by Marge Purvis
with a little enhancement from Barb Shelton
What makes sticking to boundaries so difficult? Why do we struggle with just doing it?!
I am convinced that this is a spiritual battle. We are in a battle for healthy bodies and souls.
Battles, by their very nature, are hard and require the right equipment and preparedness of heart and mind.
Our enemy likes wimpy warriors – strong warriors who fall on their knees and seek their Heavenly commander terrify him.
Every time we put on God’s Armor and fight with our spiritual weapons, we gain ground… not to mention terrify the enemy.
But battles are not usually won once and for all. The enemy keeps coming back to challenge our reserve and our resolve.
The Apostle Paul challenges us to “Stand Firm.” The only way to fight is by putting on the whole Armor of God as laid out in Ephesians 6:10-11.
We’ve all read and heard this passage many times, but let’s read it again and ask God to take it deeper in us, especially in this arena of our battle with our boundaries with food and eating:
Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (Ephesians 6:11-17)
We fall when we put on God’s Armor in the morning and then lay it down and forget about it… until we all of a sudden find ourselves experiencing defeat. Even though our Heavenly Father is with us 24/7, we get busy and gradually weaken.
Then comes the condemnation that we put on ourselves. “The club of condemnation” is not a piece of God’s Armor. It’s definitely a weapon, but it’s one the enemy uses to advance toward and against us. What we need is to take on weapons of righteousness. Like those found in 2 Corinthians 10:4:
“For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.”
HELPFUL, PRACTICAL ARMOR
So today choose to wear that Armor of God all day. Here are a few forms it may take:
Reminders posted where you can see them. Like truths God shows you as you are putting on that Armor at the beginning of the day. (These Love Notes from Jesus are in the form of a free printable by Barb Shelton. The video and this form are in Barb’s “Let’s DO This” group on Facebook.)
Truth Cards and Verses are a great way to keep these handy. Write them on cards or sticky notes. (Here’s an article – Truth Cards 101 – with lots of ideas and helps for making your own Truth Cards:)
A written prayer (by Barb Shelton) to pray when you start to weaken and realize you are open and vulnerable for a sneak attack.
Lord, my heart’s desire is that my thoughts, focus and purpose – now and in life in general – would be based on and all wrapped up in YOU, not in desiring more food or longingly looking forward to what and when I can eat next.
I do not want to give up my birthright of having a well-functioning body for “one more [unneeded] bowl of…” any food I just had for a meal that would take beyond my boundary of “5” if I were to eat more of it.
Lord, by your mighty power at work in me, I do not want to listen to or heed my head hunger, to give in to the temptation to eat outside of my boundaries. Instead… I am choosing right now to DIE to my “flesh machinery” that just wants to eat eat eat, more more and more! YOU are my food and drink, my highest joy!!!!! ALL the time!! Not just when I’m walking in victory!
I bring my broken appetite to You at the foot of the cross and ask You to put it to death… and replace it with the appetite You designed for me when You created me.
Would You show me one more good thing about abiding in You? Lord, I want to be normal-in-You! And I know my only hope for this is walking close to You, allowing You to do Your work deep in me!! “For apart from You, I can do nothing”!
(And back to Marge as we close:)
So today I join you in fighting this battle.
God is on our side and He will give the victory!
~ Marge Purvis ~
See her bio below.
“Knowing and doing are two different things.” This is a very true statement in many ways. Head knowledge really is not necessarily the truth or the whole truth; in many cases it may just be a fact – like the sun rises in the East and sets in the West.
How can we get our head knowledge to become our heart knowledge as it relates to food, eating, and weight? Now that’s the big $100,000 question! Mind you, I am stating this based on my experience, and nothing else. I didn’t read any books on this or watch any documentaries. It’s all from trial and error. Mistakes made and corrected.
I am actually walking out my truth right now. Here’s the key: Head knowledge cannot become heart knowledge until you put some action behind it and walk it out.
It’s just like faith. Faith without works is dead. Conversely, heart knowledge is like faith with legs.
I used to say, “I know it here (pointing to my head) but I cannot get it here (pointing to my heart). I could not get what I knew in my head to go to my heart because I wasn’t taking any action to get it to my heart!!!
As I’m beginning to apply these principles, I’m beginning to see change in my behavior – which will lead to change in my body. It’s just a matter of time! The scripture “As a man thinketh in his heart so is he” comes to mind.
I’m now applying the principle of thinking myself into victory. That is what I want and I know it will eventually get me there. Immersing myself in God’s truth is such an important catalyst to change and transformation.
I’ve been getting so much truth poured into me it’s beginning to make major changes in me. A constant diet of God’s word that I’ve been reading, speaking, and believing is transforming me into the person I choose to be. It is renewing my mind.
Watching inspirational videos, doing my homework of prayer and application is changing my behavior and my desires.
I’m finding that the food I used to love I don’t desire anymore. And foods I didn’t eat before I now crave. They are definitely much more nutrient-dense foods and are good for my body. This is amazing to me!
Another part to that scripture that blows my mind is that the “heart” of a man IS the mind! Proverbs 23:7 is a powerful scripture towards mind renewal. As a man THINKETH… And where exactly is it that we do our thinking? It’s in the mind, which becomes our heart! Get it? Our mind is our heart. Our heart is our mind; it’s all connected! Let’s read this scripture again.
“As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.”
It’s vitally important to not just think the right things, but speak them also.
Here is another one:
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue.”
We become our own self-fulfilling prophecy based on two things:
1) What we speak, and…
2) What we think.
The third element is our actions. Our actions determine what what we believe. If we don’t add actions to what we believe, then there is no faith.
This is DEEP! It is extremely important to listen to what we tell ourselves, because we get back what we speak.
(See her bio below.)
DAY 1 FEAST ON JESUS…
This morning, I am studying Jesus’ own words in John 6: “Truly Truly I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.” (verse 53)
Woah…Can you imagine the response of the Jews listening to Him? They clearly thought Jesus was speaking of literal cannibalism. Jews took very special care in what they ate, so this would have been reprehensible to them.
They got it wrong. But they responded assuming they had it right…Verse 66 tells us: “After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with Him.”
Jesus required the impossible (or so it seemed) of His followers. But where there seems to be no way, he makes a way. He is the WayMaker. I need to remember that.
This morning as I paused with Him about this requirement to take in His flesh and His blood in order to truly have life, I asked Him what it means to me personally, today. He laid on my heart that it means that I will “make room” in my “stomach” — my LIFE — for him in ways that are foreign to me and also common place, perhaps.
As insignificant as it may sound, I instantly knew he was asking me to surrender the last few bites of my “typical” breakfast. Probably a 3rd of my breakfast.
It isn’t about the food…it is about my heart. My heart wanted to react and say “NO! It is *only* a few bites! Surely that doesn’t matter to the Lord!”
Right. The food doesn’t matter to the Lord. My heart DOES. If I sense His leadership and minimize the importance of his call and turn my tail…THAT is the sin…not the food. I am adding another layer of callus to my heart.
I have a stronghold (heart) problem. Not an eating problem. Take care of the heart issue and the eating will follow.
Lord Jesus, thank you that you moved in my heart today to read a difficult passage. You call us to the IMPOSSIBLE. To “eat your flesh and drink your blood.” Lord, I know that this means dying to myself in the moment…and saying yes to you … in the moment…no matter what you are calling me to do. The little “insignificant” requests you make of me are not little and they are not insignificant. Help me not to miss that you are doing a deeper heart work…In your majestic mighty Name, Amen.
How About You?
Do you sense the Lord inviting you to “make room” in some way in your life for more of Him? To be able to really take him in…to feast on him, we have to make room for Him. What will that look like for you today? Feel free to share it with us.
I have become quite a fan of specialty coffee! Peppermint mochas, in particular. Iced or hot, both are at the very top of my list of “Ways to Pamper Myself.” Massages, manicures, facials, and pedicures are also on that list, too! I’m not sure which would be #1 – they are all favorites!
The Dutch Bros. barista had written “Happy Birthday” backwards with caramel syrup on the under side of the clear dome top!
(As you can see, I’m feeling pretty pampered!)
But as I look in the mirror – yes, lovingly and gently, yet honestly – and see my excess weight, my guess is that 20% of it has come from peppermint mochas.
(As an aside, I’d say another 20% has come from “just one more bite”! … Another 5% from Thanksgiving dinners. … Another 3% from cookie dough. … Another 10% from “seconds”… and on and on…)
Not every peppermint mocha has been problematic – only ones I imbibed outside of my 0-5 boundaries. But that’s most of them because, for a long time, I somehow (foolishly) thought that, just because they were liquid, they didn’t count!
So the Lord has been speaking to me recently about my relationship with peppermint mochas. OK, He’s been trying to speak to me about this for a long time, but I have not wanted to listen.
Our youngest daughter, Carlianne, and I at Starbucks! (As you can see, I am an equal opportunity peppermint mocha lover!)
When Christina Motley shared in one of her porch chats what the Lord spoke to her about her mother’s Chocolate Chip Bundt cake and all things chocolate chip, I knew it was time to listen to Him on this matter.
In Fresh Wind Fresh Desire, author Heidi Bylsma-Epperson talks about “lies,” “little-T truths,” and “big-T truths.” We all believe many lies and little-T truths that have completely messed up our thinking. Lies like “I’m doomed to be overweight forever because I simply cannot get control of my eating.”
This lie is actually interlaced with a “little-t truth” because this may very well be your experience thus far. However it’s a LIE that you are doomed to stay this way forever because God’s Big-T Truth is that “In Christ Jesus, ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE.”
Because our wrong thinking messes up our minds and keeps us bound to frustration, failure, and hopelessness, these lies and little-t truths must be exposed and recognized as being exactly what they are.
They cannot be allowed to stay locked into our belief system; no longer our “bottom line.” They must be replaced with God’s big-T truths! And this is what we call “renewing our mind.” We truly will be transformed by the renewing of our mind!
Heidi and Christina talk about making Truth Lists. In this article called Truth Lists for the Real-Life Journey I compiled several of the Truth Lists they have shared. And Christina’s truth list about chocolate chips is included in that article!
So I thought maybe I should do some serious truth journaling regarding my problematic peppermint mochas. Thinking there probably wasn’t really all that much to say about it, I decided to give it a try anyway. It’d just be a short but sweet exercise at best. But I was surprised at what poured out. (Pardon the pun!)
So let’s get going!
🤨 Little-t Truth: Peppermint mochas make me feel special and valuable.
🤩 Big-T Truth: I am just as special and valuable without one.
🤨 Little-t Truth: Peppermint mochas are a tasty way of pampering myself, and I looooove being pampered.
🤩 Big-T Truth: Yes, but frequent pampering of myself does not need to be such a main goal of my life! As a follower of Christ, I am called to a life of self-denial. Not a life of continual pampering. I need to allow the Holy Spirit to comfort my spirit and nourish my soul so that I do not have such a great need to be pampered. I need to imbibe more in the Living Water: “The Lord lets me drink from His rivers of delight.”
🤨 Little-t Truth: Peppermint mochas make a plain, regular occasion – like driving somewhere – feel fun and special. They “spice it up.”
🤩 Big-T Truth: They do do this, but not without me paying a high price: like taking me outside of my 0-5 boundaries, which I believe the Lord has set for me, and which I need to follow whether I feel like it at the moment or not. I also believe that God has “made my boundaries to fall in pleasant places.” So I need to find fun and specialness INside my boundaries and OUTside of a peppermint mocha.
🤨 Little-t Truth: Peppermint mochas taste delicious, feel good going down, and are a fluid form of entertainment that lasts a while.
🤩 Big-T Truth: True, but I pay a high price for this “entertainment”; it is not a form of entertainment that blesses my body if I have one when I am not at a zero, and/or drink too much of it. (beyond 5) Just because they are delicious and feel good going down doesn’t mean I need to indulge myself in that way every time I want to do so. They are part of what has gotten me too close to becoming pre-diabetic. (Which I have actually crossed over into a couple of times, but come back out.)
🤨 Little-t Truth: If I am at a coffee shop getting gift cards for people, I feel like I deserve to get one of these to as a reward for myself for buying them for others!
🤩 Big-T Truth: Unless I have planned to be – and am – at a zero and it’s a good time to have one, I need to just focus on getting a gift for others – not for myself.
🤨 Little-t Truth: When it’s hot outside, an iced peppermint mocha is a cool and refreshing way to cool off.
🤩 Big-T Truth: Other beverages or treats are also cool and refreshing and without such a high caloric content – unless I am truly at a zero and only drink up to a 5 (max).
🤨 Little-t Truth: When it’s cold outside, a hot peppermint mocha is warm, soothing, and cozy.
🤩 Big-T Truth: There are other drinks and activities that are warm, soothing, and cozy as well. Like spending time with the Lord! HE is the ultimate in warm (Jesus’ warm love), soothing (the Holy Spirit’s soothing presence), and cozy (“giving a feeling of comfort, warmth, relaxation and intimacy” – which is exactly what our Daddy-God longs to give us!
So does all this mean I don’t get to enjoy my favorite beverage anymore? Nope! It just means I need to be going to the Lord more regularly to get what I really need, what I’ve tried too often to get from my froo-froo drinks.
And then when I do have one, it needs to be within the parameters of my 0-5 eating boundaries. I have actually done this a few times now, and I have to tell you I enjoy my beverage sooooooo muuuuuch mooooore! Because it’s not only giving me enjoyment tastebud-wise, but, because I’m actually hungry, it tastes even better than normal.
Plus I’m staying true to myself and to my Lord ~ and nothing tastes better than that!!! As Heidi says:
“No food tastes as good as obedience feels!”
Not even a peppermint mocha!
This morning I read from Matthew 5:6: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness for they shall be filled.” Not only does He satisfy, He blesses us as well.
This does not come effortlessly. It is so easy to get busy and slack on reading God’s Word. It is worth the effort, and the benefits are many! Here are just a few:
1. WE WILL BE FILLED WITH GOOD THINGS – Luke 1:53 tells us: “He has filled the hungry with good things.”
2. APPETITE CORRECTION – The more we feast on God and His Word, the less we want to feast on physical food. When we are truly hungry we will know it is time to eat physical food.
[I, Barb Shelton, am stepping in with a few additional thoughts…]
3. PEACE – There’s not one of us who does not want a feast of peace! But, sadly, most of us lack it because we are looking for it in all the wrong places. Nothing in this world is stable except for the Lord God himself, so that is where our focus needs to be – on Him: “You will keep in perfect peace (s)he whose mind is stayed on You, because (s)he trusts in You.” (Isaiah 26:3) Our trust needs to be in God alone; not in our government, not in our financial situation, not in our job, not in our home or our stuff, not in our marriage or children. In God. Alone.
4. CONTENTMENT & SATISFACTION – Psalm 17:15, one of my all-time favorite verses, says it all: “But as for me, my contentment is not in wealth but in seeing You and knowing all is well between us. And when I awake in heaven, I will be fully satisfied, for I will see You face-to-face.”
5. FRUITFULNESS – So often we, as Christians, strive to be fruitful and productive, forgetting that God abiding in us is what that fruitfulness actually comes out of. In John 15:5 we read: “I am the Vine; you are the branches. Whoever lives in me and I in him shall produce a large crop of fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.”
6. MORE JESUS-LIKE – In 2 Corinthians 3:18 we read: “But we Christians have no veil over our faces; we can be mirrors that brightly reflect the glory of the Lord. And as the Spirit of the Lord works within us, we become more and more like him.” So the main thing we need to do is to allow Him to work in us, and not wiggle away when it gets uncomfortable.
7. JOY – Too often the next thing I get to eat is my highest joy for the moment. Psalm 16:5 corrects my thinking by changing my focus to being on God: “The Lord Himself is my inheritance, my prize. He is my food and drink, my highest joy! He guards all that is mine.”
[Back to Marge now!]
8. POWER – This verse – I Corinthians 10:31 – challenged me to make some serious goals for many areas of my life: “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all for the glory of God.” I cannot attain my goals on my own. But His Word is powerful! Victory comes by tapping into His power and ability to do for me and through me what I cannot do for myself.
The way to access this “feast” is prayer. Prayer is such an important part of our journey. As I said above, it’s so easy to get busy and slack on reading God’s Word. Jesus was a great example to us of what we should do during our busy times. He had a very busy life, preaching, teaching, healing, and all He did while here on earth, but still He would sneak away to talk to His Heavenly Father.
He had a special place, The Mount of Olives. Not that He didn’t commune with His Father in other places, but that was one special place that His followers knew that He went to pray. Why do you think that Judas knew where to find Jesus on that fateful day? Because He was at His special prayer place.
Do you have a special place that you get away and talk to your Heavenly Father? Find a spot or spots.I have a couple. Take the time to really be honest with Him and fellowship with Him. God doesn’t answer prayer not prayed.
(See her bio below.)
In the small coaching group that Barb Shelton and I are both part of, Heidi posted the following questions:
In the past, when you have committed to letting go of extra weight and keeping it off, what has been your largest hindrance? … What do you think you can do to overcome this hindrance?”
My biggest hindrance is staying focused and consistent, and therefore retaining the ground I have gained and keeping off the weight I have lost. I need to fully recognize and admit my weakness and my extreme need to stay focused and be consistent!”
Here is my – Kelly’s – response to Barb, and I hope it will minister to any of you who might be feeling discouraged…
I have two kiddos that play piano. My Rachel played for awhile, left piano to play violin, and then came back to piano.
Jacob, my youngest, has played since he was too little to reach the pedals.
Rachel practices with great passion and consistency. This has resulted in her racing right past her brother in terms of growth into harder pieces. She’s not scared off by the “hard.” In fact, she sees it as a challenge and goes for it!
Jacob, on the other hand, gets more and more discouraged as the music gets harder. He avoids practicing, he cries, he takes twice as long to learn a piece than he used to.
For him, it’s a real struggle. He does not practice consistently.
Are you following me? Ha!
Sooo, what this means for Jacob is that he has the ability to play. We know this! He just isn’t getting as far as his sister. He needs his musical dad, his musical mom (me), and his advanced-piano sister to all come around him and help him!
We cheer him on, hold him accountable and support him to get through the hard stuff.
How much is this like us on this journey?!?
As our family did for Jacob, we in Thin Within want to do the same for each other…
We cheer each other on…
hold each other accountable, and…
support each other through the hard stuff…
to get through the hard stuff.
I was a “Jacob” for sure at the very beginning of my Thin Within experience. At times, I’ve been a “Rachel” and I’m more like her now than I am like my son in this way. (Thankfully, and by the grace of God.)
But I can relate to both. You get my drift.
Like Rachel, we want to not be scared off by the “hard.” In fact, we want to see it as a challenge and go for it!
Practice, practice, practice! And we will get there!