I heard in another group I belong to something that really struck a chord in me…especially in the area of feelings. They said that God showed them how they had made an altar to their own feelings. Well friends, I felt my heart beat faster and harder in my chest when I heard that statement and I knew that the Holy Spirit wanted me to look at my own life concerning this issue. It was time to pull out my journal and spend some one on one time with the Lord.
As I did just that and thought back over the last few weeks, I saw a pattern that showed why this statement caused such a reaction in me. Friends, I can start my day out great. I’ve spent time with the Lord in prayer…check. I’ve read my Bible and devotion…check. I’ve eaten my breakfast when hungry and at a 0…check. I’ve stopped eating when satisfied…check. Then, it happens and I am off and running into feelings land. A driver cuts me off in traffic. I realize I left my coffee at home. A semi almost runs me down in my car. An unkind word is spoken by a co-worker that I am sure is aimed at me. My boss calls me for a “meeting”. A friend or family member is clearly tired of hearing me gripe and complain. And, it doesn’t stop there. I can also build an altar for someone else’s feelings. Ahem, I believe they call that co-dependency. When someone I am close to (hubby, my children, a close friend) is suffering depression, sadness, anger, hurt feelings, I can jump right in and take on those feelings too and allow them to run me off my own path onto theirs. I know these things are everyday situations we all probably face, but when you are someone like me who has built an altar to their feelings or someone else’s feelings, these things can send me off into the world of I’m not good enough for anyone or anything and I might as well overeat because who cares anyway. And do you want to know where I build my altar? I build it right in the middle of the room where I am holding my own pity party.
There is a great song from the 60’s that goes, “It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to (I bet if you know it you are singing it in your head right now!).” Somehow, I have made this my anthem but by changing the words to, “It’s my pity party and I’ll cry if I want to, cry if I want to, and cry if I want to. You would cry too if it happened to you!”
Dear readers, I really don’t like going to my own pity parties! I am so grateful that the Lord led me into this community and for the tools we have. It saddens me that I forget to use them! The Observe and Correct tool is perfect for me to use when I catch myself putting on my party clothes. When I observe my behavior, I can usually follow it back to looking down at myself (or at someone else) and feelings of ungratefulness instead of looking up at the Lord and allowing Him to heal those broken places and to tear down those altars to feelings.
If you are a follower of Jesus, then you know that when we accept Him as our Lord and Savior, we in essence put Him on. When God, our heavenly Father looks at us, He sees Christ and His righteousness. That is what happens at the time we accept His sacrifice for us and accept His forgiveness for our sins. But, along with that, we have a loving Father who wants to change us…our minds, our hearts which in turn changes our actions (and reactions). I want God to change me. I want Him to remove those pity party clothes from my closet. What I have found is that I can’t remove something from my life without replacing it with something else. Without those negative feelings being replaced with something positive, the door to them remains open and they can step right back in. I found the answer to my problem in God’s Word in Colossians 3:12-15. To get rid of those feelings to which I build altars, I need to take off those pity party clothes and put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. And, over all these, put on love. These emotions lead to a grateful and thankful heart. This takes prayer and keeping my focus on where it belongs; on Christ Jesus alone.
When I catch myself singing the wrong tune, (It’s my pity party and I’ll cry if I want to) and I feel myself getting ready to put on those pity party clothes, from now on I am choosing instead to observe what is going on in my mind and heart, and choosing to correct my course, back onto the one that the Lord has laid out for me…the path towards healing and becoming more like Him. Colossians 2:7 reminds me to allow my roots to go deeply into Christ Jesus. When I do, my life, my mind, my heart, my strength and my all will be built on Him. Then I will look only to Him and not those feelings and emotions that typically go on in me and around me and I will overflow with thankfulness and gratitude. And that, my friends, leaves no room for altars to feelings or emotions and definitely no room for a pity party!
What about you dear reader? Do you recognize yourself as a member of your own pity party? Let’s tear off those party clothes together, allow the Holy Spirit to tear down those altars to our feelings and emotions, and let’s put on those blessed emotions and feelings as outlined in Colossians 3:12-15. I think they will fit much better for us all…don’t you?
Last week my son graduated from High School! YAY! But that meant I had some family coming in and guess what??? I was afraid of being judged because my body is doing weird shifting and “stuff”! UGH!Because of this, I have been feeling very uncomfortable in my own skin!
So, last week I had family who stayed with me that could be very judgmental (and sometimes VERBAL ABOUT IT!) regarding body size and shape.
Yep….one visiting family member has been obsessed about weight all her life (hers and everyone elses!) and another one is….well an abuser who is better now, but still says hateful things and has unrealistic expectations (and sometimes expects his way like a 2 year old would). Another family member is very judgmental but usually only says it behind your back.
That was a cocktail environment for emotional eating if ever there was one!
AND a set up for insecurity.
The closer the day came for them to come visit, the bigger my body felt and the more insecure I became!
Taking it to the LORD!
So, I “journalled” about it, I kept renewing my mind about who I am in Jesus and I prayed A LOT. As I took all this to the Lord, He gently whispered to me:
My Love for you, Dear Child, is not based on the size or shape of your body.
I had a realization. (It sort of made me say “duh” because it is NOT new information for me….but oh how the evil one likes to sneak his snaky little ways into my mind!!!)
I WAS EXPERIENCING BODY SHAME!
I haven’t had that in a very long time and thought I was done with that!
But you know what? The evil one is attacking me because GOD is doing HIS work needed to heal me. I am working deeper on issues of codependency. I am back to surrendering my food to God and not thinking about other ways to lose weight….
Yep, I’ve surrendered my food and my love of food to the Lord….and am doing this before I eat each time to recenter my thoughts….but I realized….
I NEEDED TO SURRENDER MY BODY TO HIM TOO………AGAIN.
ALSO, Jesus helped me see my family members through HIS eyes. They are broken people just like me. They may be critical of me and other people, but IT IS BECAUSE OF THEIR OWN DYSFUNCTION to control and THEIR OWN INSECURITY.
They no longer will have control over me.
JESUS HAS ALL AUTHORITY!
HE CALLS ME HIS BEAUTIFUL CHILD AND HIS BELOVED!
For your royal husband delights in your beauty; honor him, for he is your lord.
I have loved you, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself.
Ever so gently, I felt HIM whispered to my heart….
“My Child, I (the God of the universe!) do not condemn you (2 Tim. 1:7), so why does it matter if imperfect people condemn?”
So, Dear Readers….guess what?
I am taking OFF that cloak of shame that the evil one has placed upon my shoulders!!!
I don’t have to wear it! And every time those shameful thoughts come in my head when something doesn’t fit or I feel uncomfortable in my body, I will say
As the USA celebrates Memorial Day today, let us all remember the sacrifices of all those who have served, sacrificed and died in the name of freedom. If men and women had not given themselves so selflessly, I might not have the freedom to even remember them on this blog post.
As we remember those who gave up so much for our freedom, let us never forget the ONE who gave ALL. This Memorial Day, let us remember the Lord Jesus Christ and His ultimate sacrifice. He died so those who believe in Him may live. Let all who belong to Him live lives that proclaim Him and glorify Him so that more may find life through faith in Jesus Christ.
“Glorious Day (Living He Loved Me)”
One day when heaven was filled with His praises, One day when sin was as black as could be, Jesus came forth to be born of a virgin— Dwelt among men, my example is He!
Living, He loved me
Dying, He saved me
Buried, He carried my sins far away
Rising, He justified freely forever
One day He’s coming
Oh Glorious Day
One day they led Him up Calvary’s mountain, One day they nailed Him to die on the tree; Suffering anguish, despised and rejected; Bearing our sins, my Redeemer is He.
One day the grave could conceal Him no longer, One day the stone rolled away from the door; Then He arose, over death He had conquered; Now is ascended, my Lord evermore.
One day the trumpet will sound for His coming, One day the skies with His glory will shine; Wonderful day, my beloved ones bringing; Glorious Savior, this Jesus is mine!
Last week I shared with you my “dirty little secret”, about how I wanted to give up and was so discouraged because my body was not releasing weight. I have been so frustrated because I *felt* like I have been eating between hunger and fullness! Why, oh why have I not been releasing weight but seem to be going in the wrong direction? I was even tempted to go back to a diet!
The thought of going back to a diet is like asking me to go back to prison!
I just can’t do that!
So, As I usually do, I cried out to the Lord to show me what HE wants me to do with all of this. I have been praying and seeking HIM.
The next day, I wanted to share what God revealed to me with my good friend and accountability partner, Deanna Burris (who is another author for this blog). We feel comfortable enough to be honest with each other and so I had already shared my frustrations with her.
And now, I want to share it with you:
Good Morning, Dear Friend.
I think God has whispered something to me today. I have been wondering (more than praying….) about what to do regarding my weight gain. I have been thinking about diet pills, trying “healthy eating”, reading another intuitive eating book ….just whatever.
Do I REALLY want to go back to the diet lies???
Also, God has shown me that I’ve been lying to myself….
He has shown me the TRUTH
This morning the Lord ever so gently showed me that although I think I’m eating 0-5, I am not eating mindfully. I am distracted most of the time and honestly, with letting go of some of my co-dependent behavior, feeling full (probably an 8) brings me emotional comfort.
So lately I say I have been eating in my boundaries, but when examining and getting real with myself, I have not. And I think there probably have been many more times that I have had the blinders on about this.
BUT HERE’S THE GOOD NEWS!
Instead of guilt, I am feeling HOPE!
There is hope because it’s NOT Thin Within that’s “not working” but I’ve not been honest with myself. Also, I am not beating myself up about my body or how I’ve been coping with things.
I am going g to prayerfully seek the Lord in this now that He’s shown me some things.
I admit to feeling a little rebellious in that I don’t want to stop eating over the counter or while watching TV. (The Lord gently showed me that I now rarely eat without doing these things).
I’ve gone back to eating out of large bags of food instead of serving myself a small portion.
When I look back on the last year, I see that I only have rare days when I stay within these secondary boundaries, thinking I can just listen to my stomach. But what happens is THIS:
Because I’m distracted, I’m not really listening.
I’m just stopping when I feel like it and have eaten more than I really needed (I think a 6 or 7 has become my new 5). No condemnation here, just being honest with myself.
I am going to give my body grace with its shape since I am in menopause.
I have gone thru loads of BIG stresses (and am doing some hard and deep work with in myself with the LORD…some huge layers of grave clothes God is working on and has been for a while…). So there is GRACE there, too in regards to how my body has been reacting.
I am going to be on my face before the Lord for direction on what secondary boundaries HE wants for me so that my primary boundaries (0-5) can be kept on a regular basis.
I am opening my hands that have been grasping food for comfort etc. and grabbing on to JESUS, HIS PLAN for me and HIS FREEDOM.
Most of all……I am surrendering to HIM.
ALL TO JESUS,
I SURRENDER ALL.
What about you? When you examine yourself, do you find there are things you need to surrender to the Lord? Are you being honest with yourself? Are there boundaries you might have let “slip”. If this is so, TAKE HEART and have HOPE for HE has given us the tools we need in Thin Within and Hunger Within. Let’s use these tools that have been given to us!
I have shared in the past here on the Thin Within blog about miracles that I have recognized God working in my life. I had something happen this past week that in my heart is proof that our God still works miracles today. Do you believe He does dear reader? I hope so. If not, how will you recognize them yourself when they happen to you?
I took on a second job the first of November last year. It started out well; I was busy and was learning new things in my position as a full charge bookkeeper. Well, last week I was let go from this position because the work load had dwindled after year-end books were completed and tax season ended. It was an amicable parting. As I have looked back on the 7 months I worked at that office, I started remembering and identifying how God has really changed my view about food and this thing we call disordered eating.
The work at year end and during the late winter and early spring was very stressful. Stress is one of those triggers that usually makes me run to food. And in the office where I was working the company kept the break room well stocked with snacks and soft drinks. After all, the accountants were working long hours and weekends and needed to keep up their strength. We also had clients bringing in snacks and food as a thank you for the work we were doing for them. Let me just say, there was never a shortage of things to nosh on! I can remember seasons in my overeating journey where such abundance would send me into eating all day long, day after day. The miracle here is that because of all the changes God has made in my heart and mind since coming into the Thin Within/Hunger Within community, I was never even tempted to eat from all those “goodies” outside of hunger and fullness. This, my friends, is a miracle.
One of the issues I have struggled with along with weight and disordered eating is rejection. This is an area where God has worked in my heart through the renewing of my mind in His Word and in Him placing in my heart the truth of who I am in Christ Jesus. In the past, any perception of rejection (being let go from my job [my healing through Thin Within/Hunger Within has changed my perception of many circumstances]) would have sent me into a tailspin and would have me running to excess food. Guess what I did the day I was let go and each day since? I’ve eaten within my God given boundaries of hunger and fullness. That, my friends, is a miracle.
Also, being let go at this particular time has lowered our family income at a time when my hubby and I were anticipating being completely out of debt within a few short months. Let me tell you that I don’t like it when my “plans” get changed. But, I am happy to say that even having our plans postponed didn’t send me into overeating or bingeing as it would have in the past. This, my friends, is a miracle.
I came into this community at a time when I was crying out to God to change me. I was at the end of my rope and was so sick and tired of how I felt in my own skin. My prayer has been since being here for Him to change my heart and my mind, one day at a time, through the renewing of my mind in His Word and through growing into a deeper relationship with Him. I know that the “old-timers” in our community are probably shaking their heads in agreement with the miracles I have experienced. They’ve experienced a few of their own. Those of you that are newer and haven’t seen this kind of victory, all I can say is don’t give up! The miracles will come as you continue to surrender your life and your disordered eating over to God. Keep renewing your minds daily. Keep eating within the boundaries of hunger and fullness. Use the tool chest that Thin Within offers each of us. One day you too will look back at your life and see the many miracles God has been working.
I had another blog all ready to post today. I could have scheduled it and pretended everything was ok with me. But somehow, I feel as if that is being fake. So. I am admitting it. Here’s my “Dirty little secret”.
Right now, while writing this blog the Thursday afternoon before posting it on Friday,
I want to give up.
I feel discouraged.
I admit, I don’t want to go back to dieting. So, that is a step in the right direction. AND I am not cursing this body of mine that is not cooperating. So, that is progress. I’m also not desperate to be skinny or look a certain way. I don’t even seem to care much how others view my body.
WOW! Ok….so that’s
A LOT OF PROGRESS!
So, why am I discouraged?
Well, I tried on an outfit that I wore just last year and it is too snug to feel comfortable wearing. Yep. That’s right. My body has gotten a little bigger over this last year! That’s right. You read it…..I said it. My secret is out!
WHAT IS UP WITH THAT?
(well, other than a VERY stressful year and menopause reshaping my body in ways that I highly disapprove of!)
I was afraid to share this and be open for fear of discouraging anyone who is looking to Thin Within as a way to lose weight. Or discouraging those who are struggling. Because, I don’t want you to give up! God has used Hunger Within to do so much in my life! I want YOU to be able to break free of dieting and body shaming as I have been able to do.
Ummmm…..wait a minute. I don’t want YOU to give up, yet I think it’s ok for me to give up? I want YOU to experience breaking free of dieting and body shaming and yet I am ignoring this BIG work God has done in me?
••• silent contemplation•••
I guess I need to examine what this Hunger Within is all about for me.
It it about making my body behave or is it about total surrender to God with my food and body issues?
Will I continue to follow Him and obey Him even if my body doesn’t cooperate right now?
After thinking about it, I realize
I DO need to GIVE UP.
•I need to GIVE UP my plan and GIVE IN to HIS.
•I need to GIVE UP what I think my body should look like and GIVE IN to what HE says about me.
•I need to GIVE UP my will and GIVE IN to HIS.
Well, my Dear Readers I guess it’s that time again.
On my knees and in the WORD.
It’s time to reevaluate my boundaries again.
I need to examine my heart.
If anything, you all have learned that I am not perfect.
I am broken.
I am flawed.
I am forgiven and loved.
And, my Dear Readers. His grace is renewed for me this very moment!
My sight is shifting now from my tight outfit to JESUS!