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
3/10/06 I’ve missed the last three days of truth journaling, not because I’m perfect, but because I’ve been a total failure!
5/11/06 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.