Years ago, I looked at what search parameters were bringing people to the Thin Within blog on New Year’s Day. I noticed each January that people had typed into Google their earnest question, “Is God is doing a new thing?”
I don’t know if Google is clear on the answer, so I definitely want to be:
Our God, the King of the Universe, is doing a new thing! Even now!
His Word is filled with examples and passages of promise that state that this is so!
Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland. (Isaiah 43:18-19)
But note what he asks US to do! To forget the former things and not to dwell on the past.
So, what if we stop telling tales of former glories, former wounds, former victories, failures, and the pain of our past? Let’s release our grip on whatever we think we know and open our arms, hands and hearts to what God IS doing now! Sometimes there is great benefit at looking at the past to learn from it, but let’s refuse to wallow (dwell) in it. Let’s invite our God to cut away anything that tethers us to our past so that we might be free to soar into what He has for us NOW!
In-19 God IS doing a new thing. RIGHT now. Even as you sit here reading this…
…God is doing a new thing.
Even if you think you are stuck in a rut…
…God is doing a new thing!
No need to ask Google! God IS doing a new thing! His eternal Word promises that this is so! This moment is brand new! Let’s capture it for the Lord.
He says the new thing He is doing is springing up!
Delight and surprise! Hope and joy! Like children in the heat of summer playing in a splash pad fountain that squirts up from the ground at a water playground, we, too, can delight to be refreshed by God’s new thing that is SPRINGING up!
He IS making a way in the desert of my life. He IS making streams in my wasteland!
AND in yours!
Many are caught in the “I’ll start dieting Monday” trap, but when Monday comes, their resolve often goes. Is that the “new thing” that God is speaking of, though? Or is that done in my own strength?
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2)
What is the pattern of this world that we are not to conform to? Well, I don’t know about you, but saying “I’ll start Monday” or after this holiday, or jumping on the “New Year’s Resolution” bandwagon all sound like a “pattern of this world”.
I get the impression that God has set up a choice here. I can either conform to the pattern in this world OR I can choose to be transformed. Which do I want? Do I really believe any resolutions that I can make will promise transformation? Have they ever before?
How does the transformation I need take place according to this passage in Romans? Is it by pulling yourself up by the bootstraps and making promises to yourself or New Year’s Resolutions? Or, is it by renewing my mind?
It’s by renewing my mind!
Doing the same thing again and again expecting a different result is one of the definitions of insanity. Has having a list of “New habits I will form this year…” ever benefitted me? On the contrary, the enemy has used it as a club of condemnation for me often.How about you? So, what about joining me? Let’s be done with the insanity of doing the same thing we have done every year that hasn’t helped us. Instead, this year, let’s commit to the transformation that comes from God. It happens BY the renewing of our minds according to Romans 12:2!
We focus on this very thing in our small coaching groups. We learn how to renew our minds and experience transformation that STICKS!
We want to help with that! These groups are the best possible means to a new start, joining God in the new thing He is doing in your life!
Start “the first day of the rest of your life” knowing that you have planned and set in motion YOUR transformation!
Groups run for 10 weeks, and new ones start up every few months. Check on this coaching groups page to see where we are currently at in the schedule and what we currently have going.
We usually search out and go on diets as a knee-jerk response to that moment when we step on the scale, look too long into the mirror, or fail to fit a clothing item that we used to wear with ease. We freak out at the number on the scale or the pants that would not button, and off we go on a diet hunt. Maybe we go back to a diet that worked “once upon a time.” Or we decide to try what so-and-so did to lose “X” number of pounds.
The problem with this is that it’s only temporary, and eventually we go “off” of the diet only to land right back where we started. Or worse, we end up even heavier than we were before we went off of the rails.
The word “diet” has its roots in the temporary. We “diet” for a one-time event like a wedding or reunion, for surgery, or for a “cleanse,” and then we stop and return to our previous way of eating. Deep down we know that it is not sustainable to restrict ourselves from our favorite foods for very long in this way.
Let’s be honest, we also know that if it was sustainable to stay on that particular diet, we would still be on it today!
So why do we go back to those “weak and miserable principles” referred to in Galatians 4:9? And what is the solution? We need some solid answers. Praise be to God our Father who can provide answers for all things, including our weight and food woes!
First and foremost, we need to ask God what HE thinks! What does He want for us as individuals? No diet or boundary is “one size fits all.” If there was such a thing, we would ALL be doing it!
However, here at Thin Within we subscribe to our natural hunger mechanism that we believe God gave us at birth. We define that hunger mechanism as eating between zero and five (0-5), which is our primary boundary. Zero is fully hungry, and 5 is “just satisfied”; not full or stuffed.
We believe that God never expected us to be preoccupied with food and diets, or our bodies (Matthew 6:25). He certainly talks about food a lot in scripture and had food rules for the Israelites. However, now that we are in Christ, or rather Christ is in US, we are given so much freedom!
Notice that I said freedom, not license! He tells us that we now have the fruits of the Spirit. One of those fruits, listed in Galatians 5:23, is self-control. He tells us that everything is permissible (1 Corinthians 10:23), but that nothing is to have mastery over us (1 Corinthians 6:12).
Then let’s roll up our sleeves and take a look at what we need to do!
5 Steps to Connecting Our Eating with God
1) We need to view 0-5 as being our life-long chosen boundary with God’s blessing. This is hunger and fullness on a definable scale. I realize that this may not be the boundary God leads everyone to. Barb Raveling says to look for a boundary or boundaries that you can keep for the rest of your days here on earth. For some, that might just be calorie counting, three meals a day, or low-carb eating. But chances are you are reading this article because, to you, those were diets and they just didn’t “work” for you. So consider that God may be prompting you to do zero-to-five eating!
2) We need to utilize whatever means we can to keep 0-5 as our primary boundary. Just as alcoholics need to avoid situations that would cause them to imbibe, like Joseph, we need to flee tempting situations when possible. I like to tell myself Romans 13:14 often and “make no provision for the flesh.” I do this by not purchasing certain foods that I know I have little self-control with at the moment. I do this by avoiding situations where I might lose control, like in front of the TV at night. It may be a temporary restriction or limited in scope (think of a single serving bag of m&m’s and not a five-pound bag). I know my weaknesses and that certain foods could derail my efforts if I have them easily accessible. This is different from saying “I can eat this but not that! And it might just be for a season.
3) We need to realize that we need God’s power! This should always be number one on our list. His Word says that “Without me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). NOTHING! I have to shout this to myself! Another verse reminds us that we need Him, the Holy Spirit, to bear the fruit of self-control in us (Galatians 5:23). Diets just do not provide God. IF they do, they might still tell you what you can and cannot eat just like a person in authority over us used to do. We want to mature beyond that. Think about it: Diets have the potential to keep us immature! How humiliating. We want to be grown-ups in Christ. It is shocking to think that a diet could potentially keep us from growing spiritually.
4) We need to find support. AA to an alcoholic is Thin Within Ministries to us. We need loving accountability. We need to be in groups where others can lead us through valleys and trials. We need cheer leaders, people to help us not give up! And let’s face it, we all need others who “get us.” We also need as many ideas as we can employ to do this 0-5 thing! Just as you would not visit a foreign country for the first time without a guide and a translator, you do not want to try to do this alone. It could be disastrous in a foreign country and it could be disastrous here.
5) And last, we need to actually believe and trust God! It’s one thing to realize that we need God’s power, but quite another to actually trust His direction each day and not get focused on the end result, whether that’s a number on the scale or an outfit we are dying to get back into. If we keep looking for the end result, we will not be focused on Him. We need to focus daily on keeping our boundaries with God’s help. Then the results become God’s responsibility. We do this by utilizing tools such as “The keys to conscious eating” found in the Thin Within workbook series in conjunction with renewing our minds (Romans 12:2), joining classes and groups for support, and maybe getting individual coaching.
It is the daily focus and disciplines that get us where we need to go (Matthew 6:34) one meal at a time, one bite at a time. We want to learn to be content with food and our bodies, don’t we? “For godliness and contentment are great gain!” as it says in 1 Timothy 6:6. Thankfully, that is not weight gain!
The year is full of holidays and special occasions – Super Bowl, Valentine’s Day, Easter, July 4th, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Year’s Eve. Plus there are baby and bridal showers, church potlucks, summer BBQ’s, family reunions, birthday parties, and eating out. There are always tons of goodies to eat and special drinks to enjoy.
We may already have challenges keeping our 0-5 eating boundaries when it’s not the holidays, but how can we keep our boundaries with all the delicious foods and drinks we look forward to enjoying during each special time of year?
Keeping our 0-5 boundaries during the holidays can be easier than we may think. Below are strategies – in answer to specific struggles and questions – that you can start applying today too keep seeing results throughout each holiday season throughout the year.
Let’s take a few struggles and questions one at a time…
Q: I’m not at zero yet but I want to eat! What can I do to stick to my boundaries and hold off eating until I’m hungry?
Often we may feel like giving in when the temptation entices us with some form of instant gratification, even though we’re not technically hungry yet. Temptations abound like:
celebratory cakes and candies
office donut day
delicious leftovers that look so good
While no foods are off-limits, we may be tempted to eat favorite foods when our body isn’t telling yet us we’re hungry. Here are a few effective strategies:
Distract yourself with a project you can make progress on until you get hungry.
If you’re at home, see how many items on your to-do list you can complete before your body truly gets hungry.
Do something fun you enjoy like watching a favorite show, taking a walk, playing a game with someone, reading an interesting book, running an errand, calling a friend to catch up
Use the above ideas to make a list of activities you can do – whether fun or on your to-do list – that you can get engaged in to get your mind off eating until your body says it’s time to eat.
Q: When I do get hungry, I feel super hungry! Then I end up bingeing and feel bad that I didn’t practice more self-control. How can I avoid this?
If you feel ravenously hungry when you’re finally able to eat, a stash of nuts on hand can diminish the intensity of your hunger signal, enabling you to eat calmly and consciously.
If mealtime is an hour or more away, eat a little something to tide you over until mealtime. Eat enough so you aren’t unbearably hungry, but not so much that you aren’t hungry for your meal (especially if you’re having dinner with friends or family at a certain time.)
The key is to listen to your body and not get overly hungry.
When my daughter was a toddler and was going through potty training, sometimes she’d run to the bathroom on the verge of peeing her pants. Thankfully she never had any accidents. I’d ask her, “How long has your body been saying you needed to go?” I explained to her that our bodies tell us when we need to go and will become more insistent the longer we ignore the signal that we need to go until we reach a point where we desperately have to rush to the bathroom. My husband and I always encouraged our potty-training daughter to listen to her body, because God made our bodies to tell us when we need to go.
For me, recognizing hunger is the same way. I listen to my body for a clear message that I need to stop what I’m doing and go eat. My zero is when my body has been nagging me to eat, until I no longer can ignore my body’s need to eat. Still at that point I’m not so hungry that I feel starving or ravenously hungry. I just know I definitely need to eat. I have a small bite to eat if my hunger becomes too intense before a planned mealtime with others. I enjoy eating meals with my family when it’s meal time, so I will curb how much I eat during the meal prior to make sure I’m hungry when our family mealtime comes.
Q: I started eating at a zero but I’m tempted to eat past a 5 because there’s still delicious food left to eat. (Or I’m having a rough day and deserve a yummy pick me up.)
Whatever tempts you to eat when not hungry or past contentment, there is hope!
I’m always comforted by 1 Corinthians 10:13:
“No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”
I’m comforted that our struggles are not the exception, but they are totally common. God in His grace will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we are able with His help to overcome. God puts limits on our temptation, just as He tells the oceans waves how far they may come up on the beach.
I love that, with every temptation we face, God will faithfully provide a way of escape. Every. Single. Time. May God open our eyes to always clearly see that way of escape and help us to always choose to take it.
When I’m tempted to go outside my boundaries, I like to ask myself, “What’s at stake if I indulge in this food when I’m not truly hungry? What’s at stake if I start eating at zero but continue to eat when I’m already satisfied?” Those calories will get stored as fat, and it’ll take me longer to release my excess, unhealthy weight.
“What’s at stake if I eat my food way too fast?” I risk eating past a five because my stomach and brain need about 20 minutes to clearly communicate to me how satisfied I am.
“What’s at stake if I eat when distracted?” I risk not feeling satisfied after my meal because didn’t pay attention to it. So I’ll want to eat something else I’ll enjoy to make up for the meal that didn’t satisfy.
Considering what’s at stake helps me see my temptation as much less attractive.
Today, thank the Lord that each temptation you face has God-ordered limits so you will not be tempted beyond what you are able.
Moreover, with each temptation God will always provide a way of escape! Praise the Lord for the way of escape so we be able to bear our temptations. Ask God what way of escape He has provided just for you when temptation comes and be on the lookout for it.
In Christ we are more than conquerors! And God has provided all we need for life and godliness. Putting on the full armor of God, let us not fear temptations, but boldly trust the Lord to give us the victory in Christ! With God all things are possible!
As you look to the Lord and trust in Him, you will surely be blessed! See what God’s promised you in Jeremiah 17:7-8.
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is the Lord. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes; But its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit.”
Q: I eat at a zero and stop at a five, renew my mind, and have been doing the book study, but my weight still went up! How is this possible?
Since you’ve been diligent to wait for a zero and eat just enough to satiate your hunger, here are some strategies I use to reduce the quantity of food I eat, resulting in losing weight consistently:
Try shrinking your portion by using a smaller bowl or plate for your meal. I do this and it has helped not only to consistently get my scale to go down, but enables me to be satisfied with my smaller portion because my small bowl looks full. I use my little dessert bowls for cereal, chili, ice cream, etc., and am plenty satisfied.
Lengthen how long it takes to eat your meal. The faster we eat, the more we eat. Since it generally takes 20 minutes for your brain to say its time to stop eating, I like to take mini bites and chew til there’s nothing left to chew. See how long you can take to make your meal stretch. Heidi has said, “Take twice as long to eat half as much.” It’s a fabulous strategy to take the weight off!
As mentioned above, packing snacks with you to take the edge off when you start to feel famished between meals will help prevent overeating at your next meal.
Q: How can I keep my boundaries with all the tempting holiday food that is around me?
If you have See’s chocolates or pumpkin spice muffins begging to be eaten, give yourself permission to eat them when you get hungry.
There are many times when I see something delicious, and I think, “I don’t want that just yet because I’m not hungry. But when I do get hungry, that is definitely what I plan to enjoy to satiate my hunger!”
When you’re not hungry, make a list of your favorite holiday foods and drinks you love to enjoy throughout the holidays. Then, plan to enjoy a favorite when you get hungry, working off your list.
You might pack a favorite food to enjoy when you eat lunch in the midst of running errands. Alternatively, you can wait intentionally to run errands until you are hungry, then drive thru and get your holiday favorite to enjoy when you take a break. Another option is to work in holiday favorites into your family’s meal plan for the week. By satisfying your hunger with a satisfying favorite, you’ll feel doubly blessed!
Q: How can I diligently keep my boundaries at a party or gathering of friends or family?
Since people typically gather at a specified time, make sure you eat light before it’s time to go to the get together. Eat light enough that you will feel hunger when it’s time to eat. Then you’ll be able to eat when everyone else does, yet you will not be breaking your boundaries by enjoying yummy foods with your favorite people. Rather than taking a whole scoop of each potluck food on your plate, you can use your plate to make up a little sampler platter so you’re able to enjoy the flavors of all that look appetizing to you, but without overdoing it.
If you love dessert like I do, you don’t have to go without. Simply serve yourself 2/3 the amount of what would satisfy your hunger, and then indulge in and savor a small portion of dessert. This way your hunger will be satisfied as well as your sweet tooth! Who says you can’t enjoy your favorite dessert while releasing weight?
Q: I’m so tempted to abandon my boundaries and start over after New Year’s Day.
Again, whenever I’m tempted I cling to and am encouraged by God’s promise to us in 1 Corinthians 10:13:
“No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”
Since the Lord promises to provide a way of escape from each and every temptation, I look for the way out He is so faithful to provide.
While we are free in Christ, if we let go of our 0 to 5 eating boundaries, we will regret doing so after the holiday. God doesn’t want us to be gluttonous—especially as we celebrate His birth or His resurrection, or as we give thanks for all He has blessed us with. He wants us to enjoy our food, but with self-control. Thin Within 0-5 eating and renewing our mind are wonderful in helping us release unhealthy, extra weight and help us to naturally get down to our God-given size.
Take the deprivation out of staying within boundaries by changing your mindset about how you think about your boundaries
How we word any boundaries we set for our eating can make or break our ability to stick with them. If I say “I can’t eat anything after 8:00pm” I will feel deprived, restricted, and like I have no choice in the matter. However, the rebel in me is less likely to rear up if I say, “I’m free to eat past 8:00pm, but I choose not to because my body already had enough to eat earlier at dinner time.”
Boundaries are actually freeing!
When you think of boundaries, what comes to mind? Restriction? Denial?
I see my Thin Within boundaries like I see guard rails on the road where there’s a sheer drop-off just on the other side of the guard rail! They are put in place, and are there for my safety and to guide me in the way I should go.
I don’t trust in my boundaries; I trust in the Lord. I thank Him for my boundaries because of how He uses them in my life to protect me from overeating and guide me in eating what I love, without overindulging.
Until just a few months ago, I looked at boundaries as being depriving and restricting. Now I recognize them as being freeing! I am not free to eat whatever my heart desires when I am hungry.
I’m free to stop eating when I’ve eaten enough to soothe my hunger, so I don’t have to feel heavy and overly full after a meal.
I’m free to shed my excess weight, almost effortlessly, without counting, tracking, weighing, and measuring everything I eat.
I am free to eat when I’m hungry.
I don’t have to deny myself from eating when I’m hungry if I don’t have enough points or calories left for the day.
I am free to eat from all food groups and continue to release weight without cutting carbs, sugar, etc.
I’m still excited about the weight I’ve lost, and all without depriving myself of my favorite foods and drinks. I love the way God is using gentle boundaries in m life to help me shed my excess weight. Thin Within works! Stick with it and you will be blessed!
Brooke Espinoza has found freedom from overeating through Thin Within, and she couldn’t be happier about it. She has been married to her husband almost 20 years and keeps busy homeschooling their daughter, caring for her family, blogging at Hemmed In By Love, and designing products for her Etsy shop, Joyful Life Printables.
Way back in the early 1990’s when I was homeschooling our two teenagers through high school, I wanted a way to help them ~ and myself ~ study Scripture in greater depth, in an orderly, organized, uncomplicated way.
So I created two forms, both of which enable us to dig deeper into the Word by dissecting and examining several key words in the verse and definitions. One is the “Word Alive Study” and the other is the “Scripture Verse Study.”
By the end of either study, the meaning of our word or Scripture verse has been blown wide open, having come alive in a totally fresh way.
Both are very eye-opening, and if you allow the Lord to speak to you, not just doing them in an “intellectual” way, they are heart-changing.
One of these forms is called a “Word Alive Study” and the other is a “Scripture Verse Study.” The two have similar components, yet different purposes and results. I will explain both, as well as include free printables of both at the very end. But first, here’s what they are and how to use them…
WORD ALIVE STUDY
For the “Word Alive Study,” you choose a word that you want to study, one that has special significance to you. It could be a word that you feel the Lord has given you. This might be for the coming year, for a season you’re in, or for your life. Some of my favorites are hear, surrender, commune, and redeem ~ the latter being my life verse. The first three were in seasons, and I have written about some of these in the articles that I have linked you to in two of of them. (Plus here are two more on “redeem”: HERE and HERE.)
Or it could be a particular “theme” that’s been springing up in your life. Struggles are often telling, and one of the things they can “tell” us is what God is currently working on in us.
Like are you finding yourself more frustrated and impatient than usual? … Patience would be a good word.
Do you tend to feel jealous of certain people? … Jealousy, envy or contented could be your word.
Do you feel like you lack in order in your day, how you deal with your children, or your eating? … Discipline or self-control.
Maybe you feel sad or depressed more often than you’d like? … Study joy or rejoice.
Next, here’s a picture of the form for you to refer to as I explain how to use it: (You can’t actually copy and paste this or print it; the free printable given at the end is what you’ll print.)
Decide on your word, and look it up in a dictionary. But I would suggest not just any dictionary. The one I highly recommend is Webster’s 1828 Dictionary. This is an amazing resource! It’s actually Noah Webster’s original work. What they call “Webster’s Dictionary” today is not even close to his original, which included Bible verses and character traits as being part of the definition ~ all of which have been omitted in today’s versions. Webster would roll over in his grave if he saw a modern version in which the heart of his work has been extracted. I bet he would insist his name be removed from the title. (I am not kidding or exaggerating!) Take a look at one definition, and you’ll see what I mean…
There are always multiple definitions, and here’s what to do with them.
First, I don’t use any of their examples as part of my definition. I colored the examples grey below to show you what I mean…
INTEG’RITY, noun [Latin integritas, from integer.]
1. Wholeness; entireness; unbroken state. The constitution of the U.States guaranties to each state the integrity of its territories. The contracting parties guarantied the integrity of the empire.
2. The entire, unimpaired state of any thing, particularly of the mind; moral soundness or purity; incorruptness; uprightness; honesty. integrity comprehends the whole moral character, but has a special reference to uprightness in mutual dealings, transfers of property, and agencies for others.
The moral grandeur of independent integrity is the sublimest thing in nature, before which the pomp of eastern magnificence and the splendor of conquest are odious as well as perishable.
3. Purity; genuine, unadulterated, unimpaired state; as the integrity of language.
So all the grey words are out.
Next let’s condense the above three definitions:
“Wholeness; unbroken state. The entire unimpaired state of a thing, moral soundness or purity; incorruptness; uprightness; honesty. Genuine, unadulterated.
Comparing this to the definition above, you’ll see that I deleted repeat concepts, removed examples, and did some condensing.
This is the definition that I would enter into the definition line on the form.
In the next section of the form it says: “Seven major words from the definition and their definitions:” So on the top line of each of the seven subsequent line-pairs, I’ll put one of the words in my combined, condensed definition. So I will choose these words ~ the ones in red ~ here:
Wholeness; unbroken state. The entire, unimpaired state of any thing, moral soundness or purity; incorruptness; uprightness; honesty. Genuine, unadulterated.
You can choose any seven words, but those are just the ones I chose.
You can actually omit the “ness” part, if you want, as that is the root word. In fact, I looked up “wholeness” in Webster’s 1828 Dictionary, and it’s not even there, so I just used “whole,” which was ample! So now I will look up each of those seven words and put a combined, condensed definition for each of them. Here’s the first definition. (I choose my favorite.)
The entire thing; the entire or total assemblage of parts. (The whole of religion is contained in the short precept, Love God with all your heart, and your neighbor as yourself.)
Next I looked up unimpaired. It’s not there, so I deleted that word and went to the next word: soundness:
Firmness; strength; solidity; truth; as soundness of reasoning or argument, of doctrine or principles.
Freedom from guilt or the defilement of sin; innocence; as purity of heart or life.
not marred, impaired or spoiled; not defiled or depraved; pure; sound; untainted; applicable to persons, principles or substances.
Honest; just; adhering to rectitude in all social intercourse; not deviating from correct moral principles
…and last, genuine:
real; natural; true; pure; not spurious, false or adulterated. Vices and crimes are the genuine effects of depravity, as virtue and piety are the genuine fruits of holiness
When I’m done with that, I’ll do what it says in the next section, which is “Now go deeper with four definitions above that stand out to you and write what you feel God is saying to you: [Hint #1: If you do not feel that you are hearing God, just go with whatever you feel excited about, convicted about, or edified or encouraged by. Hint #2: That’s probably hearing God!] (You will probably need to use the other side if hand-writing this.)
So, of these, the four words that stand out to me the most are: untainted, honest, rectitude, unadulterated.
I guarantee that it doesn’t matter what word you choose, you’re going to end up blessed and enriched by it!
Now let’s look at the…
SCRIPTURE VERSE STUDY:
This has similar components to the Word Alive Study above, but you study a verse instead of a word.
Let’s do this verse as an example…
“I send forth my word and it shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:11)
There’s space for 8 major words in the verse, but I found 6 to be enough; there’s no need to delve into words that are insignificant.
Look up each of those six words and put a synopsis (short version) of each of them here. Then, just as we did in the first form, look up the four “best” or “majorest” words in those six definitions. (You do these just as you did for the Word Alive Study, so I’m not putting examples here.)
Last, write any revelations, discoveries, and insights that came to you as you were doing the study.
PRINTABLES OF THE FORMS
There are two versions of each form: One is to print out and hand-write on, for those who like to sit in a cozy chair with a blanket and a fave beverage, and hand-write your thoughts. The other version is to open on your computer and type in. (You can still have a blanket and fave beverage nearby! And if you have a laptop, you can still be in a cozy chair!)
On the do-on-your-computer version, the boxes expand with your typing. The printable versions just have a certain number of lines to write in, but you can certainly use the back! These do-on-your-computer versions are in Word format because you need to be able to type in that one, and PDF’s are non-type-in-able.
Lord, I have a lot going on today; many things on my plate. You said You’ll be with us always, which includes TODAY! So would You help me prepare for these things ahead instead of being a sitting duck and waiting until I’m in the middle of them – sinking down, getting overwhelmed, confused, or discouraged?
Christina (Motley) often talks about asking God, at the beginning of the day, to help her process things she knows will be coming up that day. This is the first I had ever heard of doing this, and I love the concept!
I invite you to join me as I walk through asking the Lord to help me process five things I deal with on a regular basis.
You’ll recognize many of the truths herein as being things we have heard from Heidi and Christina in the Thin Within groups and materials!
Okay, Lord, let’s DO this!
My past failures tend to creep up on me and suck me down into the miry pit of discouragement. I easily start feeling I’LL NEVER CHANGE! Why even try? I’ll just fail again!
TRUTH: Yesterday’s failures do not define or confine me. God has forgiven me, (assuming I have asked), so despite what I couldn’t do yesterday (or simply chose not to do), the truth for this moment is that I can begin afresh right now because today is a brand new day!
PLAN: When failures come at me like a fastball, and the enemy tries to use them to strike me down, hit him back with these verses:
SCRIPTURE: “Remember not the former things, [the things of the past] nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” (Isaiah 43:18-19) | “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning (and it’s always morning somewhere on the planet!); great is your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22–24) | “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)
PRAY: Lord, I’m so grateful that You don’t hold my past against me, and that You don’t want me to keep regurgitating my failures and sins. Thank You that You are doing a new thing in me! Help me be aware of it springing forth in me rather than continually focusing on my sins, failures and weaknesses. I want to walk with You as You make a way in the wilderness of my undisciplined thought life and rivers in the dry desert of my gluttonous nature..
I have many things to do today and am feeling overwhelmed trying to decide what to do and not do, and how to get everything done that I need to get done.
TRUTH: TheLord knows what He wants me to do today and He is able to show me this and to UNoverwhelm me.
PLAN: Make a list of all the things that need to be done so that they aren’t just floating around and hitting me in the head all day. Pray, wait, and allow God to show me what to do next, and then next… and what to let go of, at least for today. And even though I don’t think I know how to hear the Lord, see John 10:27 below.
SCRIPTURE: “My sheep listen to My voice; I know them, and they follow Me.” (John 10:27) | “My food is to do the will of Him who sent me, and to accomplish His work.” (John 4:34) | “Let all things [that the Lord wants me to do] be done decently [kindly, dutifully, suitably, and generously; not minimally or begrudgingly] and in order.” (I Cor. 14:40)
PRAY: Lord, You know everything before me today, and what all You want me to do. So show me what I do and don’t need to do today, and how to accomplish all that You want me to!
STUFF I DON’T WANT TO DO
Lord, there’s a task that I don’t want to do today, something I’ve been procrastinating doing just because it’s distasteful and I simply do NOT want to do it!
TRUTH: Whether or not I want to do this is not my bottom line, but whether or not God wants me to do it. I’m thankful that I’m physically capable of doing it.
PLAN: Pray the prayer below, and then get in and JUST DO IT!
SCRIPTURE: “For the moment, all discipline [hard work that I don’t particularly want to do] seems painful [distasteful] rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness [including having something done that I didn’t want to do] for those who have been trained by it.” (Hebrews 12:11)
PRAY: Lord, would You help me not only do this, but also make me extra aware of Your presence while I do it? I’d love it if you put something on my mind and heart to think about and process with You while I (we) do it.
Lord, there are all sorts of yummy foods in the fridge and my pantry, and they’re calling my name!! I just SO want to eat them ALL – or at least as much as I can cram in!
TRUTH: Yes, there are lots of good things to eat, but that doesn’t mean I need to eat them all today, or ever! The truth is that it’s more wasteful to eat it all than to toss what we don’t eat; the excess fuel in my body will weigh me down, rob me of energy, and steal my joy and my “food-peace.” The truth is that “one more bite” will not bless me or help me; it will take me in the opposite direction from where God wants to take me, which is into freedom, peace, and joy.
PLAN: Each time I get down to zero, I can eat a small amount of whatever I want – up to “satisfied.” Focus more on abiding in Jesus today so that “there I’ll be” when troubles come.
SCRIPTURE: “For God has not given me a spirit of fear [of the yummy leftovers in the fridge], but of power [to not eat everything in one sitting], of love [of myself, enough to tend to my actual needs and not lusts], and a sound mind” [which, as God renews it, is capable of regarding food as merely “tasty, enjoyable fuel” and not as entertainment!] (2 Timothy 1:7)
PRAY: Lord, thank you so much for Your provision, which is so abundant that I have enough food to actually have this problem! Help me to enjoy food as tasty fuel, and not as something to scarf down until I’m stuffed! You know which foods my body actually needs and what will be “whole body pleasers,” so would You give me a desire for those foods, and help me eat “just enough” to satisfy my hunger. And remind me if I get preoccupied and forget to come to You as often as I need/want to!
Lord, I know I’m going to hear more bad news today, and each time I do, I get anxious and/or angry. All the yuckiness going on in the news and politics: the twisted perceptions, perverse ungodliness, defiance and mockery of God, injustices, despising and hatred of Christians – it all just grieves me so much, Lord, and I don’t know what to do with it.
TRUTH: These things are happening because people have rejected God and set themselves up as their own authority. They call what’s good evil, and what’s evil good. I need to expect to see these things; not be surprised.
SCRIPTURE: “For, although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools … [T]hey did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. … [And] they not only continue to do these very things, but also approve of those who practice them.” (excerpts from Romans 1: 21–31)
TRUTH: I can’t fix these situations or the people involved. It’s not even my job; these people and situations are the Holy Spirit’s work; mine only to the extent that He brings me into His work. But it is my job to pray for them and to love the people.
SCRIPTURE: “He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know Him, because He lives with you now and later will be in you.” (John 14:17)
TRUTH: In the midst of all the sad, horrible, and depressing things going on in the world, God still wants me to be loving, gracious, patient, and kind. There may be a time to speak the truth in love, but I need to let God lead me into those situations, and not strive to change/fix everyone as “the way it is” was prophesied. And, in the meantime, get His heart for others, even those with whom I disagree (vehemently).
SCRIPTURE: “The LORD is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love.” (Psalms 145:8) | “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” (Romans 15:13)
TRUTH: God doesn’t want me to live in a state of continually being troubled, weighed down, vexed, and dominated by all the evil going on in the world.
SCRIPTURE: “Cast all your anxiety (cares, burdens) on Him because He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7) | “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” (Philippians 4:6-7) | “Demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ.” (II Corinthians 10: 5)
A) Make it a practice to “take every thought captive.”
B) Print out four copies of the above truths + verses and put them: in my Bible, on the inside of a kitchen cupboard, in my bathroom cupboard, and by my bed. Also copy and paste it into the Notes on my phone. So that…
C) Whenever one of these thoughts hits, process it with Jesus. Ultimately leave the matter – and its heaviness – with Him.
PRAY: Lord, there is soooo much happening today that is just so sad and depressing. It can easily suck the wind right out from my sails. Please give me Your heart and mind on all this! Help me carry Your hope-giving light to those who walk in darkness!
I’d love to hear what’s been weighing on your heart/mind and how you are processing it with the Lord!
“Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:42)
For many of us, doing comes much more naturally than being. Which means that spending time with the Lord may not come as easily as doing things for Him. This struggle goes way back to Mary and Martha…
Martha is known for being frustrated about not getting any assistance while preparing food for their guests – one of whom was Jesus Himself. And her sister, Mary, was of NO help! She was just sitting at Jesus’ feet, visiting with Him instead of helping Martha.
I imagine Martha, in the middle of kneading a loaf of bread, calling out to the living room “Mary! Could you come and grease a bread pan for me?” Mary doesn’t budge. So Martha complains to Jesus saying He should tell Mary to get up and help her in the kitchen.
Jesus’ response “Martha, you are concerned about many things…”had to have frustrated her. I know it would have frustrated me! I would have wanted to say this back to Him:
“Well YESSSS I’m concerned about many things! Of course I am! I’m trying to get a nice meal fixed here, and, thanks to Mary who’s just sitting out here in the living room with You, I’m doing it all MYSELF!!!”
There’s probably not any way I could have said that respectfully, and hopefully I would have had enough sense to not say it, but knowing me…
So Jesus continued with His famous words:
“Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things. Mary has chosen the better part, and it will not be taken from her.” (Luke 10:41-42)
“The better part.” ::heavy:::sigh:: That is what I want to talk about today, because this “better part” does not come naturally for me.
I do desire to spend time with God, but I’m sad to say that I’d rather DO stuff for Him than just sit at His feet… and be quiet… and listen.
One reason is that it’s hard to pull away from all the stuff I want to get done!
Another reason is that because, when I do just sit with Him, I don’t feel like I “hear” anything or like anything’s happening. It’s just quiet. ::crickets:: So this just confirms that I’m not as spiritual as I’d like to think I am, or else I’d be hearing something. So I’d better get busy doing something spiritual to quench that uncomfortable feeling or to try to make myself more spiritual.
Or else I just fall asleep.
Mary definitely had an advantage with Jesus’ feet being physically present. She wasn’t just metaphorically “sitting at His feet”; she was literally sitting at His feet. While He was actually talking… to her… in person… with His actual feet right there – one foot away… or one cubit, or whatever it was.
If Jesus were in my actual living room in person, I would have nooooo problem sitting at His feet. But since He’s not, I need some help and enlightenment… which I got in the form of a Facetime call from our grandson, Weston, age 9…
He Facetimed me at 10am one day. I would never have answered a call that I could be seen in pre-makeup-and-hair-being-done from anyone but a grandpunkin. But I figured he wouldn’t be calling if he didn’t have something important to say. Besides, I knew he wouldn’t care how I looked.
But Idid. And it was not good! So I seriously considered blurring the little pictures of me on the screens. (I had NO thoughts whatsoever of these being seen in a blog post!) But I ultimately decided to just be real and keep them as-is.
Weston told me about something he wanted me to change on a “Special Memories with Gramma and Grampa” notebook page I have them do here at our house. But, after doing so, rather than hanging up, he just kept talking… and talking… telling me about all sorts of things!
After a while, his mom (our daughter Sharnessa) told him he needed to get off the phone and do his tasks, but he wanted to keep me on while he did them – which she let him, and he did! As he unloaded the dishwasher, he continued telling me about the many ideas and plans he felt I needed to know about.
And finishing the dishes, he took me around the house showing me many things, assuming I’d be interested in every little detail!
I loved it and was certainly not going to be the one to go! So an hour and a half later, we were still on! It was so precious for him to be sharing all this with me. And I documented it with screenshots! My purpose in sharing these isn’t to show high-quality pictures – cuz most are blurry. I just want to bring you into my sweet experience…
(In many of them, I look distressed, but I wasn’t; I was just squinting to figure out what he was showing me! – no small feat because this boy has one speed: FAST!)
MY SCREENSHOT TOUR
He showed me seeds they’d gotten at an Earth Day Fair, which are encased in “disks that look like spaceships!”
…and a page he’d done in his USA notebook…
…the sprinkles on his hot cocoa…
…which, as he later told me: “They just basically disintegrated, Gramma!”
He showed me the melted-plastic ornaments he and Chase had made…
…and his plans for a 3-layer cake he wanted to make with me on our next Grandma’s Day. He’d drawn a diagram and we discussed how to make it work logistically.
…and the orange “plushy” they turned into the Sun for their Solar System in their homeschool room.
“And, Gramma! These are supposedly eggs, but they’re actually SOAPS!!!”
“And here’s our hotel phone that actually works!”
Then onto to their backyard…
…and the crawl space opening – which he knew I would love to see!
We live in the same town, and I’d been to their home countless times, so I’m very familiar with their house and already knew about almost everything he showed me! But I was delighted to listen to Weston, not because I was getting new information, but because connection happens in the time we spend together!
WHAT GRAMMA LEARNED
As one might guess, the Lord spoke to my heart sweetly, deeply, and profoundly through this!
Weston had shared his ideas with me, his plans, things he had made, items he found amusing, and his beverage. He wanted me to be there while he worked, and told me his thoughts even as they were formulating in his head!
Basically, Weston just wanted to hang out with me!
He wasn’t a bit concerned about how anything sounded. He wasn’t even concerned about having – or not having – anything to say. There were several silences, but they weren’t awkward for Weston! He had no doubt I wanted to stay.
He loved my responses… and I loved listening to him and responding!
The Lord showed me that, in “all the above,” Weston was choosing, in a very simple but real way, “the better part”!
Better than what? Better than doing things for me… Better than doing his own thing without me. Not that those are wrong! But being with me was just better!
And the Lord showed me that this is exactly how He wants me to be with Him!
He delights in me sharing my thoughts, plans, and ideas with Him.
He wants to hear about things I think are cool or beautiful.
He’s delighted to help me with challenging projects that are totally overwhelming to me. (Which is often!)
He wants to hear about a hope or dream that has “basically disintegrated” and show me what to do next.
He not only has no problem with silence; He knows that good stuff happens in time quietly spent with Him… like healing, solutions, forgiveness, joy, heart-softening, and the calming of storms.
All of which is exactly why He invites us to…
“Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalms 46:10)
So telling God about things He already sees and knows is neither a waste of time nor an insult. Even though He already sees and knows it all, He still wants us to come and tell Him everything, because connection happens in the time we spend together!
“I, the LORD, invite you to come and talk it over…” (Isaiah 1:18)
We are not on our own, expected to sort and solve our messes by ourselves. He offers us “the better part,” which is sitting at His feet and pouring out our hearts to Him – our ideas, hurts, plans, frustrations, failures, victories, delights, sins, and even the stuff that makes us angry,
“Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts before Him. God is our refuge.” (Psalms 62:8)
He wants to be our “safe place” for all our heart-outpouring.
Are you in need of a Personal Refuge, One who’s concerned about every little detail that concerns you? I sure am! And this is “the better part” that we have access to 24/7, if we’ll only cease my doing for a while and come to Him!
“My heart has heard You say, ‘Come and talk with Me, oh my people,’ and my heart responds, ‘Lord, I am coming’!” (Psalms 27:8)