Don’t think about a green elephant.
No…no thoughts of a green elephant are allowed.
You aren’t thinking of a green elephant are you?
Stop it! No green elephant thinking! No sneaking even a single green elephant thought!
Wait for it…wait for it….well??? 🙂
So, honestly, have you been able NOT to think of a green elephant since starting to read this blog entry?
I didn’t think so.
When we try NOT to think about something, often that is ALL we think about! So, if you tell yourself “Don’t think about a green elephant,” that is precisely what you are likely to think about!
And when you tell yourself NOT to think about food, that is precisely what you are likely to think about…food!
Often, people want to give up applying themselves to eating 0 to 5 (between hunger and satisfaction) because they say it makes them more food focused. Sometimes, what this really means is we are giving ourselves permission to eat whatever we want, whenever we want, in quantities that we want…making provision for the flesh instead of submitting our desires to the Lord.
So if we “give up” on 0 to 5 eating, maybe we aren’t so consciously focused on food, but our lives return to becoming food-centered. We may not think about food as much, but we eat more often and in larger quantities! We plan our lives around food, which restaurants we can go to when we run errands, which movie would go best with a large platter of nachos, etc….Is that really freedom from being food-focused? Of course not!
I propose that we be intentional. If we don’t want to think about green elephants, if we don’t want to think about food, the best way to do that is to think about something else. I propose that we allow thoughts of the Lord and His character flood our minds. This works wonders for me and in the Thin Within classes I have taught, I have heard great responses to this exercise as well. We have to think of practical ways of filling our minds with thoughts other than food.
For me, this takes several forms. Here are things I do. You may want to try some of them:
- Create a GOD LIST. This is a cumulative list of all of God’s attributes that I stumble upon in my quiet times, at church, as I read, in music, hymns or in conversing with a godly friend. I have started keeping my GOD LIST on my iPad since it travels with me. This list is not only what his attributes are, but it is also a list of ways he interacts with people…the things he has done for people.
- I use my GOD LIST frequently to praise God. I praise Him for these attributes. We were created for worship, so it stands to reason that the best thing I can do is what I was created to do! When I daily take time to praise God, just listing back some of the things on my list to Him in prayer and thanking him for them, my heart is flooded full. Funny thing is that I am not drawn to food as often. I can even have a “Praise Feast” like this when I *am* tempted…rather than the food and my desire for it being my focus, GOD is my focus. It really makes a difference!
- Use praise and worship music playing a lot of the time. I don’t know if it is just me, but when I drive, I love to worship the Lord. It is a time that I can do that. The words to the music don’t just wash over my mind, but I try to soak in them, praying them back to the Lord. If my heart isn’t “into it,” then I make it a prayer. “Lord make me willing to surrender all to you as this song speaks about…”
- I set the timer on my watch to go off throughout the day. When the beeper goes off, I take a moment to just give thanks to God for his character or the gifts that I enjoy in life.
- During my most difficult times of the day, I can have a quiet time. Even if I have had one in the morning, I can have another one…just times of being still in His presence and letting him fill me up. I can do another section of my BSF lesson or the next exercises in my Thin Within lesson, or open to Ephesians 1 (or another great section of scripture) and soak in the amazing truths found there. I don’t have to have *only* one quiet time each day!
Even if we are busy people with a busy work life or a stay-at-home Mom, homeschooling 4 under the age of 10, we can foster an inner attitude of worship.
Doing this is the BEST antidote for our tendency to being “food-focused.” Rather than “quitting” eating 0 to 5, why not start some new habits that focus my attention on whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things (Philippians 4:8)?