When I Stop Chasing Skinny

When I Stop Chasing Skinny

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If you’ve been following my posts in the last couple of years, you are probably familiar with my story.  I have had my  moments of serving the skinny idol.  Two out of three of my pregnancies have been while I’ve been on this journey toward freedom).  God has changed me and He’s shown me the truth about food.  And now…I’m SO excited…to say that He is doing something SO HUGE within me and I just want to shout it from the rooftop!  God is showing me what life is like when I stop chasing skinny.  I want to share some more of my story.

Side note: I realize that I write a lot about my story.  I could share the mechanics about how Thin Within works.  I could share a lot of things, but I believe there’s something powerful that comes from sharing our story and hearing others stories.  I hope my openness and transparency encourages you, wherever you are in your journey.  I know my story is unique.  I don’t have tons of physical weight to release, but I have had plenty of mental weight to release.  I’ve never had an eating disorder, but I’ve been tempted to not eat at my lowest point.  And I’ve had borderline signs of orthorexia.  And I know that there are those of you out there who can relate to my story.  I know this because you’ve reached out to me and shared your similar story with me.  I see these kinds of stories more and more and I know I’m (we) are not alone.  And if you don’t relate to my story, I hope you can find parts that you can relate to and that most of all, you will be encouraged to know that the same God who has freed me is the same God who will free you.  He is no respecter of persons.  He’s a good, good Father!

Isaiah 61:1-3 The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.

Recently, I found a publication that was very encouraging to me.  It’s called Thryve.  It’s an online magazine (although maybe it used to be in actual print at one time?).  I found out about it through a newsletter from Wonderfully Made.  Wonderfully Made is an organization founded by Allie Marie Smith (co-author of the book H.E.A.L.).  Allie wrote an article for the Mended issue of Thryve.  What she wrote resonated very much with that the Lord has been currently teaching me about letting go of this idea that I have to have the “perfect” body:

The problem is that, as we cling ever so tightly to the perfect version of ourselves, we are blinded by our own endeavors, to the cause and person of Christ.  In the process of gaining the whole world (in this case our perfect, ideal self), we forfeit our soul.  Chasing an ideal self leads to bondageResting in Christ leads to freedom.  By living for ourselves, we become enslaved and imprisoned.  However, by giving our lives to Jesus, we allow him to cleanse us of our addictions and show us the way to real life—a life free of destructive dependencies and brokenness.

I had been chasing skinny.  I had been chasing after my “ideal self”.  I had been captivated by the standard of the world instead of being captivated by Jesus Christ.

It’s interesting to me because last year my little word was “be free” and this year it’s “rest”.  Allie sums up what Christ is wanting to do in me with one sentence: “Resting in Christ leads to freedom.” Honestly, I was terrified to let go of skinny.  I remember the first time I read this truth written by Barb Raveling in her weight loss book study Taste for Truth: A 30 Day Weight Loss Bible Study:

Giving up the idol of skinny is essential for both our physical well-being and our spiritual well-being.

I did NOT want to give up skinny.  I felt like it was giving up and accepting an imperfect body (hello!).  I believed the lie that if I didn’t have that perfect, beach-body, sculpted, bikini-mommy body that it was less than what God wanted for me.  I really believed that my “ideal” body was what God wanted for me and that I was failing Him and myself and my family if I wasn’t achieving that.  It’s hard to even type those words, but that’s truly what I was believing.  I would read and hear about how in order to find freedom that I would need to love and accept my body right where it was at, but I didn’t want to let go.  I didn’t want to surrender and give up skinny.  I thought that accepting my body was giving up.

It’s funny because I don’t even know where this “ideal self” came from.  But I know the images I would see plastered all over weren’t helping.  Skinny is everywhere.  It’s held in high regard.  Shame is put on less than perfect bodies.  Culture paints a picture of what the “ideal” woman should look like and when we don’t reflect that image, we feel like a failure.  And then we diet and feel bad when we lose, gain, lose, gain more, lose, gain even more, and so on and so forth.  We set a goal for ourselves to BE that image.  We count, weigh, measure and become fitness fanatics—and we lose ourselves in it—and pretty soon we are serving that idol.  I was.  I was bowing down to that ugly thing and berating my body when it wasn’t living up to that standard.  Ugh.

I want to reflect Christ’s image, not the world’s image of “ideal”.

Lately, I have found courage through other women who have set out to encourage other women to be themselves, cellulite and all!  Allie says, “May you have the courage to break up with your ideal self and stop striving.”  The Lord is giving me courage.  And I want to give you courage to BE YOURSELF!  Be the person God has created you to be.  You are not less of a person because you don’t stand up to some worldly standard.  I feel courageous to LOVE myself and the body God has given me, accepting all of the parts of me—even the parts I used to scold and demand perfection from.  I know there’s a lot of pressure out there to be this “ideal self”, but there’s also a lot of encouragement out there to stop living under that pressure (and as I find more of it, I feel the pressure released more and more).

I want to be that brave woman who says NO THANK YOU to the skinny idol.  And I would love for you to join me.  Will you join me?

We will never measure up to the standards of beauty of this world.  I’m DONE trying to measure up to that.  How can we measure up when the opinions of beauty are constantly changing?  I’m also done paying the price of trying to live up to that standard.  It’s cost me my time and energy that I will never have back.  It’s distracted me from what’s most important.  It’s cost me money.  But praise God because He gives back what the locusts have stolen.  He gives us beauty for ashes.

Something I’ve had to do is look away from the images.  I’ve unfriended friends on Facebook, I’ve deactivated Facebook (for a season), and I’ve had to stop following feeds.  I’ve had to ignore the magazine covers in the check-out lanes.  I’ve had to stop asking the questions that would lead to diet talk.  I’ve purposely had to look away.  What feeds the image for you?  You have to stop feeding the idol and starve it.  You have to guard your heart and eyes from temptation.

Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.  Matthew 26:41

I will set nothing wicked before my eyes.  Psalm 101:3a

I really liked this article I read about one woman’s “cleanse” from the media’s display of skinny.  I had to stay away from social media for most of last year because it created such an issue and temptation for me. It’s really interesting for me to see that others have had to do the same thing.  So instead of thinking we need to “cleanse” by eating or not eating particular foods and/or diet, maybe what we really need to cut out is social media or anything that displays the image for awhile.  It can definitely feed the idol.

There was another article in the Thryve: Mended magazine that hit me right between the eyeballs.  This is from an article called So Glorify God in Your Body by Ashley Kirnan.  She says:

We are influenced to idolize the “perfect” body, yet as believers we are instructed to FLEE idolatry.

OUCH!!  When I read that, the Lord made it very clear to me that striving after the “perfect” and “ideal” body has been idol worship: worshiping skinny.  The skinny idol.  There it is…again!

So here God has created me…designed me…and I’ve been despising my body and ashamed of my body all because it doesn’t live up to some “perfect and ideal” standard!  Hold it!!  I am God’s MASTERPIECE!!  He says I am fearfully and wonderfully made!  Pretty much that says right there that I am beautiful and accepted and beloved—in His eyes!!  He sent His Son and He gave me life.  He saved me.  He purposely designed me.  He is enough for me.

Are you willing to starve this idol?  Are you willing to say NO and stop trying to conform to the image of this world?  Are you willing to be transformed by the renewing of your mind?  Are you willing to let go of the “ideal” and thank God for His masterpiece (that’s YOU!)?

This may be letting go of putting your hope in a diet or in hoping you will reach a certain size or weight that was never designed for you.  (I am not saying you won’t release weight, but for some, you are already at or very close to your God-given, set, ideal weight.)  This may be relieving the pressure you’ve put on yourself to eat a certain way, exercise a certain number of days a week or hours a day, or to fit into that dress/pants/swim-suit (I’ve had to do this—wear what fits and feels good on my body instead of feeling bad when a certain article of clothing may not).  And it may be accepting the love handles, your thighs, and how your body has changed after having a baby or getting older.  But it does NOT mean giving up!  What it does mean is taking that bondage, that heavy load, and laying it at the cross of Jesus.  That weight (bondage of the “ideal” and “perfect”) was never meant for you to carry.  You were meant for so much more—but it starts with you laying it all down and surrendering it.

And do you know what happens when you surrender?  Do you know what happens when you begin to love and accept your body?  You start to care for your body and honor the body God has designed.  You calm down.  You stop worrying about “skinny”.  You listen to your body.  You honor hunger.  You begin to eat in a calm environment–all of those principles of Thin Within naturally happen because now you love, accept, and care about your body.  You treat your body with respect.  You relax.  You stop demanding your body to shape up or squeeze into the skinny jeans you bought 3 sizes too small because they were on sale.

Will you join me?  Let’s do this!  If you are ready, let’s agree in prayer together:

Lord, forgive me for striving after ‘skinny’.  I’ve made it a god and I’ve worshiped it.  You are the One and Only God.  You are my Savior, my King.  Forgive me for comparing myself to others and trying to meet some “ideal” self.  Forgive me for trying to squeeze myself into the “perfect” body.  Help me to see my body as Your masterpiece and to be thankful for it.  Help me to let go of the mental weight I have carried for so long.  Make me whole and complete in you.  Help me know who I am in Christ. In Jesus’ name, amen!

I Can Do It! He Has Given Me What I Need!

I Can Do It! He Has Given Me What I Need!

Do you ever wonder if you will ever “get it”? Are there days when you wonder if you are truly a Jesus follower or if you are nothing but an impostor? I have those days. There are days where every little nudge in a negative direction sends me tumbling off the “I’m not a nice girl” cliff. There are days where even the smallest inconvenience seems to turn into the BIGGEST frustration of my life. These days when I suffer through circumstances like the one’s I just mentioned can doubly troubling to me because since I have been in the Thin Within community, I don’t thoroughly drown my frustrations and sorrows in food. Food just doesn’t comfort me the way I used to think it did. Sure, I could turn on the TV and be a sofa zombie. I could lose myself in my favorite show or binge watch a few seasons of something on Netflix. But, really, that doesn’t help much anymore either. God has awakened in me a hunger within for growth and change. I have a desire to be the woman He wants me to be. Finding a way to run away from why I get frustrated isn’t what He wants for me and truthfully, it isn’t what I want either. So, what’s a girl to do? Hum, how about take a few moments and renew my mind?

Standing on His promisesI just finished a 40 Day – 40 Promises challenge where each morning, before getting busy with life, I looked up a promise in the Bible. I would write the promise and then the scripture verse(s) out in my journal followed with a prayer of confirmation about the promise or a request to fully believe in and lean on that promise. This has been a wonderful exercise in helping me renew my mind first thing in the morning.  I shared in a previous blog about some of the nuggets I have received from the Lord during this process. I have another that I want to share with you that is so powerful and apropos for Thin Within/Hunger Within. Especially if you are finding yourself, like me, wondering when the great change is going to take place (by change I mean not getting frustrated easily, not wanting to continue to control my eating, or getting to enjoy a huge weight loss).

The promise I want to share is from day 32. The promise states that I have all I need to live godly in Christ Jesus. Did you hear that? I HAVE ALL I NEED!! Wow!! The scripture is 2 Peter 1:2-4 which states, “Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”

Following_Jesus_webI love God’s word and how it speaks to me at just the time I need to hear from the Lord. I no longer need to feel inadequate for this task of following 0 to 5 eating boundaries. He has given me all I need to do just that. I no longer need to fret if I am hungry or just craving. He has given me all I need to distinguish the truth between my hunger and my appetite. I no longer need to get frustrated at every little inconvenience that comes my way. He has given me all I need to rest in His peace. When I struggle with feelings around ever truly “getting it”, I can let them go, for He has given me all I need to live a godly life. When I am tempted by certain foods or the desire to follow the crowd, I can say no. He has given me all I need to escape the desires of my flesh. I can walk this road of Thin Within/Hunger Within. He has given me all I need.

Lord, thank You for this great promise! This is what I am longing for – to partake of Your diving nature and to escape the corruptions that is in the world through lust. And what is lust? Wanting what isn’t mine. Thank You Jesus for opening my mind and my heart to this beautiful promise that I have through knowing You. Continue growing me into the woman You want me to be. In Your name, Amen.

Lies can only be exposed by immersing yourself in the truth. Bask in His truth today and be set free.

Choosing Jesus

Choosing Jesus

Recently while teaching my music classes, I was using a book that came with a CD.  It is an adaptation of the song “If You’re Happy And You Know It” (how many of you automatically sang in your head and next came “clap your hands”? )

I love this book and so do the children. The only thing I would change is on the CD is the book is read to music and not sung.   (I can always just sing it myself, but sometimes it is nice to have a vocal break and let a CD do it for me.)

PicsArt_02-23-07.58.32I have used this book for several years now and although it has two tracks on the CD, I always go to the first track because it has the “turn the page” signals on it.  It just makes it easier to read to a group.

Well, the other day I was using this book in my lessons and for some reason I accidentally skipped over to track 2 instead of the first track that I usually use.

GUESS WHAT?

THE SECOND TRACK SANG THE SONG! This is what I had been wishing I had for years and IT WAS ON THE CD ALL ALONG!  I just didn’t know it because I had never thought to go to the second track!PicsArt_01-05-10.11.14

Right there, in the middle of my lesson with my class….right there in the middle of the book CD singing away and me turning pages….Right there….GOD WHISPERED TO MY HEART.

 

That is Me, my child.  So often You try to do things on your own.  You automatically go to the things you think will work.  You try to draw upon your own power and intellect.  You go to what feels safe. BUT child, ALL ALONG what YOU really long for is RIGHT THERE WITH YOU.  It is ME.  I am there.  I am with YOU.  I give you the HOLY SPIRIT to guide you. Look for me and you will find me, for I am never too far from you.

How many times have I run back to the familiar?  To the food? To  the diet that has “worked” before to just take that number down on the scale, but nothing changed in my heart?

How many times have I chosen “track 1” over and over again because it is just what I always have done…..not thinking to even try “track 2”?

Right then I realized that just like that “track 1” on the CD was close to what I wanted and did the job, so it is with anything I try to do on my own.  I might be able to ‘do the job’…the diet might be able to ‘do the job’ but it will NEVER be what I REALLY want.  It will never truly fulfill.

Isaiah 55: 1-3

Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare. Give ear and come to me; listen, that you may live.

Did you notice that no matter how many times I chose the first track on the CD that the second one didn’t just disappear?  It was there “waiting” to be chosen.

So it is with Jesus.  No matter how many times I choose my own way…turn to food….eat outside my boundaries….think about dieting again…worry about my body shape…(fill in YOUR track 1 here)….

HE IS ALWAYS THERE, PATIENTLY WAITING FOR ME TO CHOSE HIM.

PicsArt_02-27-10.15.01Jesus tells us in His word that He will never leave us! (Matthew 28:20) He will never forsake us! (Deuteronomy 31:6,8)

His love and His way is always there for us. He reaches out to us with open arms, ready to embrace us and gently lead us on the path HE has laid out for us.

Oh, Dear Sisters (and Brothers), let’s examine our hearts today. Are we settling into our own comfortable ways?  Are we turning to things that truly do not satisfy?

Let’s run and jump into the Master’s Arms and surrender up these things. Let’s walk this path to freedom from diets and scales and body image and food obsession…..together.

 

 

Accepting & Loving Your Body

Accepting & Loving Your Body

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I had sweet baby Joel 5 days ago (when I started writing this).  He came right on his due date (February 12th) weighing 7lb 4 oz (my smallest baby) and 20 inches long.  He is healthy and sweet and sleepy. He does all of the things newborns do, including keeping his parents up at all hours of the night.  He is a sweet addition to our family.  We are all adjusting to the changes a newborn brings, and that includes adjusting to my post-pregnancy body.  In fact, I think we can all use a little “adjusting” to our body.  By adjusting, I mean accepting, loving, and embracing your body right where it’s at–no matter where you are at in life, no matter your current size.

I was inspired to write this post as I was laying down resting today.  Suddenly, I realized that my belly was no longer rounded, but flat (at least as I was laying down) and squishy. Obviously, I knew that my baby belly was gone, but it was just this deep realization that the baby is no longer taking up residence in my womb and that my body is slowly going back to its “normal” shape and size.  And instead of feeling this pressure that I *have* to reach my pre-pregnancy size, I felt this beautiful acceptance that I just had a baby and that my body is beautiful as it is.  I felt my squishy belly and thanked God for the beautiful miracle that just took place.  I give the Lord the glory and thanks that I’m not obsessing about getting back to a certain size, but that I can accept my body right where it’s at today.

So what is it like to experience eating 0-5 before, during, and after pregnancy?  It’s amazing! As I’ve said before, eating 0-5 works no matter what and that includes all seasons of life, including pregnancy and after baby comes.  My body knows exactly what it needs.  Pregnancy isn’t an excuse to “eat for two” and breastfeeding is the same.  Although, I find that I’m much more hungry while breastfeeding than while pregnant.  And that makes sense because the body needs a lot more fuel to produce milk for baby.  It’s pretty amazing how it really all comes together.  I don’t want to spend too much time talking about how TW works with breastfeeding (that will be for a future post); I wanted to expound more on accepting my body after having baby.

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During my pregnancy, I had my times of struggling with thoughts of being tempted to go back to a diet after having a baby.  But the Lord has clearly shown me how diets do NOT work (95% of diets fail and you gain the weight back plus more over time).  I struggled with thoughts about my body.  I remembered that I was back in my pre-pregnancy jeans 2 weeks after having my 2nd child and I felt this pressure that I had better get back to that by then or if not sooner.  Wow, such unnecessary pressure I put on myself! (A few days after I started writing this post, I am in the next size down jeans.  So I’m not at my pre-pregnancy jeans size, but almost–praise God!  And a few weeks after starting this post, I’m able to [mostly] fit into my regular sized jeans).  But praise the Lord because my mindset is totally different now.  I’m going to love my body and accept it right where it’s at.  I’m going to do that by smiling at myself in the mirror and thanking the Lord for my body.  I’m going to cherish and respect this body God has blessed me with by being satisfied with His provision and eat between hunger and satisfaction (0-5).  I’m going to wear clothes that fit my present body.

One thing I wasn’t able to do much during my pregnancy was exercise.  I had all of these different physical things going on and it just wasn’t working to exercise on a regular basis.  I’m really looking forward to exercising again, but that could be weeks from now.  I will rest and respect my body.  I’m making an exercise goal, but I promise it’s not anything extreme or crazy. I’m going to exercise in ways that I enjoy and I’m going to wait until my body is ready and I’m well-rested.  I’m no longer going to put this crazy pressure on myself to have that “beach body”.  I’m not going to make my body a slave.  I’m going to give it the love, acceptance, and respect it deserves.  I am a child of God first and foremost.  I’m not going to conform to this world’s image; I’m all done with that.

These are not empty words.  These are all truths the Lord has been working and working on getting into my head (renewing of the mind).  I am not a number on a scale or the size of my jeans.  I am not my pre-pregnancy body.  I am who I am because of Christ.  It’s taken almost 3 years to (finally) accept these truths!  I’m so thankful that the Lord is so patient!

Wherever you are in your journey toward freedom, stop and ask yourself: what would happen if I accepted my body as it is, today, in this moment?  Would I give it more love?  Would eating between hunger and satisfaction happen more naturally?  Would I try shoving it into clothing that simply doesn’t fit or wear clothes that fit my present body?  Would I compare myself with air-brushed images or say ‘thank you’ to the One who made my body?

I know not everyone reading this just had a baby.  Maybe it’s been many years since you had a baby. Maybe one day you would like to have children.  Truth is, no matter what your body has done or how it’s changed over the years, you can accept it and love it and respect it right where it’s at.  You can honor God’s temple NOW.  Stop thinking you will only do this when you are that magic number on the scale (get rid of it!) or when you are “skinny”.  Thank Him NOW for the amazing miracles that take place each day in your body, whether it’s grown and birthed a baby, whether it’s gone through some miraculous healing, or even the simplicity of taking you from where you are to where you need to go and doing all of the necessary things needed for life (like breathing).  You were knit together by the Lord in your mother’s womb.  You were marvelously made!

Our body changes as we go through life.  It’s just a fact of life.  Let’s embrace and love and accept our body today!  Honor your hunger and honor your body by eating within those beautiful boundaries God has so lovingly designed.  Take care of yourself.  When you look in the mirror, thank God for your body; purposely thanking Him for those parts you aren’t so sure about.

P.S.  I found this really great article about the pressure the culture and media plays on women about getting their body back after having a baby and how it’s important to accept our new bodies.  Let me know what you think!

True Satisfaction

True Satisfaction

I recently shared in the Hunger Within class that I am co-leading, how I identify with the blog post written by my dear friend and co-leader Deanna Lewis. You can find her blog here: http://www.thinwithin.org/mindless-eating/. I have been and will probably be again the woman in this picture. I have eaten like this in periods of numbness to fill an empty spot in my soul. Why am I eating thisI have eaten like this to cover up emotions that I do not want to feel and especially do not want to deal with.  Dear reader, I have eaten like this just because I am bored.  Need I say that I have eaten like this because I love popcorn and if I am watching a movie, I love having a huge mound of it to stuff into my face? Late at night this kind of eating calls my name. The house is dark. No one but me and my cats are awake. No one is watching and it’s time to fill her up! Like many of you, I say I eat this way because I just love the taste of food. Whatever the reasons, I have eaten in mindless fashion, way past satisfaction and to the point where each new bite tastes more and more like cardboard. And, I always experience the next morning blues…why, oh why, did I eat like that last night? My mouth hurts from the salt (oh how I love the salt in my snacks) and I will probably never be hungry again!! Have you been here? Do you identify with me?

 

I am trying to visualize a good example of what this kind of eating is to me, and I think I found the perfect one. Picture a fish…yes, I said a fish. Now picture that fish getting caught with a rubber worm. Just in case you have never been fishing (I enjoy fishing. Haven’t been for years and miss it) I have a picture just for you to show you what it looks like when you have a fish caught on a rubber worm.

Fish with rubber worm

When I think about this fish, I am picturing myself going after the rubber worm. It promises a tasty meal or a snack and boy does it look tasty and good! Surely it is just the thing I need to fill my empty places. Do you like shiny things? Boy, sometimes these rubber worms even have shiny disks that attract my attention. I have to have it!! It’s shiny and it looks so good, like real food, and I have a craving that needs to be satisfied!! And, look…I’ve been caught…by a rubber worm. I have taken the bait, and I have latched on to something that looked like it would satisfy and give me pleasure, but it turned out to be fake. This is how I picture mindless eating or any eating for reasons outside of hunger. The craving is there. It looks good. It sounds good. My attention is grabbed and I am going to eat it. And, there is no satisfaction, and I am caught. I will probably even want more of the same thing. Isn’t more always better? Thinking more will surely satisfy and fill that empty spot that I am trying to fill has got to be good judgement, right? Wrong!

This is what excess eating has become to me. I still do it from time to time, and what I find each time is that there is little satisfaction. There is always the question of why. Sometimes I realize that I don’t even care for the food I overate anymore. I don’t beat myself up like I did in the past. God has healed those places in me where I hurt myself and sabotage myself. I am quick to take my sorrow to the Lord in repentance for my slip. Can I interject here how grateful I am that our Loving Father is forgiving and longsuffering?

Jeremiah 15.16It helps me to visualize the truth of how I am eating. I have a choice daily to go after the rubber worm or to feast on the Bread of Heaven, which is Christ Jesus. One is fake and will never satisfy. The other promises that when I feed on Him I will never hunger or thirst. For me, the choice is already made.  I want to eat what truly satisfies my every deep hunger. I am trading my popcorn covered lap for true food.

 

Will you join me in trading the things that look good and promise satisfaction but fall short for the Word of God which feeds our deepest needs?

An Impostor of Shame

An Impostor of Shame

 

I have come to believe that one of the most disheartening consequences of being overweight is that we subconsciously begin to put on a cloak of shame and wear it daily, particularly when out in front of others.  The more we engage in the act of gluttony (eating excessively) the more fitted that cloak becomes, and the less our true selves are seen by those around us.  It’s as if we’ve allowed aCloakn impostor into our life, giving him free reign to swindle us, and cause us to assume a false character or personality.  In other words, we’ve let this impostor hide the real us.  For that matter, this cloak includes a personal mental covering of the original design God had in mind when He saw fit to breathe our lives into existence.  What a shame.  No pun intended.

I’ve noticed over my 15 year struggle how many things I’ve stopped doing because I am no longer physically or mentally comfortable in doing so.  I’ve been ashamed that I let myself go to the extent I have.  In fact, on a bad day when I’ve made a mental agreement with the enemy, I don’t realize it, but I look at myself differently.  In some ways, it has been debilitating.  For anyone who struggles with this you know what I’m talking about.  It’s no longer fun picking out clothes or getting dressed for the day, or swimming (even with your own family), and our comparison to others runs rampant.  We dress more to hide ourselves than to reveal.  Even the change of seasons can become less fun since wearing shorts is now dreaded and not looked forward to like it use to be.

Just recently I was sitting in church riddled with low self-esteem and comparison.  Unfortunately, the enemy had launched several mental assaults on my heart that morning and I made agreements with him, instead of combating him with the truth of God’s word.  So I sat, longing to be fit and lovely like the other women in our congregation.  And yet I felt inferior, less than, like I  didn’t belong.  I wanted to go back home throw on my pajamas and crawl into my bed as quickly as I could.  Needless to say, that Sunday was not a stellar day with regard to my eating and/or my food choices.  And it was my own fault.  I know better.  I know the Truth!

Before I go further let me qualify the word “overweight” since it is different for everyone.  For me, it is refusing to live within the boundaries God has set for me (zero to five eating), thus resulting in excess pounds, which causes me discomfort and a lack of peace.  It is also carrying more than God designed my physical body to bear.

On a more encouraging note, the wonderful thing about a cloak is that, according to the Oxford Dictionary, it is “an over-garment, hanging loosely from shoulders”.  It “conceals and disguises”.  In other words, it can (and should) be removed.  When Jesus Christ came to bring us the new covenant he gave us the opportunity to remove the cloak of shame and wear the garment of His grace every single moment of every single day of our lives.

Hebrews 10:16 says, “This is the new covenant I will make with my people on that day, says the Lord: I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.”

This week I realized afresh just how important it is that I let God write his laws in my heart and on my mind.  To live apart from this is to live in shame and defeat.  It’s to live contrary to his original design of me.

Psalm 34:4 says, “I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.  Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.”

Radiant GirlIt’s important that in this “in between” place that we continue to look to him, so that those around us see radiance and not shame.  We no longer need to wear the cloak of our old man (shame).  We are new in Christ and this means the garments we now wear are new and they are free of shame.  Hallelujah!

What about you?  Do you find yourself wearing a cloak of shame or of radiance?  Are you dreading the upcoming change of seasons or are you looking forward to it?  Have you put together some truth cards that God can use to “put his law in your heart” and “write them on your mind”?  If not, let me encourage you to do so today.  You’ll be glad you did.