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)

progress is sweet indeed

It has been a bit since I posted about the renewing of the mind challenge I started last year. This is largely do to the series of unfortunate events I mentioned, but is also partly due to being unable to figure out a way to tangibly track the progress.

The “Numbers”

Well, today I wanted to share what I’ve noticed thus far. I have renewed my mind about food/weight/body image almost every day (usually more than once a day on those days). Have I been perfect, absolutely not.

My weight was all over the place in December and most of January. Up, down, up, down, up… much like keeping my boundaries, but at the end of January the scale was 3 pounds below where I began the challenge (November 30). No, 3 pounds in two months isn’t impressive, but when I consider my past history with holiday weight gain, the emotions that come with the new year, and all the chaos, I am pleased with it.

Exercise was hit or miss during those two months, but I am confident that will change soon. I can feel the stirrings of motivation… the need to move rises by the day.

The Big One

In January, we engaged in our annual fast from television (21 days) and the first night of the fast, all four of the kids were in a car accident while on their way to their youth service.

Bless the Lord, God Almighty, they are well (although the car is no longer with us), but late that night, when my mind was still a whirl and my cheeks salty from tears, I had an overwhelming urge to escape into the electronic box. I whined to the husband about wishing I could watch television and forget it all till I fell asleep (he felt the same), but we didn’t turn it on. Fear gripped me when I thought of what “could have been”, but we didn’t turn it on. Memories of loss and grief bombarded my spirit, but we didn’t turn it on.

We turned to God instead and we talked more than we have in a while. Night after night, when we went to bed, I asked God to help me drift off to sleep. I asked Him to calm my mind and my spirit. He did.

It became easier and easier to cast aside those old thoughts and lies surrounding the habit. We’ve held this fast for years, but this time was different because God made it so.

And that was it. The chain broke. As I type this, my eyes are moist. I no longer feel like I must have my nightly dose of TV to cope and I am in awe. I can take it or leave it. Knowing where I was, this is a complete 180.

I rarely watch television during the day, as I had set that boundary for myself early on in my “stay at home mom” career, but at night, that was a different story.

My nightly habit began just over 19 years ago when we used TV to escape the emotions of losing our first child. I hated going to bed because I would wake up believing it had all been a nightmare, only to discover the nightmare was real. Of course, I had no idea the damage I was doing or that I was building a stronghold that would stand for almost two decades. This one ran deep.

I actually feel lighter, different even. I know in my heart a change has taken place. It reminds me of the coffee issue I mentioned in June. Finished. Settled. Done. Only much larger.

Is renewing the mind to the mind of Christ a “quick fix”? Goodness no. I’ve been doing this consistently (not perfectly) since June. However, I have transformed (for the better) more spiritually, emotionally, and mentally in that time than in the last 20 years. I am confident the Lord will continue this work.

As for the challenge, it’s still going and I do plan to report in again, but it may not be till the end of March. We have a lot going on…. like hosting an online class for the Taste for Truth study by Barb Raveling (more on that in an upcoming post).

renew your mind. transform your life.

I’ve been mulling over some ideas for a 2016 challenge. I want to focus on continuing to build the habit of renewing my mind to the mind of Christ about food/boundaries/weight…etc.

So, I decided to document proof that renewing the mind transforms the body… starting today.

Yes, I realize it’s November 30th… and that means we haven’t entered 2016 yet. Lord willing, 2016 will arrive right on time and I’ll already be a month into this venture.

The main focus of this challenge is to renew my mind daily in regard to my food boundaries, body image, weight, and other related topics as needed (ie. if I don’t want to exercise).

I can’t afford to “reward” myself the amount of money it would take to truly motivate me to stick to my boundaries, so I’m working on a method to visually display my progress. Besides, if The Biggest Loser has taught us anything, it’s that winning a bunch of money doesn’t keep the weight off. We’ve got to renew our minds.Butterfly_Beauty

For tracking purposes, I’ve broken the areas of attention into two categories: Spiritual and Physical.

Spiritual

Obviously this part directly pertains to renewing my mind to the mind of Christ. This will be daily (that’s the goal anyway) one on one time with God to deal with the lies and replace them with His Truth.

Now, although I intend to be proactive about this by having at least one block of time set aside each day, I may also need to renew my mind passively and reactively as well.

Passive could be through listening to music that edifies God and/or reminds me who I am in Christ while accomplishing other tasks.

Reactive could be writing out questions and answers from I Deserve a Donut when I break, or wanting to break, my boundaries. It could also be praying, reciting scripture, and truth journalling (see my series on this topic).

Physical

This part will have three sub-parts. The first will be keeping my food boundaries.

The second will be physical activity. No time or exertion requirements. If I feel it was “exercise” then it count.

And the third has to do with my physical home. I want to develop a habit of spending 15 minutes a day decluttering some area of my house. I plan to start with my office (files, drawers, shelves… everything).

Again, I’m still working on ideas for a visual demonstration of progress. I don’t want my sole progress indicator to be the scale (or even measurements). However I choose to chart the things I can do, will serve to show me that I am doing something even if it’s just renewing my mind that day. The results (like releasing weight) are God’s responsibility.

Posting Updates

Since this is a year long challenge, I will not be posting daily. Can you imagine how tedious that would be? I can. The most I will commit to is a monthly update which should post on the last day of each month.

Obviously I’ll share the details of how renewing my mind is working, but I’ll also reveal scale changes, my exercise log, and anything else I feel like sharing. I truly believe God when He tells us we are transformed by the renewing of our minds and I hope God proves it to you through this process.

No pressure, right? (Smile) Well, thankfully…

  • God is Who He says He is
  • God can do what He says He can do
  • I am who God says I am
  • I can do all things through Christ
  • God’s Word is alive and active in me (~Beth Moore)

Amen!