[Inspired by Terri Graham]
Am I the only one who finds it SOOOO hard to wait for a zero ~ “true hunger”? There are many things in my life that I do even though I don’t want to do them… like doing the laundry… dishes… going places when I’d rather stay home… I even shower, floss, wash my face, and make my bed when I’d really rather not!!!
And there are many things in the Thin Within world I do even if I can think of other things I’d rather be doing…
Having a phone chat with Heidi and Christina and our group? ~ I’d rather be napping at the 3:00 hour, but these chats are worth staying awake!!!!!!
Writing a blog post (which is like journaling for me)? ~ Lots of work, even drudgery at times, but a richly-rewarding process!!!
Making or reading through my Truth Cards? ~ Encouraging to read, fun to make!!!
Reading and commenting in the forums? ~ I love being encouraged and giving encouragement!!!
Adding to my God List? ~ A joy that helps shift my mood and my focus!!!
But waiting for zero? ~ UUUUGGGGHHHH!!!!! I DON’T WANT TO!!!!
There!!! I said it!!! I just reeeeeeeally DON’T. WANT. TO!!!!!!!!
In my favor, there have been lengthy seasons in which I have been able to shift into that dreaded-yet-coveted state of being able to eat within the 0-to-5 eating boundaries. But then [whatever in the world?!] happens, and the weight that I so diligently and joyfully lost, inches its way back onto my person! Annnnd :::sad exasperated sigh::: the favor dissipates.
In the midst of one of these downward detours in my forever-long struggle, one day I happened upon a post by Terri Graham in the Thin Within Discussion and Support group on Facebook. (At least I was searching and not just retreating into a dark corner, which is my tendency in such times.) And Terri graciously allowed me to share it here. She wrote:
I just finished the chapter titled “Holy Struggle” in the Hunger Within book. A question following the chapter asks:
“Do you view the principle of choosing to eat only when hungry and stopping before you are full as an ‘objectionable obligation’ or an ‘inviting opportunity’? If you don’t see this as an inviting opportunity, why not?”
I realized that I do indeed view it as an objectionable obligation. Why? Because it is hard and takes time and patience.
My food (and my right to eat it) is “mine” and I really have held onto it like a petulant child not wanting to give up her pacifier when it is time.
Today I confess this and I repent. I ask God to change my mind and my heart so that I will see it as an inviting opportunity. I need to renew my mind in this matter.
What about you? Why is this an obligation vs. opportunity? What are the truths you use to help you see it as inviting and as an opportunity?
So, getting real with myself (not my favorite thing to do,) why do I see this as an “objectionable obligation” rather than an “inviting opportunity”?
It feels like an obligation because my “flesh man” – which wants what it wants, and wants it now – is being restrained and constrained. It’s not getting what it wants right this very second.
Terri’s reference to the “petulant child not wanting to give up her pacifier” rang embarrassingly true as that very thought had just recently crossed my mind.
Many times, in the heat of a battle of whether to eat when I’m not hungry or to go ahead and indulge and eat more than I need (beyond a 5), self-discipline is the last thing I’m interested in! The image of a baby not getting what it wants is a perfect depiction of ME! Well, lacking the baby-cuteness.
So I thought I’d explore that a bit, and asked my friends on Facebook for photos of babies and their pacifiers. I actually only wanted one photo ~ of a baby whose pacifier had just been removed ~ so they’d be angry ~ which would give me an in-my-face view of what I myself must look like to God when I’m not getting my way.
What I got was several pictures!!! And I realized that, together, they made up a darling, but a little-too-vivid composite picture of my own attitudes toward food. Since this is not the cutest thing to see in a grown woman (me), I will let these babies “say it all” for me! Cutely, which my attitudes aren’t, but these babies are!
“I love my food. Totally contented with my food. See how contented I am?”
“You’re not really going to ask me to give up my food, are you?”
“But I wannnnnnnt it! I neeeeeeeeed it!!!”
“Nooooo!!! Please let me have my food!”
“I know! I’ll HIDE some so no one will know about it!!!”
“You wouldn’t really take away something I cherish SO much, right?!?!”
“I’m warning you; do NOT take away my food! Seriously ~ JUST. DO. NOT!!!”
“Pleeeeeeease let me have it!!!!! I waaaannnt it!!!”
“I CAN’T believe you TOOK it from me!!!!!!!!!”
(Thank you to the mommies of these little dolls ~ Shannon, Beth, Trieste, Maggie, Mandie, and Stacie, plus a grandma, Mary ~ for letting me use these precious photos!!! )
BACK TO DISCIPLINE
Okay, that was a fun ~ even though too-familiar-feeling ~ detour. Back to discipline and my distaste for it…
I’m not off in disliking it. This verse in Matthew (11:28) says:
“For the moment, all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant…”
“Seems” painful?!?!? Feels pretty outright painful to ME!!! No “seeming” about it! But it’s in the Word, so it must be true. So I’ll come back to it in a moment.
Viewing “having to wait till I’m hungry to eat” as being an opportunity requires thinking beyond my current flesh-indulging state of mind and heart. However, it’s the only way that the rest of that verse can become reality, which is actually a pretty sweet reality:
“…but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”
And getting that peaceful fruit of righteousness is really the ultimate “opportunity,” isn’t it?!?!
So, once again, back to Jesus’ feet I go to confess this sin of self-focus and self-indulgence, and repent.
And I must remind myself (again) that repenting means I turn 180° and go ~ as in live and walk ~ the opposite direction! Not 360°! ~ a gaffé I’ve heard spoken by a well-meaning teacher! Which, if you think about it mathematically, actually means “coming full-circle,” right back around to the very state of sin we wanted to repent from.
Not exactly repentance, but it sounds sadly similar to what I have too often done. 😣 (The verse about a dog returning to its vomit comes to mind.😣)
I ask God to change my mind and heart so that I will see eating only when I am at a zero as the “inviting opportunity” that it truly is. My flesh man can’t see this because of its inherent trait of being blind.
Solution? My flesh man needs to DIE so that my spirit man can be free to grow and thrive, which will enable me to see things as God sees them. This is no small feat (specially in ME), yet I know it is nothing that God can’t handle. And it’s totally accessible via re-surrendering my will and then renewing my mind on an ongoing basis!!!
Back to the question of whether we see this as an “inviting opportunity.” I thought it would be fun to look into the word inviting a bit more deeply.
An invitation always bids the invitee to come to something. So what might that “something” be, specifically, if the Lord is the One doing the inviting?
Just for starters, here are three things I found in the Word that we are invited to:
1) Come to the Lord’s own TABLE.
Jesus, the King of Kings, invites us to dine with Him and tells us in Psalm 23 that He prepares a spread for us! And I’m sure is not just scraps!
“You prepare a table before me, in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.” (Psalms 23:5)
(He’s not going to feed us flowers either; those are just the decorations!)
2) Come to JESUS and find REST!
This journey through life can be full of heaviness, but the Lord doesn’t want us to carry the burdens by ourselves! He invites us to:
“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” (Matt. 11:28)
3) Come and TALK with Him!
The God of the universe actually wants to converse with us! And He has time for us!!!
“My heart has heard you say, ‘Come and talk with me, O my people.’ And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.” (Psalms 27:8)
What we get out of the deal by submitting to God’s discipline ~ which, for us Thin Withiners, is 0-5 eating ~ far outweighs, outshines, and overshadows any pain involved. This is why I believe it’s worded that “all discipline seems painful…” What’s truly painful is not accepting God’s loving invitation to embrace discipline and receive ALL that He has in store for us. Living with our self-indulgent heart day after day, month after month, and year after year is anything but pleasant!
“One of the baby pictures of a sleeping baby brought to mind, strangely or maybe not, the parable of the wise virgins. Does that food pacifier keep me from filling my lamp with oil? Does it dull my hunger for God? I think so. I need to make some truth cards for this.
Come, Lord Jesus, YOU are the answer to our every need!!! Help us GET this, HEAR this, RECEIVE what You are saying to us, APPLY it to our hearts and our thinking, FILL our lamps with the oil of the Holy Spirit, STOP dulling our hunger for You and things of You, and WALK IN VICTORY in this!!!!!
I’m sure there are many more “invitations” in the Word, and I’d love to hear any others that you find!!!
And I’d also love to see your responses to Terri’s two questions above:
What about you? ~ Why is this an obligation vs. opportunity? ~and~ What are the truths you use to help you see it as inviting and as an opportunity?