The spring 2016 Hunger Within class has started with a bang. I would like to say I am amazed at how similar our stories are, but I am not. We all have so much in common in our upbringings: as far as our weight goes, our skewed views of our bodies and that silent hunger within that we try to fill with so many things – the number one thing being food and dieting. Most of us have dieted till we are blue in the face and would do anything to never diet again. Most of us have been up and down in weight many, many times. I am seeing that most, me included have been members of every diet club where we have spent exorbitant amounts of money to not eat (see my blog http://www.thinwithin.org/only-in-america/). We have joined gyms, been instructors and have even fallen into exercise bulimia. And many of us were members and leaders of another biblical intuitive eating program that a few years ago became not so biblical. What does all this have in common? We have all been on a search to feed our Hunger Within with everything we could find except going to the One who created it in the first place.
God created our Hunger Within because He wants us to go to Him. He wants to fill us and satisfy us. He wants us to taste and see that He is good and we are blessed when we trust in Him (Psalm 34:8). When we try to fill that hunger with the things of the world, we may feel satisfied for a short time, and then whatever we are using falls flat. We may feel that we have to have the control over our food that diets seem to give us. Sadly, when we fall off our diets, the food starts controlling us. We think if we could just get the food to obey for once we would melt into the bodies we believe we need and deserve. We get desperate, looking under every rock to find the one perfect plan that will finally work for us. Well, I have found it!! Only God can satisfy the longing soul and fill the hungry soul with goodness (Psalm 107:9).
I searched and cried out and I prayed and then I finally surrendered control. God’s Word became real to me in a way it hadn’t before. He told me that if I would look for Him wholeheartedly, I would find Him (Jeremiah 29:13). We as Christians like to quote Jeremiah 29:11 about how God has plans for us to prosper us and not harm us. I love that verse. But, somehow I would stop reading before I got to verse 13. I wasn’t having any victory because my whole heart wasn’t in it. I still wanted things my way in many aspects of my food issues. I wanted what I wanted whenever I wanted and in the amounts I wanted till the pain of being at the weight I was became worse than the pain of giving up control. I sought the LORD God with all my heart at that moment of surrender, and I found Him. I found Him in my pantry and in my refrigerator right where I had been looking for something to fill me. He was there all the time, just waiting for my choice to be Him over all the other choices. He was patient, so very patient and longsuffering as I chose this thing and that thing over Him. And the day I surrendered fully to Him and His plan of eating for me, He grabbed me into His arms and comforted me through the pain of giving up control.
What about you? Are you tired of trying to fill that Hunger Within with the things of the world and are you ready to surrender to God who is the only One who can truly fill you? He is right there, in front of you as you stand with your refrigerator door open looking for just the right thing to satisfy your craving. Reach for Him and taste and see that He is good.
How many of us can relate to feeling insecure, especially when starting this “new way of eating”? Eating 0-5 does seem to “fly in the face” of what we hear and see around us in popular media! It is new and different and can cause a bit of anxiety at first.
Whether you are new to Thin Within (or Hunger Within) or you have been doing this for years, when God asks us to do something that might be very different, give up something, or to surrender more, we can feel insecure in what He is asking us to do. Maybe He’s asking you to surrender to Him the way you think you should look. Maybe He’s asking you to give up more food than you thought. Maybe you are battling the surrender of the scale or the amount YOU think you should weigh.
We all have probably cried out to the Lord,
“Can I really do this?
Lord, I am not capable.
I am not worthy of this.
I am not (insert your insecurity here).”
I felt that way when I first started thinking about leading Hunger Within. I felt like I wasn’t a “good enough student” of Hunger Within or Thin Within to qualify as a leader. I haven’t released a bunch of weight. I didn’t feel like my testimony was all that exciting. But God allowed me to see that If HE is calling me to it, HE will be enough for me.
The Lord said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 2
HE will be the one to shine through! Besides, do I really want the glory for being such a “wonderful and worthy leader”? (well, deep down…yeah, I guess….pride is always lurking it’s ugliness somewhere!) But really, NO! I want GOD to get all the glory!
And Ladies, that is how it is with all of us wherever we are in this Thin Within/Hunger Within journey. When we follow Him and surrender to Him, HE is the one who will get the glory!
Make no mistake.
HE HAS CALLED YOU HERE FOR SUCH A TIME AS THIS.
He brought you to this blog today. He wants your heart and mind surrendered to HIM, including (as my dear friend Deanna Burris has said) in the pantry and the ‘frig!
And so, when we feel insecure thinking we can’t do this, we aren’t good enough, we aren’t strong enough, we aren’t ….. remember…HE IS!
I can do ALL THINGS through Christ who gives me strength
1 Chronicles 16:11
Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness AND rivers in the dessert.
Oh, how I dislike the beginning of the year. I even dislike it more now that I am on this journey with Thin Within/Hunger Within. I used to dread the beginning of the year because the pressure was on. It was time to start that new diet or eating miracle and everyone was doing it. The questions started and the testimonies abounded. Look at how great I am and the progress I’ve made. What are you giving up? Which food group are you doing without and which food groups are you eating? I’m cleansing from this and that and that and this. I’m sure I have this intolerance and am sure (without a medical diagnosis) I am diseased in this way and cannot eat that food any longer. (No disrespect intended to those who have celiac disease, Crohn’s disease or are diabetic! If you have these conditions and diseases, you need to watch certain food items and follow your doctor’s instructions.) I am surrounded this year with a plethora of friends who are following man made diet laws and food restrictions. It hurts me to see them following along with blind faith and great expectations. Why? Because, I was once one of them. I jumped on each new bandwagon that carried the newest fad or miracle food plan and always ended up in the same place. It didn’t work in the long term for me. I would lose, yes. And, oftentimes I would even feel better. But, in all honesty, I was never going to stay on that bandwagon for the rest of my life. And even though I might have had some weight loss, the loss wasn’t going to stay gone because nothing was changed in my head and in my heart. These plans were something for me to do to #1 to fit in, #2 to possibly get the body I have always wanted and #3 to finally get that stupid food to obey and work with me! Sadly, the food would once again gain dominion over me in my heart and mind and once again I would be back to eating in the ways I had always eaten.
Can I share something that I find amazing? We don’t have to go through these machinations! (According to Merriam Webster’s dictionary, a machination is a scheming or crafty action or artful design intended to accomplish some usually evil end) I don’t know if you have noticed, but man has made many, almost limitless food rules and diets over the years. I have seen so many in my lifetime of just 57 years, and I am sad to say have tried most of them. I have “given up” food groups. I have fasted (not spiritual fasting, but greed fasting just for weight loss). I have cleansed and I have been righteous. I am a carnivore who even became a vegetarian for 2 years. Solomon, you are so right in all of your God given wisdom for in Ecclesiastes 1:9 you tell us, “That which has been is what will be, that which is done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.”
If there is really nothing new under the sun, then what is a person who really and truly wants their body to reflect that they are the temple and dwelling place of the Holy Spirit to do? We must go back to the beginning. God created. That is the truth that Thin Within/Hunger Within is founded on. That 2 word phrase is all we need. That is the phrase which is the truth and healing balm that we who are Jesus following, Holy Spirit led, God fearing Christians, need to find peace and comfort around all food, eating and body image issues. God created…God created in each of us a natural way to eat. He created us to eat when we are hungry and He gave us the ability to stop eating when satisfied. He gave us who are in Christ Jesus a road in the wilderness to safely travel on as we go forward (just as He kept the Israelites safe as they traveled in the wilderness) and He gave us rivers of Living Water to drink from when we are in the dessert (He gave the Israelites water from the Rock in the dessert). WE don’t have to wander aimlessly anymore. We don’t have to look back with longing for whatever Egypt tempts us. We have all we need in how He created us to be. We can surrender and find healing.
My question to you sweet reader is this, “If you don’t feel you are on that road in the wilderness (being kept safe from the world’s ways) or are drinking that Living Water in the dessert (John 4:14 – Jesus said, “But whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. The water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.), what is holding you back from doing so?” If you have found or find yourself even now on that Merry-go-round of trying to follow a man-made food plan or diet and you are sick and tired of trying to live up to something that deep in your soul you know is not what God has planned for you, then I invite you to join me and all the others who came before me that have found freedom and victory over all these food issues through Thin Within/Hunger Within. God’s healing and comfort awaits you. All you need to do is take the first step.
Some of you reading this may have just heard of Thin Within. Some may have done a few of the studies and others may be “Veterans”. No matter where we are on this journey, in order for this way of life to “work”, we have to be honest with ourselves.
I realized this recently AGAIN. It is so easy to slip back into “bad habits” and old ways to cope with life. Although I no longer go on a binge like I used to and am not tempted by the idea of going back on a diet, I still find myself sometimes breaking my 0-5 boundaries when I am stressed.
I also have “secondary boundaries” that help me stay in the bounds of 0-5 eating. They are basically that I don’t put any more on my plate than a fist sized portion, I don’t eat from a bag of anything (chips, candy, whatever….) and I don’t “graze” after a meal (you know, pick here and there while cleaning up from dinner, etc.). I try to stop when I am no longer hungry instead of “full”.
As I looked back over a week or so, I had a moment of honesty. I realized that a sort of “fog” had slipped over my eyes.
I asked myself some questions:
Am I drawing closer to God right now?
Do I feel His presence?
What do I REALLY feel?
What am I trying to escape with food or TV or Facebook?
Where am I spending my time? (is it REALLY in prayer and in the WORD?)
Where are my eyes looking?
What is my mind thinking?
What has been my heart’s desire lately?
FOR WHERE YOUR TREASURE IS, THERE YOUR HEART WILL BE ALSO Matthew 6:21
After I asked those hard questions to myself, I found that I wasn’t really seeking Him. I saw that I WAS trying to escape. I was tired. And JESUS said to ME…..
COME TO ME ALL YOU ARE WEARY AND HEAVY BURDENED AND I WILL GIVE YOU REST. Matthew 11:28
When I realized what I had been doing, I saw Jesus right there reaching out to me, pulling me close to Him. He didn’t condemn me for walking in a fog. He didn’t reprimand me for not being perfect. He didn’t let me sit and wallow in the mud of self condemnation.He pulled me up and said, “I wash you anew. We are walking forward on this journey.” He called me back to the boundaries He has given me.
That’s the beauty of this way of living. In the past (when I was dieting and was addicted to exercise) if I wasn’t perfect, I would beat myself up. This way of living is HOPE and GRACE and LOVE that comes from God. The truth is in Him. Only in HIM can I keep any kind of boundary that He has set for me. Only by focusing on HIM can I walk this journey.
Yes, He was holding me up and leading me forward and giving me the guidance. All I had to do was stop, and look and listen for Him.
I can start over. I can reach my hand for HIM and we can walk this journey together.
So, no matter where you are on this journey (and remember this is a journey, not a diet or a destination), we must be honest with ourselves.
Why are we doing this?
What are we really worshiping? (could it be “skinny” or a number on a scale?)
Where am I placing my heart and mind?
Let me be honest with you, Dear Readers.
ONLY THRU HIM AND HIS TRUTH CAN WE DO THIS!
OH! It is so worth the journey!
Reach for Jesus. Leave behind the accusations and lies of the enemy. Leave behind the world and their idea of beauty.
Be honest with yourself and listen for Jesus.
He says to you “my daughter, walk with me and be fulfilled.”
Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
I believe that 0-5 works all the time, no matter what. Like for instance, I know that eating 0-5 works during pregnancy, but I find myself doubting my ability to truly do that. Why is that? Because it’s hard to SEE the evidence of it working, because well, one gains weight while pregnant. It’s just part of the process and every body is different. So throughout my pregnancy I’m constantly wondering, “Is this working?” And then I’ll feel like the rubber doesn’t really meet the road until post-pregnancy. It’s sort of silly, but that’s how it’s been for me the last 2 pregnancies. I guess it’s that unknown. It’s trusting the Lord even when we don’t really SEE the proof.
28 weeks + 5 days pregnant with 3rd baby
Throughout my pregnancy, to be honest, I’ve battled with thoughts of this working after the baby comes. But I KNOW it does! I’ve already done this with my second pregnancy. He’s already been faithful to see me through and to prove to me His ability to help me release excess baby weight. But the thoughts are there, again, this pregnancy. “Does this work? Will I release the weight?” So the diet thoughts pop up. Doubts.
“Sometimes we are like the Israelites. Our newly aquired freedom may feel unsettling, even frightening. At first we may not trust it. We may be tempted to go back to the bondage, sitting around the “pots of meet”–the meal plans and calorie counting–to have something external dictate when, what, and how much we should eat” (Hunger Within, Chapter 3: Grace Not Legalism).
This morning I opened Hunger Within and the Lord showed me that I haven’t been putting my security and trust in Him in this area. He wants me to be so confident in Him and what He’s shown me even if this feels like a weak area. He showed me that I compare myself to others. My mom said something to me recently pertaining to something she and I both read about someone’s weight/health testimony. She said what works for one may not work for another. So true. What she said made me realize that I keep on comparing myself to others and thinking that their way should work for me too, when it clearly doesn’t. And most importantly, I need to lean upon what the LORD has shown me. There are areas of my life that I’m confident in and I feel very strongly and passionate about because the Lord has clearly shown me something. Like for instance, homeschooling: I know the Lord has called me to homeschool and I believe it’s for the long haul. I have peace in that. There are those rare times I question it, but otherwise I’m strong in my conviction of what the Lord has shown me. But when it comes to this food thing, I don’t feel as strong. I waver based on what is before my eyes, what I hear, etc. And it’s interesting, because I know the Lord has clearly shown me that eating 0-5 is His way for me, but I still have moments of doubt. I want to walk in that confidence, trusting Him and not leaning on my own understanding or what the world around me is saying.
Last week, I was looking for a photo in my photos on my phone and I happened upon this photo (above) of myself from last spring (May 25, 2015). Now, when I saw this photo, I was like, “Wow, I looked pretty good!” But then I remembered still struggling with accepting my body. And now I see how ridiculous it was for me to be so hard on myself. At this time, I had recently released about 3 more pounds (I talked about this in my Counterfeit Hunger post). I believe I was very close to my natural, God-given size. But I still found myself doubting. The enemy was right there saying it still wasn’t enough…that *I* wasn’t enough. What a stinkin’ liar! He wants us to doubt and he uses the same ole lie, “Did God really say?” You know, the same lie he used in the Garden of Eden. In this example, the lies would be, “Does eating 0-5 really help release weight?” “Do you really think you look good? Look at [name that body part].”
I’m sharing this picture not to be like, “Oh look at me!” But because I want to share how the enemy gets in there and tells us we aren’t okay when we really are. I know why I still wasn’t satisfied with where my body was; it was because I was comparing it to the images of the “perfect body” we see splattered around. You know, those Photoshopped, air-brushed photos. But it wasn’t just those images, it was what I was seeing on social media. Or it was me comparing myself to the fitness gurus I’ve seen on workout videos. The enemy will always give us something in which to compare ourselves if we are not satisfied in our present circumstances. I felt that my body wasn’t good enough, that I needed to try harder. I was doubting. I didn’t feel good enough–and that I shouldn’t be satisfied until I reached some level of fitness or “skinny”.
“Let’s face it, there always will be someone prettier, stronger, more handsome, or more successful than you, and the media images will continue to hold up standards of beauty and perfection that no one can match” (Hunger Within, Chapter 5: Worth Not Shame).
On May 27, 2015 (two days after that photo was taken) I wrote this in my journal: “I am doubting God when I am thinking about eating another way (diet). I am saying I would rather trust the world and have no peace and have confusion than to trust God and have faith and peace. Do NOT be conformed to this world! The world’s way changes.”
And that’s so true. The “image” the world accepts has changed SO much over the years, but that’s a whole other discussion.
I really want to stand securely in what the Lord has shown me. I don’t want to waver when my eyes don’t SEE the proof. I have to walk by faith and not by sight. I have to believe God’s way for me is perfect. He doesn’t want me to obsess. He wants me to follow His peace. He wants me to trust Him and rest in Him. In fact, that’s His one little word He’s given me this year for 2016: REST.
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
My one little word(s) for 2015 was: BE FREE and SERVE. I most definitely feel more FREE than I have in a long time. I’m not feeling as burdened by the heaviness of food obsession or body occupation. My journal is filled with less “woe is me I ate too much” and more of scripture prayer declaring what the Lord has done, is doing, and will do. My relationship with Him has been strengthened. I understand His grace so much more than I have ever in my 34 years of life. He has definitely been at work! And now He wants me to REST in Him.
Resting means putting my confidence and security in Him. Is He faithful to watch over His word? Yes! Is He faithful to fulfill His promises? YES!!! God is able. So I need to stop comparing myself to others. I need to be completely confident in what He has shown me and stop wavering based on what someone else says or does or looks like.
I spent most of 2015 off of Facebook and, at times, Instagram because it creates doubt, comparison, and obsession. Right now, it’s not a safe or healthy place for me to be. This is a personal issue. I’m just not strong enough (yet) to see all of that stuff in my face (especially this time of year) and to be able to turn down the temptation to research about diets. It’s been a stronghold that the Lord has been helping me overcome. I share that to encourage you that if there’s something in your life that is feeding the doubt, then back away from it. Prayerfully consider eliminating it. Doubt is like temptation to not believe what God says. And temptation leads to sin. The Lord showed me that the social media arena is an area of weakness for me. I do so much better without it. Again, that is my personal struggle with social media; it may be something completely different for the next person.
What causes you to doubt success in your Thin Within journey? Are you doubting that 0-5 works? There are lots of testimonies to read if you want to see “proof”. Build up your faith by renewing your mind in God’s word. Ask Him to show you His truth about what He wants for you in this journey toward freedom from comparison, food indulgence, not being satisfied, etc. He will be faithful to show you.
One of my favorite Christmas songs is “Mary Did You Know” written by Mark Lowry and one of my new favorite renditions of this song is the one performed by Danny Gokey (see it here: Danny Gokey – Mary, Did You Know? (Live) ). It is so powerful, but the true power in this song is in Whom it is speaking about. This song is all about Jesus: what He did, and what He still does today.
It saddens me that as we go into the New Year, there will be many of us who will make a list of New Year’s Resolutions. These lists will include things like eating better, new diets to try or old tried and true ones to go back to (they really aren’t tried and true if you are still seeking to lose weight and keep it lost!), diligent exercise plans, self-improvements galore and many things of the same nature. Maybe your list includes wonderful things like praying more and reading the Bible daily. Those are great things to do and I keep those resolutions myself each New Year. The problem with making resolutions about weight loss and fitness is that they seldom stick. We keep trying to make ourselves fit into a mold of health and vitality and we just don’t get there. And when we fail year after year, we keep beating ourselves up and our feelings of failure just keep us living our lives the same way we always do. Do you want this year to be different? I know I did last year at this time, and I would like to invite you on a journey with me for this New Year. It starts with placing “Know Jesus Better” at the top of your resolution list, followed by “Know Who I am in Christ Better.” It is in these two resolutions that you will find the strength for change.
I really believe that we forget that our God is a miracle worker. Our Lord Jesus who healed the sick and cured the incurable still does that today. In the words of “Mary Did You Know” we hear “The blind will see; the deaf will hear; and the dead will live again! The lame will leap; the dumb will speak the praises of the Lamb!“ When you hear those words in this song or when you read this truth in God’s Word, do you believe them? Or, do you believe that was then, and this is now? Do you believe that those healed by our Savior deserved to be healed for some reason and in your own thinking you believe you don’t deserve healing? Maybe you don’t think God cares about healing or fixing problems that we see as things we suffer though because of our own making? Well, I’ve got news for you! Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, God is the same today as He was then and as He will be tomorrow. Jesus Christ performed miracles before He walked the earth, as He walked the earth and as He sits at God’s right hand today. This year let’s develop our FAITH muscle and start truly believing!
Our issues and problems matter to God. He loves having those very things draw us closer to Him. It is through drawing closer to Him that we develop perseverance for this journey. It is through trusting Him to handle the decisions and temptations that He proves Himself faithful and loving. Jesus did heal the sick, cure the dumb and lame, brought the dead back to life and calmed the storm with just a wave of His hand or a word from His lips. This New Year, will you allow, once and for all, your Savior and Lord Jesus to calm the storms in your heart? Will you let go of trying to change your own life by making a list of New Year’s resolutions and instead make it your desire to know Him better and to fully accept who you are in Him? Believe me when I say that I now know I can’t change myself. Believe me; I tried more times than I’d like to admit! What I can tell you for sure is that God changed my life this past year and I never want to go back to the way it was before. It started with looking for a Biblical way to lose weight and ended up with me fully surrendering the whole issue of weight loss/gain, food focus and disordered eating patterns over to Him. Each act of surrender on my part was met with a greater blessing of the Holy Spirit’s work in my heart and mind. This time last year, I was in your shoes: fearing God would never heal my heart around issues with food and weight. He led me first into a Bible Study that was deep in the Word, but soft around food boundaries. I found I still had too much leeway to try and control food to my own whims and wishes. Through that study, He led me into Hunger Within and the God designed boundaries of eating when hungry and stopping when satisfied. He introduced me to His pleasant boundaries, but I didn’t totally surrender to Him until I woke up to the fact that what was coming out of my mouth in words didn’t match my actions. You see, I was still trying to live up to my list of things to do instead of allowing God’s list for me to take effect. I gave up trying to do this myself and gave control over to God. This change in me has taken work on my part. I have had to use the tools of daily Bible reading/study, renewing my mind through truth journaling, truth cards and scripture praying and I have been involved in the TW/HW community. Doing those things took the focus off of me and placed my focus where it needed to be…on God, the Miracle Worker. The work is simple but not always easy, but the miracle that God has done in my heart is real and a tribute to how He still works miracles today!
Let this New Year be one of great growth and change! Let this be the year to delete, “I blew it again!” from your vocabulary and exchange it for, “Christ Jesus is working a miracle in my life!” Join the journey to true freedom in Christ this year and every year!! Join me in singing these words,
“Oh, the blind will see; the deaf will hear; and the dead will live again!
He’s the great I Am!
He’s for me.
He’s healed me.
He’s the great I Am!
He shall be called Wonderful and Counselor!
He’s the great I Am!
There’s healing in His hands, lightning in His eyes.
Truly this man is… He’s the great I Am, the great I Am!”