Drawing Winner!

Photo Courtesy of iStock Photo

Photo Courtesy of iStock Photo

 

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 as “Whisperer”–Lessons Learned Through His Provision

God as “Whisperer”–Lessons Learned Through His Provision

Cesar Milan's Show on Net Flix

Cesar Milan’s Show on Net Flix

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?

Racing To Freedom

Racing To Freedom

Photo credit:  Sura Nualpradid via http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/

Photo credit: Sura Nualpradid via http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus…” ~ Hebrews 12:1-2

I’ve never been much of a runner. I tried to train for a 5k once and I eventually was able to run up to 3 miles, but I hated every single minute of it. Running was hard, my heart was rarely into it and I always found a way to talk myself out of training. So it fills my heart with joy that this verse in Hebrews isn’t talking about us literally running a physical race (praise God!). Our race is spiritual. But running a spiritual race is no less difficult than running a physical race!

The author of Hebrews tells us that there are things that hinder and entangle us in our race. Those things can look like: sin, disobedience, entitlement, pride, self-pity, fear, doubt, condemnation, lies, gluttony, distraction, complacency, negative self-talk, rebellion- none of these things are from God and they all hinder our forward momentum in our race. And we are called to throw them off.  We are called to cast off those things that hold us back, weigh us down, hinder our progress and cause us to stumble in our race. The author of Hebrews doesn’t tell us to accept them, live with them, hold onto them, excuse them or wallow in them! Throw that junk away! Toss it aside! Banish it from your life! Shake it off! Get rid of it!

Can you imagine how quickly a runner would quit a race if he had dozens of heavy bags of garbage hanging around his neck? I doubt he would go 100 yards before collapsing and calling it quits! The same is true for us in our Thin Within journey. It’s going to be pretty tough to maintain our forward progress if we are weighed down by false beliefs, lies from the enemy (“you’re no good at this, just quit, you’ll always be overweight, this is too hard, you’re a failure”), rebellious attitudes or sin. Imagine how much easier the race is without being weighed down with all that stuff!

So how in the world do we throw off the things that hinder and entangle us, so that we can run our race? Luckily for us, the very next verse has our answer: “let us run with perseverance…fixing our eyes on Jesus.” Jesus has the power to speak truth over us. Jesus can set us free from the lies. Jesus can strengthen us in our weakness. Jesus forgives our sin, washing us clean. Jesus can change our hearts, our minds, our attitudes and our actions. Jesus can pick us off the ground, remove the bags of garbage that are hanging around our necks and set us back on our path. Jesus can set us free to run our race! Jesus can do all of this. We need only ask. We need only fix our eyes on Him.

Our race is serious business. So let’s get serious about casting off all the things that hinder us. Let’s get serious about praying consistently against all the junk that holds us back and keeps us on the sidelines. Let’s get serious about coming to Jesus and asking for healing, deliverance, hope and restoration. Let’s get serious about fighting all the lies we have believed by daily renewing our minds and speaking God’s truth over ourselves. Let’s shake off everything that hinders us so that we might run our race with freedom and victory!

How about you? What things do you need to shake off? Can you identify anything that is slowing down your forward progress? Are you diligently praying against the things that hold you back? Are your eyes fixed on Jesus or are you distracted by all the things that try to hold you back? What steps do you need to take to get rid of the junk that is hindering your race?

Overcomer

Overcomer

overcomer

Mandisa – Overcomer

You’re an overcomer!

The first time I heard Mandisa’s song Overcomer on the radio, I just smiled to the Lord knowing that, yes, I am an overcomer through Him.  It wasn’t until months later that I watched the official Overcomer music video that the song spoke even more to my heart.  No matter how many times you’ve heard this song, I want to encourage you to watch the video.  I have a feeling it will pull on your heartstrings as it has mine.

There are many battles that are faced in this life, but God is right there wanting to strengthen us and to help us overcome.  Nothing is too hard for Him!  He is able!  We are more than conquerors through Christ Jesus!

Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh; is anything too difficult for Me?  Jeremiah 32:27

Even as I finish typing out this post that I started a few days ago, I’m tired, I’m worn out, I’m weary.  I’m tempted to eat and I’m not hungry.  I just sat down and journaled through the emotional eating questions from the I Deserve a Donut app.  It was so good to do that.  I wrote out some scriptures that really spoke to me.  I read through my God list.  To be honest,  I still feel like eating, but I know that food isn’t going to take care of the real issue.  I am believing I will overcome this.  I won’t give into the temptation to eat.  God is my strength!  Food isn’t my savior.

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.  Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.  Isaiah 40:29-31

I AM an overcomer!

How about you?

What are you facing?  Do you believe you are already an overcomer?  Are you willing to stop in your tracks and renew your mind?  Do you trust God to take care of what needs to be taken care of?  Praise Him!  Talk to Him!  Journal!  Read your God list.  He is able!

The Fight of Faith — Lesson 7 TW Class 2014

The Fight of Faith — Lesson 7 TW Class 2014

Image courtesy of Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Sometimes, it becomes really really clear that this just won’t be easy. Simple, yes. Eat when you are hungry. Stop when you are not hungry. Go to God for all the other reasons that you may want to eat and let him walk with you through them. Simple. Yes. EASY? Most definitely not. What do we do when it is tough? We hang in there. We put on the full armor of God and take our stand. We fight the good fight of faith.

Video Questions:

1.) God sees what you are becoming and will yet become. List some characteristics of you that God sees based on the work He is doing in your life. It is fine for this to be hypothetical if you like or, you can refer to the Who I Am In Christ list for ideas. This is how HE sees you!

2.) In the video (0:54) I refer to God’s “Big T” truth as “trumping our little t truth.” What does this mean to you?

3.)  I use a number of bible verses in this video segment. Select two or three of these and create truth cards based on these, personalizing them so you can speak God’s Big T truth to your soul!

4.)  Several times I mention that this is not a “Battle of the Bulge.” Why is it important to understand this? (Visit 2:40 to see what I think!)

5.)  What are three lies that you tend to speak into your own life? What truths does God want you to trade the lies for?

6.)  What is an example of a specific battle that you have had where you could choose between believing a lie or believing truth? Can you foresee a possible situation in the next day or two when you might have a battle? What lies might be tempting to believe? What truth will you use to fight the lies?

7.)  What practical tools do you use to fight the fight of faith?

8.)  6:48 – I assert that we have time to invest in preparing our minds for battle. What can you do this week to invest even an additional ten minutes each day to prepare your mind for battle?

9.) 8:00 – How do you think the enemy feels when you make even a baby step of headway in God’s direction for you?

10.) Why might it be a strategy of the enemy to get us to focus on weight loss?

11.) BONUS QUESTION: 9:15 – Is my dog cute? 🙂

Renewing the Mind – Pressing On

1. If you haven’t yet created truth cards, do so today. Or truth “Post It Notes.” That works, too. Create some new cards or notes. What will your Post-It Notes or new truth cards say? How will you use them? What do you think of the idea of seeing it, saying it, and hearing it?

2.  Sometimes we get so focused on ourselves: our struggle, our fight, our eating, our mistakes. What can you do to focus on someone else or on the Lord as you fight the fight of faith this week?

Pick One (book or workbook):

Trade Book Assignment – To Be Completed by February 24th.

Here is the Thin Within Book Study Guide Week 7. Feel free to discuss it at our Facebook group.

Workbook Assignment – To Be Completed by February 24th.

1. Read, highlight, mark Lesson 7, The Fight of Faith, on pages C30 – C34 or listen to it on Sound Cloud.  Discuss it here in the comments section below this post or at our Class Facebook Group.

2. Complete the exercises for Lesson 7 on pages C36 – C-42. Don’t worry if you are behind. Just do what you can of this week’s material. Next Monday before the webinar, respond to the Review questions on page C43.

3. What have you added to your God List?

4. Use the entries for Day 43through Day 49 in the Temple Tool Kit.

5. For those who persevere :-), I will be doing a drawing on Monday, February 24, from all those who respond in the comments section here to any of the discussion questions or blog posts this week. The winner will get an I Deserve a Donut book from Barb Raveling. (Thanks, Barb, for donating a book to this!). If you already have that book, Arthur and Judy Halliday have donated a copy of Hunger Within. You can have that instead. All you need to do is post a reasonably relevant comment and include a notation “Please enter me in the drawing” or something like that.

6. Memorize Hebrews 11:6 this week. Personalize it and add it to your truth cards.

7. Join us on February 24th for our live webinar at 4:30 Pacific Time. We have special guest, Judy Halliday, who will share with us some of the challenges she has had to face over the years–especially more recently. She will share wisdom from the front lines Fighting the Fight of Faith!

How About You?

Have you given up? If so, it’s not too late to dive back in to the fray. Yes, it is tough. Yes we may get beaten up, but it is SO worth it!  Remember, those who are victorious over their struggles with overeating and overweight are those who understand that they may not “get it” perfectly. They know that this is a ride…and we may fall off the horse, but over time, we fall off the horse less frequently and stay on the ground less long before we get back on. How about if you get back on today?

The recording of our webinar wrapping up last week’s lesson, Lesson 6 on Counting the Cost, can be found here.

Here are the Lesson 7 Discussion Questions for use with the webinar.

The Power of Gratitude

The Power of Gratitude

Photo Courtesy of iStockPhoto

Photo Courtesy of iStockPhoto

It’s a few days before Valentine’s Day and I am sitting in my home in Atlanta, GA – you know, the city often called “Hotlanta.” Well, it’s been anything but hot this winter. We are snow and icebound today, unable to drive anywhere and we are experiencing the third round of school closing since the beginning of the year! (Ok, all of you who live in snowy places, don’t laugh at us. We just don’t have the equipment to clear our roads J .)

Today I am reflecting on the last snowfall just two weeks ago. Do you remember watching the news about the gridlock on our roads? The stories of people stuck on the highway overnight, many of whom had to abandon their cars the next morning? My family and I were fortunate to be at home that day by 3:30 and enjoyed time playing in the snow and then sitting in front of the fire. But, before I arrived at home, I was in traffic for 2 ½ hours – that’s the time it took to leave work early and pick my children up from school. The drive usually takes about 25 minutes.

What surprised me that day, other than the unexpected traffic, was my attitude during the traffic jam. Of course, I didn’t know how terrible the night would be for many people – all I knew was that I had never been in traffic like this! And not one time, not for one moment, was I angry, frustrated, disappointed, or upset as I crept mile by mile to school and then home. In fact, I was content for most of the drive and actually joyous as times. How was this possible? I mean, I seriously surprised myself with my cheerful outlook. So, I thought back over the day to see why I handled the situation so well.

1)   On my way to work that morning, I listened to my Renewing My Mind playlist. This list of songs fills me up with the Truth of God and allows me to worship Him on my drive. I remember intensely feeling the presence of God about 1 mile from work. He was so present and palpable that I was brought to tears. I know that His joy and peace carried me through the day.

2)   Last year, I began practicing gratitude. This practice, begun during one of Heidi’s Bible studies, has changed my perspective on so many things – not just my body and eating and food. It has made me more present with my husband and children. It allows me to be thankful in the midst of folding laundry, driving carpool, working my job and raising (often stubborn) children.

3)   You may have heard Heidi say “you cannot practice gratitude and entitlement at the same time.” That’s true. In the traffic, I was thankful for a warm, newish car, a full tank of gas and an XM radio. I’m not entitled to these luxuries and I was no more entitled to get home quickly than any other person stuck in the traffic.

4)   The God List and the Praise Fest.  When I worship the Lord and know His character and know how He loves me, the traffic just isn’t a big deal. If I focus on the things above and not on earthly things, if I have an eternal perspective rather than an earthy/daily/fleshly one, my attitude and thoughts do change. His peace, joy, freedom and His will become the desires of my hearts.

So, I know this post isn’t so much about eating, boundaries or body image, but I did want to share how my experience with Thin Within, Heidi’s blog and studies, and practicing gratitude have affected my life outside of food/body issues. It does take time, effort and practice, but God can change your mind, attitude and heart. You will find yourself changed from the inside out and the beautiful, godly changes will spill into all aspects of your life.

How about you?

Would you be willing to start a gratitude list? You may want to start by listing 3 things every day for which you are grateful – big and small. Write them on evernote, a notebook, in a Word document or on the TW app.

Are you renewing your mind daily with music, Truth cards, reading the Bible, or I Deserve a Donut, etc?

Are you adding to your God list and praising Him with it, out loud? If you don’t know where to start, consider the Psalms.

(Click here to read Carrie’s Recommendation of Heidi for Thin Within coaching.)