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


RYM 12 Week Challenge: Week 3

We are already beginning week three of our “Renewing the Mind Intensive” Challenge. I want to encourage you to continue renewing your mind each day. The mirror exercise mentioned last week is difficult for some in the beginning, so press on, it will get easier.

The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. I will praise the Lord, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. ~ Psalm 16:6-8 (NIV)

Choosing Food Boundaries

This week we are going to focus on our “body” and set some food boundaries. This is the place where I will probably lose some people. You’re thinking, “Wait, I thought this was a Bible study about weight loss, not a diet program!” Let me reassure you, this is NOT a diet program. I am not asking you to diet, I am asking you to consider setting some boundary lines which will benefit your body.

You guys know how much I love Barb Raveling’s books and website. She has a wonderful gift of being able to zero in on a lie like a heat seeking missile. Often in her books she talks about how we have boundaries in most areas of our lives, but seem to think it’s ridiculous to have boundaries in regard to food. Oops, guilty.

Let that sink in… how many areas of your life do you have boundaries? Certain words pop into my mind like: budgets, fidelity, manners, property lines, schedules, laws, oven mitts…etc. Yes, living within boundaries is something we already do and is absolutely good for us. However, but we don’t always feel this way when it comes to food. This is why it is so important to renew our minds about our boundaries. We must see them in the light of the truth.

The truth is, eating anything and everything we want, whenever and in whatever quantity we want, doesn’t feel great? Well, maybe temporarily, but go with me for a moment to the “morning after”. Think about all those times you’ve woken to that food hangover filled with regret. The bloating, the guilt, the frustration… etc., none of it is pleasant.

Give me a second… I’m really feeling this one… nope, not pleasant at all.

Boundaries benefit us because they prompt us to stop and assess the situation before we end up dishonoring God and our bodies. Choosing boundaries can be somewhat difficult because we often fear they will take the “fun” out of life. Come on people, is it really fun? Be honest.

Fortunately, our boundary lines can and will fall in pleasant places if we choose wisely and then renew our minds to stave off our fleshly desires to dance around outside them with reckless abandon.

One of my favorite resources for renewing my mind about my boundaries is Barb Raveling’s little book, I Deserve a Donut . If you’re joining me in this challenge, it is time to set some food boundaries (if you haven’t already). If you aren’t sure what boundaries to set, turn to the “Appendix: Boundaries” section of I Deserve a Donut. Barb has a list of questions and some other information about “Lifelong boundaries”. Or you can check out these links:

Choosing Your Boundaries…

Now it’s time to make some decisions. We’re going to choose a set of healthful food boundaries today, or at least by the end of week 3 (next Friday).

In deciding on my own boundaries, I’ve come up with some criteria that has helped me:

  • Simple – too many rules increases my risk of breaking them and can feel overwhelming to keep.
  • Clear – I know exactly where the lines are – no guessing. Saying, “Eat less sugar” is really vague and could be subject to interpretation… “Well, I ate less sugar today than yesterday” or “I ate less sugar than at lunch” or “I ate less sugar than my husband.” Where is the line? How do I know if I’ve avoided sugar enough to honestly say I’ve lived within my boundary line? I don’t. When my boundaries are unclear, they leave a gaping door for the enemy to convince me I’ve blown them when I haven’t… or I’ve kept them when I haven’t.
  • Good Fit – my boundaries are loose enough to allow for real life but tight enough to still support my goals (maintenance, weight loss, overcoming food worship, health). That line should say, “This is far enough, take it up with God.”
  • Yours – don’t choose a set of boundaries simply because someone else is doing it. We’ve all fallen for it. A friend shares how she’s dropped a ridiculous amount of weight doing such and such… so naturally, we think the diet must be the answer. This is not a “one size fits all” type of thing. Sometimes we have to swim against the current, and that’s ok. If I “own” my boundaries I’ll be less likely to be swayed by every mention of every diet out there.

 Start by writing out what you need from a set of boundaries and then find some plans that meet those requirements. Next, write your boundaries on a separate sheet of paper. Make sure they meet the list above.

On the same piece of paper, list all the reasons you love these boundaries. That’s right, I want you to love your boundaries… not the same way you love God or your family of course. That would be silly.

Now you’re ready to begin living and moving and “being” within these boundary lines.

Week 3 – we’re going to continue building the habit to renew 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 focusing on renewing your mind about your body (boundaries). I’m going to suggest the chapter on “Overcoming Pride” from Beth Moore’s Praying God’s Word: Breaking Free From Spiritual Strongholds and the “Lies that Make You Eat” section of I Deserve a Donut by Barb Raveling (particularly the “I’ll Start Tomorrow” questions/verses).

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 every day last week.
I’m up 1 the second week 🙂


missing the kitchen sink

Several weeks ago we ripped out the pantry, some cabinets, all the countertops, and the kitchen sink. We rolled all of the appliances into another room, except the microwave, which stayed affixed till this past weekend. Unplugging that last device pushed me over the edge.

I remember thinking it would be “fun” to be without a kitchen for a little bit. Boy was I wrong. The fun wore off about one week in. Now, I try to avoid the entire first floor of our house because it looks like my kitchen threw up everywhere (even in the basement).

Chaos doesn’t give me warm-fuzzies, so I’m really not sure what I was thinking. It took years for me to “get over” general messiness that happens when you have six people living in the same house… but downright chaos? I haven’t grown that much apparently.

The FlyLady considers chaos an acronym meaning “Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome”. Yep, that about describes where we are.

My boundaries stayed in tact for about that first week, and then chaos stomped them to death. Here I am, day one of the official start of an online study group I’m hosting, and I’m scrambling to find those boundary lines. In fact, I’ve been trying to regroup for a week now.

I’ve come to the conclusion that my previous boundaries do not fit the current environment of no stove, no microwave, and nothing that requires washing. My trash can is filled with take-out containers and the remains of boxed/bagged foods boasting long shelf-lives. We have several gallon jugs of drinking water scattered about the temporary kitchen.

Two of the folding tables I was using for “counter space” in my fake kitchen are now eating up real estate in my family room where they are covered with cabinet doors in the process of being refinished. This means we’re digging through kitchen stuff on the floor and have no use of the family room.

The dog is beside himself.

I’m over it and beyond ready to get my kitchen back. Most of the counters are supposed to go in on Wednesday, but I’ve got probably 2-3 more weeks before it is fully functional again (yep, much of it is DIY). So, instead of continuing to try to keep boundaries which do not work in this environment, I’m changing them.

It has taken me a few days to decide what they should be, but I woke up equipped with a plan…

… and I broke them after lunch today.

Hmph. That’s right, day one of the new boundaries and I fell for the old “it’s just one bite outside your boundaries” lie. One bite became about seven and it was only capped there because my hand hit the bottom of the bag (which is now in that aforementioned trash can).

I’m thankful for the bottom of the bag though, it sure beats “rock bottom” (which I hope to never see again). It was the pause I needed to say, “what kind of lies are you listening to, Jules!”

The instant I found a quiet moment, I got alone with God and did some Truth Journaling. If you don’t know what that is, check out this post by Barb Raveling. And if you want to see a small sample of one of my entries, you can look here.

donutAfter that, I went through some questions from I Deserve a Donut pertaining to the root issues revealed during the Truth Journalling session. When I actually break my boundaries, I make myself write the questions and answers in my journal… so that’s what I did.

Next was scripture. I read through some passages that applied to my situation.

When finished, I felt so much better. I knew the problem wasn’t the new boundaries. They will most definitely fit in my current chaos, but like all boundaries, they still require me to sacrifice my “right to have whatever/whenever”.

The problem was my focus. I turned to food instead of God, which is often easy to do in the midst of chaos. Praise the Lord, God is faithful and His grace is sufficient!

should boundaries take a holiday?

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve and I’m betting most of us have numerous traditions centered around, or least accompanied by, food. I know we do.

I’ve done the extremes when it comes to Holiday eating. I’ve had years where any semblance of self-control flew out the window the moment the smell of pumpkin pie wafted in my direction. I’ve also had years where I stuck to some restrictive diet where I would stare longingly at the food before me.

In the first example, my boundaries were too loose (or, nonexistent). And in the second, they were too strict. Both scenarios have consequences. One leaves me with regrets, bloating, extra weight, and misery. The other leaves me feeling deprived and like I missed out, opening the door for “back-lash” eating.

Fortunately, I don’t have to live in the land of extremes with my boundaries. If I’ve chosen long-term boundaries, they should be able to accommodate some Holiday deliciousness without the ugly side effects of eating with wild abandon or the deprivation of “being good”.

I can also choose to alter my boundaries slightly if need be for the season. This might mean I must be willing to accept that I might not release any weight or might even gain a bit. If I’ve made the decision ahead of time, aware of potential consequences, I’ll still be in a better place than if I throw my boundaries completely out the window or try to adhere to unrealistic ones.

Barb Raveling has some great questions posted to prepare us in advance for those little whispers tempting us to give in to “Last Supper Eating”. Renewing our minds before we’re in the situation will help tremendously. Then, when the whispers come, we can confidently say, “No, I can live within my boundaries and be satisfied because…”

The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.” ~ Psalm 16:6