Get Rid of “The Little Foxes!”

Between the Vines - Artist: Carl Brenders

Between the Vines – Artist: Carl Brenders

Catch for us the foxes,
the little foxes
that ruin the vineyards,
our vineyards that are in bloom.
Song of Solomon 2:15

…A taste of the spaghetti sauce while it is simmering…”SooOOOOooo good!,” …it requires another taste and just one more!

…A french fry (or two…or six!) from a family member’s “Happy Meal”…”Ooh! I need me some of these!”

…Just one more handful of popcorn at the movies…”Ok, well, maybe one more….”

While it is certainly true that Solomon probably didn’t have these scenarios in mind when he penned the request to “Catch for us the foxes that ruin the vineyards,” there is definitely an interesting principle that we can draw from the biblical context of the verse.

Small foxes can ruin a wonderfully good thing.

Do you find that you aren’t quite experiencing the physical results that you feel you should be as you apply yourself to eating between physical hunger and satisfaction? While it is my deepest heart’s desire to convey that this journey is about SO much more than food and weight, the fact does remain–at least in part–most of us chose to connect with Thin Within in the first place because we felt that we could/should be a smaller size than we were (I know this isn’t true of everyone…many of you hope to be willing to eat what God calls you to eat instead of restricting).

It IS true that God may be teaching you personally that HIS desire for you is to be content at a certain size instead of something as small as you had hoped, but if the size that you think you are supposed to accept contributes to extreme health problems, perhaps there is still yet work to do. If you aren’t seeing some progress in letting go of the physical weight, I want to suggest that you evaluate:

Are there little foxes ruining this vineyard?

It takes a lot of work to get a vineyard to produce! The worst thing to a vineyard owner is to put all that time, money, and effort into having a producing vineyard only to have the little foxes ruin it all. Charles Wesley is credited to have said:

Spoil vines –  foxes do this many ways, by gnawing and breaking the little branches and leaves, by digging holes in the vineyards, and so spoiling the roots. Tender grapes – Which are easily spoiled, if great care be not used to prevent it.

I realized that the little foxes running amok in my life and my attempts to adhere to the principles and boundaries that God has led me to embrace (0 to 5 eating) were a problem for me. I had waited for my definitive hunger signal at one particular lunchtime. I eagerly put left over Mexican food in the oven to heat up. Even as I set the timer for 15 minutes, I realized that my hunger was INCESSANT!  I reached for small fox #1…a few chips. “Yum!” Then small fox #2…A cookie. “Yes, perfect!” Small fox #3…A bite of frosting from the jar…”That will do.”

All three foxes had dashed through before the meal emerged from the oven. By the time my leftovers were heated, I wasn’t hungry any longer and the amount of food that I had placed in the oven was based on my eating it from hunger to satisfaction…not from whatever-hunger-number-I-was-at-currently to a 5. Meaning, by eating the amount I had prepared, I was almost assuredly overeating! Being a “veteran” Thin Withinner I had put a fist sized portion in the oven, but only now I needed to be honest…there was a “three-finger sized” amount of space left in my stomach!

This didn’t happen just once before I became aware of the little foxes, either. It happened numerous times…each time with the justification of “Well, I am hungry!'” The truth is, if all of those little bites were going to be a part of my meal—used to satisfy my hunger—they needed to be considered. The portion I was yet waiting on from the oven might not even be necessary at all!

Having shared this with some of my coaching clients who have lamented that they wonder about their physical results not being quite what they had hoped, they have approached their eating with additional vigilance. You know what has happened? You guessed it. The physical changes are happening once again.

How About You?

On your way to your God-given natural size, every so often you might have to re-evaluate, refine, hone in on what is going on. Is it possible that you could benefit from evaluating if the little foxes are ruining your hard work? They can be quite subtle and we tend to justify and minimize them. Consider this thought, though…When we justify them not only do those small bites here and there represent energy that we are consuming that our body may not need, but might it also be adding a little bit of hardening to our hearts spiritually speaking? Maybe we can ask God to make us sensitive to His leading so that we get rid of the little foxes and welcome His Presence as the good Vinedresser that He is into our Vineyard!

What “little foxes” do you need to catch?

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14 Responses to Get Rid of “The Little Foxes!”

  1. Carrie (South Africa) November 8, 2013 at 5:10 am #

    When I do this is, it’s almost as if I’m saying to God,” your boundaries for me are not as important as this quick bite of food. You don’t satisfy. Food does”. It pains me but that’s what I’m thinking in the moment of a cheesecake high (or what ever it is). But His grace is sufficient and I am so grateful that HIS strength is made perfect in my weakness. Just another opportunity to praise him and try again.

  2. beckyyoungblog November 8, 2013 at 6:38 am #

    I’m SO happy that I’ve had my “little foxes” revelation last week! I couldn’t believe how many times I would eat “just one cracker” or “just one taste” of some sauce I was preparing for dinner. I’ve realized for me, the little foxes come out when I am approaching a zero. I’ll be cooking dinner, almost at a zero and I think “ah! I can’t wait 20 more minutes for dinner to be done! I need a bite of cheese NOW!” After spending time weeding out these little foxes last week, I was amazing at the physical reward I felt and the feeling of peace knowing that I was trying to be more obedient to the Lord. Who knew little foxes could wreak such havoc!

    • Heidi Bylsma November 12, 2013 at 4:32 pm #

      WOOT, Becky! I am so blessed to know this. 🙂

  3. Michelle November 8, 2013 at 9:18 am #

    Thank you! I needed this well-timed little reminder. This is exactly what I do. If I’m that hungry, waiting for my food to be ready, I need to spend those moments in prayer. I need to thank God for what I’m about to eat and not step in front of Him.

  4. Carrie November 8, 2013 at 1:14 pm #

    This is a great post. I will re-read it. Just today, I ate lunch with a friend. A delicious, satisfying sandwich. Fast forward a few hours (I’m still far from a 0) and I took my carpool for an ice cream. I wanted to try a sip of my son’s shake – really wanted to, almost did and then realized that this is a little fox. I was telling myself that one or 2 sips doesn’t matter. But when I declined (he even saved some for me – so tempting – but I used it as a lesson to tell him that I’m just not hungry and want to be hungry for dinner with the family) I felt so good that I did no succumb. I know that if I took a sip, it would be like sneaking it and trying to get away with it. I’m encouraged by Becky and the reward that she has seen from “weeding.” For me, in general, I think I need to weed out eating totally to 5 (or what I perceive to be 5 – it may be a 6). I’m planning on taking a little bit of my portion and see what happens. (my hunger is very predictable and I usually eat 3 meals a day. if I snack, then I’m not hungry when I want to be).

  5. Sarah November 8, 2013 at 1:39 pm #

    Thanks for this post! I can relate to snacking while making dinner because I’m just so hungry. But then I find that I’m no longer hungry for dinner but eat anyway. Ugh!

    Another issue for me is going past a 5 when I eat sweets. Has anyone fasted from a particular food that seems to trigger overeating or is this diet mentality? I really don’t want to go back there, but I don’t know what to do!

    • Heidi Bylsma November 12, 2013 at 4:35 pm #

      Sometimes, God has asked me to fast from a food for a season. It might be a short season. If you feel at peace with the decision, then go for it, but Romans 13 tells us that whatever is not of faith is sin…that can be helpful in deciding what to do. For me, my most successful thing that I fast is a partial fast. I don’t have Oreos and vanilla ice cream in my home at the same time because I will make Oreo milkshakes for every hunger. Lawful, yes, but beneficial…no! So I can have an Oreo Milkshake when I am out, but I also don’t allow myself to go through a drive through to buy them. I must go inside to buy them. Some boundaries with that particular food and I seem to do well. Ruling it out completely might trigger me. I don’t know! 🙂

  6. Barbi November 8, 2013 at 2:32 pm #

    Just what I needed…Too many foxes lurking in my territory..Been on a struggle the last 2 weeks..A lot going on..Had my 9 yr old g-dghtr for a week..Trying to help my dghtr thru her own struggles with job and finances..Dealing with the emotions and reactions of my 94 yr old Mother…My sister may be moving here the end of Nov. from Calif..She almost had a mental breakdown..She is 60, and her job as a caregiver for a handicapped man, became too much stress for her..So..been spending a lot of time in prayer, and paying attention to the needs around me, and not enough “me” time…All is quiet now, and I am struggling to get my life back in order…

    • Heidi Bylsma November 12, 2013 at 4:37 pm #

      Isn’t this life? It is so challenging, Barbi. I totally get it. I am praying for you right now. I remember when God took me deeper into a few more layers of the onion when all at the same time my husband fell of an emotional cliff (major mid-life crisis), my son vied for leadership of the family and my mom’s health took a turn for the worst. About the same time, I had to have my first horse put down. It was a challenging time…SO challenging! God is there to hold us close and to be our Comforter during these times. I am so glad for his faithfulness!

  7. soaring2him November 8, 2013 at 3:18 pm #

    A great reminder for me today! I never thought of those extra nibbles as “foxes”, but that totally describes what those nibbles are! I was packing an after swim snack for my daughter today (a pretzel) and I felt like it was okay to have one, but I really wanted to eat it sitting down since sitting is one of my boundaries. I put the pretzel I my mouth but refused to chew it until I sat down. It probably looked ridiculous! But I’m learning!

  8. Jamie November 8, 2013 at 6:50 pm #

    Good word of encouragement Heid. I’m going to keep an eye out for those little foxes lurking around my kitchen. 🙂

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