And you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free. John 8:32

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year's Resolutions

I used to make long lists of New Year’s resolutions. I even had resolution categories—spiritual, physical, recreational, personal, etc. Each year I completed many of those goals . . . most of them were in the recreation category:

1. Camp three times. Check.
2. Take one backpack trip. Check.
3. Ski in to ski hut one night. Check.

I was a raging success in the recreation department.

Unfortunately, the physical category was another story:

1. Lose weight. Afraid not.
2. Start exercising regularly. No go.
3. Eat healthy. Not really.

I racked up year after year of defeat in the physical realm.

Then three years ago I changed my goals. I didn’t write down “lose weight.” I also skipped “start exercising” and “eat healthy.” In fact, if I remember right, that was the year I stopped making long lists of new year’s resolutions.

Instead, I made one goal that year. I bought a journal and determined to go to God on a regular basis for help with my poor eating habits. I planned to eat three meals a day and journal any time I ate outside my boundaries.

I’ll tell you right now I didn’t follow through on my resolution. At least not perfectly. But I did keep at it. I journaled on a regular basis, and God began to shed His light on my compulsive eating habits.

I saved that journal, and I have it in front of me right now. Let me share some of the entries from that year with you.

2/28/06 Weekly reasons for breaking my boundaries:

It was there to eat: 3
I deserve it: 9
Overwhelmed with procrastination: 1 (Obviously, I hadn’t started writing yet.)
Cook’s “right”: 2 (I believe that was cookie dough.)
Mindless eating: 1
Stressed out: 1
Fear/Worry: 1

I’ve missed the last three days of truth journaling, not because I’m perfect, but because I’ve been a total failure!

I am so mistreated and overworked that I deserve a treat. Since I always have to be the bad guy and always have to get people (that would be my kids) to do what they don’t want to do, the least I can do is have a treat.

Truth: Barb, Barb, Barb—you know that treats don’t really fulfill you. How about, “Since I always have to be the bad guy, I’ll go and spend some time with Jesus who loves me enough to die for me!? Which would be better? Sweets or Jesus? There is no contest—turn to Him next time.”

(Note: Do you think I might have been exaggerating my circumstances a bit here?)

7/23/06 I’m feeling defeated today. I’ve been trying to change myself by will power, not with the truth. Plus I’ve been putting perfectionist standards on myself. Condemning myself when I fail. This is a stronghold—it requires spiritual weapons of prayer and carrying my thoughts captive. Getting up and using will power and positive attitude is not going to cut it! I need to go back to journaling when I eat for a non-hunger or non-meal reason.

8/3/06 I deserve a treat for doing so well at the potluck.

Truth: Do I deserve a reward for not eating much? No—people are starving to death in this world. I don’t deserve food just because I wasn’t gluttonous! This should be standard behavior—the norm.

9/2/06 Boundaries are a good thing, not a bad thing. They bring freedom to my life—freedom from discouragement, despair, lethargy, weight gain, unhealthiness, self-incrimination, etc. Does unrestricted eating bring any freedom to my life? I guess it brings the freedom to eat whatever I want—but I know what that freedom leads to: slavery.

9/23/06 For the first time in thirty years, I don’t feel like food has control over me, and I don’t fear it. Yet I walk each day in His grace, knowing that it could control me again and praying that God would give me the strength as I need it.

12/31/08 The victory has been lasting. That doesn’t mean I’m perfect. I still feel like eating for the wrong reasons sometimes, and I still follow through on those feelings and eat too much now and then. The difference is that I now know the solution. It’s not setting a goal to lose weight. It’s not determining that “this year I’ll finally get it together.” No, the solution is filling my mind with the truth—bringing my thoughts captive to God’s Word. Learning to see life as He sees it.

My hope is that a year from now, you and I will be different people—that we’ll be following God a little more closely, living His Word a little more consistently, and loving each other a little more like He loves us.

In order to make that happen, we need to see our lives from God’s perspective. This will happen as we read His Word and apply the truth directly to the areas of our lives that need it. For me right now, it’s procrastination. What is it for you? I encourage you to let His truth change you this year.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Did you think I haven’t written for so long because I was procrastinating? Not true! I’ve been so busy doing my “worst first” and “most important” that I haven’t made it to “write a blog post.”

You may think I’ve been a whirlwind of activity, but that’s not true either. Sometimes it takes me until noon to work up the courage to tackle my worst first. Sometimes I pray some Scripture, get in the mood to tackle the list, and then get side-tracked by something else and have to start all over again.

What’s happening is that I’m making slow (very slow) and steady (shaky steady) progress. I even did one item in my paperwork drawer that I’d been procrastinating for four years. Yes, you heard me right, that was four years. Are you beginning to feel better about your own procrastination habits?

Every time I do one of those dreaded items, I feel a sense of relief. Even though I don’t think about those things on a regular basis, they’re in the back of my mind, draining my energy, and keeping me from doing other things I should be doing. It’s an incredibly freeing sensation to get them accomplished.

Let me show you one of my journal entries about procrastination. I could have written this exact same entry about emotional eating a couple years ago, so if you’ve got it all together in the “getting things accomplished” department, see if you can apply it to your struggle with emotional eating. (I’ll put the truths right under each lie, so it will be easier to follow.)

1. It’s terrible that I didn’t finish my to-do list. (If this were about emotional eating, I would have said, “It’s terrible that I ate so much yesterday,” or something along those lines.)
Truth: It’s not surprising I didn’t finish it. After all, I’m just learning. If I were perfect from here on out, I couldn’t have been much of a procrastinator in the first place. Change doesn’t happen in an instant.

2. I will never catch up.
Truth: I won’t catch up if I only work on this in my own strength. But if I continue to renew my mind and see this problem through God’s eyes, He will change me.

3. I am too inept.
Truth: God can transform inept. His power is made perfect in my weakness.

4. I think I’m doing well, and then I fail again.
Truth: Duh—that’s what change is—I can’t expect to succeed without failing time and time again. Remember the figure skater. (They have to fall a bunch of times if they want to execute the perfect jump.)

5. It’s hopeless. I should just give up.
Truth: On the contrary, it's incredibly hopeful. If I turn to God in this trial, He will change me. It may take awhile, but it will happen. My only chance for hope is to keep trying and to try in His strength.

How many entries like this will it take to conquer procrastination? I don’t know.

But I’ll keep making those entries and praying those Scriptures, until my natural reaction to procrastination is to turn to God rather than food or some other form of entertainment.

Because He’s the only “escape” that will make me get back to work!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Running the Race

There’s no way I could run a marathon in eight weeks, even if I really wanted to. Why? Because I’m not a runner. Not only am I not a runner, I don’t even like to run.

It would take me far more than eight weeks to develop the discipline to run on a regular basis, much less the stamina to run 26 miles. I’d only be setting myself up for failure if I set out to complete the process in eight weeks.

It’s the same with emotional eating—you can’t expect to conquer it in eight weeks if you’re not used to doing what it takes to gain victory.

What I’d like to do today is compare a person setting out to run a marathon with a person setting out to gain freedom from emotional eating. Both goals require lots of effort and work, and both goals will require different amounts of time depending on the individual’s starting point.

I’ve listed below six possible starting points for a person setting out to run a marathon.

1. Couch potatoes
2. Casual exercisers
3. Regular Exercisers
4. Casual Runners
5. Faithful runners
6. Marathon runners

I think it’s obvious that the further up the list you are, the less time it would take to prepare for a marathon.It would be almost impossible for me to run a marathon in eight weeks, because not only am I in the casual exerciser category, I have no desire to do the things I’d need to do to move up to the marathon runner category.

Sure, I’d like to be in shape enough to run a marathon, but I wouldn’t be crazy about all the work required to get there. I’d either have to move very slowly so I developed that desire, or I’d have to have someone hold me accountable to doing even the things I had no desire for.

It’s the same way with breaking free from emotional eating—the further up the “list” you are, the easier it will be to gain freedom. Let’s see what a list might look like for breaking free from emotional eating.

1. Couch potato
• Never has quiet times.

2. Casual exerciser
• Has an occasional quiet time or may have a short little devotion each day.

3. Regular Exerciser
• Has an intimate relationship with God and enjoys regular times with Him each day.

4. Casual Runner
• A person who has an intimate walk with God, plus uses God’s Word at least every once in awhile to break bad habits or strongholds. (This could be through truth journaling, Scripture prayers, specific Bible study, etc.)

5. Faithful runner
• A Christian who has an intimate walk with God and is using God’s Word on a regular basis to break bad habits and strongholds.

6. Marathon runner
• A person who is applying God’s Word on a regular basis to break the stronghold of emotional eating.

Now here’s the problem. None of us would expect to run a marathon if we only read books about marathons and went on runs occasionally. We’d expect that we’d have to train and suffer for it, right?

But when it comes to so many other things in our lives, we expect it to be easy, and then get discouraged and give up when it’s not. It’s the same way with emotional eating. If you’re back at the first or second stage in your relationship with God, it’s going to be hard to make yourself spend the time required to break free from emotional eating. That’s okay, though, as long as you don’t expect results without the work.

You may just want to work on doing the Bible study right now and skip the truth journaling. Whatever you do, don’t expect yourself to move from the #1 to #6 in a few weeks. You’ll only get discouraged and want to give up.

When I started working on emotional eating, I was already at level five—and it was still hard. I’m not trying to discourage you—I just want to help you dispel the myth that it’s going to be easy.

If you’re gung ho for the whole process, go for it—the more time you spend with God the better. The more time you spend truth journaling and praying through Scripture the better. You will definitely change faster if you put more time into the process.

But if you’re like me with running, you may not be capable of adding Bible study, Scripture prayers, and truth journaling to your life all at the same time. You may need an accountability partner just to get yourself to do your Bible study.

Remember, God is a God full of grace and mercy and strength. He’s not the perfectionist father waiting to yell at you as soon as you mess up, but He's also not the laid back dad that says, "Sure, do whatever you want - as long as you're happy, that's the main thing."

He does want you to keep moving forward. Go slowly if you need to, but keep going. Because that’s the only way you’ll get where you want to go.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Have you ever noticed how painful it is to change a bad habit or get rid of a sin? Sometimes it’s just a slog—sticking with it when it would be so much easier to give up and go back to the old ways.

That’s how it was for me on Saturday. I did my worst job first, thinking it would take less than an hour—and it ended up taking all day. I finished around 5:00. I was tempted to put it off, but I thought of that rocket thrust idea (constant pressure) and kept limping along. It took me a couple of Scripture prayer sessions to keep me going in a forward motion, because I so badly wanted to give up and skip the whole project.

I did learn something new. If your procrastination is caused by perfectionism, it’s important to let go of the “to-do” list when necessary. At 5:00, I still had a long list of jobs and was feeling like a failure for not completing my list. My choices were:

1) keep working on the list
2) stop working on it and feel like a failure
3) stop working on it and look at the truth to see if I really was a failure

I chose the third option and truth journaled about the situation. Here’s what I wrote: 1) I should be working on my list. 2) It’s bad that I didn’t get it done. 3) I need to get to work.

Here are the truths I wrote down: 1) I worked all day on that project. It took much longer than expected. If I’d known it would take so long, I wouldn’t have put anything else on the list. 2) It’s to be expected that I didn’t finish the rest of the list. 3) I need to stop being a perfectionist about getting my list done. I need to accept and be thankful for what I did do and realize I can’t always judge how much to put on a list.

Journaling the situation gave me peace (at least it did after I submitted to the idea that it was alright if I didn't finish the list).

If you’re an inept perfectionist like me, part of the battle is accepting that you’re not always going to do everything you want to do. Which is what I needed to accept.

By the way, do you want to know what my project for the day was? A Sunday school lesson for my class of teenagers on perfectionism. Isn't God funny? He always seems to bring home the lesson in unusual and instructive ways - I guess he wants me to practice what I preach!

At any rate, the lesson went well. I'm actually working on a curriculum for teenagers based on the principles of Freedom from Emotional Eating (minus the emotional eating part of it), and the lesson was part of that curriculum. If anyone has suggestions of what to add to that curriculum let me know!

I better get going - I'm off to do the worst thing on my list!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

To all my fellow procrastinators

I finished my list yesterday! I think I found the one thing that's going to transform my life in this area, and that's to do the worst first and focus on only one thing at a time. That's what I did yesterday, and I never even reached the point where I didn't feel like doing my jobs - probably because I got the two baddies done first thing in the morning when I still had energy. By the time afternoon rolled around, the only things left on the list were things I kind of enjoyed anyway, so it was easy to make myself do them.

If you're a procrastinator like me, give this a try and see how it works! Think of it this way - if you have nine easy things on your list and one hard thing that's been stressing you out for awhile, would it feel better to do the one hard thing or the nine easy things?

Oh, I almost forgot one more benefit from doing this. I didn't feel like eating in the late afternoon, which is when I most feel like breaking my boundaries.

I think the reason for this is that usually I still have my worst jobs left by late afternoon, and I feel like eating because I know I should do those jobs but don't want to. Since I had already done those crummy jobs by late afternoon yesterday, there were no feelings of guilt or dread, so I was able to just relax and enjoy life - and since the negative emotion (stress) wasn't there, I didn't feel like eating.

Anyway, I'm excited about this new idea - we'll see if it continues to work.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Hi Everyone,

I hope you're all enjoying the holidays and not eating too much! We finally went up in the mountains and got our tree yesterday. It was so warm, my teenage son was wearing shorts! (Although admittedly, he wears shorts when I wouldn't.)

You may be wondering if I finished my list yesterday, and the answer is no, but I did have a great time with my family instead. I guess I'll always choose people over the list - at least I hope I always do.

I'm back at it today again, though. Let me share something that helped yesterday. I wrote my list down and then numbered the things on it, putting the worst things first - in other words, the ones I dreaded the most, and you know what? I did get those dreaded items finished.

I'm going to try to keep numbering my list and do it in order. If I concentrate only on the one thing I'm doing and not on the whole list, I think it will help me not get overwhelmed. These are the questions I'll ask myself before I number the list:

1. Which item is the most important? (judging importance by what God says is important)
2. Which item would give me the most satisfaction if I did it?
3. What do I dread the most? (Or which item would bring me the most stress relief?)

I'll try to put the answers to those three questions at the top of the list. Well, I guess I better get to work. I'll start with the answer to number two (which is also the answer to number one), since I already had my quiet time, and everyone else in town is still asleep (like I wish I was - but oh well, I'll get a lot done now and take a nap this afternoon if I get tired.)


Thursday, December 11, 2008

Today, I’m going to apply the ideas in my last post toward my problems of perfectionism and procrastination. In fact, I’ll start right away on my problem with perfectionism by trying to write and post this blog entry in 20 minutes! I’ll resist the urge to correct and change it, so I have more time to get other things done today.

I’ve learned from experience that the only way to really be free of a problem is to keep going to God with it, so that’s what I’m going to do. Every time I don’t feel like doing my to-do list, I’ll go to God. (It’s procrastination and perfectionism that keep me from doing the to-do list – that and a desire to have fun in life and not do boring things!)

Here we go:

1. We need the right type of fuel.

My commitment isn’t to finish my to-do list—it’s to go to God every time I don’t feel like doing the next item on the list. I printed out the procrastination and perfectionism verses (from the list in my Bible study) and attached it to a clipboard that also has my to-do list and a lie-truth chart on it. (I know, I sound like an organized person, but it’s all a mirage—I’m really not—in fact my first sentence when I was truth journaling about this this morning was “I’m inept.” The truth was “I’m a beloved child of God; He looks at me with compassion, not demanding perfection.”)

Anyway, whenever I lose my steam (which will probably be every time I finish one item on the to-do list), I’ll sit down and pray through some Scriptures or truth journal. That will make me feel like doing the next thing on the list.

2. We need enough thrust.

My commitment will be to keep doing this each day, until procrastination and perfectionism aren’t a major issue in my life. I know from experience it will take six to eight weeks if I’m faithful to go to God each time. Now—I know I might not be faithful! But remember—I’m also working on perfectionism, so I’ll have to realize all along that I’m an imperfect person, so I might not end up doing what I want to do. That’s when I’ll have to remember that God loves me no matter what and doesn’t condemn me, and then keep trying even though I'm doing an imperfect job of trying.

3. We need the right type of structure.

I already have my structure in place—my plan, my clipboard with the Bible verses, and I might get a journal for the truth journaling part of it.

That’s about it and I just finished twenty minutes of writing (including looking for the paper I truth journaled on this morning to see what I wrote). So I’m going to post this now, even though my mind is saying, “No, that sounds really dumb, you better read it over again!” (I’m telling my mind, “too bad, so sad, I’m posting it.”)

I hope you have a good day—pray for me if you get a chance! I will be here in my house diligently trying to complete my to-do list for once in my life! (and no, my to-do list is not that long.)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Gravity and Emotional Eating

Have you ever wondered why we don’t worry about being hijacked to the moon when we get on an airplane? I can think of three reasons:

1. Planes don’t have the right type of fuel to get to the moon.
2. Planes don’t have enough thrust to get to the moon.
3. Planes don’t have the physical structure necessary to get to the moon.

It takes a lot to escape the pull of earth’s gravity, and most airplanes don’t have what it takes to make the grade. If they want to reach the moon, they have to go through a radical change in their design.

It’s the same with us if we want to escape a stronghold or bad habit. If we want to succeed, then we have to make sure we're going about it the right way. Let’s take a look at how astronauts escape gravity and apply it to our own struggle to escape emotional eating:

1. We need the right type of fuel.

As I mentioned in the introduction to Freedom from Emotional Eating, it’s our thoughts that “fuel” our actions. You could think of our thoughts as airplane fuel, and God’s thoughts as rocket fuel.

If we want to break free from emotional eating, we need to get rid of that “airplane fuel” and replace it with rocket fuel. This happens when we replace the lies we believe with truth and fill ourselves with God’s Word. Scripture prayers, truth journaling, and Bible study will provide the fuel we need to break free from the pull of emotional eating.

2. We need enough thrust.

Rockets need the ability to keep going up, which requires a tremendous amount of fuel and a certain type of engine. You could say the engine we need is one that runs on the fuel of God’s Word. The more our lives are directed toward God, the easier it will be to break free from emotional eating.

What happens if a rocket coasts? It falls back down, doesn’t it? In like manner, I can't just work on emotional eating for a few days and then "coast" when the going gets hard. The days I most need to pray Scripture and truth journal are the days when I'm consistently breaking my boundaries. If I bring my thoughts to the truth every time I fail, pretty soon I won't be failing all the time. It's much easier to coast, but coasting won't help me break free from the "pull" of emotional eating.

3. We need the right type of structure.

A rocket is designed to protect the people inside and keep them moving in the right direction. In like manner, we need to place structures in our own lives that will help us move in the direction we want to go. Here are a few things that have helped me:

• Have a set time each day for Bible study and prayer.
• Print out some Bible verses to pray through and attach them to a clip board, so they’re easy to find.
• Attach some lie-truth charts to the same clipboard, so you can truth journal whenever you eat outside your boundaries.
• Find a friend to pray with and hold each other accountable to working on your stronghold.
• Establish boundaries where necessary.

One nice thing about gravity is that the pull weakens the farther up you go. It’s still there, so you have to be careful, but it’s not the same struggle that it was back when you were trying to break free from it.

Thankfully, it’s the same way with strongholds—if you use the right fuel, keep that upward thrust, and put the right structures into your life to help you succeed, eventually you’ll break free of the stronghold. There will come a point when living free gets easier.

This has happened to me with emotional eating. I rarely truth journal or pray Scripture for it these days. That doesn’t mean I never struggle with emotional eating—it’s just that it doesn’t have a hold on me anymore. Bad days are rare, and even when they come, I can usually see the truth right away and correct my behavior.

I wouldn’t have gotten to that point, though, if I hadn’t made the effort to break free from the stronghold. And let me tell you—it was an effort.

Can you imagine those early scientists who started to picture a trip to the moon? It might have seemed impossible at the beginning, but they worked on it and worked on it, and eventually it happened.

My friend, I want to encourage you today not to give up. Success is possible.

Just make sure you use the right fuel, keep your upward thrust, and structure your life to help you move in the right direction, . . . because you can’t get to the moon in an airplane.

(I know—that last line was incredibly hokey, but I couldn't resist!)

Friday, December 5, 2008

Words of Advice from All of You

Hi everyone,

My post today is for those of you who are going through the Freedom from Emotional Eating Bible study. As you may know, I just published it in late July, so it’s still pretty new. I have really enjoyed hearing from all of you who are doing the study and am excited to see how God is helping you break free from emotional eating.

What I’d like to do today is share some of the things I’ve learned from all of you as I’ve watched God use these principles in your lives. If you haven’t done the study yet, or if you’re in the middle of it, these are things that will help you along the journey.

1. Diets

I mentioned this in the book, but I’d like to re-emphasize it. Be careful with diets! If you’re already doing well on a diet, that’s great—stay on it and use the study to help you stick to the boundaries.

However, if you’re not on a diet, this isn’t the time to start. My strong recommendation from watching women who have been successful is to focus on establishing your boundaries—not dieting. I wouldn’t even consider a diet until you’ve consistently stayed within your boundaries for at least two months.

It’s much easier to stick to your boundaries if you don’t have diet restrictions, and the most important thing in the beginning is to stop binging and eliminate grazing. If you can get rid of those two behaviors, you’ll probably lose weight anyway without dieting.

Another reason not to diet is that it will help you not to focus on looks. Surprisingly, one our biggest motivations for emotional eating is the fear of gaining weight. If you make your goal at the beginning just to follow your boundaries rather than lose weight, it will help prevent that “eating because I broke my diet” cycle from kicking in.

From what I’ve seen, the women who don’t diet are more successful at sticking to their boundaries than the ones who diet, and I actually think they end up losing more weight too. (This doesn’t apply to women who were doing well on a diet before they started the Bible study.)

2. Boundaries

If you’re using eating when hungry as your boundary, check out the book Thin Within by Judy Halliday and the Thin Within forum at The ladies on the forum are really great, and you’ll get some good advice and support.

If you’re using a certain number of meals and a snack as your boundary, try to use hunger as your guide. If you’re hungry for each meal, then you know that you ate the right amount at the last meal. If you’re never hungry, then you’re eating too much at each meal.

Also, at the beginning of each meal, look at the food available and decide what a reasonable amount is (it may be helpful to get a book on nutrition if you’re not familiar with what healthy amounts are). Decide what you’re going to eat before you start to eat. If you end up eating more than you planned, consider that a breaking of the boundaries and make an entry in your lie-truth chart.

3. Truth-journaling

Be consistent with your truth journaling. Do it every time you break the boundaries. It may seem like it’s not working. You may feel like it’s a waste of time—but it’s not! For some women it helps already within the first couple of weeks. For others it won’t seem like it’s working at all and then all of a sudden it will kick in on the sixth or seventh week, and they’ll find that their desires are completely changing.

Statistics show that 95% of dieters gain their weight back. I believe that’s because they’ve changed their actions without changing their beliefs. If you change your beliefs, your desires will actually change. Truth journaling is extremely important for long-term success.

4. Scripture Prayers

Try doing this in the middle of your temptation. I just did this two different times in the past week and it completely took away the desire to eat. The first time I was craving ice cream (when I had just had a bowl a short time before). I prayed Ephesians 4:22-24 and didn’t feel like eating the ice cream anymore (for the rest of the day!) Another time I was stressed out and felt like eating even though there wasn’t anything good in the house. I was actually planning to break my boundaries and eat, but I thought, “Well, I’ll just try praying Scripture even though I’m planning to eat, just to see if it works.” It worked. I prayed the perfectionism and stress verses on page 35 of the book and those took away my desire to eat.

5. Work on your emotions.

Since this blog is just about emotional eating, I haven’t talked much about the emotions. However, five chapters in Freedom from Emotional Eating are devoted to handling your emotions, and these chapters will help you learn how to deal with your negative emotions. If you have an overriding emotion in your life that’s making you eat, it’s far more effective to work on the emotion itself rather than not eating for that emotion. If you can learn how to go to God for that emotion, you won’t need to go to food.

6. Be careful with other escape techniques.

Yesterday, I realized I was using the internet to procrastinate. I was feeling distant in my relationship with God and realized it was because I was relying too much on the internet for motivation to do crummy jobs. I know that might sound a little far-fetched, but it’s true. Idols develop slowly, and we’re often not aware it’s happening.

If I’m going to the internet for deliverance from the hard things in my life, it’s becoming a source of comfort to me, and it’s in danger of becoming an idol in my life. Remember the introduction to the Bible study? The way to avoid idols and obsessions is to put boundaries in place. So I have a new boundary with the internet—twice a day if I want to do any browsing. It’s an easy temptation since I’m on the computer quite a bit to write.

Well, that’s about it for things I wish I had put in the Bible study. If any of you have tips or want to share what’s worked for you, write a comment below. I haven’t figured out how to put a comment box on there if you don’t have a google account or blog—I’ll try to remember to ask my computer techie son when he comes home from college. Anyway, I’ve appreciated hearing from all of you, and I’m praying God will give you freedom from emotional eating!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Broken Boundaries

It’s never more important to remember we’re in a spiritual battle than when we’ve just broken the boundaries big-time and feel like giving up. Listen to what Paul says in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5:

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

In other words, getting out of bed the Monday after Thanksgiving with a new resolve to stick to my diet this time (!) is not going to solve the problem. Chances are, I’ll break it again by the end of the week if not by the end of the day. Why? Because strongholds can’t be destroyed with determination, self-control, and diets.

What does the passage say? We break strongholds by destroying the ways of thinking that aren’t in line with the truth and bringing our thoughts captive to Jesus Christ.

That means, first of all, that we need to cling to God and His Word if we want to experience success. That’s where we’re going to discover what the right thoughts are. In addition, we need to examine our thoughts to see which ones need to be taken captive. Why don’t we do that together?

The Lies of Broken Boundaries

1. I can’t do it.
Truth: I can’t do it easily, I can’t do it without failing from time to time, and I can’t do it if I only use the weapons of the world. However, if I continue to take my thoughts captive to the truth and rely on God’s strength and the power of His Word, He will break this stronghold in my life.

2. It’s too hard.
Truth: Hard things aren’t necessarily bad things, and I can do all things through Him who gives me strength(Philippians 4:13).

3. This will be like all the other times.
Truth: This will only be like all the other times if I don’t use my divine weapons.

4. This doesn’t work.
Truth: This doesn’t work overnight. It takes time for the truth to kick in. If I replace the same lie with the same truth day after day after day, one day I’ll hear the truth as soon as I hear the lie. And one day I won’t even hear the lie. That's when I'll know that it works.

5. I’m going to gain my weight back.
Truth: If I continue to use divine weapons to fight this stronghold, eventually I’ll lose weight and keep it off. In the meantime, I need to have a little talk with those “Hollywood” thoughts that are running through my mind. It’s presumptuous for anyone to tell me I need to look a certain way to be acceptable, when God tells me that looks don’t matter, and I’m acceptable as I am. (This may be another area of my mind that needs to be renewed!)

I hope you ate within your boundaries this Thanksgiving, but if you didn't, don't beat yourself up. Carry your thoughts captive to Christ and keep pressing on. Think of it this way - it's the truth that sets you free . . . and each breaking of the boundaries is a perfect opportunity to learn a little more truth.

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Lies of Thanksgiving Dinner

I love Thanksgiving. I love the smells, the tastes, the friends, the family, and the coziness of it all.

What I don’t like is the day after Thanksgiving—that moment when you’re lying in bed, and all of a sudden you remember what you ate the day before, and you think to yourself, “How will I ever make it past Christmas without gaining a ton of weight?”

This year I’m going to try a new tactic—I’m going to start preparing early for Thanksgiving dinner.

Sure, I’ll make the rolls and the pies and the stuffing (with the help of my family), but that’s not all I’m going to do. This year, I’m also going to prepare my mind for Thanksgiving dinner.

I’m going to fill my mind with truth before I start to eat. In fact, I might even start a couple days before, so I’m really ready.

I’ll take a look at the lies I believe that make me want to stuff myself with moist turkey, savory stuffing, creamy mashed potatoes and gravy, warm rolls with butter, pumpkin pies made from scratch, fluffy whipped cream - on second thought, I think I better start right now. It may take me awhile to get ready for Thanksgiving this year.

The Seven Lies of Thanksgiving

1. It’s Thanksgiving—I should eat.
Truth: It’s Thanksgiving - I should be extra careful what I eat, because it will be easy to eat too much.

2. I don’t know when I’ll get this again. I better eat as much as I can now.
Truth: Chances are I’ll get the same thing tomorrow for leftovers, but if everything is gone, I can always make it again.

3. This food is so good that I should have seconds.
Truth: This food is so good that I need to concentrate on thoroughly enjoying each and every bite. In all seriousness, I will enjoy myself more if I eat a healthy amount and savor it, than if I eat an unhealthy amount and not fully appreciate it. (It’s hard to truly appreciate large amounts of food.)

4. It’s Thanksgiving. I should celebrate (by eating whatever I want).
Truth: It’s Thanksgiving—I should celebrate God’s goodness to me by praising Him with every fiber of my being. Eating three pieces of pie is not an expression of praise.

5. I shouldn’t have to follow my boundaries on holidays.
Truth: Boundaries protect me. My life will actually be better if I don’t stuff myself on Thanksgiving.

6. It won't be as much fun if I don't eat whatever I want.
Truth: It will actually be more fun, because I'll be able to totally enjoy what I eat without having to feel so uncomfortable afterward.

7. I can’t help myself—it’s there, and I’m going to eat it.
Truth: If I fill my mind with truth before I sit down to dinner, there’s a good chance I won’t even want to stuff myself.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


I hesitate to tell you this, but I’ve already wrapped most of my Christmas presents. I know, I know—I can just hear all the groans out there, but please hear me out.

The reason I’m wrapping Christmas presents already is that I’m a procrastinator, and procrastination is my biggest reason for emotional eating (and you know how many opportunities there are to procrastinate at Christmas—shopping, Christmas cards, decorating, etc.—I could go on, but I don’t want to make myself nervous.)

In theory, I love Christmas. I always have. But in practice, it’s a lot of work. That’s why I’m starting early. If I do just a little each week, from now until Christmas, it will be enjoyable. If I leave it all until the week before Christmas, not only will that week not be enjoyable, but the rest of the month won’t be enjoyable either, because it will always be in the back of my mind, stressing me out.

For some reason, the sooner I do something, the less intimidating it is. I enjoyed Christmas shopping last week, and I enjoyed wrapping presents this morning. But if I’d waited until a week or two before Christmas to do those things, I wouldn’t have enjoyed either one of them. Why? Because then they would have been on my “I have to get this done this week, or I’ll be in big trouble” list. And just the thought of all that pressure would have been enough to make me not want to do it.

I figure I will save about five pounds by doing the things on my Christmas “to-do” list early. Yes, we gain weight at Christmas because of all the goodies, but we also gain weight because of the extra emotions hanging around this time of year. One of those emotions is stress, and we can greatly reduce it if we get started early with our preparations.

So to all of my fellow procrastinators and stress eaters out there, I want to offer you a challenge. See if you can do one thing today to get ready for Christmas. Then try to do two more things by the end of the week. They don’t have to be big things—maybe you’ll get Christmas lists from your kids or decide what to get your parents or actually go out and buy a present. It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you do something to get the ball rolling.

The more you do now, the easier it will be later, and the more you will enjoy Christmas. And who knows, you might not even gain weight this year!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Incessant Forward Motion

Have you ever started a new weight loss program and thought, “This is the answer to all my troubles”?

The program sounds good, it’s easy to follow, and you think it might just work. So you begin. Things are going well, you’re sticking to the boundaries, and you’re even losing weight.

Then one day—BAM—you eat too much . . . way too much. You lose a little bit of confidence, but you keep going. Then out of the blue comes another bad day . . . and another . . . and another.

It’s easy to start thinking, “This program doesn’t work. It’s too hard. I just can’t do it.” And it’s easy to give up.

In Hebrews 12:1-2, Paul gives us these words of advice, “Let us also lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily entangles us and run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame.”

Have you ever thought of your struggle with emotional eating as a race that needs to be run? We want that race to be a sprint—a fast and furious effort that’s over with quickly. Unfortunately, it’s more like a marathon. It goes on and on and on, and we get tired of running.

My husband actually likes to run, and several years ago he entered a race called the Imogene Pass Run. The race course started in Ouray, Colorado, went up over the top of 13,120 foot high Imogene Pass, and then ended 17.1 miles later at the finish line in Telluride, Colorado.

One of the main pieces of advice the race organizers gave the runners was this: no matter how tired you are, keep going. They called it IFM—incessant forward motion. You might have to walk, you might have to limp, you might have to crawl, but as long as you keep moving in the right direction, eventually you’re going to finish the race.

I’ll be talking more about this race in another post, but for now I want you to focus on IFM—incessant forward motion. When it seems like the “race” is too hard—when you’re eating outside your boundaries right and left, and you feel like giving up—that’s when you need to keep moving forward.

Fill out your lie-truth chart. Do your Bible study. Pray through Scripture.

Renew your mind even when it seems like it’s not working, because one day the truth will kick in. And when that happens, you’ll believe the truth . . . and the truth will set you free.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I deserve to eat this donut because….

1. Someone else is eating one.
2. I had a hard day.
3. I’m the only one who does any work around here.
4. I’m on vacation.
5. I’m sick.
6. It’s a holiday.
7. I’m at a party.
8. It’s not fair that everyone else gets to eat, and I don’t.
9. I have such a hard life.
10. I want it.

I don't know how many times I've written entries like these on my lie-truth charts. I even felt like I deserved a treat when I was good on my diet! It wasn't until I wrote the truth over and over again that I began to see that these statements were really lies.

In the olden days, the word deserve meant that you earned something. For example, if you worked 40 hours a week, you deserved to get paid.

I guess that begs the question: What kind of work would you have to do to “earn” a donut?

I can only think of two things. The first is working in a donut shop that gives you a free donut with each work shift, and the second is working out at a gym long enough to “pay” for the calories that are in the donut.

Okay, maybe when we say we deserve a donut, we’re not talking about the old-fashioned definition of the word.

What deserve has come to mean in our society today is that we “deserve” something if someone else has it. In other words, it’s not fair if someone else has something, and we don’t.

Is that biblical? No, I can’t say that it is. Is it practical? I can’t say that’s true either. We can always find someone better off and worse off than we are.

What if we were to line up all the people in the world one by one according to their lifestyles, with the worst lives on the left and the best lives on the right. We could call this our “fairness” line. Where do you think our lives would fit in on that line?

Do you think we could look at all those people to the left of us and honestly say, “I deserve a donut after my hard day”?

And even if I did deserve that donut, would it be a reward? One donut, if eaten outside my boundaries, often leads to another donut, which could lead to a binge. Is a binge really a reward?

If I’m going to go with the “I deserve it” idea, I should at least make sure that what I’m deserving is a reward and not a punishment.

Better yet, I could focus on the blessings God's given me - and not the blessings He's given others.

In other words . . . EYES OFF THE DONUTS!!!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

I already broke the boundaries, so I might as well eat a big slice of cake, too.

Usually the phrase “might as well” is used to imply that we’re going to make the best of a situation. I might as well stay home and do the laundry since it’s such a rainy day, we might say, or I might as well stop at the library since I have to go to the store anyway.

But am I really making the best of a situation when I say, “I might as well eat this huge slice of cake since I already broke my boundaries?” I don’t think so.

Why? Because what I’m really saying is this, “Since I’ve already done one bad thing, I might as well do another bad thing.”

That would be like saying, “I already flunked one test; I might as well quit studying for the year,” or “I already broke my budget; I might as well buy that new car I've been wanting.”

Two wrongs don’t make a right. (I'm sure your mom would agree.)

What we really should be saying is this, “I better study hard for the next test, so I don’t fail the course. I better be careful not to spend any more money, so I have enough to pay the rent. I better make sure I don’t break my boundaries again, so I’m not tempted to binge.”

The next time you break your boundaries, do this for me. Grab your lie-truth chart as soon as you can and record the lies you were telling yourself that made you break your boundaries.

Then ask yourself, “What would Jesus say?” Would He say, “You know, Barb, you'll have to go back to being good tomorrow, so you might as well be really bad tonight," or would He say, “You will feel so much better if you stop right now,Barb. Pick up my Word and read it; I have some verses in there that will give you the strength to do hard things”?

Record the truth; believe the truth; and act on the truth. And don’t break your boundaries again! After all, you might as well stick to them if you want to lose weight!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Should: A modal verb indicating that something is the right thing for somebody to do. Encarta World English Dictionary

Hmm...somehow I don’t think that’s how I used it when I was writing my journal entries:

I’m all alone, and there’s ice cream in the freezer - I should (do the right thing and) eat it.

Since I didn’t eat much on Valentine’s Day, I should (do the right thing and) eat extra now.

It’s my birthday; I should (do the right thing and) celebrate.

Hmm...I don’t think it was doing the right thing that was on my mind, but eating the right thing. Okay, maybe just eating everything.

The problem with the word "should" is that it often involves sacrifice. We say, “I should, but . . . I don’t want to do the work . . . it’s too hard . . . that wouldn’t be any fun.”

We may want to be free from emotional eating, but do we really want to do what it takes to gain that freedom? Can’t God just change us in an instant?

He can . . . but He probably won’t.

Look at the Bible. God requires sacrifice. He wants us to give our lives to Him, to be a living and holy sacrifice (Romans 12: 1-2). That same passage tells us how we are to be transformed. It’s by the renewing of our minds.

I don’t know about you, but there are a lot of thoughts in my mind that need to be renewed if I’m going to be transformed. Why don’t I start with the “I shoulds?”

1. I should eat this, so it doesn’t go to waste.
2. I’m all alone, and there’s ice cream in the freezer - I should eat it.
3. It will taste better today than tomorrow, so I should eat it now.
4. Since I didn’t eat much on Valentine’s Day, I should eat extra now.
5. It’s my birthday; I should celebrate.

1. It will still go to waste if I give it to a body that doesn't need it (yes, that would be my body).
2. Just because the ice cream is there, doesn’t mean I need to eat it. (I never thought that was a good reason for climbing mountains either.)
3. If I made all my eating decisions based on taste, I would weigh 500 pounds.
4. Since I didn’t eat much on Valentine’s Day, I should congratulate myself and try to continue the trend.
5. It’s not a celebration if you regret it the next day.

Here’s my challenge to you (and me) for the next week. Try to use "should" in the right way. And on that note, I really should go get some exercise. After all, I exercised yesterday, and I should continue the trend!

Update: I posted this yesterday, and I really did go and exercise afterward. I didn't want you to think I just wrote that to be clever and then didn't really exercise. (all right, I only exercised so I wouldn't feel guilty, but at least I did it)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

I'm out of touch with reality.

I was cleaning out some papers this morning and came across some of my old lie-truth charts. These are the charts I used to change my thinking about food. It was interesting to read them over again from the vantage point of time.

What I noticed was that my reasons for overeating seemed to fall into just a few tried and true categories:

· I should eat because…
· I might as well eat because…
· I deserve to eat because…
· I can’t do this because…

Oh, and there was also an interesting “I’m out of touch with reality” category. This could also be called the “I can’t think of any other good excuse, so I’ll just pretend this is the truth” category.

Here are some examples in this category:

- I could have had more at supper, so this isn’t really a snack.

- This pizza is so good, and I bet it’s not really five points per piece.

- It’s the night before Valentine’s Day, so it’s okay to eat.

- This will be my brownie from the potluck. It’s not really a snack.

- These crackers with frosting probably aren’t too many points.

The funny thing is that I wouldn’t have even known I was saying these things if I hadn’t filled out the lie-truth chart. They were just quick little things I told myself subconsciously to justify eating outside the boundaries.

If I were to tell myself the truth, which was that I really didn’t like living with boundaries and wanted to be able to indulge my every desire, then I would have felt too guilty to eat. Telling myself the lie allowed me to throw off responsibility and eat with relish.

What filling out the lie-truth chart really does, then, is to bring those lies to the surface. If I see what I’m telling myself this time, I’ll be more likely to recognize it the next time. And after a while, I’ll start recognizing it before I eat. Which will make me less likely to break the boundaries.

(Note: You can find a lie-truth chart at under sample content.)

P.S. I'll talk more about the other categories in future posts.

Sunday, September 14, 2008


I think it was the eight cartons of ice cream at my parents’ house that started me down the rocky road (no pun intended) of emotional eating again. I was doing great until the last day of the visit…and then I let my guard down.

I had no excuse. No, I take that back - I had lots of excuses.

It’s a shame to waste this incredible gourmet ice cream. After all, I am on vacation. And I’ve done so well the rest of the visit; I really deserve to splurge a little bit today.

I wouldn’t necessarily call three bowls of ice cream a little splurge....

Then there was the trip home.

I need to keep up my energy for driving. I’ll start being good when I get home. One last (huge, high calorie, incredibly yummy ice cream treat) and then I’ll be good.

But I wasn’t good. Why? Because the next week was “Fair Week.” And you know what fair week means, don’t you? That’s right - “Fair Food.” Elephant ears. Ice cream. Greek gyros. Deep-fried twinkies. (yes, twinkies.)

I was bad, bad, bad.

So now school has started. The kids are back in a routine, and so am I. It’s back to the boundaries after too long of a vacation.

But here’s the good news. I only gained a pound or two. Why? Because God was speaking the truth about food to me, even while my mind was speaking lies.

I ate more than I should have, but not as much as I would have eaten a couple years ago. I ate what I felt like eating, but I didn’t feel like eating as much as I would have a couple years ago.

Don’t get me wrong, I recognize that I was in dangerous territory. Breaking the boundaries consistently is a risky practice. I need them for my own protection and safety, and it feels good to be following them again.

But the victory is that God is changing the way I think, so that even when the fence is down, I don’t really want to escape.

Friday, September 5, 2008


We live in a feelings oriented society. How many times have we heard the reporter on television ask the question, “How do you feel?”

He asks it of the young man who just won the gold medal at the Olympics. He asks it of the woman who just lost her whole family in a tragic accident. He asks it of the old man who won the lottery. “How do you feel?”

Do you ever feel like shouting at the guy on television? Quit asking those questions!!! Can't you guess how they're feeling?!! Why do reporters insist on asking questions with obvious answers?

Could it be because there is nothing more important to our culture than how we’re feeling at any particular time? We are trained from birth to believe that how we feel is of utmost importance.

Well, as long as he’s happy, that’s the important thing.

Yes, I know you’re right, but I just don’t feel like being responsible. I’m happy with my life as it is.

I want a divorce. I’m not in love with you anymore.

We tend to focus on feelings, while the Bible focuses on truth. That’s why it’s so important to abide in God’s Word. As we read His Word, His truth invades our thoughts and allows us to see life from His perspective.

Oh, that’s right, loving God and loving others is the most important thing.

Oh, I forgot, it’s not what I feel that counts, but what God asks me to do.

Oh yeah, God hates divorce. I better learn to love.

Truth transforms. If we only pour our feelings out when we journal, the tendency is to see things only from our own point of view. True cleansing comes when we choose to stop feeling sorry for ourselves, and instead see our problems through God's eyes.

As we view our problems through His eyes with a willingness to die to self in order to live for Him, those feelings of self-pity will dissolve. His peace will fill our souls.

In fact, we can almost imagine what we might say to the reporter, “Of course, I’m devastated. But my God is good, and if He has allowed this to happen to me, then I don't need to worry. He will provide.”

Saturday, August 16, 2008

The Value of Truth Journaling

If you haven’t done my Bible study, you may be wondering what I mean when I say truth journaling. Ephesians 4:22-24 speaks of the importance of renewing our minds. Truth journaling is simply a practical way of doing that.

My first brownie post gave you a sample of how it works. You write down what you believe, then look at each sentence to determine the truth of what you believe. Let me explain how this works with a simple diagram.

Beliefs ® Feelings ® Actions

(Note: This is only a simple diagram if you are a techie. For someone like me, it's a very complicated diagram, because I can't figure out how to turn those little R's with circles around them into arrows. I'm afraid you'll have to use your imagination. Picture an arrow starting at beliefs and going toward feelings and another arrow starting at feelings and going toward actions. While you're imagining the arrows, you might as well imagine that it's indented, because that's what I really wanted, but I couldn't make it happen.)

Behavioral scientists use this diagram to show how our thoughts affect our behaviors. Here’s an example: If I believe the plane is going to crash, I’m going to be terrified of flying, and I probably won’t fly. I might be able to force myself to fly, but it will always be a painful struggle.

How much easier it would be if I could convince myself that flying really isn’t all that dangerous. Then I would actually have good feelings about it, and I wouldn’t even have to make myself fly. I’d want to fly, because I could get places so much faster.

Now look at that diagram again. I also believe things about eating that aren’t true—things that my friends who don’t struggle with emotional eating have never believed. These lies make me want to eat, and because I feel like eating, I eat. Wouldn’t my life be much better, if I could learn to believe the right things about food so that I didn’t feel like eating for emotional reasons?

That’s what my Bible study, Freedom from Emotional Eating, is about—learning how to change the way we think about food so we won’t feel like overeating.

Friday, August 15, 2008

More on the Brownies

I hate to tell you this, but I have to write another post about the brownies, and I can just hear what you’re saying.

“What? Enough with the brownies! Doesn’t that girl have a life?”

“Brownies? That sounds good. I wonder if I have any in the freezer?”

“Hmmm…a three part series on two brownies? I might want to take this one off my favorites list.”

But I’m sure there are a few of you out there, my faithful readers (alright, maybe only my mom), who are still wondering, did she eat the brownies?

Well, let me satisfy your curiosity right away and say that there is still one brownie in the freezer (and, yes, it is the same brownie. I didn’t make another whole pan of brownies just so I could truthfully tell you that I still had one brownie in the freezer.)

After I truth journaled, I didn’t think about those brownies again the rest of the day. The craving was gone. I didn’t need self-control to keep from eating them, because I didn’t even feel like eating them after looking at the truth.

There’s great value in taking the time to truth journal, but I admit, it’s not a natural response. Let’s take a look at some of the other things we might do instead:

1. Say no to the brownies and munch on some celery sticks.

2. Do something exciting to get our minds off the brownies.

3. Throw the brownies in the garbage can and put something bad over the top so we won’t be tempted to take them back out of the garbage can again.

4. Eat the brownies and feel guilty.

5. Leave the brownies as a treat for the mailman.

6. Exercise.

7. Eat the brownies one thin slice at a time, so that it doesn’t seem like we’re really going to eat all the brownies.

8. Give the brownies to our kids.

9. Lock the brownies in the outdoor freezer and put the key in the highest cupboard in the kitchen.

10. Say, “I’ll go on a diet tomorrow,” and eat the brownies without feeling guilty….

Tomorrow, I’ll tell you why truth journaling is the best option.

(Oh, and for all you extremely observant and possibly suspicious people out there who are wondering what happened to the other brownie - I ate it for dessert that night!)

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Editing Blogs

I am still not going to eat those brownies even though I have tried to edit that last post four times, and it keeps telling me I can't do it (even though I have done the same thing many, many, many times before) because of something to do with the html!!!!! (And I'm not going to think my life is bad just because I can't figure out how to edit my blog!!!) (And hopefully if I decide this is a very dumb entry, it will let me delete it!)


This morning I’m actively engaged in not eating the two brownies that are sitting in the freezer (They used to be sitting on the counter, but I put them in the freezer because I like them cold.)

This is what I’m thinking that’s making me want to eat them, “It would be worth having a treat since my life is going so badly, and I deserve a treat since my life is going so badly!”

Well, if you’ve done my Bible study or studied psychology, you know that what we believe determines how we feel, and what we feel influences what we do. So if I’m going to keep myself from eating those brownies, I better change what I believe pretty quickly or the brownies will be history.

Did you notice that I’m believing some lies that are making me want to eat those brownies? Well, you’ll be happy to know that I did actually truth journal already, and these are my conclusions:

Lie: It would be worth having a treat since my life is going so badly.

If I have a treat now, I know that I will have at least 40 points today and probably more. I’m at a dangerous point this morning (since I already had a half inch slice of the brownie, and I ate more that I should have last night.) I don’t want to add compulsive eating to my already bad life!

Lie: I deserve a treat since my life is going so badly.

God would say, “Come to me, Barb, I’ll give you peace. The brownie will give you bondage. It’s the darkness disguised as the light—don’t give in to it.”

Bottom Line: If I’m going to eat the brownies, I better tell myself the truth about them, and this is what I would have to say: “I’m going to eat those brownies, get discouraged and depressed, lose confidence in myself, eat enough to gain weight, and head down a path of being controlled by food, but it’s worth it for one minute of pleasure.”

I think not! I’m going to skip those brownies, and to be very honest with you, after looking at the truth, I don’t even feel like eating them anymore. (And for the record, my life isn’t even bad—I was just feeling sorry for myself because I have too much to do!)

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


“Lord, I just can’t do it. It’s too hard. I don’t know how. Are You sure You even want me to do it?”

How many times have I said that to God? I said that to Him when I first started writing the Bible study Freedom from Emotional Eating.

I didn’t really want to write the study…it was too hard…I didn’t know how to do it…and how could I even be sure God wanted me to do it?

After all, if He wanted me to do it, wouldn’t He give me a desire to write? Surely, He wouldn’t want someone to write a book who didn’t enjoy writing?

What I was really looking for, was God to make it easy, and to guarantee that it would be worth writing. In other words, I didn’t want to go to all that trouble if no one was going to want to read it.

Was my attitude Biblical? Well, no, it wasn't, although it made perfect sense to me at the time.

Think of all the people in the Bible who had ministries. God didn’t always make it easy! In fact, He usually didn’t make it easy. Much of their ministry may have been delightful, but we know from what we read that it also included a heavy dose of plain, old suffering.

I’m afraid we don’t have a foot to stand on when we expect ministry to be fun and easy. We have no right to expect that things will go smoothly, and that we’ll always see results from our little bit of suffering. We do the work that is before us, but the results are up to Him.

In a way, that’s a freeing thought. We don’t have to have “success.” We don’t even have to know for sure that He called us to do something. Knowing for sure, implies that He’s going to bless our efforts, and He may not bless them—at least not in the way that we expect. We may feel like we’re laboring in vain, with no apparent rewards for our sacrifices.

But if we’re to give up all things for Him, should we not also be willing to give up the outcome of the things that we do for Him? Should we not be willing to suffer for Him even when we don’t understand why we're suffering?

What we need to remember is that God is in control, not us. Hard things help us grow when we turn to Him for help…and even the growth is worth it.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


I've been having a hard time exercising, lately. I have good intentions, but often the day goes by, and I still haven't done anything to get my heart rate up.

I’m thinking it might be a good idea for me to try truth journaling before I exercise each day—my guess is that my desires would change, and I would start not minding exercise.

Let's look at a few of the things I tell myself about exercise that make me not want to do it:

1. It's no fun.
2. It's too much work.
3. I don't like to exercise.
4. It's too much work to get dressed. (Yes, I know, I'm pathetic.)
5. It takes too much time.
6. I'll do it later.

Now, let's look at the truths, because I bet you anything, when I really look at what I'm telling myself, I'll find some lies hiding in there.


1. It may not be fun now, but I think there's a good chance I'll enjoy it if I get in shape and make it a habit. Plus, it is fun to put on clothes that fit, and it's not fun to wear clothes that are too tight. When you look at it that way, exercise is very, very fun.

2. It's less work than having to deal with the emotional, social, and physical problems caused by having a body that's had too little exercise and too much food. The easy life isn't necessarily the good life!

3. There are many things I don't like to do, that I do anyway, because they lead to a life I like to live. I may not like making the time to exercise, but I will like having a fit, trim body, and I can't have that without exercise. (Note: I do like to go on walks with friends and family, so I could make the effort to plan that for my exercise.)

4. I have to get dressed anyway (well, not really, but it would probably set a better example for my kids), so I might as well get dressed now.

5. Exercising regularlywill actually give me more time, because I'll have more energy, and won't need as many naps!

6. Nine times out of ten, I don't do it later, unless I already have something planned with a friend or my family. So, unless I have something planned already, I better exercise now.

Wow, all this truth journaling is making me want to exercise. The only problem is that it's already after 10:00 (p.m.), and I'm thinking, "It's too late to exercise." Do you think that's a lie too?