Forgiveness in Process

I have written a lot at this blog about forgiveness over the years. (Just type “forgive” into the search box in the margin and you will see pages of material mentioning this!)

In, summary, God showed me in 2007 that my refusal to forgive was affecting me emotionally and that, in turn, was causing me to look for solace in food. When I went through a challenging process of forgiving anything and everything, anyone and everyone, I could think of, I began being able to really apply the principles of Thin Within and I released the 100 pounds of extra weight I carried on my body. Forgiveness unlocked my *willingness* to surrender food to the Lord.

It is time to take a truth inventory again, to take stock because my eating is out of kilter. Though I am active enough to keep up with myself…it won’t be long before that just isn’t the case. But the point is, there is a *heart* condition that I know the Lord wants to address.

My perfect King has seen fit to ordain a lot of fresh, ONgoing stuff for me to forgive. So, since I am trying to lead an online class of wonderful people through the Thin Within workbook, and since we are on the forgiveness lesson, I get to have a fresh look at my own need to forgive.

While I am not surprised by what I am discovering, I am dismayed. It seems never-ending. A year ago June, my world was shaken to the core by someone very dear to me. Someone who had always been solid, dependable, and a foundation stone in my life. The changes threw me into a tail-spin and I am only beginning to recover. Meanwhile, all the same old issues have continued to go on…

And I find myself just wanting to rest! Even better if it can be with a half gallon of ice cream! Old habits do die so very hard indeed!

Anyhow, if any of you find yourself in a similar place, I just wanted you to know, I can relate. Doing “forgiveness work” is the hardest work on the planet, I am convinced. :-/

More Lessons in the Corral

Psalm 103:8
Tonight, I watched the four horses that have been entrusted to my care plunge their faces eagerly into their dinner. I silently bemoaned the fact that I haven’t taken time to ride even once this summer and thought about the many hurdles the ponies and I have managed together–some literal, physical, but most on a personal, emotional, and even spiritual level.
My heart swelled with love and compassion as I looked at each of them. 
Dodger, the formerly abused mustang who has barely carried any of us during his eight years of living with us. He did, however, give my son a season of pure joy, connecting with him in a way we wrote about for the Chicken Soup for the Horse Lover’s Soul, Volume 2 book. Now, Dodger just hangs out with his buddies “pretending” to be back on the Nevada desert, free of all encumbrances. LOL! I wonder if he ever misses the little boy that used to come down there and just sit with him.
Breezy loves thinking he is retired. Not to be anthropomorphic or anything, but he was always the cynic, yet nevertheless constantly offered more loyalty and reliability as any horse could. I wonder sometimes if he misses the horse shows, the parades, (the snacks!!!), the ponying younger horses and carrying new riders. Now, as he enters the twilight of life he probably won’t carry many people very often–at least not full-size adults.

Doc came to me lame as a four year old. My husband and I made some difficult decisions where he was concerned and yet something always “over-rode” the decision we made and now here he is, a 12 year old retiree, hanging out with the old “men.” Pretty as anything. As healthy as a …well… a horse! Maybe still arthritic (he is older, after all), but he does just fine wandering around our forested hillside. He never did too well when a saddle was thrown up on his back.

Harley has taught me more about life and about myself than anyone else in my entire life. Someday, my escapades with him will be the contents of a book.
As I watched them inhale $$$ which would later become manure (talk about throwing money away), I was flooded with the deepest compassion and love for them. It struck me…maybe compassion is one of the clearest demonstrations of the way in which humans are created in the image of God. Again and again throughout the Scriptures, we are told that God has compassion for us and that He is a compassionate God.
I am not the “Creator” of the horses–they aren’t my design or a product of my imagination! They have brought many difficulties into my life–and many hard lessons. The joyful moments have been but a drop in the bucket, really. Yet, when I look at them and even when I consider the hard work involved in caring for them (let alone the expense), I am nevertheless flooded full of compassion. I desire their good. I even feel a sense of pleasure–even if we never ride together again! Even if my dreams for them haven’t been fulfilled! I joy in them.
I have not yet realized the dreams God has for me. I am sure I am much “trouble” to “keep.” Yet I see in a new way that God has compassion on me, too…just as His Word says. If I, an imperfect human, can feel compassion and love for my Harley who has given me a bunch of grief (and flying lessons!) over the past eight years, I know that God who IS perfect, who has created me, who knows me intimately…he is faithful to what he says about himself in the Word–He has compassion for me. Even when I fail and fail again and again…Sure, he may shake his head…or even shed a tear over my stubborn insistence to do things my way, but I can’t doubt that His heart is filled with compassion for me…for ME!
Question: How does knowing God is compassionate stir your heart? How does it affect you today? Please feel free to respond here. Every comment is read and appreciated.

Trust the Process? But It FEELS Wrong!

I currently have lots of opportunities to play doubles tennis with a lot of wonderful women. I find the interaction tremendously fun. So, because volleying is an integral part of doubles and since I want to be an asset to my “team,” I have been going to Mr. Tennis Pro to learn a bit about how to volley well. Being at the net, catching the ball on the fly, is something I have avoided for all of my tennis life.

Image provided by iStockPhoto

First thing Mr. Tennis Pro does is tell me to shift my grip.

Ok, now look here! I have been playing this game for years and this guy is telling me something that plainly just feels REALLY wrong?!? This can’t be right. Seriously…this feels counter-intuitive…worse. It doesn’t even make SENSE to me how this could be right. How can holding my racquet this way be a GOOD thing?

This is where my preference as a baseliner really comes through as the grip I typically use is the ONLY right grip for me. It is the one I have used for all the years of tennis I have played. You can’t mess with something that you are sooooo used to.

…that is *unless* you want a different result.


Do I want a different result? Do I want my “volleys” (using the term loosely for what was actually my slapping at the ball at the net) to be an effective offensive weapon in a match against opponents? Or do I want to patty-cake or, worse, hit the net or the back fence, thus giving point after point away? Do I want  success badly enough to try something that feels SO cruddy?

So Mr. Tennis Pro starts pelting me at the net with balls, instructing me to trust him…put my hand on my racquet where he has shown me it needs to go, promising me that all will be good. Within moments, balls go off my racquet every which way. The “good” isn’t quick in coming. The promise is NOT realized! In fact, this is worse than before!

Mr. Tennis Pro says I have to trust him and, “Oh! By the way! Check your grip! It has slipped back to the old position!” …Yup, he is right. I have reverted to what is most comfortable. No wonder things aren’t working.

But even with my hand in the new position, progress isn’t instant. I can’t control the ball at all.


So this is where the old adage “It will get worse before it gets better” comes into play. Yet because Mr. Tennis Pro has been around for a long while and has helped a lot of players get better at volleys, I trust him. I am tempted to give up, but the promise lures me onward.  I stick it out.

Lesson after lesson, practice session after practice session, match after match…guess what? I think I am finally seeing improvement! Last night and today I actually played three sets of doubles (for a total of six) and I actually hit volleys where I intended MORE than I didn’t!  (This is a huge improvement!)

I wonder if many of us who struggle with extra weight on our bodies are like this with the Thin Within principles when we first start out.

Eating when hungry…

…stopping when no longer hungry…

…not worrying about WHAT…

…just when (when hungry)…

…and why (for nourishment, not as a recreational pastime)…

…just seem to go against everything we have ever done and everything we have ever “known” about how to lose weight.

But don’t we want *different* results than what we have gotten in the past? Not just to lose the extra weight we carry, but to keep it off?

Sort of like me with a volley at the net. I want something different–permanently. So I had to actually trust something that felt WRONG or WEIRD or went against what I thought I knew when I first committed myself to this course…and let it get worse before it gets better. 

How about you? Have you given the 0 and 5 Thin Within principle a try? Have you given up or are you considering giving up? Does it just feel so *wrong*?

Maybe you need to trust the process. What if waiting for hunger isn’t wrong after all? What if eating the food you *want* to eat isn’t what makes you gain weight. What if eating foods you love when you are hungry and then stopping eating those same foods when you are no longer hungry will actually WORK–cause you to SUCCEED in your weight loss efforts–and in maintaining a healthy weight?

I know it has worked for me! I lost 100 pounds this way and have kept it off pretty much for four years so far. I have seen things that didn’t make *sense*…WORK!

Things may have to get worse before they get better. If you have been dieting as many years as I had been, I will be honest with you–all that freedom may trigger The Crazies! You may find yourself diving headlong into twelve hot fudge sundaes or plate upon plate of nachos with extra cheese (all ok to eat according to the Thin Within principles) or…well, whatever foods may have been on your “bad-for-you list.” The reality is, those foods aren’t bad for you. Overeating ANY food is “bad” for you!

So, why not try it? Eat whatever you like when you are physically hungry. Stop eating it when you are no longer physically hungry. Simple!

Like Mr. Tennis Pro encouraged me… trust me. This WILL work. Give it time!

Are you game? 🙂

A Tennis Lesson: What I BELIEVE Changes What I DO

Tonight is a big event for me.
I have a doubles tennis match. Our USTA team is in first place and we play the second place team–the last event before the play-offs. There are five matches as part of this event and we have to win three of them to win the event.
The temperatures have been over 100 degrees and although the weather promises to be a little less brutal today, but I may face a pretty hot tennis court and physically demanding conditions for the next four days (I have a tournament this weekend). So, today:
  1. I am guzzling water. 
  2. Instead of my usual fare of food, I am selecting foods that I know make my body feel at its best, eating when hungry and stopping when no longer hungry.
  3. I am not working outside, even though there are outside chores that could be done–I want to conserve my strength today and tomorrow.
  4. I am setting aside my usual workout routine so that my body can be as fresh as possible.
  5. I cancelled a fun match of singles tennis today so I wouldn’t “overdo.” I had been looking forward to it, too, but, again, I want to be as fresh as possible.
  6. I am icing my shoulder and elbow several times today (chronic injuries).
  7. I will take ibuprofen before heading to my match tonight.
When you look at this list, it is a list based in faith. Both in what I will face, but also that the things I am doing in anticipation will make a difference.  My beliefs are affecting my actions:
  • I have faith that drinking water will prepare me for a potentially dehydrating situation. I am confident that conditions will be hot and confident that I can offset some of that by drinking lots of water before I need it. I am confident I will feel and play better by doing so. My belief, my “faith,” affects what I do.
  • I am confident that I will feel and play better if I am more conscientious about my eating today, too, so I am acting accordingly. My belief, my “faith,” affects what I do.
  • I know working outside today and doing my regular workout routine or playing a singles tennis match would likely deplete me of energy that I will need tonight, so I am giving myself lots of rest today. I am acting in accordance with my belief that excess activity could tire me out. My belief, my “faith,” affects what I do.
  • I am confident that a sore shoulder and elbow can feel better…at some level 🙂 I believe in the power of icing and using ibuprofen! My belief, my “faith,” affects what I do.
There are several things I see here: 
1.) Today,  I am a “tennis player” who is likely to play the #1 team of our primary “rivals.” I am serious about being at my best for my doubles partner 🙂 (love ya, girl!) and the rest of the team who is counting on all of us to be at our best. This is my identity. I see myself as a tennis player playing for the #1 team in our league, a tennis player who WILL WIN. 🙂 (Of course, this is at a superficial level…I realize that my identity, as purchased by Christ, is much more pervasive, profound, and WONDERFUL than this!!! LOL!)
2.) My sense of my identity brings with it awareness of a string of “potential” facts–such as the possibility of hurting, getting dehydrated, being over-heated, exhausted, etc. (One might wonder why one does this to oneself…dare I venture the answer…”the hope of glory!” Many songs will be sung in our honor! HA!)
3.) My beliefs in #1 and #2 above changes what I DO today…I am acting pre-emptively and, in faith that I can do something about #2. 
What does this have to do with Thin Within?
I am so glad you asked! 🙂
What I believe about myself affects how I act. Do I believe that God has set me free from being in bondage to overeating and self-loathing of my body? Do I believe I am a free child of God, declared righteous and holy, able to walk in this freedom because the presence of the Holy Spirit is in me? How are my beliefs affecting my actions? Or, conversely, if I analyze my actions, what do they say about what I really believe?
Do I believe that I don’t have to have a “weight problem” for the rest of my life? Do I really believe that God is bigger than my struggle with this thing? If I do, then I know it will affect the way I act.
Do I believe I can honor him with my eating and drinking like 1 Corinthians 10 says?
Do I believe God is willing to see me live in freedom?
Do I believe He is powerful?
Do I believe He is compassionate?
How do these beliefs affect my actions?
How about you? What do you really believe about God and about yourself? How do your beliefs affect what you do? What beliefs do you need to allow God to change so that you might begin to act in accordance with truth?

Gluttony – Is it a Problem?

I have shared this link here at the blog in the past, but I feel led to share it again. This is a link to a page where you can listen to or download a very inspiring, yet heart-rending, audio by Chrystal Munson speaking about Gluttony to a women’s group. It is Chrystal’s testimony and she has a lot of very challenging things to share. But I think it is important. If you don’t want to visit the page, you can listen to it below:

Let’s invite God into this area…He is gentle and loving, but He is holy and calls for our hearts.

Call to Press On!

Is it a struggle to “get your act together?”

Without a doubt, the Lord delights in any movement at all–even babysteps–we take in an “upward” direction. Please don’t give in to the enemy’s desire that you “quit.” This is a lifetime process so what better way of learning how to DO this for life than by DOING it during life? 🙂

In over 10 years of using this approach to food and eating, I have found that it is rare that everything is “just perfect.” It often feels like I take three steps forward and two back. Sometimes it feels like four forward and six back! 
Hang in there and sooner or later the “net movement” will be forward! 
Just keep at it.
Paul says it perfectly with Philippians 3:12-14:
Not that I have already obtained all this, 
or have already arrived at my goal, 
but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.  
Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. 
But one thing I do: 
Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,  
I press on toward the goal to win the prize 
for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Let’s press on! It will take our entire lifetimes, yes. STRAIN toward what is ahead. This isn’t an “easy fix.” Sanctification rarely is! 🙂 Discipleship rarely is! Anything worth fighting for is rarely an easy fix. We are inviting God not merely to change our bodies, but to transform our thinking–so that the changes come from the inside out!
(I hope you will join our online study Wednesday in the chat room at 4:30pm Pacific Daylight time.)