God accepts me and loves me

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I recently realized that I was believing these kinds of lies: “God will accept me only when I am at my natural, healthy size.  And if I’m not at my natural, healthy size, then God is disappointed in me.  I am not acceptable until I meet that size.”  As I type those lies out, I’m almost gasping that I would even believe such revolting things–but I did.  And I also realized that I was thinking my “ideal” size was what I was hoping my natural, healthy size would be.  My “ideal” was the image that our culture has made the standard.  I was getting so tired of hearing the lies being played over and over again in my head.  I needed to find out what God truly thinks about me when it comes to my body and size.  Like, I knew that I am ‘fearfully and wonderfully made’, but does God really accept me when I don’t feel like I’m acceptable, like I’m fitting the “ideal”?  Does He love me when I don’t feel very lovable?  So I dove into scripture and searched because His truth is the only thing that matters.  Here are some scriptures that I uncovered:

But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” I Samuel 16:7

That was a scripture that I have known for awhile in this journey.  And I knew that God is more concerned about the condition of my heart, but it was really hard to let the appearance thing go.  And I found myself trying to justify my body obsession with saying that “of course God wants me to take care of my body!”  But taking care of my body, the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19) doesn’t mean obsessing over being a particular size or having some beach body.  We all have such different bodies, created by our Heavenly Father, where no two bodies are the same.  And he certainly doesn’t want us obsessing over a number on a scale, over our food, or our body image.

Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.  Proverbs 31:30

For some of us, it may be hard to read that and know that we will grow old, get wrinkles, and we won’t look like we did when we were 20.  Aging happens.  There’s no way around it.  So putting our security in our body and appearance will probably, at some point, let us down.  But if we put our fear and security in the Lord (for He never changes), we will be standing upon a Rock and we won’t be wavering every time our “beauty” passes.  I want to focus more on the Lord and my heart beating for Him; I don’t want my life focus to be my body, body, body.  Can I get an amen?

For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.  Galatians 1:10

This scripture challenges me to think about the motive of my heart in wanting to release weight.  Is it to please the world and fit it’s standard?  Or am I seeking to please the Lord and honor the temple of the Holy Spirit?  He wants my heart to please Him first and foremost.

And He said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God.”  Luke 16:15

Again, another motive check.  Who am I trying to please?  The world cheers on those who fit the image, but even for those who are desperately trying to fit the image, the enemy is always there saying you are too much or not enough.  For me, even when I released the baby weight after having my middle child, the enemy was there saying, “It’s not enough!  More!  More!”  The world says a certain look is what we should strive for, and basically, it takes a lot of obsession and sometimes desperate measures to meet that standard.  God doesn’t want us trying to live up to the standard of the world.  He wants us to live for Him and live up to what His Word says for our lives.  We cannot serve two masters (Matthew 6:24).  And I think it really breaks His heart when we are constantly striving to have a certain body instead of thanking Him for the one we have.

And that makes me think of another lie I was believing.  I had such a hard time believing that God accepted me at my current size/weight. I kept on thinking, “Lord, you knit me together, but this current body cannot possibly be what you designed for me to be.  How can you accept me as I am?  Lord, my habits of overeating have brought me to this place, so how can you accept me when I’ve done this to myself?”  And that’s why I absolutely have to go back to the Word of God and find out what He says about me because that lie can lead one down a treacherous, shameful, self-condemned path.

Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel— rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of GodI Peter 3:3-4

I think it’s nice to look nice.  I think we should take care of our body, honor, and respect it.  It means wearing clothes that fit your current body (stop trying to squeeze into something that makes you feel bad because it’s not currently fitting).  I think it’s fun to have a hair style that we really like, and to wear jewelry, and to wear clothes that make us feel beautiful, but those things don’t make us beautiful.  True beauty comes from within.  The Lord will ask me, “What’s in your heart?”  He’s more concerned about the ‘look’ of my heart.  Am I kind?  Do I speak kindly to my family?  Am I peaceful and secure in the Lord?  Am I compassionate and gentle?  Do I walk in love?

“BUT NOW [in spite of past judgments for Israel’s sins], thus says the Lord, He Who created you, O Jacob, and He Who formed you, O Israel: Fear not, for I have redeemed you [ransomed you by paying a price instead of leaving you captives]; I have called you by your name; you are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you, and through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned or scorched, nor will the flame kindle upon you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior…Because you are precious in My sight and honored, and because I love you, I will give men in return for you and peoples in exchange for your life. Fear not, for I am with you;” Isaiah 43:1-5 AMP

I love, love, love, these verses!  He created me!  He formed me!  He’s redeemed me!  He calls me by my name!  I am His!  He is with me!  I am precious in His sight!  He loves me!  Something the Lord has been asking me (once again in my life) is, “Am I (God) enough for you?  If you never released weight, or even gained weight, am I enough for you?”  GULP!  I sort of don’t like that question because He asks it when it’s something I really, really, really don’t want or something I really do want.  Sometimes, to be honest, the answer has been “no”.  *sad face*  And I know that I don’t have the freedom to move forward until I can say “YES!”  And I’ve known for awhile in this journey that I needed to come to that place of being content with my weight/size no matter what.  I knew I would have to come to a place of genuine acceptance.  I fought it, hard.  No way did I want to be content with staying at my current size when I knew there was weight to be released.  Nor did I want to say I would be content if I gained weight.  Are you kidding me?  (He’s not kidding me!)  But now I am seeing that I’ve strived after some “ideal” and I have to let that go and do what I know He’s shown me to do (eating between hunger and satisfaction).  And I’ve had to accept that my natural, healthy weight is where I land when I’m consistently doing just that.  God is enough to satisfy me if I never release weight.  He is my all in all!  And I am all of those things to Him, as that verse says, no matter what my current body looks like!

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[And the Lord answered] Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yes, they may forget, yet I will not forget you. Behold, I have indelibly imprinted (tattooed a picture of) you on the palm of each of My hands; [O Zion] your walls are continually before Me. Isaiah 49:15-16 AMP

First of all, I think it’s almost impossible for a mother to forget her hungry child.  And I think He’s making that point.  When babies are hungry, they cry.  And if you don’t feed them right away, they CRY even more.  It’s pretty hard to ignore.  This verse reminds me of how if a good father gives good gifts to his child, how much more will God give to us? (Matthew 7:7-12).  If it’s hard for a mother to forget her hungry child, how much more impossible is it for God to forget us?  Totally impossible!  God will NOT forget you!  Or me!  And I love the Amplified version of this verse because it says we are TATTOOED on the palm of not just one, but BOTH of His hands.  We are pretty special!!!  I love my kids so much and I don’t have a tattoo on the palm of my hands of them.  Ha!  So just think about how MUCH He loves you!  Wow!!!  You, my dear brother or sister in Christ, are loved and accepted by Him!

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations. Jeremiah 1:5 NKJV

I love this verse because it’s saying that He had a plan about us before we were even formed in the womb.  He specifically designed us to be the individual person that we are.  He gave us a personality, likes, dislikes, our looks, etc.  We are His masterpiece!

[He exclaimed] O my love, how beautiful you are! There is no flaw in you!  Song of Solomon 4:7 AMP

He says we are beautiful!  You are beautiful!  He didn’t create you with a flaw!  Not a one!  We were made in His image.  He gave you life!  I love how this verse in the Amplified just puts it right out there; there’s no question or doubt that He says I am beautiful!  No matter what the mirror may tell us or what the world says about our image, HE says we are beautiful!  You are beautiful!  He didn’t create flaws; everything in His creation was “good”.  And that includes you!

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:10 NLT

I never really looked at myself as His “masterpiece”.  But I LOVE this way of looking at what He did when He created me and formed me.  I am His work of art!  You are His masterpiece!  And then when we become a new creature in Christ–that masterpiece takes on even more in depth beauty!

For the mountains may move and the hills disappear, but even then my faithful love for you will remain. My covenant of blessing will never be broken,” says the LORD, who has mercy on you. Isaiah 54:10 NLT

I live around mountains and I’ve never seen one disappear, but just in case if one does, I will know that God’s love is even more faithful than the surety of a mountain staying put.  So basically, it’s pretty much impossible for a mountain to disappear.  So we can be sure that God’s love will ALWAYS be!  His love is unfailing!! (1 Cor 13:)

What is the price of five sparrows—two copper coins? Yet God does not forget a single one of them. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows. Luke 12:6-7 NLT

There is really no point in knowing how many hairs we have on our head, but God says He loves us so much and we are so important to us that He even knows that number.  We are so precious to Him!  Can you see just how much He loves you and cares about you?

Whom have I in heaven but you? I desire you more than anything on earth. My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever. Psalms 73:25-26 NLT

This is one of those verses that really makes me see how God is totally enough for me.  My security isn’t my health or how lean my body may be.  I want Him to be the strength of my heart because I will always have Him–forever and always.  He is my Rock on which I stand–no matter what!  Forever!

And the last two verses I’m sharing are the same from Zephaniah, but I wanted to share two different versions because they are both so beautifully written:

For the LORD your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.  Zephaniah 3:17 NLT

The LORD your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.  Zephaniah 3:17 NKJV

He delights in us!  Think about how when you have a baby: they sleep, they eat, they poop…oh…and cry.  And eventually they smile, and coo.  But the point is that even in those few things that they do, we delight in them.  We love them just because.  It’s not based on their performance or because of their looks.  We just delight in them and they are so precious to us!  The Lord delights in us and it’s not because of our performance.  He’s like, “See that child of mine?  I love them so much!”  And then he rejoices over us with singing.  This is such a beautiful description of how much He loves us.  So just cuddle up in His arms and let Him sing over you.  He is just so in love with you!

These verses have been such a blessing to me in the last week.  I need to lean upon God’s word in this journey.  His word never changes and it breathes life into my soul.  I’ve been so encouraged as I’ve applied these truths.  When lies arise, I take the thoughts captive and bring them under the obedience of Christ by remembering what God says about me in these scriptures.  For example, today I saw myself in the mirror and immediately I started to criticize my body, but then immediately, God’s truth came in and raised up a standard against those lies (Isaiah 59:19).  I’ve been using these verses to write scripture prayers.  Before even getting out of bed in the morning, I open my notes on my phone and read through these scriptures.  When I truth journal, I include what God says about me from these verses.  And let me tell you, it’s helped so much!  There are so many wonderful tools out there that we can use to renew our mind and to help us think on His truth, but there’s nothing like the unadulterated word of God!

I want to encourage you to keep these verses close to your heart!  You are loved and accepted by Him!  I’m praying that you will be transformed by these truths!

 

 

I’m Dead to That and Alive in Christ

I’m Dead to That and Alive in Christ

Are you battling sin? Do you fear that you will never break free from the cravings and obsessions that follow those of us who struggle with disordered eating? I have good news for you and it is found in Romans 6:8-11. Bask in the truth of this scripture.

Romans 6.11

Romans 6:8-11

“Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with Him. For we know that since Christ was raised for the dead, He cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over Him. The death He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life He lives, He lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

So, we are dead to sin according to scripture. Maybe you are sitting there thinking, “Yeah, right. I sure don’t feel dead to my sin.” Maybe you have cried out to God time after time, then became determined that you are just not going to do that thing (overeat, binge, restrict, condemn) anymore, yet to go back to it time and time again. Believe me, dear reader, I have been there.

There are things in this life that I absolutely cannot do for myself. I can’t save myself. It is only by the grace of God through my faith in Jesus Christ that I receive the gift of salvation (Romans 10:9). I can’t forgive my own sins. Only God is faithful and just to forgive my sins (1 John 1:9) because I am His child through Christ Jesus (1 John 2:12). But, when it comes to change, I feel like I have the power and strength to do it myself. Learning at an early age to be self-sufficient has made this lie a tough one for me to lay down.

I was reading about Lazarus the other day. I love this picture from the life of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (John 11:1-44). It is made even more real to me in my own life as I continue to work the program of Hunger Within. In Hunger Within we learn about the “grave clothes” that God wants to remove from us in order to bring about healing in our lives in the areas of our disordered eating. The healing of the food issues transfers to all areas of our lives for which I am so grateful. So, picture Lazarus, dead in his tomb. He’s been dead 4 to 6 days before Jesus arrives. Jesus comes and wants God’s glory to shine forth in raising Lazarus from the dead. This is exactly what Jesus wants to do in our lives as we look to Him and His power to heal us (from disordered eating and every other trial). He wants God’s glory to be revealed in our lives. But, what if Lazarus had decided he was too comfortable being dead and didn’t want to be brought back to life? Can you picture it? Jesus says, “Lazarus, come forth!” And Lazarus says, “No Lord, I’m comfortable being dead. I don’t want to be brought back to life.” Can you picture Lazarus saying, “NO” to the power that Jesus was ready to show of God’s glory (this is our Abba Father who loves us!) to those watching and waiting to see what Jesus would do? I can’t imagine saying no to Jesus. But, dear reader, isn’t that what we say when we fail at this way of eating? We find ourselves comfortable in our desires and compulsions. We realize there are things we don’t want to let go of. We feel safe wrapped up in our grave clothes. Don’t we find ourselves saying we can’t eat this way or that we will never change; we are just wired this way? Don’t we find ourselves drawn back into the world of current favorite diets? Don’t we want to be accepted by the crowds around us who are doing just that? Do you tire of people looking at you with strange looks when you say, “I don’t diet anymore. I eat within the boundaries of hunger and fullness…you know 0 to 5 eating?”

Dear reader, if you identify yourself as a true Jesus follower, and by that I mean that you had a time in your life that you admitted you were a sinner and needed a Savior, you have within you the same power that raised Lazarus from the dead. I do, and you do! If you are tired of a sin/repent cycle, grab a hold of the Lord and allow His power to work in you. I am. Day by day I surrender my disordered eating to Him. I surrender the compulsions. I surrender the things I obsessively think about that distract me from the work He is doing in my life. His resurrection power is real. Our Abba Father loves us and He wants to transform us into the image of His Son. After the beloved verse of Romans 8:28 lays Romans 8:29. It says, “For those God fore-knew He also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brothers.”  That is us dear reader. God wants to change us. We just need to lay down control and say, “Yes, Lord. Change me. I am dead to sin, and alive in Christ.”

When sin calls my name, I can choose through the power of Christ Jesus to say, “NO. I am dead to you and alive in Christ Jesus!”

Dear reader, let’s be like Lazarus, who upon hearing his Lord’s voice broke forth from death into life, and accept that we cannot heal ourselves, but with the power of Christ Jesus, we can be healed and brought into life.

Living Life in Limbo

Living Life in Limbo

bannerI have had a lot of different, but big things happening (or are on the brink of happening ) with my family.  Several things have made me feel as if I am in limbo as we are facing some life changes  over the next few months.

Limbo is not a good place for me.  I like order.  I like to know what is coming.  I am not a “surprise” kinda gal.  So as I sit here in this place of “not knowing”….I find myself slipping back into a place of worry.

I am trying not to be afraid and to trust that God will provide. I know He will, but it’s hard for me to not wonder what will happen.

I have learned that the best way to battle worry and wondering about the future is for me is to  renew my mind everyday with scripture about God providing and  about trusting in Him.

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Scripture Truths 

 

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Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your paths.  ~Proverbs 3:5-6

And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you. ~Psalm 9:10

Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. ~ Psalm 37:4-6 

 You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. ~Isaiah 26:3

The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him. ~Psalm 28:7

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Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit. ~Jeremiah keep-calm-and-don-t-worry-8517:7-8

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“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? ~Matthew 6:25 

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Do not worry or be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. ~Philippians 4:6-7

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Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. ~Joshua 1:9

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Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. ~Isaiah 41:10

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For I know the plans I have for you, declares the PicsArt_05-10-12.13.26Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. ~Jeremiah 29:11

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When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. ~Isaiah 43:2-3
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God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. ~Psalm 46:1
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The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. ~Psalm 23:1-2

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Look Up!

Renewing my mind keeps me from grabbing food to numb the fear or anxiety. Or for escape. When I turn to the Lord instead and BELIEVE what He says to me “fear not for I am with You”….I look UP and not around me.

I look UP

I reach UP

AND

I don’t reach for things that won’t satisfy.

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Garden-Watering Lessons

Garden-Watering Lessons

Written by Barb Shelton

Barb's Photo

I am SO grateful for the various Thin Within communities!!!  Each one I have been a part of has been a sweet blessing, but a blessing that I have not “taken advantage of” nearly as often as I need to. L I too easily allow other things to crowd in and take the place of spending the time I need to with the Lord, and also with you ladies. So, rather than being “a part of” you, I have been more “apart from” you. L 

So how much time is “enough” time ~ especially with the Lord?  

I was watering the garden the other day, trying to figure out “how much is the right amount of water for my plants. And the right amount of time to water. I’m not exactly famous for having the most lush gardens or plants in my home. L I tend to either over-water or under-water, and neither result in happy plants.

I noticed there were places where the soil got completely moistened with the water I gave it. In other places it looked only barely moist. And there were still other places where it was completely dry, even though I had watered there not long ago.

I realized there were several things affecting this…

Of course, the amount of sun the area had beating down onto it played a big part in how dry it was, and how quickly it would become dry again.

In most analogies, I like to equate the sun with God and his warm grace, but not in this one. Here I liken the beating-down sun to the “hard stuff” in my life. Things that are just rotten, awful, hard, painful, not going away, and that I have no power to change. They just keep beating down on me – and drying me out – like the hot sun in a parched desert.

Then there’s also the matter of the type of pot – or lack thereof – that a plant is in. A non-porous pot does not allow nearly as much water to evaporate out through its walls as does a porous earthenware pot.

At this point in my life, I am like a very porous earthenware pot. This whole thing of needing to die to my flesh in the area of food and eating is draining, in every sense of the word. It involves allowing God to remove my yucky “graveclothes” and reveal the stuff in me that either is dead, dying, or needs to die – which, of course, is unto me being healed and made whole and new – but it has made me very “leaky” (including my eyes) and feeling very vulnerable: Shaky at times. And greatly in need of a lot of God’s softening, moistening, refreshing and healing water.

I also noticed that the proximity of a plant to other plants made a difference in how soon after watering it needed to be watered again. I don’t think I saw dry soil around any plants that were close to other plants. The water seemed to soak through the whole area, probably through the common root system. And maybe just the interactive ambiance between them!  J

It doesn’t take too much imagination to translate this part of the analogy! As Deanna B recently shared, our need for accountability is great. And I have not been taking advantage of that! L So I am recommitting myself to doing this ~ to being in this kind of relationship ~ with you precious ladies here in the Thin Within community!

So, as I was standing there spraying my plants in “center” mode on the hose nozzle, what hit my center was that I do not need to focus on putting in a certain amount of time with the Lord, but that I need to give Him enough time to allow enough of His glorious healing and unlimited water to soak all the way down to my dry and needy roots; down to where my deepest need is.

“I pray…that out of his glorious, unlimited resources He will give you the mighty inner strengthening of his Holy Spirit. And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts, living within you as you trust in Him. May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love…”  Ephesians 3:14-17 (TLB)

YES YES YES!!!  This is what I desperately need! My roots need to “go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love”! 

This rest of this passage in Ephesians 3:14-19 (TLB) has even more life-giving water as it elaborates on what this “marvelous love” is like:  “…and may you be able to feel and understand, as all God’s children should, how long, how wide, how deep, and how high his love really is; and to experience this love for yourselves, though it is so great that you will never see the end of it or fully know or understand it. And so at last you will be filled up with God himself.”  

Getting filled up by the Lord isn’t so that I can say “I spent such-and-such an amount of time with the Lord today,” (which my “to-do-ish” nature gravitates to!), but so that my roots can have – so that the very core of me has – all the fresh Living Water I need to be nourished, refreshed, and healed.  Transformed ~ from the INSIDE OUT!

Psalm 1 says: “Blessed is the one … whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on His law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither — whatever they do prospers.”

I have *much* on my plate in this season of my life, and am way too easily distracted to get to those things, and I have simply – and sadly – not been giving my roots “enough” water; my heart enough Jesus. And I am feeling it.  There’s too little grace, too much negativity, too easy to feel hopeless.

So I am re-stating my desire, my intent, and my commitment to allow the Lord more time to go more deeply into me, down into the dry, crusty, dark places that are in need of His touch and His redeeming work.

And I’m also restating my commitment to come here more often and to not only share nuggets of my journey with you precious ladies, but also to be showered with the refreshing “Living Water” that you so lavishly share here out of your own walks with the Living God!!!  I am so thankful for your openness to so vulnerably share your journeys! And to *you,* Deanna, for laying down your life to continue making this possible through the summer!

“And the Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy you with all good things, and keep you healthy too; and you will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring.” (Isaiah 58:11)…  Yes, Lord!!!  Bring on the water! 

And how will He do that?  One last verse that comes to mind:  “My heart has heard You say, ‘Come and talk with Me, oh my people'” ~ which I take to mean that He’s actually serious about;  He wants me to come and talk with Him even, if not especially, when I’m in a bad mood or a dark place, ashamed of my repeated failings, my sin, my battle with food addiction, my frustrations with myself, and the feelings of hopelessness that grip my and try to drag me down into the pit of despair. I don’t need to clean myself up to come to Him; He wants to do that!

So, even when I’d rather hide, “by the mighty power of the Spirit of the Lord at work within me, I will instead say: “…and my heart responds ‘LORD, (and you sisters here in the Thin Within community!), I AM COMING!'”

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Barb Shelton has been writing for homeschoolers since shortly after starting her homeschooling journey in 1982, culminating in graduating their three children. Since almost no homeschooling books were written back in the “olden days,” Barb ended up being a inadvertent (and unlikely and unwilling, actually) pioneer in that movement, writing 8 books and speaking at many homeschool conventions around the country.  Barb is sure she learned more than her kids did in that 24-year experience, especially about depending on the Lord and allowing Him to redeem many areas of her life ~ the “final frontier” of which is getting victory in the area of eating.  The Lord is bringing her into the “general public” realm now, and her first blog ~ “Honeycomb Oasis” ~ is almost ready to launch! There she’ll be sharing many of her “life learnings,” so check there toward the end of May!

 

What Path Are You On?

What Path Are You On?

Recently I did a small group study that had us identify one or two deep core beliefs from a list of a hundred or more.  Wow!  This was really hard to do!  But, after much prayer, soul searching and thinking, I came up with my two.  They are FAITH (in Christ as in He will do what He promises, will take care of me, has my back, has my future….etc.) and FREEDOM (from anything that holds me captive….)

After identifying these core beliefs, I then was to look at what behaviors keep these beliefs safe and strong in my life.  Also, what actions do I do that lets me know I am not protecting these beliefs in my life.

 

 

TWO PATHS

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When I started thinking about it, I started envisioning a picture of two paths I can follow.

PATH ONE: I am walking hand in hand with Jesus.  This is the path of FAITH and FREEDOM.  This is the path where I am full of His joy and love.  To stay on this path, I need to do some pretty important things each day (and probably several times a day).

  • Renew my mind with HIS truth
  • Be involved in Bible Study
  • Write in my prayer journal
  • Talk to Jesus throughout the day

I  have found that I need to stay pretty vigilant and disciplined to do these things, or I tend to  wander off to another path.

PATH TWO: This one seems easy and comfortable but is is full of my own destructive behavior.  It is one of SELFISHNESS, GREED AND SIN.  Although I am saved and this trail doesn’t lead to eternal death, it is a path that leads away from a full life in Christ like the first path does.  I know I have slipped off that narrow way when I find myself

  • full of worry and anxiety
  • obsessing about things
  • trying to control situations
  • overeating or loosening my eating boundaries
  • feeling down about my appearance

 

So, which path am I on right now?

I need to examine my actions and my thoughts.  This will help me see which path I’m following….the one that leads back to that prison or the one of freedom. I know I’m on the bad path if I am overeating or obsessing or worrying… etc…

I stay on the path to freedom if I am praying, in bible study, journalling  to renew my mind…and staying within my boundaries for mindful eating.

TAKE A MINUTE AND THINKBLACK-WOMAN-THINKING

What actions and thoughts keep you on the path that leads to abundant life?  
What are your warning signs that you have slipped back on the path of self destructiveness?

No matter what, dear friend, if you have accepted Jesus as your Savior, You are already on the road to heaven.  You are SAVED, but He wants us to have abundant life with Him RIGHT NOW on this earth!  He wants us to walk with Him on the path of freedom  RIGHT NOW.

John 10:10

The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows).

So, as we walk this journey called life…

Lets examine our thoughts and our behavior.

Lets heed the warning signs that we are slipping back on that destructive trail.

Let’s plan to daily BE with Jesus and do the things HE calls us to do to remain IN HIM.

He calls  to us. 

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Warning! Consequences Ahead!

Warning! Consequences Ahead!

I forgot something very important last week that nearly sent me on a downward spiral. I am praising the Lord for helping me to remember this important bit of information. I forgot that when Jesus Christ died on the cross for me and was resurrected and because I have placed my faith and trust in Him as my Savior and Lord, that I have His power to say no to sin. 

He broke the power of sin in my life.  

Romans 6.6-7

I think I became forgetful because we are going into the summer months. It’s during the summer months that many of us “take time off” from activities we do during the school year: like corporate Bible Study and co-leading classes for Thin Within/Hunger Within. I know that if I hit the summer without a plan in place, I tend to flounder and waste time. I tend to use the freedom from activity as an excuse to be lazy. And, this past week I used the excitement of upcoming freedom to put me in a dangerous place concerning my disordered eating. 

Yes, through Christ Jesus, I am free from the power of sin, but that doesn’t give me the right to freely sin.

I wonder if you can identify with me. See, I was looking at freedom from weekly responsibilities as an opportunity to run wild so to speak. I know it is easier for me to keep my focus on the Lord in what I am doing when I have responsibilities. They give me things that I have to get done in my spare time. But, sometimes I get tired and in my tiredness, I start to look forward to some freedom. With the summer months in front of me, I started relishing the freedom ahead, forgetting that I am not good with too much free time on my hands.  So, I started eating outside of hunger again. I couldn’t understand what was happening until I took it to the Lord. He showed me that even though I thought I wanted the freedom that the summer would bring, I was really afraid of the freedom. Why was I afraid? He showed me that I hadn’t made a plan to take Him into that freedom. Without Him in my free time, I don’t have His power to say no to sin. It is only through Him that sin has no power over me.

Running wild into freedom without Christ Jesus is no freedom at all. It is running straight back into bondage.

Consequences

There is an old saying that I heard at a 12 Step meeting years ago that goes, “An addict lost in his own mind is in enemy territory.” I’m going to expound on that to say, “An addict lost in too much freedom without Christ along is in enemy territory.” That is where I found myself.

So, what did I do? I asked the Lord to help me. He helped me remember that I have an accountability partner in Thin Within (if you don’t have one, I highly recommend you get one ASAP). I reached out and found out that we both were struggling. God is so good! We had a divine appointment. My accountability partner and I have agreed to stay in contact daily via text or personal message, and voice to voice via phone on a more regular basis. We are being vulnerable and admitting our weaknesses to one another and to Jesus. We are sharing our 0 to 5 eating, our plans for renewing our minds, our temptations and our victories.

I am no longer afraid of the freedom of summer because I have asked Jesus and my friend to walk with me.

I praise You

Dear reader, the moral of what I just shared is simple. If you are finding yourself in eating situations that leave you feeling unsettled, unhappy and condemned, would you consider doing what I did, and take them to the Lord, surrender to His wisdom and accept what He shows you? Look for those He has placed around you and reach out to them. There is freedom ahead and you don’t have to walk into it alone.

Suggested reading: Romans 6 through 8