The Difference

Image courtesy of Suvro Datta /

Image courtesy of Suvro Datta /


Recently, I was sharing with a friend about where I’ve been on my journey about food and eating.  I was sharing with her that it didn’t work when I tried to be a “normal eater” years ago.  I’m not sure why, but I remember really struggling and feeling like I was never going to overcome.  I had a few successes, but something would come up, and then I would go back to overeating or obsessing about food.

Almost a year ago, I came back to Heidi’s blog after really having a hard time with food thoughts and fears.  Immediately, the Lord gave me this incredible peace and then He showed me that He wanted me to let go of all of the food thoughts and fears and to eat within hunger and fullness (0-5).  It was a rough start of one step forward, two steps back, but after a couple of months, the Lord showed me that in order to be completely set free from the fears and thoughts, that I needed to renew my mind.  And so began my “truth cards”.

And that, my friends, has been the difference.  Ever since May of 2013, I have met with the Lord every day to renew my mind.  It started with renewing my mind about learning that I can enjoy ALL foods with no fear attached, to currently, where I am learning to delight in my God-given boundaries.  And there have been things in between that I have renewed my mind about.  I am currently reading through my second set of truth cards.  I felt that I “graduated” from my first set of truth cards, so I was ready to move on with the Lord in this journey to becoming free in this area of my life.

In May of 2013, I was already at a healthy weight.  I wanted to maintain that weight.  The “weight” I needed to release were the lies and obsession.  It was more of a mental weight.  That’s where I needed to be set free.  And He has been doing just that, setting me free with His truth!  Every day I choose to renew my mind with His truth, and every day I’m set free more and more!  Praise God!

I truly believe I wasn’t able to press in and persevere with eating between hunger and fullness years ago because I wasn’t getting to the inner parts of me that were causing overeating in the first place.  I wasn’t renewing my mind.  I was looking to myself for strength instead of falling at the feet of Jesus each time I messed up or needed Him.  I remember one of the things I really struggled with years ago was thinking that Thin Within was too spiritual.  I didn’t want to dig into the reasons I ate emotionally.  I felt like that was for wimps.  But oh, I was so wrong!  I am stronger today because of falling at the feet of Jesus and humbling myself before Him and crying, “HELP!”

Facing the “spiritual” side of hunger and fullness is uncomfortable for some.  I know I was uncomfortable.  And even last year when I was just starting out, I really fought the spiritual side of this journey.  I didn’t want to admit that I was indulging my flesh every time I overate or even obsessed over food.  It was like I wanted to walk in unrest instead of the peace God was offering me.  I kept thinking, “I can do this without being so spiritual about it.”  Oh, how I have been humbled with His truth!

It DOES take time to renew your mind.  Honestly, I wouldn’t have experienced any of the victory in Christ that I have if it wasn’t for renewing my mind.  Let me say it plainly: If I didn’t take time to renew my mind, I would overeat, I would obsess about food, and I would be freaking out!  Just ask my husband.

I remember when Heidi would post about how HARD this journey can be.  I did NOT NOT NOT want to hear that.  I remember thinking, “Then I’ll just keep tracking [Weight Watchers] points!”  I wanted and want this to be easy, but at times, it’s not.  Why?  Because sometimes I want to eat what I want to eat, when I want to eat it.  Sometimes I don’t want to read my truth cards or stop my mind in it’s tracks and renew my mind about WHY I want to overeat.  But guess what?…the harder times make me stronger.  Just think about it, when you renew your mind, it’s like you are retraining it.  You are suddenly STOPPING it and steering it in another direction.  And each time you do that, you are training it to turn the other way!  This is totally unrelated, but when I was potty training my daughter, each time she started going, I picked her up and put her on the potty.  And after a short time, she recognized that when she needed to go that she needed to sit on the potty.  It’s sort of the same thing when we renew our mind.  After awhile, we no longer have “accidents”, but we direct ourselves in the right direction.  Isn’t that awesome!?

Let’s look at this with an example.  Let’s say I’m feeling emotional.  Something just happened and I am sad.  I want to numb myself with food.  Well, I know that I’m not hungry, so eating right now would not be within my boundaries (0-5).  I have 2 choices, I can eat, or I can STOP and renew my mind.  One way that I can renew my mind is getting out my journal and getting out the ‘I Deserve a Donut’ app (if I ever meet Barb Raveling she’s going to get the biggest hug ever–I hope she likes hugs!) and I am going to go to the section under Attitudes called Emotional Eating.  And I would answer the questions in my journal and read through the scriptures.  If needed, I would take a time-out and write out to the Lord what I’m dealing with and really just let the emotions pour out to Him.  As I do this, the Lord meets with me and speaks to me from His Word.  The questions from the Emotional Eating app make me think about why I want to eat and how it’s not a good idea to eat outside of my boundaries.  And pretty soon I’m feeling better because I’ve gone to the LORD instead of food.  I may still want to eat, but I realize that it’s not even worth it because food isn’t going to fix the problem.  Most likely, I won’t want to eat outside of my boundaries because the Lord has met my need.  And so the next time I’m feeling emotional, it will be easier to turn away from the thoughts about eating and turn instead to the Lord and His truth.  Each time I renew my mind, I will be transformed!

So there you have it, the difference in seeing victories in Christ as I have applied the Thin Within principles has been that I have renewed my mind.  That was the missing key before, but it’s no longer missing now!

How about you?

Have you been diligent in renewing your mind?  Are you seeing a difference as well because you are renewing your mind?  I would love to see some comments about how renewing your mind has made a difference!


51 Responses to The Difference

  1. Stacy February 27, 2014 at 7:00 am #

    Wow, Christina! This was a much needed post this morning. All day yesterday, I ate, and ate, and ate due to emotions. I am finding that “that time of the month” is really throwing me a curve ball. My emotions are all over the place and I have triggers firing 24/7. I have to TAKE THE TIME to stop, look at Barb’s book and talk to God about it before I pick up that cupcake.
    Thank you for the slap in the face. It helped! 🙂

    • Barb Raveling February 28, 2014 at 1:15 pm #

      Stacy, I had to laugh when I read your comment. When I first started truth journaling how ever many years ago it was (12 years?), i made the commitment to truth journal every time I was annoyed with my husband. Here’s what I noticed: I was annoyed with him FAR more on PMS days. It was funny how predictable it was. I think I sometimes journaled three or four times a day when I was pmsing and would maybe go 3 or 4 days without being annoyed other times of the month. I guess we can be thankful we don’t have those emotional days every day. 🙂

    • Christina Smith February 28, 2014 at 1:27 pm #

      Stacy, so glad this post was encouraging to you! It does take some effort to stop and renew your mind. Sometimes it happens in tiny steps, but it does get better over time.

  2. Becky Y February 27, 2014 at 7:55 am #

    I think one of the keys to what you said is that you renew your mind every day. We can’t expect freedom and success if we’re only willing to renew our minds once a week! Eating is a daily occurance and thus, going to God daily should be too! Great post!

    • Christina Smith February 28, 2014 at 1:28 pm #

      There have been times I’ve thought, “Oh, I’m fine, I don’t need to renew my mind today.” And those have been my hardest days. So I see the importance of staying as close to God as I can with this.

    • Merry Browning March 4, 2014 at 4:54 am #

      So need a “like” button here. I liked your reply.

    • simplydalena2013 March 8, 2014 at 11:57 am #

      And for some of us, once a day isn’t enough! 🙂

  3. Michelle February 27, 2014 at 8:33 am #

    Thanks for sharing!!! I believe this is what God is showing me I’ve been missing.

    I’ve lost some weight in the past & thought I was doing well but wasnt able to go all the way. I hit a plateau & didnt know why. It was exciting but over time I became exhausted & frustrated. I believe that was due to myself trying to be the one in control. I didnt realize it but I couldnt keep it up. I regained what I lost & have been struggling to find my way back.

    This post hit home & God has allowed me to see clearly as to why I need to run to him. I didnt want to do something legalistic like “just making a time to read the bible daily”. I wasnt getting anything out of “just reading” that way. Have to’s just werent sitting right with me. Just reading the bible isnt the answer. It’s sooo much more!!

    It’s recognizing the reasons why I’m running to food like TW advises. Then instead of taking in the food, stay in my boundaries & run to God with what’s bothering me! Journaling, reading scripture, gratitude, truth cards!

    It’s finally clicking! Now to put it into practice is my job now.

    Thank you for sharing!!!

    • Christina Smith February 28, 2014 at 1:30 pm #

      Michelle, thank you for sharing that. I really think the enemy wants to make renewing our mind some legalistic thing. I know I’ve asked God to help me be balanced in renewing my mind because I don’t want to make it a “have to”. I truly see the importance of renewing my mind (in whatever capacity). Sometimes it’s as simple as turning on some praise and worship music. You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you!

    • Heidi Bylsma March 7, 2014 at 10:49 am #

      How is it going now, Michelle? What great insights you shared here. Thanks so much.

  4. Heidi February 27, 2014 at 8:53 am #

    Wow, my friend! You’ve NAILed it!!!! I am so proud of you!!!!!

    • Christina Smith February 28, 2014 at 1:31 pm #

      Thanks, Heidi!

  5. Michelle February 27, 2014 at 9:17 am #

    Thank you, right on track! I also have had several disordered days and have known I am not renewing my mind about it. Today is a new day and his mercies are new every morning.

    • Christina Smith February 28, 2014 at 1:33 pm #

      Michelle, I find that as soon as I renew my mind about a not-so-good eating experience that I feel so much better. It’s like I’m laying it down at the feet of Jesus, I’m forgiven, it’s dealt with, and I can walk away without carrying this burden. Even if it’s 12 hours after the episode, I still feel that I need to renew my mind. And right now I don’t casually take care of it. I have to get out my journal and talk to the Lord about it. That’s how it works for me anyway.

    • Heidi Bylsma March 7, 2014 at 10:48 am #

      So, true, Michelle. What a great attitude. 🙂 Based on TRUTH. 🙂

  6. Susan Bradbury February 27, 2014 at 9:51 am #

    What a wonderful post! I love: I am learning to delight in my God-given boundaries. That is a great quote for my truth cards! I also love using Barb’s app! I can relate to everything you said here!

    • Christina Smith February 28, 2014 at 1:34 pm #

      Susan, I’m glad that delighting in your boundaries is something you are going to add to your truth cards. It makes a difference to see that God’s boundaries are wonderful and delightful instead of thinking they are unfair and taking away our fun.

    • Heidi Bylsma March 7, 2014 at 10:47 am #

      Barb’s app is a great tool on this journey. 🙂

    • simplydalena2013 March 8, 2014 at 12:04 pm #

      Susan, yes!!! I just put that on one of my truth cards also.

  7. Jolene February 27, 2014 at 1:25 pm #

    Thank you for the renewed hope that we can have freedom by allowing Christ to renew our minds. So needed this today. 🙂

    • Christina Smith February 28, 2014 at 1:35 pm #

      Jolene, so thankful that you were encouraged! Praise God!

    • Heidi Bylsma March 7, 2014 at 10:46 am #

      Yes, the renewing of our minds is key to so much that God intends for us. So glad you enjoyed Christina’s post! 🙂

  8. LynnT. February 27, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    Last night I should have gone to bed, but instead I stayed up until 4am [bad choice] it lead me to re-energize myself and then because I was so tired, it lead to an attitude of I don’t care [which in turn, lead to a full fledged binge]. Sleep was the missing KEY! However, I should have turned to God.. He would have shown me common sense [go to bed]!
    Well, sure enough.. I got up this morning heavy of heart.. why did I do.. but, like He told Michelle, HE showed me that I needed to see what I had done, look at why I did it & learn from it.. and then remember that HIS mercy IS new every morning.
    It really is about renewing our mind and for me, that doesn’t just mean daily, but with every craving.. I need to look up and see if what I want is beneficial or only permissible.. I need to keep God at the center of every bite.. and it in turn draws me closer to HIM.

    • Christina Smith February 28, 2014 at 1:37 pm #

      Lynn, my heart went out to you when I read your comment. I’m not sure what is it that kept you awake, but I’m praying that you would find comfort in the arms of Jesus. I want to encourage you to renew your mind and just spend time in His presence. Grab a journal, your truth cards, or whatever you have in your renewing of the mind “tool box” and just pour out your heart and let Him fill you up with His truth.

      • LynnT. March 7, 2014 at 1:16 pm #

        Christina, more and more I’m coming to realize I can’t do this on my own, all the determination in the world cannot stop me from lying to myself, all the support of other people [accountability] is too easy to walk away from [I simply don’t log on] I find myself avoiding people, not wanting to explain once again “another failure” .. I don’t make phone calls that could help [maybe]; but, instead I let “greed” control me.. I lie to myself [that I can’t do this] I WANT more of whatever I’m eating! .. and I tell myself what does it really matter? I’ve been fat all my life! I find myself “living in” a state of sinnful greedy self talk, like: “food restores my peace and my joy, it gives me pleasure and numbs the pain I’m feeling, of rejection and hurt..” AND of course this IS idolatry! because like an ostrich I bury my head in the sand when I don’t go to God first!(I wouldn’t cheat on my husband, but I am cheating on God!) Every time I put ANYTHING before God I am cheating on HIM!
        Lately, I’ve faced so many situations that have left me emotionally spent, broke.. robbed of joy, peace, comfort [in fact, my heart has emptied from knowing and showing kindness and love to others] WHERE IS THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT? I let the years of anger, resentment and bitterness [rejection] rob me and yet it’s MORE than THAT; I stopped putting GOD first.. and as long as He wasn’t and isn’t first, then I am weakened.. any strength I once had ran out long ago!

        (Only by renewing my mind in Christ, waiting ON Him can I be restored. Isaiah40:31)

        Back to health: The temptation to binge eat [was too great] I turned back to the old ways [the past two weeks], comforting myself to numb the pain; but..BUT, it boils down to one thing for me right now. I must NEED, to “renew my mind” and the things that God has given me.. to do this, is not “just another diet”.

        • LynnT. March 7, 2014 at 1:19 pm #

          I hope that makes sense.. :/

        • Christina Smith March 9, 2014 at 12:02 am #

          Lynn, I’ve been thinking about your comment since I saw it. I wanted to encourage you to do all you can to renew your mind, but most importantly, to spend quiet time with the Lord each day. Getting to know Him and His character and what He thinks of you sounds like it would be extremely beneficial. Ask Him to make Himself so real to you! I want to encourage you to start a set of truth cards and write down some scriptures that show what He thinks of you. Like about how His thoughts of you are more than the grains of sand, how He has the hairs on your head numbered, about how He made you fearfully and wonderfully! He wants you to know just how much He loves you and that you were so worth sending His Son to die for you! I don’t know what kind of hurt or rejection you have dealt with in your life, but I do know that God is a God Who gives beauty for ashes. He wants to heal those wounds. Rejection hurts so much, but HE will never leave you nor forsake you. He is ready for you, waiting with open arms. Praying for you!

          • LynnT. March 12, 2014 at 1:21 am #

            I waited for the right moment to read your message back to me Christina; I’ve been struggling so much, tonight this thought came to me “My commitment involves more than pushing away from the table, it’s a commitment to turn to God for what’s eating “me” .. I came back to your message Christina and it was a perfect word for this moment! I have been feeling all day that God is trying to teach me to let go of the people in my life with their hurtful words and cling to Him like I use too.. however, forgiving them is hard to do when daily I find myself being attacked and.. “I” find myself internalizing how they define me [I can’t seem to let go of the hurt very fast]; though, I do feel that it’s coming… especially, as I turn to HIM instead of food. (I have to keep looking up… plus, figure out how to properly use the Truth cards. :crazy: but, I can’t seem to get the hang of it.)

        • Stacy March 9, 2014 at 7:42 am #

          Hey Lynn,
          I’m right there with you. These past few days have been a real doozey. All was well, then all was not well. I think I waited to eat at zero once. Then I realized my clothes weren’t fitting any better. That was discouraging. Bring on the chips! All this time, feeling great, yet not loosing weight. Bring on the ice cream! I just flat out ate whatever, whenever. It is a need to fail (binge eat) and go so low that produces the need you mentioned to renew the mind. I’m thankful it takes less time now for me to turn the ship around. I’m still frustrated at the fact that I haven’t released a single pound after all this time. But I certainly felt much better – so I can’t discount that. My temper is much more in check even when the kids act like banshees. That’s got to be worth something. So after the big binge (sounds like a movie title) and the outright rebellion and pillaging of the temple, I need to let the “Captian” take his ship over again and get back on the right coarse.

          It’s not a bad thing to fail royaly – run into some rocks, float close to the Bermuda Triangle. 🙂 You recognized it, right? Good job. You’re one step closer to handing over the wheel.

          • LynnT. March 12, 2014 at 1:26 am #

            Stacy, I almost missed your post.. so, glad I caught it. I heard a click tonight about renewing my mind the minute we catch ourselves blowing it. Your right, it does get easier once you stop worrying about the scale and see that God is more concerned with our inner man. I see and feel lighter on the inside, that’s got to count for something awesome! 😀

          • Heidi Bylsma March 12, 2014 at 9:37 am #


      • simplydalena2013 March 8, 2014 at 12:09 pm #

        Christina, I’m joining you in your prayer. “I’m praying that you would find comfort in the arms of Jesus”

        These words reminded me of one of my favorite pictures of Jesus and it is in our workbooks in the introduction part by the commitment prayer. The picture where Jesus is holding the lamb in His arms. I like to use my imagination and picture myself as that lamb, feeling Jesus’ loving care for me.

    • Heidi Bylsma March 7, 2014 at 10:44 am #


  9. csh February 28, 2014 at 7:16 am #

    How I needed to read this, thank you so much. I have been ‘doing’ another program in which many women are having unbelievable success. Not me. I don’t think the Lord wants any diet plan to get the glory and He hasn’t allowed my body to lose weight though I have tried and tried. I just got the 2 books by Barb in the mail yesterday and I have them packed in my suitcase as I go away for a week starting this afternoon. I have some index cards and I am going to go get them right now and put them in my suitcase. This week I will start in earnest to go to the Lord and make up my own set of truth cards and let this getaway be a time of real refreshment and renewing with the Lord. The inward weights are far greater than 20 – 25 pounds of excess fat on my body. He is good NOT to have let me lose the pounds. He has something far greater in mind for me to lose and I want to follow in your footsteps and get free from all this obsession with weight, etc. I look forward to checking into this site while I am away.

    • Christina Smith February 28, 2014 at 1:38 pm #

      CSH, I can relate to what you’ve shared. I struggled for so long with thinking I needed to do what everyone else was doing. It was like I couldn’t make up my mind. And my mind needed rest. That’s where the truth cards came in. I stopped dwelling on all of those diets and eating ideas and started focusing on what the Lord says about food and eating. He has set me free! Enjoy your time away and I am praying you will feel refreshed. Let us know how it went!

    • Heidi Bylsma March 7, 2014 at 10:44 am #

      How did it go, csh? I am so eager to hear!

    • simplydalena2013 March 8, 2014 at 12:12 pm #

      CSH, I am just now reading your post. I’d love to have an update from you. How did your trip go? And how are you doing with the TW plan? Blessings.

  10. Norma February 28, 2014 at 11:54 am #

    Hi Christina, thanks for sharing this really has opened my eyes on Whom I need to focus on! I am new to this program (I know of a similar program where I did take the class but it was all about works and this one I’ve noticed is more about His grace) and I haven’t been able to take the class because I don’t have the means to purchase the workbook right now so reading your story has really renewed my hope! I’m also reading the comments and tips on thin within FB page and that too as well is helping me. So again thanks for sharing

  11. Norma February 28, 2014 at 12:03 pm #

    P.S. Christina I went ahead and purchase the I deserve a donut app I can’t wait to use!

    • Christina Smith February 28, 2014 at 1:40 pm #

      Norma, I think even without the workbook you can be set free! There are so many awesome tools and resources you can find on this site that will help you. Also, there’s a Thin Within app that’s free and has a lot of really great information and tools to help you. I really like the donut app…a lot! It’s been a HUGE blessing to me!

      • Norma March 1, 2014 at 1:12 am #

        Oh that’s great I didn’t know that thin within had an app! Thanks I’ll make sure to download!

        • Heidi Bylsma March 7, 2014 at 9:56 am #

          Yes! We just got it ready in the early part of January. Hoping to update it and fix a bug or two.

  12. Barb Raveling February 28, 2014 at 1:19 pm #

    Christina, I LOVED your potty training example! It’s a perfect (and a funny) analogy. I will remember that in my own renewing of the mind efforts. 🙂 Also, it makes me think, far better just to go to God right away and get it over with than to go through years and years of creating big “messes” (see how well this fits in with the potty training example? 🙂 ) by not going to Him!

    • Christina Smith February 28, 2014 at 1:41 pm #

      Thanks, Barb! It was a funny illustration the Lord gave me as I was typing away. Ha! I’ve actually thought about that illustration quite a bit this week and it’s helped me understand some things. We just have to keep on getting back on the “potty” or the horse. Ha! Renewing our mind is so so important!

  13. Traci March 1, 2014 at 5:54 pm #

    I loved this testimony today and reading it I see myself in it. I quit drinking 18 months ago and feel so much better not being a slave to alcohol. I’m in a great Celebrate Recovery group and praising God for being sober. I have been reading the Thin Within testimonies and weekly e-mails for a couple of months now and also bought Barb’s book: I deserve a donut…. I really now want to focus on not being obsessed with diets (I have 15-20 lbs to lose). In the past I have been buying a particular diet food on line and spending $$ I don’t really have. Yes, the plan works but only if you do it exactly as written. I just want to be free from the obsession of dieting. I am new to this journey as well. I quit drinking but food is so different for me. I’m starting to get it but I need to run to God and HIS word when I want to eat and I’m not hungry.

    • Heidi Bylsma March 7, 2014 at 9:56 am #

      Traci!!! WOOT! Congratulations!!!! I am praising God along with you!!! As you throw off the tyranny of diets, if we can support you in any way, just say the word. Some of the testimonies here and blog writers have been where you are.

  14. Merry Browning March 4, 2014 at 4:52 am #

    Somehow I missed this testimony. Having one of those sleepless nights I have been browsing Thin Within material. Anything that we are obsessed with has to go, and your testimony can be helpful to any Christian. So glad I found this, and thank you for writing it.

  15. Karon March 7, 2014 at 10:34 pm #

    Christina, I loved reading this. I know that know renewing my mind is the key that will start the engine of my progress. The choice to do so is mine. But I must choose. Thanks you for sharing something so simple, yet so profound.

  16. simplydalena2013 March 8, 2014 at 11:53 am #

    Christina, you have written powerful words here. I’m so glad I finally got around to reading your post. I believe today is going to be a turning point for me. I want to comment on 2 things I’ve quoted from you.

    “I was looking to myself for strength instead of falling at the feet of Jesus each time I messed up or needed Him.”

    I love those words “falling at the feet of Jesus” I truly think those words are going to be life changing for me. Thank you so very much for writing them.

    ” Because sometimes I want to eat what I want to eat, when I want to eat it. Sometimes I don’t want to read my truth cards or stop my mind in it’s tracks and renew my mind about WHY I want to overeat. ”

    This to me is my main problem. I know what to do. I have all the tools. But when the time comes and I plain ole want to eat, outside of my boundaries, I don’t even want to think about my tools. I sure wish someone could come up with the magic, no spiritual, thing, that would get me past those moments and to be a conqueror when it comes to “wanting” to do what is right.

    • Christina Smith March 9, 2014 at 12:04 am #

      Dalena, I really like what Barb says about how we don’t overcome by following our boundaries perfectly, but by taking the time to renew our mind. So even if we do choose to overeat and not turn to our “tools” before doing so, we can renew our mind as soon as possible afterwards and it DOES make a huge difference. I find that even if it’s a half-day later, as long as I renew my mind, it’s so worth it!

      • simplydalena2013 March 9, 2014 at 7:30 am #

        Christina, more great words. Thank you. God is using you to speak to me. Praise the Lord!!!

Leave a Reply

Thin Within

P.O. Box 18559

Louisville, KY 40261

Site by Author Media.