I opened up to Joel 2:19 and saw something that I had never noticed before:
“I am sending you grain, new wine, and oil – enough to satisfy you fully.”
If these three things – grain, new (as opposed to old) wine, and oil – were important enough to mention in the Word, I figure I should probably pay attention.
So I started giving these fourteen words some thought (and attention), and want to share my discoveries with you here…
This is what bread is made of. Jesus is the Bread of Life. I need Him to live. To be transformed. To get victory over sin in my life. To grow as He intends for me to grow.
“Give us this day our daily bread.”
How much I eat of the Bread of Life is up to me. The greater my challenges, the greater my need for even more bread.
He is there for the taking. I need to take Him more. “More of Jesus, less of me.” Literally and figuratively.
This is spoken of in the parable of the new wineskins. God wants to give us His new wine, but we need a new wineskin in which to hold the new wine. Why? Because our old wineskin will burst as the new wine He pours into us expands. Here’s a story that still feels like yesterday even though it happened to me back in 1985 ~ 34 years ago as I write…
My fear of public speaking was huge when I first started speaking – like at a microphone, in front of an audience. I was set to speak at a homeschool convention, and it was going to be held at a big fancy-schmancy hotel in Seattle where just one of the room’s chandeliers was larger than three rooms of my house! The very thought of entering that room freaked me out!
It got progressively worse as the convention approached. Every thought of standing in front of that huge room (which really did end up being as big as I’d imagined), sent a horrible churning pang jolting through my guts like lightning. I had no idea how I was physically and emotionally going to survive this!
After getting out of the shower one day and seeing my “eau de natural” face and hair in the foggy mirror, I told the Lord I did not know why He was having me do this; that I was NOT a speaker!!!
The very sight of a microphone sent intimidating chills through my stomach!
As I was literally panicking and freaking out, I felt Him say: “Hmmm, I thought that, when you gave your life to Me, I was going to be the One to decide what you would become.”
“Well… Yes, Lord, HOWEVER! I can’t DO this!!! I’m dying every time I think of standing in front of that microphone ~ so that people can actually hear me ~ and speaking, I just shrivel up and feel SICK!!! I simply can NOT live like this!!!”
I felt Him say: “The problem is that I am filling you with new wine (which I knew was sharing the message He had put on my heart via public speaking), but you still have your old wineskin, so the new wine is bursting your old wineskin.”
Me: “Wow. Well that sure makes sense. So what are we going to do about this?!?!?” ~ by which I actually meant “What are YOU going to do about this, because I knew there was nothing *I* could do, other than turn and run the other direction!
Him: “You need to let Me take your old wineskin (which I just see as being the heart and soul of me that “holds” who I am, including my will and my thinking), and give you a new wineskin!!!”
And that happened that very day! I handed over to Him my old wineskin, which He then redeemed by giving me back a new wineskin that would hold this new wine He was pouring into ~ and through ~ me. I never had another horrible jolt regarding speaking ever again!!! And that was 35 years and hundreds of speaking engagements ago! Butterflies and excitement, but NO jolts!!! In fact, I actually love speaking now!
The Holy Spirit is referred to as oil in the Word, and I desperately need more of Him – the Holy Spirit – flowing in me.
Psalm 23:5 says: “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; my cup overflows.”
I have enemies around me all the time, mostly in the form of temptations trying to lure me away from what God has for me. What is it that God has for me? – especially in this area of eating, and my relationship to food? Here are a few things that Christina has shared regarding what it is like to be…
Walking in Freedom:
• It feels right and good to be listening and submitting to the Lord.
• There is a peace between the Lord and me, and I feel more intimate with Him.
• It feels good to know that I am bringing my needs to God instead of to food.
• When I am eating within my boundaries, I have a feeling – which is actually a fact – of HOPE because my hope is in Him.
• I feel lighthearted and buoyant because there isn’t such a weight on my shoulders of guilt, frustration, and hopelessness.
• When I am flying high because I’m eating God’s way, it makes me want to praise Him because it feels so good!
• It feels good to separate my emotions from my eating; to get my feelings untangled up from my eating.
• I enjoy my food within my God-given boundaries, using it to fuel my body; not using it for comfort.
• I love the way I feel physically when I’m eating smaller portions. My body feels good; my stomach feels normal and settled.
“All the above” are my birthright! But how often do I sell my birthright for a mere “bowl of soup”? ~ or whatever other food is in front of my face at the moment that I somehow think is going to satisfy me more than obedience will?
As my birthright, those are ALL things that God intends for me to have! And I can have them right now! This very moment! Just by walking in simple and sweet surrender and obedience to Him and, by and with His mighty power at work within me.
One day, I was out shopping with my youngest son of four children. Weaving our way through many aisles, we eventually found ourselves in the cereal aisle.
With a house full of cereal eaters, which cereals I buy is always up for debate. I don’t know about your house, but in mine, food-consuming humans change their minds about this issue like the wind changes direction.
There we stood, unable to decide which cereals to bring home.
So, I did what any normal mother would do, I called my most finicky teenager for his opinion. Why waste time and money, right?
The conversation went something like this:
“Hey, I’m at the grocery and I’m in the cereal aisle. What do you want me to get? There’s this, there’s that…”
And in a very hurried voice, he shouted “I don’t know. Just get something sugary!” and promptly hung up on me.
I could hear other boys in the background. He was, quite obviously, distracted.
Well okay then, I let my youngest pick them out.
Later that evening, the picky one messaged me. He sort of apologized for hanging up on me and said “I didn’t mean to seem rude. I was just being rushed by everyone else.”
The Holy Spirit asked me, in that moment, “How many times do you do that to me, Kelly?” … Mic drop!
With endless demands of family, pets, work, church, and my eternal to-do lists, how many times do those things rush me, and I hang up on God? Or I cut my time with Him short.
All too often, I’m afraid.
I can easily say, “I’m so sorry, God; I’m not trying to be rude” and blame so many things for taking me away from Him and what He wants to talk to me about.
When all was said and done, I was not angry with my son. A little exasperated, maybe. I definitely appreciated his pseudo-apology. And, it was definitely not the way he usually engages with me. Yet, I never really thought about how often I do this to my Lord.
Am I taking advantage of Him because of verses like Romans 8:1 that says:
“There is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus?” (NLT)
Or, is God even hurt that I cut Him off? Is He exasperated when I hang up on Him?
Ephesians 4:30 in The Message Bible says:
“Don’t grieve God. Don’t break His heart. His Holy Spirit, moving and breathing in you, is the most intimate part of your life, making you fit for himself. Don’t take such a gift for granted.”
Ouch! Perhaps there are several yeses to those questions.
Helen Simons, in her blog for Brunstad Christian Church writes:
“We live in a fast-paced society, and most of us live a fast-paced lifestyle, with fast travel, fast communication, fast access to a wealth of information, etc. If, in the middle of this, I do not consciously set my mind on the things of the Spirit, I will not be able to hear his still small voice in my heart of hearts. When I do not listen to Him, I end up grieving the Holy Spirit, because He has so much to tell me that will bring me joy and happiness, and bring me to a life of freedom from sin and self.”
I might add fast food to her list!
I will say that, as I have hit the “change” of life, my body has begun to force me to slow down. I could fill my schedule regularly, but my body won’t cooperate.
I love being able to “do it all!” But at what expense? There is value in slowing down and not “hanging up” on God just to get to the things that are rushing me.
The sink full of dirty dishes can wait. The never-ending laundry can wait. Even meals can sometimes wait as I read, listen to a sermon, and respond to class participants and coaching clients. It actually feels good to stop, look, and listen to God.
When I do take the time to listen, I hear Him say “Worship me in song right now,” and He will lead me to just the right music on my playlist or the radio.
I can hear Him whisper “Go look in my Word” or in a certain book, and I’m instantly transported into the spiritual realm as He speaks directly to my heart and soul with just the right words.
If I slow down and listen, I can hear Him ask me “Will you pray for this person” or “I want you to confess to me.”
He is always in the business of setting my soul to be rightly related to Him. Here is where His power is stirred within me and my faith increases!
Ephesians 5:16-18 in the NLT says,
“Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.”
Amen and Hallelujah!
So I am making it a point to not hang up on God; to not, in essence, tell Him “I’ll call you back when these other things aren’t rushing me!”
I don’t want to fall into the trap of blaming other things in order to avoid talking and listening to God.
My heart’s desire is to be sure I do not hang up on God because He has so much more – and such greater things – to talk to me about than a favorite cereal.
I’ve come to realize that what I’ve been through – the pain I have been experiencing – is necessary for me. I don’t know why God chose this path for me, but I’m sure there is something He wants to bring out of me, and pain is the only way it’s coming out.
My pain is that I have had a foot amputated. When a limb is amputated, you still have the same nerves in your body even though your limb is not there. There are times when my leg is hurting with shock pain and I can feel the pain in my foot that is not there. Or my foot may itch and there is nothing there to scratch. It’s very weird.
Imagine lightning. That’s how my pain feels – quick, and it hurts like a shocking pain. It doesn’t happen every day but when it does, it’s not real fun.
I’m also hoping and praying that He brings me out of this season of my life.
Have you ever thought that, even when situations are not perfect, you could still be right smack-dab in the center of God’s will for you?
The Bible is full of people like that. For instance, Joseph’s brothers completely betrayed and abandoned him, and he was sold into slavery in Egypt and later thrown into prison under false accusations! Amazingly, no matter where he was, even in the worst and most painful of situations, he still rose to the top.
He was chief in Potiphar’s house with only Potiphar and his wife being above him. While in prison, he was the person who everyone came to for advice.
It took seventeen years for him to realize he was right where God wanted him to be, uncomfortable as it was for him.
So, even though what I’m going through is not what I want, I can only believe that it is God’s will for me.
I would not have known that I had the gift of writing had this not happened, or that I love encouraging others. In my earlier years I never thought that anyone would want to listen to me, or that I had anything of worth to say. I don’t know where that came from, except that it was a lie whispered to me that I believed for years.
Decades ago, when I was a child getting bullied for my weight, my self esteem took a real beating!
The enemy accused me of things that God never would have said to me, locked me up in a prison of lies, and bound me up with extra weight. Low self esteem hung like heavy chains around my neck, adding even more weight.
Lies, accusations, and low self worth kept me in bondage for half of a century. I felt like Samson when he was tied to the mill going around in circles, blind, with no hope! I begged for a way out!
“Set me free from my prison that I may praise your name.” (Psalm 142:7)
Now God is using the very things that have bound me up to free me and bring me where He wants me to be!
This extremely long and arduous journey has me right here, right now, finding my purpose, mission and assignment, doing what I really love, encouraging others out of what I’ve been through!
I am developing a greater love for God and accepting this assignment from Him, begging for Him to let me accomplish this for His glory!
I don’t want to give up! I want to see this through.
Matthew 6:33 says, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added!”
I have always said that I want God to get the glory for my weight loss, not realizing that this is what He would call me to do.
I had no idea that this program – Thin Within – existed, and that God Himself led me to buy the Thin Within book. But even that was not a smooth start as I never read it because I was too into ME being in control of losing the very thing I was in bondage to! I could have tried for 100 years and it would not have happened!
But God has used it all and is now opening my eyes. Had things not gone the way they have, our paths would have never crossed! I had to go through this because of my own stupid stubborn will. I can be tenacious, and was back then too, but often to my own detriment!
In the midst of all of the chaos, depression, failed attempts to bail myself out of my mess and pain, feeling trapped and lonely, He never gave up on me. I praise God that, on December 11, 2017, I finally heard His still small voice that was prompting me to just open this book and I started reading one chapter a day for 30 days.
It turned into one of the best decisions I have ever made! I feel like… I… AM… HOME!
I’ve noticed that, as I’m getting close to zero ~ truly hungry, but not starving ~ anxiety rises up in me. If I’m busy and my mind is occupied, anxiety is less likely to happen, but it often does.
I obviously need the Lord to renew my heart and mind regarding zero. So I thought I’d start by defining anxious.
The word anxious has two different, almost opposite meanings, and I feel both aspects of the word as I approach zero…
One kind of anxious is what you feel when you’re looking forward to something and you have tingly butterflies in your tummy. Like when you think of meeting a friend for coffee, or going to get a pedicure, or an upcoming vacation to a fun destination. Eating my next meal may not be quite as exciting as vacation or a pedi, but my resident butterflies nonetheless say otherwise.
Linked to the fun kind of anxiety is the other kind of anxiety – where you feel nervous with a sickish sense of dread. Like…
• a test coming up that you haven’t studied for, or…
• stopped-up traffic on the freeway when you’re trying to get to the airport, or…
• someone told you they want to talk to you, but didn’t tell you why, and you have a hunch it’s going to be hard.
Because of that dreadish kind of anxiety, just getting down to zero is a huge victory for me!
In my “pre-Thin-Within” days, I seldom felt hungry! Seriously! I often went months without ever feeling a single hunger pang! If I ever did, it was purely accidental; never planned for, and certainly not something I desired or sought!
So I’m thankful that I’ve become much more acquainted and comfortable – in an uncomfortable way – with zero! It’s not quite my “friend,” but we’re definitely more than “mere acquaintances.”
Instead of rushing to fill my tummy once I hit zero – and thus stuff that anxiety with food – I have asked the Lord to give me a fresh view of zero, to help me renew my mind about it.
I want to deal a death blow to the dreadish anxiety, but doing so is a process. And, thanks to Thin Within, I have a wonderful array of tools to help me deal with these anxieties!
I’m “attacking” it from four different angles, which I think of as the four sides of a boxing ring. I actually hate how violent boxing is! Why would any sane person would put themselves inside a ring where the sole intent of their opponent is to punch them repeatedly and win over them by knocking them out! But that is exactly what I want to do to my unruly appetite! Deal its unruliness some death blows and gain victory over it!
The four “punches” I’m utilizing are to: 1) Renew my Mind about Anxiety, 2) Make Truth Cards (or a Truth List) about Zero, 3) Gain Wisdom Regarding Eating (Once I’m at Zero), and 4) A Prayer as I Approach Zero.
Let’s take them one by one…
1. RENEW MY MIND ABOUT ANXIETY
I did a word study on anxiety using a study tool I share in “Two Forms for Studying Scripture” called the “Word Alive Study.” Here’s the one I did on the do-on-your-computer version. (There’s also a print-and-write-in version for those who prefer handwriting.) I copied the definition from Webster’s 1828 Dictionary and pasted it into a box on this form!
(Click on this form to see it more clearly in a new window; click your back arrow to return here.)
2. MAKE TRUTH CARDS (AND/OR A TRUTH LIST) ABOUT “ZERO”
To get a fresh view of zero, I created several Truth Cards about it and made a Truth List using the same truths. So the two are the same in content; one is just in card form, with one truth per card and a pretty picture or page, and the Truth List is just a list of the same truths. This can be hand-written on a piece of paper, or typed and printed out, in a list on your phone or computer. Or you could make them into a small booklet.
Here are several truths relating to “zero”:
When I reach my zero, it is not an excuse to chow down, but to simply replenish my body’s fuel.
I need to be more thoughtful about my zero, and “spend” it wisely and with self control.
Zero is not to be feared; it is God’s design for my body – as is self control.
“The Lord Himself is my inheritance, my prize, He is my food and drink, my highest joy.” (Psalms 16:5)
“Nothing tastes as good as obedience feels.” ~Heidi Bylsma
“When I eat at zero, food tastes so much better, I am free from bondage to food, and I feel peaceful and content.” ~Christina Motley
And here are several of the above truths made up into Truth Cards. These first four are photo/graphic truth cards I made in Canva(.com):
I also make many on my phone using Word Swag, an awesome free app. Here are three using that:
I keep all my digital Truth Cards in an album on my phone, and have printed some out and added to a pack of Truth Cards.
These last two are actual physical cards in a spiral card pack that I made like small scrapbook pages, using stickers, pretty papers, and buttons:
3. GAIN WISDOM REGARDING EATING (ONCE I’M AT ZERO)
EATING PARAMETERS & ENVIRONMENT
The Keys to Conscious Eating are the foundation of becoming wise in how we eat. These are presented and discussed in:
However, even though the concepts are simple, for those of us with disordered eating and food addiction, it’s not so simple. This is why there are several more resources to help you dig down and deal with the reasons behind our disordered eating. (It’s not just a simple matter of loving food!) These resources each have different but dove-tailing messages that will greatly help you gain freedom from food addiction:
There are no food rules in Thin Within! No “taboo” foods, omitting of entire food groups, nor focusing on just a few certain foods… just common sense, really. And, while there are some basics that don’t vary much, specifics vary from person to person.
Here are a few words from Judy Halliday in Hunger Within, page 112:
There are no forbidden foods. Nevertheless, as we follow the leading of the Spirit, we will find ourselves making wiser, healthier, God-honoring choices. While we have the freedom to choose what we will eat or drink, we know not every food or beverage is beneficial for us, nor do we want to be enslaved by anything. When we are guided by the grace-giving keys to conscious eating, we recognize that certain foods can be detrimental to our health, and are best enjoyed in moderation or avoided. We also develop discernment about what we call “trigger” foods and beverages.
4. A PRAYER AS I APPROACH ZERO
Finally, in my prayer, I want to cover what I’m feeling as I approach zero: the good anxiety of looking forward to eating, the harmful anxiety of fearing that I will throw off all restraint and just binge.
Lord, I’m getting close to zero, and I need You to help me process this anxiety that I’m feeling, and not just rush to squelch it with food. I’m excited to eat, but I don’t want to use it as an opportunity to indulge my flesh.
I don’t want to have my heart be so connected to eating that I look forward to eating more than is appropriate. So help me utilize the Keys to Conscious Eating and really take time to enjoy what You have provided for me.
I’m also feeling some fear that I will lose self-control and just devour everything in sight, so would You live Your life through and in me so that, “by the mighty power of the Spirit of the Lord at work within me,” I can eat as You originally designed me to eat? I want to learn how to “eat to live instead of living to eat”!
We do not earn grace or our salvation. Salvationis “the free gift of God to those who believe in Christ Jesus” and graceis “unmerited, unearned favor.” Which means we don’t have to DO a single thing to get them. Both are entirely free!
So I think of doing “all the above” work not as a way to earn my healing and victory, but simply as applying all that He has given me to “work out [my] salvation,” making it my own, especially as it relates to this very difficult area of my life. This helps me get all the hindrances out of the way that keep me from receiving all God has offered me! And you, as well!
Please feel free to share any prayers YOU pray as you approach zero, as well as any insights you have gained in this arena that would bless and encourage your fellow journeyers!
It was silent, and I couldn’t see it, and I could not hear it. The water was cool and calm, easily flowing down the mighty river. The sun was shining and warming my face while the locusts buzzed, the birds sang, and a cool summer breeze blew through my hair. The scenery was wonderful.
In reality, I should have been hearing the ominous music from the movie “Jaws” playing in the background, because of what was approaching. I could hear fast-moving water ahead. Until now, my companion and I were oblivious, but there they were, rapids! The rushing noise made my heart start pounding. I started shouting to the guy in the back of the canoe, “STEER TO THE LEFT, STEER TO THE LEFT!” where the calm water was. But instead, the canoe was heading right for the rapids!
It was too late. We cascaded over rocks and waves. Then our flimsy canoe hit a concrete pillar from a bridge above and I was suddenly sucked into an undercurrent. I could not see because I was no longer in the canoe. I was under it, grabbing, gasping, thinking “This is it, I’m going to drown!” The water kept pulling me under as I clung to the boat.
Suddenly, in a moment of clarity, I thought to stand up! I stood up and pushed the canoe off of me, only to find that the water was shallow ~ only three feet deep.
By that time, all of my belongings for the trip had floated away and disappeared into the distance. I vowed never to go canoeing again, much less with that guy. But, I was alive! I returned home wet, muddy, and mad. The trip wasn’t all that I thought it would be.
The scenery was no longer picturesque.
What made me think back to a high school blind date, canoe-trip-gone-wrong, and dieting? It was the thoughts about the undercurrent. I have come to believe, as I’ve learned to renew my mind in Thin Within, that there are some main “undercurrent” lies that all diets seem to have.
Those lies are:
“If you eat this and not that, you will lose weight.”
“If you don’t eat this way, you will be overweight forever.”
Here’s another good one:
“If you consume our very pricey product and stay on it forever, your weight problems will vanish,” along with my money, I might add, just like my belongings that drifted away down river.
But, for so long, I didn’t really hear those lies, just like I didn’t hear the “Jaws” music. What I heard were the false promises. I would hear how easy and fun it would be to do their eating plan and workout. Before and after pictures of group members would mesmerize me and secretly make me wish that it was me in the photograph. I would hear “This is the good life, come join us. We’ll save you!” Sadly, I would hear what I wanted to hear.
I really could not hear the fast-moving waters ahead or feel the undercurrent before I got swept away by those other plans. As a result, God allowed me to “crash” many times before I was willing follow His lead.
Once I was ready to part with weight-loss plans that were failing me, God asked me to simply “listen” to Him. He asked me to hold onto Him and not the diet gurus.
Here is where I read this: In Deuteronomy 30 verse 20, It says, “Listen to His voice and hold fast to Him.” Him being God the Father. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines “hold fast” as “Something to which something else may be firmly secured“. I was holding fast to the canoe and had to let go to be saved. I now know, that I cannot hold fast to a diet or diet expert and truly hold fast to God at the same time. I need to let go, then firmly attach myself to Him.
I have also learned that I must shut out the voices of the world in order to hear Him better and in order to hear the lies that I was believing. I’m reminded, that if I am His sheep, I willlisten to his voice (John 10:27). But, I had to do that by being intentional, getting out of the rushing waters, unloading diet books, magazines, social media groups, and anything that would crowd out the voice of God. Recently, I realized that even thinking about the number on the scale was taking space in my thought life. I decided to stop weighing so that I could stop even thinking about that number.
In the end, I’m thankful that God allowed me to experiment. He let me see just how shallow and useless those other plans that I tried to follow really were. When all is said and done, they didn’t get to the heart of why I was in the overweight and, at times, underweight condition that I was in and the results were always temporary.
Because of Thin Within, I have been willing to hear God warn me of what is ahead if I continued to follow the wrong messages. By committing myself to classes, support groups, and renewing my mind through those and other means, God continues to reveal the lies, and help me replace them with His truths through His Word, and other participants.
I have a feeling that it will be a life-long trip down river for me. But the scenery is amazing! I have been slowly releasing weight according to His time table and not mine; according to His ways, not the ways of the world.
I have been eating foods I enjoy and not what someone else says I should eat. Thin Within is the good life!
So, where do you find yourself today? Are you in the canoe going down the stream and going in and out of diets? Are you hitting the rapids and crumbling emotionally from listening to the world? Are you frustrated with the temporary results and watching your efforts and money go down the river? Or are you listening and hearing the Lord say “Stand UP, that water is shallow”?
Decide to intentionally listen to God today and, as the scripture says, hold fast to Him!