Today I’d like to walk you through a common eating situation and show you how to renew your mind with truth journaling.
Picture if you will a woman named Tabitha. Her boundaries are three meals a day and one snack. Before she eats each meal, she plans what’s she’s going to eat for that meal, based on what a reasonable amount would be.
Tonight’s dinner is pizza—her favorite. She plans on eating two pieces and a salad, but it’s so good, she decides to have another piece.
After dinner, Tabitha is cleaning up when she remembers the brownies in the freezer. She eats one brownie while she’s cleaning and later that night, she eats more brownies . . . and some cereal . . . and the leftover pizza.
Tabitha has clearly broken her boundaries. She’s tempted to condemn herself; in fact she’s already halfway there, when she remembers that she’s supposed to truth journal. So she pulls out her trusty notebook (or truth-lie chart) and makes the following entries:
(Note: She will actually be making three different journal entries, because she ate for three different reasons. If Tabitha had taken the time to journal right after dinner, she probably wouldn’t have eaten the brownie. If she had journaled after the brownie, she probably wouldn’t have binged. Still—better late than never, and if she journals now, it will help her to eat well the next day. I’ll list the truths for you under each lie entry so you can follow it more easily.)
Pizza: This is so good, I should have another one.
Truth: This is so good, I should fully appreciate every bite. Two pieces of pizza, well savored, are actually more enjoyable than three pieces of pizza eaten without care.
Brownie: Since I already broke my boundaries, I might as well have another one.
Truth: Since I already broke my boundaries, I must be very careful the rest of the night, so I don’t break them again. Breaking my boundaries once makes me vulnerable—I should pray through some Scriptures or have a quiet time, so I don’t break them again tonight.
Binge: 1. I already blew it, so I might as well eat more. 2. I’ll just eat what I want tonight and start again tomorrow.
Truth: 1. I haven’t actually blown it—I’ve only eaten one extra piece of pizza and one extra brownie. That’s probably not even enough to make me gain any extra weight. If I were to stop right now, it would be an incredible victory. 2. If I eat what I want tonight, I’ll feel horrible tomorrow. If I feel terrible tomorrow, there’s a good chance I won’t stick to it then either. The sooner I stop, the better. If I stop right now, even though I’ve already eaten an extra piece of pizza and a brownie, it will still be a victory. Learning to stop in the midst of a boundary-breaking session would be a major accomplishment.
Note: If Tabitha is feeling like she’ll never change, it would also help her to journal those thoughts. It would look something like this:
Beliefs: 1. I am such a failure. 2. I will never get over this problem.
Truth: 1. I am a child of God who had a bad night of eating. This isn’t surprising. I can’t expect to overcome this without going through some struggles and failures. 2. I will never get over this in my own strength. However, If I continue to apply the truth to my life and go to God for help, I will get over it. His truth will set me free.
Here’s an example of a Scripture prayer Tabitha might pray based on Galatians 6:9, Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up:
Scripture prayer: Lord, I failed again, and I feel like giving up. It seems I will never get over this problem, yet you tell me I’ll reap a harvest if I don’t give up. Lord, help me to persevere. Help me to keep bringing my thoughts to you for renewal. Help me to keep trying to follow my boundaries. Teach me what I need to know to overcome this problem. I’ll persevere, Lord, even though it’s difficult, because I want to reap that harvest. Give me strength and help me follow my boundaries today.
Do you see how this works? The thing you always need to remember is that God changes us from the inside out. It’s not the boundaries that will change you. It’s not a certain style of eating. And it’s not your will power and determination.
What will change you is the truth. And you learn the truth one situation at a time . . . by the renewing of your mind.