Hi. If you have just joined us, we are studying Thin Within, by Arthur and Judy Halliday. This week’s assignment is to prayerfully study, read, complete chapters 3, 4, and 5. Chapter 5 is a BIGGEE…a potentially pivotal point. So we may linger there for a few days. I hope those of you joining in now will not feel burdened to “catch up!” It is more important to take as long as you need soaking in the material and allowing the Lord to bring it home to your heart in His special way. It took me the better part of 5 YEARS to honestly get through chapter 5 the last time through. LOL!
As we read, there are two on-going assignments we have:
1.) Keep a list (add to it all the time!) of God’s attributes and the way he relates to you, His child as asserted by the authors and/or through His Word or other sources. (Extra Credit: Use this list to pray by praising God for the specific attributes and traits you discover about Him.)
2.) Keep focusing on the LORD.
These two “assignments” dovetail. The key is, you do NOT want to make this be about SELF! That is what diets do…put all the focus and attention on SELF and how “bad” or “good” we do or *are*…typically with the scale being our judge. We know how these end…badly, with self-condemnation.
Even if you have gone through the TW material before, I challenge you…let the Lord ALONE be your focus!!!! It makes the difference we need. He is our strength. He is our deliverance, he is our hope. He is our…well…our everything!
Another thing I have challenged you with is to throw out your bathroom scale and dare to believe God that he can work in you this summer without the crutch of a man-made bathroom scale. So often we go to the scale to get approval! He has created your body to be reliable, so you can depend on the hunger scale as described in the Thin Within book–a way of describing the God-given cues of physical hunger and satisfaction. If you eat between 0 and 5, you will land at your God-given weight. I believe it! I know it! Who cares what number that is on a man-made bathroom scale!
Whew! As you can see, we are really doing a lot already! If we could hold steady just with these things for now without any additional reading we would really be experiencing some major life transformations!
Add the reading to it and VOOMBA! What a prescription for life change and metamorphosis, inside and out!
I guess, truthfully, this is what chapter four is about anyhow. Will you choose the Path of My Performance, filled with self condemnation, resentment, performance or the Path of God’s Provision, with His joy, His peace, His will, His way, His liberty? The book explains this in an awesome way (if I DO say so! LOL!).
Most important of all, however, is the in-depth description of one of the most crucial concepts in the Thin Within book–Observation and Correction. Please oh PLEASE be sure to read pages 36-38 (and the rest of the chapter) really carefully.
In summary, observation and correction can be described like this:
Observation is choosing to dispassionately evaluate my behavior. For instance, I was emotional upon receiving some difficult news. I went to the fridge and without considering my hunger numbers, proceeded to eat a hot fudge sundae. Obviously, this behavior is not congruent with my goal of eating 0 to 5 and surrendering all of my eating to the Lord, allowing his Spirit to guide me so that I might glorify him with my eating and drinking.
Upon reflection of my behavior, I can:
1.) beat myself up (this is NOT what we want to do!) – “I KNEW I would never be free! I say I want to be free and look at what I do first thing…how can I keep visiting the blog site and interacting with others there!? I am such a hypocrite! What must my husband think, since he SAW me inhale all that ice cream!”
2.) go into denial “That really wasn’t so bad…I *was* really wounded, after all…”
3.) dispassionately recognize that this behavior doesn’t agree with my godly goals. “Lord, I could have run to you with my emotions. Instead I ate my way through the ice cream and hot fudge.”
Notice with the third option, there is no condemnation. This demonstrates an accurate handling of the word of truth (see Romans 8:1).
So, as described in chapter 4 of Thin Within, I recognize this behavior as being outside of God’s will for me and not in agreement with my godly goals and I do so without a truckload of emotion. What next?
Simply…I make a plan for change–called “correction.”
For example: “I will establish a boundary. The kitchen is off limits when I have received news on the phone, in the mail, or via email. Before I go to the pantry or the fridge, I will take time to pray, acknowledging the difficulty of the news I have received. I will intentionally WAIT and choose NOT to eat, looking to the Lord first to satisfy my wounded heart. Then, if HE leads me to eat out of true physical hunger, I will choose something that feeds my body in a positive way, as a spiritual act of worship (Romans 12:1,2).”
Observation: I overate in the car driving home from work.
Correction: I will not eat in the car, but will stop and eat, focusing on giving glory and thanks to God for my food.
Observation: I eat too much when I go to Chinese Buffet.
Correction: For a short season I will not go to the buffet. In a few weeks, after I have developed a greater sense of commitment in the face of temptation, I will try again.
When I go to the buffet, I will take my own tiny plate and have a boundary of eating only one plate full of food…no food overlapping the edges, no food touching another food. (I know a TW participant who did this…she asked the managers ahead of time and they even gave her a discount since she wasn’t going to eat very much!)
Observation is agreeing with God…or confession.
Correction is planning for change, turning a new direction…or repentance.
It is GRACE filled…it isn’t a tool of condemnation at all.
I will say it again…
We can not hate/condemn ourselves into positive change!
With Observation and Correction, with The Path of God’s Provision, the focus is on the Lord and what HE wants…what he wants is to be our sufficiency. He doesn’t condemn you for looking to food in a moment instead of to Him. He asks you to declare the truth, yes “I blew it!”…and then, with grace, he says, “Go and leave the sin behind…” Jesus came with grace and truth both…not just truth…not just grace. (See John 1.)
He loves you, approves of you, welcomes you…he does NOT condemn you! So why condemn yourself! That isn’t Christ-like. No matter what your goal is from day 3, being more like Jesus should trump all the others. Condemnation has no place in a heart that wants to be like Jesus! God sent his son into the world NOT to condemn the world, but to save the world THROUGH Him! (John 3:17 I think it is…)
So, which path are you on? What can you do to switch to the Path of God’s Provision?
Can you look back over your day and make 3 observations and 3 godly corrections? I know you can!
Get used to using this tool, applying it with grace, inviting God to help you with your thinking, and you will experience a freedom from condemnation AND freedom from behaviors that derail your godly goals!