I want to tell you a story, a true story I will call “My Jonah Story.” I must advise that this story is a bit dire and messy so a word of caution while reading if you will! So, if you’re still with me, here goes:
I just finished reading the book of Jonah. It’s a very short book in the bible; only 4 chapters. After I finished observing and correcting my situation, I must say that I was a little disobedient in my walk with God (how can you be a little disobedient with God?), and I suffered one volatile night, “explosive” enough to not go down this path again!
As you may or not know, I am beginning my path of learning to walk again with Pal, which is what I call my prosthetic foot. It’s been both exciting and exhausting at the same time.
I had asked God to help me do something different, and boy did He answer that prayer! Keep in mind that, for the last year, 90-95% of my time was spent in bed. All I could do was read and read and read, study the word, watch TV, and do homework through Bible studies and Thin Within. I was just tired of doing that, so Pal comes into my life.
As I started putting Pal on, I felt a shift in my thinking. I started to lean towards activity and exercise. I even caught myself looking into some supplements that could help boost me.
My husband was urging me to do that because he had mentioned that he wanted to try one of those green drinks. So I watched the 20-minute video and thought it was interesting. We have a vitamin shop close by, so my husband went and purchased a jar.
I tried one, but didn’t like the taste, so I proceeded to try the red drink instead. The next day I made a smoothie for breakfast and it seemed to work.
Remember I had not prayed about this; I’m just going with the flow. I did say, “God I hope that am doing the right thing here. I’m not sure if you want me to do this.”
The third day I tried a peanut butter smoothie with the drink, and was boasting that it kept my hunger at bay. I really didn’t want any food. So I kept thinking, “I’ll just have a smoothie and one meal and that’s how I’m going to release weight. I’m not dieting. This stuff is going to work!”
Well later on in the evening of the third day, my stomach started to rumble. James, our son, had just gotten home and the lady who brought him home was talking to my husband. She is a sweet lady, but talks a bit much. I needed to get my husband’s attention because I REALLY had to use the bathroom. I eventually managed to get to the commode beside my bed and relieved myself. My husband got me back in the bed and under the covers.
[My word of caution now goes into effect, in case you thought that last bit was “it.”]
Not even ten minutes later, my stomach started again. This time it was too late. I found out I had diarrhea! So after we got me cleaned up and changed the bed and I took some of that pink drink for diarrhea, it was now about 12:00 midnight. I told my husband that, if I have to go, I will brave it out until the morning to keep him from having to get up and not sleeping through the night.
I sleep in a hospital bed. Sure enough, about 3am it started in again. My stomach started to rumble, and continued rumbling on for two more hours. I was miserable, wet, sticky, and stinky.
I may not have been in the deep dark belly of a whale, but I was most certainly in a deep dark mess!
It’s funny now, but it sure wasn’t when I was going through it!! By about 5 am, I couldn’t take it anymore. I had to wake up my husband. Can you imagine what I said? I told him I’d had a blow-out! HA! It was more like a sonic boom!
My husband had put a pillow under my leg the previous night, and we had to throw that away in the trash.
Thank God I had a plastic sheet on the mattress or we would have needed to get a whole new mattress.
So I got my answer. This is not what God wanted me to do.
As I think about this hysterical story, who would have gotten the glory for the weight release? I would have. It was my own control and concoction that would have gotten the glory. God would not have been anywhere around.
He is a jealous God; He wants me to surrender and obey him. He must and will get ALL of the glory for my weight release!
I have learned my lesson. And I found out that “God, I hope I’m doing the right thing” does not count as a prayer.
But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving, I will pay that which I have vowed.” (Jonah 2:9)
When I got up that morning, five years ago today, my life changed forever. As I was walking down the hallway, God said to me, “Go to the emergency room.”
As soon as He said that, I immediately asked Sam to take me. Not knowing the outcome, I went, and God spared my life. I am totally convinced of that. He had a plan and purpose for me, and I believe I am fulfilling part of his plan right now.
I believe that I have turned the corner and put food in its rightful place. My relationship to food has changed. I’m eating for nutrition and nourishment in my body and running to God for everything else, instead of running to food for everything.
It feels strange to me, Heidi, but He is making the crooked places straight! I am making lifestyle changes! My desires are changing!
I am in mourning, losing my best friend ~ food ~ and realizing that the enemy sold me a counterfeit that I bought and used as my comforter. That makes me angry. 😡 But he will not steal from me anymore!
We are not ignorant of the enemy’s devices! The truth is setting me free and I’m so very grateful! There is so much joy in my heart now because:
1) I’m doing what God wants me to do, being obedient, honoring him.
2) As I continue to be obedient to Him, He will reward me. Whatever He chooses will be fine with me because it’s in my best interest and he loves me so!
3) He will not disappoint as I put my trust in Him.
4) I have surrendered all to Him the results are left up to him.
My flesh machinery has really been riled up these past few days, with food loudly and persistently calling my name, like, all the time! Awaiting zero has been harder than usual.
We are taught in Thin Within that overeating – eating when we aren’t hungry – can cover raw, uncomfortable emotions, thus numbing us and keeping us from dealing with emotions that really need to be dealt with, not buried alive or smothered.
Doing things that I know I should be doing often helps me ignore the loud calling of my name by food.
My food is to do the will of Him who sent me, and to accomplish His work.” (John 4:34)
I’m fully aware this is Jesus talking, and that I’m not Jesus! Or diety! But I believe that this principle – that doing the will of God is food to us – is true for us, too, and Jesus lived it out first to show us how to do it.
But still… right now all I want to do is eat! EAT EAT EAT!!!! UUUUGH!!!! (This is as embarrassing to admit as it is frustrating to feel!)
But the Lord reminds me… I am not without help! He Himself helps us:
Apart from Me you can do nothing…
But He has also inspired His people to create resources that help us more clearly see – and accurately apply – these truths. And He has given us many wonderful resources in Thin Within, especially via Judy and Arthur Halliday, and Heidi Bylsma! I am currently going through Rebuilding God’s Temple, and in the Week 10, Day 4 lesson, we are asked to take note of specific emotions that are stirred up in us while awaiting zero, and then also journal about them. So that’s what I’m going to do right here – share with you my process… for better or worse…
1. Identify the emotion that’s surfacing while awaiting zero:
That’s easy! ANXIETY!
2. Journal about it:
I know scripture clearly tells us to not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, to let our requests be made known to God…
And I totally get that and agree with that! Well, I totally agree with that, but I’m not so sure I totally get it, or I wouldn’t still be dealing with this stuff, right? But nonetheless, I am anxious.
The wonderful thing is that God knows us, He knows we will be anxious, and He has made provision for this emotion in these verses:
Pour out your hearts to the Lord for He can help.” … “Make your needs known to Him.” … “Come and talk with Me, oh my people…”
So I will take Him up on his offer and start pouring… making my needs known to Him… and coming to and talking with Him…
Here are my current anxiety-causers: (They really boil down to two.)
One is that I have a busy few days coming up, and I am anxious about how I’m going to get everything done. How do I best prioritize, not get side-tracked, and use my time the most wisely?
The other is that we will be having company staying at our home for several days. I have a melancholic personality and I enjoy – and actually need – time to myself. Having company will entail interruption to my usual quiet days – quiet because we are empty-nesters and my husband is retired. So this will be challenging to my flesh, especially since hospitality does not come easily or naturally for me – probably because I am basically selfish, and hospitality is basically all about unselfishness. It will be rewarding, too, I enjoy people once they are here, but I am still anxious about this.
So identifying the emotion and journaling about it got everything out in the open, and definitely helped, but now I need to take it to the next level and “finish it up”; I need to…
3. Pray it all the way through.
Okay, Lord, here I am…
Lord, You know all about the anxiety that is having a hayday in me right now. And I’m sure this is part of what’s drawing me so strongly to want to eat right now, to try to mask it or smother it or avoid dealing with it, or D. ALL THE ABOVE.
Of course I know full well that none of those will work, but that doesn’t mean I won’t fall for it, again.
Lord, I want to be honoring to you in how I eat, and I know I have not been, and for that I ask your forgiveness.
I come to You with the weightiness of my emotions, my selfishness, my confusion, my frustrations, my anger, and my insecurities…
…in this case, about hosting and entertaining guests. And I give it ALL to You, Lord…
You know what You want to happen with our guests, and I ask You to lead me that way and give me Your heart, Your love for them.
Help me think less about myself and more about them and their needs, and to make them feel welcome, and to show them Your love.
I also ask You to help me use my time wisely and get done those things that You want done, and let the rest go!
I cast all of these cares on You, Lord! I can’t fix them or get rid of them anyway, so I bring them to – and leave them with – You.
And I trust You with them, and to get me over any hurdles, and through any tough times that come up today and once our company is here. Please give me the words, the heart, the direction, and the wisdom I need in each moment.
Thank you, Lord, for everything You are doing and are going to do! Aaaaaaamen!
I feel like I broke off a huge chunk of a taproot today!
This bondage to food is like a huge tree with very long and thick taproots burrowing deep into the ground. The taproots become larger, longer, and thicker every time we eat when we aren’t hungry. The stronghold (tree and taproots) just get bigger and bigger in our lives.
What is it going to take to remove this huge tree and those very large taproots? It’s going to take spiritual weapons to remove it all!
The length of time it will take to remove the tree and taproots depends on how large the tree and taproots have become in your life.
For me, I became morbidly obese (I hate that term!), so my tree is gigantic, as are the taproots. It is not impossible to conquer this, but will take huge amounts of spiritual weapons to bring down the tree and dry up the taproots.
The spiritual tools I will need to use are: daily affirmations, mind renewal spoken aloud at least once or twice a day, prayer, Bible study especially concerning food issues, self control, faithfulness and discipline.
These will all work together to begin to loosen and dry up those taproots.
Last night I got the strongest urge to eat. I wasn’t even sure if I was hungry. It felt like I was getting a hunger pang, or maybe it was in my mind. I decided this would be a good time to practice saying no to my flesh, so I spoke out loud: “I’m saying no to my flesh.”
Saying no to my flesh is saying yes to honoring God in my eating, yes to walking again, (literally for me!), and yes to getting my life back. Getting my life back is getting my own independence back and doing things for myself again.
I had just heard a statement: “If my flesh is screaming, it’s not dead yet.” My flesh is like a little child wanting its way, having a temper tantrum. When this happens it’s a prime time to offer my body to and honor God. At that moment it becomes good seed to give to God.
So I felt like a huge chunk of the taproot was released last night when I didn’t eat. I offered my choice to not eat to God and honored him. I offered my body as a living sacrifice to God. I gave up food I wanted to eat and offered that to God as a gift.
Not eating is a seed, and when you give God a “not eating seed,” He multiplies that seed to you. He multiplies the seed sown and increases the fruits of righteousness in you. (2 Corinthians 9:10…)
It’s like a farmer planting seeds in the ground. Whatever you plant is what you get! If I plant tomato seeds, I will get tomatoes, not corn. If I plant cucumber seeds, I get cucumbers, not watermelons.
So if I want to not eat as much, then I will have to plant periods of not eating in my life. As I offer that to God, it becomes good seed for him to grow in me. Does that make sense? It is a spiritual law.
Here is the scripture in its entirety (KJV):
Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food and multiply your seed sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness.”
The same thing happens when we tithe. We give, and he gives back more! It’s a beautiful law that works. I understand this principle financially and have seen God multiply my finances over and over again.
But trying it out with God in the weight-releasing realm was another story. However, God used a “Big D Episode” (being disobedient and paying for it with digestive issues and the like,) to turn my attention to this realm. So I’m beginning to put this scripture into practice in my life more and more, which is key.
It is amazing how God can take small amounts of obedience and turn them into huge victories. Only our God can do that!
Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin…” (Zechariah 4:10)
“Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness.”
I’ve really never been thin. When I was younger I had lost weight but didn’t know how to keep it off. So I ultimately gained it back, and then some.
Now that I understand the process of the farmer, I am using this process to release my excess weight in addition to being patient with the process.
SO WHAT DOES THIS PROCESS LOOK LIKE?
1) First the farmer cultivates the land and tills the soil.The soil has to be cultivated so it can receive the seed. This involves the hard soil being basically chopped up so that the seed will be able to take root in it. Hard, uncultivated soil will not be able to grow anything, except weeds.
2) He plants good seeds. The farmer finds good quality seeds. Whatever seeds the farmer plants is what he gets. He literally reaps what he sows.
3) Heplants in the right season. If he misses the season to plant, he will not get the crop that he is expecting to get. There may be different times or seasons for each type of crop.
4) After that is done and the seeds are planted, hewaters the soilin expectation for the harvest.
5) The farmer waits.He is very patient, knowing that time has to unfold because the seed has to germinate, take root, and then eventually sprout through the soil. Only after this, will it be able to produce the crop, be it corn, tomatoes or beans. There are unexpected circumstances that may hinder his crop, like adverse weather conditions, but his goal is still the same.
APPLYING THIS TO WEIGHT AND EATING
Now let’s talk about planting good seed as it relates to weight, body and eating, and in breaking habits.
What happens in the natural realm happens in the spiritual realm as well.
If the goal is to get a good harvest ~ releasing weight ~ and that is my goal to release weight permanently, everything that happens in the natural realm needs to happen in this process, too.
1) CULTIVATING THE SOIL
If we want to be able to receive the good seed God is going to be showing and giving us, our old “soil” ~ our old way of thinking ~ has to go. This is what “renewing the mind” is all about. Out with the old way of thinking (like the diet mentality; doing it on our own, etc.), and in with the new way of thinking that will ultimately produce a good harvest in us. This might feel like we are being “chopped up,” but it is really just God getting rid of old ways of thinking and doing things that have produced far more damage than this cultivating is doing now. Having extra weight on our body has also been part of “tilling the soil.” But God is going to use this sorrow for good.
2) PLANTING GOOD SEEDS
As we begin to give God our body on a daily basis by giving him our “not-eating moments,” we are planting good seed. I am using those seeds every day to get the great harvest of releasing weight and being healthy. , so the season or timing is now!
The time between dinner and breakfast is great “seed” before God. Most people have problems after dinner or getting up in the middle of the night to eat. Honoring God during these times may be a small (or big?) sacrifice, but it’s great seed before God. I started doing that and broke the cycle of binge eating.
My binge eating usually started at 10 pm every night. That was when I did the most damage.
Another way of planting good seed is to give God your cravings. An unexpected circumstance might set these off. You have a taste for something and it usually hits when you are really not hungry. Again, this is great seed before God because you are giving out of your desire. “I want something good to eat. I want it now, and right now. I want more, or I want it all.” All of these situations are ways to sow good seed before God.
3) PLANTING IN THE RIGHT SEASON
This is simple for our analogy, as it is always the right season, or time, to obey the Lord. And if we have just recently failed, His mercies are new every morning! “If today you hear His voice, harden not your heart” ~ which is what led to the hardening of our “soil.” Just repent and come to Him. It’s never too late!
4) WATERING THE SOIL
As we honor God by giving him our body, we have to water the seed. We do this in a few ways.
One is by faith ~ we wait patiently in expectation for our harvest, knowing that if we give, He will give back to us. He rewards us with our faithfulness.
Another way to water the seed is to claim out loud our truth. Repeating daily affirmations several times a day about who we are in Christ is a great way to water our seed. Some examples of my affirmations are:
I desire less food.
I eat and think like a thin eater.
I am an overcomer.
Food has its proper place in my life.
Or you can write your own.
Tonight I wanted dessert after my dinner but I was full. So I honored God by not eating the small dessert I wanted. I became that living sacrifice. I made a decision to not eat again until the morning. This is great seed before God and he will increase my harvest in the form of a smaller body!
Another way to water the soil is to take one of your favorite foods ~ be it a candy bar, piece of cake or pie, or fried chicken ~ in your hand (or just name it if it’s somewhere else and you don’t want to go near it) and tell God:
“God, I love you more than ________ ( name your food out loud), and I honor you by not eating this today!”
If you are temped by a particular food or if someone is cooking and it smells so good, give that smell and food to God.
“God I honor you by not eating that food that smells so good!”
(Suggestion: If you cannot handle the smell, breathe through your mouth!)
Another suggestion for watering the good seed you have planted is if you have a trigger food or problem food that you just cannot stop eating, give that food a rest for a while by not eating it. I did that with fried chicken and I’m still doing it. I also gave up potato chips for about a year and a half. I just started eating them again, and it was a small bag. But it took me 3 days to eat that small bag that I would have previously devoured in 5 minutes!
I have wanted a chocolate cake donut now for about 5 months and I keep telling myself you can have it, just not today, and it probably will not taste as good as you think it will. That keeps me from eating it.
All these are watering the good seed God is growing in me.
As we keep honoring God with our body, we break the cycle of disordered eating by not eating, and God takes the seed and increases and multiplies it to produce the harvest that we want.
I believe the hardest part of the process is being patient with the process. But we are told in Galatians 6:9:
“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap a harvest of blessings, if we do not get discouraged and give up.”
And in Hebrews 12:11 it says:
“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, [after a season of waiting] however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”
As hard as this process is, I’m looking forward to seeing and enjoying the outcome ~ that “harvest of blessing”!
A few years ago, I got to do something that had been on my Bucket List. My family and I went to the Grand Canyon while on a long tour out west.
I was so sure that my children would be as mesmerized and in awe of it as I knew I would be. And I WAS!
But one of my teenagers was NOT!
He complained, and complained, and wanted to leave the moment we arrived.
Boy, did that rain on my parade. I didn’t get to really take the time I wanted to inhale the experience. And what time we did spend there was overshadowed by his griping.
What was clashing was our very different perspectives. Mine was wonder of God’s creation and power; my son’s was boredom of caverns with dry dusty rocks.
The way we see ourselves and how God sees us is kind of like that trip. We look at ourselves and see the lumps and bumps and cellulite, and we think we just aren’t that exciting to our Father, ourselves, or our friends and family.
However, God looks at us ~ at what He has made ~ in awe and wonder, and says:
It is VERY good.”
Do you believe that? I sure don’t, if I’m being honest. Sadly, our society makes us think that we need to perform to be precious or valuable to God.
The teacher’s pet gets the privileges, right?
But God’s perspective is very different from ours.
It would be good to go deeper with this, to where our hearts might need a little (or a lot) of loving on…
Take some time to consider…
What are your thoughts about how God sees YOU?
Do you struggle with believing God sees you as a “Mighty warrior” in this battle of overweight and food issues?
I’d love to hear your thoughts about this in a comment.
It blesses my heart to know that how ever I view myself, God has a very different, a better view and perspective. Especially, if my view is negative.