by Heidi Bylsma | Dec 24, 2006 | Blog
Yesterday, my Day 29, Harley was still not out of the woods, but I was more at peace that God is God. I clearly have “expectations” that God will “behave” a certain way if I am going to “submit” willingly. It really isn’t “submission” or “surrender” if it is conditioned on what I feel about how God is doing His job. Do you hear the arrogance in that? The pride? It can be so subtle, too. I have found that this really is the heart of the matter for me. I knew it was pride…any idol is established because pride gets a root going, it seems to me, but pride is insidious and stealthy as well. It may not be obvious and before you know it there is all out war declared on God.
I have to really pray through this and beg God to truly work a humble heart in me. A heart that seeks to live as the clay and God is the potter. A heart that says “Though He slay me, yet will I trust him.” He is God and I am not.
These things greeted me yesterday as I opened my book and asked for God to meet me.
No one but God could have worked such a change in your heart.
I know this is a FACT. A lot has been accomplished in the past month and a half. It is stunning to me. When I consider my intimate involvement with the book manuscript and the Thin Within program from the beginning…and all the things I was missing…Yes, God did many things back then. But I had continued to withhold some things from Him. I had “held out” a pocket of resistance, resentment in my heart….that God had disappointed me. Frankly, God *has* disappointed me. I can’t pretend this isn’t true. Yet I see afresh that this response to His ways is borne in pride that I deserve one thing and He does another. In all honesty, I deserve nothing but death. I am born into sin and live sin easily and well. Rather than meet me with judgment, God provides His grace. What more could I possibly demand? Good grief! God forgive me!
I pray that I will see “disappointments” with God more from His perspective. Everything He does is done with a heart of love. My understanding is incomplete at best, more likely, it is warped, perverted. He sifts all He does through the nail holes in His hands.
And now that you have been restored, we rest in the knowledge that each of us really is a temple for His glory. Our bodies, our schedules, our affections, our very lives are not our own. We have been bought at a price. We affirm again that we gladly submit to the yoke of Christ, because we’ve learned that to do so gives us peace, rest, and abundant joy.
This *is* the heart of it for me. I really believe that if I can maintain the above attitude in my heart and mind and life that my “issues” with food are gone. Pride must be demolished. If I “protect” it, it is an idol. I must allow it to be demolished…abolished, destroyed. I must welcome the process. If I don’t, I will continue to battle the same issues for the rest of my life…the food, fear, more fat…and lousy health. All because I insist on having my way like a big baby. Enough!
God is clearly doing a NEW thing….
Sometimes on that show on TV, Extreme Makeover Home Edition, the crew decides that they can’t help with a refurbishing or remodeling of the home that is currently standing. They bring in a demolition crew. Sometimes they have used a mammoth front loader like tractor thing…and just pushed it over. Sometimes they have used other means. Well, God has chosen now to show me that we aren’t just remodeling here. This is a demolition project and we have to start from the ground up….truly. My foundation has been off kilter.
I welcome the change. This may be the end of this book…but it truly feels like the beginning of a journey.
by Heidi Bylsma | Dec 24, 2006 | Blog
One of my other horses had to be rushed to the vet’s. So instantly, my resolve to rest in the Lord was tested. I had proclaimed my acceptance of God as God…he is sovereign, the ruler, I am the human subject. He is the potter, I am the clay. That was day 27. But by this day, I had been tested…for sure.
This day’s reading had so much to soothe my heart and to encourage me. I can’t even begin to share all of the things that were impressed upon me.
The godly choices you make will infuse your life with greater joy and peace. (296)
Much of this day’s reading focused on Matthew 11:28-31,which says: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
I can literally say that this was like new…as if I had never read it before. I was feeling so weary from my concern about Doc (the first horse that is lame and hurting) and Harley (the second horse who is colicking…and horses can die from this)….Not to mention the pressure I was feeling about Christmas and other things that happen this time of year….and sadness, I guess, too. This year is sort of monumental. We have had many die in my extended family and sicknesses–so that getting together as a family is taking on a new meaning….I think it was all just beating me down somewhat.
So, in that context, I read about my Lord’s invitation to me to rest in Him.
This entire day was about surrendering…and allowing that peace and rest to invade my heart at it’s deepest place. I realize again that in the past, I might not have thought this had a whole lot to do with eating and releasing weight, but now it is so very obvious. When I take off on my own, something I am prone to do when I am weary, disappointed and feeling overwhelmed, it is then, I do my own thing in every way….and food is a part of that, clearly.
When we are not in accord with our Maker, we will find ourselves weary, worn down, anxious, depressed, or stressed. But when we cooperate with Him and His plan for us, we are energized. There is nothing more blessed than to walk in the good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. ( page 300)
Words for me…that much is certain. There was more farther down on this same page, a quotation from Chuck Swindoll:
I want to walk in your strength, I want to give the pressure to you, to relax and to retreat to your power and care and I want to abide in Christ deliberately.
Again, perfect words for where I was in that moment.
He blesses the weary one who rests in Him.
On that note, I ended the day’s reading. It really was from the Lord to me…and set me up to focus again on the fact that God is God. I am not. And it really is better that way. 🙂
by Heidi Bylsma | Dec 24, 2006 | Blog
I see from my notes in the book, that Day 27 followed a day of spiritual testing. I had taken one of my horses to the UC Davis teaching veterinary hospital and the results concerned me…discouraged me…saddened me…and I found myself with an attitude of resentment toward the Lord. I got angry, I guess is the best way you could put it. I then found myself overwhelmingly weary and I just didn’t care about “the food thing.” Interesting how my pride resurfaced (not that it was ever gone completely) and it was connected with food…It is clear to me that my attitude toward food and eating is almost like a barometer for my relationship with the Lord. Something new that I have learned. I didn’t know that it was so clearly linked.
Day 27 dawned and I realized I needed to “observe and correct” or “confess and repent.” Big time.
As is His typical approach, God made sure that I was greeted with things I needed to see. This is one of the things that greeted me in Day 27s reading:
When we are weary, we are vulnerable…vulnerable to turning to temporary gratification rather than to the true life-sustaining satisfaction found only in Him. (page 287)
We’re talking about mental and spiritual as well as physical exhaustion, when life has become a list of “must dos” instead of an adventure blessed with wonder, joy, and abundance. This is the kind of weariness that tarnishes the soul’s luster. (page 288)
I knew that God was intimately acquainted with my disappointment and my struggle. Rather than allow it to continue, I committed afresh to his Lordship. I wrote gratitudes in my journal, including the fact that while my horse, Doc, may have 4 lame legs, he has the most wonderful disposition and all the vets and students loved him. He was so well behaved. I am fortunate to have such a wonderful “little pony” for my own. He loves people and wins their hearts readily.
This was a good way to start this day as instantly, my resolve was tested, but I get ahead of myself.
If He calls you, He equips you. Jesus doesn’t want you to be weary and burdened down. You are His precious sheep, the one that He has sought to lead and nurture. You are His lamb to whom he said…”This is the resting place, let the weary rest”; and, “This is the place of repose”…(From Isaiah 28:12-13)
The Lord says come to me if you are weary and I will give you rest. I must abide in Him to experience that rest. This is intricately connected with my eating, apparently. When I rest in Him, I don’t insist on having my way in any respect…His voice about any issue, including what I eat or drink and when…is welcomed. When I allow my SELF, my DESIRES, my EXPECTATIONS and my disappointments to cause me to become resentful…well, it erodes my attitude about everything including food.
by Heidi Bylsma | Dec 19, 2006 | Blog
Just finished reading Day 26. Did Day 25 yesterday in a rush.
On page 267 there is an exercise in Day 25 about what are some potential obstacles that I might face. I am then to brainstorm a possible solution for that potential problem. Like one friend said, “Plan in advance what I WILL do when the temptation/challenge comes.” I think this advanced planning is a good idea.
I still enjoy that there is no obsession for me right now. Yes, as I posted, I could see the potential there. But it is minor and fades away when I don’t feed it. I can’t believe how absolutely different this experience has been for me this go through.
Another good thing about Day 25 was it helped me to remember that I can evaluate the reasons for any eating “occasion.” Like if it is a party, or a typical family meal, or some sort of get-together. If I evaluate WHY I am there and what I hope to gain, then eating isn’t the focus. Like meal-times with my family members….I enjoy those not because of *eating* together, but because of interacting with my family members. I can do that whether I eat a meal, sip on a drink, or abstain from anything other than enjoying conversation with them.
Today’s reading, Day 26, was focused on the abundance of a life lived walking with the Lord. Anything else I turn to for satisfaction will leave me wanting. We were challenged to write a Good-bye to ______ (it could be food or anything else we tend to turn to instead of the Lord). I chose to write a short “Good bye to approval of man” letter. LOL!
There were LOADS of great quotes in this day’s reading, but I won’t quote any here. 🙂 It was good to be reminded that King Solomon had seen it all, experienced it all while looking for meaning and satisfaction. He found that trying to satisfy a God-shaped void with anything else was meaningless.
by Heidi Bylsma | Dec 17, 2006 | Blog
As always, God’s timing is impeccable. I weighed myself this morning and was delighted that the outrageous goal weight I had hoped to reach by day 30 is a mere 3 pounds off!! If that isn’t a God thing, I don’t know what is.
But then I noticed that I got a little too concerned…my thinking shifted–*that* fast. I went from gratitude to concern. NOT ok. That makes it more about weight. It isn’t about weight at all!
So, as I opened my book to day 24, that was where my mind was.
On page 257, after reading some good stuff :-), I was asked to answer this question: “What must I do to complete the restoration project God has begun in me?”
God led me to respond by saying: “I need to keep my focus on Him, keep exalting Him, desire to know Him. When my focus becomes me, my weight, my size, or if people notice and comment, that will derail me.
I must focus on being thankful to the Lord and not feed my ego. It hasn’t been ME! That is so patently obvious! Church is one place where I see people who might say things to me to stroke my ego. I don’t want to even go there. Today, I will intentionally wear a big baggy sweater because I don’t trust myself to receive any compliment. Not yet. The reason….in the past I lost 100 pounds with a popular commercial dieting program after my second child was born and got ego stroking all along the way–LOTS of it. When it came time to maintain, the compliments stopped coming and my ego starved…Apparently, I had made it all be about ME. I won’t make that same mistake. I rebounded and gained a lot of weight back right away back then.
This time, instead, I will foster an attitude of praise and worship to God. The simple truth is, He has done some amazing things in me. I know this more than anyone else could ever know (I know how I have lusted for food in the past and he has cured me of that, for instance). I want to keep it in my mind constantly that God is God and I am not. He is good, He is sovereign. He cares. This is *HIS* restoration project. He put it in my heart to be willing. That is His work as well.
All of these thoughts were going through my head this morning. I read these words on page 258: “We encourage you–no matter what trials or tests you endure, no matter how ‘well’ you think you are doing–to keep your focus on the one you serve. Our battle is about so much more than food. It is about the abundant life we have been given in Christ.”
God sure confirmed what I had realized he was saying to my heart! LOL!
The book then quotes “Betty” as saying this: When I realized weight loss didn’t totally hinge on how well I did the program, but was something God was doing in my life, I was able to relax. I recognized that my responsibility is to be in relationship with God and to seek His guidance.”
YES YES YES! This is the heart of all of it. That is why releasing weight is incidental! When it isn’t *about* getting thin, but is, instead, about heeding the Lord in all things, walking with Him, loving Him more and more, learning Who He is, His character and allowing Him access to my heart, my mind, all of me….the food fades from being such a focus. With diets and similar approaches of “controlling food”,” food is the focus…so much harder to deal with. But the food doesn’t need to behave. LOL! The food is innocuous. It is what *I* am fixated on that matters.
It is amazing to realize that God has removed this weight from me while giving me such amazing satisfaction in eating with my family, out at restaurants, desert foods…whatever. There has been *no* sense of “deprivation.” Much to the contrary. There has been so much more *satisfaction* than ever before!
Anyhow, on pages 260-261 there is an exercise to again re-evaluate the goals from day 3 and that were re-evaluated on day 16. This time, the reader is asked to adjust the goals and add action steps to break them down a bit more.
Never before have I been anywhere close to experiencing the realization of the goals that God led me to set in day 3. This time, however, it is happening! In today’s exercises, I enjoyed breaking down the goals a bit more and fine tuning them.
My Goal #1 is to reach a certain weight. Before, it was to “close in” on the weight. Now it simply is to get there. Wow. If it happens….well, God has already done so much. This is HIS work, not mine! The action steps I have for this goal are to keep my focus on the Lord, NOT on food or the changes physically. I want to foster a greater prayer life throughout each day and each meal. Continue to eat 0-5. Continue with moving my body because it is such fun! And another important action step is to write out things I am grateful for each day…always keeping my focus on the Lord!
Goal 2 is to continue to exercise at least 4x a week and to enjoy it. This is such fun. I use the Dance Praise program for our computer. It is a blast and it is edifying at the same time. We bought it a year ago at Christmas time and my daughter and I have loved it.
Goal 3 has to do with doing some clean up in the master bedroom and bath as it is a disaster. I have chunked this down into daily steps I will take to do this. We have company coming and want them to feel at home and comfortable in the master suite!
The thing I have really been convinced of is that I need to really focus on the Lord…foster an ongoing “pray without ceasing” sort of prayer life. I want to do this and build gratitude more into my life.
Tomorrow I will be facing an extremely stressful situation. I must drive a long way with one of my horses in the trailer (I am nervous about this) to take him to UC Davis vet clinic in the hopes of finding out what his prognosis is for a happy life. He is only 8 and miserable. I must process all of my feelings with the Lord through prayer.
by Heidi Bylsma | Dec 16, 2006 | Blog
I am still amazed at the changes God has made in me. It really isn’t about food. It is about God and His desire to be Lord. I am so thankful that I have Him in my life. I could never “hold it together” without Him. I trust HE will “hold it together.”
One of the exercises in today’s reading was to take a negative thought, write it out and replace it with a positive thought. My negative thought: “This will never ‘stick.’ I will gain the weight back like I always do.”
I choose to replace it with GOD’s truth which is: “The LORD has worked these changes in me. As I remain focused on Him (by HIS grace!), these WILL be ongoing permanent changes in my heart and life.”
Another activity was to evaluate some character qualities that I think God wants to develop more in my life. I chose integrity, humility, gentleness. There was a written activity about how these things will be evident in my life as God works them in me.
I remember thinking in the past that the last third of the book didn’t really apply to the TW journey of eating 0-5 and releasing weight. It is interesting to me now just how related I see it as being. This is about my character. God uses eating occasions to work on my character. Food has long been an issue, a problem for me. How wonderful that God will use my thoughts of food to create a field for change for me…in things that are much more far reaching than just how much I weigh. God is all wise.
The thing I highlighted today: “God will not abandon you as you wrestle with issues of food and weight, even if you ‘fail’ with 0 to 5 eating. He is still with you, loving you, calling you to return to Him so He can wipe the tears from your eyes and lead you down the path of His provision as you live the holy life. When the enemy asks, ‘Where is your God?’ resolutely declare, ‘He is in the same place He has always been, He is right here with me.'”
This is from the Thin Within book on pg. 248.
Thank you, Lord!