I’ve been reading a book called Parenting the Wholehearted Child by Jeannie Cunnion (excellent book by the way) and she talked about how we know we are loved and accepted when we know who we are in Christ. So that got me thinking about how I have spent so many years not feeling accepted because of my body or thinking that I needed to conform to a certain pattern or image of this world. I have learned that there are more issues if I don’t accept my body where it’s at; like I’m accepting defeat. So I started thinking, what would happen if I knew (really knew) and declared who I am in Christ? Because in Christ I AM accepted!
“Those of us who struggle with food, eating, body image, and weight may spend excessive energy performing for acceptance because we equate our self-concept with our outward appearance. When our reflection in the mirror is less than perfect, we may continue to try to improve ourselves and an abusive pattern of starving or stuffing ourselves may persist” (Hunger Within, Chapter 5: Worth Not Shame).
Heidi Bylsma shared an amazing file with me with many truths about who we are in Christ. Today I sat down, with the printed list, and picked out the ones I felt that were most applicable to me in the moment (of course all of them are). And then I wrote down (with some fun colored pencils) on a sheet of paper. I will keep this paper on my bathroom vanity to read each day and confess. These are truths I can renew my mind with. And I know as I renew my mind, God will transform me (Hebrews 12:1-2). As I declare these truths, I will believe them more and more.
You see, it’s not what I do that makes me who I am. It’s not my outside appearance that makes me special. It’s not how well I perform or go about my work. I am who I am because of who I am in Christ–because of what He has done for me. I am accepted because Christ accepts me.
You and I are accepted by Christ no matter what. This list tells us who you are in Christ. So when you look in the mirror, you can lift that chin up and be confident in the Lord despite what you see or wish you could see. You are His beloved! You are accepted!
“This undeniable, unavoidable longing for a sense of value is a sanctified hunger placed in us by God’s design, but we will never experience inner peace until we face the truth that nothing of this world–our appearance, our past or present performance, possessions, or the opinions of other–can fulfill our longing for security and significance…Our hunger within will persist unsatisfied until we can see ourselves not through the eyes of the world but through the eyes of our loving Lord” (Hunger Within, Chapter 5: Worth Not Shame).
When you know who you are in Christ and you know you can accept your body as is, you will start to relax and be thankful for your body. It’s not quitting or giving up. It’s not saying you will never release another pound. It’s being confident that the Lord loves you and accepts you right where you are at and that He will complete the work He has started in you. I really think this is a vital part of the journey toward freedom in this area of our lives, especially if you have been worshiping the skinny idol.
“When we accept ourselves for what we are, we decrease our hunger for power or the acceptance of others because our self-intimacy reinforces our inner sense of security” (Hunger Within, Chapter 5: Worth Not Shame).
When you know who you are in Christ and this journey becomes about what’s within, you focus on your heart relationship with Christ and not the number on a scale. If you are first starting your journey this may feel hard to imagine or accept because you just want the added weight gone. And I can encourage you that you will release weight in conjunction with the Lord working on your inner man as well. It’s pretty amazing!
Would you like to renew your mind with some truths about who you are in Christ? Here are some truths to get you started:
Who I Am In Christ
I am God’s child for I am born again of the incorruptible seed of the Word of God which lives and abides forever 1 Pet. 1:23
I am forgiven all my sins and washed in the blood Eph. 1:7
I am a new creature II Cor. 5:17
I am the temple of the Holy Spirit I Cor. 6:19
I am delivered from the power of darkness and transformed into God’s kingdom Col. 1:13
I am redeemed from the curse of the law Gal. 3:13
I am strong in the Lord Eph.6:10
I am holy and without blame before Him Eph. 1:4
I am accepted in Christ Eph. 1:6
I am blessed Deut. 28:1-14
I am a saint Rom. 1:7
I am qualified to share in His inheritance Col. 1:12
I am the head and not the tail.
I am above only and not beneath Deut. 28:13
I am victorious Rev. 21:7
I am dead to sin Rom.6: 2, 11
I am elect Col. 3:12
I am loved with an everlasting love Jer. 31:3
I am established to the end I Cor. 1:8
I am set free Jn. 8:31-33
I am circumcised with the circumcision made without hands Col. 2:11
I am crucified with Christ Gal. 2:20
I am alive with Christ Eph. 2:5
I am raised up with Christ and seated in heavenly places Col. 2:12
I am His faithful follower Eph. 5:1
I am the light of the world Matt. 5:14
I am the salt of the earth Matt. 5:13
I am called of God II Tim. 1:9
I am brought near by the blood of Christ Eph. 2:13
I am more than a conqueror Rom. 8:37
I am in Christ Jesus by His doing I Cor. 1:30
I am an ambassador for Christ II Cor. 5:20
I am beloved of God I Thess. 1:4
I am the first fruits among His creation James 1:18
I am born of God and the evil one does not touch me I Jn. 5:18
I am a king and a priest unto God Rev. 1:6
I am a joint heir with Christ Rom. 8:17
I am reconciled to God II Cor. 5:18
I am overtaken with blessings Deut. 28:2
I am healed by the wounds of Jesus I Pet. 2:24
I am in the world as He is in heaven I Jn. 4:17
I am a fellow citizen with the saints of the household of God Eph. 2:19
I am sealed with the promise of the Holy Spirit Eph. 1:13
I am complete in Christ Col. 2:10
I am the apple of my Father’s eye Ps. 17:8
I am free from condemnation Rom. 8:1
I am the righteousness of God through Jesus Christ II Cor. 5:21
I am chosen I Thess. 1:4
I am firmly rooted, built up, strengthened in the faith and overflowing with thankfulness Col. 2:7
I am a disciple of Christ because
I have love for others Jn. 13:34-35
I am built on the foundations of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the chief cornerstone Eph. 2:20
I am a partaker of His divine nature II Pet. 1:4
I am God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works Eph. 2:10
I am being changed into His image Phil. 1:6
I am one in Christ! Hallelujah! Jn. 17:21-23
I have all my needs met by God according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus Phil. 4:19
I have the mind of Christ I Cor. 2:16
I have everlasting life Jn. 6:47
I have a guaranteed inheritance Eph. 1:14
I have abundant life Jn. 10:10
I have overcome the world 1 Jn. 5:4
I have the peace of God which passes understanding Phil. 4:7
I have access to the Father by one Spirit Eph. 2:18
I can do all things through Jesus Christ Phil. 4:13
I walk in Christ Jesus Col. 2:6
I press toward the goal for the prize of the high calling of God Phil. 3:14
I live by the law of the Holy Spirit Rom. 8:2
I know God’s voice Jn. 10:14
I show forth His praise I Pet. 2:9
I always triumph in Christ II Cor. 2:14
P.S. I created a Sound Cloud recording reading these truths. Enjoy!
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.”
I have been noticing that my heart has felt different this Christmas season. I am more focused on others. I am looking forward to time spent with my family. I am not tense or nervous or insecure about the gifts my husband and I are giving to our family. I am joyous, content and I feel peace. I can’t ever remember a Christmas in my whole adult life where I have felt like I do this Christmas. You may be asking, “Why the change?” I believe that my heart change has come from a year of working the program of Hunger Within, following 0 to 5 boundaries, renewing my mind and daily spending time with my Lord Who is the Lover of my soul and the One who died to not only free me from the penalty of my sin, but He also died to break the power of sin in my life.
In church this morning we read Matthew 6:21. It got me thinking about the change in my heart that I have been noticing. I remembered Christmases in the past where I was worried if everything would go all right. I worried about the food and if everyone would enjoy it. I worried about the gifts I was giving. I baked and overate on not only the baked goods, but the dough that went in to the baked goods. I seemed to feel lousy a lot of the time because I was overeating on all types of foods, often having a binge when the house quieted after bed time for other family members and I was finally alone to enjoy what I used to think of as my friend and my comfort, excess food. Then I would feel depressed because my weight would start going up and I would have to start thinking about the New Year and weight loss resolutions. When I think about this scripture, I realize that my treasure was totally in the wrong place and my heart showed it. Can you identify with this pattern? I didn’t think I would ever break free from this annual destructive pattern in my life, and what I found out by seeking the Lord’s help, is that I never would break free with my own will. It has only happened through Him working in my heart. It is Christ’s transformation power that is changing me; not anything that I could have ever done on my own. He is transforming me through the renewing of my mind as I seek His face and His word in my life daily. I started noticing the shift the more I realized that I was not being set free by following my boundaries perfectly. Who could follow boundaries perfectly? I am being set free by the renewing of my mind.
The blessings gained by going into this holiday season without a focus on my body size, the types of food I am eating or attempting not to eat or trying to think ahead to my New Year diet, are innumerable. My mind is clear as I fast between my meals: the food fog is gone. My heart feels love as I think about others and take them to the Lord in prayer: my self-focused internal frustration and anger at myself and others is gone. I have had the energy to get everything I needed to get done, done and the things that were not important, I let slip peacefully from my mind: my body’s exhaustion from never having my ingested food totally digested is gone. I am content with what I have, how much I have and where I have it: my discontented heart is gone. When I wake each morning and I choose to focus first on the Lord, my life falls into balance. I feel that what He has accomplished in my life this past year is truly a miracle.
How about you? Would you like to find yourself in the place I am and so many other sojourners on the Thin Within/Hunger Within pathway? Would you like to wake up next Christmas season to realize that your heart and mind is on the One who is the reason for the season and not on all the worries you have had in the past? If so, trade your inclination to start thinking about New Year’s Resolutions and your thoughts of what diet to start on January 4th (that’s the first Monday in January…after all, we always started our diets on a Monday!)and instead check out the upcoming classes of either the Thin Within book or workbooks, or sign up to take the Hunger Within class I am co-leading with my friend Deanna Lewis that starts in February. Let’s journey together through this upcoming year with the Lord and each other, hand in hand as we seek the Lord’s face and His plans for our lives, renewing our minds daily and walking through pleasant places as we follow our 0 to 5 boundaries around food. My prayer is that next Christmas, you too will find you are living a miracle!
I am in the 2015 Holiday Victory class that is studying Barb Raveling’s book, Taste for Truth. Even though Barb isn’t a member of the Thin Within community, reading this book (now for the third time) has been so life changing on my journey towards freedom from disordered eating and thinking and I wanted to share some truths that I found on day one of this Bible study.
On day one in Taste for Truth we look at our role compared to God’s role in the transformation process. I hope after reading this you will agree with me that everything we have done in the past to get to what we felt was the perfect body size without bringing God into the picture was an exercise in futility.
Take for instance the scripture found in John 8:31-32 – Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” In this scripture, my role is to abide in God’s Word and believe in Jesus. God’s role is to fill me with truth and to set me free. Do you see the beauty of what happens here? I abide and He works.
Here in John 15:1-5 I see that my role is to once again abide in Christ Jesus; to stay around Him and remain in Him. As I do this staying attached to the True Vine, I will bear fruit. If I don’t stay attached to Him, I can do nothing. God’s role as the Vine Dresser is to prune me. He will remove from me the sin in my life that prohibits the producing of fruit. How good is our heavenly Father that He takes on the job of changing me?
I love that we read and study the truth of Romans 12:2 in this book and our Thin Within/Hunger Within material. This is such an important step in freedom from disordered eating, body focus and food obsession to dealing with every area of life. In this scripture, my role is to renew my mind through God’s Word which has the power to transform me. I also have to let go of any area of my life that conforms to the world. I have found that if I don’t renew my mind on a regular basis, it is easy to be like one of the masses. Sadly, without abiding in Christ and renewing my mind, I tend to be like everyone else. God’s role is to aid in my transformation through the work of the Holy Spirit and to allow me to know His perfect will.
In 2 Corinthians 10:3-5, my role is to wield the Sword of the Spirit which is God’s true Word so that I can take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ Jesus. The only way I can wield the Sword of the Spirit is to abide in God’s Word. There is that word again…abide. Hmm, I think I see a pattern developing here. God’s role is to tear down my strongholds. I think about all the times I have tried to tear down and demolish all the “strongholds” or things that had a strong hold over me in my heart and mind, and I find from the scriptures that I was fighting a losing battle. The battle belongs to the LORD God, not me.
In summary: my role is to abide or stay connected to Christ Jesus through the reading and studying of God’s Word; meditating on His Word in order to renew my mind and memorize His Word in order to wield the Sword of the Spirit. This doesn’t work if I just do it on Sundays in church. This is a daily requirement. God’s part in the transformation process is transforming me from the inside out so that my outer frame and countenance reflects the inner change of my heart through my true focus and devotion to the Lover of my Soul, Jesus Christ.
What I usually do when I want to transform myself in the area of weight loss is to join a popular weight loss club and spend a ton of money and chronically work out. If I could have transformed myself, I would not have needed Thin Within and this Holiday Victory class studying Barb Raveling’s book Taste for Truth. According to the verses that I studied by myself and now with you all, what I have done in the past doesn’t even get me started on the road to true freedom from my obsession with food and body image. This is only done through the power of God as I abide in Him. How about you? Are you ready to join me on this journey that we walk together at Thin Within and to finally let go of all those plans that never work for His plan that will?
Christmas is next week and I’m sure most of us are trying to finish up all the last minute preparations, cooking, gift purchases and wrapping. Some may be preparing for guests to arrive. Some may be packing to go visit family.
I don’t know about you, but I tend to feel overwhelmed this time of year. With all the music programs to prepare, gifts to buy, parties to attend…..etc….You get the idea. And I tend to feel a bit self conscious, too, especially if I have to be around extended family. Thoughts of insecurity roll around in my head at this time of year….
“What will Aunt Clare think of me? I know she will notice I haven’t lost much weight this year.”
“Do I look good enough in this dress?”
“I feel like the whole family is judging me!”
“Ugh! Here comes ‘super-successful’ and fit ‘Barbie-doll-likeness’ cousin Julie!
What will she say when I tell her about hunger/fullness? She’s gonna think I’m crazy!”
No matter where we are or what we are doing, one thing is true. Ready or not, Christmas Day will come. And it will go. The question remains….what will we do with it?
What will *I * do with it? Will I allow myself to focus on “me” and my insecurities? Ultimately, when I get into this type of thinking, it doesn’t end well. That is when I have noticed I will break my boundaries.
So, how do I remember to keep focused on the right things when all the stuff going on around me screams of stress and insecurity within?
I have to be still.
I take a moment and
When I do this I remember that I really need to renew my mind with God’s truth.
I read God’s word.
I think about a few things from that night long ago….when the angels came to announce Jesus was born.
And God reminds me about who the angels came to. Did they come to the so called “important” people? Did they come to kings? The rich? The beautiful people of the world? No.
They came to shepherds. They came to these outcasts of that day’s society. They were dirty, stinky and lowly.
They would be like today’s homeless people or garbage men (no offence to all our wonderful sanitation workers, for where would we be without them????)
Shepherds weren’t considered well liked, good looking or ‘well to do’ by worldly standards and yet God specifically picked them. He picked these outcasts of society to be the first ones to see Jesus. They were the first group of people to worship Him!
Jesus reminds me that He comes to me…..even though I may not feel beautiful at times or not “successful” by the world’s standards.
And HE COMES TO ALL OF US. Those who feel outcast, not good enough, not THIN enough, not pretty enough, not enough self control to follow that diet -yes- He came as a baby for US.
Angels came to those shepherds with a message of hope.
8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
Listen to the whispers from the Savior to your heart today. Oh yes – to us who may be feeling an outcast or defeated-
“FEAR NOT! Do not be afraid that you are not enough for this world. For I love You with an everlasting love and you are mine. Yes, I bring you good news of great JOY! I came as a baby so you can be free- and for you to follow me. Let me release these chains that bind- the lies that try to keep you bound. Come- come to the manger, my daughters- come and experience my peace and my hope- and yes- The JOY of my true Love.”
Oh sisters….let’s live this out next week and RIGHT NOW!
O come let us adore Him,
O come let us adore Him,
O come let us adore Him,
Christ the LORD!
“I pray that God, the source of hope will fill you completely with Joy and Peace because you trust in Him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.” -Romans 15:13
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.