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 am SO grateful for the various Thin Within communities!!! Each one I have been a part of has been a sweet blessing, but a blessing that I have not “taken advantage of” nearly as often as I need to. L I too easily allow other things to crowd in and take the place of spending the time I need to with the Lord, and also with you ladies. So, rather than being “a part of” you, I have been more “apart from” you. L
So how much time is “enough” time ~ especially with the Lord?
I was watering the garden the other day, trying to figure out “how much is the right amount of water for my plants. And the right amount of time to water. I’m not exactly famous for having the most lush gardens or plants in my home. L I tend to either over-water or under-water, and neither result in happy plants.
I noticed there were places where the soil got completely moistened with the water I gave it. In other places it looked only barely moist. And there were still other places where it was completely dry, even though I had watered there not long ago.
I realized there were several things affecting this…
Of course, the amount of sun the area had beating down onto it played a big part in how dry it was, and how quickly it would become dry again.
In most analogies, I like to equate the sun with God and his warm grace, but not in this one. Here I liken the beating-down sun to the “hard stuff” in my life. Things that are just rotten, awful, hard, painful, not going away, and that I have no power to change. They just keep beating down on me – and drying me out – like the hot sun in a parched desert.
Then there’s also the matter of the type of pot – or lack thereof – that a plant is in. A non-porous pot does not allow nearly as much water to evaporate out through its walls as does a porous earthenware pot.
At this point in my life, I am like a very porous earthenware pot. This whole thing of needing to die to my flesh in the area of food and eating is draining, in every sense of the word. It involves allowing God to remove my yucky “graveclothes” and reveal the stuff in me that either is dead, dying, or needs to die – which, of course, is unto me being healed and made whole and new – but it has made me very “leaky” (including my eyes) and feeling very vulnerable: Shaky at times. And greatly in need of a lot of God’s softening, moistening, refreshing and healing water.
I also noticed that the proximity of a plant to other plants made a difference in how soon after watering it needed to be watered again. I don’t think I saw dry soil around any plants that were close to other plants. The water seemed to soak through the whole area, probably through the common root system. And maybe just the interactive ambiance between them! J
It doesn’t take too much imagination to translate this part of the analogy! As Deanna B recently shared, our need for accountability is great. And I have not been taking advantage of that! L So I am recommitting myself to doing this ~ to being in this kind of relationship ~ with you precious ladies here in the Thin Within community!
So, as I was standing there spraying my plants in “center” mode on the hose nozzle, what hit my center was that I do not need to focus on putting in a certain amount of time with the Lord, but that I need to give Him enough time to allow enough of His glorious healing and unlimited water to soak all the way down to my dry and needy roots; down to where my deepest need is.
“I pray…that out of his glorious, unlimited resources He will give you the mighty inner strengthening of his Holy Spirit. And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts, living within you as you trust in Him. May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love…” Ephesians 3:14-17 (TLB)
YES YES YES!!! This is what I desperately need! My roots need to “go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love”!
This rest of this passage in Ephesians 3:14-19 (TLB) has even more life-giving water as it elaborates on what this “marvelous love” is like: “…and may you be able to feel and understand, as all God’s children should, how long, how wide, how deep, and how high his love really is; and to experience this love for yourselves, though it is so great that you will never see the end of it or fully know or understand it. And so at last you will be filled up with God himself.”
Getting filled up by the Lord isn’t so that I can say “I spent such-and-such an amount of time with the Lord today,” (which my “to-do-ish” nature gravitates to!), but so that my roots can have – so that the very core of me has – all the fresh Living Water I need to be nourished, refreshed, and healed. Transformed ~ from the INSIDE OUT!
Psalm 1 says: “Blessed is the one … whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on His law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither — whatever they do prospers.”
I have *much* on my plate in this season of my life, and am way too easily distracted to get to those things, and I have simply – and sadly – not been giving my roots “enough” water; my heart enough Jesus. And I am feeling it. There’s too little grace, too much negativity, too easy to feel hopeless.
So I am re-stating my desire, my intent, and my commitment to allow the Lord more time to go more deeply into me, down into the dry, crusty, dark places that are in need of His touch and His redeeming work.
And I’m also restating my commitment to come here more often and to not only share nuggets of my journey with you precious ladies, but also to be showered with the refreshing “Living Water” that you so lavishly share here out of your own walks with the Living God!!! I am so thankful for your openness to so vulnerably share your journeys! And to *you,* Deanna, for laying down your life to continue making this possible through the summer!
“And the Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy you with all good things, and keep you healthy too; and you will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring.” (Isaiah 58:11)… Yes, Lord!!! Bring on the water!
And how will He do that? One last verse that comes to mind: “My heart has heard You say, ‘Come and talk with Me, oh my people'” ~ which I take to mean that He’s actually serious about; He wants me to come and talk with Him even, if not especially, when I’m in a bad mood or a dark place, ashamed of my repeated failings, my sin, my battle with food addiction, my frustrations with myself, and the feelings of hopelessness that grip my and try to drag me down into the pit of despair. I don’t need to clean myself up to come to Him; He wants to do that!
So, even when I’d rather hide, “by the mighty power of the Spirit of the Lord at work within me, I will instead say: “…and my heart responds ‘LORD, (and you sisters here in the Thin Within community!), I AM COMING!'”
Barb Shelton has been writing for homeschoolers since shortly after starting her homeschooling journey in 1982, culminating in graduating their three children. Since almost no homeschooling books were written back in the “olden days,” Barb ended up being a inadvertent (and unlikely and unwilling, actually) pioneer in that movement, writing 8 books and speaking at many homeschool conventions around the country. Barb is sure she learned more than her kids did in that 24-year experience, especially about depending on the Lord and allowing Him to redeem many areas of her life ~ the “final frontier” of which is getting victory in the area of eating. The Lord is bringing her into the “general public” realm now, and her first blog ~ “Honeycomb Oasis” ~ is almost ready to launch! There she’ll be sharing many of her “life learnings,” so check there toward the end of May!
Recently I did a small group study that had us identify one or two deep core beliefs from a list of a hundred or more. Wow! This was really hard to do! But, after much prayer, soul searching and thinking, I came up with my two. They are FAITH (in Christ as in He will do what He promises, will take care of me, has my back, has my future….etc.) and FREEDOM (from anything that holds me captive….)
After identifying these core beliefs, I then was to look at what behaviors keep these beliefs safe and strong in my life. Also, what actions do I do that lets me know I am not protecting these beliefs in my life.
When I started thinking about it, I started envisioning a picture of two paths I can follow.
PATH ONE: I am walking hand in hand with Jesus. This is the path of FAITH and FREEDOM. This is the path where I am full of His joy and love. To stay on this path, I need to do some pretty important things each day (and probably several times a day).
Renew my mind with HIS truth
Be involved in Bible Study
Write in my prayer journal
Talk to Jesus throughout the day
I have found that I need to stay pretty vigilant and disciplined to do these things, or I tend to wander off to another path.
PATH TWO:This one seems easy and comfortable but is is full of my own destructive behavior. It is one of SELFISHNESS, GREED AND SIN. Although I am saved and this trail doesn’t lead to eternal death, it is a path that leads away from a full life in Christ like the first path does. I know I have slipped off that narrow way when I find myself
full of worry and anxiety
obsessing about things
trying to control situations
overeating or loosening my eating boundaries
feeling down about my appearance
So, which path am I on right now?
I need to examine my actions and my thoughts. This will help me see which path I’m following….the one that leads back to that prison or the one of freedom. I know I’m on the bad path if I am overeating or obsessing or worrying… etc…
I stay on the path to freedom if I am praying, in bible study, journalling to renew my mind…and staying within my boundaries for mindful eating.
TAKE A MINUTE AND THINK
What actions and thoughts keep you on the path that leads to abundant life?
What are your warning signs that you have slipped back on the path of self destructiveness?
No matter what, dear friend, if you have accepted Jesus as your Savior, You are already on the road to heaven. You are SAVED, but He wants us to have abundant life with Him RIGHT NOW on this earth! He wants us to walk with Him on the path of freedom RIGHT NOW.
The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows).
So, as we walk this journey called life…
Lets examine our thoughts and our behavior.
Lets heed the warning signs that we are slipping back on that destructive trail.
Let’s plan to daily BE with Jesus and do the things HE calls us to do to remain IN HIM.
Last week I saw a video on Facebook where a girl was talking about how we all feel fat sometimes. You know that feeling. You wake up and just feel fat. Well, she said something that really stuck with me.
FAT IS NOT A FEELING
Ok, so today I have been feeling fat. Bloated. Icky. Like I am gaining weight. What is going on with me? Just the other day I was feeling thinner, like I am losing weight.
Since Fat Is Not a Feeling, I need to look deeper and ask this question:
What I am REALLY feeling?
I am tired.
I am bloated.
I feel too full.
I examine what I have been doing differently lately. Oh…the weekend. I have been eating beyond 5 all weekend and not listening to the Lord. Oh…and I was rebellious when I was at one of my favorite restaurants. I heard the Lord’s voice when it was time to stop and I just kept on going. Oh Lord, I did this just because I wanted to!
I had seen some pictures of myself from the weekend and I didn’t like the way I looked. OUCH. That is why I wanted to keep on eating at the restaurant the other day.
Yes, I am getting closer to what’s been going on with me.
Even today I have been thinking about those pictures. I have looked at those pictures of me over and over. Do I really look like that? I don’t like it.
Ugh. I know I need to pray. I know that “feeling” fat means something deeper is going on. So, Lord, what am I really feeling? Unattractive. Flabby. Blah. Why? Well, I am tired. My body feels different because I ate differently this weekend. I haven’t been drinking enough water and that does make a difference.
Lord, what are you teaching me in all of this? What do You want me to see in this? Deep down, I am afraid that people will see these pictures and see how “ugly” I look. Wow. Really? Why do I see myself as ugly by the way I look in these pictures? By what standards am I comparing myself? Am I comparing myself to the way I was just a few years ago before I gained this weight? Before starting back to Thin Within? I am not the same person as I was then. You have done so much in me through Hunger Within. I no longer obsess over my eating and exercise and Lord that is a BIG layer you have removed from me. It clung so tightly and was part of my identity.
But, Lord, sometimes I still obsessing about my appearance.
Lord, when will I truly see myself as You see me? As Your beautiful daughter despite how I look in pictures or how an outfit may or may not look on me? You look at my heart and what do you see, Oh Lord?
Am I really able to accept myself the way YOU want me to be? Am I really beautiful in Your eyes right now? Am I acceptable? Am I attractive to You? Is the way YOU see me all that matters to my heart?
Oh, Lord, it is hard to peel away this layer of grave clothes that bind so tightly. This desire to look good to others and to be attractive still holds me captive at times. Have I gained weight in the last few years? Yes. Do I need to be ashamed of that? Well, I am on a journey to healing with Hunger Within. The changes in my heart are beautiful to You.
It didn’t seem to take much time to gain the weight. Lord, I know it will take time to release the weight and become my God given size. You are doing much more in me than just shaping my body. You are shaping my heart.
“Lord, You are showing me that I need to surrendering how I look to You. Yes, Lord this means even giving to YOU how I look in pictures and how I think others see me. Yes even that ….turned over to You, Oh Lord.”
Create in me a clean heart, Oh God and renew a right spirit within me. (Psalm 51:10)
Help me see things through Your eyes, Oh Lord. Help me see through Your lens of Love and Grace that is extended to me. Your grace, acceptance and love is given regardless of what a number says on a scale or a pair of pants. It is there for me regardless of how I look in a picture. It is there regardless of how I think others see me. Oh Lord, Thank You for new beginnings and for grace.
What about you? Have you been struggling with how to look to others? Have you been struggling with what others might think of you? Can you accept the love and grace God has for you right now wherever you are in shape or size? Are you ready to surrender this area to the LORD?
Have you ever have an a-ha moment and you just want to face plant your palm on your forehead and quip, “I could have had a V-8!!”? (For you young’uns, this was a cute commercial that came out in the 70’s about eating poorly and then realizing you could have drank a can of V-8 Vegetable Juice instead) This happened to me this week but it wasn’t a V-8 I needed, but a simple prayer. It took a couple of the gals in the Hunger Within class that I am co-leading to open my eyes to some truth and give me the push I needed to make an easy change.
I have been grouchy. There I said it. I don’t mean cute like Oscar the Grouch from Sesame Street. I mean like this:
I have been having a difficult time at work. I’m a bookkeeper at a CPA firm and the crunch has been on because of tax season. The pressure has been high and the tensions are flaring. I would like to use this as an excuse, but I can’t. I would really like to blame all the drama at the office for my grouchy mood, but I’m not. This is my third time being involved in a class for Hunger Within, and the Holy Spirit is opening my eyes to portions I have read and taught on, but haven’t implemented very well in my day to day life.
Our chapter this week is Holy Action. Isn’t that a great title? Part of this chapter talks about the eight aspects of holy action. They are Love, Knowledge, Discernment, Responsibility, Self-examination, Prayer, Surrender and Boundaries. This chapter also goes through each piece of the Armor of God and how we use them in our lives. I want to share with you the lesson I learned in our Hunger Within class last evening and how all of these things just became my lifeline to take me from grouchy to glowing.
We were discussing the Armor. A couple of gals in our class shared how they pray on the Armor of God each morning either first thing or on their way to work. Here is where I had my a-ha moment. I know to do this. I’ve led a Bible Study about the Armor of God. I’ve done this before, but have never kept it up. I needed to start doing this first thing in the morning. Maybe this simple action would bring about the great change I needed in my grouchy life. I know some of you may be thinking, “Duh!” while others of you may be squirming in your seats because you are struggling like I have been and maybe aren’t quite ready or willing to try this. Oh, sweet reader, I understand! I have been realizing that I had become comfortable in my grouchy state. You could say that I have been self-righteous in my grouchy state. After all, I was only grouchy because the world wasn’t doing things the way I though it should. Honestly, I knew this was becoming a bad habit and the part of me that is being transformed by the Lord wasn’t happy about it and really wanted a change.
So, using the lesson of Holy Action, I decided to love God, myself and others enough to use my knowledge of the Lord and how He works in my life to help me discern how I needed to take responsibility for my grouchy demeanor. Through self-examination (and listening to others) I realized I needed to be focused in my prayers in the morning. So, this morning, I surrendered my day over to the Lord and prayed on the Full Armor of God, ending my prayer time with some extra jabs with the Sword of the Spirit by praying specific scripture prayers over troubling areas of my life. Then I committed my food and relationship boundaries to the Lord and off to work I went. I really felt a new song in my heart (even driving in rush hour traffic on a major interstate). I looked at the challenges I was facing in my day with an attitude of surrender, instead of being self-sufficient. I opened myself up to some wonderful help that I needed, instead of sulking. My 20 minute drive home took 45 minutes, but I just cranked up my praise music and had worship in my car with bumper to bumper traffic all around me.
I know there will be struggles another day. I am not expecting a sunshine and lollipop day every day. After all, I am human. But one thing I know; if I start my day out right with that special time with the Lord, my own attitude will be different and maybe, just maybe, I can help someone else go from grouchy to glowing by sharing what the Lord did for me.
Sometimes I question the reasons why I eat 0-5 or follow the Keys to Conscious Eating.It’s not that I want to stop living this way. It’s the motive behind living this way. What’s my reasons for doing what I do? If I’m not seeing the results *I* think I should, I may start do doubt if I’m doing this “program” right. I sometimes start to place my identity in how I look or if I’ve “lost enough weight” to be considered “successful”. When I start feeling and thinking this way, it actually comes down to that old struggle between grace and legalism.
—Old Diet LIES—
Sometimes those old voices from my dieting days tell me I must “succeed” or I have to follow every rule. I may start to connect my identity with a number on a little metal box (the scale) or in the shape of my body. When I start down this road of thinking, I start to become legalistic. I start slipping back into my diet mentality of good vs. bad or black and white…and rules, rules, rules!
In a previous blog post, I admitted that I really haven’t been releasing much weight. My body has been going through shifting and changing over the last few years due to menopause, but that isn’t the only reason why I haven’t released. As I examine my heart and my boundaries, I have to be careful that I don’t fall into that diet mindset that says “I’m not doing it right”.
PRAYER AND SURRENDER
So, I pray about it and look back over my journal. Once again….
I surrender my body shape, that scale number and my food over to the Lord.
As I do this, the Lord shows me all the things that He has changed in me. He reminds me that as I surrender more and more to Him that He is CONTINUING to set me free.
Areas such as my attitude toward food, the way I look at my body and where I place my identity are under God’s gentle surgical knife and healing hand.
I examine again my reasons for eating 0-5 or following the Keys to Conscious Eating. If I’m not releasing weight am I still eating too much? What am I doing wrong? If I try to eat even less, am I going back to legalism and turning this into a diet? I don’t want grace to be an excuse for me to sin and just do what I want .
Romans 6:15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means!
I get back on my knees and ask God to guide me.
As He always is faithful to do, He showed me areas where He is working in me. He also showed me areas that I needed to change some things. Grabbing bites here or there or eating in front of the TV has kept me in mindless eating.
He showed me that I don’t need to eat less, but toSURRENDER MORE.
I need to give up the food to Him. Pray for help when I eat. But mostly trust that HE knows what is best for my body including the size.
Giving up the food to Him most likely WILL result in eating less. It may result in releasing weight, BUT…..
God is showing me that the weight should not be my focus. He is to be my focus.
How different this is from legalism! It isn’t about doing it perfectly, but about leaning more on Him.It’s about learning from the mistakes I make. It’s about His love for me right where I am.
Why do I try to eat from 0-5? Why do I live the “Thin Within” way? I do this to break the chains of dieting! It is to break the chains of ANYTHING that has my heart captive! I do this to walk in the abundant life on this journey with Jesus. I do it because giving up any area of my life that is keeping me captive is the only way I can truly be free! It is all about God’s healing of me in every area of my life. Food, weight, body image, identity, people pleasing, control, worry, fear…..the list goes on and on. In EVERY area, God is placing HIS healing touch as I give Him permission and surrender it up.
Lord, I want to do all of it. I want this obsession with food and weight and the mindless eating out of my life! I want anything that is holding me captive to be removed. I want to be closer to You, oh Lord.
“Just take one step at a time, child.
You don’t have to be perfect.
Listen to My voice.
Turn to Me for every step.
I am with you.
I love you even if you mess up.”
How about you? When you examine your reasons for living the “Thin Within” way, what do you find is your motive? Have you found yourself leaning too much into legalism? Have you found yourself using grace as an excuse to break your boundaries? Let’s pray for God’s leading to show us what HE wants us to do. Let’s pray that our motives and our hearts are in His grace alone. Let’s remember that this is a journey to healing and wholeness in Him.