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.