As many of you may know (or maybe not, if you’re not a fan), there is another Star Wars movie coming out next week. Ok, now since in NO WAY, SHAPE OR FORM DOES THIN WITHIN ENDORSE STAR WARS, then…. what in the galaxy, far, far away does this have to do with eating 0-5?
Well, a while back, my pastor did a sermon series about putting on the full armor of God. He entitled it “Spirit Wars”.
My pastor is a huge Star Wars fan and so with this movie coming out, he used the analogy of Star Wars to how we are in a spiritual battle. This led us thru putting on the whole armor of God.
I had heard many sermons and read a lot of blogs, book and articles about this subject. However, I had NEVER heard it quite this way before!
Being a Star Wars fan myself, I was intrigued.
So, in case you are not familiar with it, here is the passage from Ephesians 6 that we are referring to here:
14 So stand strong with the belt of truth tied around your waist, and on your chest wear the protection of right living. 15 On your feet wear the Good News of peace to help you stand strong. 16 And also use the shield of faith with which you can stop all the burning arrows that come from the Evil One.17 Accept God’s salvation as your helmet. And take the sword of the Spirit—that sword is the teaching of God. 18 Pray in the Spirit at all times. Pray with all kinds of prayers, and ask for everything you need. To do this you must always be ready. Never give up. Always pray for all of God’s people.
Here’s the armor in (Star Wars) summary:
(ok…so yes, I added the shield. And…ok, these guys were bad guys if you know anything about the Star Wars movies….but work with me here. We’ll pretend that this one is a strong believer in Christ!)
Now, I could write on and on about this whole armor but we don’t want me to write several blog posts here in one! So, I want to focus on my favorite sermon from my pastor’s sermon series and that is the Sword of the Spirit.
Of all the pieces of the armor, did you notice that the Sword was the only thing that is an offensive weapon?
Take the Sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God
When my pastor preached the sermon about this aspect of Ephesians 6, he asked some of the children to dress up to illustrate how the characters used the light-saber to battle one another.
If you know anything about Star Wars, you know that the main weapon of choice is the light-saber.
The “bad guys” have red light-sabers
and the “good guys” have white. This illustrates how evil is always ready to battle us with weapons of deceit and lies.
If the good guys just stand there and never take out their light-sabers, they will surely be cut down by the bad guys!
In the picture you see the good guys don’t have their light-sabers in hand, but what you don’t see is they have them on a table right beside them. When our pastor said the word, the good guys grabbed their sabers and began to fight (and of course the good guys won!)
We have the Sword of the Spirit (our white light-sabers) available to use at any time.
Our “Sword” could be reading God’s word each morning, quoting memorized scripture or using “Truth Cards” (which are index cards or a note card app on your phone with scriptures written on them for quick reference).
So, what are we battling?
What are the “bad guys” or the “Dark Side”? It is the evil of this world. The evil within…. those lies… of defeat, dieting, poor body image, feeling like a failure.
Yes, this is the “Dark Side”! We are pulled by its deceptiveness and what we think might be power or beauty or strength or _______________(insert your temptation here).
12 Our fight is not against people on earth. We are fighting against the rulers and authorities and the powers of this world’s darkness. We are fighting against the spiritual powers of evil in the heavenly places.
So, let’s think about this.
If I am feeling defeated or ugly or unworthy, I am listening to the lies of the “Dark Side” and not drawing on the power of God’s truth. I am not drawing on the strength that His Word can give. I am not using my sword! I am just like a good guy who is standing there allowing the bad guy to cut me down.
BUT IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE THAT WAY!God has given me HIS strength and power. He has given me His word to use.
So, let’s use this mighty weapon God has given us!
Meditate on the word. Use your scripture truth cards. Pray the word and speak the word. WIELD THE SWORD! Use your light-saber!
What about you? Have You picked up Your light-saber? Your Sword? What do you need to change to be in the Word more often?
Use your weapon! Cut down the enemy with the TRUTH.
I am the Music and Movement teacher for my church’s preschool and I love it! Believe it or not, these little children teach ME lessons almost every day! I learn the art of forgiving quickly, finding wonder and excitement in little things, seeing beauty in the simplest of things and so much more. But, I also learn things that I don’t want to do. I learn lessons about myself. I learn lessons about God.
One of the most recent lessons that God showed me through my preschoolers is one of boundaries. I am currently taking the Holiday Victory class that meets just during the month of December. We are learning about keeping our boundaries of 0-5 as a way of living for the rest of our lives. BUT these boundaries are good and pleasant.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. Psalm 16:6
God gives me boundaries and rules in my life to keep me and others safe as well as to keep our lives running more smoothly.
Boundaries are everywhere! We have rules and guidelines in life, at work, on the ball field, at home, and in the classroom, just to name a few.
As a Music Teacher, I have rules in my classes too. They are not difficult rules, I mean we are talking preschool here.
Despite how young my students are, they learn that they are responsible for their own behavior while in my class. Basically, it’s your choice if you want to play or not. (as in…..play an instrument, play our music game, dance etc.) If you follow the rules, you get to play and have a great time. If you don’t, then you have to sit out and be bored. It all boils down to this: IF YOU DON’T OBEY, YOU DON’T GET TO PLAY. That’s it. Easy.
Now, let’s think about this. Isn’t that the way it is with us and God?
If I follow God’s boundaries for me, then I get to “play and have fun”. I get to eat anything I desire as long as it’s in the parameters of hunger and satisfaction. I don’t have to diet. I don’t have to obsess about my weight or my size. Yet, sometimes I feel like my preschoolers! When I see one of my kids throw a fit because she just plain ol’ doesn’t want to follow the rules, God reminds me that I do the same thing! (ouch! Really?)
I have even had children throw a fit because I won’t let them play with the fire extinguisher! (true story!) They don’t understand that my rules are there to keep them safe. (Hmmmm…..does that sound a little bit like why God has boundaries for us?)
Recently, I had a child who got angry simply because she just wasn’t getting her own way. We were getting ready to play bells with the song “Jingle Bells”. This is a favorite thing for all of my classes every year. Well, I had a child that just did NOT want to play bells. No problem, I don’t force a child to play an instrument if they don’t want to. It’s all good, right? Well, not today for my little friend Lillian (name changed). She got angry because she wanted to play something else. So she sat and missed out while all the other children had a wonderful time! They were dancing, singing, laughing and playing their bells! Poor Lillian didn’t even realize that she was missing out on all the fun! She was too caught up in the fact that she was not getting her own way.
Oh, is this just like me!!! How many times have I wanted to do things my own way? How many times have I not wanted to eat within my boundaries and either I did what I want anyway or sulked because I couldn’t have my own way? And so there I would be “sitting by the wall, sulking” when God has so much more for me to experience!
Thankfully, Lillian decided on her own that she indeed did want a bell (I had placed one by her side in case she changed her mind) and so joined in on the fun!
And God whispers to my heart….
Oh Dear One! How it is with you. I have so many wonderful things planned for you. So much more than this life can ever offer but you have to follow me to experience it. You cannot see nor understand what I have planned, but if you simply trust Me, I will take you there!
You see, just like I have rules and boundaries in my class to keep my kids safe, God has boundaries for us for our benefit. I am learning that these boundaries for us, this 0-5 eating are for our GOOD. It is for us to be at peace with our bodies. It is for freedom!
I am faced with a choice. Do I want to follow God’s boundaries and enjoy this beautiful life He has given me, or do I want to sit and sulk by the wall? Do I REALLY want to miss out on all the fun?? My answer is NO WAY!!! I want to be like little Lillian with her bells, jumping, laughing and dancing away to the music. I want to be FULLY ALIVE in Jesus and all that He has for me!Abundant Life….in Him and in the safe protection of His wonderful boundaries!
What about you? Do you think the boundaries of 0-5 are for your good? Do you have trouble staying in your boundaries? Do you find yourself “sulking by the wall”?
Let’s all follow God’s boundaries so we can “play and have fun” this Christmas without any guilt!
When I calm down and take time to pray, I am reminded that it’s ok. God is ok with me throwing my tantrum because I am coming to Him. I am expressing my emotions and not stuffing them. I am not turning to food for comfort. I am talking to Him, even if it might be yelling at times.
It is then, in the quietness of my soul, the Lord gently reminds me that HE came to give me more. He came to give me life. He came as a baby in a dirty cow stall to give me peace. And hope. And joy. And completion in Him.
I am reminded how God sent the angel Gabriel to Mary when she was just a teenager to tell her that she was going to have a baby.
Not just any baby, mind you, but the SON OF GOD! Yes….not only that but she had not even been with a man. Oh and more….she was engaged to a man who could accuse her of having an adulterous affair. A stonable offence in that time.
I’m sure she thought that it was an impossible situation. She could have given a lot of excuses when Gabriel came to her why she wasn’t worthy. I’m sure she may have thought of some reasons why she was unable to have this baby. I’m sure she thought it was going to be hard. I’m sure she was scared.
In Luke’s gospel it states that she was “confused and disturbed” (Luke 1:29 NLT) or she was “thoroughly shaken” (MSG) when Gabriel came to her. What was the angel’s response to her? Did he say “you should not be disturbed”? or “Woe to you for being confused”?
No. Read his response:
“Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God!”
And God reminds me in a whisper to my heart. “Don’t be afraid as you follow my boundaries for you through this difficult time of year, for you have found favor with God, my daughter!”
Just as the angel Gabriel spoke to Mary and told her how God would transform her life by bringing Jesus through her, God whispers to us that He will transform our lives as we also follow Him.
Mary was willing to step out in faith and follow God through what must have been one of the most difficult times in her life. She faced ridicule, shame and possible stoning. Yet she said to Gabriel
“I am the Lord’s servant, may it be to me as you have said”
Mary was facing an impossible situation. Although it may seem like eating 0-5 is trivial compared to what Mary went through, our heart’s response is just as critical as hers. Our situation is just as important to the Lord as Mary’s was back then. And our impossible situations are POSSIBLE through HIM.
“Nothing is impossible with God.”(Luke 1:37) This is what the angel told Mary.
So it is with us. Whatever challenges you might be facing this Christmas, remember that God is right there with You to give you the strength and guidance you need.
That little baby born long ago came so we can be FREE today! He came so we can have life abundant in Him.
Jesus calls us forth to follow Him in everything we do. Let’s GO!
“Let us run our race marked out for us as we keep our eyes on Jesus”
How about you? Are you ready to follow Jesus with your eating? Are you willing to trust that God is with you and will help you in this?
This time of year it is easy to be wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of family gatherings, company parties, church dinners, gift and cookie exchanges. Although these may all be wonderful blessings, who has time to focus on 0 to 5 or be mindful about eating? (If we are honest, we know it takes even less time to eat 0 to 5 than to blow off our boundaries!) When we stop to acknowledge the reason the culture all around us has changed its pace (and will again on December 25th), we become keenly aware that the One Who loves us most calls to us…
“Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
In the middle of the chaos, craziness, and crunched schedules, can we still our hearts and take a deep breath? Can we turn our hearts–our focus–to the One who holds all things together (Colossians 1:17)? Can we whisper a quick prayer acknowledging His Presence in our midst?
Deep calls to deep at the roar of your waterfalls; all your breakers and your waves have gone over me.
When we neglect these moments of stolen, reverent silence before our God, we are like a tourist taking a photograph through a telephoto lens that is auto-focused on a rock instead of on the historic fort in the distance. The photo has become all about the rock while what matters most is all a blur. The focus is off.
There are some things that this world was never meant to satisfy. The King of the Universe has created a God-shaped hole in our souls (Ecclesiastes 3:11) and only He can adequately fill that hole.
Not more busy-ness.
Not more stuff.
Not more food.
Not more of being the “hostess-with-the-mostest.”
He wants to infuse our lives with His joy and His peace. His peace passes understanding and His joy is boundless even in the middle of any holiday crisis, mall traffic jam, or burned-ham fiasco! But we do need to quiet our hearts and minds–cease from spinning with the what-ifs and maybe-sos–to recognize Him and welcome the peace and joy He promises (John 14:27; John 15:11). We need to be intentional with our focus to seize the victory He has in mind for us!
A practical way to do this is to set a watch or phone timer to go off every couple of hours. When the alarm sounds, it serves as a reminder to turn our thoughts in a Godward direction: “Thank you for this moment. I am so grateful that You are mindful of me, Lord.” “Lord, I need you right now. Please help me with this project.” “Thank you for the festive lights decorating the boulevard, Jesus! They remind me that You are the light of the world!” “Please be with that shopper who looked so sad, Lord.” “Thank you that you are my good Shepherd and you lead me beside still waters, even on this freeway!”
Doing this regularly has trained me to be more mindful that Jesus is with me even when I don’t use a timer. Jesus is with me through the white elephant gifts, secret Santa shopping, when I am stuck in a storm in gridlock traffic, and when I collapse in a hot bath at the end of the day. And He is with me when I eat before I am at a 0, yell at the kids or cut in front of the rude lady in line at Target.
I know that especially in those moments I can be still and know He is God. His peace and joy will bring all the rest of life into complete and perfect focus and help me submit my will to Him in those more harried moments. Will I quiet my heart and mind and focus on what really matters for a few moments? Will you?
What About You?
What can you do (practically) to regain your focus through the holiday season? Try it and share with us in the comments how God blesses these sacred moments with His Presence.
End the year on a positive note. Be intentional to bring some focus to the rest of your 2015 by joining our study of the Thin Within trade book starting on November 30th (Monday). We will read the Thin Within book in record time, pray for one another and share our victories and challenges! We will finish by January 1st. Visit our Online Classes page and sign up for the Thin Within book study. We would love to have you! This is especially helpful if you couldn’t quite manage the 12 week workbook class. 🙂 This is only 33 days. We can *do* that! 🙂
My sister got married a few years ago at a beautiful log home in the mountains of Colorado. The morning of the big day, we had all the bridesmaids over for breakfast while we had our hair and makeup done. We had a huge spread- croissants, danishes, muffins, coffee cake, mimosas, fruit, cheese, coffee and of course, donuts. The spread took over the entire kitchen counter, it was huge!
I walked over to it with another bridesmaid who is a naturally thin woman. We both grabbed plates and began looking over the mountain of food in front of us. I reached for danishes, fruit and a plethora of other goodies. Then I glanced over at the other bridesmaid. She had grabbed a couple of pieces of cheese and put them on her plate and was walking away. “That’s all you want to have?!?” I asked, utterly bewildered. She shrugged, smiled and said “Yeah! It’s all I need right now!“
She ate what her body needed at the time. Her want and need aligned perfectly. The concept of wanting more than that was completely foreign to her. Her need was her want.
For so many of us, our wants go far beyond our bodily needs.
Our wants rise up in us and take over, hence the meals we eat from 0-8 or 2-6. Our wants are fueled by unhealthy, unaddressed and sinful emotions, attitude and thought patterns. My want is a greedy, gluttonous, prideful, entitled, rebellious little creature. It’s a monster, really. A WantMonster.
WantMonsters take over meals, crash through our Thin Within boundaries without a second thought and keep us wrapped up in bondage. They wreak havoc on good intentions. They are often the reason we just can’t seem to stick with Thin Within. They blaze through dinner at 90mph and leave us dumbfounded at the end of the day, wondering what in the heck happened to maintaining 0-5 boundaries.
I don’t know about you, but I think it’s time to tame the WantMonster. How exactly should we go about subduing such a wild creature that seems so unpredictable at times? I’m glad you asked. Let’s take a look at what the Bible has to say about this, shall we?
“Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinfulthings, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit.“-Romans 8:5
“He said to them, “When you pray, say: ‘Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. Forgive us our sins,for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation.“-Luke 11:2-4
“Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him,throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception.Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.“-Ephesians 4:21-23
“So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves.”- Galations 5:16
“Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there.Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.“-Galations 5:24-25
“Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak!”-Matthew 26:41
I’m noticing a bit of a theme here. When we pray and are Spirit lead, we have God’s help out of the sinful nature that holds us back. We can’t expect to tame the WantMonster on our own. No amount of effort on our parts is going to get us anywhere. But, when we pray and are filled with the Holy Spirit’s power, we have the power to overcome the flesh.
What does this look like practically? For me personally, this often looks like praying each morning against the things that I know will try and feed the WantMonster. I pray against pride. I pray against entitlement. I pray against temptation (Jesus taught us how to do this!). I pray against distraction, excuses I might tell myself to eat beyond a 5, complacency and rebellion. I have a list a mile long of things I pray about and against. I also ask for a fresh renewal of the Holy Spirit’s presence in my life that day. I ask for the Spirit’s power to help me stay obedient to my godly boundaries.
This is a non-negotiable for me, I do it every day. And on those days where I don’t…well, wouldn’t you know…the WantMonster rises up and stampedes throughout almost every meal. It’s a correlation too strong to ignore. Without continued prayer about all this, the WantMonster grows. But, as I am faithful to pray about it and surrender my fleshly wants, God is faithful to help me. As I continue to seek Him, pray against my fleshly desires and ask for the Spirit’s leading…I notice more and more that my wants and my bodily needs align perfectly. I am not throwing a temper tantrum because it took so little food to satisfy me. I am not pouting because I can’t have a second helping at dinner. I am thankful, humble and grateful to eat what my body needs, not what my flesh cries out for. It’s a beautiful thing to tame the WantMonster!
How about you? Have you felt a WantMonster rising up in you? Do you often find your wants and your bodily needs don’t line up? Take some time to list out the emotions, attitudes and thought patterns that feed your WantMonster. Do an experiment and pray daily about these things. My guess is that God will show you a way to tame your wants in favor of obedience to your godly boundaries and bodily needs.
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you…” Acts 1:8
In 2012 my husband did something really crazy. He went on a 7 day bike tour all across Colorado called “Ride the Rockies.” It sounds like a lovely cruise through beautiful forests and rolling hills, doesn’t it? It was very beautiful, but was also a grueling event with 3500+ feet of elevation gain each day and often over 100 miles from one location to the next. The tour rode over mountain passes, above timberline where there is no oxygen and along long stretches of dirt road where every breath meant inhaling dirt and dust from the riders in front of you. It was hard just watching the riders do it, and I was simply there as a cheerleader!
As the tour progressed, a rumor started about a man who was “cheating.” You see, he built his own bicycle. And on it, he included a quiet little motor that helped propel him up hills. I saw him a handful of times. While other riders struggled for momentum while chugging up a 20 mile mountain pass, this man just breezed on by. His bike was still a bike. It required that he pedal and shift gears like any other bicycle, but he always had a little extra “help” along the way.
I’ve always thought that man’s invention was a beautiful metaphor for doing Thin Within while relying on the power of God.
I spent a solid 9 years of my Thin Within journey just trying to do Thin Within in my own effort, my own striving. Of course I prayed and wanted to honor God, but I was truly only relying on my own efforts. I became “Abigail the Achiever” (pg. 121, Thin Within). I thought if I just tried hard enough, stay focused enough, did “good” enough…I’d finally get this thing down. Ironically, the more I tried, the more I fell flat on my face! Sure, I could get a solid week or two of 0-5 eating under my belt. But eventually, the effort became too much. I would become weary. I would start to give in to breaking my boundaries little by little. And before I knew it, I was completely off the course.
A few years ago, I learned a beautiful truth. We don’t have to be self-propelled through this journey like a cyclist pedaling his way up a mountain pass under his own power. When we submit to God’s power and invite the Holy Spirit to work through us and help us, suddenly we become more like the rider on the motorized bike! Sure, we need to pedal some and put a little effort into it, but ultimately God is propelling us with a quiet little motor called the Holy Spirit. He takes us out of our self-sufficient striving and into a place of power and victory!
God’s power is a powerful force to be reckoned with. And so much of that power is made available to us if we’ll just confess our weakness, surrender our striving and invite His power to work through us! “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people,19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms“-Ephesians 1:18-20.
Did you catch that? He has called us into His power. The same power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the heavenly realms. And that power is made available to me? To us? Well sign me up, I’m in! I don’t know about you, much I would much rather lean on a greater power than what I can offer myself through self-sufficiency.
So you might be wondering, what exactly does it look like to rely on God’s power through my Thin Within journey? I’m glad you asked! 🙂 For me, it looks like coming before God each and every day and praying. I often confess my weakness (2Cor 12:9) and inability to maintain my boundaries in my own attempts. It involves praying before every meal, during each time I am tempted, every time I feel lead into indulgence or rebellion. It sometimes looks something like this: “Father, I surrender my own efforts in favor of your perfect power. Carry me through the difficult moments of temptation today. Give me victory in the face of indulgence and gluttony. Help me to be mindful of my boundaries and give me the ability to stick to them. I know I can’t do this in my own effort. I surrender my striving and I ask that your Holy Spirit would overcome my desire to take control. Lead me through this day with the same power that raised Christ from the dead!”
And wouldn’t you know it…when I’m mindful of relying on the power of the Holy Spirit to get me through, I feel like that cyclist on a motorized bike just breezing through with ease. 0-5 comes easily, temptation isn’t as strong, disobedience and rebellion are a distant memory and I am more fully convinced that God has equipped me for victory through the propulsion of His power, not mine.
How about you? Do you ever feel like you’re in a rut of just trying trying trying? Have you noticed that more often than not, you’re relying on your own efforts to maintain 0-5 boundaries? Give it a rest! Lay down your striving and rely on God to propel you forward!