|Let's Discuss Chapter 6|
Discussion Questions for Chapter 6
1. What is your response to the idea that we grow closer to God when we deny ourselves something that is permissible but not beneficial? Have you ever had an experience of denying yourself that helped you to grow closer to God? Do you believe this could be true for you in your battle with food? Jill's answer: I totally agree with this. When we give up something that we've relied on, we find that we have to rely on God more in order to go without the thing we've let go of. As we rely on Him more, we're drawn more into Who He is and drawn closer to Him in general. When I was living on my own as a single woman, I sold my TV and lived for about 8 months w/o television. Well, I did go to a friend's apartment on Thursday nights for Seinfeld and Friends, but the other six days of the week, I was TV free. And, whoa, did I find myself with a LOT of free time. So, I read my Bible, prayed, listened to classical radio, and checked out inspirational tapes from the library. As I lived this way I noticed big changes in almost every area of my life. I was spending less money, eating out less, reading more, exercising more, and worrying less about my self image, the way I looked and the clothes I wore. Without TV influencing my actions in all of these areas, it was incredible to see the changes in my life! The most important difference was in the depth of my relationship with God. So, yes, I do believe this could be true in my battle with food. In fact, I'm expecting it!
2. The apostle Paul lists self-control among the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22). Are there areas of life in which you experience self-control and feel that your self-discipline and wise choices honor God? For example, in your spending decisions or how you manage your time? What insights about your strengths in this area might help you to honor God and grow in self-control with your food choices? Jill's answer: I think the area of my own life in which I experience self-control in is parenting my 5-year-old daughter. I pray every day for patience and grace and I love experiencing the ability to exhibit self-control even in those few moments of the day when my last nerve has been stepped on and I want to let loose and scream. That is God's spirit at work, that is for sure! So, of course praying for strength and power to make right choices with food has been giving me a lot of help with self-control in this area too. I have a long way to go, but it is already making a difference every day!
3. Have you ever had the experience of the Holy Spirit nudging you in connection with your food choices? If so, what was that like? If not, how do you hope the Holy Spirit might help you now? Jill's answer: YES! I've been feeling that tug on my heart for several weeks if not a couple of months to take this drastic step that I've taken starting last Monday. This decision to go Sugar-Free, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free and Grain-Free has been there for a while, just waiting for me to make it. I believe this has been the work of the Holy Spirit nudging me and now I believe it will also be the Holy Spirit enabling me to exercise self-control through these remaining 12 weeks.
4. As Christians, our calling - and our source of spiritual nourishment - is to do God's will and finish his work (Jn 4:34). To what degree have consuming thoughts about food impacted your ability to pursue your calling and receive spiritual nourishment? Jill's answer: Hoo boy, how long do I have to answer this one? Obviously, the hold food has had on my left has held me back in many areas. I don't believe I will be able to truly fulfill whatever work God has for me until I am at a much healthier weight and in much better health overall!
5. Would you say you are spiritually well fed, spiritually malnourished, or somewhere in between? Have you ever tried to use food to satisfy your feelings of spiritual hunger? What was the result? Jill's answer: Well, in connection with my answer to Question 1, I'd say that again, as I'm giving up something material in my food choices, I'm finding that my spiritual nourishment is improving as well. Definitely I have become quite malnourished at times and even recently. But, I'm beginning to see positive changes here as I lean on God more and more for my daily strength to travel along this path!
6. If we find certain foods impossible to walk away from, this is a clue that we are being ruled by food on some level. Are there foods you can't or won't deny yourself in order to make a healthier choice? Why are these foods especially important to you? What thoughts and feelings arise when you think about potentially giving them up? Jill's answer: There definitely have been foods I've refused to deny myself! I'm especially thinking of a special annual mother/daughter weekend I attend with my Mom and step-sister, Jill. (Yes, we have the same name!) Well, this Bed and Breakfast we go to every year has the best food ever. And, there are certain things I always look forward to. Fresh corn and fried chicken at an Amish woman's house on Friday night. Angel biscuits and pear muffins in the mornings - with lots of butter and whipped honey. (SIGH) I even entertained the thought of taking the weekend off from my fast during this year's mother/daughter weekend which is this coming weekend, by the way. But, I've decided this journey is more important than the foods I will go without in Arcola this year. Besides, it's all about seeing the friends we've grown close to for the 15+ years we've been attending this same weekend event. It's about spending time with my family and finding some downtown for my Mommy me and work me. These are the true benefits of the weekend, not the indulgent foods. Besides, I usually end up spending a lot of time in the restroom because of the rich foods I eat way too much of anyway. So, maybe this year I'll have even more time to spend with the people who are important to me. And, knowing that these foods don't control me is so important. That God is my God, not homemade grape juice or Belgian waffles with fresh whipped cream! OK, it's not going to be easy. But, it IS going to be empowering!!!! (please pray for strength!)
So, there you have my answer for chapter 6! I am really looking forward to what you will add to this discussion. Thanks for reading my blog and for taking time to comment! And, have a FABULOUS Monday!