You are going along happily in your Thin Within journey and you are finding freedom from diets, when BAM, you are tempted to look back at those diets. There are situations that can tempt us to look back (not being happy with the number on the scale, breaking your boundaries too often, feeling like you will never overcome, and so on). We think, “Oh, maybe my set of boundaries (0-5) don’t work, so maybe I should go back to _______, or maybe I should try ______.” Sound familiar? I know it’s very familiar to me since I have essentially looked back SO many times. In April of this year (2014), I was sharing with my husband about how I was thinking and felt tempted about going back to Weight Watchers because I knew it worked (even though I had sought freedom from tracking points). He said, “Going back to Weight Watchers would be like Lot’s wife looking back.” Ouch! It was something I needed to hear though. And then he said, “Weight Watchers is like a Band-Aid.” He has seen me walk my Thin Within journey, overcoming obstacles, gaining a healthy pregnancy weight, releasing inches and weight after baby was born, being free from obsessing, etc. He KNOWS this works! He has seen the transformation work God has done resulting from me choosing to renew my mind and letting myself to be free from the chains of captivity. And I needed to see through my husband’s eyes as he shared this wisdom with me: don’t look back.
Luke 17:32 says, “Remember Lot’s wife.” That’s seriously all it says. This was a scripture the Lord led me to after my husband shared that truth with me. I felt like it was a warning, a word of caution from the Lord about how very serious He is that I don’t look back, but to press on, to persevere. (The Lord gave me a word for 2014: persevere. And He has shown me He wants me to continue on this year with what He showed me last year, that He has brought CHANGE to my eating and is helping me overcome. God’s reminder to me to persevere has helped me climb out of some ruts).
So why should we remember Lot’s wife? What happened to her?
In Genesis 19:12-29, the story about this account is found. The summary of what happened was that God was going to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah for their sin. Angels told Lot and his family to flee the city:
When the morning dawned, the angels urged Lot to hurry, saying, “Arise, take your wife and your two daughters who are here, lest you be consumed in the punishment of the city.” And while he lingered, the men took hold of his hand, his wife’s hand, and the hands of his two daughters, the Lord being merciful to him, and they brought him out and set him outside the city. So it came to pass, when they had brought them outside, that he said, “Escape for your life! Do not look behind you nor stay anywhere in the plain. Escape to the mountains, lest you be destroyed (verses 15-17).
And then the Lord did exactly what He said he would, “Then the Lord rained brimstone and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah, from the Lord out of the heavens. So He overthrew those cities, all the plain, all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground” (verses 24-25).
But his wife looked back behind him, and she became a pillar of salt (verse 26).
That’s some pretty serious stuff! She looked back, after God had told them, “Do not look behind you!” And then she turned into a pillar of salt. Yikes!
I wonder why she looked back? Maybe she had fond memories of the place? But you know what, it doesn’t matter why she looked back, but that by looking back she was disobeying God.
So when God tells me, through my husband, to not look back like Lot’s wife did, I would have to say He’s pretty serious. I don’t believe God is going to turn me into a pillar of salt, but He is showing me how detrimental it is that I obey Him and submit to Him. Did you notice that Lot’s wife “looked back behind him?” Who was this ‘him’? It was her husband. And I’m guessing she was not only disobeying God, but she was not submitting to Lot. God instructed Lot and Lot led his family out of the city that was going to be destroyed. Lot’s wife looked past her husband and God and looked back. And POOF, she was a pillar of salt.
So why would Jesus say, “Remember Lot’s wife”? Because He doesn’t want us looking back. He doesn’t want us going back to those things that He has called us away from. For me, He’s asking me to persevere and continue on in what He’s shown me to do, to not look back. Christ came to save us from our sin and set us free from those things that held us captive. God was saving Lot and his family from the destruction of the city. He told them to “escape for your life!” It was for freedom that Christ has set us free (Galatians 5:1). Don’t look back. Why would we want to look back? But we are tempted to look back and sometimes we do look back.
I’m not sure where you are in your Thin Within journey, but I do know this, God doesn’t want us held down, ensnared, or under any kind of captivity. There are plenty of areas in our life that this can touch on, but what I want to deal with is the area of looking back at the diets and the food restrictions that have held us captive for so long. I’m not saying “looking back” for you is disobeying God, but I am saying for myself that looking back for me has meant that I have not submitted to God. It’s like saying, “God, I know you don’t want me looking back, but that life worked for me. That diet worked for me (and failed me). Just let me go back. I can’t believe you are taking this away from me.” It’s pride. It’s basically saying, “God, my way is better than your way.” Ouch. It’s saying, “Lord, I don’t trust that Your way will get me what I want, so I’m going to make sure that I am happy, so I will do it my way.”. Has God given you a clear direction of not going back to diets? Is He asking you to submit to Him about this area of your life, or even other areas?
I saw that cartoon (above) recently on Facebook and it brought tears to my eyes. What a beautiful illustration of what God wants to do in our lives. We think when He asks us to give up something that it’s doing us a disservice, but really, He has something so much greater that He wants to give us in place of our sacrifice. He says to die to ourselves so we can gain Christ (Galatians 2:20).
Through what the Lord spoke through my husband to me, it’s very clear to me that I am not to go back to a diet…unless I want to be like Lot’s wife. And, um, looking back didn’t really work out for her. So why would I want to go against what God has said?
Another scripture God has encouraged me with is James 4:7, which says, “Submit to God. Resist the devil and he must flee.” So when the enemy tempts me with looking back, the Holy Spirit brings this scripture to my remembrance. It reminds me that I am to submit to God, to follow His lead (away from diets) and to not look back. God is looking out for me. He has a big ole teddy bear hiding behind His back that He wants to give me. *smile*
The enemy’s temptations to look back are becoming more and more quiet as I continue to submit to God. I have a lot more to say about the topic of submission, but I will save that for a future post. I am tasting more and more freedom as I continue to renew my mind and put my thoughts under the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5).
As far as the lie about thinking my Thin Within boundaries weren’t working: of course they work (I see the physical evidence as well). I like the way Barb Raveling puts it in her book Taste for Truth (Day 15), “When we find ourselves breaking our boundaries right and left, we don’t think, I need to renew my mind so I have the strength to follow my boundaries. Instead we think, I need to find a new set of boundaries because these boundaries obviously don’t work. Here’s what we are doing: we’re trusting the boundaries [we are looking back]. We’re believing the lie that somewhere out there is the perfect set of boundaries. And when we find them, they’ll be easy to follow. The sooner we get that lie out of our system, the better. We’re transformed by the renewing of the mind. Not by the boundaries.” This is exactly what would happen to me when I was breaking boundaries right and left. Instead of renewing my mind, I would think my boundaries must be broken, so I better go back to Weight Watchers, or not eating carbs or sugar. Lies! We think our boundaries will save us, but only God can save us. Only God can transform us. So the more we renew our mind and put on God’s truth, the more we actually do follow our boundaries. It works together, hand-in-hand. We follow our boundaries because God transforms us. We are transformed because of renewing our mind.
Renewing mind —-> Transformation —-> Following Boundaries
Romans 12:2 says, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
My boundaries do work. I will submit to God. The devil will flee. I will follow the boundaries God has given me (0-5). I will walk in freedom!
How about you? Have you tasted freedom from dieting, but you are tempted to go back into dieting because you keep breaking your boundaries? Breaking your boundaries is an opportunity to draw closer to God. Go to Him. Pray. Praise Him. Renew your mind. Submit to Him. Walk in freedom! Don’t look back! God is doing a NEW thing!