I did day 15 yesterday with the First Meal of the Rest of Your Life experience happening last night for my dinner. It was an amazing experience. After all these years of toying with this material and with God and my seriousness with it, I was skeptical…how would he get through to me?
I guess He has really done (and IS doing) a new thing in me, as my skepticism melted away as overwhelming gratitude flooded my thoughts.
When I sat down to my meal–leftovers from a dinner out at a favorite mexican restaurant–the first thing I saw were the fingerprints on the window across from me. I was so thankful that I have two of the most wonderful kids in the world who made those fingerprints. Wow, if that didn’t take me by surprise!
This thought was a gift from the Holy Spirit…or so I believe as it seemed to just set the tone of gratitude for my meal.
The exercise in the book has you be very intentional as you look smell and taste the foods and evaluate how you are responding as you taste…prayer bathes the entire experience. It did for me…another new thing. Boy, I am such a slow study! LOL! It was great to praise God for the smell and the wonderful combination of flavors…whoever thought to put these thigns together this way? Thank you for them, Lord! LOL!
I had chosen 5 chips (the bag was filled with crums and I also knew I had to limit myself) to have with homemade salsa as part of this meal and I discovered that while typically a favorite combination of mine, the chips and salsa kept me from being able to taste the other food! I wonder how often that happens when I am out at a mexican restaurant! I wonder if I might enjoy the *entire* meal more if I don’t deaden my taste buds with salsa! I LOVE salsa! But I love cheese enchiladas SO MUCH MORE! LOL!
So, I chose to set aside the chips and salsa . This is a miracle. LOL!
I then discovered that the rice and beans were no where near as wonderful left over as the enchilda. Normally, I would have told myself “There isn’t much food here. Surely, this constitutes a meal of 0-5…and I have already let go of having the chips and salsa. Aren’t I being good, God? I can eat it all…” (pathetic sounding, huh?) But I realized that this was a very prideful attitude…God is really trying to root out the pride in every single tiny itty bitty thing…pride is so destructive and stands against God. I don’t want that. I have so much pride…it is painful to realize this….but I may as well face the truth and deal with it. God is gently helping me with it.
So, the rice and beans weren’t eaten. The salsa and chips weren’t eaten. But boy, did I savor that enchilada…except the dogs got the last two bites…ANOTHER MIRACLE!
Following this exercise is a chart to fill out on page 156. For each Key to Conscious Eating, I was asked if I used the key and if so, how I felt it affected my meal experience. Wow….did a lot come of this.
The one question that I think I will try to remember to ask myself when I sit down to eat…is “Am I enjoying this food as much as I thought I would?” The instructions of the activity spurred me to ask myself this question and it caused me to see that much of the food I had prepared wouldn’t be enjoyed…and since I might get to a 5 much sooner than I anticipate, why not “spend” it on the food that is really good? In the past I have always saved the tastiest morsel for last. But this way, I had the best first…and it was a delight…things really DO taste better when you are truly hungry.
God is trying to show me that this isn’t about food, weight, or my “issues.” It is about Him…how great He is, how loving, gracious and merciful…about His invitation to me to walk with Him…it floors me to realize this.
He uses food in my life to remind me 2 or 3 or 4 times a day at how much he longs for me to be intimate with him….what a wonderful way to take something my body needs and turn it into a love song sung for me throughout the day.
I am blessed.
I didn’t write anything up on day 12.
Day Thirteen Wind Beneath My Wings
1. The authors state on page 131, “The intimacy God wants to share with us increases as we release to Him our unmet needs and our expectations of others and ourselves. It occurs by degrees as we surrender our mind, emotions, and will to Him. It occurs in obedience to His will as we look to Him moment by moment for inspiration and accept His equipping and His empowerment. He intends that His grace should infuse every aspect of our lives.” Respond to these comments. In what ways is grace infusing every aspect of your life? Where do you yet need to allow God’s grace to seep in?
Sometimes there seems a disconnect for me. It is my prayer that I will become fully aware of the power, provision, presence of God that is available to me through His grace. I want to eat, drink, breathe, sleep God’s grace…But it is more than a gooey goodness. Grace is MUCH more than some of what I tend to make of it.
Titus 2:11-12 says this about grace:
For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age…
So often I apply depend on the “freedom” component of grace, but I must apply myself to realizing and practicing the fact that Grace also teaches me to say NO to ungodliness….whether it be the way I speak to my husband or kids, the way I drive, the way I eat….etc.
Something that I have been convicted about in my eating is greed. My 12 year old daughter asked me “Mom is overeating really a sin?” Mind you, she is rail thin and has a figure I *never* had…that I would have LOVED to have had. My son is the same. At 14 he has a youthful, but now manly, fit looking physique. My husband and I were *always* “husky” so we can’t figure out where this came from for them. LOL!
Anyhow, in responding to my daughter I mentioned to her that even if a person wants to define gluttony as something other than eating past 5 (and the bible speaks against gluttony), at the heart of my poor eating habits *are* sinful attitudes. One is greed. I don’t want to share or give up certain things. That is really a greedy attitude. The bible is clear about greed!
Additionally, I have to come back to when I won’t release a food that I really fixate on to the Lord should He ask…well, that is not only greed, but rebellion. Not that He does it very often, but what *if* God were to ask me to give up a certain food for a day, a month, a year….Would I allow it? Would I say “Of course, Lord, whatever you want. I am yours.” Or would I say “No…you don’t really mean that, Lord. You wouldn’t want to DEPRIVE me, after all, would you? I mean, I am under *grace*….” This is a misappropriation of grace! To use “grace” to fuel rebellion is ridiculous. At the heart of rebellion is pride. Gosh, the bible is so clear that God hates rebellion, which he says is as divination!!!! And pride was at the heart of the fall of Satan!
As you can see, it is easy to apply the notion of “grace” in such a way that it fuels SIN…greed, rebellion, and pride…This is WRONG.
What I hope to do is allow the TRUE grace of God…yes, the power, provision, presence of God…to permeate my life, but to realize THIS SAME GRACE teaches me to say NO to ungodliness and WORLDLY passions! I want to live a self-controlled–SPIRIT CONTROLLED–life, upright and godly. That is my passion. To do that, I must allow the TRUE grace of God to affect all my choices. NOT just the ones I “approve.”
Either I am going to live as if I am God’s or I am not. There is no inbetween. You can’t be “sort of” surrendered. Saying I am “sort of” surrendered is the same as saying someone is “sort of” pregnant. Either I am or I am not. I choose to be surrendered…completely.
The biggest conviction of my life about my eating came about three weeks ago, but today it is fresh once again.
Before I returned to Thin Within and a willingness to apply myself to allowing God access to my eating, I knew I was on a crash course, heading to an early grave. I even agonized about it. How stupid is that? I began to wonder how my husband would manage. I currently homeschool our two kids. What would he do about that? How would he manage putting our autistic son in school, when Daniel struggles so much in a school environment? How would he manage if my daughter, who is verry very connected to me, freaked and couldn’t cope with her Mom dying? What would my husband do about the horses? He wouldn’t have time to care for them…he would have to make the agonizing decision to sell them and find good homes, as he knows I wouldn’t sell or give them to just anyone…and…well, I realized that our family would be torn apart…and why? Just because I refused to let go of eating what I want when I want? How crazy is that?
This scenario that I have just described happens in homes all the times…maybe we don’t see it as related to over-eating…but consider this. I have a friend who was married to a man for years. Let’s call him Larry. They had four kids. Their marriage had been rocky, but there were promising times, too. But Larry refused to set aside his worldly passions and lusts (sound familiar?) and continued to dabble in pornography. Without going into detail, his refusal to cut his ties to this ultimately lost him his entire family. My friend was left with the heartache of having to be a single mom…it was almost like Larry had died as she tried desperately to put the pieces of her and her kids’ life back together. It was a huge shift and wreaked havoc in the family, of course. The consequences of sin are devastating.
As I pondered this a few weeks ago, I realized…really, how different was I being from the sex addict? It is so easy to look down my nose on such a one…in my self-righteous piety. How disdainful that Larry would give up so much and put his family through so much for his lusts!
But what REALLY is the difference between me and Larry? The results are the same! Families torn apart that have to find a way to start over and deal with losses that NEVER HAD TO HAPPEN, but did because someone would NOT GIVE UP SIN.
This is majorly convicting to me even now….afresh.
Grace teaches me to say NO to ungodliness and worldly passions.
4. On page 135 we are to list the behaviors of a naturally thin friend. Do you know anyone like that? If you would like to share with us on the forums about your friend, feel free.
That is my sister described in the book, so I will spare you the details again! 🙂
Well, duh! I just sent a note to the list saying I wasn’t ready for this lesson and went to the book and realized I *am*! YAY!
I have to tell you ladies that while I have read the book many many times and even studied it with others before, I never had a heart that I could offer to God in surrender while doing it. This read feels fresh and new. I tell ya, that Day 5 was a breakthrough for me! The other times I had marked in the book or filled in the charts, it seems to have come to a screeching halt at Day 6…and why? Because I know I hadn’t really been able to cope with Day 5! LOL! Praising God yet again!
I am floored at what a difference a change in heart has made for me as I read this stuff. 🙂 It makes it SO MUCH BETTER! LOL!
I guess it is because before, I didn’t really *want* “anyone” messing with my food…after all, it was about the only vice I had left. I justified that it was MINE. Since God had disappointed ME, I would withold that from HIM. Whew! I am so glad that I have granted him access to this now. It makes it a MUCH different path than the one previously. Boy…
I see now, too, that I have some difficult choices to begin to make. I have been in kindergarten with this stuff…and now, well, God is calling me to REALLY evaluate prayerfully if what I am choosing to eat, while *permissible*…is it *beneficial?* I know the answer. It is time for me to press on and graduate out of kindergarten. I want something more than I want my peppermint ice cream. I want NOT to be mastered by anything but the Lord! CAN I say no to the things I have long loved? It is time for me to evaluate this honestly.
I hope to turn a corner here in my journey today…a corner where I make the difficult choices. I am free to eat what I want, yes, but I am also free to say NO to anything as well. I want to exercise my freedom FROM sweets and other foods I tend to want to “save room for” today…I want to be willing to deny my tastebuds what they crave and feed my body what it needs to work efficiently.
No, I won’t return to legalism, but grace is grace so that I won’t be in bondage to ANYthing.
Day Six My Body, God’s Temple
2. “Fat Machinery” is introduced and defined in this day’s reading. What is fat machinery? (See page 58.) What are the four kinds of fat machinery? Do you recognize any of these patterns in your own life? If you feel comfortable doing so, share an example from your life. Someone else might learn from what you share!
I have an old example to share. It is no longer current. As a kid growing up, my mother became quite abusive around meal time.
As an adult, whenever I went to her house I would inhale any and every snack possible…much of it when she wasn’t looking (she would be in the other room with my kids).
When I was first doing Thin Within and working through the Fat Machinery material, I realized that this was an example of that. There was a lot of “Past Stories” going on and also it became a conditioned or habitual response.It was a combination of #1 and #3.
Another example of Fat Machinery came from my years of dieting. I lost 100 pounds with Weight Watchers and then plunged into the zone diet. I got very thin….and resumed the life of an athlete that I had known as a younger person, training for marathons and being quite involved in strength training. With the Zone Diet, I learned some things about my body that were legitimate, while at the same time became further in bondage to food and obsession with counting grams of fat, carbohydrates, and proteins. I may have looked thin, but my heart was heavier than ever.
Years later when I had weight to lose once again (an injury derailed my marathon training and the weight piled back on very quickly), I was applying myself to 0-5 eating. I noticed a subtle behavior I had adopted…it was that if I was feeling off just slightly in every way, even if I wasn’t hungry, I “needed” protein. This wasn’t true. Yes, I do best when I have protein at each meal, but if I attribute every bit of tiredness or headache to “needing” protein, I would be eating constantly…which I think was the point! LOL!
So for me, my previous experience dieting definitely brought some fat machinery into my 0-5 eating experience that I didn’t recognize at first. It seemed “so healthy.” It wasn’t like I was justifying eating a candy bar, after all. 🙂
Nevertheless, it was food my body did NOT need. God used this of course to teach me that when I *am* at a 0, I do best feeding that hunger with foods that my entire body responds well to…not just a “taste bud pleaser.”
3. Prayerfully evaluate the place the bathroom scale has in your life. If you are getting on it each day, please consider that it may have mastery over you. You may want to eliminate it for a while by putting it in storage. How do you feel about doing this?
I think I need to put the scale in the garage for a bit. I do not want to return to being in bondage to it and I can see the tendency.
All for now!
Just completed Day Four so thought I would share any thoughts.. I have to keep my momentum going!
1. On page 36: “Although our wandering disrupts our fellowship with [God], the breech in intimacy need not last long. Thankfully God has provided for our waywardness on our Thin Within journey with the tool we call “observation and correction.” For many of us applying this principle is almost impossible. Take note of the two reactions to a perceived failure. Our society and many of the teachings we have been exposed to tell us that this is NOT something we can do. Is it hard for you to allow yourself to view your mistakes dispassionately? Why?
Typically, I do struggle with this. This time, though, God has done a work in my heart or something. I really do feel dispassionate in the observation stage. When I see what I have done as sin, however, there is conviction…and it saddens my heart to know I have chosen to step off the path that God has. But I don’t beat myself up for being there. That is the good part. I have godly sorry and conviction (or I think so, anyhow! LOL!) Then I can just choose to do differently. It is so easy I almost miss it, I think. I have this tendency out of the past to feel like if I sin or go astray then I have to punish myself. God’s grace is too good for me or something. (It isn’t about how GOOD I am, of course!). In the past, I felt I had to chastise myself since God was standing there with arms open.
Now, thankfully, I am just so eager and willing to fall into those arms again. It makes this journey more stable, just as the chapter speaks of. It isn’t filled with extremes. It isn’t a roller coaster.
5. How can you identify with the Path of My Performance?
Spouting off my mouth all over the internet can become a defect for me…it can become a means to getting back on the path of my performance. I have to walk carefully. I want to commit to chronicling this journey, to participating no matter how things are going so that it isn’t something I only do on one end of a pendulum swing. For now, I think I am ok with it…but if I have a day or two of going “off program” I hope I will continue to be just as obnoxious here. 🙂 If not, then that is a a clear indication that I am doing the club of condemnation thing, beating myself back into my hole.
I have been posting thoughts as I study the book, Thin Within © Arthur and Judy Halliday 2002 on the firstname.lastname@example.org email list. I thought I would go ahead and post those here.
From Day 1
“Today’s focus is on the Love God has for us. Please, please evaluate the material you studied.prayerfully ask the Lord to show you if you BELIEVE it. So many of us believe God’s love is based on our performance. We must allow God to expose where we have believed a lie and shine His TRUTH into those places. We will see that God chose to love us before the foundation of the world, knowing that we would sin.”
—If I really walked in this belief…lived as thought I believed it, I think it would turn my life upside down! Yes, I believe it with my mind. But the way I strive for approval from men, indicates to me that I am not really embracing the TRUTH about God’s amazing grace and His unconditional love. Do I really GET IT? :-/
2. On page 3 the statement “He wants to impress deeply into the soft clay of your heart His unfathomable love for you. This love is not based on your performance.” Do you believe that? Ask God to show you His truth and to enable you to believe it. Look up the verse 1 Corinthians 8:8 and prayerfully consider it.
—-This verse says: “But food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do.”I know that God loves me no matter what. I want to relish that in my experience, but more, I DO want to perform, to live, to make choices, that indicate that I embrace His lavish love. I know that I can’t cause Him to love me any more or any less. He chose to love me while I was yet a sinner, sending Christ to die. Ephesians 1 tells me that He chose me to be in Christ before the foundations of the world…He knew all my failings and short comings. He knew the struggles I would have, yet He chooses me any how.Yes, I believe that the food I eat, whatever amount, whatever type…has no bearing on His love.
4. At the top of page 6, “Julia” shares her testimony. If you feel led, respond to this testimony.
—Julia’s story is my own, having been in WDW for a long while and leading groups. Thin Within is very different. It accurately reflects God is a God of grace, not a “boss” who is interviewing me for heaven! PRAISE GOD! Getting into Heaven has NOTHING to do with if I eat or drink!
From Day Two
5. On page 19, Psalm 25:8 from the New Living Translation is quoted. “The Lord is good and does what is right; he shows the proper path to those who go astray.” Comment on this verse relative to your experience and relative to what may be ahead.
—-God has been so kind and gentle…compassionate and gracious to me while I have wandered away from Him. As I said before, long ago…LOL…I am the poster child for God’s grace! LOL! Truly.God used such an unlikely source to draw me back to this path after I wandered long and far. I have been releasing weight again, but more…I feel like He has changed me drastically. I hate to say that…I fear hoping that He has worked such a mighty change. It is almost like a deliverance.Yet I know I must plan in advance for the time when I feel that draw to food again…I must plan to suffer for the cause that Christ calls me to. He calls me to holiness and has said that indulging my lust for food beyond the parameters of hunger and satisfaction is outside of his will for me–is sin. Right now, today, this minute, it isn’t a struggle. But at some point, it may be again (it is highly likely, in fact). I have to plan for that moment.
7. At the bottom of page 19, the authors state, “Grace, abundant and so free, flows from the throne of God. It envelops our thirsty souls and brings wonder and amazement to our lives. Our God is gracious indeed.” What does this have to do with anything?—Grace is not a license to not care. Instead, it stabilizes. I don’t beat myself over the head when I am off track a bit. I also don’t throw all cares to the wind. I allow God’s grace to wash over every step. It is only by His grace that I even *care* about this journey at all.
2. Midway down page 28, the book states, “Our light-or more accurately, God’s light in us-attracts others.” Please note that we do NOT have to be thin to do this but so often we let our size brand us with shame.keeping us from being willing to step into what God desires for us. Is there any way in which you have allowed your size or appearance to keep you from doing what God created you to do?—Oh my yes. God has given me gifts that are “:up front” gifts. I won’t use them. I am too ashamed to be up in front! Of course, this comes with the fact that I have actually been told by “the chief church lady” how sad it is that I have clearly lost the battle against controlling my struggle with eating. I was so floored when she said that. Now the enemy uses that at every turn. Her voice has become a million other voices of people who probably aren’t even thinking that. So now I won’t use my gifts up front. I really struggle with this. Even now, I am eager to have the weight gone in part for this reason.God doesn’t want me to wait…yikes!
This is all for now. Boy, have I gone on and on!