RYM 12 Week Challenge: Week 11

Moving on to the eleventh week of this challengeLast week we worked on taking all thoughts captive. This week, we are going to add a new healthy habit. 

“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” ~ Colossians 3:17 (ESV)

Whatever You Do 

In this “Information Age” we are bombarded daily with things the health experts think we should or shouldn’t be doing. This information is often conflicting from one guru to the next. If we aren’t careful we can find ourselves caught in a never ending cycle of chasing the next answer to our problems. Have you ever spent hours researching a new diet plan or a new supplement? I have.

The enemy would love for us to get so caught up in following the world’s advice and bombarded by information that we forget to consult the Lord on what we should do.

Still, despite all of the information out there, common sense tells us some things are beneficial, such as: drinking water, eating veggies, adequate sleep, taking a multi-vitamin…etc.

We’ve focused on food boundaries and exercise, and during this week as we focus on our bodies again, it is time to add another beneficial habit. What that habit will be is entirely up to you. We want to choose something good for us on a physical level. It needs to be simple and clear. Using the things I listed above, your goal statement for this week might be:

My goal is to drink 64 oz. of water each day this week.
My goal is to add a green salad three days this week.
My goal is to go to bed 8 hours before I have to get up every night this week.
My goal is to take my multivitamin with breakfast every morning this week.

There could be other habits you find more important than these, so feel free to choose something else. Be sure to write down your “My goal is” statement for the upcoming week.

Beginning any new habit will take some discipline and focus. As a daily reminder, be sure to say your goal statement aloud each day. Please only choose one new habit. Once you have this one down, you can add another one in the future.

Remember, our priority is to renew our minds and to seek God’s guidance as we travel this journey. We want to think God’s thoughts about all things, even our habits. So, as you build this new habit, make sure you are glorifying, thanking, and praising Him in the process.

“I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever.
~ Psalm 86:12 (ESV)

Week 11 – Alrighty, we’re 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. Don’t forget to get that background music going and to renew your mind any time you are tempted to or actually do break your 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 6 days, + God glorifying music 6 days, kept my food boundaries 7 days, and exercised 4 days for at least 15 minutes.
My wt. stayed the same the tenth week :)*
Challenge Total: 4.6 lbs
*for more commentary on this weigh in, join the TFTSG.
_______________________________________________________________________

RYM 12 Week Challenge: Week 10

We’re beginning the tenth week of this challengeLast week we worked on forgiving others (and ourselves). This week, we are going to take all thoughts captive. 

“We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ…” ~ 2 Corinthians 10:5 (ESV)

Captive Obedience 

This journey has already been about changing our thinking, so this week’s concept shouldn’t seem foreign to us. We’ve been pouring in God’s truth for weeks and now we are going to apply it directly to those thoughts we shouldn’t give free reign of our minds.

It is impossible for us to be obedient to Christ if our thought life is still running amuck. If you’re wondering, “Why can’t I just obey God?”, it’s because our thoughts dictate our actions. We addressed this in week two with thoughts about ourselves, but this concept extends far beyond our own navels.

How you view life, work, others… it matters. The verse above says, “every lofty opinion” and “every thought”. It does not say, “Destroy and take captive only those thoughts that you think might be harmful.” We’ve been deceived too long to get to pick and choose which thoughts matter and which ones don’t.

One tiny lie, left unchallenged, can grow into an enormous believe system that can destroy a person’s life. If we filter our thought lives through the lens of God’s Word, we will dramatically reduce the risk of being fooled by the enemy.

Learning to take every thought captive takes time. It isn’t something that suddenly happens when you decide, “I’m going to take every thought captive.” It begins with investing time with God and His Word. If you don’t know God, you will have a really difficult time recognizing what is contrary to His desire for you.

Next, we need to start asking God to reveal to us the thoughts which don’t align with His Word. And you know what, this can even be a seemingly harmless thought pattern.

A few years ago, God pointed out to me that every time, after I stepped on the scale, I would mentally play the number in my head over and over the rest of the day. I didn’t know I was doing this, but after He pointed it out, I started to see that not only was I replaying the weight, most of the time, my mind replayed a heavier weight than what I actually saw that morning. Talk about deceiving! I was walking around all day thinking I was heavier than I was without realizing it!

This is one reason I encourage you to turn the number over to God after stepping on the scale. Get it out of your head and if it pops back in, take that thought captive…

“No, I am not defined by that number. I give that number to the Lord.”

…and make it obedient to Christ:

“In Christ I am fearfully and wonderfully made!”

I know it may seem a bit repetitious to still be talking about renewing our minds and taking thoughts captive ten weeks into this challenge, but we’re getting down to the details here. You could think multiple times a day: “I have so much work to do when I get home” without even realizing it. You may even think it’s a true statement that isn’t harmful at all. However, what did you feel when you read it?

Were you filled with joy and energy? Probably not. More likely, you were filled with dread and exhaustion. If you thought this all day while you were away from home, this thought process would definitely influence your actions.

Stress eat anyone? What about eating to procrastinate from all that work you’ve been dreading? Or, maybe you don’t eat but end up snapping at your spouse or your kids. And to think, that extra padding on our hips might be the result of a seemingly harmless thought bouncing around in our heads all day.

What if you took that thought captive instead? The thought enters your mind and you immediately take it captive:

“No, I will not worry about what I have to do later. I am choosing to live in this current moment. Lord, I cast that worry at your feet.”

…and make it obedient to Christ:

“The Lord will never leave me nor forsake me. I can do all things through Christ because He gives me strength. He tells me to be anxious for nothing and I know He will help me deal with whatever comes when I get home.”

When we first begin to recognize the seemingly harmless thoughts running rampant in our minds, we may have to take them captive and make them obey over and over in a single day (or even a single hour). Eventually, the chain will break though and we will find ourselves living in the safe freedom of captive obedience rather than the harmful bondage of captivating strongholds.

We have the weapons we need. We’ve been practicing pouring in God’s Truth. Let’s apply it to every aspect of our thought life and witness the transforming work of the Lord God Almighty!

“For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.” ~ 2 Corinthians 10:3-4 (ESV)

Week 10 – Alrighty, we’re 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. Don’t forget to get that background music going and to renew your mind any time you are tempted to or actually do break your 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, + God glorifying music 6 days, kept my food boundaries 6 days, and exercised 4 days for at least 15 minutes.
I’m up 0.6 the ninth week :)*
Challenge Total: 4.6 lbs
*for more commentary on this weigh in, join the TFTSG.
_______________________________________________________________________

RYM 12 Week Challenge: Week 9

It’s crazy that we are already to week nine of  this challengeLast week we went on our second treasure hunt of the challenge. This week, we are going to tackle a biggie. 

“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” ~ Ephesians 4:31-32 (ESV)

Forgiving One Another 

Breathe. Take a deep breath, and ask God to help you stick with me this week. I guarantee, it will likely be painful and unpleasant at first, but God has big things in store for us when we truly learn to forgive.

For years I would have said, “Of course I forgive others, God says we should, so I do.” Unfortunately, I was very deceived and didn’t recognize all the anger and bitterness I carried.

I grew up hearing stories about that guy in the book of Matthew who was forgiven some huge debt only to turn around and have some poor guy thrown in jail for not repaying a much smaller debt. (Matthew 18:21-35) I always thought, “How horrible of that man! I’m nothing like him!”

In fact, I was exactly like him, without even realizing it. Forgive? It was something I said with my mouth but my mind held on… replayed the hurt… swore never to trust that person….etc. I claimed everything from “they aren’t even sorry” to “I’m protecting myself” as justification for holding a grudge.

Webster’s says that a forgiving person “allows room for error or weakness”. If that doesn’t convict, Webster’s also says someone who forgives will “give up resentment of or claim to requital for” or “grant relief from payment of”. Um, are you needing to take some deep breaths again? Yeah, me too.

Isn’t this the very thing God offers each of us through the gift of salvation? Without His grace and mercy, we would be utterly destroyed. He wipes away our enormous sin debt, and yet we hold a rude remark against a neighbor. Yep, we’re like “that guy”.

Obviously, some of us are dealing with much bigger grievances than rudeness, but there is nothing too big for God’s redemption. In our own strength, we cannot forgive the big stuff (and maybe not even the small stuff), but we’re not supposed to be operating in our own strength.

Maybe you’re like I was and are thinking, “I don’t have a problem forgiving.” Well, I hope you’ll come along for the ride anyway. If nothing else, you will get a chance to solidify the practice of forgiveness before a root of bitterness ever has a chance to take hold. Of course, there could be something hiding under the surface too. Be open to God’s leading. This topic is far too big to tackle in just one week, but we’re going to begin to address it and ask God to do some healing.

“He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” ~ Colossians 1:13-14 (ESV)

Week 9 – Alrighty, we’re 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. Don’t forget to get that background music going and to renew your mind any time you are tempted to or actually do break your 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, + God glorifying music 6 days, kept my food boundaries 7 days, and exercised 2 days for at least 15 minutes.
I’m down 0.2 the eighth week :)*
Challenge Total: 5.2 lbs
*for more commentary on this weigh in, join the TFTSG.
_______________________________________________________________________

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.
_______________________________________________________________________

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.

 

from beneath the waves

jesusonwater1

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)

Jeans: Part 2

Jeans0502013Back in February, I told you that I was hoping to be able to wear some of my smaller jeans soon. Well, I’ve been able to wear them for a few weeks now, so, I pulled out another pair I haven’t worn in a while.

I bought this pair at the same time as the other one (same brand) and they are technically the same size… but not the same fit. The ones I can wear now have a bit more room in the backside and the waist is slightly higher. The roomier ones were my comfortable jeans when I hit goal with WW back in 2010. I didn’t wear the smaller ones very often because they were tighter, but I could wear them. I tried that pair on today and I can get them all the way up (I have hips so this is a big deal), I just can’t button them yet (close though).

After these, I have my really expensive pair, which I haven’t even looked at… and my smaller slacks, shorts…etc. I’m just thankful I can still wear my most of my workout clothes!

I haven’t thought about stepping on the scale (until just now), but why should I when I’m shrinking back into clothes of the past?

There are days when I grow impatient with the process. I would love to drop sizes much more quickly. However, I have never felt this good while shrinking. I think I’ll just stick with this journey and see where it takes me. The Lord is teaching me so much, the most important is to rely on Him for the results.