One BIG Reason You May Be Stumbling

Image Source: iStockPhoto

Image Source: iStockPhoto

This journey is filled with a variety of challenges. Some take us by surprise. Some are of our own doing. Some…both!

On Monday, I asked you to celebrate victories that God is doing by posting here to share with us. Could it be that you feel like that request may be terrific for someone else, but you feel like you haven’t seen any victories? Or maybe you feel like the setbacks have been so HUGE that they eclipse any sense that you might have had of forward progress?

If you feel stuck…like you can’t seem to string together several consecutive baby steps…I believe that you may be stumbling over a root. On a jungle trek, without warning, a root can change the nature of the excursion if it is stumbled over. Tripping over a hidden root causes pain, suffering and a need for rest, ice, and ibuprofen! Right there in the middle of somewhere. Forward progress just can’t happen until it is dealt with.

The root that I wonder about for me and for you is…well…bitterness.

Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God.

Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness

grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.

– Hebrews 12:15 NLT

I think we trip over this root a lot on our Thin Within journey. Then, we sit down and grind it up and make it into a tea and drink it!

It’s POISONOUS! If there is any chance that this is going on in our lives, we want to deal with it.

I know that forgiveness is a common teaching. We are taught in church and  many secular programs that we need to receive forgiveness from God, from others, and extend it to others as well. That’s great.

But the root of bitterness that I am speaking of is one that I don’t see mentioned often. Yet I believe it exists for many of us. No, maybe “good little bible study girls” (and boys) aren’t supposed to feel this way. But to be honest, we do. I know from first hand experience that it can cause us not to be able to make the progress we could. Until we remove it, we may be stuck. Or we may feel like we keep bumping up against a dead end.

This isn’t your typical root of bitterness, though. It’s the root of bitterness toward …

(I am a bit nervous about saying this so boldly… you may think I am one of those reckless arm-chair theologians or, worse…you may feel I am some sort of heretic.)

It’s the root of bitterness we have toward… God.

Yes, you read right.

Many of us, many times, have bitterness that we harbor toward the Lord of the Universe.

Many of us feel like God has done us wrong.

No wait…before you blow me off as being off my nut :-), consider this!

We know in our heads that God does not actually DO any wrong, but we struggle with what He has assigned to us, at times. We feel like He has expected just too much of us. Maybe He gave us parents that were abusive, a husband that abandoned the faith (or that claimed to be a Christian and never was), a child who died of cancer, or no husband, wife, or child at all when that is what we have longed for so desperately. Maybe He gave us a boss who belittles us or a sister who grabbed the inheritance and ran, just as the bills were coming due. Whatever it may be…is there any way that you feel like God has asked just too much of you?

Or, are you all good with it? “God is God and I am not, so whatever he assigns me in life is fine.” Can you say those words? If I am truthful, right now I can’t.

Why am I referring to this as a root of bitterness that may trip you up on your Thin Within journey?

Well, because if there is some way that you feel God has “done you wrong,” then trusting Him with your food and your body might be just too much of a stretch. You may resent Him too much to give this over to Him to guide you and direct you.

If you know my testimony, you know that I first became aware of 0 to 5 eating in 1999 and began writing Thin Within material in 2000. I worked closely with the Hallidays in generating the Thin Within book manuscript in 2001/2002. Yet, it wasn’t until 2006 that everything that I knew and wrote about “clicked.” Prior to that, I would release some weight and then grab a hold of it again. 2 steps forward and 2 back. It didn’t feel like there was any forward progress.

The catalyst for the change that occurred in 2006, was God showing me that I was angry … at Him. I resented Him for what He had assigned to me. You see, I had dealt with the horrible upbringing I had, the sexual abuse, physical abuse and so on and so on–I had forgiven a boatload of people and released them to God’s hand, but it seemed plain IMPOSSIBLE that God would assign to me, a woman who had never seen decent parenting in action in my own life when I was a child, the responsibility of being a mom to a special needs child. When Daniel was born in 1992, within six weeks, I knew in my spirit that God had assigned me the challenging role of parenting a child on the autism spectrum.

I have a VERY different view of this now than I did back then, but back then, I figured being a parent at ALL would be hard enough. I lived in fear that I would abuse my own children just as my parents had me and their parents had them…I feared that I would just be one more generation of abuser in my family. I am so very grateful to my husband for his tender love, care, and demonstration of a different way to parent than the one that I knew. He and my precious mother-in-law made a difference that has transformed our family tree–I believe that.

But it didn’t mean that parenting a child on the autism spectrum was easy. It wasn’t. In 2006, 100 pounds overweight and fearful of dying from a stroke or heart attach, I decided it was time to really deal with my overeating, I lamented “What is WRONG with me that I can’t give You my eating, God?!?” He plainly impressed upon my heart, “You don’t trust Me. You resent Me for Daniel.” OUCH.

I didn’t want to submit to the Lord because I held this against Him. I felt that God had done me wrong even though I knew that God does no wrong. It just simply seemed like far too much to expect of me. It was a root of bitterness that I was tripping over again and again.

God and I began to deal with this a bit at a time. It wasn’t easy, but I began to develop a tender heart for God and whatever he ordained in my life–including being the mother of an autistic son. It didn’t seem fair to Daniel and that was hard for me, too, but through the nudging of the Holy Spirit  and a conversation with a wonderful woman in my church who had dealt with being the mom of a special needs child so beautifully (about Daniel’s age, too), my heart began to soften.

He used two songs to really nudge me to a place of releasing my hold on MY will, MY way. One, Steven Curtis Chapman’s God is God, and the other Draw Me Close by Kutless. It didn’t happen all at once, but over time. I did, however, need to come to a point of decision. “God, You are God and I am NOT.”

Can you relate? Is there something down deep inside of you that you resent God for appointing to you or, if you don’t like that way of thinking of it, that He has “allowed?” 

I believe that this can trip you again and again on your life’s journey–not just with Thin Within and applying the principles to break free from obsession with food, eating, and weight, but even more generally.

If this resonates for you, I urge you to sit down with God for a bit. Ask Him to help you to see with His eyes. Ask Him to give you His perspective on whatever it is He has seen fit to be a part of your life.

The truth is, what we see and experience on this planet is but a tiny “blip” on our eternal timeline. God takes the blip of time on this planet and uses it to create something that will be for glory for ETERNITY. It is hard to fathom because we are creatures who are SO linear and bound by time and space. But the reality is–this is NOT all there is. There is SO much more.

This is why the Scriptures tell us again and again to fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary and what is unseen is eternal. And that our trials on this planet are accomplishing for us an eternal glory that far surpasses them all. And fix our eyes on Jesus the author and perfector of our faith who for the joy set before him endured the cross and scorned its shame. And set our minds on things above where Christ is seated. When Christ, who is our life appears, we will also appear with Him in glory.

These are just off the top of my head. There is so much more than what we see or think or feel on this planet.

But if we resent God for what he has ordained for us on this planet, we will miss so much of what He intends…the good stuff. The joy. Even in the pain.

When my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered,

I was senseless and ignorant; I was a brute beast before you.

Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand.

You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory.

Whom have I in heaven but you?

And earth has nothing I desire besides you.

My flesh and my heart may fail,

but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

– Psalm 73:21-26 NIV

Is it possible that you have a root of bitterness toward God–something that you are tripping over–something that keeps you from trusting him with your eating? What will you do to begin to deal with it today?  

Thin Within Travel Tips (From Bob)


Image Source: Stock Exchange

My husband works for Union Pacific Railroad. What that means is he travels a LOT. The railroad goes all over the country–so does he. 🙂

Last week, his travels took him to the home of wonderful southwestern and Mexican food – Santa Fe, New Mexico.

In this video, Bob shares his strategies for managing this trip in spite of having very little flexibility for the timing of his meals and what he would be served.

Questions to Consider:

1. Bob clearly is willing to say no to himself in spite of claiming to still have an incessant love for large quantities of food. Are you still battling willingness? Or are you seeing even an incremental movement forward in your life–where you are a bit more willing than you were yesterday, a week ago, or a month ago? CELEBRATE the movement forward! WOOT!

2. Consider an upcoming vacation, trip, or even a meal out. What plan can you come up with so that you can maintain your primary boundary of eating 0 to 5?

3. Sit with the Lord a bit and ask him to give you a truth that you might add to your truth cards related to conferences, traveling, eating out.

4. What is one strategy that Bob uses that you might be able to use?

Each Moment Matters!


This is an old video that I created some time back when we were studying chapter 10 of the Thin Within book.

What if we were to renew our minds and think God’s thoughts about the value of a moment? It is amazing what happens when even one small moment is given to the Lord.

What are some “marbles” that you have in your jar? What are some moments when you have made choices for the Lord?

Week 6 – Counting Blessings, Praising God for Progress!


Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD.

– Psalm 150:6 NIV

Have you ever known someone who, no matter what wonderful things were going on, they found the dark clouds amidst all the silver linings of life? A”Christian Eeyore” has that “There’s not a cloud in the sky, but that’s because a terrible storm is brewing and it is sure to take us by surprise” approach to life. You know the type, right? I hope you aren’t that type, though!

This week, we are going to choose NOT to be like that. We are going to CELEBRATE and count the many ways that God has been at work in our lives.

The nature of this journey we are on, requires that we prayerfully scrutinize our choices. We “observe and correct” and find there is SO much to “correct.” We tell ourselves repeatedly how we could/should have done this or that better. I don’t know about you, but after I have just inhaled an extra piece of pizza beyond satisfied, I can “overlook” the previous three days of wonderful choices, honoring God, walking with him, and submitting to his leadership!

We have been doing some HARD work this summer! Rather than weighing our bodies and comparing notes and results, let’s invite God to weigh our hearts right now. NOT our bodies. See below to see what I mean:

Heart Weight Scale

Heart Scale

All a man’s ways seem right to him, but the LORD weighs the heart.

– Proverbs 21:2

If God were to weigh your heart, where would it land in the above illustration?

Here is a spiel about what I want us to do this week! 🙂


1. ) Do Barb’s evaluation to start off.

2.) Create a list of “land” you have captured for Christ on this journey this summer so far!

For instance:

  • I said no to a second helping last night at dinner
  • I have been drinking more water and less sweetened tea/coffee
  • I have been renewing my mind frequently and have noticed that I have begun to think God’s thoughts about myself, food, and God–to actually believe them!
  • I have been adding to my truth cards each week.
  • I have an accountability partner.
  • I have had 3 nights of successfully eating within my boundaries from dinner preparation time until bed time!
  • etc.

Your turn!

3.) If you have noticed that you tend to break your boundaries under certain circumstances, prayerfully make a plan for how to take that situation captive *before* it happens next time.

4.) Which of the three challenge levels mentioned by Barb in her evaluation post are you going to try out? Pick one and get an accountability partner if you haven’t yet.  What can you do to structure your life to meet this challenge with victory? Make a plan!

5.) Consider having a gratitude blog or gratitude journal, specifically for thanking God for his gifts. Try these spots on the web:

6.) PLEASE POST HERE! What changes are you seeing in your life? Please praise our God and tell of all his wonderful deeds! Every continent (except Antarctica) has been represented by visitors to this website. So, if we are supposed to “declare among the nations” the things God has done for us, you can do so here and consider that one way of telling “The World” about what God has been doing! In fact, while I am asking for the moon :-), I would love you go to the Testimonials page and share a testimony there for everyone to see who lands at that page! Come on! 🙂

7.) Some sad news is that our trial membership at GoToMeeting and GoToWebinar has come to an end. I had *thought* that it was only $50 to continue, but it is $100! 🙁 I just can’t swing that. So, sadly, we won’t be having an online class this week unless I find a host that is cheaper. 🙁

8.) Will you pray for people to be encouraged through this ministry? I would love for visitors to see the many ways you see God at work in your life this summer! Thanks so much.

Idolatry in the Life of the Believer – Dr. Charles Stanley


Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me.

– Psalm 119:133 (NIV)

The definition I have been using of an idol is anything or anyone that I give the right or privilege to direct my steps–to impact my decisions. This may be somewhat vague–too vague to be helpful.

So, I have turned to an expert! Charles Stanley has a great podcast about Idols in the Life of the Believer. I found it on YouTube. Here it is:

Some highlights for me as I went through this for the third time:

God wants to reign supreme in my life. He will accept no challenges and no competitors for  His Lordship. The only way to keep idols out of my life is to keep up to date with what influences are present in my life is. Is it really  and only Christ? Is it pure obedience to him?

Or are there other things that influence me, challenge me, that I have to say, “God, well, yes, but…”

God says NO competition, no challengers, no competitors to your devotion and love to me.” We have to lay it down.

The only way to know how to deal with idols in our life is to ask ourselves the question of if I am willing to lay it down. With no anticipation and no promise of the future return, but am I willing to give it, no matter what. That’s hard. It depends on our value of that thing or person, relationship or whatever it may be, as to whether we are able to say, “Yes, Lord. Yes, whatever you want in my life, you are welcome to it.” It’s easy to say that, but it’s difficult to give it up.

God says he must reign supreme, absolutely in our lives. No competition in my life.

Questions posed by Dr. Stanley:

1. Are you walking in God’s plan for your life?

2. Is there anything that moves you in such a fashion that you would choose it over God? Is it more influential than God in certain situations.

3. Are you willing to lay it down and to trust him for his very best?

Don’t rationalize that “surely God wouldn’t want that…” If he puts his finger on it, we want to give it up. We will be richer by far for laying it down.

How does this connect with eating, overeating, “thinness,” and other issues that you struggle with? What is God calling you to lay down so that he may have supreme rulership in your life?

Can You – WILL You – Just Say No to Self?

Image Source: Stock Exchange

Image Source: Stock Exchange

My husband is an environmental lawyer. He often tells me about his work and something called “toxic torts.” I have to admit…I still, after all this time, have NO idea what a “toxic tort” is, but the tort in the picture above sure looks YUMMY and FAR from toxic to me! HA!

That has nothing to do with what I am sharing today except, perhaps, if you were at a 5 already and someone brought you the yummy tort in the above picture, how likely would you be to maintain your resolve? For me, my answer to this question tells a very long tale about my reality–my commitment (or lack thereof) to eating according to the boundaries that I say God has called me to.

In the following video, Bob and I talk about how sometimes, we just have to say NO to ourselves. There are plenty of strategies that we know for helping ourselves stick with 0 and 5 eating, but the real question is…WILL we DO them? When I WANT the food outside of my boundaries, will I coddle myself and call it “grace?” And believe me! The last thing I want us to do is condemn ourselves! But is there a happy medium? A place where grace tells us to say no to ungodly choices? If God has called us to this primary boundary of eating within the parameter of hunger and satisfaction, maybe grace is that “OOOMPH” that enables me to say NO to a decision to break my boundary. Hmm…I think there is a bible verse that says as much.

For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people.

It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions,

and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age,

while we wait for the blessed hope–the appearing

of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ,

– Titus 2:11-13 NIV

Thoughts for Your Consideration

1. Where is your line between “grace” and “I don’t give a rip?” Do you need to ask God to help you to care? Or is it truly grace?

2. Do you ignore your boundaries as often as you don’t? This is a choice to postpone the realization of your goals. Is that what you mean to do?

3. Are you willing to start telling yourself “NO” a bit more frequently? If not, why not?

4. What do you think of the assertion that “We may need to be mean to ourselves?” What could that mean in a positive way relative to your 0 to 5 eating journey?

5. Is it time to say NO to self…TODAY?  Can you make a plan for a possible temptation you will face today? Can you actually detail your plan to say NO to self? What will that look like? Can you do so with joy?

6. Bob said, “If you don’t follow your boundaries consistently, you won’t lose weight.” What do you think? He challenges us to “Do what it takes.” What will it take for you?

7. What are three strategies offered in the video for living within your boundaries? Are any of them doable today?

8. Is the way you are living right now going to lead you to the goals you have? What will it take? Do you like life as it is enough to give up the goals you have? Are you sort of tired of frustrating yourself? 🙂

9. Decision Point: Will you practice today staying inside your boundaries?


Don’t forget that this week’s online class is TOMORROW, Thursday! Information below:

Please register for Idolatry and Our Eating – OUCH!!!! on Jul 18, 2013 4:00 PM PDT at:

You knew we would have to deal with this sooner or later, right? We will be glad we have. Is idolatry something that only people in 3rd world countries struggle with? What IS an idol and what on EARTH does it have to do with our Thin Within eating program and healthy non-dieting boundaries? What does it have to do with our renewing of the mind goals for this summer? BUNCHES! Come on along and see!

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

See you tomorrow!