Steering Without Starlight

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?

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12 Responses to Steering Without Starlight

  1. Jamie February 5, 2014 at 8:23 pm #

    Daily I choose to renew my mind with the word of God. Daily I choose TO wait 0-5. By my obedience daily I will make progress with God in my weight loss. I have dropped 8 lbs in past week and a half. I’m still on my medications so this is a miracle. I’m praying that my body will continue to lose even though being on my inhaled steroid for my asthma. It has been long five months of suffering with my breathing. We will be moving in April or may. To cleaner air in MT. I have had to walk very close to Jesus during this time and praying through times of testing and being tempted to just give up! God’s grace has carried me through his STRENGTH is made perfect in our weaknesses. I’m learning to trust God my Father with my whole life and not just the food but for every breath. He is mighty to save and to deliver me and heal me from all my diseases and afflictions in Jesus Christ name amen. PLEASE continue to pray for my HEALING my dear sisters in Christ. Thank you.

    • Heidi Bylsma February 7, 2014 at 9:28 am #

      Wow, Jamie! Isn’t it something how he leads us to such deep dependency on him…and, often, we just thought it was about the weight…Amen. Thanks for posting. Praying for you.

      • jamie February 8, 2014 at 11:44 pm #

        Thank you Heidi for your love and support and prayers. Yes it’s amazing how God leads us to a deeper walk with Him. He is sovereign over our lives and in control over all things that happen to us. I can rest in that and not have stress or anxiety. I listen to John Piper Sermon on this and it was just what I needed and help me get through this hard times. God blessing to you my friend and sister in Christ. Hugs Jamie

    • Ginger Garrett February 7, 2014 at 4:08 pm #

      Praying for your continued healing, dear one!

      • jamie February 8, 2014 at 11:46 pm #

        Thank You Ginger for your love and support and prayers. I so appreciate them. We sister in Christ got to stick together and fight the good fight of faith. Jesus is our Help in times of trouble. God’s blessings to you. Hugs Jamie

  2. Jamie February 5, 2014 at 9:17 pm #

    Thank you for sharing with us Ginger. You are such a blessing to us all. Loved your article. God’s blessings to you.

    • Heidi Bylsma February 7, 2014 at 9:27 am #

      Oh, Jamie! I agree!

  3. Joy February 5, 2014 at 10:51 pm #

    Hi Ginger,
    Thank you so much for sharing.

    • Ginger Garrett February 7, 2014 at 4:08 pm #

      Sure thing, Joy! I love the TW community!

  4. J Daniele February 6, 2014 at 11:35 am #

    This post has blessed me!! This is exactly what God has been dealing with me about in doing this program.
    I look for physical consequences of not following my boundaries, but spiritually my heart is nudged when I don’t … The Holy Spirit has challenged me to focus on listening, not the physical consequences. This is my daily task. I am on the way to shifting my mentality. It kinda reminds me of Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness all all these other things shall be added unto you.
    So I am working on focusing in seeking Him, and not focusing on the results of seeking Him. I do know that this shift in thinking is preparing me for my future and it will affect every area of my life, not just my physical appearance.
    Thank you for sharing!

    • Heidi Bylsma February 7, 2014 at 9:26 am #

      I agree with you. If I focus on external sources of affirmation and guidance, I will miss the wonders that my mysterious and majestic God offers me his ongoing leadership and direction in the moment. 🙂

    • Ginger Garrett February 7, 2014 at 4:10 pm #

      I love how you described that… a little nudge in our heart. Nudge rhymes with pudge, so we need someone good at goofy rhymes to make one for us!

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