runner girl: week 9 (whoa!)

Can you believe it? I’m actually looking forward to the run/walk workouts now. This is the point I’ve been waiting to reach. I love the sense of accomplishment, but mostly, I love being out in creation… seeing bunnies, deer, and sunrises… smelling flowers… hearing birds and cows… it’s invigorating and peaceful all at once.

EXERCISE

Week nine of The Beginning Runner’s Handbook run/walk schedule was probably my favorite week so far. The first session pushed us into more consecutive jogging minutes than I have done in a really long time. I felt energized and as though I had crossed the threshold back into “runner girl” status.

During the final 5-10 seconds of session 3, I cranked up my pace while trying to maintain form. I didn’t really feel like I was trying to sprint, I was just moving my legs faster and hit a 6:23 pace. I felt amazing (despite the fact that the kids and husband passed me as though I were standing still lol), but this was short-lived as my left knee swelled by end of day Saturday and hurt by Sunday.

Suddenly, I regretted not foam rolling or doing T-Tapp this week. Maybe it had nothing to do with the bolt for the finish on Friday, or forgoing the foam roller. It’s possible that wearing heels to the funeral of a sweet lady from our homeschool co-op on Saturday was the culprit. Either way, I need to foam roll most days of the week, and T-Tapp probably twice a week.

I did use my rebounder on Sunday evening to work my lymphatic system a bit, but my knee didn’t like it.

For some reason I was thinking a lot about breathing and oxygen this week and realized I haven’t mentioned another factor which influences pace.

Altitude.

We workout at about 7+K feet above sea level, and despite living here 10 years, it does affect my pace. I don’t know by how much, but an example is that when we were walking in Texas, my walking paces were faster by at least 1-1.5 minutes per mile. Of course, there are other factors, like elevation gains/losses as well since I live in a hilly area… and the slight oxygen advantage we have in the first few days of being at lower altitude.

One benefit to higher altitude though, there is always a significantly cooler part of the day to run in the summer… and this week’s runs at 4:30AM proved to be down right chilly at times.

NUTRITION

Yesterday, I hit 70 days on the nutritarian diet – That’s 10 weeks people! Wow.

On Friday I weighed in, and while I was disappointed at first with the measly 2 pounds in the last 28 days, I got over it. This brings me to 16.2 pounds gone in just shy of 10 weeks. I don’t know when I’ll weigh again. I might do every other week, or maybe once a month. If the scale is going to move much more slowly, maybe it’s better to not weigh as often.

We did try two new recipes from Dr. Fuhrman’s cookbook. One we liked, and one was a little weird for my taste (French Minted Pea Soup). My youngest daughter liked both and I’d say she’s got a more discerning palate than I.

I mentioned earlier that we attended a funeral on Saturday. I cannot tell you how badly I wanted fried food the rest of the weekend. Grief is such a powerful emotion and I’m used to stuffing emotions with food. It was also sobering because this sweet woman wasn’t much older than myself and had been battling cancer for 18 months. She was such a giving and kind person. She will be sorely missed. I decided that she would not want me to harm myself in my grief for her, so I stuck to the program, but it was far from easy.

Life goes on, although not the same for certain.

I wanna be a “wise overcomer”

I’m sure I first heard about Teresa Shields Parker last fall at the Taste For Truth Support Group, and I immediately ordered her book, Sweet Grace: How I Lost 250 Pounds and Stopped Trying to Earn God’s Favor. Her battle with sugar addiction resonated with me greatly and I just could not get it out of mind.

For a while now, I’ve felt a gentle prodding from the Lord to give up refined sugar/flour indefinitely. I would dabble with it, and then cave with the mentality of “everything in moderation”. Moderation may be effective for some people… maybe even most people (though I doubt it based on my personal observations), but it is a real problem for me.

When I read Teresa’s book (as well as Bright Line Eating around the same time), conviction stirred in my soul. Sometimes you just know you will never see things the same again, this was one of those moments for me. While I knew I couldn’t continue as though I didn’t know better, I still grappled with the thought of never having sweets again. You see, I wanted to “have my cake and eat it too”… or better yet, I wanted to be fit, trim, and healed from Hashimoto’s while eating cake too.

With this conviction nagging me, I tried to buckle down harder with the boundaries I was keeping at the time (Weight Watcher’s Freestyle). I figured then I could release weight, “cut back” on refined sugar/flour, but not have to eliminate it altogether. I could keep the foods I loved most (which was obviously still way too important to me). Unfortunately, I still felt lousy, and to make matters worse, I would release weight for a couple of weeks, then it would bounce back up with a hormonal fluctuation and take a couple more weeks to bring it back down… just in time for a repeat of the cycle. And yes, I was keeping my WW points boundary.

So, now, I physically could not release weight while still eating certain things – even in moderation. This angered me. That may sound really awful, but let’s be honest, I was angry. Mentally, I rationalized and justified my position on the matter (moderation). Physically, I continued to eat the very things I knew would cause me harm. Spiritually, I ached with the nagging feeling I was being mastered by something other than God.

Reality check: If you are vehemently against giving up something, even to your benefit, it’s time to consider addiction as an underlying possibility.

I’ve heard people saying addiction isn’t real and that it’s really just a spiritual issue. I’ll not deny, there is a spiritual aspect to it for sure, but to say it is only spiritual is to ignore what happens in my brain when I eat refined sugar/flour. We are three part beings, and I would go so far as to say it is physical, mental, and spiritual. I believe all three must be addressed.

Earlier this year, I read Every Body Matters:Strengthening Your Body to Strengthen Your Soul (Gary Thomas) and was even further convicted by my obvious disregard for my health (per my actions anyway). Still, refined sugar/flour caused cravings I felt powerless to ignore. I kept thinking about Teresa’s story and wondering if maybe I could admit that I had a problem with refined sugar/flour. Like really admit it. I’ve said I was addicted to it before, but I didn’t want this to be like every other time. I wanted to be sure I was ready to let go of it forever if need be.

The desire for physical change in this area surrounding refined sugar/flour was great. I wanted to alter what I ate and my activity level for the better. I had already been dealing with my mind for over two years (three years this month), so I was addressing the mental aspect… and even the spiritual as I renewed my mind with God and His Word.

And yet, I did not realize one crucial element was missing… that is, until I listened to Pastor John’s Four Signs Food has Become an Idol podcast. I came face to face with my sin regarding certain foods as he discussed the following:

  • gluttony – sinful enjoyment of God’s gift of food
  • disordered loves
  • ceasing to exalt Christ (or exalting food above Him)
  • contentment in God fades and food takes its place

These were concepts which jumped out at me; However, his list of evidences that food has become an idol struck my inner being with such deep conviction:

  1. We become indifferent to the harmful effects that food is having on the temple of the holy spirit – our body.
  2. We become indifferent to the way we steward our money as we spend unwisely on wrong foods.
  3. We start using food as an escape from our problems and a kind of medication for our sadness, or misery, or discomfort.
  4. We stop enjoying food as a way of enjoying God… we start replacing the goodness of God with the goodness of food.

I was missing the element of agreement with God over my sin. Saying gluttony is a sin is far different than believing gluttony is sinful. The picture he painted was a broken one and I had to admit it was me. Contemplating my long track record of chasing after “disordered loves” showed how undeserving I am of God’s grace. I could no longer look at those “loves” with affection. I saw them as the false gods they had become and couldn’t rationalize it away any longer. The shame makes me nauseous even as I type all these months later.

While undeserving, I knew I desperately wanted and needed His grace. Praise God His grace is available and sufficient. Even still, I could not continue in the way I had gone. Comprehending His grace, even on my finite human level, has a way of compelling one to want to change. I simply could not ignore it. So, I laid aside refined sugar/flour and bowed at His feet in repentance. “I’ll give it up forever if I need to”, I told Him. Why? Not because I believe those things are sinful in and of themselves, but because they had taken a position in my life that wasn’t theirs and wasn’t beneficial.

I began asking, “What is beneficial?” in the area of food, and allowing this to dictate my food choices. I even downloaded the book recommended in the podcast and started through it. I had intended to go straight to the chapter on gluttony, but have been moving through it slowly from the beginning and allowing God to teach me.

The other day, I was excited to see that Barb Raveling had interviewed Teresa Shields Parker about her 5 stages of the weightloss journey. I listened to it while I walked and having been without refined sugar/flour for 65 days, I found myself nodding in agreement a lot.

I’ve spent the most time in the first stage (Wishful Thinker), and while I’d like to think I’ve at least visited aspects of the next three in the past (Willing Owner, Watchful Learner, Wholehearted Traveler), I’m not sure. What I do know, I’ve never been in those stages as deeply as this time and I’ve certainly never been in the 5th one (Wise Overcomer).

Listening to Barb’s podcast made me realize that I “willingly owned” my addiction the day I heard Pastor John’s message on food idolatry. I didn’t do it because of peer pressure, my flesh desire to be thin, or worldly influence, it was because God had drawn me to a place of truth. Once faced with it, I couldn’t hand it over to Him fast enough. I knew I couldn’t fix it, that is God’s job, but I could take responsibility for my own actions.

Next comes the “watchful learner”, so I looked into strategies for dealing with sugar addiction and began to gather resources. I continued to renew my mind and remind myself that I do not want to be mastered by food. I personally don’t think I’ll ever abandon the “learner” phase because I do believe we continue to learn as we walk this journey no matter where we are in the stages. But this phase is certainly more focused at the beginning. Gathering information, learning from others who have overcome…etc.

From here, I moved forward yet another step to the “wholehearted traveler”, and if you’ve been following my “runner girl” posts, you’ve seen that my heart is definitely in this new path. I feel like I’ve been on a crash course of the wholehearted traveler phase with many challenges to navigate just in the first 60 days. I’ve chosen to grab the hand of Jesus and hang on for dear life. He tells me I can survive without refined sugar/flour and I believe Him. Standing strong in Jesus despite copious amounts of temptation has served to make me stronger still. Situations that would have sent me wallowing in a bag or box of something are much more manageable and less threatening.

I think the thing I liked most about Barb’s interview with Teresa was when she said that it typically takes 2 years of being in the “wholehearted traveler stage” before you reach “wise overcomer”. TWO YEARS! I’m sure that isn’t what most overweight people want to hear. We typically want to achieve as quickly as possible; but see, becoming “wise” in an area takes time. We must use the traveler stage to grow in wisdom and understanding… because all the knowledge in the world is useless without the wisdom to put it into practice. Of course, I’m only 65 days into my traveler stage, so I have plenty of wisdom yet to acquire.

That’s how I know this time is different for me, I wasn’t put off by the “two years” statement at all. God had already been embedding the mantra “for the long-haul” on my heart. So, I pictured how I might feel after two years of wholeheartedly sticking to my boundaries and trusting God for the transformation. I pictured a confident, stronger, contented, and yes, slimmer version of myself. My mind going straight to this visual made me realize I’m not gauging where I am on the journey by a destination number on the scale, but rather in the sum of many victorious days. I want to keep collecting because, one day, I want God to be able to say I’m a “wise overcomer”.

runner girl: week 8

We’re on the home stretch of this 13 week journey. I cannot believe the time is flying so quickly.

EXERCISE

Week eight of The Beginning Runner’s Handbook run/walk schedule was another recovery week and we were thankful for it. Nothing really exciting to report except maybe hitting a sub-15 minute mile average during the second session.

It’s probably important to note that these paces include the walking warm-up and cool-down. Equally important to note is that my uphill jogging paces aren’t much better than that day’s overall average. Still, my focus isn’t pace, it’s putting in the time and letting my body acclimate to the pounding of jogging.

The husband has been doing his running in India the past couple of weeks, but finally got home on Saturday. We are thrilled to have him back in our little family running group.

I am feeling more fatigued, so I decided to take a look at what I’m eating.

NUTRITION

Yesterday, I hit 63 days on the nutritarian diet, and decided to up my fruit intake. This seemed to help significantly with my energy level. So I’m guessing I needed more fuel.

No weighing again this week because the husband was still out of town on Friday, but on day 60 I snapped a selfie in hopes of comparing it to a mug shot I found from about 60 days prior. Now, neither picture is great… hair not styled and the only makeup is mascara in the one on the right. However, it’s obvious I have less inflammation in my face and my eyes are brighter.

So, that served as my “weigh in” for the week. I do plan to weigh again on Friday and I’m really hoping the scale has moved. Years ago, I would have no doubt that it would move when I’m eating clean. Hashimoto’s changed things for me though, and I know that the scale may do whatever it pleases at times irregardless of what I eat.

If it doesn’t do what I want, I’ll just pull out the “Bad Scale” questions and verses from I Deserve a Donut (And Other Lies that Make You Eat). I cannot express what a difference it’s made to renew my mind about food/weight/body image over the past three years. That may seem like a really long time to be doing something and still have so much weight left to release. Renewing my mind is about identifying and eliminating toxic thoughts (typically lies) and replacing them with God’s truth. If I had before and after photos of my mind, they would shock you. Alas, I do not, and so I wait for my outward appearance to catch up with the change that’s been taking place on the inside.

I’m in this for the long haul. God is changing things about me a bit at a time and I give Him the glory, honor, and praise for any transformation with which He chooses to bless me.

runner girl: week 5

That’s right, we just continued right along with the schedule even though we didn’t finish week 4.

EXERCISE

We finished out week 5 of The Beginning Runner’s Handbook run/walk schedule feeling pretty good despite the walking interval times being cut in half. With this change, I decided I was stressing out way too much over hitting 10K steps per day and opted to focus on getting in the workouts and let the steps fall where they may. Eventually I’ll likely be averaging 10K per day without having to pace around my house or go for extra walks. I must be patient and not push it. It is more important to make it to the end of the training schedule than it is to rack up steps.

With the “step count pressure” put on the back burner, I decided to bring back my weekly rest day. For now, that will be Sunday. My legs have needed more rest than anticipated. So, unless I just feel like going for a walk on my rest day, I don’t plan to worry about my step count.

My IT band has been really screaming at me, so I was more intentional with the foam roller this week. I stretched and then rolled after each workout. By the end of the week I was experiencing much less pain overall. I’d like to get a more dense and longer version than the roller I have (pictured right), but I’m using what I have at the moment. The double benefit is that using this thing on your lower body works your abs and arms too.

NUTRITION

Yep, you guessed it, another week on the nutritarian diet. This brings me to 42 consecutive days. Wow, six weeks! This week felt like a breeze compared to last week. I focused a lot on comparing what is permissible to what is beneficial when renewing my mind. This is just common sense to me now… beneficial is better.

I have noticed a slight increase in hunger. I think this is due to the jogging and am trying to eat more as a result.

Because it had been two weeks since I last weighed, I was nervous about stepping on the scale. Some old feelings about it crept in and I had to take them to God. I really didn’t know what to expect. I mean, I haven’t consistently dropped weight on any plan since being diagnosed with Hashimoto’s. Plus, I usually swell when I travel to lower elevations and/or sit in a vehicle for extended periods of time.

I did weigh though, despite my apprehensions and my body released 3.2 more pounds since my last weigh in. Praise the Lord!! This is rather miraculous with these thyroid issues and I am so thankful for the progress. That brings me to 14.2 pounds gone in less than six weeks (weighed the morning of day 40).

I’m really glad I finally listened to God’s prompting to let go of foods which were harming me. This must be what the drug/alcohol addict feels like when they hit 42 days of sobriety. Yes, I still sometimes think about my old “friends” (harmful foods), but then I remember that they weren’t my friends at all. They were destroying my health… and for what? Momentary… fleeting… pleasure? Wow, so not worth it.

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.

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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.

 

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)