Delightful Boundaries

Delightful Boundaries

Image courtesy of anankkml / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of anankkml / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

In less than a week (give or take), I will be holding our newborn son in my arms for the very first time.  A lot of changes are around the corner, and I’ve been reminding myself to take it all one moment at a time, even with the lack of sleep a baby can bring.

I’ve been thinking a lot about what my eating will look like after the baby comes.  Most of my journey with Thin Within and overcoming the issues I was having before, took place during my pregnancy.  I shared a little bit about this before in a post about Pregnancy & Thin Within.  To be honest, there have been times when I’ve wondered if after I have the baby, I will be tempted to go back to Weight Watchers.  My accountability partner knows this has been a concern of mine.  I have seen the Lord do some amazing things in my life, mind and body throughout this journey while being pregnant.  In so many ways, it’s been such a blessing.  One blessing is that I have paid no attention to my weight.  And now seeing how I look and feel with only a few weeks of pregnancy to go, I want to give Him all of the praise, honor, and glory for helping me stay at a healthy pregnancy weight (whatever it may be).  I can tell I’ve honored my hunger within the boundaries God has given me, and He has helped me learn to delight in my boundaries.  Praise God!

The other day I was reading in Barb Raveling’s book Taste for Truth: A 30 Day Weight Loss Bible Study.  She was talking about how she was breaking boundaries right and left.  She said that instead of renewing her mind, her response was “being frustrated and thinking my boundaries didn’t work” (page 95).  This spoke volumes to me because that’s exactly what I start to think when I break a boundary.  “Oh, I guess these boundaries aren’t working for me (since I broke them), so I might as well go back to Weight Watchers.”  But these boundaries DO work!

So if it’s not the boundaries that are flawed, what is it?  It’s the LIES I am believing!  So then enters the importance of renewing my mind (which I keep on crowing about–ha!).  Instead of wallowing in my mess (remember my potty training illustration from this post?), I need to renew my mind about whatever lie that caused the boundary breakage.

This is huge for me.  HUGE!  I’m getting closer and closer to completely cutting off the lie that I have to return to a diet when I choose not to following my boundaries.  Praise God!

When I was spending time with the Lord this morning, He was showing me that eating between hunger and fullness works all of the time in helping one to lose or maintain weight.  There is no special program I have to go on in order to lose weight after having a baby.  Eating 0-5 will work!  So I won’t need a diet!  I won’t need to measure, track, weigh, or focus on food!  My boundaries are perfect boundaries!

Maybe you are reading this and thinking, “Whoa, ‘perfect’ is a strong word to describe your boundaries!”  But if I didn’t believe that, then I’d be in trouble.  They are perfect for me because it’s what the Lord has asked me to do and it’s the only thing that He’s given me peace about.  So basically, I know it’s His will for me.  It’s been my prayer that I would see my boundaries as delightful.

Here are some truths I have in my truth cards pertaining to my boundaries:

  • I can stay within my boundaries in spite of temptation or even when I don’t feel like it.
  • “Boundaries aren’t restrictive fences meant to keep us from enjoying life, but gifts from a God Who cares about our well-being.” Lysa TerKeurst
  • “The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.” Psalm 16:7
  • I don’t need a diet when I can just listen to my body.  I can eat within my boundaries.
  • Breaking my boundaries is not a reward.
  • Boundaries make my life better.
  • I feel immediate joy when I choose to honor my boundaries.
  • Not even one bite outside of my boundaries.

Boundaries DO make my life better.  They keep me safe.  Some boundaries that I have for eating are: eating 0-5, eating while sitting and without distraction, and eating slowly so I can enjoy my food.  These are the boundaries God has given to me right now, and I am really starting to see how delightful these boundaries are.  I CAN stay within my boundaries!

So as I proceed into the next chapter of my life (being a mommy of two!), I know I can persevere in what God has already showed me to do: delight in my boundaries!

How about you?

Do you believe your boundaries are perfect?  Or are you tempted like I’ve been to go back to a diet when you break a boundary?  What lies have you been believing?  What truths can combat those lies?  Will you join me in persevering and delighting in your God-given boundaries?

 

Forgiveness–An Act of Obedience

Forgiveness–An Act of Obedience

Image courtesy of Ohmega1982 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Ohmega1982 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

Almost three years ago, after reading Thin Within, I completed the first Thin Within workbook. This workbook (I have always thought of it as a devotional) changed my spiritual life. Believe it or not, the workbook truly brought me to Christ. It was not until I completed the workbook that I really understood sin, the cross, my identity in Christ and the grace of the Lord (among many other things). And I experienced His healing powers in a very concrete way – by learning to forgive. (Now, I have been experiencing more and more of His healing powers over the past year, but that’s another story for another day).

The workbook’s week on forgiveness was instrumental in bringing me closer to the Lord. Without going into all of the details, I had a very strained relationship with one member of my family. It was a hurtful and painful relationship that caused me much anger. When I looked at my life at that time, I would have said that everything in my life – a loving husband, wonderful children, a healthy family, etc – was pretty great. But when I thought about this one relationship, I just didn’t deal well with the anger. Whenever I had to sit through a sermon or talk on forgiveness, I thought “yeah, but they don’t understand how badly I was treated. And I did nothing wrong! I don’t want to hear this and I’m not going to listen”. Yep, I was like a toddler having a temper tantrum!

I dreaded the week on forgiveness in the workbook. As I approached the week, I considered skipping it. But, I decided that I would start it and see what happened. Then, as I read the forgiveness lessons and studied the scripture, I learned about the grace and mercy that God showers on me when He forgives me. Praise Him!

And then I realized… that I am called to forgive others. Oh, no! But, the Lord began to change my heart as I desired to truly follow Him. I chose to study and commit to that week’s lesson. I then learned that forgiveness is an act of obedience. And I so wanted to be obedient to the Lord. I wanted to know Him. I wanted His healing. I wanted freedom from the diet mentality. I knew that I had to commit to obedience in this area. So, I committed to praying every day to forgive this particular person and I read the related scriptures over and over. I would picture all of my hurt, anger and pain tied up in a large piece of fabric and placed at the foot of the cross. After several months, I woke up one morning and the burden had been lifted! I knew for a fact then that God is faithful and that I can believe His Word. There is no way that, in my human power, I would have found the ability to forgive.

Here is the beauty of God’s way. When we are obedient to Him, we receive freedom. It sounds counterintuitive that obeying “someone else’s” way will free us, right? We want to be free to do it our own way. But, when I handled the anger and disappointment my own way, I lived in bondage to my emotions. When I handed my heart hurts to God, the chains around my heart broke in two.

It took me a lot longer to admit that eating within the God given boundary of 0-5 is also an act of obedience. I had to commit to more heart work and surrender in order to realize that truth. But, as I said earlier, that is another story for another day.

How About You?

Do you feel that you are not worthy of God’s forgiveness? Do you feel that someone in particular is not worthy of your forgiveness? Read what Jesus says about forgiveness. Talk to God about your feelings. Bring your embarrassment, pain, hurt, anger or bitterness to the foot of the cross. Ask for forgiveness. Ask for the ability to forgive. He and He alone is able to set you free!

*The fervent and deliberate daily prayers to forgive were combined with counseling with a Christian therapist. The therapy sessions were more about deciding whether I wanted to continue a relationship with this person or not. Forgiveness really was a separate matter all together. But I do want to disclose this fact because short-term counseling was helpful for me and someone reading this may want to consider it.

Forgiveness – Lesson 10 TW Class 2014

Forgiveness – Lesson 10 TW Class 2014

Not That, but This...
The LORD within her is righteous; he does no wrong.
Morning by morning he dispenses his justice, and every new day he does not fail…
~ Zephaniah 3:5
I have shared for years that forgiveness was pivotal for me on my Thin Within journey. And it continues to be. I had one very wise accountability partner who,  when my eating was out of whack, asked me who I need to forgive.
After seven years of knowing about the hunger/satisfied approach to eating for weight loss and rarely, if ever, being consistent to do it, the thing that made the difference in my being able and willing to be more consistent was, simply, forgiveness. Being vulnerable with God in this important area kick-started my journey and took me from being merely a hearer of the truth to starting to DO the truth. Maybe the same can be true for you.
I have to admit, though, my way of sharing about this is easily misunderstood, easily misconstrued. So pardon me if I include disclaimers here *and* in the video. NOTE: I am not teaching THEOLOGY. I am, instead, sharing my experience. But my experience might be helpful to others of you and so I share it. As with everything I (or anyone) teach, please take all of it to the Lord and compare it to the Word of God. Where what I share seems to be at odds with the Word of God, always ALWAYS esteem the Word of God more highly than what I share. This has ALWAYS been important to me and it most assuredly is today as I share about this challenging topic. My experience or yours or anyone’s should never be the basis for TRUTH.
I can honestly say that what I will share here has been pivotal in enabling me to get rid of the largest road block hindering my obedience.
If you wonder what could be blocking your obedience, prayerfully consider if something I share here could be helpful to you.
Again, ALWAYS AND ONLY go to the Word of God and the Lord for understanding what is TRUE about God, life and you.
If you have a check in your spirit as you listen to this video, I suggest you STOP THE VIDEO and move on to the rest of the assignment. DO NOT IGNORE the promptings of the Holy Spirit.
Any time you expose yourself to something I say, I hope you will do this. Check in the spirit? Then stop the video. End the audio. Close out of the blog post. Only continue if you sense God’s leadership to do so.
A final request, please understand…I share my experience with great vulnerability and at great risk. I didn’t weep while I was creating the footage for this video, but I wept all the way through the editing process as God reminded me of the pain of that place. Please tread with grace if you feel the urge to “correct” me. First ask the Lord, please, if there might be a log in your own eye before you insist on trying to pluck a splinter out of mine, ok? Sometimes when we don’t like the truth that God may want to bring home in our own lives…a truth that requires us to change…we want to shoot the messenger. But consider this…God used a donkey to speak his truth to Balaam. Before you beat this donkey :-), ask HIM if there is some tiny shred of truth that you should respond to, ok?

This Week’s Video:

 Video Questions:

1.) I knew about eating according to the boundaries of hunger and satisfaction in 1999. But it wasn’t until 2006 that I had a break-through that enabled me to be able to start walking in obedience in my eating. God laid on my heart why I had trouble with being obedient. What was it he shared with me? (You will find it at about 02:17)

2.) What did it feel like I needed to do with that realization.

3.) About 03:20 I share a lie that I believed…that affected my journey to that point. What is that lie? “You, God, have _________ me __________.”

4.) What can happen when our feelings are given too much sway and begin to “define” fact for us?

5.) (04:27) “I was living as if God had _____________ too __________ of me.” Have you ever felt that way? About what? Do you today?

6.) Is there anything that has so disappointed you about God that it might be affecting your willingness to surrender your food to him? God does no wrong…he hasn’t done you wrong! But is there any way that this *feels* like it is similar to needing to forgive someone who has done you wrong? If not, what can you do with this sense that God has required too much of you? How might dealing with it (somehow) help you to honor him, to delight in him?

7.) I mention 4 kinds of forgiveness (of 5) that have been included in my journey. What are the 4 types of forgiveness that I mention (keeping in mind that #4 is not literally forgiveness)? Do you have any idea what my 5th kind of forgiveness is (not mentioned in the video)? 🙂 Post here at the blog what you think it might be!

8.) At about 07:27 I ask you some questions. Stop the video and take time to ask the Lord what the TRUTH is for you.

9.) Everyone acts based on what they believe. If we believe that God has done us wrong, we will act on that belief. We have to go to the root of it…how can you do that today?

10.) In the closing minutes,  I ask you to bring God your feelings and process them with him. Will you? If not, why not?

Renewing the Mind – Pressing On

What might you need to renew your mind about? Select one of these to speak truth to your soul about. Can you reference Scriptures to help you with this? What is true about night-time eating? What is true about eating when you feel wounded? What is true about this journey right now wherever you currently find yourself–IS God doing a “new thing” in you? Remember, renewing the mind with TRUTH is the point. BIG T truth…What GOD says is true. We want to think God’s thoughts after him. His Word sanctifies us.

Pick One (book or workbook):

Trade Book Assignment – To Be Completed by March 17th

  • Here is the Thin Within Study Guide Week 10 . Feel free to discuss it at our Facebook group or here! THIS WEEK, we will have a drawing for Rebecca Bryan’s music! This is great music for renewing your mind. If you post a comment this week your name will be put in a drawing to win a downloadable version of Becky’s CD. Comment on this blog post (or any other this week) to be entered in the drawing. You can enter more than once, too. 🙂

Workbook Assignment – To Be Completed by March 17th.

1. Read, highlight, mark 🙂 Lesson 10, Forgiveness, on pages D18 – D24 or listen to the “audio book” version of it at Sound Cloud.  Discuss it here in the comments section below this post or at our Class Facebook Group.
2. Complete the exercises for Lesson 10 on pages D26 – D32. Next Monday before the webinar, respond to the Review questions on page D33 or even better–do so at our Facebook discussion group!
3. Have you been creating a God List? Have you been Praise-Festing? Gratitude is yet another way we get our eyes off of ourselves and place them firmly on God. If we want this experience to be different than our dieting days (or previous goes through the Thin Within material, perhaps) we want to change our thinking and change our focus. Exalting God intentionally through praise and gratitude may be one way of doing this.
4. Use the entries for Day 64 through Day 70 in the Temple Tool Kit. Have you been using any of the tools? How is this going? What is God showing you through the use of the tools?
5. Memorize Colossians 3:12-13. Personalize it and add it to your truth cards.
6. Join us on March 17th for our live webinar at 4:30 Pacific Time. We will be wrapping up lesson 10 on Forgiveness.

How About You?

In these last few weeks of our study, you might experience the most profound changes to date. Invite God to help your heart to be wide open to whatever he may want to do be prepared to have new eyes to see. Forgiveness work is HARD WORK. But it is well worth it. Whether it is forgiveness of others, seeking their forgiveness for ways we have wronged them, asking God for forgiveness for our sin, forgiving ourselves or what I have called “forgiving” God. It is all hard work. But it is well worth it. As we put off bitterness and resentment, we are able then to put on kindness, compassion, and love.

Lesson 9’s (Boundaries) webinar recording is available here
Here are slides (in pdf form) from Lesson 9’s webinar: 09-Boundaries

Disordered No More! ~ Tammy’s Testimony

Photo Courtesy of iStockPhoto

Photo Courtesy of iStockPhoto

I really can’t remember a time when my life was not focused on food, weight, negative talk and condemnation.   When I was born I was only six pounds and I am told that my Daddy thought I needed to put on some weight.  So I am sure that the focus on food with me actually started before I can remember. My earliest memories of myself and weight were of being compared to my sister, who was fifteen months older.  My family wondered why I was fatter than she was.  Pictures from my life when I was under ten reveal that I was, indeed, a chubby kid. My older brother, whom I worshiped, sang “fat” songs about me in front of his friends, which stripped me of all self-dignity, and ignited a lifetime of shame.   My family was very religious, but love was never demonstrated or spoken about.  I believe my parents loved me, but never to be told as a young child that they did,  perpetuated my devastation.

I went on my first diet when I was twelve–grapefruit and boiled eggs.  Soon after that, I started playing basketball. It was hoped that this would help take off the weight.  Continued dieting and basketball succeeded. But even with a new slimmer body, my esteem remained low. I still saw myself as the “fat girl.”

When I was a senior in high school, my class went to a career day at our local college.  Considering my future, a friend suggested I should be a dietitian because I was always on a diet. Considering his suggestion, I thought that entering the nutrition profession would be a great way to discover a way to fix myself.  Since I have always been a caring and compassionate person and wanted to help others, I thought I could start classes and help fix other people.  Unknowingly, this started me on a huge path of pride.

I did have success with weight loss, twice losing fifty pounds, twice losing thirty pounds, then smaller amounts numerous times.  Each time I got down to a weight that was good for me.  Everything seemed good, but the weight loss was always short lived.  I never stayed at a lower weight long enough to even wear out my new pretty clothes.  So the search continued to find that “Magic Answer.” After becoming a Registered Dietitian I gave each of these a fair shot: Weight Watchers,  Weigh Down Workshop, First Place, exercise, and my popular “go to” – counting calories.  I even tried to become a Certified Athletic Trainer thinking that would offer the path to freedom.

I can NEVER remember a time when I did not judge myself as good or bad based on what I ate, the number of calories I consumed, whether I exercised, or what the scales said.  The negative talk was always there. I condemned myself constantly.   I was also a people pleaser that couldn’t stand to let anyone down.  Needless to say I had not found that “Magic Answer” that would cure myself and enable me to fulfill what I thought at the time was my calling in life–to help others.  God never asked me to do this.  It is one of those things that I just thought I’d do “for” God.

A few years ago, I just gave up. I knew that the world did not have the answer for weight loss.  I realized an inside change was required, but I still couldn’t put my finger on exactly what needed to happen to be free from the continued misery I lived with.

My heart was broken, my (self-imposed) life calling was shattered.  I was at the end of myself, knowing that I had to give all my life to God.  All my hopes, my dreams, my talents, my desires to help people.  I must do this His way, or no way.

Then I happened upon Thin Within.

A web search for updated news about Weigh Down led me to the Thin Within website.  I couldn’t believe that there was a Christian weight loss program out there that I did not know about, especially since Thin Within began in 1975!  I now know that I was not ready for this program until the very moment that God led me to it.  Pride and doing things my own way would have been a stumbling block.  God is such a good and personal, loving Father.

I am now in my first session with Thin Within, I can say that it is exactly what I have needed all my life.    Someone at my church gave me a book a few months prior about “Who I am in Christ,” and I began to see freedom in my life that brought such relief!  Thin Within continued this journey of freedom.  I am amazed at the freedom I am experiencing from many things, including: Good Food/Bad Food lists, calorie counting, weighing daily, fear of being hungry, condemning and negative thoughts of myself, and having to do things my own way.  I feel a closeness to God that I have never felt, even though I have been a Christian since I was nine years old.  I hear his voice daily, and I truly sense that I am more than a conqueror because of His grace, His power, His provision, His presence in my life.

In the past I always tried to fix the outside, thinking that would fix my inside, which is totally backwards.  God is healing my inside, which is causing a reaction leading to lasting change.

As of yet, I am unsure of my weight loss as I have removed the idol of the scales from view.  I am feeling great; I know that the outward change is coming.  Sooner, rather than later.  I am so excited to be focusing on my God, my Creator, and the lover of my soul instead of my food, my life, and my way.  I am very thankful that my plan for my life did not work out the way I saw it.  If it had, I would have led people down a path of man-made laws that cannot lead to life.  Now, I have in my possession something so much greater – the Spirit-led way to abundant life.

I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the founders of Thin Within.  God knows what He is doing!!!!! Many will be set free!!

How About You?

  • Are you leaving God’s  desires out of your plans for what you see yourself doing for Him? Can you see how God would see this as prideful?
  • Are you still trying to fix yourself?  How successful have you been to sustain weight loss or other positive change?  Why do you think that you can’t maintain success that was brought on by your own strength? Are you ready to give all your own plans, hopes and dreams to God so he can do more for you that you have ever imagined?

tammyTammy enjoys living in the countryside of Northeast Texas with her husband Kevin.  She has 2 grown children.  She works as a Registered Dietitian for a dialysis company.  She and her husband loves to garden, hike, and camp.   Tammy also enjoys reading, playing the piano, being outside, and finding new discoveries in God’s Word.

 

Following the Spirit

Following the Spirit

Image courtesy of Arvind Balaraman / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Arvind Balaraman / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.  For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.  But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the lawGalatians 5:16-18

I LOVE when I’m reading a verse I’ve read thousands of times jumps out at me and the Holy Spirit reveals this super amazing and awesome powerful truth to me as if I’ve read it for the first time!!  It’s always so exciting!  That’s what happened one day when I read this verse.

When I am following after the Spirit’s guidance with my eating, I am not giving into my flesh or the enemy’s temptations.  That is pure and simple truth.  And if I’m being led of the Spirit, it is not necessary to be under a law.  For me, being under a law when it comes to food is following a diet (man-made set of rules in regards to what, when, and how much I should eat).  I have noticed that when I’m following after my flesh and giving into temptation, I immediately think I need to jump back on the diet bandwagon.  So when I read this verse, it finally made sense to me why my thoughts would go to dieting after eating outside of my boundaries.  Knowing this brought me a sense of freedom because IF I follow the Spirit, I am set free from dieting or any kind of eating “law”.  Praise God!

So how does one follow after the Spirit when it comes to eating?  And eating within the principles of Thin Within?  Well, first of all, I think you have to know without a doubt that eating 0-5 (between hunger and fullness) is what God has called you to do.  Heidi has talked about this many times.  And then if you are convinced that 0-5 is what the Lord wants for you, then you know that the Holy Spirit is going to guide you to stay within those boundaries of hunger and fullness and whatever secondary boundaries He asks for you to follow (which could be boundaries such as eating without distraction, eating slowly, eating while sitting, etc.).  The Holy Spirit will gently lead you.  And if you are listening, you will hear His gentle voice, like a shepherd with his sheep, guiding you.  He will prompt you.  He will ask you questions.  He will help you in time of need.

And as long as you are listening to Him, you won’t need ANY other voices telling you what you should eat, how you should eat, etc.

I truly believe and am convinced that God has created us all to eat within hunger and fullness.  I guess you could say it’s like a divine plan for our life in taking care of our bodies.  It’s obvious that it was never His will that we become gluttonous and overweight, because look at all of the problems we can have with our health when we are.  I am also convinced that He doesn’t want us following some regimented and strict diet plan because that wreaks havoc upon our physical body and our mind.  Something is unbalanced when we are eating in a way that numbs the natural hunger and fullness signals, whether it’s from a strict diet plan, overeating on purpose, or any type of eating disorder.  God is a God of order, not disorder.  And I think that eating within hunger and fullness (0-5) is a very peaceful, pleasant, and orderly way of eating.  Praise God!  His ways are perfect!

A friend of mine shared one of her truth cards with me.  It’s a quote by Jack Hayford from the New Spirit Filled Bible:

“We are called to war against the flesh.  Our flesh urges indulgence and the Holy Spirit constrains us to righteousness.  Victory in this war is found in: abiding in right relationship with Jesus, understanding that true strength is found in our weakness, and continually submitting to the unction and urging of the Spirit.  Victory comes as we take these practical steps, avoiding or overcoming the pull of our flesh.”

I’ve heard it said from Heidi and others that there are times when we can make 0-5 a “law”.   Of course, this isn’t what God intends for us.  I believe this is where we need to be graceful with ourselves and ask the Lord how we can go about eating within hunger and fullness without turning it into another diet plan.  It takes time to get back to God’s natural order with our eating, especially if we’ve dieted for many years.  It takes time to get back in tune with those intuitive signals.  And for some of us, the diet mentality may be so engrained in our brains that it may take time to completely let go of all of those rules we were so used to being under before.  The Holy Spirit can help us with that as well.

There have been times the Holy Spirit has asked me to stop eating, prompted me about when to stop, and has asked me not to eat because I wasn’t hungry.  He’s also asked me at times to leave a bite on my plate.  Sometimes I really don’t want to, but I know He knows what He’s talking about, so I choose to obey.

I’m so excited to know that if I’m following after the Spirit, I don’t even have to concern myself with thinking I need to go on another diet plan.  This brings me so much relief and joy!  There have been times during this journey where I have felt like I need to go back to measuring, weighing, and tracking my food during the times when I felt like I have failed.  But now I realize that I don’t need a diet.  I need the Holy Spirit.  He will show me truth and lead me into all truth.

How about you?

Are you convinced that the Lord wants you to eat 0-5?  If so, do you trust the Holy Spirit to lead you in your eating?  When you feel like you’ve failed, do you automatically think you need to go on a diet?  I’ve been there myself, but now I see that if I keep on renewing my mind and continue on this journey with the Lord, that I won’t need to diet.  Praise God!

THY will, not MY will

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For seven years, I struggled to maintain consistent progress in my Thin Within journey. I would start and stop, start and stop. Close to 2 dozen times I repeated this pattern. Often, I would experience 4-6 weeks of success, only to fall off the horse and gain the weight back and then some. It took me about 4 years to finally recognize a pattern in my journey and learn why I was not experiencing sustained success. And it all had to do with the prideful refusal to surrender my will.

I would start Thin Within like most people do. Paying attention to my hunger signals, praying, renewing my mind, focusing on 0-5 eating and staying within my godly boundaries. As I did those things, I would begin to experience success. The weight would begin to come off and I could feel the obsessive thoughts about food and weight lessen. Along with the victory, came pride. “Look at me go! I’ve totally got this. I can do this all by myself.” And before I knew it, I was relying on my own power and not the power of my God. Proverbs 16:18 became the theme verse of my life: “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.”

Needless to say, that mentality didn’t get me very far. I would always regain the weight I had released (plus an extra 5 pounds). I would run back to God crying “why can’t I do this?!” To which the Lord eventually replied, “Exactly. You can’t do this because this journey isn’t about your effort. This journey is about surrendering your will to me and allowing my power to work through you.

My experience felt very similar to when Paul is pleading with God to take away the thorn in his flesh in 2 Corinthians 12:8-9, “Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”

God’s power is most beautifully displayed when we are humbled, surrendered and at the end of ourselves. It is when we come to the end of our will, our pride, our desires, our frustrations, our efforts and our entitlement, that God can come through and allow His power to work through us. And the power that is available to us is extraordinary power! It is the same power that was used to raise Christ from the dead (Eph 1:19-20)! All we need to do to gain access to this power is humble ourselves before Him, surrender our pride and declare “thy will Lord, not my will.” And as we yield our will to His power, we will begin to see amazing results, not only in our bodies but in our hearts and minds as well.

For me, this is not just a simple prayer I prayed one time. This is something I pray about every single day. Every day I ask the Lord to create in me a humble heart and to help me surrender my prideful will and entitled desires to His perfect will. Every day I take my entitled thoughts captive. Every day I ask for more of Him and less of me. And God has been so faithful! As I write this, I am about to enter my 8th month of sustained success in my Thin Within journey (quite a bit longer than my typical 6 weeks!). 

How about you? Have you ever tried to do Thin Within in your own power? Have you felt God calling you to let go of your own efforts and allow Him to take the reigns? Have you found the power available to you in surrendering your will to His will?