Just a reminder: My blog entries may be daily, but please don’t feel like you have to visit the blog each day, read every word or answer every question. Be gentle with yourself! Ask God what level of participation he has in mind for you and then ask him to give you the strength to do what HE wants…no less, but also NO more! Ask for him to help you NOT to beat yourself up if you feel you haven’t “kept up!” He will use whatever time and heart you invest in this process!

Wow. I so enjoyed beginning my reading yesterday. Even as I read the acknowledgments pages and the About the Authors…I was touched that the Lord raised up the Hallidays to bring this material to the printed page.

I was also reminded about the blessing that God gave me…when I was so deep in my own struggles, that he invited me to participate with the Hallidays as the collaborator with them on the book. I bring this up not to elevate myself to you. NO! Please don’t put me on any kind of pedestal. I just want you to know that, given where I was when I was invited to participate, that there was NO merit in me–not writing ability, not a “successful” track record…nothing–it floors me how gracious and merciful our God is. He is with EACH of us. Every time I think of how I had the privilege of participating in the Thin Within book project and it was so clearly ALL about God and not at all about me, I am reminded that he calls the things that are not as though they are (Romans 4:17 – read the context, too…it is amazing!).

He loves to take what we think we “know” and surprise us in a huge way with just how awesome he is.

I hope you will take this as encouragement on this journey. Whatever you may think you “know” about yourself…forget it. 🙂 God knows better. He is calling the things that are not in your life as though they are, because in him, he can speak it into existence! THIS is the God we serve!

In the acknowledgments pages, I underlined things like these: “gratitude,” “faithfulness of our sovereign God,” “His message of freedom and hope,” “freedom in Christ,” and “inerrant Word of God.” As I mentioned previously, these kinds of things in the opening pages allow a reader to sort of “get to know” the authors.

In the “Meet Judy Halliday” section Judy says that she has joy, peace, and contentment relative to food, weight and her body. In recent months, when I have spoken with Judy on the phone about my own struggles to accept my body as it has changed without the help of tons of caffeine each day, she has encouraged me so much…She reminded me first that perhaps this IS my GOD-given size. What grace she expresses. I needed the reminder…

I share all of this because the very grace this author teaches in her book, she expresses and offers. That says a lot.

This time, as I read Judy’s testimony, something hit me that has never hit me before. I share this with you all here in keeping with my commitment to be honest on this journey…She speaks on page x about Thin Within becoming her identity. She says:

“It was my family and my passion, which I served seven days a week. Thin Within had become my god. I deified it just as I had deified food and exercise. I was without a weight problem, but I was not really free. I had simply changed addictions!”

I believe this is what happened to me relatively recently! I had allowed being a “poster child” for Thin Within to become my identity…and in many ways, I had deified that role…YIKES! Reading the words on the page yesterday, my heart testified as to the truth of this in my life!

I want to maintain a godly perspective…a deep awareness of the blessing that God has called me to participate in His ministry to people through Thin Within, without elevating Thin Within or the Hallidays improperly. Balance in all things…an appropriate focus.

Judy says on page xi:

“…my performance had nothing to do with my identity; it was about Him giving me a new heart.”

This little statement hiding in the About the Authors section is powerful! So often we bash ourselves about our performance. When I gained some weight after giving up my caffeine addiction, I did this very thing. I allowed myself to be obsessed with my “failed performance” and all I thought it said about me…If you had asked me, I would have told you that of course this isn’t all about the physical body. And yet, somehow I had made it be about that so that when my physical body changed, I felt like a failure.

God is at work doing a heart transplant in each of us. I have found that he is perfectly willing to allow me to come to the end of myself in order for me to see that my focus is wrong…that I have clung to something that is out of his will for me. Even GOOD things can steal our heart if we allow it!

In Dr. Halliday’s biography section, he closes with something that ties in perfectly to these thoughts and I just have to challenge each of us with these words…

“God loves us and accepts us as we are and where we are right now. He will gladly enter the life that is surrendered. He doesn’t wait for us to get it all together first.”

God chose to give us Jesus while we were yet sinners. Why do we act like he disapproves of us when we sin? He disapproves of the sin, yes…but he totally loves and accepts us! Oh, that we would ALL believe GOD about what HE says to be true of us!

Thoughts for you to ponder (this is optional!):

1.) Is there anything that you have “deified” like I did Thin Within? It may even be a good thing that has too elevated a value in your life. Prayerfully take this to God.

2.) How likely are you to get a sense of your identity from your performance, be it performance trying to lose weight, or any other thing that you may strive to do well? What do you think you should be aware of about yourself and this tendency as you begin this journey?

3.) Do you believe God? Not believe IN God, but believe God–believe what he says about you? Do you believe that, if you have come to Him through Jesus, that you are now 100% acceptable to him? How might this impact you as you begin this journey?

4.) What does God say about you in these verses? Romans 3:19-28, Romans 5:1-11, 2 Corinthians 5:21, Colossians 1:22; 3:12, Hebrews 10:14, Titus 3:7, Galatians 2:16, Galatians 3:24, Hebrews 9:22. Do you believe God and what he says in these verses?

Lord, I pray that each of us will experience freedom, peace, and joy relative to our bodies, food, and weight. You are after something so much deeper than a physical change. I pray that we would believe what you have to say about us and to us. Change us, Lord. I pray for my sisters here (and any brothers if they are along!) that we would just surrender ourselves to you to do with as you please. The thought is frightening, Lord…we want to maintain our illusion of control. But you are good and wise and loving…and you have a new thing in mind for each of us. You are doing it right now. I pray we might perceive it! Lord, some of us have gone through this material so many times and it feels tired to us. I pray that you will infuse us with a new perspective. You have called us to this place again for a reason. Truly, we have never been quite where we are today with the life experiences that we have now, the insight, the thoughts…so that alone shows that this isn’t the same old same old. You have been working on us. Help us to believe you that you will continue to work in and through us. Help us to believe you that…what you have begun, you WILL complete. Help us to cooperate with you in it today! Renew our minds by your word, Lord! In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.