Many of us use food to numb out. Or we use surfing the web or playing computer games…we turn to all manner of things when we don’t want to feel something.

Have you ever noticed that you can’t numb out JUST to pain, though? If you choose to numb out, you choose to be numb to joy (and other good things, too?). Similarly, if you want to avoid failure in life, you end up avoiding “success,” too, since the only way to avoid failure is not to do anything. To be honest, that, to me, IS failure. I want to LIVE. Jesus came that we might have life ABUNDANTLY! So enough with “just surviving” already! I don’t want to end the day like a Christian Eeyore saying, “Well…another day…I made it through…yippee…” (Said in the best Eeyore voice you can muster!)

This leg of the journey I know I must make a commitment. That I will NOT “numb out.” I know that the Lord has much he wants to accomplish.

In this part of the introduction of GTST, the authors highlight HOW we will get from point A to point Z? From broken–to restored. From ruins, to renovated by the Master Remodeler.

So how does this happen?

I must allow God to lead me to a place where I am:

  • Free to risk – letting go of the past to live unencumbered in the present (1 Peter 1:6-7)

I am encumbered by my past. Are you? 10 years ago. 30 years ago. An hour ago. It all seems to define me NOW…This moment is new! I have a clean slate in this moment!

Hebrews 12 encourages me to toss off any sin that entangles and anything that encumbers. I don’t want my past to define me…that I am “an overeater” or any other label. I despise labels and how limiting they are. I throw THOSE off. I believe I have to throw off anything negative OR positive that may hinder me.

A big positive thing that sometimes hinders me is my connection with the Hallidays on the writing of the Thin Within book. What an incredible privilege that was, but with that association I feel this responsibility to BE perfect. To PERFORM! To BE the “Thin Within” poster child…That isn’t something the Lord demands of me. It is a burden I have chosen to carry. I choose to toss that off as well. He wants me to be authentic.

–> What encumbrances from your past hinder you in the present? How does this affect your eating? Your perception of your body?

  • Free to change – being transformed from the inside out by the renewing of my mind. (Romans 12:2)

Barb Raveling, in her workbook, Freedom From Emotional Eating, describes “truth journaling,” a wonderfully practical way of distinguishing the lies I believe in the moment and replacing the lies with truth. As I go through the material in GTST, I know many lies I believe will surface. I must choose to replace them with truth. Sometimes, that which is familiar is hard to release–even if it is destructive. Familiarity seems so “warm” and “accepting.” I have a lot of familiar lies that I want to throw off. Yesterday really showed me that in vibrant living color!

–> Can you think of any lies that you believe? What truth may God want to replace these lies with? How does this affect your eating? Your perception of your body?

  • Free to trust–Trusting God and the way He made me.

By trusting the signals of hunger and satisfaction…that my body was designed for these signals to be reliable by an amazing, masterful, good God…I have released all the extra weight I carried–100 pounds. When I continue to abide by those physical signals of hunger and satisfaction, my body stays at this “new” God-ordained size. When I don’t abide by those signals, I get larger than he intends. It is simple and reliable. I trust God with this. I have seen that it works.

But I DO have trouble trusting God about emotional things. As I wade back through some things that have surfaced recently (abandonment issues, for instance), I have to keep telling myself that God used the parents that he gave me to cause me to earnestly seek him. Their “mistakes” and sin were a part of my spiritual formation…my pursuit of a Heavenly Father. Developing my trust in God further will be part of this leg of my journey, I am sure.

–> Do you trust the Lord that he has made your body reliably? What can you do to foster greater trust in Him? What about with emotional issues? How does this affect your eating? Your perception of your body?

  • Free to love – loving as Christ loves me.

Loving others can be painful. I guess it is that selective numbing thing again. If I choose not to love because I don’t want the pain that often seems to come with it, then I will miss out on the blessings, too. Often, it seems as though the pain is much more present than the blessings…

Right now, having come away from a challenging friendship that ended badly–someone who I hoped to encourage toward the cross of Christ–this is especially intimidating to me. Loving others…well…hurts. When I love, I give them the opportunity to wound me. I am vulnerable. I have a hard time with that.

–> Can you identity with being afraid to love? And how about being afraid to BE loved? How does this affect your eating? Your perception of your body?

Your silent hunger can be satisfied–with the true bread of life, our living God. GTST, p. 13.

What hope there is in these words–in this truth! The Lord’s Table workbook definitely was based on this premise. It is true. When I go to the Lord, I know that he is satisfying. Yesterday, as I drove home in my car through tears and battled my temptations to stop and get food or something to drink that would pacify me in some way…HE was there. He whispered His love to my heart…

If you are willing to listen to the voice of your silent hunger, you will find that God is present to soothe, satisfy and make you feel secure in ways that nothing of this world can. GTST, p. 13

This is so true. More than a Cherry Pepsi, more than a triple decadence chocolate cheesecake from the Deli, more than the best ride on my best horse under the most cerulean blue sky…God can soothe, satisfy and make me feel secure…nothing else does it like he can. Yesterday, had I turned to the cheesecake, I would have been numb to the pain for a while…Then, the hole in my heart would have been ripped open wider by going to a false comfort…the emptiness would have been more vast and deep.

Hunger is the doorway through which God enters our soul. He takes this place of greatest vulnerability and weakness and uses it to restore, satisfy, and sanctify us.
GTST, p. 13

Wow…my greatest vulnerability and weakness? He can USE that? For this process? Wow…amazing. I continue to be astonished at how he takes our straw and spins it to gold like the “fairy tale,” only this one is true!

The message of the Introduction in summary I guess is that freedom comes not through stifling my hunger, but through embracing hunger. As I embrace hunger and take it to the Bread of Life, the One who alone can satisfy the emptiness in my soul, there will be freedom…REAL freedom.