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.

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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.
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TFT Support Group Hosting 2017 Challenge!

Alrighty gorgeous people! I’m throwing out the big “C” word in the hopes someone will join me on a quest to building (or solidifying) a renewing of the mind habit. Not sure what “renewing the mind” is? That’s ok, check out this post.

Already got it? Great, let’s continue…

Three weeks from today, the Taste For Truth Support Group*  (on Facebook), will be hosting a twelve week long cHaLLeNgE to inspire us to renew our minds to the mind of Christ in the New Year. The focus will be tri-fold and will be based on this passage of scripture:

May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it. ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 (NIV, view other versions)

We will renew our minds concerning the three parts of every human: spirit, soul, and body during the 84 days. The assignments will be geared toward pouring in God’s truth and will build as we go along.

Participants will need:

  • A Bible
  • I Deserve a Donut (book or app) by Barb Raveling
  • Praying God’s Word by Beth Moore
  • a Journal (any kind that suits your fancy)
  • loose-leaf paper or small spiral notebook
  • pens, pencils, highlighters (more on this later)
  • food boundaries (more information), if you don’t have this by the start date, don’t let that stop you from joining!
  • a scale (or access to one) if you plan to participate in the weekly weigh ins (optional)
  • access to a printer (for printing the worksheets)**

You can ride along (to some extent) just by following this blog, but if you want access to the PDF files once the challenge starts, you’ll need to join the TFTSG.

To add “community” and accountability to your challenge, pop on over to the TFTSG and/or comment regularly here at Brick by Brick.

So what is the official start date? January 6, 2017  That’s right, we’re kicking this off on a Friday. Why? Because our weekly weigh ins at the TFTSG will be on Fridays and to break us out of the whole, “Oh, I’ll start over on Monday” mentality. Of course, I’ll be posting more information here and on the support group before then.

If you are already a member of the TFTSG, do NOT use this upcoming challenge as an excuse to ignore renewing your mind and/or blow your boundaries for the next three weeks! Stay the course, my friends!

If you have come across this post after our start date, that is perfectly fine. Just begin as soon as you can.

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

 

Renewing the Mind: One Year+ Later

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

Accountability

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

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

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

Opposition

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

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

Holding Boundaries with Open Hands

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

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

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

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

Tools for the Journey

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

I have added other tools though:

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

TransformationButterfly_Beauty

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Taste For Truth – Online Class Starting May 9th

The current group at “Taste For Truth Online Class” is nearing the end of the study and I’ve decided to continue. I am changing the name to “Taste for Truth Support Group” and will start back through the study again beginning May 9th.

This group (based on Barb Raveling‘s book) is a place where you can hold yourself and others accountable to building a habit of renewing our minds to the mind of Christ, taking our thoughts captive and making them obedient to Christ, and living happily within our food boundaries.

51n8CMGHsmL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Building a renewing of the mind habit isn’t easy, but it is so worth it. No matter how your journey is going, we want to walk it with you. Here’s the information if you’d like to join in:

What: Taste For Truth Study
When: May 9th – June 30th
Where: https://www.facebook.com/groups/163532310695887/
Supplies: Taste for Truth; I Deserve a Donut (book or app); Praying God’s Word, a Journal (any kind)