Seeking First the Kingdom of God ~ Guest Post by Brenda Ameli

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I have worked through all four of the Thin Within workbooks.

I have worked through the Thin Within book.

I have led Thin Within groups three times in the last ten years.

I am a certified Wellness Coach and Pilates instructor.

I teach.

I KNOW this stuff!

And yes, here I am, still yearning for freedom, still waiting on God. Still wondering when I will be set free from struggling with excess eating and excess body weight.

Perhaps it’s precisely because I am immersed in the world of fitness that I am easily distracted and find it hard to keep my eyes fixed on the path that I know is the only way to freedom in this.

A few months ago I invested in a season of private coaching with Heidi Bylsma; a very wise decision!  I remember sending her my daily logs with my “hunger numbers”—almost always reporting 0 to 5 eating.  And yet I saw no weight loss and felt no progress happening.  Heidi pointed out the discrepancy. ☺  As is the way of a good coach, Heidi put the observation out there and left it to me to wrestle with:  “Brenda, you report eating within your chosen boundary of 0 to 5 on a consistent basis, yet you say you are not seeing the results you’d hoped for.”

In my wrestling, I decided I needed to more clearly define a “5.” Obviously I was eating past 5, so in my mind the solution was to get better at stopping at a 5.

One morning God turned the light on for me; all I had worked on with Heidi became clear as I read through the book of Joshua.

I came to the part where the land is being divided up between the tribes of Israel. I noticed how clear and precise the boundaries were and I started thinking how boundaries are important to God—God gives us boundaries for our safety, health and because He knows what is truly good for us.

In Joshua 18 the Scripture tells us that there were still seven Israelite tribes who had not received their inheritance. And Joshua says to them, ” How long will you wait before you begin to take possession of the land that the Lord the God of your ancestors has given you?”

God spoke to me through that—How long am I going to wait until I do MY part to take possession of the freedom that God has given me?

It’s my inheritance!

God has given it to me, but it is up to me to do my due diligence and receive what God has for me.

For me, at this point in my journey, trying to more precisely define  a “5” on the hunger scale is not where God wants my focus.

I believe He is showing me that my part is to do what it takes to place myself before Him every single day for the renewing of my mind; soaking in the truth of His Word, writing Truth Cards as a daily practice, being honest about where I am spiritually and what I am doing, as well as what I am eating.

Sunday morning at church God again spoke to me—this time through a guest speaker.  She was teaching from Genesis chapters 2 and 3, and she came to Chapter 3 verses 8 and 9, where Adam and Eve have disobeyed God and eaten from the one tree in the garden that He had forbidden.  In verse 9 God calls out to Adam, saying, “Where are you?

I believe that God is asking that of me as well.  “Where are you with ME, Brenda?”   Are you living in all the abundance I have given you, or are you in a place of rebellion?  What tree are you choosing?”

To me it’s a really big deal is that I finally have taken my eyes off of seeking weight loss above everything– although I haven’t given up and I do still want it.  It’s that now I am seeking FIRST the kingdom of God;  seeking GOD through specific, daily practices so that my focus turns away from food and body obsession.

I have learned that the daily practices of prayer, Bible reading, writing and reading Truth Cards, praising God in song, lifting my face to Him will bring about the renewing of my mind and the transforming of my heart, my body, and my life.  And then eating within the boundaries of 0 to 5 will be a natural result of my decision to claim my inheritance and choose the abundant life He alone offers.

Brenda~ Brenda Ameli. Brenda lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, teaching mind body movement and leading the women’s ministry at her church.

How About You?

Is it possible that “thin” or “0” or “5” has actually become a distraction from what God wants for you? Does God want you to focus elsewhere? What might responding to His invitation in this look like for you?

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4 Responses to Seeking First the Kingdom of God ~ Guest Post by Brenda Ameli

  1. Traci Delson January 2, 2014 at 7:41 am #

    This reading hit home for me…. It has my name all over it. I needed to read this testimony this morning.

    • Heidi Bylsma January 3, 2014 at 8:51 am #

      Brenda has done a great job. Thanks for letting us know it hit the mark for you, too!

  2. Karen K. January 2, 2014 at 8:55 am #

    Yes — I have to keep this struggle of “Who is my God/god?” constantly before me. Many times I have let the control of food/diet/nutrition become an idol to me and I become “god” over myself. I fool myself into thinking that The Almighty is still in charge, but an evaluation of what I think about most during any given day soon leads me to discover who/what my “god” has become — even though I may read His Word daily and have a consistent quiet-time. This is where my daily battle lies. Thanks for getting my head/heart in the right place today. When God is first — “all these things will be added unto me as well.”

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