Who wants to experience pain? Not most of us, certainly. I am no different than most. So I know that it is understandable that during the years I was growing up, I used means and methods that I could to numb the pain of living in a dysfunctional family.
I continue to this day to tend to rely on those, only now, now that I am no longer a child, now that I am responsible and aware of what the Lord desires in my life, I know that to rely on these coping mechanisms is less than what he intends for me…or is sin. (Not a very popular word, “sin.” It just means less than what God intends–falling short of his plan.)
Here are yet more thoughts on Get Thin Stay Thin, chapter 4
Where once our struggle with food, eating, and weight served as a coping mechanism, a way to survive emotional pain, now as we begin to heal from our past hurts, we establish a godly sense of our identity and worth and open ourselves to new ways of dealing with feelings and relationships. Then the true miracle occurs. Where once we experienced an unsanctified hunger (our appetite) based on the lust of the flesh, we now begin to experience a sanctified hunger–the hunger for God’s love, intimacy, and the transformation of our hearts. GTST, p. 92
I am seeing afresh that in order to go through this process, I have to be willing to sit a while with the pain–to feel it. It isn’t pleasant. But it is necessary. As I feel the pain, I am able to turn to the Lord and ask Him what his intention is for it. He can use it for my spiritual formation and growth. The very reason he allows pain into my life will not be thwarted. When I numb out to the pain I feel, I keep myself from that which he intends to use the pain to accomplish. This means that sooner or later, he will need to bring it along again (and again…and again…) until I allow what he intends. Coping mechanisms keep me from HIS best. I am at a place where I really would like to learn what he wants and press on to whatever is next! Enough with messing around!
Where once we wanted only to lose weight, we now begin to experience a sanctified hunger–the hunger for God’s love, intimacy and the transformation of our hearts. Where once we wanted only to lose weight, we now begin to recognize and desire God’s greater purpose–not simply to constrain our doing (our eating) by the law, but to conform our being (our character and intention of our hearts) by grace. GTST, p. 92
So many of us, even as we “commit” to this process of eating when we are hungry and stopping when we are no longer hungry–yes, even those of us who leave dieting behind forever (YAY!)–allow ourselves to hyper-fixate on the scale or on losing weight. I know I have done that and do even now. But the truth is, this isn’t about losing weight. It is about so much more. Something eternal. God has so much more for us than to be tormented by food and weight. He is after a character overhaul.
When my family and I bought four horses all at once (new horse owners…I do NOT recommend doing this!) six years ago, we had dreams of riding off into the sunset together. Our family would be *happy* and enjoy hours and days on the trail with our steeds! The reality is, we have never once been on the trail together with these horses. We bought three that couldn’t be ridden by beginners (which three of my family members were at the time) and one of those three was dead lame. The road has been long, hard, and extremely disappointing (not to mention expensive!).
As noble a desire as it was to have family time together on the trail, God has had something much more in store by allowing this trial in our lives. He has been using this situation for these past 6 years to form and shape our character, to teach us to look beyond our little plans and schemes to a greater good that he has in store.
Several times a day when my mind wanders toward food, I am reminded of my extreme dependence on the Lord–of my need for Him, of His provision, of His plan. God has taken something so mundane as my need for physical sustenance and used it to bring home that I am totally dependent on His grace. He is definitely after something bigger and deeper than my arriving and staying at my “natural God-given size.” I miss it if I make this be about my physical body or “looking good” in a pair of jeans.
We savor the silence, the peace of God’s presence. Our lives change from being filled with guilt, worthlessness, and shame to being spontaneous and filled with the fruits of the Spirit–peace, hope, love, and joy. We find security and significance as God satisfies us with the goodness of his presence. We are restored to our rightful purpose and our true home. GTST, p. 92-93
To me, these things are worth so much more than being in the “skinny jeans.” I want to know what it is like to be “ok” sitting in the silence of God’s presence, to be able to rest in peace, to experience the joy of HIS satisfaction instead of that constant longing. I relish the day when I have learned these lessons, that my significance is based not on having and maintaining the approval of others, but in knowing that the LORD alone defines who and what I am and my value and worth!
Oh, Heidi, I want this, too! Your writing is always a sweet devotion to Jesus. I, too, have been sensing to go beyond the obsession with getting to my natural size. He does have more for us if we are willing to be still. Thank you for reminding me of this today. I rejoice that He has me *growing* because I truly am desiring to know Him even more than I want to be thin. (Wow, only through Him could I say that!)I’m joining you…”enough messing around!” Although I’ve been through some pain in my life, I truly only “invite” it when it’s already here. Know what I mean? Like, when my daughter went through an extremely rebellious and difficult time I can remember singing that chorus “Jesus bring the rain” over and over. (He did a mighty thing there, but another time…)Anyway, you have prompted me to invite Him to take me through some pain so that He can teach me, mold me, HEAL me. He does want me to experience turning to Him ALWAYS for answers and guidance and comfort. Enough messing around is right! I don’t want to “miss it” either. Thank you for your words today. Bless you!
I have been reading and digesting your site over the last couple of days. Praise the Lord that He has given you the desire to share your journey with us.On one of your posts you included some phrases that really struck me:”Today, I think I will try a couple of things differently. I will plan to be still … I may journal, pray, sing praises to God…or just sit in His presence and bask in His unconditional approval granted through Christ on the cross.” I sent this quote to some girlfriends. How amazing is our God that he gives us UNCONDITIONAL APPROVAL. I think we need to know and remember that so much.Some things you write make me laugh and others amaze me. I’ve never known anyone else who’s gone through the Setting Captives Free program (and I didn’t know they had a workbook!). I was also interested that you attended a Beth Moore taping – I’m in a Bible study where the ladies are fairly devoted to her teachings.All that aside, thanks for being available so the Lord can minister to the rest of us through your experience.
I am seeing afresh that in order to go through this process, I have to be willing to sit a while with the pain–to feel it. It isn’t pleasant. Your words. How they struck my heart. I remember feeling the horrible pain for months after losing my daughter. I tried so hard to make it go away, to beg God to make it go away, but finally I began to believe Romans 8:28 that says all things work together for good. God does use our pain to pull us closer to Him. I do want that whether the pain is from my circumstances, or the pain is from my disobedience, I pray that it all just drives me into the arms of Jesus. He is the answer.God bless you, Heidi. Your writing is like reading my soul at times. I cannot explain it, but I see hope.
Thanks so much for your words of encouragement. I appreciate it very much!