Every day I have a choice about what kind of day I am going to have. I have sunny days, and I have what I call “Bad Cloud Days”. What does having a “Bad Cloud Day” mean to me and what can I do about them?
Those “Bad Cloud Days” come about when I let little disturbances or inconveniences “cloud” my thinking and cause me to feel bad and often makes me run to food for solace. Excess food doesn’t bring out the sun over my mood. When I am allowing outside circumstances control my mood and I run to food, then I have two problems instead of one.
There are things I can do to turn my day around. I can choose to write about what is bothering me (truth journaling). I can renew my mind in God’s Word (Romans 12:1). I can pray (Philippians 4:6-7). I can read over my truth cards (Philippians 4:8). I can pick up the phone and call or text a friend (or accountability partner). All these choices are great ways to put things into perspective. These simple choices help me to seek out the truth (John 8:32) behind the annoyance instead of lashing out, which then destroys any peace I might hope to have (Romans 15:13).
I can choose to allow those dark thoughts or feelings to build up and cause a storm cloud to cover my day, or I can clear away the dark clouds by writing, digging in God’s Word, talking it over with God in prayer, read uplifting notes, or phone a friend. I can choose to turn off the TV (the news today could put a cloud over anyone’s mood), put on some praise music and dance to the truth that today, I woke up and got out of bed. I can praise Him that this is the day that He has made. I can rejoice and be glad in it. As the sun (Son) starts shining over my heart, I can reach out and bring sunshine into someone else’s “Bad Cloud Day”.
How about you? Are you having too many “Bad Cloud Days”? A great question to ask: Is this going to matter in a week, a month, six months? One thing I know for sure…God will make a way when there seems to be no way (1 Corinthians 10:13).
I admit it! I have some clothes that just do not fit!
Mostly, they are too tight! I have kept them in my closet even though they haven’t fit for years. Yes, friends. These are my “skinny clothes” and really are out of style. These few favorite pieces of mine are from a time when I was much smaller than I am now. This was a time when I got down to my “goal weight” with Weight Watchers. I even worked for them! BUT, in order to maintain my “lifetime” status, I had to eat very little and exercise a whole lot! I was hungry and got tired of eating the foods from my “zero point” list. I had to exercise more and more to earn points to eat and was terrified of missing a workout. I was also terrified of gaining weight.
This was not living in freedom!
So why am I holding on to these clothes that were from a time in my life when I was completely entrenched in diet living? Isn’t it really diet mentality that tells me to hold on to these clothes “just in case” I may ever be that size again? You know. When I find that perfect “diet”?
WAIT! I’m DONE WITH DIETING!
It’s time to give those clothes away!
SPIRITUAL OBJECT LESSON
When I think about getting rid of clothes that hold me back to that diet mentality, I am reminded of something that was in the sermon at church on Sunday.
In Colossians 3 and Ephesians 4 we are told that we are supposed to put off the old self or “clothes” and be clothed with the “new self” or a new attitude.
Therefore, if you have been raised with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Keep thinking about things above, not things on the earth, for you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God…….So put to death whatever in your nature belongs to the earth: sexual immorality, impurity, shameful passion, evil desire, and greed which is idolatry…… You also lived your lives in this way at one time……But now, put off these old clothes…..Put off the old clothes with its practices. You have been clothed with the new man that is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of the One who created it. (Colossians 3:1-3,5-8a,10 NET bible)
Everyday we are called by God to put off or take off the old clothes and to put on the clothes of our new life. So we take off those old, soiled, smelly clothes of our old self (for us in this setting, it may be taking off the diet mentality, beating ourselves up, not loving our bodies, perfectionism, etc. or overeating ) and get rid of them. But something happens overnight. When we wake up the next morning, and hanging on the closet door in plain view of our eyes are our old clothes! Only now they look bright, clean and oh so alluring! They are comfortable. They are what we like or are used to. They call to us. They whisper our name. BUT, they drag us down and away from the wonderful and FREE life in Christ. AND, guess what? They lie to us, for now that we have learned a new way to live in Christ, these old clothes REALLY DO NOT FIT US ANY MORE!
God has another plan for us. He has a new set of clothes that is our new self. We may need help putting on these clothes and NOT changing back into the old clothes. That is why we have the Holy Spirit to help us. He will help us with this new way of living. This new way is peace and life and FREEDOM.
So, now back to those clothes in my closet that don’t fit.
I am GETTING RID OF THEM!
No need to have clothes that not only don’t fit, but also keep me longing for an impossible body shape and size.
So, why go back to our old ways, our old life, our old sin?
Lets take off these old, smelly clothes!
They really don’t fit us anymore, despite how comfy they may seem!
Let’s put on our NEW CLOTHES and walk in the way that leads to LIFE!
A couple of weeks ago I shared about a recent detour I found myself traveling on. Detours are not a bad thing. They usually end up being a short trip off the path that leads back onto the road that leads to where you were headed. That is not the same thing as a roadblock. When we hit a roadblock, there is nowhere to go but back. When we hit a roadblock, it is time to turn around. This week I am going to share with you about a roadblock I hit, and how I had to allow God to change my perception about some things so I could turn around and find the right road to where I’m going.
If you are reading this, I hope you are at least familiar with what Thin Within/Hunger Within is all about. The basics are we eat (imperfectly) within the boundaries of hunger and satisfaction or if you look at a hunger scale, our eating boundaries fall between 0 and 5. We also have 8 Keys to Conscious Eating. They are:
Eat only when my body is hungry
Reduce the number of distractions in order to eat in a calm environment
Eat only when I’m sitting
Eat only when my body and mind are relaxed
Eat and drink only the food and beverages I enjoy
Pay attention only to my food while eating
Eat slowly, savoring each and every bite
Stop before my body is full
These keys are just guidelines and not “diet rules” and we also give ourselves permission to no longer label food “good” or “bad” and can enjoy eating any food within our 0 to 5 eating boundaries.
My roadblock came from #5 in the Keys to Conscious Eating, and I want to share this with you dear reader, just in case you may have experienced the same thing.
Since coming into this wonderful community, I have been able to let go of so many man-made diet rules and the beliefs our culture holds about the benefit of certain foods over others. This has been a long process, and I still find myself questioning the freedom we have, but I keep marching on and I so enjoy the that freedom. I really feel that I am eating food in the way God planned. But, I did hit that roadblock. Some of the foods I was eating and enjoying, my body decided it didn’t enjoy. I sat there looking at that roadblock and seriously had myself a hissy fit. My hissy fit made me realize that these foods seemed to have an unhealthy hold on me (and they make me feel unhealthy).
I had such a conflict, for I had been eating the foods I enjoyed and here I needed to let go of some of those foods, because they were actually making me sick. I had to battle not going back into diet mentality. After all, wasn’t putting certain food items on a “no-no” list a diet? Wasn’t I promised that I could eat all foods with thanksgiving?
Dear reader, the Lord reminded me of some important things in our Thin Within/Hunger Within journey. There are 3 Phases in this program (taken from 1 Corinthians 6:12). They are:
Phase 1 – Freedom Phase: “All Things are Permissible”
Phase 2 – Discernment Phase: “Not all Things are Beneficial”
Phase 3 – Mastery Phase: “I Will Not be Mastered by Anything”
He is leading me from Phase 2 into Phase 3. This is not easy for me, for I am letting go of some items that I really like to eat but no longer agree with me. But, because I want my recovery from disordered eating to point totally to the Lord, who is the One I want to have total mastery over my life, my heart and my all, I am letting go and moving into this next phase of my journey. And, I am letting go of those foods. I have the freedom to say yes to any food and now, with God’s help, I also have the freedom to say no (even to foods I enjoy but my body doesn’t). It was time to face that roadblock and turn around, listen to my body and listen to the Lord. I had to let it go that I was not going on that road any further.
This is another process I needed to go through to show me once again that this journey is not just about food, how I eat or my weight. It is more about living my life in full surrender to the leading of the Holy Spirit because I serve and love my Abba Father who loves me so much that He wants what is best for me. That roadblock was important for me to turn my heart from some items that were mastering me (and actually hurting me) back to the only Master I want in my life.
How about you? Have you hit a roadblock and you are finding you have to make some tough decisions in order to turn around and get back on the right road? Take to heart what is said in Hunger Within…”Freedom that is melded with discernment and surrender to God’s leading produces a radiant body and a life of deep abiding joy.”
I have a favorite bowl/large mug that I enjoy eating cereal out of. It is somehow the perfect shape and size. It is also special because my daughter gave it to me.
This is especially true when I eat a bowl of cereal before going to bed. Even more true when I eat the cereal in front of the TV….
Somehow, every time I eat cereal out of this bowl-mug, I end up eating too much. I have a really hard time stopping until the bowl is empty! I know this. I know this bowl is too big. I know I need to change to a smaller bowl or mug.
BUT THIS IS MY FAVORITE!
AND….I WANT to eat while watching my show!!!
I know I should not eat in front of the TV(for some reason I am only tempted to do this if I get hungry right before bed and I have been watching something already!)
BUT I’M HUNGRY AND I DON’T WANT TO PAUSE THE SHOW! WAAAHHHH!
I have a stern look at what is going on here.
Yes, I become a “mom” to that 2 year old-temper-tantrum-throwing self inside! AND, I OBSERVE and CORRECT!
When I start really looking at it, I observe that my favorite bowl/mug is too big. I observe that when I eat in front of the TV I eat mindlessly and usually too much.
A realization hits.
I talk a lot about surrender. I surrender my body shape and size. I surrender the food so I can eat within hunger and satisfaction.
Am I willing to surrender my favorite bowl/mug?
Am I willing to surrender the TV show?
It sounds so trivial now that I write it here but when I’m in that 2 year old throw-a-fit mood, it isn’t trivial right then!
As insignificant as it sounds, God is asking me to surrender these things because it is causing me to stay emotionally attached to food.
So, here is the plan.
I am going to hide that favorite bowl in a place where it’s very inconvenient to get when I am tempted to use it.
I’m going to find a cereal bowl that is the right size (about a fist sized portion) to get me from hunger to satisfaction so I won’t overeat on cereal.
I will turn off the TV when I’m eating. (Period. End of discussion.)
Sounds simple, huh? But we all know that sometimes things that appear simple are really more than that.
What things do YOU need to change, surrender or give up to break an emotional tie to food?
I am celebrating Independence Day! Yes, I know it is the week of July 4th and we celebrate the freedom and independence America gained back in 1776. But, this is also my year of independence and I am celebrating! What have I gained my independence from you may ask?
Man made dieting rules
Counting and measuring – calories, grams, points, etc.
Eating only certain types of foods or restricting certain types of foods
Worrying if I am up or down in weight
Worrying if I am thin enough or fit enough
Worrying over how others look at me or what they think about me
Worrying if the clothes I have laid out for tomorrow will fit
Listening to Satan’s condemnation
Beating myself up for calling learning opportunities failures
Wishing I was someone or something I am not
Feeling like I was living in chains
You see, I’ve found something beautiful, and I want to share it with you. What I’ve found is freedom in my LORD and Savior, Jesus Christ. He said to me, “Come, Deanna (feel free to put your own name here, because if you are reading this, I know He is calling out to you too!!), because you are weary and carry heavy burdens. I want to give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle, and I will give you rest for your soul. My yoke will fit you perfectly, and the burden I give you is light.” (Matthew 11:28 NLT) I found that I was spending an excessive amount of time thinking about nothing more than food and my life seemed to be going on without me. I was obsessive, focused only on myself. I had an emptiness that I kept trying to fill with things that never seemed to satisfy. I had the self-will to change and fix my life, but as we all know, self-will is weak and powerless. Do you identify with me? Well, Jesus met me right where I was and opened my eyes. He revealed to me the truth of where my heart was. He pointed out that I was worrying about my life, what I was going to eat or not eat, what the scale was going to tell me the next time I stepped on, what I was going to wear or even if my clothes would fit. He told me how my life was for more than food and my body was for more than clothes.(Matthew 6:25-34)
My life is for Him and my body is His temple. (1 Corinthians 6:19,20)
Through the program of Thin Within/Hunger Within, I have been spending time with my LORD in a way that I have never done before. He has brought me to a place of surrender. I’ve surrendered my dependence on all of the things I have listed above and what a difference my life is today compared to where I was. I have also learned a beautiful paradox of walking with the LORD in this way. By allowing Him in every area of my life and heart (and I mean every dark and hidden corner!!), I learned that I can really celebrate the independence from all those things I have listed above by being dependent on the One who is faithful to grant me the freedom from them. To find independence, I have to be dependent. My freedom has come from being free to trust Him fully. My freedom has come from throwing up my hands in surrender, knowing that in and of myself, I never had what I needed to break free from disordered eating and thinking.
The Word of God and prayer are the weapons I use to keep from going back into my old ways. The temptation is still there to fall back into what is familiar, but as long as I feed on God’s Word daily, He is faithful to complete this good work He has started in me. My loving Father has shown me where the pleasant boundaries lie that keep me safe and in His will for my life. Whenever any issues come up that make me want to run into the arms of false comforts, I stop and lay them at the feet of Jesus, with thanksgiving. I know that He is able to set me free from worry and fear about anything. The blessing is not only that I have let go of my will for His will, but that by doing so, I have opened my heart to healing and freedom in so many other areas. With His strength, I have let go of anger and frustration. With His strength, I have let go of trying to get my family and friends to fit into a mold of my own making. With His strength, I have let go of being selfish with my time so that God can use me to serve others. With His strength, I have let go of all thoughts that “I can’t” because with God’s leading, nothing is impossible. My job is to stay firmly dependent on Jesus, the Lover of my soul.
Where are you today? Are you ready to celebrate independence with me? Take my hand and let’s walk together in full surrender and dependence so we can shout together, “FREEDOM!!”
If you have read any of the Thin Within materials or Hunger Within, you know that it is advised to get rid of dieting and the diet mentality. I thought I did that a few years ago when I started back to this way of living with Hunger Within.
But, lately I have been doing some real soul searching and I realized that I had made this into just another diet!
I have been so focused on whether I have released weight, how my body is reacting with my clothes and if I am “following the rules” right.
I have gotten rid of my SCALE (and it was so freeing!!!), but slowly that diet mentality slipped back in as I worried about how my clothes are fitting.
I have thrown away my diet books, points calculators and calorie counters. But when I starting thinking about “doing” Thin Within “right” or “wrong”, I started sliding down that slippery slope to diet mentality once again!
I have so desperately wanted to be thin all my life. To be beautiful. To be accepted……but God keeps telling me over and over that His ways are not my ways. That His thoughts are higher than my thoughts. AND mostly….He tells me that
I am HIS. I am BEAUTIFUL at the shape I am RIGHT NOW!
Over and over, he keeps guiding me back to following Him with my eating. Yes, hunger to satisfaction. 0-5. and use the KEYS TO CONSCIOUS EATING as tools.
The KEYS TO CONSCIOUS EATING are Tools, not RULES!
If I follow what He is showing me to do, my body will BE the size and shape HE has made me to be.
Dear readers, I will be honest. My body is not the shape I want. It is not the size I want. This last year I have stopped producing certain hormones and that has caused my body to change in ways I do not like. BUT, guess what? God tells me that even with this….even though I will probably NEVER be what society sees as “thin”,
if I follow HIM and surrender the food, my body WILL be where HE created it to be.
At this stage in my life, my shape and size is healthy and beautiful even if it isn’t what I see in all the forms of media.
So, Dear Reader. I ask you now. Are you focusing on your shape or size? Are you caught up in a number on a scale or clothes? Are you worried you are not “doing it right”?
Remember this (as I must remember too!), this is a process of learning and growing and being. It isn’t going to be like the diets of our past where we do “x” and get “y” results. It is fluid, moving forward and back and side to side as we dance on this journey with the Lord.
And I say to myself and to you….let’s enjoy this journey. Quit beating ourselves up for how we look or a number on a scale. Quit trying to do things “right” and turn to HIM, surrendering the food and our bodies to the one who created us beautiful!