Craving Comfort?

As I waited in my car at a traffic light, tears came. My heart ached for my friend who had shared sad news. I also toyed with vain imaginings. What if that happens to me?

My mood darkened. And a strong craving stirred deep within me like a gluttonous creature waking up after a winter’s sleep. Restaurants on each corner of the intersection beckoned me.

“A coffee frappuccino would lift your spirits.”

I shook my head. “Too many calories.”

“How about a hamburger or ice cream?”

“No, I’m trying to lose weight!”

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I turned left and drove towards home, never realizing how many restaurants lined the main highway in our small town. My mouth watered as advertisements for tacos, barbecue pulled pork, and deli sandwiches vied for my taste buds.

“You should treat yourself to a personal pan pizza. Think of that warm mozzarella cheese…”

I clenched my teeth. “Stop obsessing over food. I’m going home where I can control what and how much I eat.”

True story!

If I hadn’t signed up for Thin Within last week, I probably would have eaten the frappuccino and the pizza. Why? Because in that instant, I would have gladly satisfied my deep, ravenous craving for a few minutes of delectable joy.

I realize now—hunger wasn’t the issue. As my friend, Heidi, says, I wanted food to alter my mood.”

Funny, I never thought of myself as eating for comfort. Other folks might eat a quart of ice cream when they were depressed, but not me. So the Holy Spirit used my circumstances to show me the truth in Thin Within’s Lesson One.

I learned experientially that consuming a quart of ice cream is no less emotionally driven than grabbing the Almond Joy just because I FEEL depressed, lonely, or sad. 

Sorrow is part of the human experience. Some days I feel like a hurt child. I want to crawl into Mother’s lap and rest. Rub my back. Kiss my bruise. Make me all better.

Only, I’m not a child and it’s important to deal with life’s pendulum of emotions by resting in the Lord rather than acquiring self-destructive habits like overeating to numb my pain.

Isn’t it just like Satan (who seeks to steal, kill, and destroy) to entice people to search for comfort in anything or anyone other than God, the Father who loves us.

God knows we need comfort. He tells us,  “As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you….” (Isaiah 66:13 NIV)

Jesus said, “I will not leave you comfortless….” (John 14:18)

God longs to comfort aching hearts. However, unlike a mom who might comfort her child with animal crackers, the Lord doesn’t lure our sweet tooth to produce a smile. He satisfies our deepest cravings with Himself.

Comfort means “to ease someone’s pain,” but it doesn’t ensure the Lord will remove the problem that pains us. Instead, God comforts us with His strength. For the word “comfort” is derived from “fortis” which means strong.

“His strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9)

“I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13).

  • Strength to endure pain and sorrow.
  • Strength to walk on feeble feet down the path that leads to abundant life.
  • Strength to abstain from creature comforts that might sabotage our efforts to eat healthy.

“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (Psalm 73:25–26).

Now, isn’t that a comforting thought?

Photo: http://www.jennywredephotography.com

True Stress Relief

True Stress Relief

SupplementIn our day and age, everyone is looking to reduce stress and negative emotions. We search for the newest product or program and believe the hype (till we try it and it doesn’t work). I do the same thing. When feeling blue (a softer word for depressed) I love to peruse the isles of supplements. I am a firm believer in doing things the natural way if at all possible. (Don’t get me wrong. I have had my stints on Prozac, so if you are on prescriptions, please don’t feel judged by that comment.) Here is one I bought and tried but didn’t seem to see any measurable results. (Again, if you take this supplement and it helps you, I give you a thumbs up!) What I want to share with you today is what I have found that works each and every time. This is a tried and true process as I am sure those of you who have found this can attest to the truth I am sharing.

The process? Go to God. Renew your mind in His Word. It is even His promise and God is not a promise breaker. What does His Word say?

Philippians 4:4-9 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again” Rejoice! Let your graciousness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable-if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise-dwell on these things. Do what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.

And in Philippians 4:11b-13 for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know both how to have a little, and I know how to have a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content-whether well-fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need. I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me.

And in Philippians 4:19-20 And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Now to our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.

Do you see the pattern? Rejoice in the Lord. Don’t worry. Go to the Lord in prayer. He will guard my heart and mind. Think on good things (I do this by turning off the news when I catch myself getting caught up in stuff!). Allow Him to teach me to be content for it is then that I can do all He wants through His strength. He will supply my needs. I don’t have to search for any other method but Him.

Jesus Christ the Real ThingI want that peace: the peace that passes all understanding and that the world does not understand. I want His peace that shines in my heart no matter what I am dealing with or what is going on around me. How about you? Do you want the same thing? Try Jesus. He is the Real Thing!

Patience & Perspective

Love is patient, but I’m not.

Oh, I can patiently wait in a grocery line. I patiently listen when my son discusses the latest video game. I’m patient while I hold the door for an elderly person who walks at a snail’s pace.

But I’m not patient with myself when it comes to losing weight.

That’s because if I’m going to “suffer” (the meaning of the Latin word patient) during a diet, I want to see immediate results. And I don’t want to suffer long. So it makes sense that long suffering is another word for patience.

Last week I had two options: Lose weight or buy bigger pants. Only the thought of counting points, calculating calories, and avoiding certain foods left me nauseous. I decided to try…..

Thin Within which is a grace-based approach to losing/maintaining weight. Don’t eat until you’re truly hungry and then stop eating when you’re satisfied based on a 0-10 scale. Zero is true hunger, five is a satisfied tummy. Ten is stuffed.

I didn’t expect Thin Within to focus on Bible study questions and knowing God’s character. However, if that’s the secret to losing weight, sign me up for the twelve-week ride.

Day One: I patted myself on the back for answering the workbook questions, and waiting for an empty stomach before I ate. I even did leg lifts and sit ups for good measure.

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(No, those aren’t my legs in the photo).

Day Two: I gulped water to appease false hunger pains and chewed my bottom lip instead of consenting to a snack. May I recommend strawberry lip gloss?

Day Three: I bit my white knuckles. “Are we there yet?” Twelve weeks might as well be twelve months.

I also stepped on the scale—although it’s verboten—and groaned. I hadn’t lost an ounce. Doubts crept in. Does Thin Within work? Or is the Bible Study designed to get my mind off the size of my derrière?

I decided to burn calories to make things happen faster. I walked for three miles in the heat of the day. When I stepped on the scale, I’d lost a pound in one hour. Thanks to sweating profusely!

You see, Thin Within isn’t something to try on for size and discard if there aren’t immediate results. It’s a life-long journey that requires patience and a new perspective. That’s because weight loss and toning muscles is a process.

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And that process doesn’t happen overnight any more than spiritual sanctification.

Years ago, I became tired of being a performance-oriented Christian. I wanted to know God more intimately. I wanted Him to use every circumstances in my life as an opportunity to transform me into the image of Christ. (Romans 8:29)

Suffering succotash! Talk about a slow, painful process. But that’s a different story.

Thin Within is designed to help people lose weight by renewing the mind with God’s truth. Total transformation from the inside out by God’s grace. 

In less than a week, I’ve had to re-examine my expectations and long-term goals.

Thin Within can be a twelve-week sprint where I arrive breathless, red-faced, and a few pounds lighter.

Or this can be the starting point of a life-long journey where I learn to cope with disappointment and stress without depending on food as my ally. Or having an edible idol that enslaves me.

May sound like a tall order, but if I can be patient—suffer and show self-restraint without getting upset—then I can shed pounds naturally, AND grow more in love with God in the process.

Blog: http://KarenFosterMinistry.com

Photos: www.jennywredephotography.com

 

 

Myth vs. Truth

Myth vs. Truth

The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie-deliberate, contrived and dishonest-but the myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic.

                                                                   John F. Kennedy

As I look at the news these days, I wonder often what is true and what is myth. I don’t like to call what I hear as I turn on the TV or search the internet out and out lies (although some may be), but I fear a lot of what I am hearing is just not the whole truth. So, what is a myth? Merriam-Webster defines myth as an idea or story that is believed by many people but that is not true. As I look at my day to day life as I walk this road to recovery from disordered eating, I decided to look at some of the myths I am holding onto and to see if I couldn’t turn those thoughts around with some much needed truth. Here is what I came up with.

Myth 1 – Try to avoid pain at any cost. My family of origin did not deal well with painful situations and seemed to always run from them. If they couldn’t be run from, then we would sweep them under the rug. Our lives were about appearances, not what was really happening. I learned to run and hide from pain by hiding out in excess food.

myth-v-truthMyth 2 – Excess food would take away the pain. I wonder why I have ever believed this because it is so untrue. But believe it I did (and sometimes even now want to believe it). Stuffing my feelings always leads me to self-disgust and anger that I just didn’t deal with the problem at hand when I needed to deal with it. When I run to food to deal with pain I still have the weight of the original problem and the problem of added weight.

Myth 3 – If I get thin, everything will be fine. This is true insanity. I would be the same person at my core no matter what I weigh. My family would be the same. If I feel unloved or unaccepted at my current weight, then those who make me feel that way wouldn’t be worth knowing if I were at a thinner weight.

I am currently working through Barb Raveling’s book Taste for Truth with a small group of wonderful ladies. What I really like about Barb’s book is that she doesn’t just ask us to read the Bible, but asks what the Word says about certain issues. Thinking about these myths, I searched God’s Word for the truth. hebrews412-wordofgodmorepowerful1If I am dealing with a painful situation, instead of running away or sweeping it under the carpet, I can cast my care upon Him, because He cares about me (2 Peter 1:7). Instead of stuffing my feelings, I can go to Him because His divine power has given me everything required for life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called me by His own glory and goodness (2 Peter 1:3). Instead of focusing on my issue, I can do what His word tells me and think on what is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, and commendable so that the God of peace will be with me (Philippians 4:8-9). And, when it comes to seeking what the world calls a perfect body, doesn’t the Word tell me to have nothing to do with irreverent and silly myths? To rather train myself in godliness for the training of the body has a limited benefit, but godliness is beneficial in every way, since it hold promise for the present life and for the life to come (1 Timothy 4:7-8)?

What about you dear reader? Are there some myths you need to face and replace with some good and sound Biblical truth? There is healing to be found in God’s Word.

Your Body – What is Your “Natural, God-Given Size?”

Your Body – What is Your “Natural, God-Given Size?”

 

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When I was in high school, my mom put me on a diet. I was supposed to drink  nasty tasting shakes for breakfast and lunch and then eat a full meal when I got home from school, which was a full course meal,  including things that I could never manage to stomach. I don’t know if my mom thought I *wanted* to diet or what. I know that, in my memory, I cooperated…even to the point of trying to stomach eating lettuce covered with oil and vinegar. Now, just the thought makes me gag. I can’t stand lettuce and I can actually smell it if it is in food that I order at a restaurant (always requesting NO lettuce).

I was an athlete, but would often cut school to go to my best friend’s–my “eating buddy’s”–house where we often made a pan of brownies and then ate the evidence that we had been home when we were supposed to be at school. Not one crumb of the brownies would be left.

What began in junior high as a response to molestation by a family member developed into a full-blown coping mechanism–a refuge, a comfort, a recreational activity, too! Because I was involved in sports, I often kept ahead of too much extra weight. I do remember weighing myself quite a bit. I remember the numbers, too. I also remember the numbers on the scale during all the diets I went on over the years. I charted my weight on a graph on the wall during one season. Then, there were the diet program weigh-ins. So, I would have NO problem pulling a number out of my mind that seems “reasonable” for what my “natural, God-given size” would be.

BUT…

that would miss the point…

GOD-given, means that it is God given.

It doesn’t mean that Heidi has to grab a hold of it and declare “HERE! This is it! When I reach this number I will  have arrived!”

In fact, I distinctly remember in 2007, after I lost all the extra weight I  carried having actually gone too far so that I could have the accolade of losing ONE HUNDRED pounds, I still hated my rear end…my hips. You see, even when I was really *thin*…I hated my body. Freedom clearly wasn’t in a number for me! There was something in my HEAD that needed to change. I needed to “drop the weight” of a mental image of the ideal body.

So now, I see that “natural, God-given size” means, God has in mind the way my body, fearfully and wonderfully made, hand-crafted by him, will look or be. And it definitely isn’t what this world uses as a standard for beauty. You know what? I think I am beginning (after all this time) not to care what the world says. I want what GOD wants for me. There is FREEDOM there!

And “Natural” means natural.

I don’t have to be fearful about it. It just is. Like naturally curly hair. Or a natural blond. Nothing added. It just is.

Notice Thin Within doesn’t promise you that you will be a “natural, God-given weight.”

In fact, what we really want to do–dare I be so bold–is get rid of the bathroom scale. Instead, focus on getting to know your body and the God-given hunger scale: hunger and satisfaction, 0 and 5. Let’s stand on God’s promises instead of the bathroom scale and the ever-elusive happiness that joy is found in a number. You are MORE than a number!

As you commit (and commit again and again) to eating 0 to 5 or between the parameters of hunger and satisfaction, you will not need any man-made device to tell you if you are succeeding. Success is not defined by the world or by your past. It is defined by God.

Your natural, God-given size is, by definition, the size you land on when you eat according to the way He made your body. Eating according to the cues of hunger and satisfaction will cause you to land on and maintain your God-given size.

This is GREAT news!!!

Aren’t we tired of pursuing a number on the bathroom scale?! Then, assuming we ever land on that number, we live in fear that we won’t *stay* at that number?! That is definitely NOT freedom!

Here is a sound file about this very thing. I hope it is helpful! Again, feel free to download it.

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/94321872″ params=”” width=” 100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]

Would it be helpful to you to get off the bathroom scale–to give it away or at least to have a friend or family member hide it for a month (or two or three)? Can you recommit to obeying the God-given signals of the hunger scale–0 and 5–or physical hunger and satisfaction? Will you trust him that he will bring you to the size that you want to be?

What will you stand on? 🙂 Here is a bonus! Good ol’ country rendering of “Standing on the Promises of God!”