As I continue this week to apply Key to Conscious Eating #1 – eat only when my body is hungry, I do see that it is very easy to revert to legalism. This is a guideline of grace, yet it is my nature to insist that it is a law and, thus, to chafe, resist, resent. It is a godly boundary, though, not a law through which I can seek to “win” approval of God! I have his complete 100% approval in Christ! I rejoice in that fact! No feelings that I have, no matter how convincing, can alter the truth that it is by grace I have been saved through faith–not by works, so that I may not boast–and even this is a gift of God!

–> How about you? Have you found yourself going from “This is easy!” to having your dander go up, a sort of rebellious resentment surface about having a boundary of eating only when hungry?

For the first three days of this challenge to eat only when hungry, I responded in gratitude! But yesterday afternoon I became vulnerable to my flesh. Last night, I didn’t pause to ask the Lord if the “hunger” I was experiencing was true physical hunger.

So, I begin again.

Observation and Correction is where I am right now.

Observation: I invite the Lord to show me what was going on…without judgment. I dispassionately view last night’s scene in my mind and heart as if watching it on a TV screen (or that is how the Thin Within book describes it). When I do this, I recall:

  1. I was tired
  2. My husband had been gone all week and was now home!
  3. Some strong emotions had surfaced that triggered a sense of abandonment relative to a friendship, ministry at church, and some other things. (A triple whammy!)
  4. I had had a challenging ride on my horse and was emotionally exhausted from that (I know…poor baby! :-))
  5. I was up later than usual.

These are all things that I know can cause me to gravitate toward food.

Correction: Taking the above 5 things into account and without beating myself up, I now make a plan of correction. Next time I know I am in a tired, emotional place, I know that I need to be strengthened. Before temptation strikes, I will enjoy some time of prayer, praise–perhaps get out my guitar and sing, or take some journaling time or time to read my bible and pray. It doesn’t have to take long, but I know that if I am vulnerable (and I know this ahead of time), all I need to do is invite God into that place with me and it makes a difference. If I wait until temptation hits, it is unlikely I will invite him in as I sort of plan the path I intend to run and ignore the gentle nudgings of the Spirit of God.

–> How about you? What observations can you make about any time you have strayed from eating when you aren’t hungry? Jot them down.
–> What corrections can you make so that the next time you don’t have the same outcome?

If we plan ahead for those times we know are coming, we are less likely to have them broadside us!

This is often when people will say, “Thin Within doesn’t work. Forget it! Give me my Weight Watchers! Give me my SouthBeach Diet! Give me my Jenny Craig! Just tell me what to eat and when and I will lose all this weight! I have done it before, I can do it again!”

One wise friend said something along the lines of “No one has ever hated themselves into lasting positive change.” That is so true! But it is like we want to punish ourselves for our struggle with food, eating and our bodies…so we resort to restrictive dieting or exercising to the “N’th” degree! This isn’t the way of the Spirit. This isn’t the way of grace!

God calls us to risk–walking with HIM instead of depending on prescriptive ways of dealing with our weight. It may mean that we don’t see physical results as quickly as we want, but he is dealing with the root issue! Permanent, lasting change…changes in our hearts, in what we value, in our character…the things that matter in life…these are the things he is working on!

Get Thin Stay Thin chapter three speaks to this:

The question we must ask ourselves as we encounter grace in our lives is, Shall we risk living by it? Shall we place our faith in the free, spontaneous, and absolute loving-kindness of God working in us to make us whole or shall we continue to live by legalistic systems? GTST, p. 61

For years most of us have leaned on the prescriptive, external restraints and legalism of diets. Has it worked to change our hearts? It is so contrary to our God of grace! He wants freedom for us. While the freedom has been purchased it may take a long time for it to be experienced in its fullest. It is a lifetime process. I don’t think this side of heaven we will ever quite “arrive.”

This is, first and foremost, a journey. Let us enjoy it as much as we can. This, too, is one way that grace is manifest. The end result isn’t the point. The journey, our traveling Companion, the process…is!