The ancient mariners used the stars as their guides. Alone on the dark sea, a bright star or blazing constellation told the sailors which way to steer. True North was never hard to find. And if they made a wrong turn, they knew it immediately based on the position of the stars and the boat.

In ThinWithin, however, we often feel as if we’re steering without starlight. Let me explain.

Since my days as a child, I learned how to make choices according to right and wrong. There was moral certainty. There were immediate consequences. If my mother told me not to put my hand on the hot stove, I knew what was expected of me. And if I disobeyed, I immediately felt the pain of my bad choice. I knew my mother was right because I felt pain when I disobeyed. If she told me not to steal a toy from my brother, and I did, I got immediate consequences. So choosing right or wrong was all about avoiding unpleasant consequences.

Now that I am trying to live within 0-5 eating guidelines, however, there is no immediate, obvious consequence for disobedience. If I eat past my Spirit-led boundaries, nothing seems to happen.  I don’t feel pain. No one sends me to my room. Likewise, if I skip eating when I am at a 0, nothing seems to happen, either. There are no immediate, obvious, painful consequences.

However, a much more powerful force is already at work, unseen.

In Thin Within, we are learning to be led by the Spirit. We are learning to listen for God’s still, small voice. We aren’t making choices based on consequences….we’re making choices based on listening. And that can be so powerful, because in our adult lives, there are precious few choices that are clearly right or wrong. There is so much uncertainty and opportunity. We make daily, important choices about love, life, career, children…most of which cannot be neatly categorized as right or wrong. Many of our choices don’t even seem to have immediate consequences. But we need to listen if we are to live our best lives, because choices have a cumulative effect.

That is the second, sneaky principle at work….our choices are cumulative. One binge might not change our lives, but a week, a month, a year of binges? They have the power to destroy so much that we hold dear. One slip past 5 might not matter, but a habit of disobedience can steal much more than our peace. (and our God-given weight!)

That’s why I am willing to wrestle with my self-will on a daily basis. I may not feel pain if I eat outside of my boundaries; but I can’t make choices based on pain and consequences. I want to make choices based on what I hear: “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it” (Isaiah 30:21). I want to listen for the Lord, because He has such stormy waters to lead me through. He has places of beauty and rest ahead, too, and if I make my decisions based on what I feel, instead of what I hear, I might miss them.

And I don’t want to miss the best that God has for me. I don’t want you to miss the best God has for you, either!

What About You?

Are you tempted to “cheat” if you don’t sense any consequences ?

Do you feel pain of any kind if you disobey? Is it easy to ignore, or not?

If you train yourself to make decisions by listening to God’s leading, how would this impact your entire life?