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

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.”