As I was heading down the driveway for a walk, I spotted several fresh new mole hills. Pesky, unsightly, and numerous…
I remember the saying about “not making a mountain out of a molehill” – which means that we should not make a big deal out of something that’s actually a little deal. Yes, good reminder. And I do agree with that. Especially since it’s easy for me to do that. It’s easy to get hyper-focused on my stuff, especially my hard stuff. When something is hurting me or making me angry or frustrated, it suddenly – or maybe gradually – magnifies and I now see it up close and personal. It takes over my time, overshadows my mood, and it drains me of emotional and mental energy. I let it come front ‘n’ center and allow it to take way too much of my focus and attention. Everything else shrinks into the background of my life.
How exactly do I do this? How do I make a small molehill into a big mountain? See the mole hill with the red arrow pointing to it in the photo below? That’s the same molehill that’s in the foreground in the above picture.
All I did to make it look big was to simply get up close to it. And then it looked more like a mountain!
My mind moseyed on down the road – our driveway, actually – and onto thinking about magnifying the Lord. How do I magnify Him instead of my mole hills – aka my problems, hurts, and frustrations? The same way! I get close to HIM!!! I keep Him in the foreground! I see everything else as being in the background!
Okay. That sounds good, theoretically, but what’s that actually look like? How do I live that out? Or live it in – into my heart?
This is where mind renewal comes in! And in Thin Within we are blessed with a PLETHORA of mind renewal tools. What I love about these tools is that they help me do exactly that – magnify the Lord instead of my stuff – some of which is like small molehills in size, and others are larger molehills! But nonetheless, the Lord is muuuuuuuch larger than ALLLL of them and I need to magnify HIM instead of my own stuff.
Here are several examples… (Click on any of them to see a larger, clearer version. If on a phone, you may need to turn it 90 degrees and expand to get the largest view.)
The God List and Praise Fest: The God List is something Heidi and Christina not only talk about a lot; they also DO it every day, with each other! You simply write down attributes of God
Truth Journaling: This is where we pour out our aches and frustrations to the Lord, then separate them into individual points, and ask the Lord to show us the truth regarding each one. In this, I truth journal about shame.
Victories List: These are victories we experience along our Thin Within journey. They can be big, small, or anything in between. No victory is too small to count!
Freedom List: These are indicators that are meaningful to you of what walking in freedom in the area of food and eating will look like. This first one is by Kathryn Felts…
This next Freedom List is by me… (It says “Truth List,” and that’s true, but it’s more a freedom list…)
Gratitude List: This can be generic, or it can be about something in particular, as mine is below. (This is just the first page of several.)
I Believe: An “I Believe” list is of any truths that you believe, or that you want to believe even more than you do. Like Thomas said “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief.” It can be a truth list, but saying “I Believe” about each truth just takes it a step deeper – to embed it even more deeply into our heart, mind, and thinking.
Truth List: A truth list contains truths about anything that needs to have some lies overpowered with truth. It can be written about a situation, a person, emotions… just anything that you want to understand more deeply about how GOD sees it. As you will see, they can vary widely! This first truth list is about a very difficult situation we were going through with a grandson on the autism spectrum, with frontal lobe damage, ADHD, and behavior disorders…
Here’s another truth list for when I fell and got a severe a head injury…
This truth list is about something much less severe – just the upcoming evening…
Who I am [My Identity] in Christ: This is simply truths from the Word that state who I am in Christ. Not who I make myself… not what I wish I could be, but truths according to God’s own word.
Victory Wall: Christina says: “This is such a fun and encouraging mind renewal tool! No victory is a small one. As we read each one again and again we are reminded that God is indeed doing a new thing is us. I like to build mine inside of my kitchen cabinets!
What Is Good? We look at what is good about something, especially something bad or sad, rather than at the obvious negative aspects. We look for what is good in your or another’s life and pray it back to God starting with “It is good.” You might start with a situation that’s difficult or downright horrible. Ask God to show you anything good about it or that can come from it. If you can’t think of anything, then call to mind an attribute of God and apply it to the situation, like this…
Your grown daughter is going through a messy divorce. You can’t think of one good thing about this, so think of an attribute of God, like…
“God is faithful.” Apply that truth to the situation: “God will be faithful to my daughter.”
“God Provides”: God will provide for my daughter.
“God Heals”: God will heal my daughter’s broken heart.”
“God is the almighty Counsellor”: God will counsel my daughter.”
“God is Light”: God will bring light into my daughter’s darkness.
“God is Hope”: God will bring hope to my daughter.
“God is the God of Comfort”: God will comfort my daughter.
“God is Emmanuel – God with Us”: God will be with my daughter even in the hardest, most painful times.
Or on a more generic note: It is good that my grandson is feeling better. It is good that my neighbor is so kind to me. … It is good that the debt is finally paid off. … It is good that the sun came out. … It is good that my husband got a raise. … It is good that our children like each other. … It is good that my son got that promotion he has been studying for. … It is good that my back aches less today than it did last week.
Isn’t it so much better magnifying God, His attributes, His gifts to us, what He can do for us and in us, and how He can transform us than staying stuck with our little mole hills? Enjoy using any/all of the above to magnify the Lord and minimize your own perspective, pain, and priorities!
There’s a certain person in my life that I’ve needed to do a lot of forgiving of. He/she has not been to me what (s)he should have been. Neither was another person in the same type of role in my life. Both did the best they could, at least I’m assuming so, but a huge void (picture a blast zone) was still created and left in my heart.
I have let God do a lot of healing and redeeming regarding this void and the resulting feelings of rejection, disapproval, and my unmet needs.
But I’m getting ahead of myself… let’s back up and get into the story…
Several times during the first decade or so of Dave’s and my marriage, I made mincemeat pies for this person as birthday [or “other special day”] gifts. I even made them extra-creative – like I’d make lattice-tops – by which I mean real, actually-woven crust tops, not just the punched ones.
Other times I’d form “the person’s” name out of pie crust on the top of the pie, or I’d make other embellishments for the pie tops, like leaves or pumpkins, even though it wasn’t a pumpkin pie – it was just autumn, the season of “this person’s” birthday.
It was no small feat to make these pies, especially with young children underfoot, and homeschooling, but I knew this person liked mincemeat pies, so I made them as part of gifts for those occasions.
One year we were at a big family reunion, and a group of us was sitting around talking about pies, including “this person.” Mincemeat pies came up at one point, and “this person” started recalling and raving about all the different people who had made memorable-to-him/her mincemeat pies over the years.
On and on and on (s)he went, raving about the many mincemeat pies (s)he’d eaten over the years. I just “knew” – in a “knowing” way, not an “expecting” way – that (s)he would eventually mention mine since, at that point, I had probably made at least five for him/her!
Do you think (s)he ever even eluded to mine? … Eeeeeeven once? … Nope!!! Not even once; not even a hint.
The group conversation veered on to other things without there being a word from him/her about the mincemeat pies I had made him/her.
I was crushed. Utterly shocked. And devastated. I wish I was exaggerating, but I’m not.
Dave and I have been married for 47 years now, and that was 35ish years ago. I in the three subsequent decades after that reunion, I did not made one mincemeat pie for “this person.” It was partly out of not wanting to be hurt again, but partly – a big part – out of unforgiveness.
Time went on, and “this person’s” spouse passed away. Many difficult, hurtful things happened through the time leading up to and after the spouse’s passing. There were some good things, but there were far more difficult things, and those created even more wedges between us.
Enter: our Thin Within small-group coaching phone chats.
We came to the chapter on forgiveness, and I thought “No, I don’t really have any unforgiveness issues.” I wasn’t being smug or in denial; I just honestly couldn’t think of anything. I’m not sure how, but the Lord (using Heidi and Christina, I’m sure!) peeled away some scales, and I realized with a sickening thud to my heart that I needed to do some – okay, a lot of – forgiving of “this person.” Uuuuuugh!!! It was a hard but needed revelation of my true state of heart and mind.
So the significance of the mincemeat pie that’s pictured below, is, well, pretty significant for me. For the first time in literally three decades, I had the grace to make “this person” a mincemeat pie.
Now you know… it’s one of my two dads – my father-in-law, to be exact. It was so wonderful and freeing to rise above – and not feel bound to – my anger and hurt, and do that for him! But that’s not all! The Lord gave me a sweet bonus! When I gave the pie to him, he started crying! And then he hugged me! Not just a quick one – extra long!!!
I really don’t think it had to do with the fact that I was giving him a mincemeat pie after having been on a long hiatus, because he never knew how that incident affected me. And, since my mincemeat pies of earlier years obviously hadn’t affected him enough to mention them in that conversation at the family reunion, surely he didn’t miss them during my hiatus…
I think it was just a blessing to him, especially since Mom was an awesome cook, and the last mincemeat pie he’d had was made for him, I’m sure, made by her. (Cuz it sure wasn’t made by ME, nor by his mom who was long-gone.)
The first pie (after the 3-decade hiatus) was a bit hard to do, but the Lord kept softening my heart and healing that wound. And it’s even gotten better! I now make him a pie for him every birthday, and there have been several! In fact, I even bought pie-slice-shaped plastic containers and I slice up his mincemeat pie and put them into the containers so he can put them in the freezer and pull them out one at a time! He has told me many times how much he appreciates these, and how delicious they are!
I am soooooo thankful that the Lord enabled me – “by the mighty power of the Spirit of the Lord at work within me” – to start making these pies for him again by first helping me release and forgive him.
Here’s Dad, Dave, and me a couple months ago. See Dad’s hand on my back? He’s actually rubbing my shoulder the whole time the picture was being taken! I know this because it was set to “Live photo” and I can SEE it when I press down on the picture! What a SWEET gift!!!
Really and truly, “it is more blessed to (for)give than to receive”!
P.S. For anyone wanting to make one of these pies… I have been unable to find jarred mincemeat in stores for quite some time now. So, believe it or not, I get it on Amazon! I am an affiliate with them, so if you purchase it through the link that’s in the jar, I may receive a small commission (at no extra charge to you.) It’s basically just a sweet, spicy, apply/raisiny filling, soooooooyummy!!!!! I bet you’ve passed it up many times at Thanksgiving and Christmas gatherings, thinking you wouldn’t like it, but I have a hunch that you WOULD!!! (As for crusts, I just use the pre-made, uncooked rolled-up crusts that come in a long box.)
At age 70, twenty years post-menopause, it takes a lot less to get me to a “5” than it did in my younger days! That has been very difficult for me, and at times very angering. So the idea of “miniature eating” has a softer, gentler, more fun and enjoyable feel to it, especially since I love miniatures! I even have a miniatures collection! So this has a sweet connection for me.
I enjoy using my miniature bowl, cup, and plate. Here are the two I got at a thrift shop – the best place to find them!
And here they are with food on them, and my hand in the picture so you can see how tiny the portions are…
When I first shared this concept and a few photos in a TW group I was in, someone expressed concern that this was “restrictive eating.” This is where we can get into some semantics, so I’ll just explain my heart and my thinking…
As far as the amount of food I’m eating, I’m still eating 0-to-5. 😁 In one way, eating 0 to 5 is “restricting” for me, but since I do not have any “bruises“ from my dieting days, which ended decades ago, using the word “restrictive” is not a bad thing for me. I never liked or did well with dieting back then, and once I heard about this intuitive, kind of eating, I knew it was right, and never looked back or felt connected to my dieting days.
However, actually DOING it was another thing! My sin habit has been eating what I want, when I want, and how much I want – regardless of whether or not I’m physically hungry. I call this “food greed” or “lust.”
So eating 0-5 – eating miniature – is a much-needed “restriction” of my gone-rogue appetite.
But it is kind and wise restriction, in the same family as self-control, self-discipline, cutting portions in half… So it’s not a restrictive “dieting mentality” thing; it’s just following my exact same Thin Within boundaries.
HOW MUCH FOOD?
I don’t measure or count calories. If I put what little I eat – the miniature amount it takes to get me to a 5 – onto a regular dinner plate, it has just a few little – and I do mean little – dollops of food on it. It looks pretty sparse. Thus the idea of using miniature, or just “small” plates and cups. This first picture is actually a doll plate that I got out of the grandkids’ toys. People know I love miniatures, so someone got me the miniature Coke glass.
Here’s a meal on a dessert-size plate. And I had made myself a mini biscuit along with the regular size ones.
Here’s another dinner on another dessert plate… (I realize there’s nothing special or amazing about what I’m showing you; just sharing out of my life.)
A friend had made a carrot cake for my birthday, and, knowing my “miniature eating” boundaries, served me this mini amount…
A miniature serving of popcorn…
A donut cut into fourths, three of which I put in the freezer…
And here’s a miniature pumpkin pie I made…
This is not at all legalistic! It’s just a “boundary inspirer” to help me think in terms of “less” and thus put my unbridled flesh to death.
What if the amount of applesauce I have in one little bowl is not enough? I have another little bowl! But just enough to get me to my comfortable 5.
You can be certain that my flesh is not fooled one bit into thinking that this tiny amount of food, just because it’s served on something proportionately cute and tiny, is actually the same [larger] amount of food. It’s just a way of helping the “boundaries fall for me in a pleasant place.”
I’ll close with a couple of truth cards that I made…
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”!
“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.
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.