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

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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

 

 

not tomorrow, NOW

As you already know, I’ve jumped into a challenge centered around proving that renewing the mind works. Not an easy task to say the least.

I wanted to share that today marks six days of living within my food boundaries since the start of the challenge.

Imagine with me for a second what you might feel like to realize you have lived (dare I say “thrived”) within your food boundaries for SIX full days.

No doubt, this isn’t something that comes easy for those of us living in this “you shouldn’t have to deny yourself” society. We’re adults for crying out loud. We have rights, gosh darn it!

Well, yes we do, and many of us have indulged ourselves right out of our britches. Then we try in our own strength to “get back on track” or “be good” only to be faced with another “donut”*. We rationalize and we bargain with ourselves and then we hear that little whisper… such a seemingly harmless thought… but it grows and grows until we give it full birth:

“I’ll start tomorrow. Yes, tomorrow I’ll follow my boundaries.”

It seems harmless, even noble at times, to believe the lie. The problem with following this train of thought is it actually makes us feel good about overeating today because of how great we’ll be tomorrow. It feeds “last chance” eating, which, as we know, makes us feel all the more deprived when we attempt to follow our boundaries the next day. Most of the time though, we hear that little voice again by about 4PM whispering:

“It’s been a hard day. You’ve made it this far. You can start over tomorrow.”

I don’t know about you, but I’m sick of “starting over”. So, for the first five days of this challenge I used the “I’ll start tomorrow eating” questions and verses (from I Deserve a Donut) as part of my daily renewing the mind practice. I made myself write the questions and answers every morning for the last five days. I wrote the verses in my journal and prayed about them.

I did reword the questions slightly to apply to following my boundaries for another day rather than the wording that suggests I’m “starting today”.

One of the questions is about what I’ll need to accept in order to follow my boundaries. I like this question because it makes me really weigh the lie that “life should be easy” against the truth that “life is often hard”.

You see, I have decided to accept the simple truth that my food boundaries are there for my benefit and protection. Therefore, breaking my boundaries is actually a punishment, not a reward.

This shift in perspective is monumental.

Of course, when I stepped on the scale this morning, and was sorely disappointed, I’m sure you can imagine the flood of negative, destructive thinking.

In this situation I have a few choices. One of them is to throw a tantrum, adopt a “what’s the point” attitude, and dance around outside my boundaries in the name of “bad scale eating”. Another option would be to take those thoughts captive and make them obedient to Christ by renewing my mind.

Admittedly, I did a combination of the two. First, I pitched a mini “it’s not fair” tantrum, but it didn’t involve food. Then, before I ate breakfast, I sat down with my Bible, my donut book, and my journal. I went through the “Bad Scale Eating” questions (writing them) and verses. I felt much better after this.

Knowing this is the weekend and I will have greater temptations to tiptoe outside my boundaries (or even run with reckless abandon), I decided to do the “Holiday/Vacation Eating” questions and verses too. I changed them slightly to better go with weekend eating, but the general theme stayed the same. Again, I wrote them.

I don’t want to wait until tomorrow to stay within my boundaries because I know that every day I do my part is one more victorious day God can use to bring about transformation. I also know I am not responsible for that transformation, He is.

The enemy tries to tell me I’m not doing enough (especially after a disappointing weigh in), but when I’m doing my part to renew my mind, I know that’s a lie. God says:

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” ~ Romans 12:2a (NIV)

The world says to trust in diets and supplements and exercise programs.

God says to trust Him.

The world says to have willpower.

God says to rely on His strength and not my own.

The world says to “think positive”.

God says to take my thoughts captive and make them obedient to Christ.

Yeah, I think God’s way is better. So, I won’t worry about tomorrow, I’ll do what I can now.

*A “donut” in this post will refer to anything that tempts you to break your boundaries.

“Taste For Truth”: A Review

51n8CMGHsmL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Over the past few weeks I’ve been making my way through Barb Raveling’s, Taste for Truth. It’s a 30 day “weightloss” Bible Study. I personally would say it’s 30 days of practicing renewing your mind about weight and food issues.

Each day is short but she packs a lot in a tiny book. Some of the topics I felt I had already “dealt with” over the past year, but they were still good reminders of where my thoughts should stay. I think the beginning few days where you come up with boundaries are very important and I took a few extra days to mull that over.

If you’re looking for a short and sweet example of how to renew your mind from a Biblical perspective about weightloss, weight, food, skinny, body image… etc, this is an excellent book for that. I’ve practiced renewing my mind consistently since June, so I think some of the exercises might have come easier for me than if I hadn’t already been in that place.

One thing I did start doing differently as a result of going through this book, is writing out the questions and answers from the I Deserve a Donut book when using it to renew my mind. This embedded the change in perspective deeper in my mind. Now, I tell myself I have to write them if I break my boundaries. It’s a huge deterrent. At the same time, I noticed when tempted to break my boundaries, the questions would pop into my head almost immediately. The added benefit of this is it makes me stop and actually think about why I want to break my boundaries.

You may be thinking, “Ok, but did you release any weight”? That’s a fair question since it is titled a “weight loss Bible study”. The answer is, “Yes”. Again, I was not new to renewing my mind when I started the study so I don’t know if the results would have been the same had I just been starting out. Although, I have read testimonials of newbies releasing weight. I know back in June I was breaking boundaries left and right… now, hardly at all. Part of that is because I tweaked my boundaries some (after going through those chapters in the book), but a large part is a result of God changing my thinking about food, boundaries, weight…etc.

I think the biggest change has been a sense of peace about my size. I’m not stressing out about what, when, how much I eat… I’m not stressing out (as much) about my appearance, what to wear, and what others might think of me. God’s peace really does surpass all understanding.

I’m still renewing my mind daily, but my focus is now shifting to a “procrastination project“. I’ll talk more about that later. This doesn’t mean I never have to address my food/weight issues anymore. What it means is, they aren’t my focus at the moment. Where dealing with my weight had been all I could handle, now I feel like I can branch out without totally going “wheels off” in the food department. When I do have a struggle with my boundaries, or I get a bad attitude about following those boundaries, sure, I’ll renew my mind in regard to the situation. I’m just over a week into the procrastination focus and the weight is still coming off despite the split in attention.

I’ve got about three weeks left of the procrastination project, and then I plan to go through Barb’s book, Freedom from Emotional Eating. Should be just in time for the Holiday season and my deceased son’s birthday. I’m already planning to start going through the “Holiday/Special Occasion” questions in I Deserve a Donut before the Holidays actually arrive, but I still want to go through that other study.

Well, that’s it for now. I’m learning a few cool things about procrastination that I hope to share soon. Until then, God Bless!

*Be sure to visit Barb’s website for more renewing of the mind information.

renewing the mind: crisis plan

This is the 4th post in this series on renewing the mind. If you’re just joining me, you can start here and move through them at your own pace.

It has taken me longer to complete this post than I intended, but here it is.

I am finding the pro-active approach to renewing my mind is very important. Before moving on to the topic of “crisis plans”, I would like to mention another proactive mind renewal tool that has been pivotal for me since I was a very young child. I suppose it is so natural to me that I didn’t even consider it to be something we must be proactive about, otherwise I would have listed it earlier.

Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. ~Psalm 119:11 (KJV)

The tool is scripture memory. I’ve been memorizing God’s word since I was able to talk. At a very young age I was involved in AWANA, and we memorized so many scriptures through that program. It’s true, I’ve been more lax about it as an adult, but I do find that God brings His words to my mind often. He has even brought scripture to my mind that I have never officially memorized. I don’t know if He’s just placing His Word in my mind, or if He’s bringing forward Words I’ve read (having read through the entire Bible several times over the years). Either way, He’ll prompt me with a passage or concept, and then I look it up and discover that it’s been in my Bible all along.

Obviously you can be re-active, but typically, for me anyway, that means it will take me longer to reach the point I could have started with. It takes longer because I end up wallowing in the thoughts longer and I’m relying on my ability to remember, “Oh right, I wanted to renew my mind when these thoughts came up again.” And then it takes me a bit to stop sulking because the “club of condemnation” almost always comes out.

However, if I’m already practicing renewing my mind before the crisis hits, I tend to catch those thoughts/behaviors before they’ve completely ruined my whole day (week or month) AND I turn to God sooner because my mind is already being trained in that direction. I’m also finding that I am less likely to turn my attention to new and old diet solutions so I can “fix myself”.

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. ~ Isaiah 26:3 (KJV)

I hope I’m not beating a dead horse here by saying, being proactive about renewing your mind is key! Ok, now on to the “crisis plan”

Oh Lord, I’m in the middle of a crisis!

Even being proactive, I still have weak moments. Yes, my flesh still screams and demands it’s own way. Yes, I still live in this fallen world with all of its multitude of ways to infiltrate the mind. A crisis (big or small) is going to happen, but with God’s grace and a few tools, we’ll be ready for them. These are by no means the only tools you can use, so ask God what will work for you.

For starters, most days, you will probably find a cross drawn on my hand in ink. I generally have to draw a new one every morning. At first, I was really fussy about the way it looked, but now, I keep it simple, and if it doesn’t look perfect, it doesn’t matter. I’m not saying you must draw on yourself, or tattoo yourself. If you aren’t at peace with an exercise like this, it isn’t for you. For me, it is a physical reminder, and one with which I am perfectly at peace.This little cross reminds me that I already have a plan when temptations do arise.

Knowing what you will do when you encounter negative thoughts or lies buzzing about in your head is a HUGE step toward winning the battle (read: be proactive, have a plan). Here is a list of tools I’m currently using in my Crisis Plan:

I Deserve A Donut – Yes, I know I’ve already mentioned this one, but seriously, it is a big resource in a little book (there is also an app). The author lists numerous rationalizations and emotions that prompt us to eat when we aren’t hungry. You can scroll down the list to choose the one affecting you in the moment, then turn to that page for help. She includes questions to prayerfully ask yourself as you process what you’re thinking/feeling, as well as scripture to point you back to God. You can journal these, or you can work through them verbally. I typically do them verbally, like I’m having a conversation with God.

Truth Journal – Heidi from Thin Within did an example entry for this during one of the audio clips I’ve mentioned in the last three posts. Barb Raveling’s book, The Renewing of the Mind Project, arrived in the mail yesterday. I haven’t had a chance to really dive in, but a cursory glance through it showed that the idea comes from this book. I am really looking forward to reading it.

Basically, when your brain is going haywire, you pull out this journal (it’s separate from your Faith Journal). The object is to take the lies and, what Heidi calls, “little “t” truths” and replace them with big “T” truths. A little “t” truth is a lie that contains an element of truth; or maybe it’s true in that moment but doesn’t have to remain so. Like the statement, “I want to keep eating” (see photo). That was true when I wrote it, but it is a want or desire that can change. A big T truth is God’s Truth and it doesn’t change; or it may be a truth that contradicts a lie I’m telling myself… Like in the example where I say I’m “behind” on my work. The truth in that moment was that I wasn’t behind at all, I just wasn’t ahead of schedule any longer.20150618_121311 (2)

To do this exercise, you write 3-5 short sentences describing how you’re feeling, or what is bothering you, leaving a space between each line. Then you number each statement (there might be more than one statement per sentence). After you’ve numbered them, you address each statement individually and write the big “T” truth in the spaces between the lines. As you address the lies, draw a line through them. The photo is the first entry I did of this sort. I was feeling overwhelmed, inadequate, and had a desire to procrastinate. I chose this one because it was less personal than other entries I’ve made 🙂 In the past, I would let these kinds of thoughts fester all day long. This one little exercise on that particular day kept me from turning the day into an “I feel sorry for myself” eat fest.

Essentially, my Truth Journal is the place where I make a conscious effort of turning my thoughts back to God… I’m taking my thoughts captive and making them obedient to Christ in a very literal sense through this exercise.

Praying God’s Word – As I’ve mentioned over and over, Beth Moore is one of my favorite Bible Teachers, hands down. The resource the Lord led her to put together through this book is one that blesses me. This is the book I used to make the scripture index cards I mentioned in the very first post of this series. If I know I’m struggling in a moment with a particular stronghold, I can turn straight to that section and begin praying scripture immediately. I keep the book with my reference materials, and the index cards I made could end up anywhere in the house. There have been days I have literally worn them around my neck (lanyard).

Praise Fest (or Feast) – This is another one of Heidi’s tools. Super simple. You just start telling God (or singing to Him) how awesome He is. I’ll admit, I typically turn to this one last. If my mind is still stuck after doing the other two things, I’ll do this. I’ve found that praising God for using these struggles to turn my heart and mind back to Him is a terrific way to turn the tables on the enemy. It’s funny how thanking God for the crisis moments, really changes the way you view them.

A praise fest can look like any number of things. You can turn on praise music (or just sing acapella). You can also say aloud your “God List”. A “God List” is a running list of God’s attributes, benefits, character traits…etc. I don’t keep an official God list. Instead, I’ve decided to have my Faith Journal do double duty by underlining words or phrases that describe God or His character. Then, I can flip open the journal and my eyes quickly land on those words/phrases and I can start praising God for Who He is (see photo). I decided that I would underline them in green because it reminds me that I am growing closer to Him by knowing Him better.

Anyway, the next time you’re feeling low, give the praise fest a try, it works and leads me to the next one.

Treasure Hunting – I can’t remember what Heidi calls this on the audio, but she describes listing ways in which God has shown His glory to you throughout the day. You can also make it a list of what you’re grateful for.

I’m trying to make a habit of asking God for one special treasure each day (proactive) that shows His love, His glory, His presence in the mundane… I don’t remember to ask every day, but on the days I have, He hasn’t disappointed. It can be as simple as noticing a beautiful flower on my walk, or as big as God prompting Peter Furler to play a certain song during a Third Day concert at Red Rocks. Before Peter shouted the song’s title (Mac Powell asked what he wanted to perform next), God whispered to my spirit, “This one’s for you, Julie.” How could I not feel treasured in that moment? God is so good to me.

Ok, before I start weeping with joy and this post ends up waiting as a draft for another day…let’s keep moving… Treasure hunting can also apply to those crisis moments (reactive) because it is really difficult to dwell on the negative when you’re turning your focus to how blessed you truly are.

Thought Busters – There are moments, of course, when I do not have time to sit and work through my junk. Watching my daughter’s belt test last night would be a perfect example. I’m not about to walk out of the dojang while she’s kicking her heart out to deal with the thoughts bombarding me. No, I need to be present for her. This is where I use a short scripture or phrase to blow a negative thought to bits instantly. Of course, I must have these memorized (proactively hiding His Word in your heart) for them to be available when I need them. Here are some of mine:

Thoughts that berate my appearance get shot down with, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made”.

Thoughts about defeat or feeling like I’ll never win this battle evaporate with, “My God is able to do exceedingly and abundantly above all that I could ask or imagine.”

Thoughts that make me feel like I’m not making any progress are stopped with, “All things are made beautiful in God’s time.”

Thoughts that prompt me to think that I’m not doing anything to “fix myself” (you know, that urgent feeling to start a new diet or exercise plan so you can whip yourself back into shape)… with these thoughts I go straight for the jugular with, “In Jesus Name, GET THEE BEHIND ME SATAN! I am doing something about it by trusting the God who made me! My hope is in HIM and not in anything this world has to offer!”

Obviously you have to prepare for these moments ahead of time. You may use scripture and phrases God gives you while you’re Faith Journaling or Truth Journaling. Ask Him for the right words. Even if you find yourself in crisis mode, and do not have access to “physical tools”, remember, your most valuable resource is the God of the universe and He is accessible 24/7.

I highly doubt this will be the last time I write about renewing the mind, but this is the end of this series… for now anyway. Thanks so much for hanging in there with me through these posts. I hope we’ve learned that we can’t just sit around expecting God to change us without our involvement. He wants us to walk this transformation with Him. Our minds are continually taking in information, and if we aren’t actively renewing them with God’s Truth, they will conform to or continue in the pattern of this world.

Choose this day whom you will serve…

Update: Renewing the Mind: One Year+ Later

battle of the spouses: week 3

I’m going to back date this post to Monday, but clearly I am a couple of days late posting it. I kind of felt convicted that I needed to take care of some things on my to-do list before I wrote another blog post. So, that’s what I did.

Let’s see, week three, was pretty good. There was only one day where I didn’t meet my “official fitbit goals”, but I made a conscious choice to rest that day and knew that would mean not hitting the goals. I was and still am at peace with that decision. My body needed a break. Plus, I think I needed to let that “perfection” idol take a topple.

I really felt like I made some strides in the food category, but I only had three days where I waited for zero the whole day. I don’t think this tells the full story, because I can tell there is a major shift happening. The reason for the shift lies solely on the practice of renewing my mind. Quite frankly, I really don’t care if I earn quarters for the food category or not, I’m loving the heart changes I’m seeing.

Let’s get on with the numbers:

Food Boundary: 3/7
Activity Minutes: 485

I beat the Husband again this week, and I’m now ahead by 18 quarters. I’m not sure he can catch up this week, but we’ll see. At the end of week 4 we will find out who wins the backrubs and such.

I’m still working on that next renewal of the mind post, but as I said, I felt some other things needed to take priority. I finished up the seventeen year old’s lesson plans today (Wednesday), so at least that’s off my list. I had already completed the other three kids’ prep for the fall. Which means, other than some print outs I need to add to their folders, I’m finished planning/prepping for the 2015/2016 homeschool year. I still have to do some lesson plans for the classes I teach at co-op, but those won’t be as complicated…. I hope.

Ok, all of that to say, I haven’t forgotten about the mind renewal series. It will be coming soon.

renewing the mind: renewal stops

We’ve kind of defined renewing the mind, and we’ve talked about daily renewing our minds through Truth Journaling. We are going to get to “Renewal Stops” in this post, but I feel like God is taking us in another direction first…

Seek His Plan For You

There are so many great ideas for building a mind renewal practice that fits how God wants to restore and transform your thinking. Be sure to check in with Him.

When I was listening to the audio file on this topic, it would have been really easy to become overwhelmed with all of the great ideas. I took notes during the first couple of webinars, but then realized God isn’t calling me to “do it all”. He wants to tailor daily renewing my mind for my particular needs. Even though I’m listing the tools He’s using in my life, that doesn’t mean He’ll choose the same ones for you. So, seek His will on the matter. Trust me, it will work so much better if you do.

The Dailiness of It

Blessed are those who listen to me, watching daily at my doors, waiting at my doorway. ~ Proverbs 8:21 (NIV)

Why do I keep saying “daily”? Because I believe one of the pivotal keys is to make this a daily spiritual habit. It must be a priority to us. In the beginning we must make a conscious decision to do it. As our taste for the Lord grows and matures, we will crave Him and the time we get to spend renewing our minds. You may even ask Him to give you that desire.

I spent years (many many days) trying to make a conscious effort to change my eating habits. So much energy and thought and time was poured into what, when, and how much I should eat… not to mention all the tracking and reading and researching, exercising… and the obsessing about it, oh Lord, the hours of obsession. Well, I’ve decided to trade all of that for one simple practice, renewing my mind daily. And you know what, this practice takes a fraction of the time and energy all of those other things consumed. Which means I’m actually “free to live”. Gasp! You mean there is life outside of dieting, before and after photos, tracking food, mental beatings, and calorie burn? Yes, life more abundant and free!

You may be wondering then, “if this is to be my focus, when do I work on my weight?” You don’t, God does. When your mind begins to change, your actions will change as well. And to show you just a snippet of what is possible with God, He gave me an example to share.

Oh Glorious Bean of Coffee

Coffee entered my life when I was in tech school at Keesler AFB many moons ago. I had never been a coffee drinker until I discovered that one cup of the dark magic would keep me awake for hours during early morning classes. Some in my class might have called me hyper, but hey, I wasn’t snoozing. It was a miracle because our instructor’s droning had the opposite effect with almost equal power. Although I hated the taste, I was hooked immediately.I think I had avoided it until then because my PopPop would always say, “It’ll put hair on your chest”, and well, that’s the last thing a girl wants.coffee

A few years later I would discover that I simply could not drink full-caf coffee if I expected to be a functional human being. It was a full-blown addiction and missing my dosage by even 15 minutes would bring on such horrible withdrawal symptoms. Friends, it ain’t purty. So, I went cold turkey (quite miserable three days), and then switched to decaf. I even had to cut out caffeinated sodas (I rarely drink any soda these days).

I realized I could easily stick to one cup of decaf a day, 99% of the time, with little to no symptoms; so, I thought it was a good compromise. By this point, I had developed a taste for it.

If you’ve been following me through my “no more dieting” journey, you know that I now try to listen to my body and what it is saying to me about the foods and beverages I consume. Recently, I’ve begun to feel that having a daily cup of decaf wasn’t sitting great with me. I can’t explain it, just kind of “ick”. I tried to force myself to eliminate it a few weeks ago, but found that I seemed to want it even more. I even ended up having a, very unusual, three-cup-day. The tactic the secular books give you of noting how it makes you feel and reminding yourself of that when you think you want it… well, that wasn’t working. I would still make myself a cup every morning.

Since I’ve begun to practice renewing my mind in the mornings (typically before breakfast), I think I’ve had coffee twice in the past 10 days. That’s an 80% decrease in my coffee consumption just from a morning practice of renewing my mind with God. In fact, I hadn’t even thought about whether I was drinking coffee or not till I sat down to write this post and God decided to show me a way that this practice is already benefitting my physical body. That means I am naturally drinking less coffee. Say what? Just imagine, if renewing my mind affects my coffee consumption, doesn’t it stand to reason it will affect other eating/drinking habits as well?

Now, am I saying you shouldn’t drink coffee? Good heavens, no. Please don’t take away from this that I think drinking coffee is a sin. I’m simply saying I observed how it makes me feel physically, and I think cutting back on it is a good idea… for me.

Now, let’s move on to the actual topic of this post.

Renewal Stopsrest stop

I guess you could consider this to be a form of “maintenance” during the day. I’ve started my day with time in the Word, prayer, and writing in my Truth Journal. Now, to maintain that focus throughout the day, I have some other tools in my arsenal:

Breaking Free Day by Day: A Year of Walking In Liberty – I love this little book because it takes the message of Beth Moore’s Breaking Free, and breaks it down into short daily devotionals. I keep a copy of this in the master bathroom by the toilet. Ok, so maybe you don’t want to talk about the bathroom, but we all spend time there. It’s generally quiet (especially now that my kids are older), and it only takes a minute or two to read one of the little pages. I love to multi-task, and I think this is a far better use of that time than surfing the net on my phone.

I Deserve a Donutdonut It was originally designed for crisis moments when you want to eat outside your boundaries (more on this later), but I also use it for daily maintenance. I have both the book and the android app. The book usually stays with my other resources on my desk, but the app goes with me anywhere I take my phone. If I’m using the downstairs bathroom, I’ll pull up the app (ok, so maybe I’m in the bathroom more than you are, but I doubt it). Or, if I ride along in the car with the husband on an errand, sometimes I’ll stay in the car and read through the app. To pick a category, I generally ask myself what I struggled with last, or the most. I might even randomly pick a category. I’ll click through to those questions and scriptures and answer/read them. Keep in mind, I’m not actually struggling in these moments I’m describing. I’m just using this time to solidify in my mind the truth about such struggles. I’m practicing what I want to think before I need to think it. I’m thinking about getting Barb’s book, The Renewing of the Mind Project as well.

Music – I love music. God speaks to me through songs in such a way that it goes directly to my inmost being. Lyrics become a part of me, and so I have to be careful what music I listen to. I especially love songs about transformation, perspectives, redemption, freedom, gracepraise, praise, praise, and praise. Oh, did I mention, praise? Ha ha. Sorry, there are just too many to list out here. Sometimes, I’ll even picture God singing them to me… like the Tenth Avenue North song I mentioned the other day. Technology is terrific in this Third Day @ Red Rocksarena. I can listen on my phone, my ipod, online, in my car… I can pump music into my head while I work, while I play, while I walk… Of course, sometimes He prevents my ipod from working. That usually means “we need to talk”.

Dancing – It would not be entirely unusual for you to catch my girls and I dancing around the living room to the aforementioned artists (+ many many more) . No, I won’t be posting videos of that 🙂

Have your Cake and Your Skinny Jeans Too – Ok, so this is a secular book on hunger directed eating, but I have used it as part of renewing my mind. I will mainly read the chapter about why diets don’t work. I like her chapter on this better than Intuitive Eating’s because it’s simpler and more like having a conversation with a good friend. I’ve read this chapter over and over and over again… why? Because I want to be certain that my “intellectual” brain doesn’t ever try to fall for the diet lie again… and thus lead the rest of me back to the kool aid. Having facts regarding the truth about dieting in my head is very helpful to me. I don’t read it as often as I did a couple of months ago, but I know it’s there if I want a refresher. I think the reason I haven’t needed it as much, or the Intuitive Eating book for that matter, is because I do not believe diets are the answer any longer. I believe God is. Still, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the help I’ve gleaned from this book.

Ok, so those are some of my renewal stops. They help keep my thoughts from going where they shouldn’t by simply being proactive about the practice of renewing my mind. Still, sometimes those old thoughts creep back in. They are getting quieter, but we do need tools for those crisis moments when the enemy bombards our minds (and lives) with lies.

Tomorrow we’ll get into the “Crisis Plan” and tools I’m using in those situations.