Let’s be doers of the Word! Not merely hearers!

Let’s be doers of the Word! Not merely hearers!

Image courtesy of Janaka Dharmasena at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Janaka Dharmasena at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Get 2016 off to a great start!

We are sure you want more out of yourself and out of life than empty New Year’s resolutions — which are often promises made because everyone at the office is making them or because all the family members are sharing theirs.

Instead, let’s start off the first full week in January of 2016 with action rather than just talk!

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.

James 1:22

One way you can do that is to join our first Thin Within class of 2016, a study of “Discovering God’s Master Plan” which is the first workbook in our four-workbook series called “Rebuilding God’s Temple.” Our bodies are the temple of the the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). It’s an amazing truth! So let’s commit this year to living like this is the truth (since it is).

Visit our online classes page and sign up. We would love to have you and walk with you through the first three months of this new year. Registration closes on Friday, January 8th.

If you don’t want to be a part of a Facebook group, consider joining our Thin Within trade book study. Find the chapter you are on in the book and dive in any time. We are trying to encourage people to post comments to establish a community for support. Won’t you help us out? 🙂

How About You?

What will you do to not merely be a hearer only, but a doer?

With This Body…

Emilie with her dance partner, Val

By Emilie Tobias

Rejoice! Give thanks! Tell all about it!

My body is a beautiful and unique masterpiece created and designed by God! With this body I can think, imagine, see, hear, taste, smell and touch. With my God-made mind, I can remember both the good and the bad in my life in divinely directed lessons leading to both gratitude and gentle correction.

With this body, I can walk, dance, swim and hold my soft furry kitties or hug my husband of 25 years. I can see the world and flowers and cats and other people. I can smell a rose, delighting in this ability, both literally and metaphorically. God’s gift of abstract thinking and memory allow me to smell the roses in the winter!

My body—both inside and out—is exceptional. My curves tell the story of abundant provision and their beautiful design embody the feminine classic standard through centuries. My digestion, respiration, blood cells and all other engineering marvels of my body declare the design of You, my Creator.

God’s gift of words and imagination can tell His story and ours with empathy, pathos and all the details that my God-created body has perceived. Drawing upon almost every sense, I can learn and develop exquisite, body-expressed waltz or cha-cha as a dancer with my professional dance partner.

With this body, which has experienced tragic suffering and incomparable joy, I can tell stories through movement and music and humor and drama and film. With God-infused artistic vision I can touch others’ hearts to know they are not alone. I can inspire others to feel the full range of emotions God has given us and has felt Himself!

Thank you, God, for all the things my body can do ranging from the ordinary to the sublime. In your kingdom even the most “ordinary” functions of my body are your brilliant design. Thank you Wonderful Creator and Designer of my masterpiece of a body.

David once said:

The heavens declare the glory of God,

And the sky above proclaims his handiwork,

Day to day pours out speech,

And night to night reveals knowledge.

Psalm 19:1-2


The same is true of my body! It declares the glory of God! It proclaims his handiwork!

Praise God the Creator!!

emilie and val

Emilie Tobias with one of her students.

Emilie, one of our Thin Within participants, lives in the Deep South with a plethora of cats and her wonderful loving husband, Joe. She has been a professional dancer, dance instructor, and dance studio owner for over 20 years and loves to share her gifts with others as an expression of her love for life, people, and the Lord.


How about you?

Emilie wrote this piece as an affirmation to defy the negative self-talk that might sometimes invade her thinking.Why not start 2016 doing the same? Will you write an affirmation of your God-given body that you can speak and pray over your body each day, thanking God for His marvelous handiwork? If you do, please send it to us at thinwithin.org [at] gmail.com. We would love to hear from you and possibly share it on our blog! ~ Thanks, Heidi Bylsma

You’re an Advertisement for God


press-toward-the-mark-of-the-high-callingIt’s that time of year again, when many of us feel we have another chance to press the “restart” button on setting and meeting goals. Some might call them “resolutions.” Let’s take a moment and differentiate between the two. A goal is a destination, a point where the race ends. A resolution is an intention, make up in one’s mind, to decide firmly to accomplish something (according to the Oxford Dictionary). As we know from the life of the Apostle Paul a goal is biblical,

“Beloved, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13-14)

A resolution brings with it a mustering up of power within us to accomplish something. Do you see the difference?

At Thin Within we encourage setting godly goals by using two fundamental tools:

1) The Keys to Conscious Eating (pp. 77-80 in Hunger Within) which are biblical principles for weight mastery that can help you become aware of your body’s true physiological hunger, have greater enjoyment in the food you eat, and recognize when your body is satisfied; and,

2) God-Honoring Choices (pp.112-113 in Hunger Within) remembering that we have the freedom to choose what we will eat or drink, but know that not every food or beverage is beneficial for us, nor do we want to be enslaved by anything.

In Thin Within Day 3 focuses on “adopting godly goals and vision.” We first determined our purpose, which is “I am created for God’s glory,” followed by, “I am chosen to become like His Son.” These are two fundamental stones we want to rest our godly goals upon. “God created us because He wants to infuse our lives with so much joy, love, grace, and compassion that people can’t help but to recognize Him in our countenance! The bible calls this, “glorifying God.”

When we are an advertisement for how wonderful God is, when we display what He is like to the world, when our lives sing of His majesty and wonder that is when we are glorifying Christian-bus-ads-001Him. That is what we were designed for.” (Thin Within, Day 3) “God knew us and formed us in our mother’s womb according to Psalm 139. When he formed us, He chose us for the purpose that we might be more like His Son, Jesus. His was a life lived with purpose and meaning. Jesus’ character reflected all of the attributes of God.”

So this year as you set your godly goals keep in mind that they don’t have to be lofty or unattainable. In fact, that may be too much too soon. Perhaps you want to work on the top 3 Keys, or 2 God-Honoring Choices. Someone once told me that if you accomplish all your goals in a day you haven’t set your goals high enough. While I use to believe this was true, the older I’ve gotten the more I think I have come to believe that when we’re able to check all the boxes perhaps it’s because we were realistic when setting the goals. I’m still undecided on that one.
Remember four questions (taken from Dr. Charles Stanley on “Setting Godly Goals”) that need to be answered:

1) Why is this important to you, Lord?

2) Does this fit into your plan for my life?

3) Is this goal totally in line with God’s Word?

4) How might the accomplishment of this goal bring blessing to others?

Take some time this week to review The Keys to Conscious Eating and the God-Honoring Choices section of Hunger Within and ask the Lord to help you set your (His) goals for you this year, this month, this week, or just for today. He wants to collaborate with you on this. So let Him. Wherever He wants you to start is where you want to begin, since He knows you personally and knows that you can handle.

What about you? Are you needing to set some godly goals? Are you willing to collaborate with the Lord on His goals for you this coming season? Write them down and begin afresh as soon as you can. And rejoice in knowing that “His mercies are new every morning.” Happy New Year!

This Christmas

I have been noticing that my heart has felt different this Christmas season. His PresenceI am more focused on others. I am looking forward to time spent with my family. I am not tense or nervous or insecure about the gifts my husband and I are giving to our family. I am joyous, content and I feel peace. I can’t ever remember a Christmas in my whole adult life where I have felt like I do this Christmas. You may be asking, “Why the change?” I believe that my heart change has come from a year of working the program of Hunger Within, following 0 to 5 boundaries, renewing my mind and daily spending time with my Lord Who is the Lover of my soul and the One who died to not only free me from the penalty of my sin, but He also died to break the power of sin in my life.

In church this morning we read Matthew 6:21. It got me thinking about the change in my heart that I have been noticing. I remembered Christmases in the past where I was worried if everything would go all right. I worried about the food and if everyone would enjoy it. I worried about the gifts I was giving. I baked and overate on not only the baked goods, but the dough that went in to the baked goods. I seemed to feel lousy a lot of the time because I was overeating on all types of foods, often having a binge when the house quieted after bed time for other family Matthew-6-21members and I was finally alone to enjoy what I used to think of as my friend and my comfort, excess food. Then I would feel depressed because my weight would start going up and I would have to start thinking about the New Year and weight loss resolutions. When I think about this scripture, I realize that my treasure was totally in the wrong place and my heart showed it. Can you identify with this pattern? I didn’t think I would ever break free from this annual destructive pattern in my life, and what I found out by seeking the Lord’s help, is that I never would break free with my own will. It has only happened through Him working in my heart. It is Christ’s transformation power that is changing me; not anything that I could have ever done on my own.  He is transforming me through the renewing of my mind as I seek His face and His word in my life daily. I started noticing the shift the more I realized that I was not being set free by following my boundaries perfectly. Who could follow boundaries perfectly? I am being set free by the renewing of my mind.

The blessings gained by going into this holiday season without a focus on my body size, the types of food I am eating or attempting not to eat or trying to think ahead to my New Year diet, are innumerable. blessed-02My mind is clear as I fast between my meals: the food fog is gone. My heart feels love as I think about others and take them to the Lord in prayer: my self-focused internal frustration and anger at myself and others is gone. I have had the energy to get everything I needed to get done, done and the things that were not important, I let slip peacefully from my mind: my body’s exhaustion from never having my ingested food totally digested is gone. I am content with what I have, how much I have and where I have it: my discontented heart is gone. When I wake each morning and I choose to focus first on the Lord, my life falls into balance. I feel that what He has accomplished in my life this past year is truly a miracle.

How about you? Would you like to find yourself in the place I am and so many other sojourners on the Thin Within/Hunger Within pathway? Sunrise 3Would you like to wake up next Christmas season to realize that your heart and mind is on the One who is the reason for the season and not on all the worries you have had in the past? If so, trade your inclination to start thinking about New Year’s Resolutions and your thoughts of what diet to start on January 4th (that’s the first Monday in January…after all, we always started our diets on a Monday!)and instead check out the upcoming classes of either the Thin Within book or workbooks, or sign up to take the Hunger Within class I am co-leading with my friend Deanna Lewis that starts in February. Let’s journey together through this upcoming year with the Lord and each other, hand in hand as we seek the Lord’s face and His plans for our lives, renewing our minds daily and walking through pleasant places as we follow our 0 to 5 boundaries around food. My prayer is that next Christmas, you too will find you are living a miracle!

It’s Not About Food?! (A Christmas Miracle)

It’s Not About Food?! (A Christmas Miracle)

It’s the week of Christmas and guess what?  I’m tired of food!!  say-what-baby-meme

I know! It sounds crazy! Who would ever get tired of eating or tired of food?

Now that I can eat anything that I want, sometimes when I get hungry I can’t think of anything that sounds all that great. I mean my
stomach can be growling and I know I’m at a 0 but because I have been eating a lot of rich foods during the Christmas season, I just don’t want anything in particular. And that’s weird. But for me it’s like a victory!

Christmas has not been about food! The holidays haven’t been about eating! christmas eve menu
It’s been about spending time with people. It’s been about watching my children and the joy on their faces! It’s been about relationships!

Most of all, it’s been about Jesus! And there’s a peace about that. There’s a peace that somehow the food just doesn’t have a pull on me anymore.



I started noticing it at Thanksgiving this year. Somehow having turkey and dressing (you know….and all these things that the advertisers in the magazines and on TV were putting up to these elevated levels)  just didn’t seem to be that big of a deal. Yes, it’s true!  All the delicious food offerings weren’t really anything special!  It is because I can have turkey and dressing whenever I want to.  I am allowed to have pie anytime as long as I am at a “zero”.

Stuffing for breakfast? Sure, if I’m at a “zero” and that is what my body needs. Somehow, when you have nothing off limits, it just isn’t a big deal anymore.

So, I wonder…. Is this the beginning of being a “thin eater”? Is it the beginning of being free from the bonds of food? I love that holidays and celebrations can be about people and beauty around me!  Special events can be about relationships rather than food ! And guess what else???  I don’t have to worry anymore what kind of foods are going to be at a party or event!  Because no foods are “off limits”, it’s all ok as long as I eat within my boundaries of 0-5.


Oh the freedom of no more counting points or calories!                                                                       Oh the freedom to enjoy anything on the table!  freedom


 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. -2 Corinthians 3:17
 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
-John 8:36 
The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed.
-Luke 4:18


Yes, friends, my Christmas Miracle is all that Jesus is doing in my heart with the principles of Thin Within and Hunger Within.

As we surrender more and more to Him, may our hearts grow closer to Jesus and farther and farther away from the pull of food!

May you discover the Christmas Miracle Jesus has for you!

What about you?  What is your mind set on as you go to holiday parties and events in the next few days? Focus on family, friends and beautiful decorations. 

Most of all, let’s make Christmas all about Jesus, for HE is the only one who can truly satisfy the longing in our soul.



The truth will set you freeI am in the 2015 Holiday Victory class that is studying Barb Raveling’s book, Taste for Truth. Even though Barb isn’t a member of the Thin Within community, reading this book (now for the third time) has been so life changing on my journey towards freedom from disordered eating and thinking and I wanted to share some truths that I found on day one of this Bible study.

On day one in Taste for Truth we look at our role compared to God’s role in the transformation process. I hope after reading this you will agree with me that everything we have done in the past to get to what we felt was the perfect body size without bringing God into the picture was an exercise in futility.

Take for instance the scripture found in John 8:31-32 – Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.  And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” In this scripture, my role is to abide in God’s Word and believe in Jesus. God’s role is to fill me with truth and to set me free. Do you see the beauty of what happens here? I abide and He works.John 15v1-5

Here in John 15:1-5 I see that my role is to once again abide in Christ Jesus; to stay around Him and remain in Him. As I do this staying attached to the True Vine, I will bear fruit. If I don’t stay attached to Him, I can do nothing. God’s role as the Vine Dresser is to prune me. He will remove from me the sin in my life that prohibits the producing of fruit. How good is our heavenly Father that He takes on the job of changing me?

Romans 12,1-2

I love that we read and study the truth of Romans 12:2 in this book and our Thin Within/Hunger Within material. This is such an important step in freedom from disordered eating, body focus and food obsession to dealing with every area of life. In this scripture, my role is to renew my mind through God’s Word which has the power to transform me. I also have to let go of any area of my life that conforms to the world. I have found that if I don’t renew my mind on a regular basis, it is easy to be like one of the masses. Sadly, without abiding in Christ and renewing my mind, I tend to be like everyone else. God’s role is to aid in my transformation through the work of the Holy Spirit and to allow me to know His perfect will.

2Corinthians10-5In 2 Corinthians 10:3-5, my role is to wield the Sword of the Spirit which is God’s true Word so that I can take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ Jesus. The only way I can wield the Sword of the Spirit is to abide in God’s Word. There is that word again…abide. Hmm, I think I see a pattern developing here. God’s role is to tear down my strongholds. I think about all the times I have tried to tear down and demolish all the “strongholds” or things that had a strong hold over me in my heart and mind, and I find from the scriptures that I was fighting a losing battle. The battle belongs to the LORD God, not me.

In summary: my role is to abide or stay connected to Christ Jesus through the reading and studying of God’s Word; meditating on His Word in order to renew my mind and memorize His Word in order to wield the Sword of the Spirit. This doesn’t work if I just do it on Sundays in church. This is a daily requirement. abide-410x250God’s part in the transformation process is transforming me from the inside out so that my outer frame and countenance reflects the inner change of my heart through my true focus and devotion to the Lover of my Soul, Jesus Christ.

What I usually do when I want to transform myself in the area of weight loss is to join a popular weight loss club and spend a ton of money and chronically work out. If I could have transformed myself, I would not have needed Thin Within and this Holiday Victory class studying Barb Raveling’s book Taste for Truth. According to the verses that I studied by myself and now with you all, what I have done in the past doesn’t even get me started on the road to true freedom from my obsession with food and body image. This is only done through the power of God as I abide in Him. How about you? Are you ready to join me on this journey that we walk together at Thin Within and to finally let go of all those plans that never work for His plan that will?