Last week I saw a video on Facebook where a girl was talking about how we all feel fat sometimes. You know that feeling. You wake up and just feel fat. Well, she said something that really stuck with me.
FAT IS NOT A FEELING
Ok, so today I have been feeling fat. Bloated. Icky. Like I am gaining weight. What is going on with me? Just the other day I was feeling thinner, like I am losing weight.
Since Fat Is Not a Feeling, I need to look deeper and ask this question:
What I am REALLY feeling?
I am tired.
I am bloated.
I feel too full.
I examine what I have been doing differently lately. Oh…the weekend. I have been eating beyond 5 all weekend and not listening to the Lord. Oh…and I was rebellious when I was at one of my favorite restaurants. I heard the Lord’s voice when it was time to stop and I just kept on going. Oh Lord, I did this just because I wanted to!
I had seen some pictures of myself from the weekend and I didn’t like the way I looked. OUCH. That is why I wanted to keep on eating at the restaurant the other day.
Yes, I am getting closer to what’s been going on with me.
Even today I have been thinking about those pictures. I have looked at those pictures of me over and over. Do I really look like that? I don’t like it.
Ugh. I know I need to pray. I know that “feeling” fat means something deeper is going on. So, Lord, what am I really feeling? Unattractive. Flabby. Blah. Why? Well, I am tired. My body feels different because I ate differently this weekend. I haven’t been drinking enough water and that does make a difference.
Lord, what are you teaching me in all of this? What do You want me to see in this? Deep down, I am afraid that people will see these pictures and see how “ugly” I look. Wow. Really? Why do I see myself as ugly by the way I look in these pictures? By what standards am I comparing myself? Am I comparing myself to the way I was just a few years ago before I gained this weight? Before starting back to Thin Within? I am not the same person as I was then. You have done so much in me through Hunger Within. I no longer obsess over my eating and exercise and Lord that is a BIG layer you have removed from me. It clung so tightly and was part of my identity.
But, Lord, sometimes I still obsessing about my appearance.
Lord, when will I truly see myself as You see me? As Your beautiful daughter despite how I look in pictures or how an outfit may or may not look on me? You look at my heart and what do you see, Oh Lord?
Am I really able to accept myself the way YOU want me to be? Am I really beautiful in Your eyes right now? Am I acceptable? Am I attractive to You? Is the way YOU see me all that matters to my heart?
Oh, Lord, it is hard to peel away this layer of grave clothes that bind so tightly. This desire to look good to others and to be attractive still holds me captive at times. Have I gained weight in the last few years? Yes. Do I need to be ashamed of that? Well, I am on a journey to healing with Hunger Within. The changes in my heart are beautiful to You.
It didn’t seem to take much time to gain the weight. Lord, I know it will take time to release the weight and become my God given size. You are doing much more in me than just shaping my body. You are shaping my heart.
“Lord, You are showing me that I need to surrendering how I look to You. Yes, Lord this means even giving to YOU how I look in pictures and how I think others see me. Yes even that ….turned over to You, Oh Lord.”
Create in me a clean heart, Oh God and renew a right spirit within me. (Psalm 51:10)
Help me see things through Your eyes, Oh Lord. Help me see through Your lens of Love and Grace that is extended to me. Your grace, acceptance and love is given regardless of what a number says on a scale or a pair of pants. It is there for me regardless of how I look in a picture. It is there regardless of how I think others see me. Oh Lord, Thank You for new beginnings and for grace.
What about you? Have you been struggling with how to look to others? Have you been struggling with what others might think of you? Can you accept the love and grace God has for you right now wherever you are in shape or size? Are you ready to surrender this area to the LORD?
19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
They just built another storage unit center that I pass on my way to work. Do you ever wonder why we as a society need so many storage unit centers? Why do we have so much “junk” that we need overflow areas outside of our homes? I know that some are used as temporary storage for furniture and other belongings while housing is in transition. I also know that many are used to store the overflow of “things” we refuse to part with but take up too much room in our daily lives to have at home, so we place this overflow in a storage unit. The new place is aptly called EZ Stor. Pull in, dump, and pull out…what could be easier: Out of sight, out of mind. And “things” just keep piling up. I can’t help but see a pattern here that also points to the things that keep us in bondage.
In Chapter 7 of Hunger Within we read, “The weight we have struggled to release is only a symbol of what we’ve been carrying—the compulsions, denial, shame, guilt, old unworkable beliefs, and painful past experiences. As we become aware of our burdensome bindings, our patient Lord is always near, encouraging us to be unwrapped as quickly or as slowly as we are able to bear. Layer by layer, the loving hand of the Lord dismantles our crippling defense mechanisms and removes the self-protective devices we thought were necessary for survival, knowing we sincerely long to be set free from the encumbrances we have been bearing.”
It sounds like we need to clean out our storage units. Our minds are a lot like those units. We file our pain, our hurts, our bad memories, our rejections, and our abuse (both done to us and what we have done to ourselves through years of disordered eating and restrictive dieting). If you are here in Thin Within/Hunger Within to seek the Lord for freedom, but are not finding John 8:36 – “If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed,” resonating in your heart and mind, I would ask you to unlock the door to the storage unit of your mind and start unpacking and bringing into the light of God’s healing grace the items stored there. I know this isn’t an easy task. I’ve been unpacking my own storage unit for years. I know some of those old comfortable “things” are really hard to let go of. I’ve had to unclench my grasp of many of them myself. I know that we open that door and see such clutter and mess and feel that the task in front of us is impossible. I’ve been there. That was when I threw up my hands in despair and said, “Lord, I can’t do this! The mess is too big!” He gently said, “Deanna, I have been waiting to hear you admit your weakness, for in your weakness, my strength will shine. With you alone, it is impossible, but with God, all things are possible.”
I know it is a huge temptation to go back to the way we’ve always done things in the past. To start filling up that storage unit and to keep paying the rent (go back to dieting and man-made rules about food or jump on the current band-wagon that everyone else is trying in order to lose weight). But we need to remember 2 Corinthians 5:17 – 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Let’s make a commitment to God and each other that we will not go back to the way things were before. We don’t have to because in Christ Jesus, we have been made completely new. We don’t live there anymore. Let’s renew ourselves daily with the truth found in God’s Word. The temptation to look back is strong, but we can rest and take a stand on His truth! We can live in Christ’s freedom. We have His promise in Galatians 5:1 – It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. It’s time to clean out those storage units and cancel the leases. We are never going back.
my desire to put more food on my plate than I really need
my desire to be skinny
my desire to be liked by others
I open up my hands, Jesus. I release my fear and want of control.
AND IN THE PLACE OF ALL THIS, I CLAIM YOUR TRUTH!
…..and You remind me….
to keep my eyes on YOU. that I need to TRUST YOU more than I trust MYSELF.
I need to LOVE YOU more than I love MYSELF.
But, Lord. Do I really do this? Am I really faithful? Oh Lord, my own desires always seem to get in the way. Yet….You remind me that I can come to You each moment….each day…each blink of an eye. and YOU are there…..”
Your mercies are new each morning.
So, there I was.
I had just finished reading a wonderful devotion and had some great journalling time with the Lord. I had written about daily surrendering the food and worry and control to Him.
I was at a zero and so had my breakfast.
Coffee, bite…yumm. repeat. again. and again and….oh!
THEN IT HAPPENED. I felt that familiar sensation that I was no longer hungry. I felt it AFTER I HAD PUT THAT LAST BITE IN MY MOUTH. Yes, that was going to be the last bite. Food was left on my plate, but I was no longer hungry.
BUT BEFORE I COULD EVEN CHEW that last bite, I had a prick in my spirit. Would I be willing to give up that bite? Would I be willing to surrender it?
I knew I just couldn’t eat that bite. There I sat with a mouth full of food and thinking what to do with this food….I went to trash and spit it out.
Oh, Dear Reader! It is now that we must be very careful!
This can go down the legalistic slippery slope VERY QUICKLY if not taken in the context of the whole experience. I had JUST HAD A DEEP TIME OF SURRENDERING with the Lord. And it was in that aftermath of that time that the Lord asked me if I would be willing to even surrender something as small as one bite.
Does He ask me to do this at every meal? No. But it showed me that IF I CAN SURRENDER THAT ONE LAST BITE THAT IS ALREADY IN MY MOUTH…I can certainly surrender the desire to eat before I am all the way hungry. If I can not even CHEW that last bite and spit it out of my mouth because God asked me to do it, I can have the strength in HIM to push my plate away when I feel that comfortable sensation and know I’m done.
Here are some questions.
Am I WILLING to truly give up my love of food? Am I REALLY ready to surrender when and how much I am eating? I say I am. I say I love God more than anything. But the test comes when I am tempted…..what will I REALLY do?
What will you do?
No matter what, dear reader….if we choose our own way, we are forgiven and there is grace. For most of us it is a daily….or hourly….surrender of our love affair with food!. It is a choice we make. BUT IN HIM and in HIS strength, we can do it!
Have you ever have an a-ha moment and you just want to face plant your palm on your forehead and quip, “I could have had a V-8!!”? (For you young’uns, this was a cute commercial that came out in the 70’s about eating poorly and then realizing you could have drank a can of V-8 Vegetable Juice instead) This happened to me this week but it wasn’t a V-8 I needed, but a simple prayer. It took a couple of the gals in the Hunger Within class that I am co-leading to open my eyes to some truth and give me the push I needed to make an easy change.
I have been grouchy. There I said it. I don’t mean cute like Oscar the Grouch from Sesame Street. I mean like this:
I have been having a difficult time at work. I’m a bookkeeper at a CPA firm and the crunch has been on because of tax season. The pressure has been high and the tensions are flaring. I would like to use this as an excuse, but I can’t. I would really like to blame all the drama at the office for my grouchy mood, but I’m not. This is my third time being involved in a class for Hunger Within, and the Holy Spirit is opening my eyes to portions I have read and taught on, but haven’t implemented very well in my day to day life.
Our chapter this week is Holy Action. Isn’t that a great title? Part of this chapter talks about the eight aspects of holy action. They are Love, Knowledge, Discernment, Responsibility, Self-examination, Prayer, Surrender and Boundaries. This chapter also goes through each piece of the Armor of God and how we use them in our lives. I want to share with you the lesson I learned in our Hunger Within class last evening and how all of these things just became my lifeline to take me from grouchy to glowing.
We were discussing the Armor. A couple of gals in our class shared how they pray on the Armor of God each morning either first thing or on their way to work. Here is where I had my a-ha moment. I know to do this. I’ve led a Bible Study about the Armor of God. I’ve done this before, but have never kept it up. I needed to start doing this first thing in the morning. Maybe this simple action would bring about the great change I needed in my grouchy life. I know some of you may be thinking, “Duh!” while others of you may be squirming in your seats because you are struggling like I have been and maybe aren’t quite ready or willing to try this. Oh, sweet reader, I understand! I have been realizing that I had become comfortable in my grouchy state. You could say that I have been self-righteous in my grouchy state. After all, I was only grouchy because the world wasn’t doing things the way I though it should. Honestly, I knew this was becoming a bad habit and the part of me that is being transformed by the Lord wasn’t happy about it and really wanted a change.
So, using the lesson of Holy Action, I decided to love God, myself and others enough to use my knowledge of the Lord and how He works in my life to help me discern how I needed to take responsibility for my grouchy demeanor. Through self-examination (and listening to others) I realized I needed to be focused in my prayers in the morning. So, this morning, I surrendered my day over to the Lord and prayed on the Full Armor of God, ending my prayer time with some extra jabs with the Sword of the Spirit by praying specific scripture prayers over troubling areas of my life. Then I committed my food and relationship boundaries to the Lord and off to work I went. I really felt a new song in my heart (even driving in rush hour traffic on a major interstate). I looked at the challenges I was facing in my day with an attitude of surrender, instead of being self-sufficient. I opened myself up to some wonderful help that I needed, instead of sulking. My 20 minute drive home took 45 minutes, but I just cranked up my praise music and had worship in my car with bumper to bumper traffic all around me.
I know there will be struggles another day. I am not expecting a sunshine and lollipop day every day. After all, I am human. But one thing I know; if I start my day out right with that special time with the Lord, my own attitude will be different and maybe, just maybe, I can help someone else go from grouchy to glowing by sharing what the Lord did for me.
I heard the term “Fat Shaming” for the first time a few months ago in an article on Facebook. It was written by a woman who has endured comments mainly from doctors that automatically assumed that she was unhealthy just because she was considered “obese” by the BMI scale. All her blood work showed that her cholesterol levels were great, and all other “levels” that doctors look for in that type of test. Her blood pressure was perfect. She even ran several miles a week and was training for a 5K run! There really wasn’t anything wrong with her health other than she might have an illness every now and then like most of us endure when needing to see a doctor.
That led me to these questions:
Why do people automatically think that a BMI scale, weight scale, fat pinch meter or a number on a pair of pants dictates how healthy I am?
Why is it that I know several “thin” people who have high blood pressure and some avid runners who are the outward picture of health have high cholesterol?
Ok…let me give this disclaimer: YES, it is true that obesity does lend itself to diabetes and high cholesterol. BUT really? Is it the size of a person or is it the AMOUNT OF FOOD THAT IS CONSUMED that causes the health problem?Overeating does cause obesity. That is a fact. But let’s put the focus where it should lie. It isn’t the size or shape of our bodies that causes us to be unhealthy. It is too much food. Too much fat, too much salt, too much sugar….but TOO MUCH. EXCESS.
So let’s go back to the whole FAT SHAMING thing.
The author of the article that introduced me to this term was simply saying that just because someone is considered overweight and the wrong shape or size by society, generally society frowns upon them. How many of us can relate to that? If you haven’t experienced that, just think back to the last time you were at the beach and might have been surrounded by bikini-clad and young beauties, some of whom look down their perfectly perky noses at you!
Fat shaming IS a real thing in our society.
Dear readers, I am here to tell you that the biggest and strongest and loudest voice to fat shame you is YOURSELF! Yes, I said it. It’s us! We do the MOST shaming of all, don’t we?
But guess what? THERE’S GOOD NEWS!!
In Christ we have no condemnation. IN Christ we have no shame. In Christ, we are loved the way we are. In Christ we have a chance to be accepted and loved no matter our shape, size or number on a scale or pair of pants or BMI chart!
Therefore now there is NO COMDEMNATION for those who are in Christ Jesus!
I believe it was Heidi Bylsma who once said “Jesus is not nearly as concerned about your size as He is concerned about your heart!”
Oh Dear Reader!
It is time for this FAT SHAMING to END!
WE DON’T HAVE TO LISTEN TO IT!
It’s time to FIGHT!!! It’s time to tell those shaming thoughts to “get packing!”
Tell the evil one that YOU WILL NOT LISTEN ANYMORE!
Renew our minds with HIS TRUTH!
How about you? Would you like to learn more about kicking “shame” to the curb? In Hunger Within, we learn ways to destroy shame and how it plays a part in our cycle of diet slavery. You can order a copy to read or join a workbook study for tools to help with defeating shame. Meantime, why not make a list of your identity in Christ? Here are a few scriptures to get you started fighting LIES with GOD’S truth about you:
I have loved you with an everlasting love, with unfailing love I have drawn you to Myself. ~Jeremiah 31:3
See how much our Father loves us, for He calls us His children, and that is what we are. ~1 John 3:1
The Lord our God is with you. He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you. He will dance over you with singing. ~ Zephaniah 3:17
I am complete in Him. ~Colossians 2:10
You are beautiful for you are fearfully and wonderfully made ~Psalm 139:14
If anyone is in Christ, they are a NEW CREATION. ~ 2 Corinthians 2:17
Have you ever had your pride come up and slap you in the face? I have. When it happened, I was brought to my knees with a new revelation about God, myself and how my pride caused me to overlook the healing material God put right in front of me.
If you have been reading my blogs, you would have noticed that I speak often about being frustrated and critical. God and I (I think mainly I) have been working on (trying to work on) these negative characteristics that I have. I am really troubled by them (I am afraid they have become quite the bad habit) and I think I am ready to let them go. Does that sound wishy washy? I think it does. See, I have been searching for the answer to finally let these negative feelings go, yet when the Lord put the answer in front of my face, I glossed over it. I think I really believed that I could just fix these issues myself. Let me tell you what I discovered and how my pride kept me from facing the truth.
In the Hunger Within class that I am co-leading, we had read Chapter 7 – The Present not the Past. This is a great chapter that discusses how to let go of the past through facing whatever happened there, letting go of being a victim and a wonderful section on forgiveness. There is also a section on the 5 Stages of Grief. Now, this is the third time I have read through and studied the material in this chapter. Each time until now, I have glossed over the section about grief. In my pride, I decided I didn’t really need to spend time on grief. After all, I had already worked through all the things in my past that I grieved. I had already forgiven those who had hurt me. I was beyond the grief of my past. And that is where I was slapped in the face with my pride. I think the Holy Spirit prodded me to finally take the time to read this section carefully; taking in all the information on the 5 stages of grief and how they impact not only why we eat in a disordered fashion but how they impact all areas of our lives. I also learned that the stages of grief are not always linear, but you can go back and forth between the stages. And then, I was brought up short. I had been wondering where all the frustration and being critical was coming from. I heard the Holy Spirit whisper to me that my frustration is a form of anger (Stage 2) and my critical attitude is a form of depression (Stage 4). The fact that I never saw this before is because I was in denial (Stage 1) that I even needed this material! Wasn’t I bargaining (Stage 3) when I begged God over a year ago to show me another way to lose weight without dieting and to stop the food obsession? I was grieving over needing another diet. Didn’t I ask Him for a biblical way that brought Him into the equation? Didn’t I make promises to Him? That is bargaining. I may be finding myself going into the 5th Stage of Grief right now. The 5th Stage is Acceptance. I am accepting that grief is a part of daily life and that I was trying to avoid calling my feelings grief, because grief hurts. Grief is raw. Grief causes me to cry and be out of control. Real grief is hard to hide. The Lord opened my eyes to how my pride was keeping me from recognizing that the healing path He has for me involves feeling my grief and taking it to Him. It was time to pay attention to all the material He has laid before me. With my eyes newly opened, I see that I have been wavering back and forth between all 5 Stages of Grief, spending most of my time in Stage 2 and Stage 4. Anger disguised as frustration and depression disguised as being critical. My grave cloth of pride was covering my eyes and it kept me from seeing how much there is to grieve over and work through in my current life. I would say I was saddened by things that were happening, but what was really going on was a deep feeling of grief. And that grief manifested itself in frustration/anger and being critical/depression because I didn’t want to feel the pain. I came face to face once again with being powerless and needing to go to the Source of all power.
The wonderful thing that has happened since He showed me my mistake is that those feelings and behaviors have lessened. I feel that the grave clothes labeled frustration and critical are being removed. I am able to see what was lying underneath and my real feelings have been brought into the Lord’s healing light. There is a reason why the Hunger Within material brings healing to so many, and just as I don’t pick and choose the parts of the Bible that I like (because it is truth in its entirety), God has shown me that I can’t pick and choose the parts I like in the Hunger Within text. Don’t we often find that the things we say we don’t need or don’t have an issue with are the absolute things we need to look at? He is still teaching me, and I am humbled by His truth.
What about you? Is there an area of your own life that you are choosing not to look at? I pray that the Lord opens your eyes for a fresh vision just as He has opened mine.