Day 27 TLT – Walking in The Spirit

This lesson focused on Galatians 5:16: But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desires of the flesh.

The desires of the flesh include gratifying our desire for food whenever we want without regard for godly boundaries. If we do not want to continue to live as those who gratify our flesh repeatedly through overeating (or whatever the struggle may be), then we must walk by the Spirit.

The question becomes, what does it mean to walk in, with, or by the Spirit, then? If that is the way to be free from indulging my flesh, then I want to do it! I need to know what it means!

The author provides a quote from Matthew Henry (a biblical commentator) to help with this as well as a deeper look at the context of Galatians 5:16.

To me, walking in the Spirit means that I am focusing more on what my soul needs as a constant theme in my life than I am on what the flesh demands. I am prayerful and practicing gratitude. I welcome the presence of God’s Word in my life and allow it to guide me through this life. That means I have to spend time reading, studying, and meditating on it prayerfully. Then, as I go through life, each moment I can choose to capture for the Lord or for the flesh. I don’t minimize my choices, but know that each one will add to the likelihood of my feeding my flesh or heeding the Spirit. I will indulge my flesh or I will feed my soul. I will build a closer connection to the Lord, or I will build a wall. I choose to capture the moment for hte Lord, I choose to heed the Spirit, I choose to feed my soul. I choose to build a closer connection to the Lord.

As I continue to reject Satan’s accusations when I DO blow it, as I continue to believe that the previous moment has passed and can’t be recaptured and quit condemning myself for past mistakes, as I grab a hold of THIS moment and ask “Lord, what will you have me be, do, say, think, feel (even, eat) in this moment?” I will have a direction and I can follow it. There will come peace. Joy…all the fruit of the Spirit listed there in Galatians 5. It will be in my life as it is the life of the Spirit that emmerges in and through me.

But it is a step by step heeding of His voice. One babystep at a time. One moment at a time. One thought at a time.

What can I do today to be sure that I am more likely to walk in the Spirit? If I walk in the Spirit I will not carry out the desires of the flesh.

Day 26 TLT – Break The Chain

Practical–this lesson is totally practical!

Mike Cleveland shows that an eating “accident” (outside of our God-given boundaries) happens when a series of mini-events, one upon another, results in the “wreck.” He shares about how his job as an airplane pilot causes him to read and analyze airplane wrecks in the past. His eye is on how to avoid the same pitfalls that resulted in the accidents. This has caused him to see that most airplane wrecks happen following a chain of events.

He asks the participant to then evaluate what are the links in the chain that lead to an eating “wreck” in their life. This is mine:

1. Usually there is an emotional trigger, disappointment, frustration of some kind.
2. Usually I am doing something without a focus–my mind is free to wander. This may be watching a movie with the family, or surfing the internet.
3. I begin to think about the food, what it would taste like, how good it will be, that “I deserve it,” and entertain thoughts of justifying why this wouldn’t really be outside of my boundaries.
4. Hardening of my heart to God by resisting thoughts of him.
5. Getting up and going into the kitchen.
6. Eating it.

Mr. Cleveland’s suggestion is that at any point in this chain, we can break the link…and this will derail the head-on collision with sinful eating.

For instance, in my own example, here are some ideas about how I could change things up:

1. When the emotional trigger hits, I can truth journal. This is something taught in Barb Raveling’s Freedom From Emotional Eating workbook. I have blogged about this process previously. Basically, truth journaling includes writing about how I feel about what is going on, what I want to do about it and then prayerfully evaluating what I have written and what of my thoughts are lies and which are truths…then writing out a corresponding truth for each lie to combat the lie and refuse to be duped by it.

2. There are a few ways of changing this one…If I am doing something mindless, I can be prayerful as I sit down to do it. Surely, a movie with my family isn’t something I need to *stop* doing necessarily, but I can do it *differently*–prayerfully aware of my vulnerability and seeking God with a humble heart!

I realized when I looked over a week’s worth of reports to my accountability partner that my violation of my 0 to 5 eating boundary was happening consistently while watching a movie with my family. While not watching movies could be one way of handling it, I don’t prefer to do that as time with my family is important to me. We do incorporate other things to do together into our lives and that is one way of handling this.

Another way of handling this is a recommitment to the boundary of not eating when the screen is on. If I eat, it must be at the table with nothing else happening (one of the keys to conscious eating from the Thin Within book). It isn’t likely that I will announce to the family “Turn off the show for 5 minutes while I eat” unless I am at a 0! ๐Ÿ™‚

3. If I find myself beginning to think about food I want and other thoughts that are heading toward a “crash,” I will take what little strength I have and breathe a prayer, “Lord, change my want to!” I can also choose to take captive my thoughts and make them obedient to Christ. Applying what yesterday’s lesson was about, I can choose to take my focus OFF of the food and OFF of indulging my flesh, and put it ON Christ and HIS sacrifice…all HE has done for me to free me from the hold of sin. Of all of these ideas, this one is, perhaps, the toughest, so it is best if I can stop the chain before it gets to this third link.

4. If I can sense that I am hardening my heart to God by resisting thoughts of him, it is time to get on my knees! This is that tough moment…where my choice makes or breaks me. This little moment is where indiscretion or a godly choice are made. Last night, I felt it so clearly. It really was a single solitary moment when I chose to say NO to the temptation…and YES to God. Once the choice was made relief came! I was free from the hold of food (in that moment). My choice *softened* my heart further to the Lord instead of *hardened* my heart further. This is one reason why I believe so strongly that it isn’t about the food. It is about what happens in my heart at the moment I choose to eat or not. I am callusing my heart further to the tender voice of the Spirit OR I am tendering my heart to Him.

5. Going into the kitchen to get the food won’t be as rewarding or as easy to do if I don’t have my kitchen filled with foods that I find hard to resist…I have had to stop having ready-made chocolate chip cookie dough in the fridge, for instance. That is something I have an impossible time resisting (for now). Also, I can have an open bible on the counter…a reminder that God invites me to feast on Him instead of on food that I don’t need and that won’t fill the emptiness in my heart.

6. If I have gotten all the way to the point of eating it, I can still stop the wreck! Mid-bite, I can get up and throw it out! I have done this before…not often, I will admit. If I have allowed the chain of events to get this far, it is TOUGH for me to have the willingness to stop mid-sin. ๐Ÿ™

I know that praying about all of this at other times of the day when I am not in the middle of it helps empower me when the temptation does come along. Praying that God will change my want to, or like David prayed in Psalm 51 that God would grant me a willing spirit to sustain me.

I do believe this…that 2 Chronicles 16:9 says that the eyes of the Lord look throughout the earth for those whose hearts are fully committed to him. Even in the moment, if I call out, “Lord! I want YOUR will!,” if I am “fully committed” in THIS moment, then this same verse says that he will see my heart and he will strengthen me in this moment. THIS MOMENT MATTERS. I don’t want to minimize the moment. Our enemy loves it when we diminish the value of a moment.

So those are my “links” in my chain leading to an eating “wreck.” And the subsequent plan for breaking the chain at any point in time.

How about you? What series of mini-events might lead you to an eating wreck? What can you do to break the chain at any point in the series?

Day 24 of TLT – Vigilance

Funny how it is…the very thing I studied in the morning yesterday is what I needed desperately to apply by mid-day…but I acted clueless, reckless, and rebellious, instead.

This lesson on Vigilance that I did yesterday morning reminded me of the “Planning for Trials” exercise in the Thin Within book.

Thin Within or The Lord’s Table is not a diet. It isn’t about “getting fixed” or “getting thin” and then going back to the “real world” after 30 or 60 days or 6 weeks. This is about a heart change…a change from within. These kinds of changes take a lifetime!

It is about completely altering our reason for eating and our eating habits. (TLT, p. 77)

This lesson reminded me that if I think I have my act together and can just sort of coast along without a care in the world, it is important to take to heart the words of 1 Corinthians 10:12 which says, “Therefore, let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall.”

It is pretty easy to have a period of coasting along in my eating…and now that I have lost all the weight and kept it off to even think “Yup, I am changed for GOOD, all right!”

Then, reality check… I am reminded when I let my guard down how much work there is yet ahead inside.

This lesson encouraged me to think of some possible challenges that are ahead. I realized yesterday that today I would face a challenge and so prayed through and considered that and how I will plan for it that I might remain humbly vigilant and dependent on the Lord, not floundering when the emotions that are bound to come hit me.

So my battle plan for *today* was in place *yesterday*…but what about the day immediately in front of me yesterday? I was broadsided and NOT vigilant!

I am teaching my son to drive and I really harp on the need to be defensive in his driving–to plan not *if* someone veers into your lane, but WHEN. Not IF an animal will run into the road in front of you but WHEN. I tell him again and again to plan for that. When it is an animal, to tell yourself again and again you will NOT swerve as it is unlikely to be done safely on our roads. We live in the country…two lane roads, steep canyon cliffs down one side and mountain walls on the other. Animals in the road and motorists not paying attention (or worse) are going to happen. If you rehearse in your mind again and again the safest plan of action, it is more likely that you will DO it when the thing actually happens.

So I must “drive defensively” through this life. That is what vigilance is. It is anticipating not IF I will be drawn to food again, not IF my emotions will get the best of me, not IF I will have some “ain’t got it” moments (like my friend Julie says), but WHEN.

A proud person will not plan for these things, but will think they are beyond that.

Matthew 26:41 Jesus encourages the disciples to watch and pray. We must be vigilant and defensive…guarded and ready. But being aware of what may be ahead isn’t enough. I must rehearse in my mind a godly response and, above all, pray about these things as well.

The lesson asked “What are some specific areas of temptation that you need to be watchful of and pray about?”

How about you? How can you exercise more humble vigilance? What may face you today that you know you need to plan for so that you are not taken by surprise and dragged into disordered eating yet again?

I am praying about something that will happen early this morning and I hope to report back at the end of the day, that, yes, I was humbly vigilant and remained guarded and didn’t allow myself to stomp all over godly boundaries of 0 – 5 eating that the Lord has directed me to have. When I eat today, I want it to be for nourishment, not out of frustration, sadness, or confusion.

I would welcome your prayers!

Day 20 of TLT – Setting Captives Free Part III

If you are evaluating whether or not to get The Lord’s Table workbook, then I hope you won’t allow my descriptions to stand in the way! They really fall far short of the real thing. There is something so powerful about sitting down with the Word, a journal, a pen, a workbook and allowing God to move in your heart personally. These daily summaries are woefully inadequate in effectively stating what God can do through this material.

Today’s lesson raised the question about why, when God was preparing to take the Israelites out of Egypt…why did they have to eat the Passover Lamb while they had their sandals on, staff in hand and their loins girded (Exodus 12:11)…while they were ready to head out? What was the significance of this and is there a modern day lesson to glean from this?

Truly, it was like the Lord ordered them to have a feast, but simultaneously ordered them to pack up the car and to have the engines running as they ate! So what was up with this? It definitely sounds counter to “conscious eating!” ๐Ÿ™‚

Mike Cleveland does an excellent job of pointing out that the way OUT of slavery first comes by partaking of, ingesting in, feasting on THE LAMB OF GOD. This is the heart of The Lord’s Table message. As we take our hunger to the Lord, to Jesus, to His Word and truly allow HIM to satisfy and sustain us…as we put THAT in our lives as FIRST priority, eclipsing all others…we are taking the first steps out of our slavery. The way out of our slavery to sinful eating habits and a heart that is locked on to food is to feast on what will really nourish us…the Lord Himself.

The Israelites literally ate their way out of slavery! And so can we! This is the message that is taught to us today: When we feed on the Passover Lamb we will leave slavery. Amazing how we can win the battle of overeating, by eating! (TLT, p. 65)

There is a way out of slavery to sinful habits! It is through feeding on Jesus Christ. As we become full of Him, through meditating on the Bible and living it out, we will discover our freedom. Freedom follows fullness. (TLT, p. 65)

I think for a long while I have had this backwards. It is like I think…well, when I am tempted, I will feast on the Lord. The truth is, I must LIVE feasting on him. I must partake of him constantly. Then, the temptations won’t be as strong. Controlling my food intake just makes me fixate on the food all the more. If I place those energies on turning to GOD, I sort of think that I will be heading on out in that moment…out of that place of temptation, out of the moment of struggle with indiscretion and blatant sin.

…correct eating habits and honoring the Lord with our bodies are by-products of “feeding” on Jesus Christ through thinking on, meditating on, and acting on Scripture. (TLT, p. 65)

After establishing this in the lesson, the author offered numerous passages for contemplation and response. The passages focused on Christ’s sufficiency to be our sastifaction. This is what we really YEARN for! This is what we really want. HIM! We take HIM in, we chew on and digest HIM, when we sit still for a bit and read and ponder and pray over His Word. I know this is true in my own experience.

Yesterday was a difficult day. Nothing earth shattering compared to what normal people experience. I tend to lead a very sheltered life. I have very few trials that have faced me in my adult life. In fact, I have this attitude of expectancy…that something horrible is going to happen. ๐Ÿ™ Not a good thing. But when it comes to trials, it doesn’t take much for me to think I am suffering. Yesterday was one of those days when I felt pushed emotionally (and because of circumstances, this is likely to continue today as well). Had I allowed myself to be drawn to the WORD, the BREAD of LIFE, the life-giving WATER, I am convinced that I would have never even thought about food. Instead, I was restless, agitated and had a couple of eating occasions where I ate outside of my boundaries. It wasn’t about the food. It was about my heart…I want to interpret my trials as a personal call–an invitation–from God to come and sit at His table–even before I even have a chance to consider sitting at the dining table (or standing at the counter) to eat physical food. I want to interpret unsettled emotions as God’s invitation to recline with him, to lean against his chest. To be still and KNOW he is God. To rest in His embrace. To quietly hear Him rejoice over me with singing…

Today, Lord, let this be.

Day 18 of TLT – Setting Captives Free Part 1

What a perfect day for this lesson! We have SO much to be Thank-FULL for! Praise you, Lord!

This lesson dovetails beautifully with Barb Raveling’s Freedom from Emotional Eating.

The key is TRUTH. If we can just embrace TRUTH instead of lies, our healing is at HAND! ๐Ÿ™‚

If we do NOT know the truth, we will NOT be set free. So…how does one know the truth?

The primary passage for this lesson is John 8:31-36. See what this passage speaks to you about truth…prayerfully read it and ask God to show you! ๐Ÿ™‚

I come away with the fact that I must not just KNOW the bible. Oh, for years I have taken pride in how grounded I am in God’s Word. :-/ (Bleah…). The key is what do I DO with Jesus’ teachings. (Including the ones about greed!) Knowledge of the truth is a key to freedom (vs. 32 in John 8). So how do I know the truth? Verse 31 of John 8 says…by obeying Jesus. Not just reading the bible. Not just studying it. Not just teaching it. Not just memorizing it. Not just showing off that I am so well-versed in the bible. (Again…yuck!)

But DOING it!!!!!

If you are like me and have some negative associations with the word obedience from prior programs that warped the truth, then well…truthfully…we have to get past it. God came up with the idea of obedience long before someone chose to manipulate others by using this word inappropriately. Let us go beyond the error of others and respond to what GOD says in His Word to us!

So knowing the truth doesn’t JUST come by knowing the bible, but by obeying what Jesus tells us to do. He is the living Word and the bible is the written Word so we know what is there is what He wants us to do. Let us obey it.

This came home to me powerfully a couple of nights ago. At the end of my meal, I included a graham cracker with cream cheese frosting on it. When I finished, I was at a comfortable 5. I cleaned up and headed back to the bedroom to shower. Only, minutes later, I found myself in the kitchen again, grabbing the graham crackers and pulling the frosting out of the fridge. Huh? Having just posted to the blog about temptation, I knew precisely that this was a temptation of the first degree. What would I DO with it? Would I be a slave to sin? (I wasn’t hungry…) Or would I obey what I knew to be true—obey Jesus’ teachings and do what I knew was right and put the food away?

I actually decided to do what was right! I obeyed what Jesus said rather than obeying the frosting, or obeying my taste buds…it is obeying Jesus in those moments that sets me free. It is obeying his teaching. Had I eaten that second cracker and frosting, I would have been believing a lie…that somehow eating it would be better than obeying the Lord.

If we are slaves to sin we are deceived. We believe a lie. The lie may be that overeating will satisfy us, or will relieve the stress (when we all know the stress will be back later, and to give in only makes it easier to give in the next time) or that giving in to lust for food will make us happier. (TLT, p. 57)

Another lie I have believed in the past is “It’s only one cracker more than I need. That’s not so bad. It isn’t like its the whole can of frosting and a package of graham crackers…This is so much better than in the past…I am not so bad…”


It is NOT about the food! The sooner we realize that, the sooner we will experience true freedom! ๐Ÿ™‚ HONEST! I know this is true!

It is NOT about the food.

It IS about embracing Jesus…HIS way. Rejecting self-indulgence in favor of indulging more in what HE offers…endless enjoyment of his river of delights. He has given me *pleasant* boundaries. I can enjoy whatever I desire within the 0 to 5 (hunger and satisfaction) parameters! I can delight in the tastes and textures of any food (unless the Lord leads me to abstain from a certain food which he does on occasion). It IS about my heart being softened and responsive to HIS leading and guidance. It IS about giving in to the LORD rather than to the flesh or the Enemy.

The cracker isn’t the point.

What the “calories” to do my body isn’t the point!

It is what is going on in my heart when I choose to do my own thing. Do I really want to go there?

John 14:6 says Jesus is THE way, THE truth, THE life.

As I know HIM and obey HIM and what He says in His Word, I AM SET FREE. This is why he came! This is why he suffered and died! This is why he exploded up out of the grave! He is victorious over death! That same power is available to me to rise above the pull of any food! To resist the independence that the Enemy wants me to exert!

I choose, this day to speak truth, to embrace truth, to forsake lies. I choose to refuse to live in ANY form of deception. I will NOT overeat today and justify it as “Well, it is Thanksgiving!” The best way I can celebrate all God has done and is doing is to honor him with my eating and drinking today, to glorify God with His temple…my body. His Spirit resides in me! Today, I will be sure that this temple is NOT defiled with more than I need to sustain my life. I will eat what He apportions to me with joy and a thankful heart.

He came to release us from captivity to our sins and to bring freedom from bondage and slavery. His freedom is real. He breaks the power of sin and releases us from the prison of sin. (TLT, p. 59)

Take heart that freedom from being dominated by the flesh is indeed possible. Freedom from satisfying every craving that comes along is possible. Freedom from over-eating is possible. (TLT, p. 59)

If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed (John 8:36).

Today, let’s live as the free children of God we are!