How Truth Changes My Choices…NOW

menu_burrito

Chipotle Burritos are THE BEST! 🙂

Right now, as I write this, I am tempted to hit the fridge for some of my left over Chipotle burrito. I love Chipotle. There is nothing better than my Chipotle burrito unless it is, perhaps, my Chipotle burrito left over with some extra cheese and salsa! One burrito can easily give me three meals and, perhaps, even five!

Because it is so good, I find myself — right now — tempted to eat before I have a clear hunger signal. My “0” hasn’t arrived, though I can sense it is close.

So how does this entire renewing of the mind and truth stuff work? For me, it changes my now.

Because I have been working so hard at rehearsing the truth and renewing my mind with God’s truth (each morning and, often, each afternoon), I have automatically sort of gone through a little process this afternoon even while considering giving in to eating my burrito before having a clear 0 signal. I have thought about the burrito and how good it will be and these truths have jumped into my head to help me be victorious over the temptation:

1. The burrito will be there when I AM hungry. It isn’t going anywhere! (I know this is obvious, but when you are in the throes of temptation, sometimes, you don’t think straight!)

2. The burrito will actually taste even better when I am hungry….truly hungry…AND when I don’t have the hindrance of my convicted heart and going against my conscience!

3. That burrito, as yummy as it is, will not taste good enough to make me glad that I ate outside of my boundaries.

4. Giving in to eating that burrito would be practicing blasting out of my boundaries. I can, instead, use this moment (or momentS) of temptation as an opportunity to grow in my strength and resolve NOT to give in when I am tempted. If I give in now, I am practicing giving in to my temptations and will be more likely to do so the next time.

5. Right NOW is the time to be faithful to God and to my resolve…right NOW is the time to show respect for my body and to honor God with my eating, drinking AND abstaining!

6. If I give in right now, I am more likely to continue to struggle with desire eating all the time and to have the confusion about my body…I will keep struggling with my size as I never know what God has in mind for me if I keep eating outside of 0 and 5 boundaries. Eating within my 0 and 5 boundaries RIGHT NOW will help me to continue to faithfully stay on the path that will provide clarity…physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

7. It is possible that there is something else going on that I should deal with that eating when I am not hungry will only serve to mask.

Ok, so these are the truths that are off the top of my head and by going over them in my mind (and typing them up here!), I have talked myself into waiting for the 0 and into being faithful to what God has called me to do!

My conscience is free!

And…by the way…I am hungry now! YAY!

How About You?

What do you do when you can’t get a certain temptation out of your mind? Would it be helpful to start telling yourself about the situation, about the food, about the choices that are before you? If you are pro-active and practice thinking truth each day—whether or not you are being tempted at the time—then it is more likely that you will use these tools automatically when you are tempted. Is doing the work worth it?

5 Truths for Freedom for the Restrictive Eater!

Image Source: iStock Photo

Image Source: iStock Photo

Hi. A friend of mine who frequents this blog, sent me an email following my post last week on Truth Cards. I asked her if she would be willing to write a blog post to share her perspective with the readers of this blog. It is incredibly valuable, but one I have little experience with. I hope you will share the link with anyone you know who may need to see this!

——-

I find truth cards to be extremely helpful. But my truth, as someone who has suffered from years of restrictive food plans of my own making and through various anonymous organizations, seems to be almost the flip side of your truth.

One of your truth cards, which you shared with blog readers on 9/3/13, reads, “Today I will have to give up food I want to eat in order to follow my boundaries.” When I read that I immediately thought, “that is not true for me.” For me, I MUST eat food I want in order to follow my boundaries. 

I had so many years of telling myself the following lies:

LIE #1. I cannot handle sugar.

LIE #2. If I start eating that binge food, I will never be able to stop.

LIE #3. There is something wrong with me at a cellular level.

LIE #4. The fact that I crave carbohydrates is evidence that I can’t handle them.

LIE #5. Desperate wanting (craving) is one step on the path to sinning.

Maybe these lies don’t ring a bell with you. If they do, if you have been like me and felt like you were evil for wanting things, and then denied yourself those very things in order to be “good,” then you can place yourself firmly in the “restrictor” camp.

I have been underweight, at my ideal weight, and overweight. I don’t think all restrictors are underweight. When I was overweight, I felt like a hypocritical restrictor. But wasn’t it inevitable? As I grew and matured physically and spiritually, I began to recognize the lies inherent in my beliefs. But that recognition was at a somewhat unconscious or perhaps semi-conscious level, and that’s when I transitioned from full-time restriction to binge eating. For me, binge eating is best described as intermittent restriction. It was restriction on the path to healing. But it was a very hard place to be, and it didn’t feel at all transitional. It felt permanent, and in fact it seemed like direct evidence that there was something very wrong with me. I told myself the lies, shouted them to myself sometimes, until eventually the unconscious or semi-conscious part of me said “NO!” and I ate every item of sugar that I could possibly stuff into myself in a short period of time. Bingeing seemed to confirm the lies, “see, I REALLY can’t handle sugar,” and “see, there REALLY is something terribly wrong with me.”

When I was finally able to see that the binges were actually created by the restriction and by my belief in lies, and I started to let myself eat the things I actually wanted, I was amazed and full of awe at the truths that God revealed:

TRUTH #1. I can eat sweets in moderation.

TRUTH #2. I can eat what I truly want and be satisfied.

TRUTH #3. There is nothing wrong with me (other than the fact that I believed a bunch of lies for years and years).

TRUTH #4. The fact that I crave carbohydrates is evidence that either I have overdone it in the sugar department and need some protein to balance out my overindulgence, or more likely, that I have not been eating enough carbohydrates and my body needs some sugar or complex carbohydrates to operate effectively.

TRUTH #5. Desperate wanting (craving) is a way of God communicating with me through my body. I can listen to God, honor my bodily signals, and take loving and nurturing action. Craving sleep, craving a hug, all my other cravings signal real needs that can be simply met. I do not need to be afraid. Cravings can be satisfied.

It all seems like a lot and as a person who is recovering from perfectionism, I tend to want to get it all right and find it overwhelming and want to retreat into a food plan that someone else has constructed because I still sometimes believe the lie that I am incompetent in the food department. When this happens, then I try to center on just one concept: My one goal for eating today is SATISFACTION.

When I am satisfied, I have no desire to binge. When I eat to satisfaction, I forget about food until next time I am hungry. In all those years of restriction, I was almost never satisfied, which is why I thought about food all the time.

Satisfaction is scary. It takes me to the next level. It solves my food problem and opens up new possibilities for me. I have been eating to satisfaction consistently for almost four months now. I have been eating to satisfaction and have been binge free for that entire time. This is coming from someone who five months ago and for the past 10 years before that was bingeing on average at least three times per week, with brief forays of binge free living that lasted at most six weeks at a time. It’s both a miracle and an incredibly simple answer to what seemed like a hugely complex problem.

It takes a lot of trusting in God to eat to satisfaction. But God is faithful, as always. If weight is a concern for you, then take heart. I had been bingeing heavily when I started, so I lost five pounds within the first week or two, of what for me has come to be known as “binge weight.” Over the subsequent few months, I’ve lost another five pounds. I am now at what I would consider an ideal weight for myself, a weight that I have not been at for over 10 years. And I got there by eating to satisfaction? Yup. Praise God!

Post by – Name withheld by request

How About You?

Prayerfully consider if you are someone who needs to write a different kind of truth in your truth cards. What does God’s Spirit testify to your heart? Are you, like my friend, in need of pressing on all the way to satisfaction? Are you restricting your eating in a way that is not trusting the body that God has given you? What is true for you? Are you willing to step out in faith and trust Him today?

THIS IS TOO HARD (and Preventative Eating) Week 12

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Image Source: iStock Photo

Have you been tempted to throw in the towel and just say FORGET IT to this entire boundaries/renewing the mind/losing weight/having a healthy relationship with food project?

It is totally normal to feel that way.

This is the 12th and final week of our Renewing the Mind Bible Study and the truth is…it IS hard to stick to your boundaries. If it wasn’t hard to stick to your boundaries, they probably wouldn’t be boundaries. Just think about it for a minute. If you don’t have any temptations to go into a certain store at the mall and spend up your credit card, you don’t need to have a boundary about that store (or the credit card)! If you don’t feel tempted to overeat shrimp scampi, you probably don’t have a boundary to give shrimp scampi a wide berth.

We establish boundaries because we know that we are likely to venture across a line or to welcome outside forces in that would influence us in a way that wouldn’t be best for us.

So, of course it is hard! We are training ourselves which implies that, left to our own devices, we would behave differently than we know we should.

Barb does a great job of exposing a lie that we want to RENEW OUR MINDS ABOUT. That lie is this:

Life should be easy.

Think about it for a minute. Do you have a feeling that you will only follow through if something is fun or easy? If you get tired of working at something, maybe you believe this lie that life should be easy. God never has promised us that life will be easy. In fact, if we read the Scriptures there is much there that speaks to us about being diligent, persevering, hanging in there. If life were meant to be easy, I don’t think these exhortations would be in Scripture!

Monday

1. It’s that time again! Evaluate your feeling about 0 to 5 eating. Has God called you to 0 to 5 eating? Are you convinced in your heart he has? If you have written this commitment in your journal previously, review the dates and entries when you were convinced that this was so. How about now? If you are convinced today, add a statement reflecting that conviction and date it with today’s date.

2. Visit Barb’s blog page on “Losing Weight is Hard.” Read her introductory material.

3. Complete the “Life Should Be Easy” bible study on the same page.

Tuesday

1.  Looking at yesterday’s bible study, what are some truths that you can add to your truth cards? Take some time to do this and renew your mind with truth!

2. Visit Barb’s blog page again at the same link. Please remember that Barb isn’t a Thin Within participant and don’t be put off by any “dieting” jargon that you see in her material. Complete her “Dieting is Hard” questions.

3. Are there any additional truths that you can add to your cards? If so, take some time to do so now.

Wednesday

1. Visit this page here at this blog. Take some time to read the introductory material and to watch the video on that page.

2. Can you list some situations that you have been in that are similar to what I describe? What upcoming situations might you face this week that fit this description?

3. What are some truths about situations like these that you can possibly renew your mind with?

Thursday

1. Visit this page again. Complete the “Preventative Eating Questions” on that page. (When asked in the questions about “now”, just insert in your mind a recent experience when you have done this…or if you are currently facing a situation where you are tempted to “preventative eat.”)

2. What are some of the possible solutions that God might want you to consider?  Are you willing to use any of his solutions? If not, why not?

3. If you are not willing to use any of God’s solutions right now, please take some time to review your thoughts from Monday, Question #1 where you evaluated your commitment and God’s leading to 0 to 5 eating. Following boundaries IS hard, but if we are unwilling in these moments to do what we can (work!) to do so, when do we really expect to be willing? If we only follow our boundaries when it feels good, how often will we follow them?

Friday

1. Visit the Preventative Eating page again and work through the Fear Bible Study.

2. If fear isn’t something that fuels your preventative eating, how about if you evaluate what IS? Then create a bible study to share with us here so we can all benefit! What other emotions might possibly fuel the desire to eat outside of 0 and 5 in anticipation of not being able to get near food?

3. What truths can you add to your truth cards today? Take a few minutes to add two or three.

What’s Next?

If you made it through this entire study, then you deserve extra KUDOS! We started strong, but many of us got swept away by the fun, freedom, and busyness of summer! In January, I will likely lead a Thin Within workbook study here at the blog. I will do so with a renewing of the mind focus. Start saving your $$ for the workbook packet (about $50 on Amazon) if you don’t own a set. More information to come later this fall, but for now, just know that I will continue to provide  support here at the blog (as I have been) with a study launching  the first week in January 2014!

Let’s press in to our Lord and not give up!

The Most Important Thing of All

Image Source: iStock Photo

Image Source: iStock Photo

Sometimes, with all the time, effort, and intensity that we put into Thin Within, it is hard to remember that the most important thing of all in our lives isn’t pursuing good health.

The most important thing of all isn’t eating within the parameters of physical hunger and satisfaction—even though, as we do this, we seek to surrender our hearts, lives, thinking, choices to God.

These are noble, important goals, but they are superseded by something that is The Most Important Thing of All.

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.

Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,

who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,

but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.

– Philippians 2:3-7 ESV

What was it that motivated Christ to act while on this earth? We see it many places in the Scriptures, but this sums it up:

In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world,

so that we might live through him.

In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

– 1 John 4:9-11 ESV

This has practical applications to our 0 to 5 eating. I want to share with you how by telling a story first. 🙂

I love getting up each morning and having my quiet time. This isn’t because I am godly (as that is quite debatable!). It is because I am desperate. The days I don’t start the day quiet with Him, I feel deflated and defeated. I am desperate for that time of being still, soaking in God’s presence. Since Monday of this week, I have been in the Chicago area with my 19 year old daughter, returning her to Wheaton College for the beginning of her sophomore year. Between jet lag, a busy schedule  with Michaela, and my inability to sleep away from home, I am tired!

Yesterday evening, I said goodbye to Michaela for the last time (I thought) as she starts class this morning (I am writing this Wednesday morning, but it is posting on Thursday). Last night, I planned today. My plane doesn’t leave until later in the afternoon, so first, I would sleep a bit later (assuming I could sleep). Then, I would relish a nice long leisurely time with the Lord. After making my plans last night, I got a text at 11pm from Michaela asking me to come back to see her at the school. I had a choice…to preserve my plans, including a longer time with the Lord? Or take the hour and a half to drive to the school, help my daughter with one last task before class starts, and then come back to the hotel for a shorter time?

I longed to just be still and know that God is God…to be refreshed in His presence. But I also knew that I couldn’t spend time in His presence without Him asking me “Have you loved well?” If I had chosen not to go back to help my daughter with one last task, I know  having my quiet time, no matter how valuable, would not have honored Him. In this situation, having my quiet time at that moment, would have dishonored Him as He has called me to love well. I knew in my heart of hearts that He wanted me to help her one more time. (Besides, I wanted one more hug or two!)

This serves as a reminder  to me that nothing is more important to God than love. I want to be sure that I  love others well — even above insisting on having a quiet time or eating 0 to 5 if there is a conflict.

Sometimes, I elevate having a quiet time or even eating 0 to 5 above The Most Important Thing of All—loving others. God wants to cure me of this legalism.

I don’t think God will often put us in the position of having to choose between loving others and obeying him with regard to our eating boundaries. It’s important to be aware that the human heart is deceitful and will rationalize and justify breaking our boundaries using “loving others” as an excuse. Please don’t let what I am saying here today be fuel for that lie.

The truth is, God wants us to delight in living within our boundaries. But every “rare once in a while,” a dear friend will work hard in her kitchen to bring warm brownies over when she comes for a scheduled visit. The fact that I just finished my lunch before she came and am not at a 0 yet, might need to be set aside for the greater, the Most Important Thing of All… love. I may need to have a small brownie to love my friend well–-even if I am at a 5 already.

I believe that in instances like these, asking the Lord to give His wisdom, we will experience a confidence as to what will be the right thing to do. We can know that, generally speaking, there is nothing godly or honorable about eating outside physical need, but the Most Important Thing of All is beyond that. When faced with a decision between loving well and adhering to my 0 to 5 eating boundary, I want to do both. If I can’t do both, I want to PRAY first with a surrendered heart. Am I WILLING not to eat at this moment if God were to make it clear that THIS was His will? If I can honestly answer that question “yes,” then I may be in the best position to know that right now, loving well means honoring God in some way outside of 0 and 5.

Again, these instances are extremely rare, thankfully. But we don’t want 0 and 5 to become our functional Messiah. It can’t save us. Only Jesus can. And he loves people. We want to learn greater dependence on the Lord, to ask Him for His leading. To respond to His direction.

The Most Important Thing of All is not 0 and 5.

It isn’t a thin body.

It isn’t mastery over food.

It isn’t consistently eating only when hungry.

The Most Important Thing of All is to love God and love others.

How About You?

Can you think of any situations when you had to choose between maintaining your 0 and 5 boundaries and loving others well? What did you do? Looking back at it now, is there something you could have/should have done differently? What will you do the next time this type of situation presents itself?

Does God Want You To?

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Image Source: Stock Exchange

Years ago (and in some countries today),it wasn’t unusual to mark property lines or a change in direction of property lines with the use of giant stones or markers. It was understood that these “boundary stones” represented true, physical restrictions from going freely into adjoining property or having someone encroach into one’s own property. The boundary stones were practical ways people in history knew whose land was where.

Sometimes, these properties were expansive. I picture myself frolicking amidst large, lush, rolling hills all within the boundary lines established by the Lord. The boundary stones are off in the distance and I so relish the freedom and joy I have skipping, dancing and playing in open fields with grass and flowers that I don’t even consider running to the stones and pushing against them with all my weight. It wouldn’t occur to ancient peoples to object to the presence of the boundary stones in their lives. Proverbs 22:28 challenges us not to move ancient boundary markers.

What if we were to rest in the portion God has assigned us?

Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup;
    you make my lot secure.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
    surely I have a delightful inheritance.

Psalm 16:5-6

Does God want you to follow your 0 to 5 eating boundaries today?

For me, when I don’t live according to the pleasant boundaries he has established for me, I feel like I am that girl in the open meadow, forsaking all the beauty and freedom that is available to me, striving with all my might to push against the monolithic stone to justify my desire to go beyond it.

What will you have to give up in order to follow your God-given boundaries today?

Sometimes, I feel like I am giving up so much wonder and joy of what is beyond the boundary markers. When I have my eyes set on what is out there, I fail to rejoice in what is mine, right in front of me.

What will you gain now and in the future if you follow your God-given boundaries even when you don’t feel like it today, tomorrow and the next day?

Could the joy of living within the boundary stones be enough for me, knowing that I do so as the Father sings over me with joy? Can I “feel like it”—feel like living within the parameters that my good and gracious Father has set for me—by getting my eyes off the stones in the distance and setting them, instead, on all the freedom I have within these stones and His presence here with me?

What will life look like  in 3 months if you begin to live within your boundaries now?

What will life look like in 3 months if you put off living within your boundaries?

What will happen if you decide to wait until you want to live according to your boundaries? Is that likely to happen anytime soon?

What is God doing in your life through your participation in working to live within your boundaries?

Are you hindered by perfectionism?

When will you follow 0 to 5 eating perfectly?

Will you join me in delighting, rejoicing, praising within the boundaries that God has so graciously given us today? Will you resolve, along with me, not to push against the boundary stones, but instead be in awe of all that has been given to us to freely enjoy?

Note: The questions in this post are adapted from Barb Raveling’s Following Your Boundaries questions.