I have been wondering (more than praying….) about what to do regarding my weight gain. I have been thinking about diet pills, trying “healthy eating”, reading another intuitive eating book ….just whatever.
Do I REALLY want to go back to the diet lies???
Also, God has shown me that I’ve been lying to myself….
He has shown me the TRUTH
This morning the Lord ever so gently showed me that although I think I’m eating 0-5, I am not eating mindfully. I am distracted most of the time and honestly, with letting go of some of my co-dependent behavior, feeling full (probably an 8) brings me emotional comfort.
So lately I say I have been eating in my boundaries, but when examining and getting real with myself, I have not. And I think there probably have been many more times that I have had the blinders on about this.
BUT HERE’S THE GOOD NEWS!
Instead of guilt, I am feeling HOPE!
There is hope because it’s NOT Thin Within that’s “not working” but I’ve not been honest with myself. Also, I am not beating myself up about my body or how I’ve been coping with things.
I am going g to prayerfully seek the Lord in this now that He’s shown me some things.
- I admit to feeling a little rebellious in that I don’t want to stop eating over the counter or while watching TV. (The Lord gently showed me that I now rarely eat without doing these things).
- I’ve gone back to eating out of large bags of food instead of serving myself a small portion.
When I look back on the last year, I see that I only have rare days when I stay within these secondary boundaries, thinking I can just listen to my stomach. But what happens is THIS:
Because I’m distracted, I’m not really listening.
I’m just stopping when I feel like it and have eaten more than I really needed (I think a 6 or 7 has become my new 5). No condemnation here, just being honest with myself.
- I am going to give my body grace with its shape since I am in menopause.
- I have gone thru loads of BIG stresses (and am doing some hard and deep work with in myself with the LORD…some huge layers of grave clothes God is working on and has been for a while…). So there is GRACE there, too in regards to how my body has been reacting.
- I am going to be on my face before the Lord for direction on what secondary boundaries HE wants for me so that my primary boundaries (0-5) can be kept on a regular basis.
- I am opening my hands that have been grasping food for comfort etc. and grabbing on to JESUS, HIS PLAN for me and HIS FREEDOM.
Most of all……I am surrendering to HIM.
ALL TO JESUS,
I SURRENDER ALL.
What about you? When you examine yourself, do you find there are things you need to surrender to the Lord? Are you being honest with yourself? Are there boundaries you might have let “slip”. If this is so, TAKE HEART and have HOPE for HE has given us the tools we need in Thin Within and Hunger Within. Let’s use these tools that have been given to us!
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!
I have had a lot of different, but big things happening (or are on the brink of happening ) with my family. Several things have made me feel as if I am in limbo as we are facing some life changes over the next few months.
Limbo is not a good place for me. I like order. I like to know what is coming. I am not a “surprise” kinda gal. So as I sit here in this place of “not knowing”….I find myself slipping back into a place of worry.
I am trying not to be afraid and to trust that God will provide. I know He will, but it’s hard for me to not wonder what will happen.
I have learned that the best way to battle worry and wondering about the future is for me is to renew my mind everyday with scripture about God providing and about trusting in Him.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your paths. ~Proverbs 3:5-6
And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you. ~Psalm 9:10
Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. ~ Psalm 37:4-6
You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. ~Isaiah 26:3
The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him. ~Psalm 28:7
Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit. ~Jeremiah 17:7-8
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious 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 6:25
Do not worry or be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. ~Philippians 4:6-7
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. ~Joshua 1:9
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. ~Isaiah 41:10
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. ~Jeremiah 29:11
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. ~Isaiah 43:2-3
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. ~Psalm 46:1
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. ~Psalm 23:1-2
Renewing my mind keeps me from grabbing food to numb the fear or anxiety. Or for escape. When I turn to the Lord instead and BELIEVE what He says to me “fear not for I am with You”….I look UP and not around me.
I look UP
I reach UP
I don’t reach for things that won’t satisfy.