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?
Image courtesy of Suvro Datta / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Recently, I was sharing with a friend about where I’ve been on my journey about food and eating. I was sharing with her that it didn’t work when I tried to be a “normal eater” years ago. I’m not sure why, but I remember really struggling and feeling like I was never going to overcome. I had a few successes, but something would come up, and then I would go back to overeating or obsessing about food.
Almost a year ago, I came back to Heidi’s blog after really having a hard time with food thoughts and fears. Immediately, the Lord gave me this incredible peace and then He showed me that He wanted me to let go of all of the food thoughts and fears and to eat within hunger and fullness (0-5). It was a rough start of one step forward, two steps back, but after a couple of months, the Lord showed me that in order to be completely set free from the fears and thoughts, that I needed to renew my mind. And so began my “truth cards”.
And that, my friends, has been the difference. Ever since May of 2013, I have met with the Lord every day to renew my mind. It started with renewing my mind about learning that I can enjoy ALL foods with no fear attached, to currently, where I am learning to delight in my God-given boundaries. And there have been things in between that I have renewed my mind about. I am currently reading through my second set of truth cards. I felt that I “graduated” from my first set of truth cards, so I was ready to move on with the Lord in this journey to becoming free in this area of my life.
In May of 2013, I was already at a healthy weight. I wanted to maintain that weight. The “weight” I needed to release were the lies and obsession. It was more of a mental weight. That’s where I needed to be set free. And He has been doing just that, setting me free with His truth! Every day I choose to renew my mind with His truth, and every day I’m set free more and more! Praise God!
I truly believe I wasn’t able to press in and persevere with eating between hunger and fullness years ago because I wasn’t getting to the inner parts of me that were causing overeating in the first place. I wasn’t renewing my mind. I was looking to myself for strength instead of falling at the feet of Jesus each time I messed up or needed Him. I remember one of the things I really struggled with years ago was thinking that Thin Within was too spiritual. I didn’t want to dig into the reasons I ate emotionally. I felt like that was for wimps. But oh, I was so wrong! I am stronger today because of falling at the feet of Jesus and humbling myself before Him and crying, “HELP!”
Facing the “spiritual” side of hunger and fullness is uncomfortable for some. I know I was uncomfortable. And even last year when I was just starting out, I really fought the spiritual side of this journey. I didn’t want to admit that I was indulging my flesh every time I overate or even obsessed over food. It was like I wanted to walk in unrest instead of the peace God was offering me. I kept thinking, “I can do this without being so spiritual about it.” Oh, how I have been humbled with His truth!
It DOES take time to renew your mind. Honestly, I wouldn’t have experienced any of the victory in Christ that I have if it wasn’t for renewing my mind. Let me say it plainly: If I didn’t take time to renew my mind, I would overeat, I would obsess about food, and I would be freaking out! Just ask my husband.
I remember when Heidi would post about how HARD this journey can be. I did NOT NOT NOT want to hear that. I remember thinking, “Then I’ll just keep tracking [Weight Watchers] points!” I wanted and want this to be easy, but at times, it’s not. Why? Because sometimes I want to eat what I want to eat, when I want to eat it. Sometimes I don’t want to read my truth cards or stop my mind in it’s tracks and renew my mind about WHY I want to overeat. But guess what?…the harder times make me stronger. Just think about it, when you renew your mind, it’s like you are retraining it. You are suddenly STOPPING it and steering it in another direction. And each time you do that, you are training it to turn the other way! This is totally unrelated, but when I was potty training my daughter, each time she started going, I picked her up and put her on the potty. And after a short time, she recognized that when she needed to go that she needed to sit on the potty. It’s sort of the same thing when we renew our mind. After awhile, we no longer have “accidents”, but we direct ourselves in the right direction. Isn’t that awesome!?
Let’s look at this with an example. Let’s say I’m feeling emotional. Something just happened and I am sad. I want to numb myself with food. Well, I know that I’m not hungry, so eating right now would not be within my boundaries (0-5). I have 2 choices, I can eat, or I can STOP and renew my mind. One way that I can renew my mind is getting out my journal and getting out the ‘I Deserve a Donut’ app (if I ever meet Barb Raveling she’s going to get the biggest hug ever–I hope she likes hugs!) and I am going to go to the section under Attitudes called Emotional Eating. And I would answer the questions in my journal and read through the scriptures. If needed, I would take a time-out and write out to the Lord what I’m dealing with and really just let the emotions pour out to Him. As I do this, the Lord meets with me and speaks to me from His Word. The questions from the Emotional Eating app make me think about why I want to eat and how it’s not a good idea to eat outside of my boundaries. And pretty soon I’m feeling better because I’ve gone to the LORD instead of food. I may still want to eat, but I realize that it’s not even worth it because food isn’t going to fix the problem. Most likely, I won’t want to eat outside of my boundaries because the Lord has met my need. And so the next time I’m feeling emotional, it will be easier to turn away from the thoughts about eating and turn instead to the Lord and His truth. Each time I renew my mind, I will be transformed!
So there you have it, the difference in seeing victories in Christ as I have applied the Thin Within principles has been that I have renewed my mind. That was the missing key before, but it’s no longer missing now!
How about you?
Have you been diligent in renewing your mind? Are you seeing a difference as well because you are renewing your mind? I would love to see some comments about how renewing your mind has made a difference!
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
~ Jeremiah 29:11
I have an eleven year old son, a “tween.” He is stuck between wanting to act like a little kid (playing with his little sister and such) and feeling like a teenager, with all of the emotion and angst that comes with that stage of development. While the “tween” years begin somewhere around 9 or 10 years of age, I feel like my boy has been a tween for a much longer time! He has pushed for independence and freedom from us since he was a little guy. When all of his Kindergarten friends found joy in their moms helping in the classroom, he cried and begged me to not volunteer. He went on his first church retreat at 9 years of age without looking back. The following summer he went to sleep away camp without a tear or a letter home. And I have to prepare myself for lots of drama when I need to help him with schoolwork or study skills – he just doesn’t want my help. He is just a strong-minded and opinionated individual and wants to do things his way.
Last week, on the heels of schoolwork drama, I took him to a new class. My husband and I did not ask him if he wanted to participate, we just registered him. As his parents, we made the decision that he would participate in this cotillion (manners and such) class because we know that it will serve him well in his future. He was not happy about it at all! Without going into details, just know that he ended up enjoying it and having a great time with friends. But, in the heat of frustration at his resistant and rebellious attitude (with accepting help and with following our guidance), I found myself thinking the following:
“Why doesn’t he trust us? We are his parents and everything we do is for his good, even if he can’t see it from his short perspective. We have years of wisdom and experience behind our decisions. I wish that he would just relax and not worry about so many things and just enjoy what we provide for him.”
The next day, God revealed a big truth to me. I am often that resistant and rebellious child to God, my heavenly Father. The big difference is that while I am a loving parent, I am quite imperfect. God, however, is perfect and omniscient. He extends steadfast love to His children. He knit each of us together and He knows us. He is for us and holds our hands even as we stumble. If we trust Him and obey Him, we can avoid so much discomfort and confusion. What a gift! We can lay our worries burdens at the foot of the cross – even the seemingly simple decisions of what to eat, when to eat and how much to eat – and He will give us rest.
I knew that my son would enjoy his class because I had spoken to other parents whose children had enjoyed it in past years. And I know that the lessons that he learns will help him in his future days. I want to approach God as I wish my son would approach us (if only!) – eager for His guidance, willingness to stay in His boundaries, learning from the lessons He teaches, and trusting Him with all of my heart so that I obey Him without resistance and rebellion. I desire to absolutely surrender to Him.
Lord, help us to trust in You with all of our hearts and lean not on our own understanding. Help us to submit to You in all ways, knowing that You will make our paths straight.
It seems like I spend a lot of my life waiting on things to fall into place; waiting on that magic moment where I find perfection. Whether it’s in my job, my relationships, or in my actions, I feel like there should be a moment where things just “click” and start running smoothly. Or I used to think that way, anyway.
When I first started my Thin Within journey I fully expected to “someday” find that magic moment in eating 0-5. I hoped it would happen quickly, but figured it might take a while. I was ok with that, knowing it gave me something to work towards and look forward to.
I assumed as the weeks went on I would get better and better at eating within my boundaries, until eventually it would all fall into place and become natural. I would stop “messing up” and would get to my natural weight. I would no longer have a problem with food. Eating 0-5 would become second nature.
After weeks of two steps forward, one step back and experiencing victory only to turn around and find failure staring me in the face, I see things a little differently. I realize that it does get easier in some ways; I get better at it with practice, but it will always be a battle. Why? Because Satan hates me honoring God in my eating, he hates me finding victory, and he will never give up on the battle to win me over to fleshly living. If anything the battle will intensify.
It’s not really fun to think about those things. Nobody wants to suffer. But we have to count the cost. I have counted the cost and I realized that the suffering is worth it. It’s only my flesh suffering anyway, and when my flesh suffers my spirit soars! I’m finding that I’m actually thankful for the battle. I’m drawing near to God, and if this battle is what keeps me trusting in Him, it’s worth it. “For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:10b
I no longer desire that magic moment. In fact I hope it doesn’t come! That magic moment parades itself as victory, but is really pride. It’s the moment you think: “I’ve got this” and whether you realize it or not, at the same time your heart is saying “Thanks God, Your work here is done.” It’s the moment you stop clinging to God because you just can’t do it without Him.
On the one hand, it would be nice to not feel helpless. But at what cost? At the cost of abiding in Him? No thanks. This is just another of Satan’s tactics to win the battle. If He can get us to think we don’t need God, if he can fill our hearts with that lie, then we never find abundant living.
True victory is in the moments when I see God’s grace working in my life, the moments where I stay within 0-5, the moments where I choose God over food. Those moments don’t come because I’m strong enough or because I’ve got a handle on things. They come because of the strength God provides, because my eyes are fixed on Him. When we have those moments, recognize that they are because of Him, and praise Him for them, those are magic moments much better than moments with a false sense of security.
There are other magic moments too. When I have moments of failure I have to renew my mind with scriptures like Romans 8:1, remembering that there is “no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” Also Titus 2:11-14, remembering God sees me as perfect and gives me His grace to live the Spirit-filled life. When those moments of failure become moments of observation and correction, when they become learning and growing experiences, those are also magic moments.
To live in faith (Hebrews 11:6) run the race (Hebrews 12:1-3) find transformation through the renewing of my mind (Romans 12:2) and press on to the end (Philippians 3:10-12) are more moments that are truly magical. All those things can only be done by the grace of God. His grace is truly miraculous, much more so than a wee little human thinking they can do things on their own. How thankful I am that God has taught me this BIG lesson (among many others) through Thin Within!
What about you?
Do you find yourself wishing for the magic moment where you no longer feel helpless, but feel like you’ve got your eating under control?
Why might that moment have a negative impact on your life?
What are some God-honoring magic moments you’ve experienced?
Would you rather suffer so your relationship with God can be protected? Is it worth it to you?
Kelsa Turner lives in the Great Smoky Mountains with her husband Luke and her black lab Roscoe. She enjoys the freedom of being self-employed to be able to work, serve, and spend time studying Thin Within and growing in her relationship with God. [Editor Note: Kelsa has agreed to teach an online Thin Within class for us! Be sure to visit this page to see what classes we are offering.]
Congratulations, Rosa! You won our drawing for Barb Raveling’s book, I Deserve a Donut and Other Lies That Make You Eat! WOOT! I have sent you an email to get your mailing address. YAY!
We will be having another drawing this week. If you post AT ALL on the blog this week, your name can go in the “hat” for the drawing for another book of Barb’s. Either Taste for Truth or I Deserve a Donut and Other Lies that Make You Eat.
Starting tomorrow. 🙂
It helps if you let me know you want to be included in the drawing when you post. 🙂
God often uses my animals to teach me lessons about how he relates to me. I have joked for some time that the reason I have had so many animals (chinchillas, dogs, one cat, horses) is because I need so many living illustrations to learn what most people might absorb just from reading a bible verse or two! Slow on the uptake. That’s me. 🙂
I moved away from home when I was 19, some 33 years ago now. I wasted no time in getting the BIG dogs of my dreams. Never having had big dogs and always wanting some :-), a Golden Retriever named Joshua and a German Shepherd named Morgan became my roommates, constant companions, and parental replacements. (My parents replaced me with a Llasa Apso.)
Joshua’s nature was—of all things—to retrieve. 🙂 That is all there was to it. When he was eager to please, he seemed possessed by a force that drove him to do the unthinkable–ANYTHING to retrieve something for the human who was the object of his devotion—usually me. 🙂
If no ball or stick was readily found, dirty laundry, garbage, blankets pulled off the bed, small children, all were viable alternatives! He just HAD to bring something to show his version of doggie devotion and love. His demonstrations were far from “perfect” (and were quite irritating at times, to be honest), but as his “master,” I recognized the heart behind it. After cleaning up whatever mess he made on his way to retrieving whatever it was, I loved on him, knowing that it was his nature to retrieve. I felt compassion for him, and appreciated even his imperfect obedience.
I still remember when God showed me that He does likewise with me. My earnestness to please him, no matter how misguided or “imperfect,” brings a smile to his face. He, too, cleans up my messes and has compassion on my crude attempts to please him.
Recently, a friend of mine shared about an episode of “The Very Best of Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan” she watched on Net Flix.
If you want to see the episode, check out Collection 1: Episode 7, Power of the Pack, about 32:35 minutes into the episode.
In it, Cesar says:
“Food to me is part of affection.”
I wonder if this accurately captures how God feels about feeding us, His children? Does he, perhaps, love us with food? Many of us love others with food, but I wonder if God’s expression of his love and concern is demonstrated in part by his perfect provision of food for us, his children.
“The food also we have to give to the pack when the mind is calm, submissive, which means they have to be in a very patient state of mind for them to receive this food.”
Oh! I wonder how long my God would have to wait to feed me if he waited as Cesar does…for my mind to be calm, submissive, and patient. I wonder sometimes, if that is why I don’t land on a “0” as soon as I wish I would. Maybe God, in his divine sovereignty, is waiting for my mind to be calm, submissive, and patient.
“At the same time, when I’m preparing the food, I’m happy doing it.”
Have you (or I) considered that God is happy providing the next meal that I will have the joy of eating when I am physically hungry? What a wonderful thought!
“So, I am sharing my love preparing the food for my boys, who work already with me and I now am going to satisfy the appetite.”
If a fallible human man is moved to show love for his pets by satisfying their hunger, then I know that my God has an even better, more tender, more perfect heart of love for me—one that intends to satisfy my appetites—in the very way they need satisfying.
The next scene in this episode, challenged me a bit. Cesar had his hands in the canned dog food and was squishing it together with the dry kibble. (Can I just say “ewwwww….”???) As he was doing this, he said:
“I like to use my hand—just because I feel more close to them. You know, my scent is delivered in the food, so they get to smell me in the meal too…”
How tender a love this is! What does our God do just to feel more close to us, his children? I wonder if our God wants each meal to be an opportunity for us to experience His “scent” delivered to us as well…that we might “smell” him in His provision. Cesar is willing to have his hands made a mess of in order to do this. I love the reason he gives for this…
“I want to be very intimate with them. And I want to be part of every single thing that they do. I really want to be everything they have… “
Does God say this about us to the host of heaven? That he wants to be very intimate with us? That he wants to be part of every single thing that we do? That he wants to be everything we have? The psalmist seems to think so as he responds to God’s overtures with the following:
Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. – Psalm 73:23-26 (ESV)
I think my God is a “Heidi Whisperer,” calming me, changing me, moving me from frenetic, undisciplined behavior, to being more calm, peaceful, settled in my own skin. I wish I wasn’t such a hard study. If Cesar can change a dog in just two weeks, well…oh yeah…I forgot. I am “slow on the uptake.” Verrrrrrry slow!
How About You?
Have you ever considered that God wants to use your struggle with food, hunger and satisfied signals, to be very intimate with you? How does it strike you to consider that he may want you to think of him as everything you have? Do you allow him to “deliver His scent” to you in the food He provides in the perfect time?