Image Source: iStockPhoto

Image Source: iStockPhoto

On Wednesday, I shared a post that asserted that the #1 reason we fail at eating 0 to 5 is because of a lie that we believe that eating outside of our boundaries will be a bigger blessing to us than honoring God and staying inside our boundaries. I also shared an alternative truth that we can memorize and plaster (in sticky notes) around our house, office, and car so that we can begin to replace the lie with the truth that obeying God is an honor and privilege and no food will taste as good as the joy of obedience will feel.

If trading the lies for truth is the foundation upon which our eating is to be built (and I believe it is), then the mechanics—the how-to—of our hunger/satisfaction eating is the infrastructure.

Yesterday, I shared that there are two extremely different (opposite) ways of living within 0 and 5 boundaries.  I also mentioned that a person can choose a combination or a variation of either or both. More on that in the weeks to come!

In brief review, the first of these two extremes is a very structured approach. Yesterday, I provided a link to a Google Docs chart that you can copy, save and use if you feel God is leading you to do so. It isn’t likely to be a good idea to use it all the time. It might be for a week or a month-long “season.”

Today, I want to share the extreme opposite approach–that of the “free spirit,” “free-flowing” non-structured approach. This might be right for the person who—at least for now— does best (for any number of reasons) without charts, logs, or reports. God has wired us all differently, so if this is you, I hope you will celebrate it! But, before I share with you how this can work, I want to lay some groundwork with a couple of caveats:

1.) Our hearts are deceitful.

The heart is deceitful above all things
and beyond cure.
Who can understand it?

Jeremiah 17:9

2.) Our bodies are not yet redeemed

 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, 
groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, 
the redemption of our bodies. 

Romans 8:23

Because our bodies are not yet redeemed, because our hearts can be quite convincing, using this “less restrictive” approach is best used by those who have an intimate relationship with Christ, who are aware of their own weakness and tendency to wander. Not all people with this kind of relationship with the Lord will be suited to this, but it would be very difficult to have this approach if you know that you are definitely more of a “seeing is believing,” or “nuts and bolts,” or “cerebral” kind of Christ-follower! Even if you think of yourself as a true-blue “contemplative,” if you are like many of us and are too busy to be still in God’s presence daily or through the moments of the day, if an entire day (or week!) can go by without you being aware of God’s presence, if you think people “over spiritualize” the eating thing too much or you are convinced that God doesn’t care that much about your eating…then this approach isn’t likely to be for you at all!

Let’s talk straight. For some of us, structure can actually masquerade as godliness when it is really (perhaps, maybe?) a play for control.

Conversely, those who are sensitive to the Lord’s leading in the moment (or who think they are ;-)) might develop an air of superiority to those who are more technical or concrete in their walk with God and may attempt to justify sin as “The Lord led me to….” OUCH. We don’t want either!

To blow everyone out of the water :-), let me just say that one of the most tender-hearted, sensitive-to-the-Lord’s leading people I have interacted with is a client who is very “routine-oriented.” So while these approaches may appear to be mutually exclusive, they aren’t. My client has shown me that structure and free-flowing sensitivity to the Lord’s leading can not only co-exist, but be wonderfully complementary!

To make it even more confusing, some people who are “free spirited” might be challenged by people they respect to add more structure to their lives when what they really might need is to:

“Be still, and know that I am God;
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth.”

Psalm 46:10

Specifically, I would urge those who are drawn to this more “free flowing” approach to:

1.) Recognize the voice of the Lord—that He speaks at all—even in the moment (John 10:27)

2.) Know that He has a will—and is willing that you know what it is—even in the moment (Romans 12:1,2)

3.) Rest in the fact that He gives you what you need for life and godliness—even in the moment (2 Peter 1:3)

What do I do to do this, Heidi? You have convinced me!

It is pretty tough to provide instruction or a “This is How This Is Done” to a NON-structured, FREE-flowing approach! LOL!

Jesus says that his sheep know his voice—he speaks, but sometimes, we prefer not to hear it. We  may even hide behind 0 and 5, pointing to them as the rule we follow for our eating. Sometimes, the rule written on our heart, breathed into us by the Holy Spirit—the voice of Jesus—will over-rule what we claim is our 0 and 5. God may lead us to abstain from food, to choose another food, to eat more slowly, to stop eating…or, he may challenge us to love well by eating when we aren’t yet at a 0 when an aging aunt showers us with love (via a meal we weren’t expecting). GASP!!!! I know. I sound like I am contradicting everything, right? Sometimes that is the way God is, but we don’t want to blame God for a rebellious act, either. God’s #1 goal is for us to love well and he typically provides ways for us to do that without breaking godly boundaries. But, when in doubt, the Spirit can guide us to what God wants in the moment. In theory, anyhow! 🙂

If you know that you have the freedom to flow with the Lord and that you have a heart for obedience–not the heart of a rebel unchecked–then this unstructured approach might be where you will find the freedom that you know Jesus has purchased for you. When we boil it all down, asking the Lord “Is now the time to eat?” or “Is now the time to stop eating?” “Is God in this bite?” is probably what we want to do.

This first came to my attention in 2007 when I was still releasing weight. I had 0 and 5 wired and I was zipping along to my “natural God-given size,” releasing weight steadily. I was stoked! Then, I began to notice incredible stomach pain if I got to a zero. Also, I could only eat tiny little bits without hurting, too. I couldn’t eat to a 5. A visit to the doctor confirmed what I had suspected…I had a stomach ulcer–my first and, so far, my last! God used this season to show me I had turned 0 and 5 into something I listened to even more than I did the voice of the Lord!! I had turned it into a law that couldn’t be trumped even by God’s leading by His Spirit! I depended on 0 and 5 as if it had the right to tell me what to do. I had to stop being so rigid about hunger numbers and start listening more for God’s leading. HA! Fancy that! I found I needed him so much and he showed me just how much he was there for me, leading, guiding, strengthening. I continued to release weight, too!

If you think it is possible that you are looking to 0 and 5 or charts, challenges, reports as your “functional Messiah”—to save you from the sin of gluttony or over-eating, then you may want to consider waiting on the Lord to show you when to eat and how much. He may actually lead you to eat smaller quantities than you would eat if you depended on 0 and 5, although more frequently.

Be mindful of the fact that the heart is deceitful and prone to go astray. This isn’t a license to abandon 0 to 5 eating. Truthfully, the best approach is probably somewhere in-between both the extremes I have shared today and yesterday. I believe that, for most of us, it may be possible that the Lord wants us to listen to HIS voice, praying about what we are interpreting as our 0 and 5 signals (remembering that the physical body is not yet redeemed) as well as which foods will provide us the nourishment we need.

How About You?

  1. Have you been replacing the lie with truth as mentioned in Wednesday’s post?
  2. Will you sit with the Lord and evaluate which approach might be better for you or if God is calling you to a “both/and” approach of some kind? What do you think?
  3. What has worked best for you in the past to be faithful in 0 to 5 eating?
  4. Is your 0 to 5 eating about what you choose to DO or is it more about what you BELIEVE?
  5. What will you do about that?