Do you, like me, tend to carry a lot of “weighty matters” in your heart?!? Things that weigh you down emotionally and snuff out your joy? There IS a solution, and it’s in II Corinthians 10:5:
“…and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
“Taking every thought captive” is a great idea, and I know what it means generally, but I have certainly not been very good at actually implementing this into my own life!
Analogies help me “see” things more clearly, which, in turn, helps me know how to do something that’s difficult for me. The Lord recently gave me a tool to help me understand and implement this concept of “taking every thought captive” – which I’m excited to share with you.
Not all thoughts are created equal, of course, so only certain thoughts need to be taken captive. The ones that need to be “made obedient to Christ” are those that concern me and weigh heavily on my heart; any thoughts in the atmosphere of my thought life that wreak havoc on my peace.
Here’s what I’d like the terrain of my mind to look like on a normal basis:
But when obnoxious, pesky, mood-darkening thoughts dart around in my head like an asteroid shower, whacking me emotionally when I least expect it, they drag me right down emotionally.
These thoughts run wild, having a free-for-all on the otherwise serene countryside of my mine, trampling my peace as easily as wild horses trample flowers!!!
Some days they can totally derail me, and knock the wind completely out of my sails.
The cumulative result is that the heaviness of these thoughts often tempts me to EAT in an attempt to quiet them down or numb them – which, of course, never works. In fact, it only adds yet another “weighty matter” to the whirling mix!
It occurred to me that this whole crazy, destructive process is not the Lord’s will for my life! It’s a LIE, not the TRUTH, that I have to live this way! Even if it only happens once in a while, it’s still too much!!! (But, for me, it’s more than just once in while; usually a few times a week.)
(Actual depiction of actual thoughts hitting my mind!)
God wants me to stop allowing these haywire thoughts to assail me and effectively mess up my peaceful pasture!
So, instead, I need to take God up on His offer of giving me a “spirit of power, and love, and a sound mind,” take the proverbial bull by the horns, and round up these thoughts, taking each of them captive, and put them all into a “corral” where I can deal with each of them, one at a time, as I have time.
These thoughts come in a variety of forms:
• Some are things I need to ask the Lord about and get His perspective and/or direction on.
• Other thoughts I need to bring to Him and surrender to Him.
• Others I need to drag out into the light before Him, confess as sin, and repent of and ask forgiveness for
• Others I need to soak in His presence and get healed.
• And still others I need to put in a back burner, put a lid on, and not even think about until the Lord brings it back to my mind to deal with – another time, maybe when I am more ready, with Him.
One thing I know for certain is that God does not want EVERYTHING to be out on the forefront of my mind all at one time. That just completely overwhelms me and freezes me in my tracks.
So that’s exactly what I did yesterday! Some rounding up of some “wild horses” and corralling them into a pen – on paper!!
Throughout the day, as thoughts came into my mind, rather than letting them harass me, I jotted them down, one at a time as they came.
By the time I got done, I felt pretty relieved and unloaded!! Of course, I still have much processing to do of these things, but I feel that they are now corralled, and waiting their turn to be tended to ~ because I have a lot of work to do!
I want to interject here that a major victory for me in doing this was that I did not get all perfect about it! The corral fence is very uneven and rustic, and my writing is just legible enough that I can read it later!
I would normally want to make a beautiful, straight, even fence and do my best writing, but instead I just let this be an exercise in dumping, not in perfectionism!
(No, your vision hasn’t gone bad – unless, of course it actually has gone bad. The reason you can’t read my writing is because I blurred it, only because several of my points are private and not for public viewing. 😉)
I have a little plan for what to do with all these concerns next, as in how to deal with them on this paper (which, by the way, is on the back of a page in my Fresh Wind Fresh Desire notebook…) Using a highlighter, I’m going to put a heart over each one after I’ve prayed it through.
If a concern is something I don’t know what to do about, I will ask the Lord to show me how to deal with it…
If it’s something that makes me sad, I will ask the Lord to lift the heaviness of it…
If it’s a mess I don’t know how to fix, I will ask the Lord for wisdom…
If it’s a wound, I will show it to the Lord like a child shows an “owie” to Mom or Dad and expects it to be taken care of and fixed…
At my age, (65, if you care; hah, I’m still 65 even if you don’t care!), I have fixed a good number of messes, hard things, and “owies,” both literal and figurative. Like the kind in people’s hearts.
But there are still many things I can’t fix, that I need to have my Daddy-God tend to, instead of holding onto them and letting them fester inside me.
Some of these matters I may end up coming back to many more times, and, if so, I will just put another heart – in another color, of course – over it! Some of them may end up with several layers of hearts on them if the matter is ongoing! At least it will not continue to be a pesky, pain-producing asteroid zooming around in my head!
And if a concern ends up answered and becomes a “done deal” that I no longer need to pray about, I will thank God for this, and then put an X through it.
And even if you have only a small number of weighty matters, you can still have just a small corral with only a few rounded-up “weighty matters”!!! Keep ’em under control before they get out of hand ~ and consume you!
I will close with a little amplification I did of Hebrews 12:11, as the Lord applied it to this new “corralling” tool:
“For the moment, all discipline (in taking thoughts captive) seems painful (or pesky) rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained (and whose thoughts have been corralled) by it.”
Actually, a better title might be: “No Man… but I have a Plan!”
During my second month of pregnancy, when I may have been feeling my worst, my husband announced he would be going to London on a two-week business trip. I was very concerned about being left alone with the two kids, work, housework, and in my first trimester of pregnancy. But most of all, I was concerned about being left to my own devices in the evenings… all alone…
Historically I would have used the evening times alone to “indulge” in over-eating, and late-night movie watching. But I know that inevitably, I wake up the next morning regretting staying up so late and regretting what I ate! So, I decided to use it as a re-framing opportunity. I wanted to think of an evening alone in a whole new light. I knew from experience that would take planning, accountability and a new way of thinking.
I started out with a favorite prayer pneumonic from John Piper. It’s “APTAT”:
A – Admit that you can do nothing on your own.
P – Pray for help
T – Trust a Promise
A – Act in response
T – Thank him for helping you.
In the past, this little reminder has helped me calm my anxiety and refocus on God and his ability to influence me and my circumstances. So that’s what I prayed. And then I made a plan.
My attitude about this whole situation was not great. I felt panicky and like I was being left out of the fun. So I wrote some truths about what this time really was about—or some of the potential benefits of this short season. Truths like,
“Thank you God for this more relaxed week to make memories with my children.”
“Jesus is my Perfect Companion. He never gives up on me, grows weary, stops loving me, or walks away.”
“God, you know I am not perfect. But you have said I have your resurrection power in me. You said your Divine Power has given me everything I need for life and godliness today.”
I reviewed these in the mornings usually. A quick way to get my mind right for the day.
Evening Mind Renewal
One of my goals was to renew my mind every evening after dinner and before I started watching TV or having any snacks. This was an Accountability Point for me (see below) and was very helpful. In fact, I got a big surprise! I discovered new things about myself! I discovered I love to go out on the porch after dinner. Listening to the night sounds and looking up at the moon and stars gave me a wonderful calm and new perspective for the evening.
I came to look forward to that time to just “be” with my Heavenly Husband. We enjoyed such satisfying moments together that TV didn’t even interest me some nights (!) This time of mind renewal looked different on different nights. It might be praise time, reviewing my Truth Cards or using Barb Raveling’s I Deserve A Donut App or my own Bible study.
Extra Boundaries for TLC
I also tried to listen to what the wisdom of God’s Spirit was nudging me to do to protect myself during a particularly vulnerable time. I decided it was best not to buy or bake any sweets/desserts during that time, since those are particularly difficult for me to resist, especially when I’m alone. I also knew that the later I stayed up, the weaker I became. I was more likely to make choices I’d regret later. Plus, I need my rest—after all, I’m growing a baby! So my other boundary was to be in my bed at 9:30 on weeknights and by 11 on weekends.
I knew that on my own, I’d be less likely to finish strong. I tend to thrive with that extra boost of encouragement. So, I called up my friend Molly. We met in one of the Thin Within online Facebook groups and really hit it off. We periodically text or call so I knew she’d be willing to help. She was so kind to touch base with me daily and encourage me that we were doing those two weeks together. Even when I had a disastrous day, it really helped me to Observe and Correct, when I had to reflect back and report in about what had happened and the choices I had made.
God was so gracious during the time my husband was away. He answered prayers and gave me extra energy, grace, and patience with the kids. He kept everyone safe and gave me strength to survive fever and floods! He is so Good.
So whether you have a challenging weekend coming up or a new life situation that has you baffled…I pray these ideas will prove useful to you. I have to remember: the main thing is the Main Thing—Jesus! He’s the one who empowers me to walk wisely in the way he instructs me to go. Keeping my eyes focused on the Author and Perfector of our faith is what makes life full and satisfying, regardless of my outward circumstances.
Emily lives in South Korea with her husband and 2.1 children. She enjoys being the token American in her neighborhood and baking for the Korean neighbors. She is grateful for the chance to lead worship in their small “expat church”. Like most mothers, she’s also good at multitasking–like cooking and putting on bandaids, rubbing four feet while reading two books and driving while chewing gum and talking on FaceTime with family back home.
If you are a pregnant mom, won’t you post here and let us know? We would love to have a little support community right here on the blog for you all who are hoping to navigate the waters of your pregnancy (and after) while applying the Thin Within principles. Not only does Thin Within “work” during pregnancy to minimize weight gain, but many women LOVE the way they feel when they do this! EVEN when pregnant!
I’d been picking berries over a period of a few days, trying to gather enough to make a batch of blackberry freezer jam and a blackberry pie ~ that I had a tiny piece of on a tiny plate, of course!
And, in so picking, I noticed something interesting that I hadn’t given much thought to before: that the berries on a bunch all ripen at different times! Only one or two berries in any given bunch are ready to pick at any given moment.
For your farming education and berry-viewing pleasure, here’s a photo that I took of said berries, and then drew circles around each of the many bunches. (You may notice that a few of the bunches are lacking a dark, ripened berry ~ this is because I had already picked them off!)
This is similar to how I see myself as coming into “fruition” regarding growing in and applying principles of the Thin Within message! There are many areas ~ in Thin Within and in my life as well ~ that I’d like to be adept at all at once. Like immediately!!!
But, alas, I am a slow learner. And :::sigh::: some days go better ~ and some worse ~ than others.
Just when I think I have one area conquered, I fail miserably the next day, as if I’m starting from ground zero! UGH!!!!! I know I’m really not, but some days it just seems like it!
One cluster of berries represents several areas that I need and want to grow and become more mature and skilled in! Like what, you ask?
Well, like… waiting for zero… stopping at 5… which equals eating withing my 0 to 5 boundaries…
creating my truth cards… reviewing my truth cards… getting truths on my truth cards into my mind and heart…
drinking more water… being more faithful at renewing my mind… being more consistent at working in my workbooks…
eating more slowly… exercising 0–5… applying myself to conscious and undistracted eating…
running to Jesus instead of to food for comfort or help in decision-making…
truth journaling… letting go of the dieting mentality… learning to not beat myself up when I fail…
allowing God’s truth to replace lies… for that matter, learning to even recognize lies!!!
And these are not things that I feel bound to do; they are things that God will use to set me FREE, “if I don’t get discouraged (or distracted) and give up”!!!
In fact, since I am berry ~ I mean very visual, I went ahead and labeled most of the individual berries in the bunch in the photo above so that you could visualize exactly what I mean right along with me!
(The above varying berry stages are not exact representations of MY actual maturity in these areas!)
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could mature in all of the areas we want, all at the same time!?! But that’s not too likely given the fact that we are human, weak, and imperfect.
But, as long as we are on the Vine, and remain connected to Him, who is also the Vine Dresser, we will mature! And I assure you that it won’t be because of our own ability to hang on! It will be because of His life-giving, transforming grace that flows through the veins of our souls and nourishes, grows us up, and ripens us in the “wisdom and stature of the Lord”! In fact, He even helps us to hang on!
So as we “seek him first,” all these berries – I mean things – will be added unto us!
I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)
Heavy on the “apart from Me you can do nothing” bit!!! And thinking I can when I’m on a good streak is part of the wrong thinking that needs to be renewed in my mind!
Since that verse is about grapes, I thought it would be appropriate to include a photo of grapes ~ which turned out to be prettier than the blackberries! Aren’t the variations in color as they ripen amazing?!?! (Wish I looked this pretty as I’m ripening!!!)
Let’s close by praying through that same verse:
Lord, You are the vine, and I am one of your branches. My heart’s desire is to remain in You, and for You to remain in me, so I ask You to help me do this, Lord! Help me allow You to transform the “home of my heart” into a place You are comfortable residing in.
I want to be a fruitful branch of Yours, and to produce much tasty fruit, but I know this is a byproduct of allowing You to live Your life in and through me! For, apart from You, Lord, I can do nothing! (As in ZIPPO… NADA… ZILCH!!!)
Thank You for choosing to dwell in my heart, Lord!!! … Aaaaaaamen!!!!
One of the best tools for renewing our minds is Truth Cards! As you’ll see herein, there are many ways to do them, and no one right or best way! Thank you to all the ladies who allowed me to use their truth cards as samples to give you even more ideas than just mine!
I’m going to give you several options for styles of Truth Cards as well as how and where you can find content for them! You may, like me, want to do a combination of various styles, so be sure to read all of these to get ideas beyond what you might have thought of thus far!
To become more familiar with the concept, watch this video by Heidi Bylsma entitled “Truth Cards -Thin Within Support“! Have a note pad handy as she shares several of her own truth cards that you can use as ideas for making yours!
5 CONTENT SOURCE IDEAS
1) BIBLE VERSES
As you’re reading the Word, you might find a verse that, prior to now, didn’t seem like it would pertain to renewing your mind regarding food, but all of a sudden it takes on new meaning! You’ll also come across some really helpful verses in a Thin Within book, workbook, or a related resource, like Barb Raveling’s Freedom From Emotional Eating. For example:
“He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6)
2) EXCERPTS FROM BOOKS & VIDEOS
These can be from any reading you do, Thin Within or not. It can be anything that stands out to you as being TRUTH that you want to capture and go deeper in you. Or the quotes can be things you hear in a video, such as the ones Heidi and Christina provide.
“I really can choose to put to death the deeds of the flesh and say no to ________. … I am free to offer my body to God for righteousness.” (from Thin Within, page 140)
3) QUESTIONS FROM BOOKS
Barb Raveling’s books typically have many questions. These are to help us process the material for ourselves. Heidi has turned several of these into truth cards! For example:
“What will happen if you continue to reward yourself with food whenever you accomplish something?”(from “Reward Eating” in I Deserve a Donut by Barb Raveling)
4) TRUTHS & TRUTH SAYINGS
These can be any truths or sayings you hear in passing, reading through posts in a Thin Within group or elsewhere on social media, or something God drops into your heart that you want to be sure to keep. It can be something profound, funny, or just helpful. For example, I found several in A Taste For Truth a 30-day study by Barb Raveling. I also turned something Heidi said into a photo truth card:
5) YOUR OWN “BEFORE” PICTURE
Heidi wrote under hers: “Life without boundaries; do you really want to go there?” (So we aren’t out to disdain ourselves!) Here’s mine using her idea:
If you are on the Thin Within journey and are using even just one or two of their many resources, most of the above content opportunities are coming at ~ splashing on ~ you all the time! Grab ones you like and get them onto Truth Cards so that you’ll have these life-changing, heart-transforming, mind-renewing truths in a format you can refer back to and get imbedded in your mind and heart! They will actually become part of your spiritual DNA!
5 TRUTH CARD STYLES
There are several methods for making Truth Cards, and I enjoying using all of them! But if you want to stick with just one that you’re comfortable with, that’s totally fine!
Most start with a simple pack of spiral-bound index cards. The ones I got are 4X6″ and have lines on one side. I’m currently using the plain side to make mine. I’ll eventually hand-write on the lined side. Here’s the card pack I’m using:
There are other ways to do them (as you’ll see in a moment), but having them spiral-bound keeps them all in one place, making it easy to go through them.
In the Thin Within Discussion and Support group, people have posted lots of Truth Cards that they have made! (I’ll tell you at the end of this post how to easily find them!) I’m sharing a few of those truth cards herein so that you can see the variety of styles right here in one spot.
You can do them on your computer or totally free-hand; you can decorate them or just leave them plain! Here are several style options with samples of each.
1) HAND-WRITTEN – PLAIN ‘N’ SIMPLE
You can write or print your cards freehand, in your own simple handwriting or fancy-schmancy calligraphy.
Judith Eastham made these two:
Jodi Ghere did her truth cards lengthwise:
(Start at the bottom and read upward! The word “grace” ends up covering you, with “the law” being under grace!)
2) CREATE ON YOUR COMPUTER
For those who are computer-savvy, creating them this way is fun and handy! You’ll want to create a template, test it out, and adjust font sizes and margins to make sure your cards fit whatever cards you’ll be putting them onto. (I have a free printable for you further down!)
Here’s one I made using a photo I took and combining a verse with a truth:
Kathryn Felts printed and then cut out the verse, glued it on to a card…
…and then cut out pictures (nostalgically appealing to all of us paper doll lovers of yesteryear!) that go sweetly with the verse, and glued them on around the verse.
Here’s one I made; how I decorated it is in #4 in the “Scrapbookesque” section below.
3) HAND-WRITTEN & DECORATED
Those who enjoy doodling, crafting, and cut-and-pasting (literally, like with actual glue) can embellish their Truth Cards with papers, fancy fonts and/or pictures they get from magazines, newspapers, etc.
Amy Flink made this one:
This was made by Kathryn Felts:
Deanna Lewis hand-printed this and added a strip of designer paper on the left:
I type up my truths on my computer, and then format them into the size that fits onto whatever page I want it to go in. (I only had to format once, after that I just enter my truth sayings, and then resize the font to fit into that template.) Then I print them from my computer, and create mini scrapbook-like pages with using scrapbooking supplies I have on hand.
I used corner punches, designer papers, and a die for the scallops.
(This one above is a different size/shape from the free printable that I’ll give you shortly.)
Cynthia Sullivan gathered scriptures she found in magazines and that people gave her, cut them out, and glued them onto index cards:
Marge Purvis’ sister had these made for her, with her name inserted into the verses!
(If I got any truth card credits wrong, or missed you, pleeeease let me know!)
5) FLIP CALENDAR ALTERING:
Christina Motley suggested getting a flip calendar (old or new) and choosing verses from it that would work as Truth Cards. I loooove Thomas Kinkade’s art, so here is the Thomas Kinkade flip calendar I got:
For example, here’s one of the inside pages…
To transform it into a Truth Card, rip it out of the calendar, trim it, and glue it to a card in your card pack. Fast and simple! And it fit perfectly on the 4″X6″ card!
[OCD WARNING!!!] I didn’t like having the date on there, out of context, so I covered it with a little punched-out piece that I wrote a related mini prayer on:
(You could just as easily write on a rectangular piece.)
MORE TRUTH CARD IDEAS!
First, here’s that FREE PRINTABLE! 24 Truth Cards that I created. 20 of them are just text, the last 4 are photos + text on the photos. Here are screenshots of them:
You are welcome to decorate them any way you like! Or just use these for ideas to hand-print your own! Here are the downloadable files:
You will not necessarily print these out and use them (though you could), but this is a treasure trove of truth card statement ideas!!! Plus you can get ideas for how to decorate them, if that doesn’t come naturally to you! Here’s what they look like, once you get to that area:
HOW TO FIND THEM
Go to the Thin Within Discussion & Support group, click “join” if you aren’t a member, once you are (a member), click on “Photos” and scroll down to 2014. They’re easy to spot, as many of them are lumped together, as above!
Here’s how it looks on my computer. You can see “Photos” in the column on the left side.
Here’s the same page on my phone ~ “Photos” is circled in red. (File locations vary on different phones, but at least you have two ideas of where to look.)
Once you’re in Photos, scroll all the way down to the bottom, January 2014, and they’ll be nearby. Scrolling up… and up… and up… you’ll find LOTS of Truth Card ideas!
If I were to ask your family members whether or not they can tell if you’re having a hard time, what might they tell me? Don’t worry! I won’t be doing that! But I know that in the years when my kids were home (we’re empty nesters now), they could definitely tell. My mood slid down a slippery slope into a dark and troubled pit when I was upset about something, ticked at them, on “Day 27” of my cycle, or when I was low on food. Just to name a few!
It’s totally understandable that, when we don’t feel good, we struggle with our emotions. But some of us don’t even struggle when we feel lousy; we just have a pre-set, given, “default” response of giving in to it, and allow ourselves to descend into a hissy-fit of a grumpy mood.
HOW DOES YOUR HOUSE SMELL?
“Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.” (John 12:3)
This last part of the passage ~ “the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume” ~ made me think of the tone of our home when we’re getting hungry. I’ve heard it called getting “hangry” ~ which is “hungry and angry” at the same time. Perfect term for it.
And when we are in that zone, everyone in the house is only too aware of it. We let our cutting, negative, unkind, careless and uncaring words and tones spew onto whomever is in our vicinity.
We may not even need to do any rationalizing of our foul attitude as it has become a normal way of life for us. So there isn’t even any conscious dealing with it when we feel this way.
Would you agree that such grumpiness fills the house with the stinky odor of said hangry person’s crankiness? In case you’re unaware, it truly ruins the peaceful feel of “home.”
It results in people retreating to their own rooms, to the TV, books, computers, or games to escape. Those pastimes are all okay (unless they become an addiction and become the love of one’s life), but it’s not okay when they’re a regular means of escaping fellow house-dwellers.
LAYING DOWN MY RIGHTS
For some odd reason, we seem to think we have a right to be hangry. After all, we are giving up something very dear to us… and we do give so much to our families and people in our lives… and we do work so hard at work and/or at home… and we do feel so crummy… I’m not getting to stuff my face and delight my tastebuds every moment of the day, so why wouldn’t I feel crummy, angry, frustrated, edgy, and irritated?
Did you know that feeling grumpy and acting grumpy don’t have to go hand-in-hand? Sure, I can feel grumpy; there is NO sin in that! But don’t have to act grumpy.
“Be (h)angry, but sin not.” (Ephesians 4:26)
The two ~ being (h)angry and sinning ~ are clearly separate here. We are told that we can “be (h)angry,” but then immediately told: “but do not sin.” And if God tells us to do something, we can be sure He will give us the grace to obey.
If my house (or office, or car) is to be “filled with the fragrance of the perfume,” then I simply don’t get to give in to acting grumpy or hangry. It’s not my God-given right to do it, and I would guess that more kids have been turned off to God by this than any overt, anti-Christian draws. Maybe not, but I wouldn’t be surprised. This sin habit of ours at least created some cracks in our kids’ foundations as they observed and experienced anything but the love and grace of Christ at work in our lives, in a real way.
WHAT TO DO IF THIS IS YOU?
ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR SIN: Start by coming into agreement with God and acknowledging that acting out your grumpiness is sin. It’s anything but cute, and it’s not okay. No more allowing it, justifying it, or ignoring it. (And then getting mad at the kids for being grumpy! A bit hypocritical?) No need to argue with Him about this. Sin is sin; there’s no excuse for it. Reasons, yes, but not excuses that make it okay. God knows your challenges and how hard it is to be nice when you feel grumpy. So just come into agreement with Him on this. And then…
REPENT: Repent and ask God for forgiveness. Don’t waste any time wallowing in the shame and embarrassment, or whatever you’re feeling as you have come to realize the truth about yourself. Just bring it to the Lord, confess it, and receive His forgiveness and grace. This is what He died on the cross for. He’s not asking ~ or wanting ~ you to waste a moment of time beating yourself up over this. And when you do, you are actually in a state of not receiving grace; you’re too busy having a pity party! Forgo that, and just position yourself under the cleansing waterfall (warm!) of His grace and mercy, and let Him wash away your sin. And then…
ASK GOD TO SANCTIFY YOU: It’s one thing to repent ~ and certainly a good thing ~ but that just opens the door to the process of actually starting to change and get that area of our life sanctified and redeemed. (See my article at Honeycomb Oasis entitled “How Does God Redeem Stuff?” for more on this process.) Thankfully, God is bigger than our sin and ready to help us in our time of need. And this would certainly qualify as a “time of need.” (Just ask your family if they agree!) Allow God to help you crucify your unruly flesh to the cross, and give you grace to be pleasant, despite how you feel ~ or what you desire but aren’t getting ~ at the moment. Better yet, we need to ask and allow Him to actually transform our hearts and minds so that we will be less likely to need grace, because our flesh, having been transformed into the image of Christ, is less and less likely to even go there. Here are a couple of my favorite verses. Note the underlined parts:
“The one thing I want from God, the thing I seek most of all, is the privilege of meditating in His Temple, living in His presence every day of my life, delighting in His incomparable perfections and glory. THERE I’LL BE WHEN TROUBLES COME. For he will conceal me there when troubles come; he will hide me in his sanctuary. He will place me out of reach on a high rock.” (Psalms 27: 4 & 5)
“But we Christians have no veils over our faces; we can be like mirrors that brightly reflect the glory of the Lord. And, as the Spirit of God works within us, we become more and more like Him.” (II Corinthians 3:18)
By the mind-and-heart-transforming power of God that activates as we renew our minds, we really can get washed from and set free of this sin, and be softer and kinder to those we live with and work with, even when ~ especially when ~ we don’t feel like it.
I’LL CLOSE WITH THIS STORY
Many years ago there was a special speaker at church, a man who operated in the prophetic. And the “words” he gave people were spot-on.
He had been to our church several times over the years, and do you think I ever “got a word” from him? Nope! Never.
I knew God could ~ and did ~ speak to me anyway, so I didn’t feel abandoned by God (or him), but, still, I always hoped to “get a word” from him.
Well, at the very end of one service, he asked “Is there anyone who didn’t get a word who would like one?” I shot up my hand, and he had me stand up, and asked my name. I said “Barb.” He waited a moment, and then said “The Lord wants to remove the ‘barbs’ from your personality, and make you softer and more approachable.”
That wasn’t exactly what I was hoping to hear! I wanted a nice affirming word, not something so convicting! I wasn’t humiliated; just humbled, and needfully so.
Well, that word was given when I had kids at home and was operating in a lot of “flesh” when hangry, angry, cranky and/or grumpy. And the Lord used that piercing word in the process of me allowing Him to get that area of my life sanctified.
I want everything about my life to bring joy to God’s heart. And that is what I want on the forefront of my mind when I’m feeling cranky due to my emptying stomach and wayward heart calling (yelling) out to me to EEEEAT FOOOOOD prematurely. I want to die to my flesh at that moment, and let Jesus’ nature be what others experience.
“When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial.” (Matthew 26:12)
Pouring my rights, my desires and my emotional and physical discomfort before the Lord is part of dying to myself. Even if your name isn’t Barb, do you nonetheless have any “barbs” to allow God to deal with? I want the old me buried at the foot of the cross so that His sweet new life can spring forth.
This article started out as a section of my article, The P.E.R.F.U.M.E. Zone. But I had more I wanted to say, and, since that article was already very long, I pulled it out of the P.E.R.F.U.M.E. article and brought it here to its new home, where it could be expanded upon freely! Doubled, to be exact!
In the wide world of losing weight, despite all the tricks, tips, programs and techniques, there is only one way for weight to actually be “lost” or “released.” Are you ready? Here it is…
To lose weight, the body must be allowed to utilize its own fat stores.
In other words, our previously-eaten fuel reserves ~ also known as fat ~ must be accessed and used.
If, on any given day, I consume the same number of calories as my body uses, (not that I count calories, cuz I don’t,) my weight will stay the same because my food intake matched and took care of my body’s fuel needs.
And if you eat more food than your body uses, you will gain weight.
So, this means that… even if you eat only healthy foods; even if you exercise, work out, use the stairs instead of the elevator, park in the furthest parking spot, and choose the menu item with a little heart beside it…
…if you do not eat less than your body actually needs to function, thus putting your metabolism into a state of being required to access its own previously-eaten fat stores to obtain energy, you will not lose your excess weight. It will stay exactly where it’s at, decorating your body.
But this is not an enjoyable experience, and is where many of us lose it ~ as in fail to lose our excess weight.
I have a simple tool, but first I need to give you a…
QUICK INTRO TO THE THIN WITHIN APPROACH
To understand where I’m going next with this, you need a basic understanding of what Thin Within is about. So here it is, straight from Thin Within’s “About” page:
“Thin Within is based on three principles: physical, emotional and spiritual. The physical principle emphasizes that we eat only when truly hungry and stop eating before we are full.
At Thin Within, we use what we call a “Hunger Scale” to track eating patterns. We encourage people to eat when they are at a “0”, or truly hungry, and stop eating when they are at a “5”, which is before they are full.
We don’t use labels such as “good” foods or “bad” foods. However, as people learn to respond to their God-given signals of hunger and fullness, and forego worldly legalistic food rules, they will begin to enjoy the freedom of making healthy well-balanced food and eating choices.”
In addition to following these eating principles, emotional and spiritual aspects are also addressed:
“The emotional principle of Thin Within addresses the fact that we often eat in response to being upset, excited, anxious, nervous, depressed, lonely bored, etc.
At such times we turn to food to fill an emotional or spiritual emptiness, rather than for its intended purpose, which is physical nourishment. If this substitution becomes a habit, food can become an idol rather than a God-given gift.
The spiritual principles of Thin Within come in to play because it is often hard for us to eat from “0” to “5” in our own strength. We need supernatural strength and power to overcome fleshy habits and indulgence.
While food may provide some pleasure, physical nourishment it is not intended to provide spiritual fulfillment, which can only be met through a personal relationship with our Heavenly Father…”
There’s lots more, but that’s a good intro! Now let’s pull all this together.
No matter what my approach or plan, my body needs to use up its own fat reserves, which is going to mean some discomfort for me. It may be physical, emotional, spiritual, or any or ALL of those. And that is where the P.E.R.F.U.M.E. Zone enters the picture! (It may not be uncomfortable for all, but at my age, with my slower metabolism, it gets uncomfortable for me when I’m at a 0. Not pain; just discomfort.)
The P.E.R.F.U.M.E. Zone
The capitalized letters in this acronym spell “PERFUME” which stands for: Previously-Eaten Fuel Utilization & Metabolism Enhancement Zone:
P = Previously
E = Eaten
R = Reserve
F = Fuel
U = Utilization &
M = Metabolism
E = Enhancement
This not a product; there’s nothing to buy. It’s simply a way of regarding and dealing with hunger. (I made it up, so you won’t find it on the Web.)
The “Previously-Eaten Fuel Utilization” aspect is simply allowing my body to utilize the “fuel” that I have previously eaten in excess, which I’m now storing as fat on my person.
So now I must allow ~ more like push ~ my body into that mode of accessing my stored fuel by eating less fuel than I use.
Very simply, this means I need to allow myself to get hungry so that my fat reserves are accessed for fuel. There have been times in my life when I have not felt true hunger for months. No wonder I am overweight! And that is precisely where the problem is for me!!! Because, very simply…
I DO NOT LIKE TO ALLOW MYSELF TO GET HUNGRY!!!
It is NOT fun, I DON’T enjoy it, and my “flesh man” wants to avoid it at all costs, cuz it just wants to EAT all the time!
But, if I’m going to lose my excess weight, I must stop that, and think and live O-5 eating.
Yes, there are other options, like surgery, but I don’t want to go there. (My sister did, and it was a good choice for her.) I want to bring the heart stuff (junk) that’s been lurking in the dark corners of my heart for years out into the light and dealt with so that I can live in freedom for the rest of my life.
Which, by the way, will be much shorter ~ or at least less comfortable and active ~ if I don’t tend to this weighty matter. (Pun intended.)
So I must allow my body to utilize its fat stores.
I have a feelingthat when we are getting down to a 2 and a 1, we are actually starting then to access our fat stores. (If anyone knows, please let us know in the comments!)
And that is where the “P.E.R.F.U.M.E. Zone” comes in. It’s that zone between “starting to empty” and “true hunger.” However, for it to be the “P.E.R.F.U.M.E. Zone,” I must make a heart connection that I’ll explain in a moment. But first…
WHAT IS TRUE HUNGER?
First, a couple things hunger isn’t…
It’s not just wanting food. If you are not physiologically hungry, but you want or even crave food, that’s “heart hunger” or “head hunger.” Heart hunger is just as real as “true physiological hunger,” and it’s very very strong, but it’s not true physiological hunger.
Neither growling nor rumbling constitute true hunger, either. One or the other ~ or both ~ might accompany true hunger, but they aren’t reliable indicators that you’re truly hungry.
True hunger is where your stomach feels that gnawing, slightly burning sensation – aka a “hunger pang.” To be hungry can be (is for me) a bit uncomfortable, which is actually its purpose – to motivate us enough to get nourishment and thus enable ourselves to live.
WHERE IT GETS HARD
But this is where it gets hard! Emotionally ~ because, as I believe I have mentioned, I LIKE to eat! I LIKE food!!!
A little while after we eat, (and how long depends on how much we just ate,) we start to feel our stomach “emptying.” This feels a little like being hungry, but it’s not yet true hunger. In the book God’s Chosen Fast, Arthur Wallis said that, when we stop eating, the walls of our stomach start to shrink, and that is what we are actually feeling at this point. So we shouldn’t confuse that with hunger. And that does make total sense.
But, no matter how much sense it makes, if my heart is not dealt with, and my flesh is still in control of my eating, head hunger kicks in at this point and beckons me to the kitchen… or to my purse where there’s a packet of trail mix… or to Burger King where something yummy can be ordered real quick-like! But I’m actually only at a 3 or a 2 or a 1 at this “stomach-emptying-and-shrinking” point. I don’t get ~ or need ~ to eat until I’m all the way down to a zero.
So, instead of gleefully rushing to get food, I need to allow my body to shift into utilizing its own fat stores. If I take in food at this point ~ when I’m only at a 3, 2 or 1 ~ I will actually stop up the process of allowing my body to make this shift over to utilizing my fat- I mean FUEL reserve.
Because my flesh is strong, and it wants what it wants ~ food, in this case (in fact, food by the case sounds great!) ~ and, as I may have mentioned, it wants it now. so this is hard!
And this is exactly when I am in a prime position to enter the “P.E.R.F.U.M.E. Zone”!
Meaning… I choose to sacrifice my desire to eat right now, and I offer up that desire to God as a living sacrifice. A fragrance to Him.
But I need His grace working in me to even be able to do this.
SCRIPTURES THAT SHED MORE LIGHT
There are several Bible verses that shed more light onto the concepts of fragrance, perfume, and sacrifice.
“Walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” (Ephesians 5:2)
Christ’s sacrificial act of giving Himself up was a fragrance to God. Likewise, I want my giving up my right to eat what, when, and how much I want to be a pleasing fragrance to God as well!
Giving up my right to eat (now and a lot) is actually part of “walk(ing) in the way of love,” as I am loving myself, which we are told to do in Matthew 22:39:
“Love your neighbor as yourself.”
By shedding my excess weight, I’m loving my family, too, because I’ll be better able to serve them, and hopefully for a longer time.
This sacrifice is “expensive” for me. It’s costing me full rights to myself. But our Lord, whose sacrifice on the cross was more “expensive” than I could ever imagine, is worth it, isn’t He?
“BE HANGRY, BUT SIN NOT”
Then there’s the matter of our mood when we’re getting hungry. “Hangry,” which is “hungry and angry” at the same time, is the perfect term for it. Is your grumpiness evident to all when you’re in a bad mood? Over anything, not just not getting all the food you want, when you want it?
If so, the other part of my sacrifice, is laying down my right to act out my “hanger” while in this grumpy-feeling state. Sure, I can feel grumpy; there is NO sin in that! But don’t need or get to act grumpy. What’s that scripture?
“Be (h)angry, but sin not.” (Eph. 4:26)
Since this doesn’t come naturally to most of us, the heart ‘n’ soul of getting and staying in the “P.E.R.F.U.M.E. Zone” is choosing to allow God to help me crucify my flesh to the cross, and to be pleasant, despite how I feel or what I desire.
(I delve into this more in my article “Be Hangry, But Sin Not.”)
So what does the “metabolism enhancement” aspect mean?
First, we don’t want to slow it down by eating too little or being hungry for an extended time! Like starving myself.
“You slash your daily calories to fewer than 1,000, and sure enough, the pounds melt away. But when you eat so few calories, you train your metabolism to slow down. Once the diet is over, you have a body that burns calories more slowly, and you usually regain the weight.”
And once your metabolism has slowed down, weight is harder to release because the body, thinking it’s not going to get more food, slows down to conserve!
We want to increase our metabolism. We do this by increasing both activity and (thus, eventually) muscle.
Exercise is about more than just “using up calories” or “moving” and staying flexible. When we exercise, we are actually building muscle, and, what’s cool is that it’s the muscle tissue in our bodies that increases our metabolism by using calories even when we are just sitting! How cool is that?!? So “Use it, or lose it” really applies here!
Drinking ample water also helps increase our metabolism. I think of it as lubricating the weight-loss process – which it does, literally and figuratively.
So when I first start sensing that emptying-but-not-yet-hungry feeling, I like to get a glass of water, (also a “sacrifice” because I’m not crazy about water), and then do some moving. When I most feel like just sitting and waiting for it to be time to eat, that is actually the best time to go for a walk and get myself moving, and alsoto renew my mind so that my heart gets pried off of food, and transformed into a heart that longs for the Lord more than it longs for food!
If waiting for true hunger is a challenge to you; if you tend to be cranky when you don’t get what you want, especially when it comes to food, and you want to view this differently and get more out of the process, apply these ideas about “the P.E.R.F.U.M.E. Zone” and get more spiritual mileage out of it!
Let me know in the comments how it goes for you, and any other insights you want to add!
A note to you who are
“not as young anymore”
When I was younger, losing weight was much easier. It was never “fun,” but it wasn’t nearly as hard as it is now at age 65.
As we age, our bodies tend to slow down, so our metabolisms naturally slow down, too. Partly just because of aging, but also partly because of not being as active as I used to be, which is partly because of aging. It’s a vicious circle that I have not done the best job of being on top of.
For me, there were the additional hindrances to being active that resulted from several injuries, plantar faciitis, and a knee surgery, each one slowing me down or altogether stopping me physically for weeks at a time. These also messed up my efforts and desire to have a regular exercise routine ~ which was already a challenge for me ~ and basically took the wind out of my sails. Or I let it.
Plus life just changes once children are grown up and out of the house. Less movement is required to maintain your normal day-to-day living, unless you have an otherwise active lifestyle or job, or unless you have a naturally active lifestyle and/or have applied yourself to physical exercise.
This is all a natural part of life, but we have to be UNnatural and very intentional to combat it.
So, at my age, I now have to allow myself to stay at a 0 for a little longer period of time if I want to release weight. The way I’d put it is that I have adjusted my “0” a bit. Since how we define a zero is quite subjective (who knows how and what we really feel), there’s room for adjustment anyway, so we have the freedom to define it in a way that works for us.
For example, I know of older gals who have said Thin Within doesn’t work for them. They did 0-5 eating for a long period of time, but didn’t lose weight. I wonder if they had adjusted their numbers a bit, redefining their “5” to be more what they had been thinking of as a “4,” and their “0” as a little more hungry.
As Heidi puts it, we need to allow ourselves to get “good and hungry.” If I only allow myself to get “barely hungry” for just a minute and then go ahead and eat, especially at my older age with my lower metabolism, I will likely not release weight.
So we just need to invite the Lord into this process and ask Him for wisdom and discernment in how to apply all this to our own unique situations, and also surrender our flesh and wills to His lordship!