I Blew It! What Now?

Have you ever been startled, as if from sleep, to “awaken” at the bottom of a carton of ice cream or an empty cookie bag? You didn’t even see it coming, but somehow you binged your way through most of a half gallon of “Tin Roof Sundae” ice cream. What now?

Or, perhaps, out for Mexican food, you were physically hungry and planned to eat within godly parameters. After enjoying chips and queso, however, by the time your meal arrived you weren’t hungry any more and you ate half your meal anyhow. Each bite threw an accusation your way. What next?

What we choose to do with the moments that follow is vital!

So often, when faced with these or similar scenarios, we pull out what Thin Within calls “the club of condemnation” and beat ourselves up. The very things we need–comfort and forgiveness–are the very things we deny ourselves. When we refuse to rest in the grace that Jesus purchased for us with his life, his heart is grieved every bit as much or more than the thing we did that caused our shame in the first place. He created us for so much more than the shame we embrace when we find ourselves in a place of sin. In fact, when he died on the cross, he took on all the sin and shame. He doesn’t intend for us to wallow in shame now.

Last year, I studied the book Search for Significance by Robert S. McGeeHe speaks about the affects of shame:

Shame usually results in guilt and self-deprecation, but it can also lead us to search for God and his answers. Our inner, undeniable need for personal significance was created to make us search for Him. He alone can fulfill our deep need. In Him, we find peace, acceptance, and love. The Search for Significance, p. 101 (emphasis mine)

When I trespass God’s boundaries for me, those “what then” moments can be spent the way he desires–redeeming what came before! He intends to use the very sin and  “gunk” that I think makes me so awful in his sight to draw me even closer to his heart. When I overeat (again) or head to food when I am not hungry and fail to stop it before “damage” is done, in the “what now?” moment, I can choose to turn to him and experience his peace, acceptance and love.

I wonder…why don’t I? Why do I insist on living as if he counts all my sin against me? Why do I act as if the cross never happened and Jesus didn’t pay for my sin and shame? Why do I wallow in shame?

We often behave in a manner that is consistent with our perception of ourselves…seeing ourselves through the eyes of shame usually results in a pessimistic outlook on life and a lifestyle of destructive behavior. The Search for Significance, p. 102 (Emphasis mine.)

“Destructive behavior”…like repeatedly engaging in poor choices followed by self-condemnation!

When I allow shame to go unchallenged in my life, it has a way of seeping in to all the cracks and crevices, pervading every aspect of who I am, almost defining me if I let it. When I first realize that I have allowed myself to go down a path away from God’s best for me–when I ask, “What now?”–I want the answer to be to stop, confess, and repent or, to use a Thin Within term, observe (dispassionately) and correct (more about this after we start our study of the book on June 14). I don’t want shame to define moments that follow! When I feel shame, I tend to make more shameful choices. Shame doesn’t belong in the child of God!

Instead, I want to break free from this cycle completely, exercising the freedom purchased for me by Christ.  Instead, I will live free from shame controlling me or my decisions. I will reject shame, which looks backward, and I will reject all of the things it represents in my life. I will embrace grace which embraces Christ in the now and looks forward to that for which Christ Jesus lay hold of me.

I choose to keep short accounts today.  If I do find myself having eaten more than I should have (or snapping at the kids a bit more harshly, or having missed an opportunity to speak the truth to a pre-Christian neighbor), the “What next?” question will be answered with  “observe and correct,” confess and repent.  I will reject allowing my indiscretion in the past hour, day, month, or decade to define me.

How about you? Have you allowed shame to have a say in your life? What can you do to expose it and reject it? God calls us to press on and move forward!

NOTE: Don’t forget, we continue to have a random drawing for a free copy of Thin Within! Comment to be entered in the drawing. The next winner will be selected late Sunday evening.

Responses to Your Comments

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Goodness, girls! I am too verbose for words! I tried to post this looooong comment in response to comments made on yesterday’s blog post about an Antidote to Steamrollered Intentions. But it was too many characters. So, I will learn from this and do differently in the future. LOL!

So, I hope you don’t mind that I post my comments in response to *your* comments here as a new blog post! ๐Ÿ™‚

Hi, Sandy, God is really working with me on boundaries right now. It is amazing in how many ways, in fact. When I know I am agitated, I can’t allow myself to eat as I know I am far from honest. It is like the boundary I had for myself with my kids when they made disobedient choices. I had to wait until I wasn’t emotional before chastising them…this was a boundary for me to keep me from becoming an abuser. In a very real way, i need to have these boundaries in tact for me not to be “an abuser” of my body by putting into it food it doesn’t need. Same sort of principle.

One thing I have found about pain of my past, sometimes God walks me back through it *now* so that he can be with me through it and experience what he intends for the pain in the first place. It means revisiting those earlier days walking with him through the valley of the shadow, but with *him*, there is redemption of those times and formation of my character instead of coping mechanisms and denial–which is what I have used in the past. So his “do overs” include opportunities like this…even though they are soooo very hard, they are for healing.

It *is* a lot of “work” to change what we do when we are in pain. I think this is why many people “quit” Thin Within. It is much easier for us to focus on food…counting grams, calories, points, whatever, then it is to really look at why we turn to food and to begin to learn new ways of coping. As we learn new ways of coping we are a bit raw. Not a fun place to be.

Yes, Father, I join Sandy in her prayer and ask that you would help all of us to have boundaries. Bless the ladies who will join in this study on June 14th, Lord.

Thank you for your prayers Sandy!

Hi, Kim. Isn’t that the truth? There is a lot of character building we may have missed because we learned to cope without the benefit of the guidance that would have helped our challenges to become opportunities for growth.

So true, Kim. As adults we *are* slow learners so often! LOL! I am with you. I, too, want to allow God to develop His character in me.

LeeAnne, I am so glad that God knows what we need when we need it. He always amazes me that way!

Hey, here is a thought! When we DO “blow it,” let’s celebrate the moments that came before and the one we have now and that will yet be ahead that we can capture for God. I think sometimes we allow our “defeats” to multiply because we mull them over in our minds and beat ourselves up for them…we don’t move forward.

Here is the thing we sometimes miss…or *I* do… we *are* free in Christ! We have to learn to *walk* in that freedom. I have a chinchilla. he is pretty old. He has spent all his life in a cage. When I have let him out of his cage, he has become fearful, uncomfortable. All the freedom offered to him and he prefers the familiarity of his cage. I think I am like little Dusty sometimes. God has given me freedom, but I don’t walk in it.

I am so glad you like the 5 minute idea. I have found it a VERY helpful “boundary” for me.

Hi, Believerkjk – Oh yes! We put such a burden on ourselves that God never asks that we carry. Yet we do and then we feel we have “let God down.” Oh my! We were never holding him up! ๐Ÿ™‚ You are so right. It isn’t my job to make everything happy for everyone. I think in the book Search For Significance the author points out that my attempts to constantly make everyone happy is really my attempt to control them…it sounds so nice on the one hand…trying to make others happy. LOL! But you (and the author of that book) are right. It is my attempt to exert control on others! Yikes!

I hope you are finding much joy and comfort in crawling up into Abba’s lap. That picture I put on the blog of my husband with our baby girl (almost 16 years ago) is precious. She always rested so content with him. He is such a tender, nurturing father. I see in him so many characteristics of my heavenly Father. If I could just relate to GOD this way…the way my babies have related to his tenderness. WOW! That would transform everything! AND PRAISE GOD FOR THE VICTORY you experienced!!! YAY for another marble in the jar!

Hi, Peggy. One of the things I sometimes do during tougher seasons is try to carve out even 5 minutes mid-afternoon of refocusing on the Lord and act like it is the start of a new day–even at 3:30pm! I commit “this day” afresh to him and that sometimes helps. Sounds silly! LOL! Thank you so much for your kind words. You encourage me so very much. At times, this weary wanderer needs that. ๐Ÿ™‚

Oh, Diahn…thank you so much for your encouraging words, too. No, you aren’t alone. You can see from the comments here at the blog that we share so much in common. We really *are* sisters. It is amazing how God connects us, isn’t it? Prayers for you today, dear one. He is near to you. He delights over you with singing. Do you hear his voice in the whisper? ๐Ÿ™‚

You all are such a blessing to me. Thank you for your ministry to my heart. God is awesome, isn’t he?

An Antidote for Steamrollered Intentions

Have you ever started the morning with quiet time with God, loved his presence, committed your day to him, resolved that you will move forward in your walk with God and make choices in line with godly principles–all day? Then, within five minutes of your final “Amen” of your quiet time, “POOF!” all your good intentions were steamrollered by who-knows-what? The very thing you wanted to do, you didn’t and the very thing you hated was what you did?

I have. A lot lately! It seems.

I do not understand what I do. 
For what I want to do I do not do, 
but what I hate I do.
– Romans 7:15

“Agitation” happens in my home and, when it does, a switch flips in me, taking me back to my challenging childhood. I end up feelingtrapped…. like I am walking on the egg shells I did when I was a kid growing up with a mom who tried to commit suicide a number of times, like the mental health (and possibly physical health) of the people around me, depends on me somehow. Good grief! I think that is taking on a bit more than God intends, don’t you? I end up living in fear, which is never a godly place to be.

In these moments, I feel like a kid, trapped in a dysfunctional, abusive, scary and out of control environment, grasping for some way to be in control and some way to comfort myself. All my positive goals seem blocked by the people I live with and something takes over my mind with the thought: I just want to eat. It is a rebellious feeling like: “I can TOO do what I want. YOU can’t STOP me…I can TOO be ‘in control!’ I can eat!”  

Thin Within calls this “flesh machinery.” It is pretty clear why! I act like I am on “automatic.” Recognizing it enables me to stop it in the strength God provides in the moment.

I don’t want to eat when I am not hungry. What I really want is to be able to live in peace with the people I love, to live in peace with God, with myself, and with food. This is a longing for heaven, I realize. It won’t be realized perfectly until I am in heaven with Jesus.

However, something in me from my past looks to food for comfort, protection and control. This tendency is rooted in deception and recognizing that, I can replace lies with God’s truth.
 I am learning afresh that boundaries are designed to keep me safe, offer comfort, and godly control. Boundaries keep me safe as yellow lines down the center of the road–each driver stays out of the other side (hopefully). Boundaries keep me from taking what I want off store shelves without paying and getting tossed in jail. So, I must  respond to godly boundaries as helpful guardians in my eating as well, instead of viewing them resentfully, as yet another block to my goal during the times of agitation in my home and life.

Obviously, God wants to be comfort, protection and control for me. He is these things. He is protection. He is comfort. This is one reason why studying the attributes of God is so powerful for me.

Knowing this tendency in me,  in those moments when the kids are at one another’s throats, godly boundaries serve me well. Simply, if I am agitated, it isn’t time to eat…I must give a loving “no” to that little girl who feels trapped back 35 years ago in a home with two alcoholic, raging parents.

Instead, I will crawl up into my Abba’s lap and allow him to comfort me with his love and delight over me with singing.

The LORD your God is with you, 
he is mighty to save. 
He will take great delight in you, 
he will quiet you with his love,
he will rejoice over you with singing.
– Zephaniah 3:17

How about you? Are you “triggered” in some way that sends you to food for comfort, protection, or control? What godly boundaries can you have that will offer you what you really need during those times?

Win a copy of Thin Within by being entered in a drawing to win. Just comment here to enter. Next drawing is Monday morning!

Dive in and STUDY With Us!

Summer can be a time of wonderful freedom. Sometimes, though, we may find our freedom erodes to chaos in short order!

There is no need for summer to go from fabulous to frantic. Join me in planning a little bit of structure, to help us maintain godly boundaries as the days get warmer and longer!

Join me and dive in to a study of the Thin Within book here on this blog. This might offer a bit of added incentive and accountability to press on in your quest to give the Lord your eating habits!

I prefer to take a very casual, easy-going pace as I study the Thin Within book this time. Here are the (sort of) specifics:

  • A 10-12 week study, but it could go longer depending on other aspects of my life and schedule. ๐Ÿ™‚ I anticipate covering about 3 chapters each week. Our mileage may vary. You can go at any pace. The posts will be here whenever you need them! ๐Ÿ™‚
  • You will want to purchase a fresh copy of Thin Within, by Arthur and Judy Halliday, published by W publishing in 2002 or later. I say “fresh copy,” since many of you may have read it before and filled in the blanks. I am starting fresh and I want to encourage you to do so as well. God is challenging me to break camp and head off, as if for the first time. So, I will do that with a book that is new and not yet written in! I recommend you do the same, but that is up to you!
  • You may want to get a journal that you can write in as needed. I will be adding little assignments along the way and you can do them in the journal. Obviously, everything is optional. Make this study whatever YOU want it to be!
  • You will want a favorite translation of the bible. I recommend a bible highlighter, too, so you can highlight the verses that stand out to you in the reading we do.
    • If you want to hide God’s Word in your heart (an excellent practice), you may want to get index cards for scripture memory.
    • We will begin June 14 (I think).
    • Finishing, hopefully by August 30.
    • There may be an optional “real time” chat mid-week at the Thin Within.org website for those who want to join us for that.
    • I will post one or two times a week about what I am seeing in my study of the book. I will post other things like I usually do, too, but only two of the posts each week are likely to be about the study. I will let folks know which days to expect those posts as we get closer to the start of the study. Then, you can respond and connect with one another if you like. If you want to, you can gather friends to join you in a LIVE study of the book. Then you can post here, too. That is up to you. ๐Ÿ™‚ FUN!

      My Approach:

      I will be processing this material in a unique way, as:

      1.) …someone who has been through the material many times before, taught classes, spoken to groups, but now needs to start as if from scratch — I want to rekindle my commitment to godly boundaries and focus on the Lord, but I also know that my tendency to compromise has made a difference in my physical size in a way that probably isn’t God’s best for me. I want to see really what he wants for me. Of course, as I have said before, he doesn’t want me thin nearly so much as he wants me to be his. So I will be working on being his in all respects–including with my eating. I need to get to know my body all over again as it has changed, my hunger/satisfied signals have changed. I want to learn what God has for me now.

      2.) …someone who took part in writing the Thin Within book and workbooks–I was the collaborator for the Thin Within book (God has such a sense of humor!). It was my job to “get inside” Judy Halliday’s head and bring to the printed page what she had been teaching in her workshops for years. I will gladly field questions from anyone who is studying with us and, if I don’t know the answer, I will ask Judy Halliday directly. Studying from this perspective is unique, though. If you have known this material for years and wonder why you can’t “get it,” trust me, I know what that is like. I began this approach in 1999, but didn’t allow it to change me physically until 2006. Now, I am here again, almost “jaded.” When I began this blog in 2006, I began it with the attitude of “Ok, God, Let’s see if you can take this jaded pilgrim and do something new…” He didn’t disappoint. I am, perhaps, more jaded now…yet I find myself wondering if he won’t do a “new new thing.” ๐Ÿ™‚

      Since we will start about mid-June, there is time for you to get the book. You can call Thin Within (http://www.thingwithin.ORG) to get a copy of the book (the 2002 or later version) at 877-729-8932 9:00 am to 5:00 pm EST Monday through Friday. Joe and Pam Donaldson are quick about shipping out and I think the books cost about $11.00 for a paperback from them. You can order it anywhere you wish, of course–half.com and Amazon Marketplace may have new books for a good price. Be sure to get the 2002 edition or later. The version from 1985 is not from a Christian perspective.

      I hope you will join us, starting June 14!

      I am having another book giveaway, too. THIS WEEK I will be giving away a Thin Within book. In fact, I think I will give away one each week between now and the time our study starts. ๐Ÿ™‚ All you have to do to enter is comment here…and be sure to check back to see if you won. Each time you comment here at the blog (relevant comments only, please), I will write your name (the one you use for your comments) on a slip of paper and put it in a bag. Next Sunday night, I will draw a name and Monday I will post who has won. I will do that for the next four weeks. ๐Ÿ™‚

       How about you? What will you do to enjoy the freedom of summer without allowing the erosion of your godly boundaries? Will you join us? ๐Ÿ™‚

      Grace to Accept Change and Press On

      What happens when change happens? Will I praise God even then?

      Today, I choose to look to the Lord for the grace to accept change where I need to accept it and the strength to pursue godly change, to observe and correct, confess and repent, where that is the appropriate response as well!

      Praise the Lord!

      I released 100 pounds from June 2006 to October of 2007 by eating when I was hungry and stopping when I was no longer hungry. I kept all of the weight off  for a year–until the fall of 2008–but toyed with an anorexic mentality during that year…wondering how low I could get my weight, losing even more, grasping then at “normalcy” again, rebounding back up, and so on, in a cycle of sorts.

      Then I began to gain steadily. Some of this was understandable, as I allowed the subtle erosion of godly boundaries. Having now been in the same jeans since December of 2009, I know that things have sort of stabilized. The dust has settled, the smoke has cleared and now I survey what remains.

      First, I have to confess–this blog is not written by someone who is “cured,” “healed,” “victorious” forever onward. I choose to praise the Lord anyhow! ๐Ÿ™‚  I believe God uses my constant challenges to build in me an inherent dependence on him. Oh! How I NEED him, desperately! I used to want to be “normal” (whatever that is). Now, I just want to learn to lean on him all the more. God will continue to use my challenges with food to draw me closer to him–Praise the Lord!

      Secondly, I can see now my body has changed (age-related things, if you get my drift :-)). My size isn’t the only thing that is different. My hunger and satisfied signals have changed. What I had become dependent upon (wow…I just realized this) and relied upon and learned…these things have changed. With menopause have come a number of changes, including what my body feels like for “0” and what it feels like for “5.” (Not to mention how what weight I do carry is distributed very differently than ever before!) I am getting reoriented. I choose to praise the Lord!

      Thirdly, the Thin Within principles still work and I continue to be committed to apply them.  I have found that the adjustments I need to make now are similar to those that I have had to make in the past when I was sick, taking medicine, or under a lot of stress–the body reacts differently and some things change…like hunger signals. It has taken me this long to see that I am not like I was even a couple of short years ago. I choose to praise the Lord!

      So, my story is that of a sojourner imperfectly walking the path and finding her way. My desire has always been to “arrive” and to tell you that you can, too. But instead, I see now that my message is that God is found here…out in this wandering, winding, path through the wilderness. Where everything else I depend on has changed, he remains the same. So, I am here, in the desert, needing him and the provision of “manna” daily…He alone is dependable. I choose to praise the Lord! I have HIM!

      I have never really been here before, in this particular place. God really IS doing a new thing!

      In many ways, I am beginning this journey afresh–as if for the first time!

      God has extended me grace to know and accept that change happens. My body has changed…it looks different than it ever has. My hunger signals have changed. And I am growing to a place of accepting all of this. Now that I am over my disappointment that things aren’t like they were before…that this might not be quite so easy (the physical part of this…the rest has *never* been “easy”), will I allow HIM to be my motivation? The bathroom scale can’t taunt me or reward me as I don’t have one any more.

      I choose to praise the Lord!

      I am thankful for the grace to accept change happens, but I am also thankful for the grace to enact intentional change. I won’t embrace the mentality of “victim” and bemoan the realities of my aging body. Instead, I choose to praise God that I am at this new stage of life, that there are yet many new things to learn.

      I will press on and choose to praise the Lord.

      Praise the Lord!

      How about you? Are there changes you need to accept? Are there changes you need to resist–they represent compromise and erosion of godly boundaries? 

      This is the last day for the Praise Changes Thing Book Contest! You can win one of three copies of Ethel Herr’s Lord, Show Me Your Glory. Just comment here and you will be entered to win! Today is the last day to comment to be included in the drawing. I will randomly draw three names from my “hat” first thing (California time) Tuesday morning.:-)