Not What I Once Was

Truth Inventory Part 2

The “Truth Inventory” process has been an amazing time of deep encouragement from the Lord. Of course, it hasn’t been without conviction…and repentance as well.

Before I really stopped and prayerfully evaluated, I beat myself up about how much I had “reverted” to former behaviors. The Lord has been showing me that, while I must be circumspect about the potential for this, that it is far from truth. In fact, I have been listening to the voice of the accuser if I conclude that I have done this to the degree I had assumed.

I had a very emotional thing happen at the beginning of this week. As I walked by the kitchen, I found an old familiar feeling of resentment and “I can TOO do what I want!” rise up in me…that same feeling that would cause me to grab food “Just because I CAN!!!” It is the same feeling that would own me choice after choice, in the past.

Almost as quickly as that thought assaulted me, another thought rebuked the first, “I don’t HAVE to have ‘what I want!’ I am FREE from having to give in to that urge!” This is a HUGE thing in my life. God has been laying in my life a foundation of strength in HIM. My weaknesses, which are so great, enable me to prevail upon his grace all the more and I see, like the Apostle Paul says, that I can “boast all the more in my weaknesses, for when I am weak, then I am strong!” God’s strength is at work, by His Spirit, in me.

So, any changes in my physical body that I don’t appreciate very much, while not welcome changes to me, I see that they are not because of totally allowing all the boundaries to be removed. I haven’t binged, I haven’t “let go” or “thrown in the towel.” Never once have I had the thought of “quitting.” I know well enough now that we can *never* quit this…it is discipleship. It is sanctification. Once in Christ, our entire lives are lived on this path. If I maintain any thought that Thin Within is a “diet” then, yes…diets can be quit and started, quit and started. But Thin Within isn’t a diet. It is about moderation, self-discipline, surrender to God…and my life is to be based on these things to honor the Lord in all things. This is what it means to live in Christ.

This is very different than all my past experiences with having lost a bunch of weight and then starting to gain it. I am not what I once was. There have been remarkable changes that have occurred inside of me…changes wrought by the Spirit of God. I praise and thank HIM for these things. I know I will never be the same person as before November 2006 when I really focused on the Lord in this journey and it being about the Lord and not about me really.

There *are* layers to this, of course…thus the reason I am at what seems to be a familiar place again. But I am thankful that my “Truth Inventory” has been showing me that what may appear familiar, actually is a “new thing!” This blog was aptly named when I began it….

…God really IS doing a new thing! He continues to!

Practically, I am doing something that is helping my focus a lot during this time. For a lot of months, now, I have had my watch timer go off at regular intervals throughout the day. It is my reminder to check in with God. I have my watch timer set for shorter intervals now than ever…I felt in such need to be reminded of God’s presence continually. I have used these reminders merely to say “Hi, God.” Or to lift someone I know up in prayer… For a time, now, though, my priority is to use these reminders to thank God for something specific (a return to gratitude) and to recommit my choices to the Lord…to ask Him to give me a heart after His. This is working wonders for me…for keeping my heart tender. I don’t find myself drawn to more food than I need. And he really IS enough!

I know that I have posted here about having “learned” these lessons before. Well, I guess I am learning them again. ๐Ÿ˜‰

My daughter and I are heading out for the women’s retreat up at Lake Tahoe this afternoon. We are leading the worship music this weekend. See you next week!

Weighing In On The Scale

Truth Inventory ~ Part 1

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. – Psalm 139:23-24

As I sat before the Lord with this verse my prayer, asking the Lord, “Where am I now?” “Where do YOU want me to be?” “What must I do to get there?” He was faithful to point out some things. This entry shares just one of these things. ๐Ÿ™‚

The very first thing, that he brought to mind had to do with the bathroom scale.

I have lived without a bathroom scale in my life for about three and a half months. God pointed this out to me as something that delights HIS heart! YAY! ๐Ÿ˜€ So I am thrilled to know that this is definitely something that I am on the right track about.

Choosing to live without the scale was not for the purposes of living without accountability, as some might think. It was to be free from ungodly constraints and obsession. During the two years that I was focused on what God called me to do in 0 to 5 eating, faithfully following his lead, releasing 100 pounds and keeping it off, I allowed the bathroom scale to define me. (Doesn’t this sound contradictory? It is, but there it is anyhow!) I was a slave to it, living in fear of “What if my weight goes up?!”

God has been teaching me during the past three and a half months that I am not defined by what the scale says each day or, even, by what my size is. This isn’t coming naturally to me and I have struggled for all I am worth (at times) to resist heading in to town to purchase a new scale! I remember saying to my husband how motivating it is to see the needle going down…gosh…the Lord wants me to find His voice “motivating!”

Time and again, God has encouraged me with “Won’t you let my voice direct you? Won’t you stand on *my* promises and *my* reassurances instead of a man-made arbitrary device to which you have bowed slavishly your entire life?”

So, God has confirmed that, though I have struggled with obedience in my eating and my self-perception because of more weight on my body than I would like, that I am, indeed, learning lessons that he wants me to really get. Now is not the time to quit by getting a new bathroom scale. I sense his leading in this. YAY!

I will continue to live without the scale!

As I have returned to godly boundaries, this has been even harder. (Go figure!) I want the instant gratification of seeing the scale nudge downward. Boy, the flesh can sure pitch a fit! God lovingly speaks to my heart, “How about the ‘instant gratification’ of ME whispering to you, ‘Well done, child’?” You see, this tendency to grasp at “instant gratification” — that which the bathroom scale seems to feed — is the very same tendency that fuels eating outside of godly boundaries. “I want that NOW! I don’t *want* to wait until I am hungry to eat more of that…” If I am really to be *healed* of the *heart* issue that is at the root of my overeating, one great place to focus is this tendency to “Give it to me now!” Any place where this mentality appears in my life, must come under close scrutiny if I want it eradicated completely. Does that make sense? This incessant drive to hop on a scale each morning, actually fuels the very same heart that insists I have more brownies, or another meal when I am not hungry.

So, living without the scale is a good thing. This is where I am and have been for a while and this is where God wants me to be. YAY! I am so glad that this “Truth Inventory” isn’t all about things I have sploogied about…done wrong. God is so gracious!

Now, along these same lines, what other truth must I face? This is the harder thing to swallow, but the same grace that spoke to me about the above, spoke to me about this as well. I have not been relying on the Holy Spirit to guide and direct me…or, rather…and this is REALLY hard to admit…I have heard his voice and chosen to disobey…to ignore Him. In fact, the bathroom scale would be much “easier” to obey or to sense approval or correction from! Can you believe it?

Here is the thing…The HOLY Spirit resides in me as a child of God in part to empower me to make HOLY choices! He wants to give me the desires and the strength to carry out the desires of God for my life. He requires that I surrender self to Him in order for this to happen, however. He requires this. He will not MAKE me make good choices. He offers me everything I need for life and godliness and it is up to me to embrace it and walk it out in my life.

So where does this put me now? I believe that I am learning invaluable lessons. God wants me to learn to do this thing without the bathroom scale. My evident weight gain over the last 4 months (since the start of our summer study…not much, but enough…) as seen in the way my clothes fit, tells me (as if I needed it to) that I have not been a submissive, obedient, loving child. I knew that already, though! I don’t need my body size to tell me that! In fact, I recall times in my life where I wasn’t obedient, but my size didn’t change…I had “gotten away with” eating outside of godly boundaries. If I were to depend on the scale to “weigh my heart” then it had lied to me during those times…just because my weight hadn’t gone up during those times, didn’t mean I was on target with honoring the Lord with my eating and drinking. I know the truth! God’s Spirit speaks it to my spirit and there is no doubt!

So I will continue to live without the scale. I have continued this week to delight in godly boundaries and feel the burden of my heart lifted. It is such a joyful place to be! Even if my body weight hasn’t changed a bunch, my heart is lighter and I am back where I need to be, willingly surrendering to the canopy of his grace, following the path of GOD’s provision, not grasping at what I want NOW.

I am learning delayed gratification…more…I am learning true satisfaction in a new way. Getting rid of the scale and keeping it gone is a big part of that for me. It has been a frightening step to take, but I am confident that it has been the right place to be…so I press on! AND I press IN to the Lord, to lean on Him, to listen to HIS voice and…to obey it. His boundaries for me are because He loves me.

There is joy here!

Assignment for August 17-23 and NEW STUDY IN SEPTEMBER!

Oops! I forgot to post an assignment!

This week we will focus on chapters 27 and 28 in Thin Within.

In these chapters, we are challenged to apply being conscious of what we do–of being in the present moment–into our schedules and our approach to time management! YIKES! ๐Ÿ™‚

I am convicted that God doesn’t want me to compartmentalize my life but, instead, to offer all that I am to him. That means welcoming his “invasion” into my eating, my drinking, my time, my spending and saving and …well…EVERYTHING!

I hope you will post here what God shows you.

Continue to praise God for his attributes. If you have “fallen off the bandwagon” ask him to show you if it is because your focus has reverted back to you, your body, your food, your size, your clothes… Then ask him for a holy paradigm shift! It is all about HIM! ๐Ÿ™‚

Establish or re-establish and recommit to godly boundaries that you know in your heart of hearts that God wants you to live by for this season. Commit for a week and see how it goes. Don’t head for “overkill,” but if you have been wandering aimlessly for a while, how about starting with one… “I will enjoy food I desire to eat when I am completely physically hungry. Until I reach that point, I will live life with my heart and mind focused elsewhere!”

The past two days have been filled with emotional hurdles for me, but God is growing me to fix my eyes on him in the middle of it and I haven’t allowed my emotions to drive me to food, thankfully. I was on a bad track last week! He has been faithful to rescue me!

Let’s press on! This isn’t over when the book comes to an end. ๐Ÿ™‚

If anyone is interested, I think I will go into Judy Halliday’s newest book after I am done with Thin Within. I have never gone all the way through HEAL. It was written with Allie Marie Smith and is written with younger women in mind, but I imagine God can use it with an old fogie like me! LOL! If you are interested in participating in it, please get a copy of HEAL. It is available from Amazon here. I will probably be starting that about September 7th or so. We will finish it before the holidays–it has six chapters. Short, sweet and power-packed!

Chapter 26 – IS God Enough for Me?

A popular Chris Tomlin song a few years back sang “All of you is more than enough for, all of me, for every thirst and every need, you satisfy me with your love and all I have in you, is more than enough…”

Above is a video from Tangle (a Christian video community) in case you want to hear it.

This song popped into my head this morning, though…probably because I have been living as if it is NOT true. I have gone about three MILES backwards…not just three *steps* in my walk with God. It is odd, too, as I feel a greater closeness to Him in so many ways than I have ever before…yet my emotions are running away with me. Sometimes these emotions even feel like how *he* feels about things. I don’t know how to explain it…well, an example might be when something was done by a group of well-meaning folks at church, as I prayed about it, I felt a sudden overwhelming surge of heart-ache. In prayer, I asked God if this was *HIS* heart about it…and I sensed it was. What I should do with this is give it back to Him through praise and worship…instead, I internalize it or do something warped with it and end up feeling like I want to “numb” myself to it again…like long ago when I did this with all my emotions with food.

So, there I am again, grasping at something to quell the tide…a quick fix, a temporary solution…whether it is my own emotions run rampant, a situation that I feel powerless about, or whatever it may be, I seem to be going after the ungodly solutions…This is SIN. This isn’t justifiable.

Chapter 26 speaks in the Thin Within book speaks about this tendency to grasp at temporary gratification instead of that which brings fulfillment and deep soul satisfaction. I am in a place right now where it is crucial that I have boundaries in place and use discernment to scrutinize everything, it seems. I know that my presence on the search team for a lead pastor likely puts me in the enemy’s sites…that he may want to take me down in some way. Even apart from any enemy assault, I have my flesh which has been trained in recent months away from the path of obedience. It is time to get back to the basics….that God alone satisfies. He alone is the answer for me, for this ache….

The Lord alone can satisfy the emptiness in our souls and the needs for which our hearts yearn….Christ is sufficient. He is more than enough. Thin Within, page 276

Trying to satisfy our God-given heart hunger with things of this world, with anything other than God is meaningless. Thin Within, page 276

We can remain in a place of heart and soul satisfaction when we surrender our will, mind, emotions, unmet needs, and our bodies to our Heavenly Father. Thin Within, page 278

More than all I want

More than all I need

You are more than enough for me

More than all I know

More than all I can say

You are more than enough for me

Chapter 24 – To Run and Not Grow Weary

Ever onward into chapter 24 of Thin Within by Arthur and Judy Halliday!

I found this chapter encouraging and very practical. I don’t know about you, but I have found myself challenged in a new way to maintain my resolve to godly boundaries that will help me to accomplish the godly goals that God moved me to establish at the beginning of June.

During the past week, I have found myself being challenged emotionally and spiritually from sources that I had thought I never would. It is disheartening, disquieting and extremely challenging in a new way.

God wants me to cling to him, cling to him, cling to him. In humility, I do that. When I don’t cling to him, it is because I have allowed pride to rise up in me to say “I know best how to handle this!” or “I deserve to be comforted!” or some such malarkey! God is growing me to see how subtly pride can continue to filter into my responses to people and situations.

I am reminded by the authors that:

…the most effective forming and shaping of our character takes place during times of suffering. Thin Within, page 254

At least I am encouraged that my character must really be getting “shaped and formed” right now! LOL! sigh…

I love the reminder that it isn’t my job to release weight. Instead, it is my responsibility to be in relationship with God and to seek His guidance. (page 258).

As I make GOD my priority, drawing close to Him, praising, thanking, giving gratitude to Him, as I continue to pursue a heart of constant forgiveness (something I have an opportunity to do lately), then I am fulfilling that to which HE calls. HE will do the rest! The pressure is off!

If you are doing the study with us, I hope that you did the activity on pages 260-261. This is where the rubber hits the road! I have included as some of my action steps that I will incorporate an additional “check in with God” time mid-afternoon. My morning quiet times always nourish and focus me on the Lord, but by mid-day, I am off track, my thinking is skewed and I have my shorts in a bunch about something. :-/ So, maybe if I just mentally “start my day” about 2pm with a quiet time and a shower ๐Ÿ™‚ I will have the mercies that are new every day begin again about the time I usually start falling to pieces.

Anyhow, I plan to give that a try. I know it has helped me in the past. If nothing else, I will take some time to refocus. To fix my eyes on Jesus…

How about you? What action steps are you going to take to really work toward change? What adjustments to your godly goals do you feel the Lord leading you to make? What babysteps can you take to get there within the next couple of weeks?

Let’s not give up! He is doing a work in our character. Let’s welcome that. Let’s take on our responsibility to connect with God, to obey Him, to repent when necessary and to fix our eyes on Him…to maintain our relationship with the Lover of our Souls. We can leave the rest to Him to take care of! ๐Ÿ™‚