The Bare Necessities

The Bare Necessities

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

My daughter enjoys watching the movie The Jungle Book.  Every once in awhile she will ask me to play the Bare Necessities song that Baloo sings after meeting Moglie.  One day we were listening to the song, when suddenly it hit me, it’s really true!  We only need the bare necessities of life!

What are the bare necessities?  Food, shelter, clothing?  Maybe there are additional things like companionship.  Water?  I’m sure we can all think of what those bare necessities are in our life.

So how does this pertain to our Thin Within journey?

I can tell you what it means for me.  I learned this the hard way this past week.

The last year has been incredible.  The Lord has helped me overcome so much.  Through Christ, I have seen victory after victory.  There have been bumps along the way, but all of a sudden, this past week, I stumbled and fell on my face.  And I ate dirt.  And as Heidi just talked about, I got back on the horse, and then fell off again and ate more dirt.  And then I felt like the last time I fell off the horse that the horse dragged me through a manure pit.  Ever been there?  Yeah…so instead of just brushing the dirt off myself, this time I had to get a hose and spray off the grime.

But I’m back on the horse again. 🙂

So what happened?  I started to get panicky and tried to create ways to be more in control.  Instead of just eating 0-5 and staying within my boundaries (my bare necessities of my Thin Within journey), I decided to keep a food journal of what I was eating and give myself a check-mark if I ate 0-5 (which, is totally ok if you are led to do this–I was not).  AND then I thought that I should limit certain kinds of foods.  I really thought this was the Lord’s idea, but looking back, it was NOT.  And maybe He allowed it to prove to me that my ideas are not the greatest ideas.  Ha!  Instead of being helpful, it brought me back to my dieting and restrictive days.  The first couple of days were fine, but then I slowly started to see myself deteriorate into this rut of restriction.  This is not a good place for me.  I started to obsess.   And that’s when I really began to eat some dirt.  I wasn’t staying within the basics.

The Lord has shown me that I need to keep things simple.  It’s those bare necessities of my Thin Within journey that are what He wants for me.  If I go outside of that I find myself trying to control and be obsessed.  And then the mental weight becomes heavy and suddenly I’m burdened down like I was back in my dieting days.  There’s only a few things that the Lord would like me to focus on in this journey.  Those are my bare necessities.

Christ has come to give us life, and life in abundance.  The enemy has come to steal, kill and destroy–his focus is death.  (John 10:10)  Christ wants us to live simply.  The enemy wants to complicate things, burden us down, and confuse us.  Christ wants us to walk by faith.  The enemy wants us to walk by sight.

Walking by faith is not always easy.  When I follow the Holy Spirit’s leading with my eating, I’m trusting in Him and putting my faith in Him.  I think what happened is that I was starting to doubt, so I wanted to help things a bit by gathering some control.  Well, I gathered “control” all right and licked up some dirt!  If anything, I was out of control.

Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding.  In all of your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.  Proverbs 3:5-6

I will choose to trust Him.  I am choosing to acknowledge Him before each meal and I’m inviting the Holy Spirit to guide me in my eating.  And He certainly meets with me when I do so.

So today I’m letting go of those extra, non-essential things.  They aren’t necessary.  They complicate things.  They make me greedy and discontent.  I’m going back to the simplicity I found in the beginning–through Christ–not my own strength or works.  Christ’s burden is light , but I started carrying a heavy burden that I brought upon myself.  And apparently the horse I’m riding didn’t care for that extra weight.  And the last time I got bucked off, I left that extra weight on the ground.  Praise God!

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light (Matthew 11:28-30).

I really want to encourage you in your own Thin Within journey.  Maybe this has been part of the struggle for you.  Maybe you’ve been focused on too many things.  Is God calling you to simplicity–to get back to the basics of eating between hunger and satisfaction?  Your bare necessities could be a combination or just a couple of these things:

  • Spending time in the Word
  • Truth Journaling
  • Creating and reading truth cards
  • Adding to your God List
  • Praise and worship
  • Journaling
  • Bible study
  • Renewing your mind
  • Inviting the Holy  Spirit into each eating experience
  • Being accountable to your accountability partner

Maybe there’s something that is essential for you that I haven’t listed, but you KNOW that it’s something the Lord has asked you to do.  Those are all great things, but sometimes God only calls us to focus on a couple of things.

Something the Lord has been showing me is that He will provide my needs.  Christ says in Matthew 6:25, “Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?”  He doesn’t want us focused on food or what we are going to eat.  He’s going to take care of those basic needs, but our part is trusting Him and following His leading.

He’s also been showing me that if I am doing more than He is calling me to do, that I will start to lean on my own abilities and strengths–and I will become greedy.  Ouch!  If you are taking “too much thought” about what you will eat, how you will lose the weight, etc., then maybe it’s time to step back and re-assess your focus.  It could be time to simplify.  And really, this journey is about growing closer to the Lord and keeping food in it’s proper place, so it could be simply that He just wants you to read the pure Word of God.

But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19

 How about you?

Are you carrying burdens that you were never meant to carry?  Are you living by faith and not by sight in your Thin Within journey?  Are you trying to control things instead of just trusting in the Lord?  What are your bare necessities for this journey?  For me, it’s been reading my truth cards, reading the Word, truth journaling, renewing my mind, and going through a Bible study.  It may look different for you.  The Lord will show you.  And if you are carrying too heavy of a load, you will know.

Git Yer Bum Back in the Saddle!

Git Yer Bum Back in the Saddle!

Doc

Doc

Before I get to the blog post, I want to share some context. 🙂 The above picture is my horse, Doc–well, it is his rear end, but I think it is so purty. LOL! I haven’t ridden Doc on the trail in a LOOOOOONG time. He…well…he has issues. Without going into detail, let me just say that his primary issue is arthritis throughout his body and if that wasn’t enough his secondary issue (which is a big enough one all by itself) is…well…ME :-). If I want to go down the trail, I take a different horse. If I don’t take a different horse…what you see in the video below, may end up happening:

Now, that video that you watched is a compilation of a lot of really BAD moments for a lot of people–and, to be honest, even WORSE moments for horses, but I have to say…riding horses can be a wonderful, serene experience. Horses are PREY animals and to their brain, they naturally think anything that pops up or that seems out of place might be a predator that will KILL them. So they react now and think about it (maybe) later.

This video shows my horse, Breezy, with Michaela when she was about 11 years old. Nice moments. 🙂

So, with these two piece of context, I want to share with you this post…my latest installment about how Thin Within is like one amazing, glorious, incredible trail ride! HA! 🙂

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Diets are demanding dictators.

You either got it or you don’t.

You pass or fail.

You win or lose.

Period.

There is no “gray” with dieting.

With the Thin Within approach, it isn’t a black or white, right or wrong, got it or don’t got it sort of experience–or at least not in my fifteen years of experience with this approach to managing how I relate to food and my body.

That is why I often liken it to a horseback ride down the trail. Permit me to do so yet again.

There is a cycle that happens for me and has since I began in 1999 and, yes, even since 2006 when I really began to get “focused” and more diligent to eat 0 to 5 and let God have his way with my food and eating. This is how it works…I begin to get a rhythm. Things are humming along–I am heading down the trail, riding along happily. Most would say this is “success” or “victory” or, if we let our previous dieting mentality sneak in, it is the “got it” time. I am riding my pony down the trail. Enjoying the journey. Oblivious to any challenges. They are ALL behind me…or so they seem. Granted, this “season” may be SHORT–like the few hours between waking up in the morning and the “pit hour” when the kids descend on the house after school. Or it may be literally months of eating 0 to 5, taking God at his Word, renewing the mind.

Then…

WHAMO!!!!

A bogey appears from nowhere and scares the bejeebers out of me and my horse on the trail. If you have done any trail riding with a “normal” horse (not one who is brain dead from too many rides on the dude string!), you know that even a plastic bag is enough to cause him anything from slight concern to abject terror, bucking, bolting…the works. It may not be “anything” at all, but to a 1000 pound animal with a prey animal instinct, it is fight or flight to survive…not to be killed. Trying to ride that out is just plain impossible for most mere mortals! And to be honest, it is a rare trail ride that doesn’t include some sort of excitement like this. It is the nature of the…well…beast. 🙂

Wind knocked out of me, helmet askew, I am flat out on the ground. I have given in, given up, inhaled food. (This is the analogy part. LOL!) Maybe I only overate at just one meal. Or maybe I have started there and not looked back until it is two months later. Maybe the “bogey” or “plastic bag” that caused me to fall off the horse was bad news about medical tests from the doctor. Maybe it was a mean church lady who reminded me of an abusive adult I endured growing up. Maybe it is a job loss. Maybe it is a flat tire! It doesn’t really matter. All I know is I look around and wonder “How did I get here?” I was going along so well and now….I have eaten my way into oblivion 13 of the last 17 meals. I lick my wounds and look everywhere for the face of God. Ah…there it is, inviting me to get on up. Time to move on. Yes, child, put your foot in the stirrup and lift on up into the saddle again. There are places to go. Wonders to experience. Adventures to be had!

The new normal settles in and I am again heading down the trail with a new rhythm. I have gotten the 0 to 5 eating thing wired once again–even WITH the new normal. I am in the Word, believing God, and renewing my mind. Life is good. The weight is coming off again and intimacy with God is deepening once again.

Then….

WHAMO!

Another bogey! This time, a piece of yellow “Caution” tape that my horse was sure was a horse-eating monster or the horse-eating mud monster. I just can’t stay in the saddle with this latest bugg-a-boo! I can’t hold on when life throws me these bogeymen…I am on the ground again. This time, just leave me here. I am SOOOOOOO tired of falling off. I fail to remember in moments like these that I spent a lot of time in the saddle heading where I wanted to go, enjoying the ride…Somehow the fall did something to my memory *and* my backside. My pride is wounded.

THIS time, the bogey may have been my dad’s failing health and all the heartache in my life because of never feeling his approval and knowing I may *never* have it. The challenge may have just been that annual event called “Christmas” and all the challenges that accompany it. That is all it may take! Or Summer vacation! Or being cut off on the highway. Again, it really doesn’t matter what it was…all I know is that I fell off the “I am being faithful 0 to 5” horse.

How long will I lay here before I… finally….

…harken to the call of God. Get up, dust off. Let him do it, in fact! Stick that foot on up in the stirrup again…git my bum back where it belongs. Whew…

And…Off I go again. And now, I am getting back on the horse and am ready to ride again…even with this NEW new normal.

You see…this IS faithfulness.

Faithfulness isn’t NEVER falling off. We wouldn’t be human if we never struggled.

Faithfulness is getting back on that horse again. New normal and all. Sore backside and all. We don’t keep track of our mess ups. We just get back on. We don’t count the number of pounds or days we have lost or gained or whatevered. We just GET BACK ON!

I wish I could tell you that I never struggle. That I lost all my weight and that was that. But nope. I STILL struggle. I STILL fall off the horse. I stay off the horse less long than I used to. I can’t even say that I fall off less often. Sometimes I fall off less often. Sometimes I fall off just as often as I ever have.

But…I press on.

Seems to me a really wise man once said that…

…one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind 

and straining toward what is ahead,

I press on toward the goal to win the prize 

for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

~ Philippians 4:13-14

 

How About You?

Are you insisting that this is DO or DIE, right or wrong, black or white? Do you consistently refer to your attempts at following the Lord in the Thin Within principles as having failed? Are you swinging between black and white? How would your view of things change if you believed that GRAY can be glorious? We are progressing by hanging in there…even when it is ugly! Do you believe it? How can you press on today? Can you “Git Yer Bum Back in the Saddle?” 🙂

Stay on the Path

Stay on the Path

Guest Post by Susan Bradbury

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Cathy Maher recently shared the above Truth Card.

Thinking about this one: I have FREEDOM to walk in the Spirit when I keep my boundaries. It is just like when you go for a walk in a park or nature reserve and you see a sign that says, “Stay on the Path! The sign is posted there to protect you…the path itself is safe. Off the path there may be a drop off or poison ivy or animal traps, etc. It is only when we choose to veer off the path because something catches our eye and we think, “oh I think I just wanna step off for a moment, pick a flower, etc…no one will notice.

Stepping off the path can ruin the beauty of the journey for others to enjoy. We need to stay on the path as an example for others also. We don’t realize the impact of our feet. Sometimes there are reasons WHY and we don’t always know them…but the signs are posted for our protection and the protection of those around us.

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When you think of stepping off the path…think again!

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Just like the path in the park has signs, God has signs posted along our journey.  These guiding markers are there for our protection.  The signs of hunger and satisfied are simple, quiet ways that God gets our attention.  They are not there to stop us from enjoying ourselves.   They are there so we can get the maximum pleasure from this life as we follow Him!

Do you feel backed into the corner by life? Patsy Clairmont gives you hope in this video.

Trust Me and find out you are safe… ~Jesus

Here are the boundaries video resources that have helped me the most:

  • Boundaries
  • Boundaries Webinar
  • Week 9 Boundaries Workbook
  • Keeping Boundaries Under Stress video
  • Click HERE  to find great blog resources on boundaries.  These have been very helpful to me!

I have made a “Why I love keeping my boundaries” list…When I review the benefits it is easy to decide to stay within my boundaries of 0 to 5.  Why not consider making your own list? Also, be sure to make some Truth Cards to glance at when you are tempted to jump the boundaries! You will be amazed how much easier it will be to stay on the path!!

How about YOU?

Ask yourself:

  • What is God speaking to me about a FREEDOM FOCUS?
  • How can I see my boundaries in a different light?
  • How can I ENJOY THE JOURNEY?

Susan BradburySusan lives in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  She is the Mother of four great kids and Grandmother to one.  In her spare time, she enjoys gardening, writing, crocheting and a good movie with a cup of herbal tea!

Another Drawing Contest Winner! YAY!

Another Drawing Contest Winner! YAY!

Drawing

Photo Courtesy of iStock Photo

Chelley won the contest drawing this week! Thank you all for commenting and participating.
She will get to pick between:
  1. A paperback copy of Hunger Within, by Arthur and Judy Halliday. This book is an updated version of Silent HungerThin AgainGet Thin Stay Thin (the publisher keeps re-releasing them with new names). Hunger Within, though, has some updates.
  2. A pdf version of Thin Within Workbook#2
  3. A pdf version of Thin Within Workbook #1 and Temple Toolkit
Congratulations, Chelley!

Caught In The Act

I’m pretty sure my neighbors are grossed out by me.

The windows in our kitchens face each other. Occasionally, we both have our curtains pulled back and we can look directly into each other’s kitchens. I can’t count how many times they have must have witnessed me stand in front of my kitchen sink or trash can and spit out a mouthful of chewed up food. Gross, right?!

What they don’t know is that they’re witnessing obedience to the Lord in those gross moments. They’re catching me in act of proclaiming my freedom over food.

Like many people, “unconscious” eating is something that has plagued me through the years. It’s like my brain doesn’t register that I’m eating until I’m halfway through a bag of tortilla chips. The hardest things for me are the “little foxes” that sneak in so easily when I am cooking or doing the dishes after a meal. One minute I’m cooking chili, and the next minute I’m eating spoonfuls of it out of the pot in the name of “testing the recipe.” One minute I’m doing dishes, the next minute I’m eating the last piece of garlic bread so it “doesn’t go to waste.” I walk by the kitchen and grab one little cracker. Harmless, right? It’s just one little cracker….

I truly treasure the moments where I am able to catch myself in the act of breaking my boundaries. In the simple (and sometimes gross) act of spitting out the food, or removing the spoon from my mouth, I am able to return to obedience in the Lord.

In those moments, I am able to take my thoughts captive just as Paul says “we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” 2 Corinthians 10:5. In this moment, I am able to say (often with the food still in my mouth) to myself ” STOP! What are you doing here Becky? Let’s evaluate. Is this what staying within my boundaries really looks like? Does the Lord delight in me swallowing this bite of food or in surrendering it to the trash can? Am I willing to give up this momentary bite of pleasure in exchange for freedom? Will I choose to honor God and my body by not eating this bite because I’ve already reached my 5?”

Catching myself in the act often looks like:

-Removing a spoonful of food that I’ve put in my mouth in the name of “tasting”

-Spitting out a mouthful of food the second I realize I am not within my 0-5 boundaries

-Pushing the chips and salsa away from me so it’s not within arm’s reach anymore

-Putting away the box of crackers so it is out of sight

-Putting the sandwich down, closing my mouth, lifting my eyes and saying “No, Lord. I will not eat outside of the boundaries you have set before me. In this moment, I chose to die to myself. I chose to honor and obey you.” 

I often look just like this picture below when I catch myself in the act!

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Catching myself in the act has almost become a discipline for me. It is a discipline of turning immediately from my disobedience. “Repent! Turn away from all your offenses; then sin will not be your downfall.” Ezekiel 18:30. God delights in our every effort to turn from our selfish ways as we choose to obey and return to Him. And I believe He honors even our smallest act of obedience. Every bite we surrender outside of our hunger is an act of worship and obedience that he delights in!

How about you? Have you “caught yourself in the act”? What does that look like for you? Do you have any stories of turning from rebellion to obedience? Have you seen the fruits of obedience in your life? How do you defeat temptation in the moment when you want one more bite?

A Lost Cigar Lighter and Finding 5

A Lost Cigar Lighter and Finding 5

Image courtesy of Gualberto107 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Gualberto107 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

In Thin Within we get to enjoy whatever food we want when we are hungry–“0.” We stop eating when we reach a “5”–when the body has had “just enough” food…it isn’t full, but is satisfied. Usually, it will take about the same volume of food as the size of a loosely held fist (depending on the type of food eaten).

Sometimes, participants lament “I can’t find 5!” This typically refers to having eaten more than they needed and realizing it only too late. With Thin Within, this need not spell disaster. Simply wait for hunger before eating the next time. No more waiting for another Monday. 🙂

There is one primary reason why “Finding 5” may be difficult.

A distant relative lands on your doorstep, beaming with delight that he has decided to stay with you for a few nights. Oh, joy! We always liked Uncle Joe. Until…shucks…he has, unfortunately, taken up the habit of smoking a cigar–one in the morning and one in the evening–each day. Content to do so out on your wonderful deck beneath the trees, the distinct odor of cigars is, nevertheless, carried upon his person when he re-enters the house. The scent hangs in each room–the living room, bathroom, guest bedroom. And now, Uncle Joe has lost his special butane torch lighter (the kind that any good self-respecting stogie soldier uses) and solicits the help of the family to find it. Hmm….how eager are we to join the search when doing so means something we aren’t particularly eager to experience–in this case, more pungent aroma wafting through the house?

The desire to find what is lost will determine the zeal of the search! How easy is it to find something that you aren’t really that interested in finding? If finding something means an end to what you find pleasant, why would you *want* to find it?

Cathy Maher, who is teaching one of our Thin Within Workbook Classes, pointed this out in her video recently. It is a REALLY good point!

We are SO eager to “find 0″…that point where we get to eat. YIPPEE!!!! We have little difficulty finding “0”–in fact, many of us “find” it before it really appears, if we are honest…calling every gurgle of digestion a hunger pang!

But if we don’t really want to “find” 5–that place of physical satisfaction where we have eaten enough food and it is time to stop eating–then we will have difficulty! It is because we don’t really want to find it…we aren’t looking that hard, just as with Uncle Joe’s lighter.

It will serve us well if we evaluate if what we REALLY want is to “find” 5 or if we would much prefer to continue eating instead.  Are we really looking?

If this rings true for you, I want to encourage you to renew your mind with some of these truths:

  • My body is remarkably efficient. It doesn’t take much food to satisfy and as I stop at “just enough,” my body will become leaner and healthier.
  • God’s 0 to 5 boundaries provide a pleasant place for me to enjoy freedom in my eating.
  • It is best to live by design rather than by desire.
  • The portion allotted for me will be completely satisfying, physically. I may need to lean extra hard on the Lord to experience soul-satisfaction, though.
  • I can call on the Lord to give me the “want to” to find 5.
  • The Lord will grant me a willing spirit to sustain me (Psalm 51:12b)

How About You?

Do you look for 5 like you might look for Uncle Joe’s lost cigar lighter? Will you begin to pray today and renew your mind about the joy of eating within the godly boundaries of 0 and 5?