by Heidi Bylsma | Dec 15, 2006 | Blog
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!
by Heidi Bylsma | Dec 10, 2006 | Blog
In case anyone gets encouragement from it, I don’t use the Observation and Correction chart, the food log, or hunger graph…all that stuff. God hasn’t given me the freedom to do it. Nor do I want to use those tools! LOL!
God leads everyone uniquely. Some feel led to use those things or do for a season or only use some of them….others of us, like me in this case, don’t use them at all (I have in the past and it fueled my pride! I was too weak to handle it!).
So, as far as homework and charts go, if you don’t want to use those, don’t! It could be that isn’t what God wants for you!
So if any of you are holding out doing the book study because you don’t like the look of all the charts, you could just read the book and not worry about the stuff at the end of each chapter. Do what GOD leads! Submit to HIS hand! 🙂
Think about it, ok?
Today is a perfect day to start, restart, continue where you left off….
Remember, three steps forward and two back…but then three forward again. 🙂
by Heidi Bylsma | Dec 8, 2006 | Blog
I have asked God to please clarify my hunger/satisfaction signals. They are muddied at times. In the past, I never had any problem with this. It seems odd that I am having difficulty with this now, when I am applying myself more wholeheartedly than ever to this approach and to giving God access completely. If you think of me, would you pray that I would know with clarity what my body is telling me, what God is telling me and that I would respond in humble obedience?
I am so tired of food being an idol. I have bowed down to it and worshipped it long enough. I really have. I have built my life around food, it seems. My choices with food have cost me so much and yet I continue to allow this, to welcome it.
Anyhow, to me, if I am carving into my life allowances for something that is destroying me the way my attachment to food has, then it simply is a god in my life. This is wrong. I mean, no duh.
God has really crystalized these thoughts for me recently. I mean really brought me to a place of brokenness about it and I ask that he keep me in that place. I don’t want to go setting up “high places” again.
I know that God is in the business of redeeming ANYthing…so all the years the locusts have eaten…he will redeem those. I know this.
“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.” (page 131)
This made me think about how when the TW book was first coming out, I was fresh out of a very wounding Weigh Down experience. Words like “repentance” and “idol” and imagery of the promised land…all the things that GS used to teach…I disdained them. It was like many things that were good and pure and wonderful and TRUE from God’s Word had been turned to poison in my mind because of my negative associations with them in WDW.
The bottom line is, it is God’s kindness (his mercy and grace) that LEADS us to repentance!!!! When I have bowed my head at all to Him and agreed with Him that what I have been doing has not been working…and choose to turn a corner with my behavior…it is because HE has wooed me with his kindness! This is scripture. If someone has taken truths of scripture and used them to put shackles on others, it still doesn’t mean the scripture is not valuable. It is still God’s Word!
So words like repentance, obedience and the like…they are returning now to my vocabulary with regard to my food issues….probably for the first time since mid 2000! I confess this to you my sisters. Do any of you feel like I have? Like we can’t speak the truth about our choices because we have a bad taste in our mouth from WDW or some other teaching? We need to expose this…it is Satan’s ploy to keep us from inviting the Lord access to this area of our lives where we need his touch so desperately!
The book says it well at the bottom of page 131, yet still gently: “We’ve learned the hard way that living in the flesh doesn’t work. Now that we have accepted our freedom, we must begin to develop discernment and choose whether to serve the flesh or live the Spirit-led life.”
While it was for freedom that Christ set us free, we have also been told in Scripture that we must live godly lives in Christ Jesus. This same grace that brings salvation teaches us to say NO to ungodliness in any form…including greed!
As of today, I commit to speaking the truth. Ladies, my fixation on food, unwillingness to relinquish whatever it may be…it is SIN!!!!! Why am I clinging to anything so tightly, I wonder? What am I afraid of?
The most powerful thing that came home to me in Day 14 in the book was to realize that what I believe affects my actions. This is a no brainer. When I was a marathon runner, I acted like a marathon runner. When I have assumed the identity of “fat lady” I have acted like a fat lady. YUCK! I want to think of myself as a saint saved by grace, meant to fly on wings of an eagle! I just bet that will change a bunch of stuff! 🙂
I have the Holy Spirit living in me…I am now *capable* of making holy choices. I am free to choose HOLINESS. I can offer the parts of my body to God as instruments of RIGHTEOUSNESS!
Have to run.
Have a great day!
by Heidi Bylsma | Nov 27, 2006 | Blog
Now I know beyond any shadow of any doubt that God is doing a NEW THING! If I doubted it before, I can doubt no more.
In the Thin Within book, there has always been one thing that has been almost impossible for me to do…that is the “Mirror Mirror” exercise in Day 5. Even when I was first introduced to the material years ago and we were editing the manuscript…I couldn’t do it. The shame was just overwhelming. If you have the book, you will see the testimonies there…mine is similar to those shared, only I could not, for the life of me get past this exercise. I knew God WANTED me to be able to walk free of shame and complete (and learn from) the exercise. I KNEW he wanted me to be reconciled to my body. But it never happened.
This morning, I completed day 4 and realizing what was ahead (Day 5 and this exercise) I knew I would have to plan to do it when the time was right. I didn’t want to put it off.
Basically, the exercise challenges the reader (me, in this case) to prayerfully look in the mirror and get to know my current body…by looking and touching…but doing so prayerfully praising God for all the ways my body has been used to serve God and other people. The hope is, of course, to be reconciled to my physical body, but also to have a clear view of how my body looks and feels now, so I can see the changes that occur when I compare again in 30 (or more days).
I have never been able to truly do this. I FORCED myself once and it was just too brutal for words.
So, when the kids were busy with school today, I stole some time. All was well. I began and it flowed. BEAUTIFULLY. Without going into all the details, I was able to praise God for the way He has used each part of my body for me to enjoy life, to serve Him, to serve others. I also was able to dispassionately view each part, touch each and evaluate…”Hmmm…my arms are a bit flabbier than I EVER remember them.” While this can be disheartening to one who has always had strong arms, I know that they are still strong, just carrying extra fat. That will change in time. It was really strange to literally withhold judgment. That isn’t my typical “M.O.”
I had two other experiences today that show God’s care in my life. I won’t go into details, but He has definitely been walking with me as I have returned to this path. It is the path that leads home. I know it well. It is familiar and yet this time it seems filled with such newness. I am so very relieved to be here, too.
by Heidi Bylsma | Nov 26, 2006 | Blog
God is faithful. Miracles never cease! I wonder at this change in my heart. God had to overcome some very serious obstacles. But he has caused me to literally be done with excuses for the past 4 weeks.
He used someone who loves horses and the Lord to invite me to faithfulness. I won’t go into that story now after all, as it was apparently just a stepping stone to get me where he now has me, walking again with Him, but…well….this is different. I wish I understood it.
In a way, I hope it is indication that he has delivered me. Dare I hope that? Hmm…
One thing God brought to my heart powerfully was that when I continue to indulge my fleshly lusts without regard for what my body needs (less food), I am indulging sinful lusts similar to the sex addict. I was living in fear that I would go to an early grave due to a heart attack or other obesity related reasons. I wondered what my husband would do to take care of our children (whom I homeschool). What would he do for our home, the horses and dogs? He would have a truckload of things to deal with.
That is when it struck me…this is what happens when the sexual addict continually indulges *his* lusts….families are torn apart. Maybe not by death, but in some ways, the aftermath is very similar…single parents left to figure out how to fill the holes in the lives of the children and home.
Boy, did that convict my heart.
Since that realization, I have been more motivated to fix my eyes on Jesus and the goal of bringing my body, the temple of the Holy Spirit, to as healthy state as possible.
It helps to find that Judy had me on her heart yet again…we are in communication again and I hope to be able to help her with the new thing that is LITERALLY going on with Thin Within!
by Heidi Bylsma | Nov 15, 2006 | Blog
I am going to be posting some things that I sent to the Thin Within Support list. I would like to have a chronicle of my journey all in one spot. So some of these posts are older…from before I started this blog, if that makes sense! LOL!
God has been showing me just how many old (bad) habits I have returned to. Yesterday was my first full-fledged day of being willing to submit to eating between the parameters of hunger and fullness in a LONG time! I found myself mindlessly grabbing a catalog to read at the table while eating and realized that I needed a chance to enjoy my meal with God as my only company, not a silly catalog!
Focusing on what I was eating with a grateful heart helped me stop when I wasn’t hungry any more! YAY! If I had been reading that catalog, I am sure I would have “cleaned my plate” which was a partial portion from a previous dinner out. Thing was…even a partial portion of a previous dinner out was too much food. Thankfully, my brain was engaged and my heart was willing to submit when I had had enough. This is a big victory for me. Even caring is a big victory, I must admit.
The entire day wasn’t perfect, certainly, but three steps forward and one back is still progress! I can observe and correct by God’s grace!
Have a wonderful day.