I know, I know, you’ve seen this title a million times. But stick with me? It’ll be worth it. I’m positive. 😉
It works. This positive thinking thing? It really does work. How do I know? It worked for me this week. It helped me reach what I believe to be a breakthrough–not just in my health, but in my attitude. And by positive thinking, I don’t just mean the “believe in yourself” stuff we’re fed all the time. If I’ve had any success, it’s not come from believing in myself. I can’t do it on my own. Left to my own devices, I’m a defeated, self-pitying mess! But the power that comes from dwelling on the Truth? It transforms. And I feel as though I’ve been transformed this week.
I could label this past week a failure because–GASP!–I cheated. I had corn and beans in some soup on Saturday. I even had two cookies with sugar in them! They were organic and at least gluten-free, though. On Sunday, the day before my initial three-week elimination phase was up, I ate a piece of cheese. Granted, Monday was dairy day (which seemed to pass the test? I had symptoms, mild ones, but not any that I wasn’t already experiencing). Tonight I had a peanut butter cookie (again, gluten-free, so not so bad, right?).
I broke the rules. I didn’t stay within the confines of the diet. So I could label this past week a failure.
But I won’t.
You got it–the power of positive thinking. This is what has made the difference between success and failure for me this week. I could stay within the guidelines of the diet, like I had been, and still be weighed down by negative thinking that fueled overeating. But this week, by the grace of God, more times than not, I didn’t overindulge. I stopped and asked myself, “Am I eating this because I’m hungry, or because I’m craving?” When I was hungry, I ate. And when I knew I was simply craving, I stopped and prayed, asking God to fill me with Him instead. I meditated on Psalm 84:2 over and over and over again, until it became true, and my heart and flesh yearned for the presence of the Lord. I couldn’t get enough of Him. And I didn’t just do this with food. When I was tempted to look to things, people, approval, appearance, performance, etc. to fill me, I stopped and asked Him to remind me that those things will never satisfy, and to fill me with Him instead. He did, again and again.
This week wasn’t perfect. There were times when I regretted every coconut oil-laden rice cake that entered my mouth and ended up on my thighs, when I reaaaallly didn’t like the fact that I had gained back all the weight I lost. There were times when I felt guilty after every bite I took out of fear of it making me fat.
But I chose not to dwell on those thoughts. I chose to confess them and instead remind myself: I need to eat to live. I do NOT have to feel guilty about eating! And being ten pounds heavier than I was a couple months ago, yet healthier, is a trade I’ll take.
I have to credit this shift in thinking, at least in part, though, to the Made to Crave Online Bible study. It’s been such a source of encouragement and accountability for me. I have over 40,000 sisters joining me in this journey, and it helps to know I’m not alone. Even though our individual lives and needs and struggles are unique, we’re in this together.
I also, at the suggestion of the Bible study, reached out to a friend who’s gone before me in this struggle with food and has come out on the other side. Knowing I have someone praying steadfastly for me in the battle, and being willing to check in each week and ask how it’s going, helps immensely.
I’m hopeful. The headway I’m making, not just in my health but in my heart, inspires me to keep making strides in the right direction. To keep dwelling on the truth. And let me tell you, it feels good to not be stuck in the mire of negative thinking! Sometimes I wander back there and am tempted to get comfortable again, but I’m no longer making it my home. Because it’s not really that comfortable! It feels a whole lot better–granted, it takes hard work, but it’s worth it–to live free, to take hold of the promise of the One who’s already set me free with the truth. And I am free indeed (John 8:32, 36).
The truths in the verses below have particularly helped me practice the power of positive thinking when I find my thoughts wandering down a destructive path. I hope you’ll find them helpful as well. They’re as helpful as they are to me today because years ago I purposed to commit them to memory. Can I challenge you to do the same? The work it takes to memorize them is absolutely worth it. Being able to recall them to memory when I catch myself slipping mentally, and choose to turn toward the truth, is a huge asset.
“May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my Rock, my Redeemer.” Psalm 19:14
“Set your mind on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” Colossians 3:2
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Philippians 4:8
“We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ…” 2 Corinthians 10:5
(All are quoted from the English Standard Version.)