Three Things to Do When You Mess Up…

Image Courtesy of iStockPhoto

Image Courtesy of iStockPhoto

A day in the life…

The day begins with hot tea and the warmth of a personal encounter with Jesus. Blessings and truth gush like a fountain off the pages of the Bible and saturate your heart as you are in awe of how intimate and personal His presence is to you. You have carved out this time first thing in the morning and it is richly rewarding!

In fact, you don’t think about food until a gnawing sensation in your stomach overcomes all other thoughts. Wow! I haven’t eaten since last night’s dinner! I am at a zero! Your quiet time was so satisfying and fulfilling and your heart so satiated with the goodness of God that it wasn’t until you were truly hungry that you gave a thought to breakfast. You thankfully relish a modest portion of a thoroughly satisfying meal.

As the day continues, you are prayerful, joy-filled, aware that Jesus walks with you.

Lunch is another “I-can’t-believe-I-am-actually-hungry” eating experience as you enjoy a lunch out with a favorite co-worker. You readily stop eating when you are no longer hungry. This is what it is like to “whether you eat or drink, do it all to the glory of God” as spoken of in 1 Corinthians 10:31!

Upon returning from lunch, however, demanding clients and a disgruntled boss cause the afternoon to lose it’s luster somewhat.  By  day’s end, the warm glow of the morning’s embers has been pretty well snuffed out. Tired, you saunter to your car considering the late afternoon commute. Your heart falls–overwhelmed–at what you know waits for you at home. Barring a miracle, the kids will be squabbling and messes will be everywhere. By the time you emerge through the thick traffic–made worse by a fender-bender in the slow lane–you are famished…you deserve some joy in your life. You enter the house and, sure enough, no one else thought to clean up the sink which now demands attention before you can even think about dinner preparation. Why is this always left to me?

You plug in the electric skillet with ingredients of what will not-soon-enough be a delicious meal and, as you reach for the cumin in the cupboard, the chocolate chips sitting right next to the spice rack grab you by the arm and threaten that you had better eat them! Ha! Not really, but you would think so! Before you give it any thought, let alone a prayer, you dive in. You finish your dinner preparation as you continue to revisit the bag of chocolate chips and by the time dinner is ready, you have inhaled enough chocolate chips to populate two batches of cookies. You aren’t hungry for dinner but feel the need to eat to “balance your blood sugar” since you know you will crash and burn later when you do get hungry after eating so much sugar. Besides, you don’t want the family to ask why you aren’t eating. That would be even worse than having eaten the chocolate chips!

By the time you go to bed, you are miserable…not just from having overeaten, but from the overwhelming sense of “failure.” Why can’t I ever have ONE good day of eating 0 to 5 all day long? The club of condemnation comes out and you start beating yourself up.

Can you relate to this scenario or one sort of like it? Are you frustrated that you can begin the day so well, but by the day’s end you have steamrollered right over your 0 to 5 eating boundaries?

What can you do when this happens?

In my personal experience and through the one-on-one coaching I have been doing for the past few months, I have seen this scenario or one like it play out numerous times. What we choose to do with our “failure” determines how “successful” we will be with our Thin Within program and the release of weight we hope to experience.

It isn’t the slip up that will keep us from releasing weight–not usually. It is allowing a mis-step to define what the next meal will be like, what the next hour will look like, what the next day, week, and month will look like.

This is why we have to, have to, have to be willing to go from merely “observing” (and condemning) our behavior to planning a correction immediately. That way, the next time–and there WILL be a next time–we will have a plan of action to ensure success! We can take the proverbial bull by the horns and bring him down!

What do I mean by observation and correction? For those of you new or not yet experienced with the Thin Within book or workbook, this is a tool we use to help us see where we strayed from behavior and thoughts that didn’t correspond or support our godly goals. This is the “easy” part. It is the part that says, “I ate all those chocolate chips and then ate dinner when I wasn’t hungry and now I am stuffed!” In Thin Within, though, we try to observe dispassionately. We  look at what happened and declare what action or thought was the culprit that derailed our godly intentions. We don’t judge. We don’t pull out the club of condemnation. This is the FIRST thing we do. You can add more power to this step by confessing it to the Lord in prayer.

Secondly, we want to plan a “correction”–what will we do differently the next time we are in the exact–or similar–situation? This is, simply, repentance. Choosing and planning a new behavior for the next time this situation arises. In our example, I would want to make a plan for when I am tired, frustrated, famished, and get little (if any) help at home after a long day. What could I *do* to change things around so that once I land at home the chocolate chips don’t assault me out of the blue? One suggestion for the woman in our example is that she could use her CD/mp3 player for the drive home to refocus her thoughts so that the commute time is spent renewing her mind about the rest of the day. Praise music can make a huge difference! Alternatively, downloading and using the audio files that I have made available to you might be helpful for the stressful commute. You can download the bible as mp3 or iTunes files, too! The journey home from work (or wherever) can actually become a sanctified “Holy of Holies” of sorts–land that you capture for the Lord. And if, when you do finally get home, you are famished you can have a prepared-in-advance baggie with a small snack designed for just such an occasion–to shave the 0 off just a tad. Like three Ritz crackers or one Oreo cookie–enough to get you through the dinner preparation without inhaling the chocolate chips!

Third thing you want to do after you have messed up is REJOICE! What? Did she actually say “Rejoice!”? Yes! You see, you are sensitive to the Lord and to the boundaries he has asked you to live within. That is why you have an awareness of the situation as a “Mess Up!” It means that you are tender-hearted. You haven’t become calloused to sin or to living outside of boundaries. It is a wonderful thing to realize! So, thank the Lord that he has given you a heart to obey him and that while you aren’t doing it “perfectly,” you are growing in godliness with each day. THIS time is different than any that may have come before as you are learning to do the struggle well.

Bringing it home:

Step 1: ObservationConsider the last 3 “mess ups” you have experienced. What did you think or do that worked against your godly goals?

Step 2: Correction. What will you do to structure life for success so that the next time you are in a similar situation you maintain your commitment to your boundaries?

Step 3: REJOICE! Can you thank God right now that he has given you a heart tender to him? You are here reading about this, aren’t you? That says a lot! LOL! 😀

Share your three steps below for one of your “Mess Ups.” You might give others that read your ideas some strategies for dealing with their own struggles! Let’s win some for the LORD!

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25 Responses to Three Things to Do When You Mess Up…

  1. Dalena April 25, 2013 at 4:01 am #

    WOW!!!!!!!! Oh my GOD!!! THANK YOU!!!!!!!!! This is what I’ve been dealing with for days and days!!!! I must rush out the door right now (I drive a school bus), but THIS is SO what I need to read and reread and reread at 5:00 today when I get home from the afternoon drive. And prepare to USE it during the evening hours. I’m so glad that today I have something to look forward to, something to turn to, just at the time I need it, that will help me change my behavior in the evenings!! This is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it!!!

    • Norma Stringham April 25, 2013 at 6:46 am #

      Yes! This has been very helpful to me. Thank you for sharing. Heidi is such a good writer. She helps me to hang on to every word. Observe and correct and rejoice!

      • Heidi Bylsma April 25, 2013 at 10:03 am #

        Oh, thanks, Norma. You are too kind. Big hugs, my friend.

    • Heidi Bylsma April 25, 2013 at 9:55 am #

      Hopefully, Dalena, you will come right on back here again and tell us about your VICTORY! 😀

  2. Joyce April 25, 2013 at 5:11 am #

    I love Evermore. I have bee copying and pasting scriptures, mind renewal statements, goals, etc. I am able to pull this up where ever I am to get mind food. I have learned my eyes are bigger than my stomach. I put a snack into a bowl or plate then I put half back I to the container and put that away. I need to add more praise music to my phone I get frustrated on my ride home when I can’t find good music to listen to. Seems like rush hour is commercial hour no matter what genre of music you listen to. Thanks for allowing God to speak to your heart.

    • Heidi Bylsma April 25, 2013 at 9:56 am #

      Wow, Joyce. I have yet to use it to its fullest capacity, but you are so right! I can be putting scriptures in there and the audio files that I have at SoundCloud could probably go in there, too! How cool! I hadn’t thought about that!

      • Joyce April 25, 2013 at 7:43 pm #

        I meant Evernote. Stupid auto correct. =/

  3. Tina April 25, 2013 at 6:15 am #

    Thank you very much for this post, I will have to share. This is just what I needed today.
    Yesterday at lunch I was trying to feed 4 little ones and the baby had been fussy ( teething) all morning. I sat down to eat with them and found myself eating so fast and not being present – it’s so hard to be present in front of lunch when my background music is a crying baby! Needless to say I ate pass a 5 as I mechanically ate all of my bowl of rice and delicious Korean beef. I felt yucky a few minutes after. To my shame I reached for a small black chocolate to feel better even when I knew I was lying to myself.
    As far as correction goes I think Next time I need to serve myself a significant smaller portion so that I take my time to eat it and be present. Maybe I could play some soothing music (Sherri Youngward’s scripture cd would great for that) while eating too. That might even soothe the baby – one can dream right! 😉
    As I write that I do realize how far God has brought me since He led me on this path to free me from food/weight bondage. He is worthy of my praise and devotion.

    • Heidi Bylsma April 25, 2013 at 9:59 am #

      I love the correction you have brought to the forefront. YES! Serving ourselves smaller portions is a GREAT correction to prevent eating past 5. I love the idea of the soothing music, too. I don’t know if Sherri Youngward. I will have to look into her. Thanks for sharing. I am sure that your corrections will help another person who isn’t sure where to start! 😀

  4. Minda April 25, 2013 at 6:47 am #

    What a wonderful post. This goes straight to the heart of my difficulties and despair over living within my boundaries. Fatigue, resentment and exassperation are huge triggers for me too. I love the way you turned the moment of frustration and despair into one of rejoicing. I often wonder where my God power goes when I’m reaching for the bag of chocolate chips when I make every intention to stay close to Jesus throughout the day. Its at that moment that I need to be armed with scripture to combat Satan’s voice in my head. I know nobody said it would be easy but somedays I wish it were!

    • Heidi Bylsma April 25, 2013 at 10:06 am #

      The God List helps a lot for me in these moments, Minda. I can call to mind (if I choose to) the attributes and actions of a faithful, wonderful, loving Lord and also call to mind some of the questions that Barb asked in her study. God has used her study and her app to help me to be able to ask myself questions “Is this really what I want?” “Will eating this break my boundaries?” “What will I gain by breaking my boundaries now?” “What will I lose if I break my boundaries now?” “Will I ever consistently *want* to keep my boundaries or can I expect to have to keep them even when I don’t want to?” “WHere has living outside of the 0 and 5 boundaries gotten me in the past?” “Do I want to stay there?” (Or, if I have lost the weight, do I want to “go there again”?)

  5. Connie Mathis April 25, 2013 at 8:10 am #

    I have come to love those times of correction as a sign that my Father loves me and wants what is best for me. I still struggle with beating myself up – but not for as long as I used to. I gotta face it and take care of it quickly and realize that wallowing in the mistake is not healthy – spiritually or physically or emotionally! Thank you for the scenario! The late afternoons are probably the most difficult even for us that don’t work outside of the home. :o)

    • Heidi Bylsma April 25, 2013 at 10:06 am #

      Yes, Connie. Exactly! It means we have hearts that he has tendered. Right! The longer we wallow in the mistake the worse it gets! In Isaiah we are told that he waits to show us compassion. I still wonder why I keep him waiting!

  6. Lynn Powell April 25, 2013 at 12:39 pm #

    Your story is great and says it so well only mine would be just alittle different. Instead of eating the chocolate chips, I would mentally go over what had gone wrong, how stressed I am while cooking dinner. Then when everyone goes to bed and I am all by myself I would eat alot of ice cream. It is a very specific kind that I can find only at one store and it is so rich it only comes in pint containers.
    I have decided that I just can’t have it in the house anymore. That works for me because my kids are grown and gone but I know for others it would not be that simple. Occasionally I eat ice cream but I go to the ice cream shop and get one small dip and eat it there. I don’t eat in my car anymore. There was the temptation to load up on alot of ice cream at the store and then go eat it in my car. I have still slipped some times since I have set up this boundary, but I remind myself I now do this less frequently. What I am learning in your blog has helped me to recognize the club of condemnation better. I still beat myself up sometimes but it does not last as long. Now I know i can go to God and he can help me in the minute I am in .

    • Heidi Bylsma April 25, 2013 at 5:26 pm #

      Hi, Lynn. I totally understand about the ice cream. That is my favorite dessert food. You might be encouraged to know that perhaps God will lead you to have it out of the house for only a season. He has led me not to have vanilla ice cream and Oreo cookies in the house at the same time for a season, but I know one day I will be able to act “grown up” about having them in the house without having every meal be an Oreo milkshake! LOL! Lynn…one other thing. I admire and appreciate the courage it takes to share this with us. I believe that as we come into the light with our “confessions,” they have less control over us. Jesus said in John 8 that the truth sets us free. I believe when we face into the truth and admit it openly, that something very powerful happens in our hearts and minds. Thank you for being willing to share here!

  7. CMK April 25, 2013 at 1:59 pm #

    This is a fabulous post and responses! I’m going to print it off and have it in my journal so that I will read it over and over. I see so much healing going on with us here on the blog – even as we slip up sometimes, we can praise the Lord for that!

  8. Joyce April 25, 2013 at 7:50 pm #

    Can there be victory in failure? I had a stressful day at work. All was well til I got home. Feeling stressed, tired, and many things to do at home I ate a snack. Mind you it was not as much as I have in the past. My victory was in the stopping and redirecting my activity. Thank God for his mercy and grace.

    • Heidi Bylsma May 5, 2013 at 7:14 pm #

      Hi, Joyce. I think there IS victory in failure when we allow God to show us the lesson HE wants us to learn from it! And yes! That sounds like a victory, all right! Stopping and redirecting…WOOT!

  9. Christina April 26, 2013 at 10:56 am #

    Beautiful and much needed encouragement!

  10. Ruth April 27, 2013 at 3:14 pm #

    As some have mentioned b efore me, I am going to keep this in my folder for future refernce and rereading.
    Thank you Heidi for all that you do by the grace of God for those of us who are running this race. May the Lord help us to run it with patience.
    God bless!

  11. Lisa Meyer May 4, 2013 at 1:03 pm #

    For me stress and fatigue are big triggers that throw me into careless eating. Lately I have been trying to deal with the lie that I am too tired to renew my mind. The truth is that God is my strength and that when I am most tired and weak He is most present. I need to remember that. Also, I do best when I renew my mind BEFORE I get into a stressful situation. In my case I know that after a long day I will be tired and most likely I will eat mindlessly. To combat this I have been using Heidi’s audio clips and Barb’s questions. When I don’t do this BEFORE the stress I do break my boundaries. So this is a work in progress. I fail here and there but so far I have been able to not give up by the grace of God. Thanks Heidi for all you do.

    • Heidi Bylsma May 5, 2013 at 7:15 pm #

      This is a GREAT insight, Lisa. Thanks for sharing it. Yes…I can well identify with that lie, too. Thanks for your kind words, too, my friend. It is a total pleasure!

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