Taste For Truth study begins January 12th

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The Taste For Truth Support Group*  (on Facebook) will be hosting another round of Barb Raveling’s, Taste for Truth. The study will officially begin on January 12th and run for six weeks. So, if you want to go through this short little book packed with so much awesomeness, with a stellar group of gals, pop on over to the TFTSG and join us!

Participants Materials List:

* The TFT Support Group is named after Barb Raveling‘s book by the same name.
** Available only on the TFTSG.

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New Christian Weight Loss Podcast

Barb Raveling has started another blog which will feature “Christian Weight-loss” related podcasts. She is calling it Taste For Truth Weight Loss Encouragement with Barb Raveling.

It is brand new so she only has three out there right now, but I know she’s got a backlog of recordings she’s already working on. Also, the second one is my interview with her about my renewing the mind journey to that point.

I think you’ll find encouragement in these podcasts, so I hope you’ll check them out. Barb is so gracious to share her knowledge on this subject.

RYM 12 Week Challenge: Week 6

Every challenge should be challenging, even if the most challenging part is sticking with the process. We’re beginning week six of this challenge and no doubt, keeping momentum when the “good feeling’s gone” isn’t easy. Last week we engaged in praising the Lord. This week, we’re hoping to turn the tide of positive versus negative influences.

“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” ~ Philippians 4:8 (KJV)

 Turning the Tide

Despite all the “good work” we’ve been doing over the previous five weeks, it is entirely possible  there is still more “garbage” going into our minds than there is Truth.

If we don’t protect our minds from the influences of this world, especially while we’re trying to break free from a stronghold, we will constantly be swimming against the tide. In order for the tide to turn in our favor, and for us to have more truth in our minds than lies, we need to plug up the areas where those lies are getting in.

If we spend more time reading, watching, speaking, or listening to what the world has to say than we do reading, watching, speaking, or listening to what God has to say; we will be treading water at best. We don’t want to barely survive. We want to thrive.

Since we still have to live in this world, we’re going to encounter some of the world’s messages, but it is possible to dramatically reduce our exposure. We make choices every day regarding what music we’ll listen to, what publications we’ll read, what we’ll watch on television…etc.

I’m not about to give a ratings list for you to go by, but I am going to point you to Philippians 4:8 (see top). This week we’re going to ask God to reveal areas where we can purge sources from our individual lives which bring death instead of life to our souls. We want Him to open our eyes.

It’s possible we may need to set boundaries with friends we’ve had for decades. We might need to delete some things from our iPods. We might have to purge our personal library. We might have to unfriend some people on Facebook. We may need to forego finding out what happens in that next episode.

A few years ago, when the Lord revealed to me that I was obsessed with finding the perfect diet, I felt convicted that I needed to let go of my extensive collection of diet books and apps. So, I donated the books and uninstalled the apps. It was so freeing to clear those out of my life.

I’m not saying it will be that simple all the time. I mean, I have yet to put my television in a garage sale. We have decades of being so attached to these sources that letting go of them could prove rather painful and might take some time. So, let God guide you down that path.

It is also possible there will be sources you cannot eliminate, like your spouse’s negative outlook, your kids’ rebellious choices, your co-worker’s foul language…etc. Even driving down the road we will be hit with signs and advertisements looking for space in our minds.

So, I’m going to ask you to add another layer of “renewing the mind” that I call “passive renewal”. We’re going to build a playlist of God glorifying music and play these songs in the background of our lives. Play them driving down the road, play them while you clean, play them while you work. Saturate your world with music that edifies the soul. Let it become the “soundtrack” of your life.

Right now, as I type, I have scripture lullabies playing in the background. Let’s turn the tide in our favor by purging the negative influences we can and ramping up depositing God’s truth into our minds.

“Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” ~ Colossians 3:2 (ESV)

Week 6 – We’re going to add to God glorifying background music to our day to passively renew our minds. We’ll also continue to actively renew our minds by keeping the daily 20 minute appointment with God beginning with praise/worship, confession of sins, and the “who I am in Christ” mirror exercise. Finish up your 20 minutes with any method you wish. Also, this week, we’re going to renew our minds any time we are tempted to break our boundaries. Be sure to take full advantage of Beth Moore’s Praying God’s Word: Breaking Free From Spiritual Strongholds and I Deserve a Donut by Barb Raveling.

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

_______________________________________________________________________
Weekly Challenge Check-in:
Renewed my mind for at least 20 minutes a day & kept my food boundaries 5 of 7 days.
I’m down 0.8 the fifth week :)*
Challenge Total: 5.6 lbs
*for more commentary on this weigh in, join the TFTSG.
_______________________________________________________________________

Siesta Scripture Memory Team 2017

It’s that time again! I am so excited to have the opportunity to participate in this wonderful challenge with Beth Moore, her gorgeous staff, and all my fellow “siestas”. It is such a blessing that LPM takes this on every other year. This will be my second year joining the team and I’m ready to go!20161221_071209-2

I tried to make my spiral last week when Beth’s blog post first came out, but my printer is behaving very badly…not a surprise. I was going to go ahead and use the image it spit out, but I just didn’t like it.

I considered ordering one from LPM, but I’m really trying to be more frugal these days. Part of me felt like I should just use the icky one to save the money. I mean, I already had the spiral (left-over from the 2-pack I bought in 2015). I would only be out one sheet of cardstock and a bit of ink. Plus, was it my pride keeping me from using it?

Ugh, so much grappling over something so silly! I finally decided I would use some of my personal “blow money” (thank you, Dave Ramsey) and have it printed at Staples.

I use them a lot for printing scripts and our Christmas cards because my printer usually flakes out during big jobs. I would end up losing my temper with the machine and screaming insults at it, so the husband forbade me from using it on large and/or important stuff (smart man).

Of course, now it is even choking on the small stuff. We can’t afford to replace it just yet (“living like no one else”… thanks again, Dave). Needless to say, I’m getting a lot of practice renewing my mind about things outside my control. Ha!

Anyway, I dropped by Staples while the kids were at their orthodontist appointment yesterday. I was going to use the self-serve printer but the guy behind the counter said it wouldn’t take card-stock. He offered to print it for me and I thought, “How much extra will I be charged for that?”

When it was all done, I pulled out my wallet to pay and he said, “It’s under a buck, don’t worry about it.”

“Are you serious?”

“Yep, have a nice day!”

I proceeded to thank him profusely and wished him a Merry Christmas!

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Every time I look at the cover of my spiral, I’ll be reminded of God’s provision. I got to keep my “blow money” and I got a pretty spiral. I feel so special.

Now, I’ve just got to decide what my first verse will be…

from beneath the waves

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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