Spiritual Warfare ~ An Interview with Carrie (South Africa)

Image Source: Morgue File

Image Source: Morgue File

Some time back, Carrie from South Africa, shared an incredible story of God delivering her from an intense eating disorder that had kept her imprisoned for years.  That post gives context to this one. Don’t miss it! 🙂

After getting to know Carrie a bit through the preparing of her testimony, I wanted to follow up with her about the God’s healing in her life. Today, I interview Carrie a bit and get her thoughts: 

Heidi: Carrie, on November 4th we shared your testimony. So many people were greatly encouraged by your story. It is an amazing tale of escaping from incredible, long-term captivity to dieting and eating disordered behavior. How did you ever begin to break free when you were in so deeply?

Carrie: Thanks Heidi. I look back at that time in my life and it is incredibly dark. I sometimes wonder how on earth I managed to get out of it! You know, when you’re in that kind of bondage, you don’t realize how obscured your thoughts have become. I was just at such a place of exhaustion and hatred for myself, and I thought that Jesus surely didn’t die for me only to for me to live in such a hell hole. (Excuse that, but that’s what it felt like. Trapped.). So I think my desire for self preservation must have kicked in and I began to think about what I was thinking about. I know that sounds silly, but I knew that my thoughts weren’t right. All my disordered actions where coming from a disordered thought.

All I knew at that time about spiritual warfare, was that somewhere in the bible there was a verse that said that some things can only be broken by prayer and fasting. And so started my amazing journey of freedom.

Heidi: What did you sense God was leading you to do to change the disordered thoughts that were fueling the eating disorder that you struggled with so much?

Carrie: Well firstly I just want to say that I’m not a person who sees the devil behind every little thing. If the waiter is slow in bringing my coffee, I don’t automatically think the devil is behind it! LOL! But I’m also not of the school of thought that believes the devil is a fairy tale and doesn’t exist. The bible is full of references pertaining to the devil and his demons. In Ephesians 6:12, it says we are involved in an invisible war that has eternal implications.

So when I was in the midst of my fasting weekend [mentioned in the testimony], this verse kept on coming up, in almost every book I was reading:  2 Corinthians 10.3-5. For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.

And I thought, well how does this war work then? If it isn’t a war in the flesh, how does the enemy attack me? And how do I fight a fight I can’t see? I started to get filled with fear and cried out to God. There are verses that say we must just stand our ground and God will fight on our behalf,  and then other verses that say that we must put on our armour and actively fight.

And I didn’t know what to do!! But God is so gentle and PATIENT!! It was like He was saying to me not to get my knickers in a knot, and just chill. I felt I needed to read and believe the verses in Isaiah 40. I realised that even though I was a saved, born again, Christian, I was being influenced by the works of the enemy. I think I had been so influenced by how “Hollywood” had portrayed “evil” and the “devil”. You know those terrible movies of exorcisms and evil stuff – that’s how we think the enemy operates. And I’m sure he does but he is a lot more subtle too. If he were to present his evil self at the get go, then everyone would be frightened off. So he whispered a thought to me, to put it into my thoughts. I don’t know what it was. Perhaps that I wasn’t good enough, or pretty enough. Or perhaps I have sinned so much, God will never love or accept me. I don’t remember what the lie was that I started to believe. But what ever it was, I “thought” about that thought, and then came into agreement with it. That’s the danger! As soon as I accepted that thought, the enemy had legal ground to start influencing more of me. I was horrified at this, when God revealed that to me. I got those knickers in a knot again and in the midst of my frenzied panic, I felt God say,”You are not fighting FOR victory. You are fighting  FROM victory. There is victory through the cross of Christ (Colossians 2:14-15)

There is victory in the name of Christ (Mathew 10:1, Acts 5:16)

There is victory in the power of the Holy Spirit. (1 John 4:4)

Proverbs 23:7 says For as he thinks in his heart, so is he…..

So my problem was, I had no good thoughts about myself. I hated everything about me. God had now lead me to a place that made me realise that the thoughts I was thinking, were not from Him. But what now? (Although, just coming to that point was a miracle in itself!).

Heidi: So what did you do?

Carrie: I slowly picked up my sword and began the fight. The sword is the Word of God. It is what has brought me so far. In those early days I literally had to take most of my thoughts (and you have at least 1500 thoughts per minute!) captive. For example, I would walk past the mirror and instantly think,”Suck in your stomach. You are so fat.”  I would catch myself while in conversation with someone. I’d suddenly find myself saying,”Ah man! I’m so stupid!” Or “I’m such an idiot!”  I felt the Holy Spirit making me feel uneasy when I’d say these things. So the first thing God did was to let me know that my thoughts were not in agreement with His truth. The second thing, was the Holy Spirit giving me a sensitivity to what I was thinking and saying about myself. And the third thing was the picking up the sword, which is the word of God, and fighting the thoughts.

Heidi: What did that look like for you practically speaking, Carrie?

Carrie: In those early days I struggled a lot with fear. Behind everything I did or said, fear was the motivation. So I would literally ( and still do this) say out loud,” I rebuke you fear in the name of Jesus.” And when I said that, I would back it up with a verse. Something like: “God has not given me a spirit of fear.”

I did that with every thought I had. And I did it out loud.  I must have looked a tad crazy. I would think,”This healing is fake. I will never get better. I’m useless and fat. No body likes me.” And even though I didn’t feel like saying the truth ( or even believe it), I would immediately say,”I rebuke that thought in the name of Jesus, because he says I am fearfully and wonderfully made. He has plan for me that is good, to prosper me. Not to harm me.”

Heidi: Did that take care of it?

Carrie: In the beginning, I didn’t even believe the words I was saying. But I did believe in Jesus. And that’s all I had. As I took each thought captive that way, I found the attacks less and less. And my sensitivity grew more and more.

Just the other day, I was having lunch with a friend who is very beautiful and much thinner than I am. And all of a sudden, I start thinking I’m not a good person because I’m not as pretty. And while I’m not as pretty, I may as well go to gym tonight because I feel so fat and unworthy. I stopped myself right there and went to the bathroom. I started rebuking (softly… LOL!) and calling upon God. I find that if I know that I’m being attacked but I can’t think of any verse to say out loud, then I start to praise God. I sing full ball and out of tune ( usually in my car). My kids are use to this now. If I’m alone in my bedroom, I’ll put on some worship music and sing and dance before The Lord. Usually within minutes, I’m flooded with peace, and I realise how bizarre those thoughts were.

Heidi: What else can you share with us about doing battle, Carrie?

Carrie: I think one of the biggest lessons I have learnt, is what I need to do when I’m thinking things that don’t line up with what God says. In that moment, I’m in FULL agreement with my thoughts. I totally feel fat or stupid or less than. Or what ever it is. But the secret is – even though I totally feel like that, I go against what I’m feeling and replace those words and emotions with truth. I have got to do what is right even when it feels wrong.

Heidi: I call that letting TRUTH define my feelings rather than letting my FEELINGS define what I consider TRUTH!

So, Carrie…how do you think this is different (or similar) to the renewing of the mind that I have been crowing about here at the blog for so long? 🙂

Carrie: Hahahaha. Well Heidi, it is absolutely NO different to what you’ve been harping (LOL!) on about! Faith comes from hearing, so maybe the more we speak about it, the more people will confront it and fight.

It says in 1 John 4:4 and 5:4-5, that we are to claim Gods promises out loud. We need to take our authority and position in Christ to command demonic forces to stop their activity and depart. If you don’t know what your authority in Christ is, read Ephesians. (Particularly chapter 4).

What does this have to do with losing weight?

The way we think, what we think will have an impact on how we act. Many of you may just want me to share practical tips about how to eat 0 to 5 or how to handle being at parties, etc. I hope you do get practical help with the mechanics of Thin Within here, but constraining the outer actions will only last a short while before we boomerang back to acting like we used to… unless we change the way we think.

How About You?

By no means are Carrie and I saying that there is a demon under every rock and behind every bush. But the truth is, the Bible speaks about the warfare we fight. We are called to demolish strongholds of the enemy. The first line of attack in almost any struggle we endure is the MIND. Taking captive your thoughts and submitting them to obedience is vital. Here at the blog we have talked about Truth Cards, Truth Journaling, reading God’s Word, doing the Renewing of the Mind Bible Study, listening to Sound Cloud files, memorizing scripture, watching You Tube videos, adding songs and playlists to your mp3 player so that you can hear the truth wash over your mind throughout the day. What are your tactics for trading lies you believe with God’s truth? Are you stuck letting your feelings define what you think of as fact? Or are you letting what God says is true…true FACTS…define your feelings?

It is relatively easy to lose weight compared to learning to think differently. But it is worth it to learn to think differently. That is where lasting change is birthed!

11 Responses to Spiritual Warfare ~ An Interview with Carrie (South Africa)

  1. Chelsee December 13, 2013 at 6:57 am #

    Love this post! The further I am in this journey the deeper the desire to worship and pray and do the spiritual warfare. It’s no small thing. It really is the key to being victorious. Whether it’s simply praising The Lord or hardcore, fervent prayer.

    • Heidi Bylsma December 13, 2013 at 3:33 pm #

      Chelsee…than you really are more than a conqueror! I am so blessed to hear this! YAY!

  2. Cheryl December 13, 2013 at 8:37 am #

    Oh my goodness, this was exactly what I needed to read/know. This is it exactly. I have done a lot of work on myself in the last couple of years. I’ve learned all of the “whys” and “what happeneds”–and still struggle with the food. This is the answer to my prayer for clarity.Thank you! I am really looking forward to the class starting January 6th!

    • Heidi Bylsma December 13, 2013 at 3:35 pm #

      Cheryl, you might really be encouraged by the resources here on renewing the mind. I am eager for class, too! 🙂

  3. Teresa Jones December 13, 2013 at 9:33 am #

    I have a new favorite blog to read each day 🙂

    • Heidi Bylsma December 13, 2013 at 3:36 pm #

      Welcome, Teresa! So glad you found us! 🙂

  4. Karen K. December 13, 2013 at 1:23 pm #

    Fantastic entry today!! This is all so true and so valuable. I have found that I must take inventory of my thoughts and emotions before even getting out of bed in the morning. Sometimes I wake up in a negative and depressed mood. I have no reason to, but I do! Maybe it’s because of a dream I had that I’m not even aware of — I don’t know. But — I make sure I spend time in prayer listing all the things I have to be thankful for —
    — A warm cozy bed on a cold winter morning (I’m from northern Illinois)
    — A loving Christian husband, who woke up before me to stoke the woodburner and make our
    home warm
    — God’s love that never fails — no matter what kind of mood I’m in!
    — The delicious bowl of hot oatmeal that I’m about to fix myself as soon as my feet hit the floor.
    Pretty soon, I’ve talked myself out of my “for-no-good-reason” bad mood, and rise up with joy in my heart and anticipation for a day in which God will surely surprise me and bless me.
    Gotta do this — first thing in the morning — every morning. These battles don’t go away. We just learn to fight them more and more in God’s strength and not our own. If I wake up and don’t take mental inventory and correct it — I’m doomed! I get lazy — fix myself any old thing for breakfast — and I don’t even like or enjoy what I make. Ugh!!
    If I seek Him, He will be found — and give me rest on every side! ( II Chronicles 15:15b)
    I get such encouragement from these posts! WooHoo!! KK

    • Heidi Bylsma December 13, 2013 at 3:37 pm #

      AMEN! Karen, thank you for this wonderful comment. YES! You have it down. This makes all the difference in the world!

  5. Christina December 13, 2013 at 9:36 pm #

    I absolutely loved reading this today, and then again tonight! The word of God is so powerful! It’s not a new idea to me to rebuke the enemy, but I don’t hear of many believers doing so. It was so refreshing to read that Carrie does this. This is a powerful testimony of the power of Gods truth when replacing lies with truth–renewing our minds. This can be about anything in our lives, including weight loss.

  6. Lize van wyk February 2, 2016 at 5:54 am #

    Hi there Heidi

    I am from South Africa and organizing an eating disorder Awarness event and was wondering if you could put me in touch with Carrie.

    Kind regards

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