Have you ever wanted to just give up? I mean…you’ve eaten 0-5, you have read Thin Within or done a workbook study or gone thru the Hunger Within book and yet, you seem stuck. Or it’s too hard.
Maybe you have been getting closer and closer to the Lord by surrendering the food, weight and size. It may have felt like you’ve been on a mountain top.
Yet….sometimes our darkest valleys come after we have been on the “mountaintop” experiences with the Lord, don’t they?
We are not alone in this experience of wanting to give up!
In 1 Kings 19, we read about how Elijah felt the same way right after he called fire down from heaven to consume the alter of the Lord! Right after that happened (and he had all the priests of BAAL killed….) Jezebel calls for his death.
Elijah was AFRAID (yes, this is the man that just called on God to reign fire from heaven to consume the alter…) and he ran for his life!
1 Kings 19:4
4 Then he went on alone into the wilderness, traveling all day. He sat down under a solitary broom tree and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life, for I am no better than my ancestors who have already died.”
Elijah had just experienced God feeding him by ravens, using him to feed a widow with the oil and grain that never ran out and also raising her child from the dead! (It’s all in 1 Kings 17) Now he is letting fear rule him and wants to die!
Sometimes we feel like giving up because we let fear overwhelm us.
Just like Elijah, we focus on ourselves and not on God. When he was focused on God, that’s when miraculous things happened. But when Elijah was focused on his own insecurity, inadequacies and NOT God’s strength, he wanted to give up!
Ladies, so it is with us! If we focus on what God can do in us and through us, we will see miraculous things! He can and WILL transform us from the inside out if we surrender to Him and focus on Him day by day.
Look at this!
When Elijah was wallowing under that tree, ready to give up and die, did God reprimand him? Did God tell Elijah that he just needed more willpower or that he should just ‘get his act together’? NO!
1 Kings 19:5-7
5 Then he lay down and slept under the broom tree. But as he was sleeping, an angel touched him and told him, “Get up and eat!”6 He looked around and there beside his head was some bread baked on hot stones and a jar of water! So he ate and drank and lay down again.
7 Then the angel of the Lord came again and touched him and said, “Get up and eat some more, or the journey ahead will be too much for you.”
God gave him food to strengthen him and allowed him to rest. He send an angel to help him and care for him. He didn’t tell Elijah that he had to do it all on his own.
God is telling us that today. He wants to feed us with so much more than what we can give ourselves. We no longer need to sit under that tree feeling like we haven’t done it right or that we should just give up.
We can cry out to God, even in our despair and He will answer. But we must give up doing this in our own strength. We must turn from ourselves and focus on HIM.
So, if you find yourself in the desert, under that tree and ready to give up, HEAR ME NOW:
When I was a very young child, I didn’t think much about my shape, size or weight. I was blind to what the world said about how a girl should look. I was not self conscious about the way I looked but had self-confidence in myself. I simply didn’t know any different. I look back on that and realize it was a place of freedom.
I teach preschool Music and Movement classes so I see this freedom, confidence and contentment regarding body image every day. When preschoolers come to my classes, they jump, move and sing without any thought to how others see them or what anyone thinks of their bodies.
One example of this is when I had a very overweight student. When he would come to my classes, he could hardly get up off of the floor if he sat down. Despite this, he loved dancing, jumping and moving to the music! Not once was he embarrassed by how he looked while doing the movements. Even though he took longer to get up off of the floor, none of the other children even noticed!
What if I could see myself and other people in that childlike innocence? If I stopped comparing myself to what the world says is “beautiful”, maybe I wouldn’t be tempted to diet in order to have that “perfect body”.
But how do I do this when I am surrounded by a society that says only a size 4 is considered beautiful? Every day we are bombarded with media that screams “BE STICK SKINNY!” This is something I will never be! I am a curvy girl. Even at my smallest size, when I was TOO small by dieting like crazy and dealing with exercise bulimia, I had curves!
I have to decide whose opinion matters most.
The world will always see what they want to see. Society will always deem beauty as whatever the fickle fashion dictates. Do you know that 50-60 years ago there were ads to sell products to fatten you up?
That’s right! Being skinny was considered unattractive and being curvy was beautiful!
So, back to my question. Who is going to determine how I feel about myself? If I am beautiful? Whose opinion matters the most?
Well, God tells me many things about who I am in Him.
It is HIS opinion that matters most!
1 Samuel 16:7
The LORD doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.
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.
2 Corinthians 5:17
This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!
Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When I find my identity in Christ and His love, I can see myself as beautiful regardless of shape and size. I can eat within His beautiful boundaries of hunger and fullness regardless of what I look like.
That is freedom!
“Lord, help me to see myself as you see me: marvelously made.”
Do you ever find yourself feeling like this woman in the picture?
Most of the time I think I am doing ok with this 0-5 eating, yet sometimes….well….I fall back into old ways that feel so comfortable and familiar.
I had a few days like that not too long ago. I didn’t mean to eat too much, yet once again, I felt too full and gross. There are times when I feel as if I go into a fog and so I guess it is not the best time to eat. I want to eat. My mouth wants to eat. But my stomach isn’t hungry for it.
Sometimes I stop and think, “Why am I eating this?”
I really want to know the WHY behind my behavior but sometimes I can’t find a reason other than
I JUST WANT TO EAT!
Once again, I was just slipping back into mindless eating patterns.
So what do I do now?
I can ask myself why I am eating this in a condemning and defeated way, or I can observe and correct.
I decide to flip through my truth cards and I see Romans 8:1 among them.
I realize I need to pray for help.
Lord, how I need You. I can’t do this without Your Spirit, Oh Jesus. I need You to pull me up and away from these desires within me that pull me back into mindless eating again.”
“I need more than a whisper of Your still small voice but a SHOUT to wake me up. To help me know this desire to eat when I am not hungry is TEMPTATION. I need a shout to wake me out of the fog of mindless eating.”
“Lord, my heart aches to do what You want. I want to turn from the food and to eat mindfully. Help me, Oh Lord to think about what I am doing when I am in the midst of it. Help me to make the right choices so that the next time I say “Why am I eating this?” The answer will be “because the Lord has provided it and it is the right time to enjoy it.” Yes, within Your boundaries, Oh Lord.”
“Lord, thank You that this moment is a new moment. Your grace is new each moment and I am a new creation in You each time I turn to Your open arms.
“My child, I love you. Remember that nothing can take away my love. I forgive you and you are set free! I am with You and I will help You. You have to be still and listen for my voice, child. It is hard to be still when you have so much going on, I know, but that is when you have to make a special effort to pause and breathe and listen. You have to take a moment to center yourself on Me. Yes, breathe a prayer and ask for my help. I will give you power over the enemy and the sin and the desires. I will give you power over old habit and old ways.”
“Oh child of mine, you may not know why you did what you did but you can still learn from it. It all comes down to taking the moment to turn to Me. In Me, you ARE a new creation who is free from sin. But you have to remain in ME, child. I am here for you and I love you. Always.”
What about you? What do you do if you find yourself slipping into mindless eating? Do you mentally beat yourself up or do you “Observe and Correct”? Have you been pausing at the table and listening for God’s voice? Remember that God’s power over our old ways of eating is there for us to use. Remember that you ARE a new creation in Him and that no matter what, He loves you.
Recently, I have been going thru some of my Hunger Within journals from the last two times I’ve been through the book.
In one of my journals, I came across an entry that touched my heart. In this entry, the Lord invited me to let go of my own control and submerge myself completely in this way of eating, living and being. He whispered to me, asking me to let go of what I think I should look like and to trust Him fully.
I had shared this on the blog last year about this time. As I read it, it spoke to me again.
I need to continue to “jump in” fully with God in this journey.
The Lord spoke to my heart…..
Society wants us to think that being“skinny” is the answer to acceptance and love. Oh child, I have something so much better for you. True fulfillment does not come from outward beauty of being a certain shape or size or weight.
I Samuel 16:7
The Lord told Samuel “Do not consider his appearance or his height. For I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.
Oh theenemy would like all women and even men to think that. It is a lie that is permeating your culture and has been a part of this world for many ancient years.
Child don’t be afraid. I am with you each step of this journey as you step out of the boat and walk on the water with Me. This boat of security that is your food or your diet or whatever you consider your control of things….step out in faith to me so you may truly LIVE!
Walk to me on these waters so you may fall into my arms. Yes, Child, fully jump into my loving arms!
As you submerge yourself in My love for you and allow my grace to surround you, I will fill you with my peace.
But to step out of that boat, to walk to me on water, to jump fully into my arms, to submerge yourself fully in my love will take some surrendering.
But, oh My Child, surrendering means true freedom and joy as you bask in my love for you. Surrendering means jumping in with both feet…..into my grace and with faith in Me.
This food and body image is a part of you that has been broken for a long time in your life. But take heart, I have overcome the world. I have created the universe and placed the stars in the sky. I have created you to be uniquely my beautiful daughter and I love you so very much.
Take heart. I am the Great Physician and can heal all wounds. I will bind up your broken heart. I will replace your ashes with beauty. This beauty is one that does not fade or change with age. It is a beauty that is lasting and real. It is who you really are in Me. You are My Beautiful Daughter. You are My Chosen One. You are The One I love with and Everlasting Love.
It will not be easy. It will take time, but the journey will be worth it. Now take hold of my hand, Child and come.
What about you? What is God asking you to surrender? Are you ready to step out of your “boat of security”? Will you let go of the way YOU might think your body should look? Are you willing to “jump in” with God and be submerged completely in His love and grace?
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.
Image courtesy of Mister GC at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
My Thin Within journey hasn’t been so much about the physical weight, but more about the mental “weight”. The weight of worrying about my body image, obsessing about food, fighting the diet mentality and temptation of going back to a diet, and bowing down to the skinny idol. I’ve had people ask me why I’m so interested in this subject. Like, why do I feel compelled to encourage others in their journey toward freedom when I *look* fine? And my response is this: We all deal with the same lies, whether you are overweight, underweight, or even at your ideal weight. The enemy is right there saying that you are too much or not enough. So my journey has been more about releasing the”weight” of my thoughts and surrendering the obsession. If I could weigh my thoughts, obsessions, struggles, and lies I have dealt with over the years, they would be considerably very heavy.
I did, at one time, have physical weight to release. I’ve been 25-30 pounds overweight. I’ve dealt with emotional eating. I’ve dieted and then sought freedom from counting, weighing, measuring. I’ve dealt with fears about food. I know what it feels like to never feel good enough and to keep on reaching toward those temptations. I know what it’s like to eat when I’m not hungry and then to keep on eating because of guilt and shame. And I know what it’s like to have God’s peace in this journey, to taste the freedom He has offered. I know what it’s like to be free from worrying about food and to no longer overeat.
But I still struggle. I still find myself tempted to research about diets. I still think I need to be a certain size and look a certain way. I still worry about the unknown. I compare past success on a diet program with success while eating 0-5. I want the guarantee that this works. And I compare myself with others.
Sometimes, for encouragement, I will skim through parts of Hunger Within. Recently, I found myself in Chapter 6: Dependence Not Addiction. And even though it’s a hard truth to swallow, I realize I have been dealing with addiction in this. As stated in the chapter, addiction means to “give assent–to give up or to give over”. Somewhere along the line, I had surrendered myself to body image worries, to comparison, the researching diets, etc.
If we give ourselves over to food, performance, relationships, or other compulsive behaviors, we may experience initial relief, so then we cling to them, making them the objects of our desire.
I have done that. And it’s crazy to think I have found “relief” in researching and obsessing over my body, but I have.
As these objects grow in importance, our behavior becomes habitual and we can no longer satisfy or relieve our needs in healthy ways. Even if we want to break free, we find ourselves enslaved. Herein lies the greatest risk to our relationship with God: the addiction itself, rather than God, becomes the driving force or focus of our life.
That statement right there is an eye-opener to me. I have looked to something outside of the Lord to try to satisfy my needs. Some of us do this with food: we eat outside of our physical hunger because there is a need–but only God can reach that need. Wow! I really want to redirect myself (change my habits) so that I’m not reaching toward the avenues of addiction, but instead, I’m reaching toward my Lord and Savior and His Word!
The objects of our addictions become our false gods. These are what we attend to, where we give our time and energy, instead of love. Addiction, then, displaces and supplants God’s love as the source and object of our deepest true desire. (Gerald May, as quoted in Hunger Within)
I don’t know about you, but I’m so tired of going back to the same old behavior. It’s that old rut of thinking. But God wants us to get on His path of righteousness. His WORD is a light unto our path! He wants to pull us out of that old rut and onto His path of life. I want to release this “weight” over to the Lord so I can be free! And I know that will happen as I continue to press into Him and seek His truth. HE is the one Who will change me from the inside out. I want to press into HIM, not into the diet books and lies that I’ve believed for so long. I want to go to Him instead of putting hope in something false. I know it starts in my mind. That’s why it’s so important to renew my mind. That’s where the change starts.
For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. 2 Cor 10:4-5
I cannot tell you how many hours I’ve prayed or how many journals I’ve filled (at least a few), asking the Lord for help, digging into His Word, seeking His truth as He dissolved lies. But I do know this–GOD is the One Who will change you. Your part is to go to Him, and HE does the transformation work! I cannot emphasize that enough. Renewing your mind is a vital part of this journey! Take those lies to Him. Lay them before Him and trust that He will reveal truth! Don’t give up! He will change you and one day you will realize that you aren’t struggling with certain things anymore. You will release “weight” and the physical weight. He will change you from within and it will not only be evident on the outside, but we will think and live changed. Praise God!
My journey isn’t over yet, in fact, recently it’s turned a corner and I’m so excited to share about that…but you will have to wait until next week. Stay tuned!