Day 17: Don’t fence me in
Thought for the Day: Boundaries are not restrictive fences meant to keep you from enjoying life, but gifts from a God who cares about your well-being.
Sometimes, the words “no,” “boundaries,” and “limitations” stir up feelings of deprivation and resistance in my strong-willed self. But I’ve learned that I must embrace the boundaries of the healthy eating plan that I chose. I must see these limits as parameters that define my freedom.
I learned this principle through my sweet, little dog, Chelsea, who isn’t the brightest canine around cars. She’s obsessed with trying to attack the tires crunching against our gravel driveway inside our fenced-in yard. As a result, she had an unfortunate encounter with a moving vehicle about the same time I started my healthy eating plan.
After Chelsea’s injury, the vet informed us that helping her heal meant we’d have to keep her calm for three weeks. This recommendation sounded crazy considering it’s hard to keep Chelsea still for three minutes! Worse, she was forbidden to bite or pull at her bandages and stitches. So, the dreaded cone was placed around her neck to keep her injuries out of reach.
As Chelsea healed, I was the master of her new limitations. She punished me with hours of whining and crying. She constantly tried to escape through our fence and kept snapping at her bandages. However, my love for this dog wouldn’t permit me to let her to harm herself. Her brokenness couldn’t handle that kind of freedom. Not yet.
As I watched Chelsea struggle, I was struck by the way her situation applied to my issues with eating healthy. My brokenness couldn’t handle freedom with food outside the boundaries of my plan. Not yet. Eventually I would be able to add some things back into my diet in small quantities. But not yet.
Since my brokenness with food runs deep, my new healthy habits need time to run even deeper. Here are a few of the boundaries I’ve created to ensure success on my healthy eating adventure:
- I am not made to be a victim of my poor choices. I was made to be a victorious child of God.
- I can find ways to celebrate that don’t involve blowing my healthy eating plan.
- If I am in a situation where the temptation is overwhelming, I will have to choose either to remove the temptation or remove myself from the situation.
- Struggling with my weight isn’t a curse from God. Being overweight is an outside indication that internal changes are needed for my body to function properly and for me to feel well.
I’ve learned that boundaries aren’t restrictive fences meant to keep us from enjoying life, but gifts from a God who cares about our well-being. Whether you are staring at a party hors d’oeuvre table of all things cheesy, or ready to bite your friend’s head off as she reminds you of the healthy eating plan you chose, I pray these boundaries help you like they’ve helped me.
And here is the thing: God loves us. He loves us too much to keep us the way we are. Many of us are born into broken worlds, and many of us are born broken. Our lives, our childhoods, our experiences as we grow up only contribute to that brokenness. So, if you’re eating out of anxiety, or to escape the brokenness, or whatever your reasons, then you are not eating when you are purely hungry. Which automatically implies that you are in bondage. And if you are in bondage, then you are not free – and Christ came to set us free.
Freedom in Christ
5 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
And here for me is the clincher – I have this uncanny, innate desire to be once again burdened by a yoke of slavery – by eating too much and allowing too much anxiety in my heart and mind. Just as I get to that point of experiencing some sort of freedom, I find myself allowing fear to knock on the door. And fear will knock – Satan WANTS to bring us down – but its whether we allow the fear to come in that is the point. Remember, God wants to keep us safe – and giving us guidelines on dealing with fear and gluttony is what is best for us, is what will help us grow, is what will eventually give us freedom. Complete and true freedom. Don’t allow fear to become resident again in your hearts and minds.
45 Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation.”