Week 08 – Assignment Thin Within Book

This week we are reading and completing the material in chapters 16, 17 (again), and 18. Once again, please pace yourself.

This week’s assignment:

1.) Continue your list of God’s attributes

2.)  Take time each day to praise God for some of the attributes on your list.

3.) Keep adding to your gratitude journal.  I would love to hear what God is doing through the practice of keeping a gratitude journal. Share it with us if you feel so led.

4.) Read and complete day 16. Re-read day 17. Read day 18. All reading and activities through page 192.

5.)  Day 16 provides opportunities to evaluate how you are doing in this journey–to evaluate your progress toward the goals you may have set in Day 3. I want to caution you not to fixate too much on size or weight. Even if you are not yet noticing a change in the way your clothes fit, ask the Lord to show you what work He is doing inside of you. He says he IS doing a new thing. He says he WILL finish that which He has begun. Then, if you sense His Spirit leading you personally to do so, implement the suggestions in chapter 16. Please listen to His voice, though. That is the most important part of this entire journey!

6.) During Day 16, you are asked to dig into your heart, life, and past and recall “Significant Times” that happened to you. Last Monday, I did that very thing in my post last Monday, The Weight of Sexual Abuse. We know that the “Significant Times” exercise can be especially painful for some. Please pray about it and do as the Lord leads you personally. This could be an experience that offers the potential for breakthrough! Most of us have reasons that we have developed a tendency to eat more food than we need. As we evaluate some of these challenging “Significant Times,” we begin to dismantle the thing that may keep us stuck in repeating patterns that are, ultimately, ungodly. That is a good thing! If you feel overwhelmed, please don’t hesitate to call a favorite pastor or therapist to get godly wisdom to help you process what God is showing you. He intends for us to be healed and to break free from sinful patterns!

7.) As you re-read chapter 17, the chapter on Gratitude, does God speak to your heart in any way? It really is cool to know that when we wonder what God’s will is, we don’t have to wonder too terribly far. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 reminds us that giving thanks in all circumstances IS God’s will for us in Christ! How can you foster a life of gratitude? I promise you that it makes all the difference in the world!

8.) Now that you are farther along in your Thin Within journey, what do you think of the Hunger Graph? Is it a tool that the Lord may be using you to try? If so, visit this link at the Thin Within website. It will open a pdf file. If you want, you can print out page 2 of this document and use it each day as long as the Lord leads you to do so.

If you want to hear what God taught me about the hunger graph back in 2002, you can fast forward this video to about four minutes into it. At that point, Lori Robertson asks me about what God has shown me with the hunger graph. Some of you might find it helpful.

9.) In Day 18, we evaluate boundaries a bit. This is actually one of the most important teachings of Thin Within! Diets have lists of good foods, dangerous foods, bad foods, etc. Some of us struggle with letting go of those food labels we have held on to for so long. In Day 18, we use a different way of thinking about foods. This is where the second phase of Thin Within really kicks into gear. We prayerfully evaluate each food we are likely to eat and categorize them into “Pleasers,” “Teasers,” “Whole Body Pleasers,” and “Total Rejects.” Whatever you do, don’t skip this activity! It is INVALUABLE! 🙂 While all foods ARE permissible, we know that we know that we know that not all foods are beneficial at a given moment. If I am tired and cranky, the last thing I want to do is feed a total stomach-hungry zero with a candy bar. My taste buds would like it, but I would end up crankier and crash and burn within the hour! For me, in that situation, I can use discernment to know that it wouldn’t be beneficial to eat that candy bar, even though I *could*. My freedom tells me that I am free TO eat the candy bar, but I have also grown a bit to see that I am now free from HAVING to eat the candy bar! I can make another selection–a selection that, in that moment, will help me feel better. I can save the candy bar for a time when I am not a mess already! 🙂

Share your lists with us…what are some of your whole body pleasers? What are some of your total rejects? Everyone’s list will be different. Some people love fruits and vegetables. Some like me, don’t. The only way I like vegetables is in fresh salsa! Then it is truly a whole body pleaser for me! So guess what? I get a lot of my veggies that way! 🙂

10.) How are you doing? Is God growing you in any way? Are you seeing any changes emotionally? Spiritually? Physically? Tell us about it! I would love to have testimonials to share with Judy and Arthur Halliday or Joe and Pam Donaldson!

11.) Come to a chat this week! We would love to have you. Even if you can only come for 15 minutes, I hope you will give it a try. Visit this link to find out when, how, and where!

Ever onward! God IS doing a new thing! Praise Him!

Rebuilding God’s Temple Workbook #1 Details

Hi, everyone.

For those who couldn’t or didn’t want to watch my “infomercial” 🙂 about the Thin Within workbook, I thought I would share with you here, some of the features of the resources that Thin Within offers, specifically highlighting the Rebuilding God’s Temple Workbook Kit #1.

The first kit is the most comprehensive and comes with three pieces:  

  1. Workbook #1
  2. The Temple Toolkit
  3. The Memory Challenge Cards (click on the image to see a large version and click again to see it magnified further):
The contents of Kit #1

First, the workbook itself, is a spiral bound volume that has material for 12 weeks of study. To download a sample of the material, visit this link. The download is an Adobe Reader (.pdf) file of Week One – “Hope.” After you download it,  print it and take a week to try it out! 🙂

Each week consists of the following:

  • Lesson material – This is dense written material that you will read to glean the concepts that we are teaching or reviewing during the week. I usually recommend about an hour spent with this, highlighting, asterisking, and looking up the verses in my own bible. I may even write comments in the margin or, if I am leading a group, questions to be sure to ask participants.
    • Each of the reading portions of the lesson are divided into these segments:
      • Introduction – a brief overview of the week’s focus
      • Spiritual Information – the relationship this material has to the Scriptures
      • Physiological Information – the “mechanics” — what you can actually do to make additional changes in your eating to honor the Lord
      • Integration – How it all works together
  • Exercises – Don’t worry! These aren’t calisthenics! LOL! They are basically guided daily quiet times. 🙂 Each week includes “exercises” for each day of the week. Days six and seven are optional and a bit “lighter.” Days one through five include the following sections:
    • Going Deeper – This relates some aspect of the lesson you have read to your life
    • Bible Study – This shows how Scripture illustrates or illuminates the principles taught in the lesson
    • Knowing God By Heart – One of the best parts, this is a study of the attributes of God. We have found that the way a participant views God impacts how she will view food, herself, her body, as well as her willingness (or not) to surrender this aspect of her life to the Lord for His purposes.
    • Getting Practical – These are suggestions for putting some of the mechanics of the program into practice
    • Memory Challenge – Hiding God’s Word in our hearts will enable us to be reminded of our commitment to him when we are weak! Memorizing scripture is extremely helpful for renewing our mind and changing our thinking!
  • Review of the Week – This provides a space where you can summarize what God has shown you or questions and thoughts you have had. This section is especially helpful when you meet with others in a group setting. 🙂

In addition to these resources in the workbook, there is an extensive Introduction at the beginning and Appendices in the back, providing a great deal of material that will support you on your journey.

But wait! There’s more! 🙂 (Couldn’t resist saying that!) Not only do you get the Workbook, but when you purchase the first kit, you also get the Temple Toolkit. This is a resource that offers a place for you to log your own journey throughout each day during the full twelve weeks. As you progress through the material, the pages change to match what you have learned in the workbook. Let me show you what I mean.

The first image below shows Days 25-28. Click on the image to see a larger version and then click again to see FULL size what these pages look like in the temple toolkit:

Days 25, 26, 27, 28 in the Temple Toolkit

As you progress through the workbook and new material is introduced, the Temple Toolkit changes, too:

Days 49, 50, 51, and 52 in Temple Toolkit

Again, click on the image above and then click again on the bigger image to see it full size. You will see new tools have been added.

Of course all of the tools are optional as you go through the 12-week workbook. If you have come out of a background of excessive charting and graphing, you may only want to use the journaling pages. Or, as time goes on, you may experience freedom with one tool and not another. The Lord will lead each person individually. Some have freedom to use all the tools, charts and graphs.

By the time you are closer to the end of the first twelve weeks, you will have been introduced to all of the tools. Note how the material in the toolkit has evolved:

Days 77, 78, 79 and 80 in Temple Toolkit

Again, “Wait! There’s more!” 🙂 When you order the first kit, you get not only the Workbook, the Temple Toolkit that changes as you go through the material, but you also get the Memory Challenge and Temptation Buster Cards:

Memory Challenge and Temptation Buster Cards

Again, click on the image above and the larger image, to get a full size view of what these include. You cut them up and can carry them with you so that Thin Within isn’t just a bible study that you begin in the morning and leave behind the rest of the day. These resources are very supportive in helping you to keep the principles that God is leading you to embrace and apply with you throughout the day.

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. 
Do what it says. 
Anyone who listens to the word 
but does not do what it says 
is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, 
after looking at himself, 
goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.
~ James 1:22-24

We don’t want to just accumulate head knowledge, but then leave it behind for the rest of the day! We want to ACT on what we learn in our times of study and in God’s Word!

I realize that $45 is not a “bargain price” for a workbook alone, but I trust you will feel like it is worth it. This material includes three months of workbook material and exercises, as well as the Temple Toolkit which would probably cost $20 for something like that (if you could find such a thing!) separately. (It isn’t sold separately at Thin Within, so this is hypothetical!) Truthfully, with the money you save by eating less food :-), you will be able to afford a kit for yourself and a best friend, too! (Ok, so now I am taking my infomercial over the top…hope you are bearing with me! LOL! But it IS true!)

Thin Within isn’t a big company. No one pulls in a big salary. The proceeds from sales of the workbook go to cover the costs of producing these materials, keeping the Thin Within website functioning, other expenses (like the phone!), and small stipends for some of the Thin Within team members.  So while the cost of $45 may seem steep, it isn’t padding anyone’s pocket. I am sure you will be pleased with the quality of the materials you receive. (Boy, do I ever sound like an advertisement today. Sorry about that! I just really believe in this material and am eager for the word to spread!)

If you decide that you want to lead a group we have resources available for you including video clips, leader resources, and a page at the Thin Within website that offers all kinds of ideas for running your orientation and weekly meetings. Not only that, but Judy Halliday and the Thin Within team are even now working on a printed leader manual that will be available (Lord willing!) in time for you to run your fall Thin Within groups through the workbook kit #1.

One additional piece of information that many are unaware of is that there are 3 additional workbooks, each covering 12 weeks. The material is designed so that if you run a group and have people who have gone through workbook #1 before, they can do workbook #2 or #3 or #4, even while you lead through workbook #1. Each of the workbooks are presented in 12 weekly themes that parallel each other. These are the themes for all four of the workbooks:

  1. Hope
  2. My Body–God’s Temple
  3. Identity in Christ
  4. Celebration of God’s Grace, Part One
  5. Restoration
  6. Counting the Cost
  7. The Fight of Faith
  8. Celebration of God’s Grace, Part Two
  9. Building Godly Boundaries
  10. Forgiveness
  11. Prayer
  12. Celebration of God’s Grace, Part Three

No matter if you have people in your group who have never before participated in Thin Within or, three time veterans, when your group is on week five, everyone will be studying, reviewing, learning about the theme of Restoration. This helps prevent the material from becoming stale! It is a great system that allows people of all experience levels to enjoy a group together, studying and reviewing together.

This fall, I plan to lead a live group through this material as well. I would love to hear from you. Prayerfully consider it. Then, request permission from your pastor, elders or women’s ministry leadership if you need to do so for leading a live group. Then, by August 30th, 2010, check in here (or the Thin Within forums and let me know what you are planning to do! You don’t have to “register” your groups, but if you do when you call Joe and Pam Donaldson at Thin Within 1-877-729-8932 (9:00am-5:00pm Eastern) to make your order, I believe they will send you additional leader resources. Let them know that you are planning on participating with Heidi’s online leading of the class, but that you have a LIVE group that will be joining you. I will be explaining this more in August.

For now, if you want to participate, here is what I recommend:

  1. Pray
  2. Get permission from anyone that you need to in order to have your class
  3. Publicize your class. There are resources available here.
  4. Check in here or at the TW forums to let us know that you have a live class that will be participating
  5. Order your materials!
  6. Keep praying! 🙂

I plan on having my first group session a week ahead of what I recommend for the rest of the folks. I will post here an informal video and written suggestions, giving you ideas about what you can do each week to lead your group. I got this idea from Beth Moore’s Living Proof Blog. A couple of summers ago, she did this with ladies going through a bible study written by another author. 

Our study will be more intensive–most of us are ready for that once fall has arrived! I do recommend that you plan to meet each week, but if you can’t, then every other week is certainly better than nothing! You will have to adapt how you use the materials to suit your group the best.

The suggested dates for you (but feel free to adjust and adapt as needed) are: 
Orientation the week of September 12
Week One the week of September 19
We will continue through the holiday season, taking a week off here and there.

We will have our grand finale just after the New Year, with a wrap up of all we have learned and “Where Do We Go From Here” session.

Some of you may want to continue leading groups into Workbook #2 or do another #1 so that new folks who want to start the New Year with weight loss (like so many do) have a place to go.

It isn’t too early to start thinking about this now!

More to come in the days ahead!

Let’s Expose Some Fat Machinery!

Chapter 6 in Thin Within encourages us to examine “Fat Machinery.” Anything that puts us on auto-pilot, when we don’t engage our brains, and eat anyhow–that is Fat Machinery. We want to expose Fat Machinery and dismantle it.

There are four categories. Let’s look at them.

1. Conditioned or habitual responses. This is when circumstances pushes a button in me and I eat without thinking much about it. The book gives an example of turning on the TV—food automatically comes out. Movies mean popcorn.

How about you? Can you think of conditioned or habitual responses where you eat without engaging your brain?

2. Beliefs. What you believe about things will affect your eating. For instance, if you plan to be active, you believe you need a “hearty breakfast”—even if you aren’t yet hungry. The book uses the belief we have that we need “three square meals a day.” Many think if we don’t have three meals a day we will starve ourselves.

How about you? Do you have any beliefs that cause you to eat?

In our chat yesterday, we discovered that considering “boundaries” as restrictive rules–which we may believe can never be good–may result in us pushing against keys to conscious eating and other boundaries we may establish. When we evaluate this more carefully, we see that it is rooted in believing a lie! The truth is, boundaries guard GOOD things from being eroded or stolen from us, too. 

3. Past stories. Things that happen in our past – usually that trigger emotional responses to food – can cause us to turn to food when we aren’t hungry. Again, since it is “fat machinery” we eat without prayerfully considering if we are hungry or not.

Our past stories are often a HUGE reason we eat. My parents were restrictive and abusive about food and eating. I developed a view that “freedom” from abusive parents meant plunging myself into massive quantities of all the foods that they restricted.

How about you? Do you have any past stories that you think might cause you to eat?

4. Failures. These can be dieting failures or even failures with Thin Within. If you have gained weight back you may feel like you will NEVER lose weight and keep it off. Believing this can keep you returning to food again and again…a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy.

Do you have any struggle with this in your life?

One really obvious “fat machinery” mentioned in the book is our use of the bathroom scale. We allow the number to define our mood and often will eat differently in response to it.

If we haven’t gained, we are justified that “I got away with eating more…so I will continue to eat more…” if we didn’t gain any this week.

If we *have* gained, we may console ourselves by eating… “Oh what is the point of even trying to lose weight… I never will” and throw all godly boundaries to the wind!

Do you struggle with this at all?

This week, ask the Lord to make you aware of any “Fat Machinery” that is operable for you. But don’t stop there…DISMANTLE it. Write it down and ask him to make you aware of when it is happening…or to see it coming in advance!

What “fat machinery” do you see in your own life? If you would like help “dismantling” it, share with us here and let’s dialog about the lies, the automatic responses, the “triggers” that many of us experience relative to food.

Let’s Make the Biblical Choice!

I look back over this weekend and am frustrated with myself. My guard was down. Instead of practicing gratitude which *always* transforms my experience, I allowed myself to focus on circumstances and respond with my emotion. I allowed my feelings to dictate my choices. Instead of sitting in the presence of God, I allowed my emotions to dictate other choices.

From the emergency vet visit for one of my horses and wondering if he would survive, to having to put down our geriatric chinchilla, to the benchmark of my youngest child turning 16, to the stress and tension of car shopping for my husband, only to be disappointed after a four hour trip (one way) to see a car that had not been honestly represented…my choices were not made out of a grateful heart. I didn’t practice diligence. I didn’t guard my heart.

It wasn’t that I was rebellious. I just walked a line all weekend, but I can tell. My heart convicts me. I know the truth.

So, now what?

God’s kindness leads you toward repentance.  
– Romans 2:4b
In this moment of conviction, of sadness about my lack of diligence this weekend to guard godly choices, to maintain godly boundaries, I can wallow in frustration or I can allow the un-ending love and kindness of God to lead me toward repentance.
All of God’s wrath against sin was poured out on Christ at the cross, so thinking that God is mad at me is wrong thinking. I believe my needless struggles break his heart instead of tick him off. I was reminded at church yesterday by our new pastor that what I think will affect how I live. I want to think biblically, so that I live biblically.
So, I choose to apply what I see in Scripture. 
Thin Within calls this “Observation.” I acknowledge the truth:
Lord, I see that I allowed circumstances and my emotional response to my circumstances to erode my godly boundaries over the past three days. I didn’t guard myself from temptation. I didn’t turn to you to help me when I was feeling emotional. I didn’t practice gratitude. These things resulted in eating outside of godly parameters. I know that I could sit here and, somehow, minimize the significance of my choices since they weren’t blatantly rebellious. Conversely, I could hit myself over the head repeatedly for my choices. Instead of either of these two choices, I choose truth, Lord. I choose to recognize what you say about the choices made over the past three days. I agree with You, Lord. I see these truths and I admit them to you.
Then, I choose “Correction.” This is the repentance part of the equation:
Lord, I commit again to eating only when I am hungry and stopping when I am physically comfortable. All other “hunger” that I experience will point me to the need to be still and know that you are God. Additionally, Lord, today when I face circumstances that will cause me to feel sadness, fear, anxiety, joy, or pain, I will invite you in to the moment. I will not eat, but will choose to take five minutes (or more) to spend being still and soaking in your presence. I will choose to take that time to praise you, to ponder your greatness, and to will get distance from any physical food, as I feed my spirit at your table, instead. Thank you that in Jesus, I can do this. In Him I pray, Amen.
When I do this, it is done. I can now, “break camp” and move on. I can “follow the cloud” of God’s presence to the next stop on our journey. Yesterday is history. That is all there is to it. I choose to believe God:
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and 
will forgive us our sins and purify us 
from all unrighteousness.
– 1 John 1:9

I now choose to believe God that he has forgiven me. He has purified me from all unrighteousness. I will not get stuck in the trap of “unbelief” that somehow insists that “This is too easy. I must pay for my sin!” NO. Jesus Christ paid the price. Now, I can never “let God down.” He doesn’t “depend” on me in the first place!

I am so thankful for these truths. This isn’t a diet that I can “blow it” and “go off.” This is discipleship. This is what it means to walk in Christ the rest of my life.

What peace there is in this place.

164 Seven times a day I praise you
       for your righteous laws.
 165 Great peace have they who love your law,
       and nothing can make them stumble.
 166 I wait for your salvation, O LORD,
       and I follow your commands.
– Psalm 119: 164-166
I love the Word of God. There is peace in that. Praising him throughout the day brings me to the place of humble submission. I wait for his salvation. I am so relieved. Thank you, Lord.
How about you? Do you have regrets about the past few days? The past few minutes? Is the Lord convicting you that you may have compromised his best for you in favor of something else? Will you choose the club of condemnation (which is NOT His will for you!) or will you choose “observation and correction,” to break camp and press on to what He has next for you in this glorious adventure?