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Sometimes I feel like I’m a broken record when it comes to sharing how important I feel renewing our mind is when it comes to overcoming overeating, the diet mentality, releasing weight, having a “healthy” relationship with food, etc. But honestly, renewing my mind has made a huge difference! I tried to be a normal eater for many years, but it never stuck. I believe it was because I was working on changing the external so much that I was ignoring what was going on internally, mostly in my mind and emotions. When Heidi first introduced Barb Raveling’s Renewing of the Mind Weight Loss study in March of 2013, something finally clicked in me. I knew it would work because I have seen the same concepts applied to other areas of my life with success—all because of God’s Word transforming me from the inside out.
There are several ways I can spend time renewing my mind. I can: journal, read through the ‘I Deserve a Donut’ app (or book), read through my truth cards, or a mixture of those. I know that renewing my mind is a critical part of overcoming.
The other day, I started reading through Barb Raveling’s book Taste for Truth: A 30 day Weight Loss Bible Study. She talks about how back in the Old Testament days that people would run to strongholds to be safe from their enemy. David talks about going to God as his refuge and stronghold. But some turn to things that turn into strongholds in their lives, such as food.
About a week ago the enemy was questioning me about why I take the time to renew my mind (why do I even listen?). And to be honest, he is still assaulting me about it, but I’m seeing the truth in the matter more and more. Today, the Lord has been reminding me about how taking the time to renew my mind has been vital for me as I have walked through different things in my life.
For example, years ago, I struggled a lot with fear. It was the kind of fear that made me afraid to even step outside my door or open my kitchen blinds. We lived next to neighbors that made me uneasy. Nothing ever happened, but the enemy had me convinced that this fear was real in my life.
FEAR: False Evidence Appearing Real
One night, I had the opportunity to go to a women’s Bible study, but because of this fear, I could not bring myself to walk the few feet from our door to our car. I was always tense, stressed, and had knots in my stomach. I felt paralyzed by this fear. It was bad! It was so hard for my mind to work through the lies that were holding me captive. This went on for many months.
Finally, the Lord was able to get my attention enough to encourage me to write out scriptures on notecards about His truth about fear and peace. I also printed scriptures in really big font and different colors on 8-1/2×11-inch paper and taped them up in different parts of my house, like on my kitchen cupboards for instance. The kitchen was one of those rooms that I felt afraid to be in because of the location near my neighbor’s house. It was the perfect place for me to stop, read those scriptures, and renew my mind. I read through the scripture cards each morning and whenever I needed them. I also asked for prayer from a group of believers I had grown to trust.
Over time, the Lord began to break down those strongholds of fear. I would wake up in the morning, and without even trying to remember, the scriptures I was reading throughout the day would come to my mind. The Lord spoke His truth to me and after a while I was free from that fear! Praise the Lord! I chose to take my eyes off the fear and see God’s word and promises. He freed me!
He’s been showing me that He can do the same with how I look at food, eating, my body, etc. He can tear down the stronghold just as he tore down the stronghold of fear in my life. The truth has always been there, but I have to do my part in being in the Word. He does the rest. And if it takes me filling a whole journal of conversations with the Lord about food, then so be it. The Lord knows I have filled other journals with other struggles—which I have overcome, all thanks to Him! Renewing our mind may feel like “work”, but if we don’t take the time to take those thoughts captive, we will continue to be slave to the wrong thoughts.
Earlier this year the enemy wanted me to believe that certain types of food would kill me and that if I ate them that I was tempting God. A scripture He showed me to refute that lie is 1 Timothy 4:4-5, which says, “For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is sanctified by the Word of God and prayer.”
Another lie was that people would be disappointed in me if I truly ate all foods and wasn’t following some special diet. The Lord gave me 1 Corinthians 10:29: For why is my liberty judged by another man’s conscience?
When my mind wasn’t at ease, the Lord gave me peace through 2 Timothy 1:7, which says, “For God did not give me the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control.”
Recently, when the enemy has urged me to give up, the Lord gave me Hebrews 10:39: But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.
Those are just a few examples of how the Lord has exposed the lie and replaced it with His truth. These are scriptures in my truth cards that I read each day. The enemy wants me to be caught up in his lies, but the Lord wants me to be free in His truth. That’s why I take the time to renew my mind.
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Romans 12:2
How about you?
I know we are about to embark on the Thin Within Workbook study (starting Monday, January 6, 2014), and I believe Heidi is going to incorporate ‘renewing our mind’ into the study. I just want to encourage you to make renewing your mind a part of your journey in overcoming. Surround yourself with whatever tools you deem necessary to help you. It will be different for each person. I look at having these tools as weapons in our arsenal to combat the lies of the enemy and to free us.
These tools can include:
‘I Deserve a Donut’ app and/or book by Barb Raveling
Taste for Truth by Barb Raveling
Thin Within by Judy Halliday
Thin Within workbooks
List of thanksgiving
There are so many possibilities of what may be in your toolbox to help renew your mind. If you feel overwhelmed by having too many tools, ask the Lord to help you simplify. This shouldn’t feel overwhelming. We aren’t trading bondage for bondage. If you don’t have peace about something, don’t do it. The Lord wants to free you!
I have worked through all four of the Thin Within workbooks.
I have worked through the Thin Within book.
I have led Thin Within groups three times in the last ten years.
I am a certified Wellness Coach and Pilates instructor.
I KNOW this stuff!
And yes, here I am, still yearning for freedom, still waiting on God. Still wondering when I will be set free from struggling with excess eating and excess body weight.
Perhaps it’s precisely because I am immersed in the world of fitness that I am easily distracted and find it hard to keep my eyes fixed on the path that I know is the only way to freedom in this.
A few months ago I invested in a season of private coaching with Heidi Bylsma; a very wise decision! I remember sending her my daily logs with my “hunger numbers”—almost always reporting 0 to 5 eating. And yet I saw no weight loss and felt no progress happening. Heidi pointed out the discrepancy. ☺ As is the way of a good coach, Heidi put the observation out there and left it to me to wrestle with: “Brenda, you report eating within your chosen boundary of 0 to 5 on a consistent basis, yet you say you are not seeing the results you’d hoped for.”
In my wrestling, I decided I needed to more clearly define a “5.” Obviously I was eating past 5, so in my mind the solution was to get better at stopping at a 5.
One morning God turned the light on for me; all I had worked on with Heidi became clear as I read through the book of Joshua.
I came to the part where the land is being divided up between the tribes of Israel. I noticed how clear and precise the boundaries were and I started thinking how boundaries are important to God—God gives us boundaries for our safety, health and because He knows what is truly good for us.
In Joshua 18 the Scripture tells us that there were still seven Israelite tribes who had not received their inheritance. And Joshua says to them, ” How long will you wait before you begin to take possession of the land that the Lord the God of your ancestors has given you?”
God spoke to me through that—How long am I going to wait until I do MY part to take possession of the freedom that God has given me?
It’s my inheritance!
God has given it to me, but it is up to me to do my due diligence and receive what God has for me.
For me, at this point in my journey, trying to more precisely define a “5” on the hunger scale is not where God wants my focus.
I believe He is showing me that my part is to do what it takes to place myself before Him every single day for the renewing of my mind; soaking in the truth of His Word, writing Truth Cards as a daily practice, being honest about where I am spiritually and what I am doing, as well as what I am eating.
Sunday morning at church God again spoke to me—this time through a guest speaker. She was teaching from Genesis chapters 2 and 3, and she came to Chapter 3 verses 8 and 9, where Adam and Eve have disobeyed God and eaten from the one tree in the garden that He had forbidden. In verse 9 God calls out to Adam, saying, “Where are you?
I believe that God is asking that of me as well. “Where are you with ME, Brenda?” Are you living in all the abundance I have given you, or are you in a place of rebellion? What tree are you choosing?”
To me it’s a really big deal is that I finally have taken my eyes off of seeking weight loss above everything– although I haven’t given up and I do still want it. It’s that now I am seeking FIRST the kingdom of God; seeking GOD through specific, daily practices so that my focus turns away from food and body obsession.
I have learned that the daily practices of prayer, Bible reading, writing and reading Truth Cards, praising God in song, lifting my face to Him will bring about the renewing of my mind and the transforming of my heart, my body, and my life. And then eating within the boundaries of 0 to 5 will be a natural result of my decision to claim my inheritance and choose the abundant life He alone offers.
~ Brenda Ameli. Brenda lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, teaching mind body movement and leading the women’s ministry at her church.
How About You?
Is it possible that “thin” or “0” or “5” has actually become a distraction from what God wants for you? Does God want you to focus elsewhere? What might responding to His invitation in this look like for you?
New Year’s Resolutions are motivated, no doubt, by a strong desire we have not to stay stuck…to make things happen that we know we want.
Even so, jokes abound this time of year about New Year’s resolutions. I have made my own jokes about it in past years, flippantly “resolving” to make only one resolution…that of not making ANY resolutions.
This year, I decided to look into God’s Word to see what it says about resolving or resolution. In the English Standard Version there are only 4 uses of the word “resolve.” The New International Version is not different:
In 2 Chronicles 20:3, King Jehoshaphat resolves to inquire of the Lord when a large army marches on his people.
Daniel 1:8 tells us that Daniel resolved not to forsake the dietary laws of the Jews when he was taken captive.
In 1 Corinthians 2:2, Paul states that he resolved not to know anything except Jesus and Him crucified.
Other than those three uses of the word, “Resolve” in the NIV, there is this reference:
If you do not listen, and if you do not resolve to honor my name,” says the Lord Almighty,
“I will send a curse on you, and I will curse your blessings.
Yes, I have already cursed them,
because you have not resolved to honor me.
~ Malachi 2:2
If you have come to this blog for any length of time, if you have participated in any Thin Within groups, bible studies, or read the material yourself, you know that we speak a great deal of grace.
But I am remiss if I don’t point out that a twin truth with God pouring immeasurable grace on us is the fact that He desires our complete surrender to His will.I can’t read this passage in Malachi (or the other references in the bible) and feel ok with a New Year’s Resolution of “To walk the dog four times or more each week.” Or “Save $1000 for a vacation.” Or any of the other more typical things that I might include if I were to ever jump on the “Make New Year’s Resolutions” Bandwagon.
This passage screams sobering truths to me, instead.
What does God want me to be resolved to do?
He wants me resolved to Honor His Name.
There are consequences if I do not resolve to honor His Name. The New Covenant changes many things, but there is nevertheless a principle here: If I don’t resolve to honor the Name of the Lord, my experience will be that even blessings will be as though cursed. Perhaps this is what happens when I experience fear relative to food and my body. Food was intended by God to be a blessing. My body was intended by God to be a blessing. When I don’t resolve to honor Him with my life—especially, in this case, with my eating and drinking and how I treat my body—then even the blessings of food and my body seem to me as if “cursed.” They become so much less than He intended. They are a burden, a trial, a difficulty…a curse.
Will I take time this New Years Day to generate some New Years Resolutions? I haven’t in the past years, so I probably won’t this year…especially now that I have seen this passage. It seems a much better use of my time and investment of my energy to fulfill an intention that I know is called for in His Word.
I resolve afresh to honor the Name of the Lord.
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do,
do all to the glory of God.
~ 1 Corinthians 10:31
What will this look like? I will pursue renewing my mind with His truth. NO more settling for the lies that are contrary to His Word. Not even one lie! No matter how “little!” Like the lie that says “I deserve to eat something sweet every day or multiple times each day.”
No more apathy or “sloppiness” with my godly, God-given boundaries of eating only enough food to nourish me. “Eating this won’t matter.” IT DOES. No more of that lie either!
God lays claim to my body.
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you,
whom you have from God?
You are not your own, for you were bought with a price.
So glorify God in your body.
~ 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
So, I will be proactive and move my body in a healthy way, for the joy and benefit of doing so! AND to honor the Name of the Lord!
I resolve to honor the Name of my God.
It means making some difficult choices.
How About You?
What would it look like for you to resolve to honor the Name of the Lord? What blessings do you have that feel more like they are cursed these days? Is it possible that God invites you to resolve to honor His Name more than any other resolution this year?
On Saturday, I posted that I am declaring war on apathy. Even veterans find they can slip into periods of apathy or…downright disobedience. One of my new strategies for amping up my focus is to call it what it is…rebellion, resistance, disobedience. I know what God has called me to. Allowing myself to justify “little waverings” outside of his call is flat out disobedience.
So, my battle plan is concrete, specific.
One part of it requires that I journal two sets of questions from Barb Ravelings book, I Deserve a Donut and Other Lies that Make You Eat, each day. Once in the morning…before I am tempted to eat outside of my boundaries–in fact, before I have eaten at all. Then, I do another set before dinner–again…before I am tempted at all.
Sunday morning, these are the affirmations that resulted from doing the “Failure Eating” questions in her book. Do any of them fit for you? If so, they could become your own affirmations right now:
1. I am not a person who can follow my boundaries flawlessly without ever breaking them. The Lord, however, wants me to press on each and every time I do break them. Enough of the perfectionism! The sad truth that I have to accept right from the beginning is that I WILL mess up. So what will I do when I mess up? Quit? What kind of sense does that make? (None!)
2. I can’t change the way I ate yesterday or last week. I can’t change the consequences of those choices. What’s done is done. Instead, the Lord provides the strength now to enable me to care today. RIGHT NOW. I will press on. I will give my best to living according to my boundaries today. I DO care. I will eat according to what my body needs and when my spirit and heart are “hungry,” I will feed them what they need…which is not physical food! While I am free to eat desserts, I have allowed desserts to master me once again. I am choosing now to submit this issue to the Lord. He alone will master me. Desserts are now put in their proper place…into submission to God. I will exercise my freedom by choosing not to have dessert foods in my home right now for this season. I will remember that I AM IN A SPIRITUAL BATTLE!
3. God wants me to fight in the strength he provides with the weapons he provides, so I will.
4. By choosing to take the route of pressing on and in (instead of giving up), I will not regret it one bit. The Lord gives me the strength I need. Even if I stumble today, I will NOT throw in the towel and give in to eat what I want the rest of the day. I will, instead, take captive my thoughts, my desires and submit them to Him. He receives me and loves me..
5. I am committed to living a life with boundaries for the rest of my life so I will stop breaking them and acting like it is no big deal. I will accept that I will always have to have boundaries in this area of my life. I am not the type of person who can be healthy–emotionally, spiritually, and physically–without boundaries in my eating. I must come to terms with that. Accept it. Rejoice! God has used this difficulty to foster deep intimacy with me!
6. I choose to STOP BREAKING MY BOUNDARIES. I choose to stop minimizing choices outside of my boundaries!
7. A few months down the road…if I start now afresh to press on and keep my boundaries, I will be more mature spiritually and emotionally and I will have peace about where I am physically, too. God is changing me.
8. When I think of what I will gain, it is worth the sacrifice to follow my boundaries right this minute and for the rest of this day. The more I live according to my boundaries, the less difficult it becomes. But this doesn’t mean it will ever stop being a challenge. There will always be food I want to eat that my body doesn’t need.
Romans 6:1-2 – I have died to sin. I will not go on living in it.
Romans 13:14 – I choose to put on the Lord Jesus Christ and to make NO provision for my flesh and its lusts!
I will stop focusing on the physical battle…that seems so negotiable depending on how eager I am to look different. I will choose instead to focus on the spiritual battle, knowing that this has eternal ramifications. The physical battle has to do with my physical size and is almost totally inconsequential! The spiritual battle–that of breaking free from the control of food–is extremely significant. I want nothing but the Lord Jesus Christ to master me.
How About You?
If you haven’t gotten Barb’s book yet, I strongly urge you to do so. It is an amazing tool.
Which set of questions will you journal through today?
What affirmations can you list that will support you in your renewed determination to live according to your godly boundaries?
NOTE: If you would like to participate in an online Thin Within class (no charge for the class—you need only purchase Workbook Kit #1), visit this post for details about a class starting on January 6th.
It was a bit of a slow fade for me over the holidays. So, today, I am declaring war on apathy! Will you join me? Right now, there are no foods in the house that I am likely to give in to eating outside of 0 and 5. This is a temporary “THIS MEANS WAR” stance….I mean for a week or so. Also, I am journaling my way through two sets of questions in Barb’s I Deserve a Donut and Other Lies That Make You Eat book…one set in the morning and one set at 5pm (or so) each evening. I am renewing my commitment to check in DAILY with my accountability partner. THIS WEEK I MEAN BUSINESS. Not only am I getting back in the saddle, but I am GOING SOMEWHERE!
How about you?
What is your plan to take back the Land the Lord wants as YOURS? Why rest in apathy until January 6th when you can get a running start? (Ugh…mixing my metaphors! LOL!)
ATM machines. Amazing devices. But, even after all these years, I still view them with distrust. All the more since the unthinkable happened.
On a lazy Saturday evening last summer, I stood at the local ATM machine to make a deposit in my personal account. I inserted two checks totaling what, to me, is a significant amount of money. As I waited for the machine to verify that I had followed my end of the bargain :-), I noticed that all was not well. The ATM was taking a bit too long to respond. Then, horror of horrors!
“ERROR” appeared on the screen.
Something had gone wonky with the entire automated process. The checks were gone and no deposit was credited to my account. I fully anticipated that giving the machine my hard-won checks, I would have money present in my account in short order (even if not immediately).
After a conversation with a national customer service line representative and two visits to the bank, there was still no money posted to my account. In time, however, the deposit did show up.
I am not in the habit of waiting for much of anything. If I make a sacrifice of some sort, then this is especially true… I want a return on it …YESTERDAY! The ATM fiasco just illustrated this in a practical way.
Isn’t the same true for most of us in our quest to discover our “natural, God-given size?” In fact, this tendency may rush us right past what it will take to even make the changes. Or, assuming, we can “clean” the “outside of the cup,” or “constrain” our outer behavior, we may release weight, but the first trial that hits, we revert back to old behaviors and we are off on that downward slide once again.
What if we were to take the slow way…the reliable way? What if this struggle with food, our bodies, eating, isn’t so much about our size, but about our souls? What if God wants us to learn something we can learn no other way? What if he wants us to learn how desperately we need him? What if he wants us to learn the power of training our minds to think differently?
When you invest your time in renewing your mind, in training yourself to think truthfully, even before you are tempted to eat outside of your boundaries, you can actually gain a new mindset that can activate at just the right moment—say when you are most tempted to give in to desire eating! This does take extra time, yes. Like giving up my hard-earned checks to the ATM, I want instant gratification for a sacrifice. There aren’t many things we want to lose other than weight and there aren’t many things we are willing to give up, but we have to be willing to give up…to invest some of our time if we want to learn to think differently about food, about God, about ourselves, about our bodies, about this process.
First thing in the morning, when I am fresh, committed, resolved…it is then that I take the time to renew my mind, to carve out that time to go over in my mind what is true. I select from one of the many tools that I have shared here at the blog or from Barb Raveling’s website. I don’t need to do them all. I don’t need to take much time, even, but doing something makes all the difference in the world. Taking time to think, ponder, speak out loud such thoughts as these will be rewarding..like making an investment in a future return:
“Eating 0 to 5 is richly rewarding.”
“Eating according to these boundaries for me allows me freedom to enjoy all foods within moderation.”
“It is much better to live by design rather than by desire.”
“If I make sacrifices to live according to my boundaries starting now, life will be less chaotic, more peaceful and my body more healthy two months from now.”
As you begin to invest time in telling yourself the truth, in writing out these truths, in designing your truth cards, listening to encouraging Sound Cloud files or creating your own :-), you will find that in the moment of temptation, these are the thoughts that will come into your mind to strengthen you! When you just finished eating a wonderful dinner 0 to 5 and your high school daughter brings in a freshly baked plate of cookies that she made at a friend’s, the thoughts that you invested time thinking about will bathe your mind, enabling you to stand strong in the face of temptation.
Imagine, you are staring down a warm chocolate chip cookie (or four) and the thoughts that hit your mind are, “How many cookies will it really take to satisfy me right now?” or “Will I break a boundary right now if I eat this? What will I gain if I break my boundary right now? What will I lose? What will life look like (inside and out) if I practice *now* living according to this boundary? Is it a good boundary? How will what I do in this moment affect the larger picture? What choice do I really want to make right now?”
If I have spent time renewing my mind once or, even, twice a day, these are the thoughts that come to mind in those weaker moments, bringing with them life and strength infusing power to honor my body, my boundaries, and my God!
I can’t recommend enough the value of taking one set of questions from Barb Raveling’s book I Deserve a Donut and Other Likes That Make You Want To Eat (or her iPhone app) each day…preferably close to the time of day when you are most prone to struggle (I do this at 5pm each day in preparation for the temptation I have to engage in evening eating), and journal the answers. I have found that, for me, just thinking about the questions isn’t enough. I need to sit down and actually grapple with the questions a bit. Seeing my answers in print is really helpful. I do this even when I am not tempted. (Not many of us want to sit down and journal when we are being tempted.)
The time invested is SO worth it. In fact, I have found the investment worth some other sacrifices. I now set my alarm to wake me up earlier, giving me plenty of time in the morning to be able to renew my mind. It is like putting a deposit in an ATM (one that WORKS, though!). I know that if I put that time in, it will come back with lots of additional benefits.
How About You?
If you haven’t seen the consistency in your life with practicing the Thin Within principles or maintaining your godly boundaries of eating between hunger and satisfaction, are you willing to consider the possibility that you need to change things up? That it might be beneficial to begin now to invest some time (maybe even lose a little sleep…even 15 minutes!) in training your mind to be alert and ready for action? What are you willing to start doing today? If doing this every day is too much, you might want to consider 4x a week to start with. You might be surprised and actually enjoy it! 🙂 I know you will be pleased with the way it impacts your thinking!