Letting Myself Be Free

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

On June 6, 2014 at 3:00 am, the Lord gave me a dream.  My son woke up shortly after I had the dream for a feeding.  As I was feeding him his bottle, the Lord gave me the interpretation to the dream.  I couldn’t wait to write the dream and the interpretation in my journal.  This has been monumental truth in my life!  I pray that this will encourage you as well!

In the dream, some other girls and I were kidnapped.  I won’t go into the details, but I could tell that we had been with these kidnappers for quite awhile because we got used to them and after awhile we were looking to them to take care of us and protect us–even though they were still evil.

This is what I wrote in my journal at 3:30 am:

We are held captive for so long that we become friends with and trust our captors.  We begin to rely heavily upon their “protection” even though they are harmful to us.  And when we are actually free to run away or get help, we stay captive  because we become like the elephant and think the rope is still tied to us–but we are actually free.  We are actually strong enough to escape captivity, but being held captive is all we know.  (I think it was Ginger that Heidi posted on Facebook about writing a book and she shared a story about how when they are training baby elephants to be in the circus or maybe the zoo, they tie a rope around one of their legs so they can’t go anywhere.  As the elephant gets older, it stays in one place and doesn’t think it can move, but the rope has been removed a long time ago).  It becomes a comfort to us.  We get hurt because we are held captive, but we cling to our captors for help.  It doesn’t make sense.

So this is what the Lord showed me–this is what I am doing with the diets and obsessive researching and thinking about trying to change things with what I am eating all the time.  These are the things that held me captive for so long, and now I am free, but I’m like that elephant–I’m strong, but I am so used to being in one place and thinking that I am stuck in one place, that I haven’t moved.  So even though the obsessive thoughts and diets have been harmful, it’s a comfort zone for me, so I keep on wanting to stick around.  And even though in the dream I could have jumped out of a car, made a phone call, or cried out for others to help me get away from the kidnappers, I chose to stay because it was safer that way and didn’t cause me as much harm–even though these kidnappers could have harmed or killed me just like that and without even a care in the world.  I have put my trust in my captors–in these programs, obsessive thoughts, etc.

“Prisons can be safe and comfortable.  They can become a known life, a familiar way.  Resignation is safe; dreaming is dangerous.  Letting someone else control your life is easier than rising up to deny them control; the relationship will never be the same…The known is always more comfortable and less risky than the unknown…Not a one of us was created to live in captivity.”*

So I am free!  God has thrown the prison doors wide open.  The shackles have been removed.  I can walk in freedom!  I just have to choose it!  “We will have to choose freedom and fight for our freedom as the Scripture urges…You pay too high a price to stay in chains.  Freedom is what you are made for; freedom is good.”*

Just like I posted about Galatians 5:1, I have to LET myself be free!  I’m still learning this.  (Even the night before this is being posted, I’m still trying to keep myself from being free by giving myself another food rule; this has got to stop!  I have to choose to stop it!)  It baffles me that I would even let myself be held captive when I really am totally free!  The prison doors are open, so why don’t I just run out?  Probably because this has been 12 years of familiarity to me.  And honestly, it’s sort of scary!  I’m sure the Israelites felt the same way when they were out wandering in the wilderness.  Egypt was slavery, but it was what they were familiar with.  For some, it was all they knew.  They had never lived a life of freedom before.  So why is freedom so scary to us?

“A known captivity is more comfortable than an unknown freedom.”

–author unknown

How do we hold ourselves captive when it comes to our eating and body image?  For me, it’s been opening links to before/after pictures of someone’s success with a particular diet or exercise program, it’s thinking critical thoughts of my body, researching different ways of eating, focusing on a body part that I’ve never really liked (but I’m learning to love), etc.  It’s also been thinking I need to change the way I eat, do an exercise challenge, or thinking I need to be skinny (I will be sharing another post about this some time soon).  These are all things that hold me back from experiencing the freedom God meant for me.  Being critical of myself and my body holds me back from loving who God has created me to be.  Reading about diets or thinking that I need to change my eating is me searching for some perfect set of boundaries.  Thinking I need to do some intense exercise program puts my eyes back on me, me, me, me, me–instead of Christ.  These are the things that trip me up.  The excessive focus and the obsession with food, my body, and thinking I need to be ‘skinny’ is like slapping the chains right back on.  Christ is like, “You’re free!”  And I’m like, “I’m scared of this freedom!”  Christ is like, “Follow these simple boundaries.”  And I’m like, “But Lord, I know these other paths will lead me to where I want to be (worshipping the ‘skinny’ idol).”  I put the shackles back on.

You see, I have been comfortable with those things that held me captive for so long.  It’s become like a friend.  I could run away, but this is all I’ve known for a long, long time.  For some of us, being overweight has felt comfortable because it’s sort of like a wall we have put up, a defense mechanism to keep the people away that could hurt us.  For some of us, driving through drive-thru after drive-thru is comforting because we get to eat and numb ourselves.  For some, not eating brings us comfort because we are in control (even though it’s completely out of control).  I don’t know your particular reason, but I know that Christ wants to free you from those chains.  The devil has spewed out his lies upon you long enough.  It’s time to bruise him under our feet (Romans 16:20) and throw off those chains and RUN out of captivity!

Shake off your dust;
    rise up, sit enthroned, Jerusalem.
Free yourself from the chains on your neck,
    Daughter Zion, now a captive. 

Isaiah 52:2

Sometimes, I think, in a humorous way, that the Lord must slap His hand to His forehead in disbelief that I’m doing it again.  But there I am, looking back at Egypt.  “Those leeks and onions sure look good!  What is this manna anyway?” 

So how to I stop being so stubborn and free myself?  I am already free, so how do I walk out that freedom?  This is probably going to come as a big surprise to you (not really):

I need to renew my mind!

Big shocker there, right?  *wink*

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”  Romans 12:2

What’s God’s good, pleasing and perfect will for me?  FREEDOM!

How will I be transformed and be free from the pattern of this world?  RENEWING MY MIND!

What is the pattern of this world?  To be selfish, proud, serving other gods, envy, greed, lust, etc.

I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of the “pattern” of this world.  I’m tired of the world telling me that I *have* to be skinny, that I *have* to eat a certain way, that I *have* to bow down to the gods of this world if I want to be happy and blah, blah, blah.

Can you tell I’m getting feisty?

So I’m doing it!  I’m taking off the chains and taking those steps in my newfound freedom!  I’m renewing my mind every time I am tempted to go back to captivity.  I’m going to choose not to open the books or sites on the internet that would trip me up.  I have to keep my eyes on what Christ has asked me to do, not what the world is beckoning me to do.  It also might mean excusing myself from conversations that would only ensnare me.

I’m going to fix my eyes on Christ!

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,  fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”  Hebrews 12:1-3

Are  you with me on this?  Are you ready to release yourself from what has held you captive for so long and live your life in freedom?  Freedom from diets, from being critical of your body, from counting, weighing, etc.?  We can do this together!  Let’s throw off those chains and RUN to Jesus!!!  Let’s renew our minds together and watch the beautiful transformation take place!

*Becoming Myself: Embracing God’s Dream of You by Stasi Eldredge

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24 Responses to Letting Myself Be Free

  1. debbie July 11, 2014 at 6:42 am #

    Wow, how sweet is our Holy Spirit to speak so mightily through this? He saw me up till 12:30 last night searching another “diet” to help take these 47 year old chains and 150 extra pounds off my body………when all along, I am free. I need to read this everyday b/c I struggle so much with doubt that this can even be done, doubt that God still loves me after all these years of struggle, not trusting, not walking in freedom when He paid such a great price. It is for Christ’s sake that He has set me free. Thank you for taking the time to pen this very important article with all that you have to do in your very busy life!!! God is using it mightily!!!! I am free indeed!

    • Christina Smith July 11, 2014 at 10:40 am #

      Debbie, it can be done! You have the Spirit of the living God helping you. He will guide and direct your every step if you are willing to listen and follow His lead. I want to encourage you to make yourself a set of truth cards and write down scriptures that will show you that God can indeed help you. He wants to be at the center of your heart. No diet will make it better. Diets only work short-term. For me, dieting only was a Band-Aid. God wants to work from the inside out. He wants to expose the lies of the enemy and reveal His truth in your life. Information about truth cards: http://www.thinwithin.org/?s=truth+cards&submit=Search

  2. Chris July 11, 2014 at 7:16 am #

    This is one of the most powerful and anointed posts I have ever heard regarding dieting, rules, food..etc. The Holy Spirit gave it to you so that others might be set free…every one of us struggle with these very same issues. The Lord bless you and keep you and make His Face to shine upon you always ….

    • Christina Smith July 11, 2014 at 10:41 am #

      Chris, thank you! Something the Lord has shown me is that no matter what size we are, what battle we are dealing with, what kind of eating “disorder” we have, the lies from the enemy are the same. And God wants to expose those lies and bring truth.

  3. Allison Mitchell July 11, 2014 at 8:10 am #

    Wow! This has such deep truth for me. Thank you for sharing!

    • Christina Smith July 11, 2014 at 10:42 am #

      You’re welcome, Allison! Praise the Lord!

  4. Cynthia Brock July 11, 2014 at 9:36 am #

    Christina,
    This is a great blog. Thanks for listening when God was speaking to you. I always remember the father who took his son to Jesus to be healed. He asked Jesus to heal him, IF HE COULD. Jesus responded, “Anything is possible for those who believe.” The father said, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief.”
    Mark 9:20-24 It is as you said. We must renew our belief, daily. It is not in our strength, but in HIS. We can’t do it on our own, although we probably do because that is what we know!

    • Christina Smith July 11, 2014 at 10:44 am #

      Cynthia, exactly–we cannot do this on our own. I used to really struggle with understanding what it meant to invite God into my journey of overcoming the control of food in my life. It was through renewing my mind that it’s become clear to me. And now I see that, yes, I choose to go to Him and renew my mind, but HE is the One doing the changes and transformation in me. I’m so thankful for what He has done and for what He is doing!

  5. LiNDA July 11, 2014 at 10:02 am #

    This is EXACTLY what I needed to hear today! It hit home all the way around – I thought I was the only one who obsessively “researches” diets and anything weight-related. I, too, am afraid to “be free” so to speak. The unknown is really scarey to me and I keep thinking that if I don’t have some type of “program” or “structure”, I will be totally out of control and that I can’t trust myself to give everything to God and just live “free”. Thank you so much for this post!

    • Christina Smith July 11, 2014 at 10:35 am #

      Linda, I was really obsessed with researching diets. I spent (wasted) so much time reading about the latest trend. You name it, I probably read it. You can read more about my story here: http://www.thinwithin.org/changed-a-testimony-by-christina/ With God, we can overcome! The ‘game changer’ for me was seeing God’s truth about the matter and renewing my mind.

  6. Andrea July 11, 2014 at 11:28 am #

    Oh Boy Christina, I feel like I could have written this post. Lately God has been showing me to cut all the idols ( no matter if it’s being skinny or the “clean eating – sugar/gluten/dairy free – perfect healthy eating madness). We put so much thought into this and forget our main focus, Christ! We are free to eat ALL kinds of food in moderation, so why do we keep trying to create these stupid food rules, only to break them and feel so bad after, that terrible cycle. I wish everybody (including me) could see how good it is to be free and let food just be food, to nourish and enjoy when hungry, nothing else. Thanks for sharing this!!!!

    • Christina Smith July 11, 2014 at 10:42 pm #

      Andrea, I hear you! Why do we keep going back to some kind of food rule? It’s this familiar place, but it’s not a mentally healthy place, especially when we have “skinny” connected to it.

  7. Christina July 11, 2014 at 7:39 pm #

    Amen, sister! I am with you, no turning back!!! There is nothing better than freedom in Christ. I have tasted it, and I am running to Jesus with you! Thank you so much for sharing from your heart. God is doing a new thing in you!!! <3

    • Christina Smith July 11, 2014 at 10:43 pm #

      Thank you, Christina! Your encouragement means so much!

  8. Karli July 13, 2014 at 5:15 pm #

    I just wanted to thank you so much for posting this! God knew I needed it. I was reading a book and it had a statement in it that I could NOT get out of my head, “When you learn to look at MEALS differently, your body will respond with a higher metabolism and increased energy. Sugar and salt cravings will be more manageable. You will begin to see emotional eating for what it really is: a habit.” I realized that it had to start in my mind and that my mind was sabotaging my weight loss efforts. and I was just searching the internet while talking to my friend about it and I found some interesting articles, but I felt led to come here and you posted THIS ENTRY!!! Perfect timing! I’m going to be renewing my mind this week and learning to love this freedom instead of trying to reshackle myself with broken shackles. 🙂 can you pray about it and maybe create an entry about different ways that help you renew your mind? 🙂

    • Christina Smith July 13, 2014 at 6:28 pm #

      Karli, yes, I would love to write an entry about different ways you can renew your mind. Some of my favorite ways are: truth cards, using the I Deserve a Donut app or book by Barb Raveling, and truth journaling. It really does start with our mind. Today, I was reminded that renewing my mind is a lot more important than following my boundaries. Thanks for sharing this!

  9. Lori July 13, 2014 at 8:26 pm #

    Christina , I am literally sitting here in tears as I read your post. We recently had a death in the family so everything has been off. I found myself looking into another diet plan just to gain control but I did not have peace. I know better. I just sat here in tears and somehow found this. Thank you and bless you ! All glory and praise to God!!

    Lori

    • Christina Smith July 13, 2014 at 11:06 pm #

      Lori, I’m so sorry for the loss of your loved one! (((HUGS))) I’m so glad this post encouraged you!

  10. Lara July 13, 2014 at 10:52 pm #

    This blog was God talking directly to me! Thank you so much for posting it! I love your “feistiness” and your reasoning. It’s just what I needed to hear. I just bought the app you recommended. It looks great.

    It’s funny. I bought the Thin Within book many years ago. There was no mention of God in it. I believe it was written by Judy Wardell. ( I may have her name wrong. This was quite a while ago and I no longer have the book. ). The program is now Christ-centered, which I absolutely love! I think it’s going to make a huge difference in me being able to follow this way of eating.

    Thank you again. I feel so blessed!

    • Christina Smith July 13, 2014 at 11:07 pm #

      Lara, that was the book Judy wrote before she became a Christian. Her last name is now Halliday and from what I know of her, she’s a dynamic Christian woman who loves the Lord. I’m so glad this post was a blessing to you and an encouragement! 🙂

  11. Lisa Robinson July 17, 2014 at 4:23 am #

    Just like everybody else, his blog couldn’t have been posted at a better time. I was just about to go back down the low carb path….again….I have got to take your post and copy it! What a beautiful encouragement for us….thank you!

    • Christina Smith July 18, 2014 at 10:41 am #

      Lisa, definitely don’t go down that path (unless you are absolutely sure it’s the Lord!). I really have to keep my eyes on God in this.

  12. Lauren July 24, 2014 at 5:46 am #

    Christina! I cannot tell you how much this has just blessed me! This is the EXACT area of struggle for me right now! What a great reminder that I am already free! I wasn’t meant to live in this self-induced captivity. Thank you so much for sharing what God so clearly placed on your heart!

    • Christina Smith July 24, 2014 at 10:48 am #

      Lauren, you can break free! Turn your eyes away from all of those temptations and fix your eyes on Jesus. Follow His peace. He will never lead you astray!

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