For quite a while, I have known a key to “success” — spiritual, emotional, and physical — is to foster an attitude of heartfelt gratitude, praise, and thanksgiving to the Lord. It is odd to me, then, that I have not *done* what I *know* is vital. You see, no matter how I have “lost” weight in the past, it has always been pride that has been my undoing–even if it has been on the path that Thin Within endorses.

Even recently, I have seen the insidious nature of pride (again) as it creeps in so subtly. Earlier in this weight-releasing journey I would lean hard on the Lord to tell me when to stop eating and even what would be a good choice to eat. It is almost like I have now taken the things that he has graciously done for me, taught me and turned them into my own set of rules for keeping the weight off. This is rooted in pride. I need to continue to ask God, ask God, ask God. When I invite him into each moment, I foster a humble dependence on Him that not only blesses His heart (I believe), but it lifts me up as well.

Today I read day 17 in my Thin Within book. The TW group that I lead has an extra week off because of Thanksgiving, so we have two weeks to spend on days 16, 17, and 18. How fitting that day 17 is on gratitude! This morning, I spent time pondering afresh many of the blessings that God has bestowed on me. I will be posting them to my gratitude blog site (I haven’t posted there in a LONG LONG time!), but thought I would also post here.

To elaborate on the connection between gratitude and the Thin Within journey–which is really just a journey toward Christ-likeness–let me share an example from my life and see if you can’t relate.

As I eat, I may hear a conviction in my heart: “Child, enough for now. That is enough fuel for your body.”

I decide to play a game of sorts… “Did I hear you right, Lord? You said enough?” (Said as I take another bite…)

“Yes, Child. You have had all the food your body requires and I do hope you enjoyed the blessing I have provided to you.”

Taking yet another bite, I respond, “Lord, I must not be hearing you right, as I still am not at a ‘5’ on the hunger scale…” You see, in this place, I am saying *I* know best–that it is my *right* to have more food! In fact, it doesn’t matter if I am at a 5 or not. God has chosen to reveal HIS will to me…and the humble response will be obedience…not “Can we discuss it and see if I agree?” kind of obedience. It is pride that keeps me from just heeding His will and doing what He says.

In fact, it isn’t about the food at all. It is about what saying no to Him about *anything* does to my heart…it hardens my heart just a bit. Do I really want to do that?

When I *daily* spend time listing out things I am filled with gratitude to God for, it puts me in the place of humility…and Him in His rightful place–as provider, sustainer, satisfier, my all in all. How can I say NO to such a wonderful Lord? When I struggle with wanting food for any reason other than physical need, if I can choose to write out even 5 things for which I am grateful to God, I see a definite change in my attitude. I go from “I can TOO eat what I want. This little bit won’t matter after all!” to “Whatever you desire for me, God…” Again, the bite of food isn’t the point…it is the heart attitude that is.

When asked in my Thin Within book this morning to list things I am grateful for, it was easy to list a number of things:

1. For new trash cans (I know that sounds silly and I won’t explain it, but God knows!)…
2. For the cedar chest now snuggled into the bay window near our dining table (another one that God understands…LOL!)
3. For my pony, Breezy, who continues to give me wonderful rides during which I can fellowship with friends with whom I wouldn’t otherwise spend time.
4. For lunches out with my Mom–that she is fun to be with and still in good health at 82 years of age.
5. That God has removed the extra weight from my body, lowered my blood pressure, and that I no longer fear keeling over from a heart attack…
6. For the privilege of leading a Thin Within class at my church.
7. For the joy that the ladies in my TW class give me. Oh! How I LOVE them so! Lord, don’t you just love them so? 🙂
8. For Jordan, the dog we got at the shelter about 6 weeks ago…God has used him to help heal our hearts, we missed Samson and Bo so much…and still do, though Jordan helps so much. He is such a blessing!
9. That I can nap with my arms around “psycho-dog” Daisy…she is crazy much of the time, but does a good imitation of a stuffed animal when I snooze with her and cuddle with her.
10. For my mustang, Dodger’s, huge try…
11. For Harley, my Morab horse, and his incredible beauty and the joy he gives me.
12. For Doc, my big baby (another horse) …who has the most kissable nose on the planet! He is just so incredibly sweet, even though he is in such pain all the time.
13. For a husband who loves you, Lord.
14. For a family time last night of watching the movie, Amazing Grace, and even how it tied in with some of the things the kids have been learning about in our history class in homeschool! That was an unplanned blessing! (Thank you that Daniel CHOSE to join us!)
15. For the privilege of participating in the writing of the Thin Within book with Judy and Dr. Arthur…I still shake my head at how atonishing that was…is…and the continued blessings that come from that.
16. For the pre-release copy of “Raising Fit Kids in a Fat World” that Judy sent me! Oh, Lord! I can’t wait to see what you DO with this! It is sooooo reflective of your wisdom, your fun-loving nature, and joy in your Children! Thank you for the privilege of letting me participate in that project as well.
17. That my two teenagers still cuddle me, hold my hands, put their arms around me–even in public!!!
18. For the privilege of homeschooling another year…
19. For my retreat time with you, Lord, where you helped me to see YOUR priorities for my life…I have your peace as a result, even if there seems to be so much to do in the time I have.
20. For a church that preaches and teaches your Word…thank you.

These are just off the top of my head this morning…I am thankful that I have so many things that I am so thankful for! LOL! Truthfully, as I ponder all of these things…and there are so many more…it is only fitting that the Giver of such gifts is exalted, esteemed, worshipped. In this place, I can’t imagine exalting myself, my opinion, my desires above whatever He calls me to.

I am positive that one of the greatest weapons for fighting against my own rebellion, pride and/or apathy in my Christian life and in my quest to be healthy inside and out (which for me are the same thing) is choosing to give thanks, even with an act of my will…even when I don’t feel it. As I choose to give thanks, list the blessings that God has given me, I find something amazing takes place…I find that my own spirit begins to soar, be buoyant…is lifted up out of the pit.

I want to encourage all to try the same! 😀