RYM 12 Week Challenge: Week 4

We’re a quarter of the way through this challenge as we begin week four. Last week we added food boundaries to our challenge. This week, we’re going treasure hunting.

”I will give you hidden treasures, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, who summons you by name.” ~ Isaiah 45:3 (NIV)

 

Let’s Go Treasure Hunting 

We are now three weeks into this challenge and for week four, we are going to address all three areas of our being during our “renewing of the mind” appointments with God.

A great way to accomplish this is by “treasure hunting”. As a kid, I often imagined going on a great adventure in the quest for some hidden treasure. Yes, I was one of those you would see on the playground orchestrating pretend hunts filled with danger and mystery. I’m sure some of my peers thought I was nuts, but the ones who played along had a blast.

So, each day this week, I’m going to ask you to join me on a quest of unearthing the gems produced by the last three weeks of your journey.

You may be thinking, “Um, Jules, seriously, like, the dragon has totally singed my hair and has me locked in the dungeon.” Well, even Paul rejoiced while incarcerated.

“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them…” ~ Acts 16:35

If you continue reading in Acts chapter 16 through verse 30, you discover one of the treasures brought about by Paul’s captivity; a jailer comes to know Jesus as his Lord and Savior.

No matter whether you feel like the damsel in distress or the heroine wielding the Sword of the Spirit, there is always treasure to be found. As this relates to our food/weight/body image related journey, we are looking for progress in any form we can find it.

A word of caution though, you might just become a more positive person in the process. There is something so powerful about looking for God’s goodness in the midst of our messiness. It builds our faith and alters our view. When these things happen, we find that our strength is renewed (Isaiah 40:31). Let’s press on toward the goal to win the prize (Philippians 3:12-17).

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.” ~ 2 Corinthians 5:7 (ESV)

Week 4 – We’re going to maintain the habit of renewing our minds for at least 15 minutes per day beginning with confession of sins and the “who I am in Christ” mirror exercise. Finish up your 15 minutes with any method you wish. Add a second appointment during the day that is about five minutes long. Remember those “I love my boundaries because…” statements? Well, you’re going to say them once a day this week. I’m going to suggest Beth Moore’s Praying God’s Word: Breaking Free From Spiritual Strongholds and I Deserve a Donut by Barb Raveling as great resources for renewing your mind.

For “day by day” suggestions, join the Taste For Truth Support Group and download the PDF.

_______________________________________________________________________
Weekly Challenge Check-in:
Renewed my mind for at least 15 minutes a day & kept my food boundaries.
I’m down 0.6 the third week 🙂
Challenge Total: 4.6 lbs
_______________________________________________________________________

from beneath the waves

jesusonwater1

Well, I honestly thought I was ready to move to another set of boundaries, apparently not. The “diet mentality” noise in my head reached deafening volumes about two weeks into the boundary shift. I know it had everything to do with eyes of my heart shifting from relying on the Lord to relying on the diet. I stepped out of the boat to walk on water with Jesus, but as we know, humans can’t walk on water in their own strength.

As soon as my inflated ego got in the way, I began to sink. Over analyzing every little thing I ate returned along with feeling the weight of taking back the responsibility of making my own transformation happen. It seemed all I thought about was food and exercise and weight.

Then, I broke the boundary… and broke it again… and again…. and the hours of fruitless research returned. I would find myself googling and reading about all kinds of diet plans, supplements, and exercise programs. Finally, I started through books in my own library that I’ve read over and over.

UGH!

The  noise of “diet mentality” running amuck is horrible and dare I say, torturous! And trying to control my weight and flesh desires is exhausting (and futile). I’m glad I kept up with the practice of renewing my mind but I was so bombarded I felt frozen in my old pattern of behavior.

When I awoke from falling asleep on the sofa after downing an entire bag of snack size Almond Joy, I knew I wasn’t ready for “walking on water” when it came to my food boundaries. Pride is still very much alive in my flesh. I really hate admitting defeat, but I needed to humble myself and cry out to the Lord for help.

Fortunately, on the timeline of my journey, this will be seen as a tiny blip, hardly significant in the realm of damages, but a very significant turning point for me.

One really positive result from this was a re-reading of Lisa Bevere’s You are Not What You Weigh and Sharon Hersh’s The Last Addiction (which I’m still in the middle of). Ironically, reading them again, I came away with an entirely different message which has dropped another layer of scales from my eyes and shifted my focus even more intently to the Lord. I hope to post more about this soon.

I did return to Weight Watcher points as my boundary line, and much of the diet noise dissipated almost immediately. I still have to renew my mind about keeping my boundaries, but it isn’t like having a screaming banshee in my ear all day long. Obviously, clear boundary lines that allow for “real life” are better for me right now.

If you find yourself slipping beneath the waves, cry out to Jesus and then grasp His waiting hand. Don’t let it go on simply because you feel powerless to change… admitting your powerlessness is pivotal to tapping into the unfathomable power of the Almighty.

Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. ~ 2 Corinthians 12:8-10 (NIV)

when it’s time to change

When I typed that title, the Brady Bunch kids singing a song by the same name came to mind. In a strange 70’s way, the song touches on the transformation we’re undergoing as we renew our mind. Things sometimes get worse, like Peter’s cracking voice, before they get better. And yet, sometimes we must change our boundaries in order to grow.

boundary-line-webRecently, I felt like the Lord was telling me it was time to change my boundaries. As most of you know, I’ve been following the WW points plan since March. I truly believe WW was a good fit for me at the time because of where I was in this journey to living in victory. However, the more I renewed my mind, the convinced I became that it was time to move on.

Trust me, I know how difficult it is to decide on a set of boundaries. So, if you’re having difficulty, Barb Raveling has a wonderful post that might help titled: 13 Questions That Will Help You Choose a Weight Loss Plan

But what about when you feel like it’s time to change your boundaries?

For most people, we’ll think we need to have a different set of boundaries simply because the ones we have are difficult. Or maybe we have a friend who is having success on another plan. It’s very enticing to think the grass is greener somewhere else.

These are not reasons to change our boundaries. In those cases, we need to renew our mind about them and gain a different perspective.

However, there are legitimate reasons it might be time to consider a different set of boundaries. These are just a few:

  • You’re consistently following your boundaries but aren’t releasing weight.
  • You’re consistently following your boundaries but you don’t feel well physically.
  • Your lifestyle has changed and your boundary lines are no longer a good fit.
  • God is prompting you to change them to bring you to a deeper relationship with Him (make sure it is God, His motives will not be the world’s motives).

Not Releasing Weight

If you’ve honestly been consistently renewing your mind and following your boundaries for at least a month, but have not released weight (or have gained), it might be time to consider trying something else.

I say at “least a month” because expecting quick results is part of what has landed us in the diet rat race in the first place. Sometimes our weight loss is delayed a bit because we are actually weighed down by a lot of lies and once those begin to change, our bodies let go.

Sometimes our weight loss is delayed because we’re telling ourselves we’re keeping our boundaries when we really aren’t. It might be that your boundary lines just aren’t clear enough for you to recognize you’re breaking them. Get honest with yourself.

The point is, we don’t want to be switching boundaries every couple of weeks. It’s tempting to keep changing them in search of the “perfect” set of boundaries. Well, let me just tell you, there is no such thing. Every set of boundaries will have it’s pluses and minuses and none will be “perfect”.

If you’re frustrated because keeping your boundaries isn’t as easy as you had hoped, that’s not a good reason to switch either. Keeping boundaries is hard and requires work, determination, and a whole lot of renewing our minds to the mind of Christ. Once you’re keeping them consistently for at least a month, reevaluate things.

If you are releasing weight and you just want it gone faster, that’s not necessarily the best reason to change boundaries either (unless directed to do so by a doctor). Instead, you’ll probably need to start working on your discontentment or greed issues. I Deserve a Donut  (book or app) has some great questions and verses in the “discontentment” and “greed” sections to help you renew your mind in this area.

For me, I was still releasing weight on WW (although it had slowed down), so I wasn’t really motivated by this to change boundaries.

Not Feeling Well Physically

If you’ve been consistently following your boundaries for at least a month and you don’t feel well physically, there could be any number of things going on. My first recommendation is to check with your doctor. Tell them what you’re doing and see what they have to say. Tests might reveal a root cause that has nothing to do with your boundaries.

Lack of sleep, overeating, under eating, food allergies, wrong food combinations for your body…etc could be at play as well. If you’re following a plan where you have eliminated addictive foods, you might feel horrible for the first few weeks because you’re going through withdrawals. You could also be nutrient deficient. Check into these possibilities and tweak your boundaries as necessary.

This was one of the major reasons I felt prompted to change my boundaries. Even while following the WW plan, I began to have chest pain again just over a month ago. I haven’t had chest pain in years. I stopped sleeping well. I felt really agitated and I had general pain all the time in my joints. I had started popping Ibuprofen regularly just to function, but when the chest pain started, it freaked me out. Sure, I was still releasing weight, but what fun is it to be smaller and feel terrible physically? I had a thought growing in the back of my mind over a couple of months that I needed to up the nutritional value of what I was eating.

It’s true, I could have done this while still on WW, but there was more at play.

Lifestyle Change

This could encompass a multitude of scenarios. Some examples that come to mind are:

  • One of your children is diagnosed with a life-threatening allergy and those foods must be eliminated from your life.
  • You end up traveling across country with your truck driving husband and no longer have access to your kitchen (yes, thinking about you Barb R).
  • You move to another country with a different eating culture.
  • Your husband is laid off and you have to cancel your WW membership.
  • A diagnosis requires dietary changes.
  • You’re training for a marathon and require a different nutrition plan to fuel your workouts.

This list could go on for a while. Even if your life changes significantly enough to warrant a boundary change, we still need to keep in mind that life is going to throw us challenges no matter what our boundaries are. This is where renewing our minds comes into play.

If you experience a lifestyle change, try to keep your original set of boundaries for a couple of weeks just to make sure they aren’t still a fit. Yes, it will be challenging. If after a couple of weeks it’s clear they aren’t working with your new life, change them.

For me, this played a very small role in the boundary change, but it did influence it. We recently decided to dramatically alter our spending habits because of some financial goals we had set. In doing so, we cancelled some memberships (WW and the gym) and we tightened up our grocery budget. This is the other “renewing the mind project” I’m doing right now. I was already considering the dietary change before we decided to tighten the budget, but it definitely made it easier to take the leap. It wasn’t enough for me though. I was still afraid I was changing them for the wrong reasons. I was also afraid I wouldn’t be able to keep stricter boundaries (cause I didn’t want to). I didn’t actually change them till God prompted me to do so.

God is Prompting the Change

This one can often be confused with our own feelings and emotions if we aren’t consistently renewing our minds in the process. If you are seeking God on the matter, He won’t be vague.

Even if He is the one prompting the change, you may feel scared and even have some doubts, but God will give you peace if it is His will.

For me, it began with a thought of, “Beloved, are you willing to give up certain foods for Me?”

Yikes. I didn’t like where this was going.

He challenged my mantra of “everything in moderation”. I said, “But everything is permissible.” To which He replied, “Aye, but not everything is beneficial.”

I was primed for this message with how terrible I felt physically. Then the husband and I started working on our financial project and I asked myself what I was willing to give up to meet our goals.

I remembered a plan I had done a while back, so I got out the book (one of the few “diet” books I’ve kept) and read it again. Convinced I was supposed to change my boundaries, I stepped away from WW and switched to a “nutritarian” diet a few weeks ago. The chest pain went away immediately and I have minimal general pain now (praise the Lord).

You see, when God prompts you to change your boundaries, the timing will always be spot on. He knew exactly what I needed and knew when I would be receptive to the change. I don’t know how long I’ll be “giving up” some of my favorite foods. I don’t even know that I’ll never return to WW, but you know what, it really doesn’t matter. Food is just food. It isn’t love. It isn’t peace. It isn’t joy. I’m going to take this thing one day at a time.

Transformed By the Renewing of the Mind

Even if we decide it is time to change our boundaries, there is one crucial thing we must keep in mind:

It is not our boundaries which transform us!

swordGOD transforms us through the renewing of our minds. I challenge you, even before you settle on your boundaries, pour your time and energy into renewing your mind about food, weight, and body image. Pour in His Truth at every opportunity. This is the only way I have a remote chance of keeping any set of boundaries long-term.

And do not be conformed to this world [any longer with its superficial values and customs], but be transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind [focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His plan and purpose for you]. ~ Romans 12:2 (AMP)

using boundary breaking to our advantage

About three weeks ago I felt like the Lord was telling me to alter my boundary lines. I’ll talk more about that change another day, but this alteration brought up some deeply rooted lies I hadn’t dealt with yet on my WW points boundary.

With the points, I could eat pretty much anything I wanted as long as I had the points to do so. Sometimes that would mean extra exercise just so I could have a high point item. I started to get good at playing the points game so I could still do some recreational or emotional eating (albeit, less than before).

Well, my new boundaries don’t afford me that luxury. At first, I was feeling pretty good about the boundary change because I physically felt better, but then I suddenly felt worse, stress increased, and I was left suffering without the option of self-medicating with certain foods.

At first, I didn’t realize this was going on. I justified eating outside my boundaries because I had a headache and knew certain foods would help it subside. This triggered “failure” feelings. Then I started to think about foods I wouldn’t even eat on WW because the points just weren’t worth it to me (orange tofu). This triggered feelings of deprivation (which is really “discontentment”).

One evening with broken boundaries turned into three evenings with broken boundaries. I would make it all day and then cave in the evening all over again. A little “I’ll start tomorrow” eating crept in.

I thought, “Good heavens! This looks way too much like my old pattern of behavior.” It scared me to think I might return to that life if I didn’t put a stop to it right then. So, when I woke the fourth morning, I lay in bed and talked to God about what was going on. He pointed out two lies which seemed to be at the root of the deviation.

LIE: If I have a headache, I must need to eat something.

This lie was the actual trigger which set everything off. I had been dealing with an incessant headache for days and I was tired of it. When I ate a cupcake that first evening and it disappeared, I ended up eating three more to keep it at bay. It seemed to “confirm” the lie.

I distinctly remember complaining of headaches as a child and being told, “Oh, you must be hungry”. Now, it’s highly likely I was hungry then, but over the years it morphed into, “have headache, must eat”.

In reality, that morning prayer with God revealed to me the headache was due to a lack of restful sleep and eating too much too often. I asked God what I should do and felt like He told me to drink water but to wait to eat.

Well, this triggered another lie.

LIE: I need more food, and frequently, to fuel my day.

This lie plays on my fear of being without food. I have a genuine fear of being hungry and not being able to eat. So, I panicked when I had gone half the day without eating and only drinking water.

Instead of going to God about it, I ate two oranges. The headache returned. Essentially, God had told me to fast that day, but I was too scared of going without food. I would go several hours without eating, but then I would eat something because my mind kept telling me I needed to eat despite not feeling hungry.

I was actually surprised at the fears and beliefs being dredged up by a simple change in my boundaries. More time in prayer made me realize I don’t need nearly as much food (even the nutritious stuff) as I thought I did. In fact, I was overworking my digestive system and not giving my body a chance to rest and heal.

All things together for good…freedom-chain01

You may be wondering what could possibly be an advantage to breaking my boundaries. I mean, I gained weight during those three days. I felt bloated, agitated, and miserable. On the surface it looks like a total failure because it derailed my weightloss goals. How can this be helpful?

Well, God tells us He works all things together for good to them that love Him. I do believe the passage is largely talking about circumstances outside of our control, but I can’t ignore that He says, “ALL things”. I believe this means He can use our mistakes to His and our advantage. What the world may see as a failure, God sees as an opportunity to teach us, refine us, and transform us if we go to Him for help.

In the past, I would have viewed three days of breaking my boundaries as a total loss. In fact, it probably wouldn’t have just been three days. Thankfully, the truth says they aren’t a “set-back” in my journey. Now I see them as a “set-up” for future success because God shined a light on more lies to be extracted. So, no matter how badly we mess up with our boundaries, there is always something to be learned. We don’t have to remain in a place of defeat. We can allow God to make us stronger instead.

Psalm 119:33-40

squishy bits and all

It’s been a really long time since I was “buff”, but there was a time when I had visible muscle definition. I have no idea if I’ll ever get a glimpse of that body again, but there are days when I look in the mirror and think, “where did all these squishy bits come from?”

Of course, one might wonder, how on earth can you ignore the elephant in the room when that elephant is yourself? For years, I couldn’t see past the obesity. I hated even walking by a mirror let alone standing in front of one. I was totally aware of every jiggle, every pinch in my clothing, and every stare. Now, though, the squishy bits actually catch me by surprise at times.

This isn’t because I’m ignoring the extra weight, but rather because most days I am able to view it through God’s eyes and not man’s.

…For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. ~ 1 Samuel 16:7b (NKJV)

However, if I let my “fat eyes” run wild, I’ll find myself in a full blown pity party on the brink of a dive into a bag of something sure to blow my boundaries right off the map. When I notice I’m focusing on my physical imperfections, I have learned that it is time for a perspective check, and lately, that has meant dealing with discontentment. I don’t even have to feel discontent about my body for it to trigger thoughts of food.

Before I began this journey of intentionally renewing my mind to the mind of Christ, I probably would have said I was a content person… or at least mostly content. I certainly didn’t think it was a stronghold or anything. Ha! Lies can be so blinding.

When God removed the binging from my repertoire of coping mechanisms, I was faced with a very ugly reality. I was one of the most discontent people I knew. Sure, it was lying there under the surface, squashed down by bad habits, but it was there, like a cancer, robbing me of really living.

Discontentment usually comes around when I’m believing a lie or making something more important than it should be… or both. This is one of the reasons I really love Barb Raveling‘s book, I Deserve a Donut: And other lies that make you eat. I can turn to the page of questions which addresses discontentment and get a much needed reality check.

By the time I’m finished journaling through the questions and the verses, my perspective has changed. Discontentment says I’m unloveable if I’m overweight, but God loves me, “squishy bits and all”. Because of this, I am able to worry less about the extra weight and focus on what really does matter, like loving God and others well.

gaining in a “biggest loser” world

To most people who want to lose weight, “gain” is a dirty word. The last thing you want to hear or see is that you gained weight. In fact, dieters often live for those “loser moments” each week. All seems right with the world when that little hunk of metal says, “Well done my good and faithful servant.”

But what happens when the scale doesn’t budge, or worse, we gain a pound (or two, or ten)?

scales-make-you-cry

You know exactly what happens. We fall apart. It doesn’t matter what kind of week we’ve had, it is now an utter disappointment. We’re annoyed. We’re frustrated. We’re a failure and we think, “What’s the point”?

Which, actually, if you think about it, is exactly what we should be asking ourselves. What is the point of bowing to a hunk of metal each week, praying it will deem us worthy to spend another week striving for the opportunity to please it again seven days from now?

Many of us have heard it said that when you lose something, there is always the chance you’ll find it again. Did you just feel a bit nauseous? Are you picturing all the times you’ve played “lost and found” with extra weight? Yeah, me too. And yet, we keep saying, “I’ve got to lose this weight.”

Can you think of any other area of your life where you are so set on “losing” something?  If given the choice to lose or gain love, family, friends, knowledge, wisdom, money, a job or self-esteem (and the list could go on) what would be your choice?

Exactly.

Obviously none of us wants to gain extra weight, but perhaps you would agree our “loser mentality” is what has gotten us to where we are in the first place.

We lost control of certain areas of our lives, and we’ve paid for it with expanding waistlines, deteriorating health, and captivity.

Wait, what? Did she say, ‘Captivity’?

That’s exactly right. We become slaves to our habits, the scale, and diet plans. The Bible says that Christ came to set the captives free, but how many believers do you know who feel “free” as they fight the battle of the bulge? Instead, don’t they feel like losers, but not in a good way?

I was in this camp for decades. I lived in the pit, even put up curtains and spent time sweeping the dirt floor. I believed if I could just lose the weight, then I would be free and could live free. If I didn’t lose the weight, I felt I deserved that pit.

I thought I had a weight problem, an addiction, a justifiable struggle, a lack of willpower; when what I actually had was a “lie” problem.

“Being overweight is the worst thing that can happen to me.”

“All fat people are lazy and unattractive.”

“I don’t deserve to eat because I should be punished for allowing myself to become overweight.”

“The only way to get in shape is to work out to extremes.”

“I can’t control anything else in my life, but I can control food.”

“Having a ‘fat barrier’ will insulate me from being hurt by others because no one will want to hang around a fat girl.”

“I’m too ugly or too fat to go to that function… or be photographed.”

“If I’m not miserable, I must not be working hard enough to lose the weight.”

“Life sucks, but food is always there to comfort me.”

“People will reject me, but food will always be there for me.”

“Food numbs the pain and makes me forget my troubles.”

“I must follow my diet perfectly or I won’t deserve to lose weight this week.”

“I ate that cookie so I’ll gain five pounds on Friday.”

“I can’t stick to this diet for more than a few days, so I must need to try something else.”

This doesn’t even scratch the surface of the number of lies I had running rampant through my mind. I wanted to be a “loser” so badly, I lost sight of all I had to gain as a child of God.

As I’ve mentioned numerous times on this blog, God has been bringing me to a place of Truth for a while. He’s planted seeds that have grown, and then in June of 2015, I decided I was sick of striving to be a “biggest loser”. I decided I needed to become a “Truth gainer“. It was time to allow God’s Truth to set me free from my pit dweller mentality.

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” ~ Romans 12:2 (NKJV)

I started with a concept called “renewing the mind” based on Romans 12:2. I agreed that I had spent far too long being “conformed to this world” and I wanted my weight transformed.

Well, I made a commitment to build a daily habit of renewing my mind to the mind of Christ. You can read about that in my series called Renewing the Mind=Transformation.

I don’t know what I thought would happen. I guess I thought the weight would just fall off and that’s how I would be transformed. Sure, I wanted my thoughts to change, but that scale was really important to me. Six months in and I had “lost” and “found” the same few pounds several times. Ugh.

Did I want to quit? You bet.

I had never worked at weight loss for so long and not gotten the results I wanted. I was frustrated. There were days I absolutely refused to keep my “renewing of the mind” appointments with God because I was angry He wasn’t keeping His end of the deal.

“If You’re not going to show up to this party, why should I?” I thought.

Of course, clinging to my “must be a biggest loser” attitude earned me a longer stay at this phase of the process. God would allow me to be humbled and I’d plant my rear back on the little loveseat in my room where I had my appointments with God.

God gently reminded me through Barb Raveling‘s book, I Deserve a Donut, that I had been living in a pit of lies for far longer than I had been renewing my mind with His Truth. He told me to be patient.

Yes, God could have had the weight melt off like butter on a pancake fresh off the griddle, but He didn’t. He opted for the long route because He knew I needed to learn a few things:

  • Patience
  • Trust
  • Contentment

Patience

Nothing, and I do mean nothing works at rooting out “biggest loser” mentality like being forced to be patient. I’m still a work in progress, but He’s brought me a long way already.

Trust

Having spent years putting my trust in everything but God where my weight/food/body image issues were concerned, I absolutely had to learn to place my trust in God. Did I trust Him with everything or didn’t I? Did I believe He was who He said He was? Did I believe He could do what He said He could do? Did I believe I was who He said I was? I had to face these questions with the truth that my actions did not match up with what I said I believed. Ouch.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.”

~Proverbs 3:5-6 (NKJV)

I still don’t do this trust thing perfectly, and doubt I will this side of heaven, but I actively do my best to trust Him and then ask Him to help my unbelief when I fail.

Contentment

This one was the turning point. I had already noticed some changes in my thought life and behaviors not related to weight loss, but after six months of no tangible scale results, I had to make a decision. Either I learned to be content despite living in a body with at least seventy extra pounds, or I was going to be miserable until the good Lord took me home.

I had to decide if I believed God was worthy of my praise, honor, devotion, and trust even if I never released another pound. If I spent the rest of my days obese despite spending every day walking with Him, abiding in Him, and renewing my mind, would I still love God? Would I still call Him faithful? Or would I eventually walk away if I didn’t get what I wanted?

Yikes. He offered no guarantee of physical change, but asked me to lay down my “biggest loser” attitude and follow Him no matter what.

When I let go and decided to be content, big girl jeans and all, transformation took on a whole new look. I started noticing my thoughts about weight/food/body image changing. My actions followed. It would be about three more months before God answered the question I’d been asking over and over: “What food boundaries would be best for me right now?

Why did He wait? Because I wasn’t ready. I needed to learn how to gain patience, trust, and contentment first. Otherwise, I would likely worship the boundaries like I worshipped the scale and every plan I’d ever done. I would put my trust in them instead of in the Lord, begging them to deem me a “good and faithful servant”.

Yes, the weight is releasing and to date God has removed just shy of forty pounds of lies from my body. That visual only represents a fraction of what I’ve gained in Christ since making that commitment to build a simple daily renewing of the mind habit.

His peace alone would be worth walking with God in this way the rest of my days.

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” ~ Philippians 4:6-7

 

 

Renewing the Mind: One Year+ Later

It has been just over a year since I began seriously building the practice of daily renewing my mind, and what a year it has been! I had no idea where God was going to lead when I made that commitment last year (June 2015) and I’m still surprised.

Accountability

I’ve had the lovely privilege of talking with Barb Raveling and even going through a study on procrastination with her. She has been a wonderful support and graciously allowed me to host an online study group named after her book, Taste For Truth. That study group has morphed into an ongoing Support Group which the Lord continues to bless. I am so grateful for the fellowship and accountability I’ve found there as well.

God has provided a blessing through a weekly call with my mom to hold each other accountable to renewing our mind. I’m so thankful to call her my mother, sister-in-Christ, and friend.

For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. ~ Matthew 18:20 (KJV)

Opposition

When I frantically scribbled notes from the audio I mentioned in that first series, I couldn’t have known the opposition I would face from the enemy. My family went through what we are calling, “a series of unfortunate events” that spanned months. I know this was directly related to the progress the Lord was making in my spiritual life, but as usual, the enemy is no match for the Almighty.

Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. ~ 1 John 4:4 (KJV)

Holding Boundaries with Open Hands

My boundaries have changed in several areas, but the most significant have been with food and the scale. What I thought were ideal boundaries for me, were not, and I’m not sure how long I would have followed a different (more frustrating) path had I not been renewing my mind on a regular basis and seeking God’s will for me personally.

Although, in my mind, I knew it wasn’t about the perfect keeping of my boundaries, it took some time for the Lord to transform how I viewed them. I finally stopped looking to them for “salvation” from my obese prison and other food related issues. I am far more open to allowing God to choose my boundaries because He knows what is best for me at this time.

With the scale, I am weighing again – two times a week. Once on my scale and once at my WW meeting (they are different days). I still struggle with scale issues, but I’m using this as an opportunity to renew my mind about that number and break the stronghold of scale worship.

I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye. ~ Psalm 32:8 (KJV)

Tools for the Journey

In that first series, I listed a lot of tools I was using at that time. While I still use most of them, there have been some changes. For instance, I no longer read Have your Cake and Your Skinny Jeans TooThis has a lot to do with the boundary shift I mentioned above because my focus has changed and I think far less about “the perfect boundaries”. Also, I don’t view my boundaries as a “diet” anymore. God can use any set of boundaries He chooses to set the captives free. Who am I to limit Him, if I even could?

I have added other tools though:

  • Scripture Lullabies – LOVE these for creating a calming atmosphere while I work on other stuff. They are a great way to passively renew my mind with scripture about who God is, how much He loves me, and who I am in Christ. It is not uncommon for me to play these for hours at a time, very low, in the background of my day.
  • Taste for Truth – A fantastic book by Barb Raveling which walks the reader through building a renewing of the mind habit about food boundaries and other food related issues. Have done this study several times now.
  • Made to Crave – Another great book by Lysa Terkeurst. It is the book which inspired this blog many years ago but means even more to me since beginning to build a habit of renewing my mind daily. I read a bit here and there. It’s important not to get hung up on all the “healthy diet” speak in the book and focus on the meat and potatoes (going to God for His truth and to meet our needs). Of course, a healthy diet is important, but our boundaries need to be chosen by the Lord and not by what someone else is doing.
  • Scripture Typer – This is a scripture memory app. Currently I’m working on verses about Truth and the Armor of God. I can practice verses at any time during the day, but it will also prompt me to review.

TransformationButterfly_Beauty

God is transforming my heart and my mind in regard to food/weight/body image. Overall, I feel much more at peace about this area of my life. When I look in the mirror, I see fewer flaws than I ever have. This is a true blessing as I would often avoid mirrors and cameras if I could.

I am more likely to keep my boundaries than not. This isn’t because my boundaries are perfect, but because God is changing the way I think about food. I just don’t get as much enjoyment out of dancing about outside my boundaries as I used to. It feels more like punishing myself than “treating”. And who enjoys punishment? I don’t.

I use food far less for comfort than in the past. This doesn’t mean I never use it for comfort, it’s just much less because God is proving Himself a much better comfort.

I actually like renewing my mind. That’s right, there was a point when it felt like a chore and a time sucker. Now, I have to actually make myself move on with my day. Not every day of course, but more than not. I do still have days where I think, “Ugh, I don’t feel like renewing my mind right now.” Thankfully, those are few and are perfect opportunities to renew my mind about not wanting to renew my mind – ha!

I view exercise very differently. Exercise, for me, is no longer about weight loss. It is about feeling better. It is about using the body God gave me to do some pretty cool stuff. It is about leaning on God for strength to make it through the workout when my “can’t want to” brat is screaming. It is about time spent with Him (yes, you can exercise with God). Have you ever run down a trail imagining God running alongside you (with perfect form of course)? Try it, it’s pretty cool. I always imagine Him much taller than me where I have to look up to see His face or reach up to hold His hand. If anyone looks at you funny, just tell them you’re on a run with God.

I have released weight. No, it isn’t anything dramatic like “reality” TV, but it is still significant. God has removed more than 30 pounds from my body in the year since beginning to build a daily habit of pouring in His truth about food/weight/body image. I don’t believe that weight will come back as long as I keep my focus on the ONE who makes all things possible. I am still overweight, and while I do get discouraged over that at times, I know God is faithful to do what He says. Those emotions are other opportunities to turn to the Lord for His truth on the matter. The transformation process isn’t my job. It’s His.

He hath made every thing beautiful in his time… ~ Ecclesiastes 3:11a (KJV)