thin within: day twenty-four

thinwithin

I’m playing the Hawk Nelson song I posted yesterday as I type this. I need this message to get into my bones and radiate through all my being.

Day Twenty-Four

Today’s lesson is about facing challenges in this journey. I probably could have used this a few days ago 🙂

The author calls this walk with God an adventure and I’m certain she’s right about that. You just never know what the next challenge is going to be.

But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength, They will sour on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. ~ Isaiah 40:31

It is quite obvious that the Lord fully expects us to be weak at times. He knows trials are coming our way. But, we can have confidence that God knows what we will go through, and while He doesn’t cause it, He allows it for our benefit.

We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. ~ Romans 5:3-5

Ok, ok, so “rejoice in our sufferings” is probably something we can’t relate to. I can’t remember the last time I said, “Oh, thank you Jesus that I stubbed my toe today!” Perhaps, instead of being so quick to curse, we said, “Praise Jesus! He’s growing my character” instead, our attitudes about trials and pain might change. Just a thought.

I was relating a story to some of my students the other day about a time when I was having a particularly rough day (probably more like weeks lol). Anyway, I remember leaving my house in a huff, running shoes in hand. I was mad… oh so mad. (probably hormonal then too). I drove all the way to a park I liked to run at and when I reached the parking lot, it started to pour. I needed that run to blow off some steam so I pitched a fit in the driver’s seat instead. I yelled at God… yes, out loud. I even used the word “crap” (which is a word I am trying to remove from my vocabulary). Anyway, I reminded God that He says He won’t give us any more than we can bear and that I was on the verge of cracking. Then I shouted, “How much more crap are You going to pile on?”

I was crying by this point. And while I should have been quite ashamed of myself for talking to the Lord in such a disrespectful way, I was still so angry, hurt, frustrated, and maybe a wee bit hoping He’d find my “gumption” delightful enough to say, “Ok, I’ll fix it all right now.”

He didn’t.

Fortunately for this little whiney girl, He is kind and loving to His children… and He has a sense of humor (otherwise I’d have been a toasted smoted spot on the front seat of my van… it was already lightning outside after all.) Do you know what His reply to me was?

“Well, manure helps things grow.”

I’m telling you, my head popped up off that steering wheel so fast. God just used humor to show me that He has a purpose for all the poo I was dealing with (had babies at the time, so some of that was quite literal).  I couldn’t help but laugh. We talked a bit more and I did end up running… in the rain… quite like a silly, carefree child.

But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers. ~ Luke 22:32

This is where Jesus is talking about having just told Simon Peter that Satan had asked to sift him like wheat (are you picturing poor Job, yeah, me too). It’s so comforting to know that even if the enemy asks, God has the final say… and if He grants the request, He’s rooting for us because He’s got a plan to bring beauty from it.

Like manure for flowers.

When you feel like you can’t take anymore, think about what Christ endured on the cross for you. Kind of puts things into perspective doesn’t it? Let’s “look unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.” He’s for us, remember?

The rest of the lesson is about renewing our goals. I went through the exercise, but I’ll be honest, I know I’m no where near done with this journey. Day 30 isn’t remotely the end. So, while I participated in the exercise, these 30 day goals are not my destination. Yes, I’ll complete the study, but the story will continue.

Observation and Correction

So, the boundary bowl came out again today. I definitely did a bit of overeating. Stress seemed high. There were many times when I thought about eating, but didn’t because I realized I wasn’t hungry. I was actually surprised by the overeating at lunch. I didn’t think I had eaten that much, but twenty minutes later I felt really full. Maybe it was just bloating due to what I ate and not necessarily how much. Anyway, I waited for zero for dinner, but then ended up refilling my boundary bowl (the husband and I were home alone and so we had dinner on the sofa). The only reason I can think of that I did it was because it tasted so good. I do think I was slightly still hungry when I went back for more, but if I had waited, it would have subsided within a few minutes. As a result, I felt stuffed.

Unfortunately, I didn’t even realize I was allowing negative thoughts to run wild and beat me up for eating past five. I’m sure you guys can imagine those thoughts. Anyway, I was trying to focus on doing the Bible study, when the Lord brought to my attention what was going on in my mind. I sat up straight and boldly declared, “No! Get behind me Satan! I am fearfully and wonderfully made! My God is able to do exceedingly, abundantly above all that I could ask or think! His grace is sufficient and there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ!” Yes, I said it aloud and instantly felt renewed by God’s Truth. I do not have to freak out about eating past five. I will simply waited for zero and got another chance to practice staying within my boundaries. So many years of diet mentality and old habits will take some time to renew, but I’m in for the long haul.

 

thin within: day twenty-three

thinwithinToday was a continuation of the last lesson I half-heartedly completed. So, I went back to day twenty-two and visited it properly this time. I am even more convinced that had I really paid attention to what I was reading, I could have saved myself two days of misery.

So, today I’m clinging to the promise that the Lord will make a way when there seems to be no way.

Day Twenty-Three

My goodness, there is but a week remaining. I have no idea where my “day 3 goal” pants are in the equation… and I don’t care. I just realized where I’m at in the lovely monthly cycle, and it is no surprise I was feeling so out of whack. This was also information I could have used the past few days. Just knowing that it’s hormones and they can’t be trusted would have made a huge difference. Alas, as with the study, I wasn’t entering my temps on my chart (had them in my head the past three mornings), so I didn’t realize I had crossed over into the twilight zone known as PMS week.

Despite this knowledge, I had a melt-down upon the realization that the 17 year old had eaten my soup. There were tears and even now, hours later, my eyes still feel swollen. Ok, so I bawled my eyes out over soup. And this was after having a quite lovely time in the Word. Can we say “hormone palooza”? Sigh.

Abraham believed the LORD and he credited it to him as righteousness. ~ Genesis 15:6

If you know the story of Abraham, you know he had plenty of moments where his belief waivered… where his human side showed forth. And yet, here we see his belief is credited to him as righteousness. I figure that must mean God doesn’t expect us to be able to pull off perfection. I figure He expects us to mess up… and that’s why He provided grace.

So, after going back through lesson 22, I was able to continue through the list “Steps to Strengthening your Belief System”. We were asked to write three character qualities that we believe God wants to bring about in our lives. One of the three I selected was contentment. I become discontent so easily and then I find myself feeling down and ultimately making stupid decisions.

If you’ve visited my kitchen, you know that my appliances are a bit dated… and some of them aren’t functioning properly anymore… and I just don’t like the color lol. The husband and I both agree that they need replacing but we had agreed to working on another financial goal before renovating the kitchen. Then our dishwasher decided to flake out for a day and we found ourselves at the store pricing an entire set of new appliances.

Do we have the money? Technically yes. We wouldn’t have to charge them (trying to do the debt free thang), so there was a part of us that was like, “What’s the big deal? So we put off this other goal for a bit longer. At least we’ll have new appliances without incurring debt. And they were at a really great discount. Win, Win… right?” I don’t know how long we were in that store working with the salesman, but right before we pulled the trigger, the husband says, “Ok, thanks [salesman’s name], this gives us something to think about.”

Gasp. I thought we were having appliances delivered. I had already pictured my brand new kitchen (well, except for the rest of the kitchen that needs a facelift). Ok, I’ll admit it, I was mad. We went to another part of the store, sat in one of the lawn furniture displays and talked. The husband wasn’t sure we should go through with it because he didn’t feel right about delaying our original goal. Hmph, now he’s getting all financially disciplined on me (I’m the money nerd… he’s the free spirit… it’s a Dave Ramsey thing).

I didn’t say much, but he could tell I was not happy. “Fine,” I said and we left the store. I think a part of me hoped my sulking would have him changing his mind before we drove away… Nope. By the time we got home, I had come around. He was right… but then he started switching gears on me and was considering going through with it anyway. I told him, no, he was right before. We need to follow through and we need to be content with what we have while we wait. He seemed relieved.

It is really easy for me to become discontent with my appearance too. I want to be thin NOW, but I need to be content with what I do have. I can see and walk and hear and smell and hug and type and smile and laugh and these are all blessings I receive because of this body God has given me.

The next step is to take negative thoughts captive… which I have talked so much about out here that it should probably be the “theme” of this blog. So, I’ll move on to the last three steps.

What then shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all – now will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? ~ Romans 8:31-32 (NIV)

God is so “for me” that He sacrificed His Son for my benefit. There is no way I could do that for anyone. So, obviously He is for me in this battle against the flesh. It is for freedom that He has set me free.

You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. ~ 1 John 4:4

I also liked the reminder in step 9 that God is greater than our enemy. I think so often we forget God’s awesome power because we focus so much on the grace and mercy He extends to us. Children of God have access to that power in the midst of struggles and attacks and we should use it.

Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there you hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. ~ Psalm 139:7-10

Step ten reminds us that we are not alone. No matter how we may feel, God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5b). That’s quite comforting.

I love you, O LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my delieverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. ~ Psalm 18:1-2

I’m going to close out this section with Hawk Nelson’s song, Drops in the Ocean. This song came on the radio when the husband and I left the house to buy a new wheel for the lawn mower (yes, it seems like all our stuff is breaking lol). It was perfectly timed for today’s lesson. Enjoy.

Observe and Correct

Ok, so today you’re going to notice some weird stuff on my chart. Not only am I now including my hunger numbers, I’ve added a thing I’m calling my “boundary bowl”. All of those “B’s” you see indicate that I was using my “boundary bowl” when I ate. I have decided to try this boundary in place of 0-5 when I know I’ll be eating in a distracted situation. I’m still going to practice checking in and attempt to pay better attention to the food even with distractions, but I thought I would give myself a physical boundary too. Right now it’s a plastic, 2 cup, food storage bowl. I’m hoping to find a prettier version, but this will do for now.

How does it work, well, this is the bowl I would take to the sofa. If I’m gonna eat in front of the TV, it has to fit in the bowl. So, no taking the entire bag of chips, or a mounded plate of whatever. If I finish off the bowl, I’ll have to re-evaluate my hunger levels before I refill it.

The “M” means “Miscellaneous”. Part of the time I was munching on a few nuts (I did NOT fill the bowl with nuts, just sprinkled a few in the bottom of the bowl), I was standing in the bay window looking out at my pretty tulips (that’s pretty much all that has bloomed so far). Then I went to my office… then the husband needed to talk to me about something… so basically I wasn’t seated the whole time or in the same place so I put an “M”.

Alrighty – that’s it for today 🙂

thin within: backlash

thinwithin

Well, do you know what happens when you stomp your foot and say “No”, and then listen to all the lies to justify your behavior?

Um, I do.

For starters, you end up going two days without working on your Bible study. You end up with two days of crazy, last supper style, eating. You end up feeling utterly wretched and fatter than ever.

And do you know why?

Because I left the lies unchecked. I let them take root, I acted upon the lies, and then do you know what the enemy did?

Um, I do.

He turned around and used my actions to beat me with the club of condemnation. It sounds something like this:

“How on earth could you screw up like that?”

“See, I told you that you didn’t have any self-control.”

“Obviously God is no help.”

“Um, did you say you were set free? I don’t see it.”

“Now you’re fatter than when you began.”

“You fell for it, you’re such a failure.” (add a sinister laugh)

“Hmm, Eagle? I think not. Looks like a chicken to me.”

“Ha ha, now you have to post… again… that you are a big fat loser!”

Suddenly I had those horrible feelings you get when you blow a diet… only I’m not on a diet. I felt more and more hopeless as the day wore on…. and I ate to “soothe”. I was in full-blown “I deserve a donut” lie mode. By the end of the day I felt miserable physically and emotionally.

And then another silly mistake I had recently made was brought to my attention. It was a mistake that, while seemingly minor, upset some people – and rightly so…. which added:

“You just can’t do anything right.”

Ugh. Even as I type this, I really feel like crying. I know they are all lies but I feel so weighed down… depressed… but there is hope.

Maybe I didn’t do my Thin Within study today, but I did make myself go to my daughter’s piano recital despite wanting to hide my body from the world. I’m glad I went, she played beautifully.

Yeah, I didn’t do the TW study, but when I got home from the recital, I did get out my copy of Beth Moore’s Praying God’s Word. I opened it and the page before me was the chapter on “Food Related Strongholds”. Every chapter in this book is amazing, but this is the one I needed today, not because it was about “food” per say (because she says very little about food), but because of this:

Obedience to God is not some diet we suddenly blow. It is something to which we recommit every single day, no matter how we blew it the day before. Victorious living is not an instant arrival. It is the pursuit of one victorious day at a time until the sun sets on enough to begin forming victorious habits. ~ Praying God’s Word, pg. 152

I had to let that sink in for a moment. “Obedience to God”… this isn’t about the food (as I’ve said over and over). This isn’t even about “0-5” eating. This is about obeying God and walking in His will.

I cannot undo the past two days, but I can “recommit” in this moment. I prayed some of the scripture prayers Beth includes, and then I didn’t eat again the rest of the night. Not because I was being “noble” or “good” or even as a form of punishing myself for overindulging. No, I didn’t eat because doing so would have broken boundaries I agreed to live within. I didn’t eat because I wasn’t hungry. I decided to accept God’s grace and tear back down the “high places” I’d let begin reconstruction in my mind.

I’m taking back up my hammer… and my Sword.

thin within: can’t want to

thinwithin

Well, it’s Saturday and today I just “can’t want to”. My oldest daughter used to say if we asked her to do something she didn’t want to do. She was three at the time. Of course, we didn’t let her off the hook.

But here I am, at forty, pouting and saying, “I can’t want to”.

I would love to report that I overcame this feeling, but I didn’t. I sat down with the study for a few minutes but my heart just wasn’t in it. I couldn’t make myself focus. I prayed, but to be honest, I just think I was feeling particularly rebellious. Then all the justification poured in.

“What’s the big deal if you miss one day?”

“You deserve a break, this is hard work.”

“Come on, you’re just being legalistic and a slave to rules if you make yourself do this.” (um, that one was really cleverly cunning)

So, I took the day off. I put the book away and moved on with my day (which was busy). I even spent about an hour reading about why the Weight Watchers CEO decided to change the plan back in 2010… still think it was rather stupid. I think I was trying to find an excuse to go back to Weight Watchers, but I know in my heart that the new program doesn’t work for me. I know where I’ll end up as I’ve tried it numerous times since the end of 2010. Everytime I end up hacked that I’m spending so much time tracking every blasted bite I eat only to stay the same weight. I didn’t rejoin weight watchers but I sure thought about it. Reading the article did help because I didn’t agree with the reasons for the changes and it revealed exactly why I already knew it didn’t work for me.

I guess I could (probably should) be upset with myself for blowing my boundaries today, but right now I just don’t care. Oh sure, I could say, “God’s grace is sufficient” and it is… but this isn’t about that. This is purely… “I can’t want to… and so I just won’t”.

Hopefully tomorrow will be different.

*Remember, these posts are not “in real time”. The actual date of this post is May 2. So, if you run into me and think “my she looks rather in a good mood for having such a stinky attitude”… this day is already in the past for me. Of course, it could also mean I’m slapping on a smile to hide the frustration lol.

thin within: day twenty-two

thinwithin

Today’s lesson begins with “be on your guard”. I probably should have taken those four simple words more to heart.

I am definitely under attack and I’ll be quite honest, I rather muddled through today’s lesson. While a good one, I can tell my dedication is waning because all I can think about today is my size. Yes, this is obviously going to be an ongoing battle.

Day Twenty-Two

When the author makes statements like “the temple is nearing completion” a part of me cringes. I certainly don’t feel like I’m anywhere near completed. I suppose though, I am thinking about what I see on the outside and she is talking about the construction we’re doing on the inside.

While the message today was really what I needed, it definitely didn’t stick with me. I have felt a twinge of discontentment and frustration creeping back in. I think, even though I don’t want to, I’m letting the “sofa eating” really get to me. I feel like I’m failing over and over… which of course the enemy seems to thrive on. I feel a binge coming on. My hormones still have not fully recovered from time change, so that is yet another source of frustration.

Steps to Strengthening Your Belief System

Clearly this was exactly what I needed to focus on… but I didn’t. The author takes us through the first 5 steps in Dr. Stanley’s list. These are 10, very powerful steps… but alas, my heart was hard. I half-heartedly went through the exercises before leaving for the grocery stores. Huge mistake. I should have been diligent because these first five steps probably would have been the perfect reminder to operate in GOD’s strength and not my own.

Yeah, hindsight is 20/20.

Gratitude List

What am I grateful for? Um, it’s Friday and I’m just ready to relax.

thin within: day twenty-one

thinwithinStill in pain, but we press on. This morning the husband and I went for a walk. That was nice. I’m not too sore from yesterday’s jogging so that’s good. My knee was a bit swollen though.

So, we’re on the final third of the book. Goodness, the time has flown. Let’s get to it.

Day Twenty-One

I decided to change my color scheme for this last section to purple and blue. Blue, of course, is my favorite color, but purple reminds me of royalty and since I’m trying to think like a princess child of God… I thought it was appropriate.

So, in previewing this lesson, I knew it was going to be one I wasn’t in the mood for. Stress is rather high right now as we try to wrap up the end of our school year. In a couple of weeks I’ll likely feel like a new woman, but right now, this is definitely a more difficult time to focus on this stuff.

But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings. And you will go out and leap like calves released from the stall. ~ Malachi 4:2

Um, yeah, I’d like to do some leaping. I actually picture my dog trying so hard to wait patiently for us to open the gate to the dog park. He’s sitting, but squirming and whining. He looks up at us like, “Now, can I go now.” But we make him wait. Just when he thinks we’re not going to open the gate, we do. The moment that chain clinks and we say, “OK” – he bolts through the doorway toward his version of sweet freedom.

I need that healing too. Sure, some things are improved, but there seems to still be so much clouding my mind. I don’t exactly feel “victorious from the clouds of desert dust”, but I am certainly more hopeful than I’ve been in a while.

So, the whole section on “the impostor” was super hard to read. Yes, I’ll admit, I don’t air all my dirty laundry, flaws, mistakes for the whole world to see. I can most certainly relate to this quote by Brennan Manning:

The impostor is attentive to the size, shape, and color of the bandages that veil my nothingness. The false self persuades me to be preoccupied with my weight [yikes]. If I binge… and the scale signals distress the following morning, I am crestfallen. A beautiful day of sunshine beckons, but for the self-absorbed impostor, the bloom is off the rose. [Oh dear Jesus, can we say “ouch”] The minor vanities kidnap my attention away from the indwelling God and temporarily rob me of the joy of God’s Holy Spirit. [been there, but the next part is the final slap] Yet the false self rationalizes my preoccupation with my waistline and overall appearance and whispers, “A fat, sloppy image will diminish your credibility in ministry.” Cunning.

Um, that was terribly convicting. I think all of us conceal our real selves on some level. I think we, as dieters have definitely been duped into putting far too much importance on our “waistline and overall appearance”. So, we put up the front of “I’m on a diet, I’m doing something about this at least.” When dieting isn’t the answer… it isn’t the “cure”. We’re so afraid someone will think us “ugly” if we’re “real”.

You can never be ugly when you are real, “except to people who don’t understand.” ~ Thin Within (p. 225)

I really don’t think I have intentionally not been real… most of the time. Sure, there are times when I’m teaching and I have to put on a smile when I really would rather just curl into a ball and sob. I don’t know if that’s hiding the reality or relying on God for the strength to press on through the day. Or maybe the issue is when I’m just pulling myself up by my bootstraps… saying I’m relying on God… and yet still doing it in my own strength. Hmm… let’s stir in a bit more conviction shall we?

20150502_065357 (2)Yes, I hate for people to see my mistakes, although I know I’ve made plenty even while typing this blog series. I feel like the Lord keeps humbling me through ridiculous blunders I have made lately. I’ve even begun to wonder if I’m going crazy because I never was one to make silly mistakes. But lately, I’ve made one mistake after another and feeling really foolish that I didn’t catch them. Yeah, I think He’s trying to humble me. You would think three concussions would be enough to get the message across. He hasn’t allowed me to have a broken leg yet (broken toe, yes), but I have been clocked in the head and gotten to “be still and know He is God”. I should probably learn this lesson before I end up with another whack to this thick skull.

Well, that was Day 21 🙂

thin within: day twenty

thinwithin

The last day of part two. What a doozy. Busy, long day and today’s lesson was one that needed added attention. It was about forgiveness again. Oh how I wasn’t in the mood to think about forgiveness… again.

Day Twenty

Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. ~ Colossians 3:13 (NIV)

I’ve studied forgiveness before. I’ve heard countless sermons on it. I’ve even made huge strides in this area. I am no where near the “list keeper” I used to be… still, after today’s lesson, I had to admit there were still things I was holding onto. I suppose it could be classified as an unwillingness to forgive, but I know my heart’s desire is to forgive… so perhaps it isn’t unwillingness, but rather difficulty.

ForgivenessI liked the author’s explanation of what forgiveness is and isn’t. Then we were asked to do a forgiveness phrase exercise. I decided not to do this exercise in the book. I started a “forgiveness notebook” in which to write my forgiveness phrases. I have ten more days remaining in this study and my plan is to do this exercise daily through the end. Once I feel “released” from a phrase, I’ll stop writing/stating it. Just after doing the exercise I felt a weight lift off of me. I’ve been begging God to take the burden, but I haven’t been actively choosing to release my death grip on them.

Observations and Corrections

Today, I started writing a number in the first and last “key blanks” on the chart. I decided this was a much more accurate representation of what was going on and would help keep me from seeing it as “all or nothing”. I was viewing those first and last check marks as “pass or fail”… or extremes. This way it is just a number.

I was quite tired when I got home this afternoon. So the last thing I cared about was whether I was distracted while eating or not. Still, this was an improvement over sofa eating of the past. Progress is being made.

Oh, and the husband and I started running again this morning. This is really slow going, but I’m really tired of being on the sidelines. Yesterday I did about half of a walking video (Leslie Sansone) and my knee was hurting so badly afterward I was a little hesitant to try jogging this morning. It went ok though.