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Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. John 8:32

Today we'll begin using divine weapons in our battle against the stronghold of

emotional eating. We'll use the truth in two different ways. The first is a process I

call truth journaling, which is a practical way to bring thoughts captive to the truth.The second is the practice of Scripture prayers and memorization, which we'll cover


Before we look at truth journaling, let's study John 8:31-34.

Who is Jesus talking to in this passage? These verses are about sanctification, not salvation. Jesus was talking to believers. Inverses 31-32 He mentions three things that will happen to those who abide in His Word. What are they?




This is important. These things don't happen to us automatically by believing in Jesus. They happen to us by abiding in His Word. Abiding in the Word is different

than just reading the Word. Instead, we're bringing it into our lives, thinking about it

during the day, and using it to show us how to live life. It's a back-and-forth

conversation between God, His Word, and us as we walk through life.

Truth journaling is a tool that can help you talk through life with God. It's a

practical way to carry your thoughts captive to the truth. We'll use truth journaling

throughout this book to go to God for help with our emotions, but let's begin by

taking a look at how truth journaling can help with emotional eating. There are two different ways you can journal. First, you can look at the things vou believe that make you think eating is a good response to your negative emotions. Second, you can look at the things you believe that are creating those negative emotions.

For example, if you eat when you're worried, you can either learn not to eat

when you're worried (the first journaling method), or you can learn how to get rid of

your worry (the second journaling method). In the first case, you'll still have the worry; you're just realizing that food isn't the answer. In the second case, you're actually getting rid of the worry.

You see, not only do we believe lies that make us eat, we also believe lies that

make us worry and lies that make us angry and lies that make us emotionally

distraught in other ways. If we replace those lies with the truth, our negative

emotions will fade away. If the negative emotion is giving us the desire to eat, then the urge to eat will usually disappear with the negative emotion.

How to Truth Journal

The challenge is first to learn how to truth journal and second to take the time to

truth journal. The sooner you journal after each eating mishap, the easier it will be to

remember what you were thinking before you ate. Journaling right away will also help you eat less. For example, have you ever broken your boundaries early in the day and thought,

"Oh well, I already blew it, I might as well give up and start again tomorrow?? This is a natural reaction, but it's based on a lie. In reality, the sooner you stop the better. Journaling right away will focus your mind on the truth, which will change your desires and actions.

When you journal, don't worry about organizing and analyzing your thoughts before you write. Just spill them out on the pages of your journal. Then look at each sentence, one at a time, to see if it's a lie or a truth, and replace any lies with truth. If you're having trouble coming up with the truth, ask yourself, "What would God say about this sentence? Does He think it's the truth?" Many times the truth will come in the form of a Bible verse or a biblical principle, but not always. Sometimes it will just be a practical truth. Remember, though, that it will never go against Scripture. The more often you journal, the faster you'll change. I began truth journaling seven years ago, and I can't tell you how much God has used it to change my life. I hope that you'll make the effort to learn and practice this discipline. Let's look at some examples of truth journaling to see how it works. Read

through them now and then refer back to these examples later as you learn how to truth journal on your own.

Journaling Method #1: Journaling about Food

You can see how this type of journaling works by looking at a journal entry I made just the other night. First let me give you some background. I frequently wake up in the middle of the night to work on this Bible study. I home school my three kids (the fourth is off at college) so the middle of the night is a good time to think and write without getting interrupted. This was one of those middle of the night sessions. My current boundaries are three meals and one snack a day. Also, I'm not eating sweets right now because I'm trying to find the easiest way to lose weight on the boundary system. Here's the situation: I didn't feel like writing, so I thought, I know, I'll have a little bowl of granola first, then I'll write. Then I ate my granola. I was actually craving a sweet but settled for the next best thing since I was off sweets. I wasn't hungry, just procrastinating. Here's what I wrote after the fact. Notice I'm analyzing what my thoughts were before I ate. I think I'll eat a bowl of granola; that would be a treat. I deserve one since writing this Bible study is so hard, plus I can't have sweets so at least granola would be something kind of good. I just won't

have a snack tomorrow, so I can still eat this, and it won't hurt me. Do you see how I'm just throwing my thoughts out there without taking the time to organize them or make them sound good? Since the goal of journaling is to carry each thought captive to the truth, it's important to write down your thoughts without censoring them. Then examine each thought individually to see if it's a lie. This is key. Our tendency is to look at the whole picture, bring in the past, and get bogged down in a negative thought cycle. We can prevent that by looking at our thoughts, one at a time, and bringing each thought captive to the truth.

So, back to my example, the next thing you do is number your thoughts. Don't

rewrite the sentences. Just pencil in little numbers in front of each sentence. This is

what it will look like:

1. I think I'll eat a bowl of granola; that would be a treat.

2. I deserve one since writing this Bible

study is so hard.

3. Plus I can't have sweets so at least granola would be something kind of good.

4. I just won't have a snack tomorrow, so I can still eat this, and it won't hurt me.

Next I go through each sentence one at a time to determine the truth. Let me show

you what I wrote in my journal that night. I'll write each sentence with its

corresponding truth so it will be easier to follow.

1. I think I'll eat a bowl of granola; that would be a treat.

Truth: It won't be a treat because I'm not even in the mood for granola. I'm more in

the mood for ice cream.

2. I deserve a treat since writing this Bible study is so hard.

Truth: Yes, my life is hard, but having a treat will keep me from going to God and growing. I'd rather have character development than five minutes of granola

3. Plus I can't have sweets so at least granola would be something kind of good.

Truth: First, I can have sweets if I want. I'm choosing not to for the greater good.

Also, the granola wasn't that great since I wasn't in the mood for it.

4. I just won't have a snack tomorrow, so I can still eat this, and it won't hurt me.

Truth: Actually there's a good chance that I'll feel deprived tomorrow when I can't

have a snack. This might tempt me to eat outside my boundaries and have a snack

anyway, which would make me feel discouraged and want to eat more. So there's a

good chance it will hurt me.

Do you see how it works? As I wrote the truth down, I began to believe the truth.

The character development part really got to me. Life is hard at times. But God uses

hard times for good when we go to Him for help. Journaling helped me realize the whole truth of the situation. It was no longer just, "I want a sweet and I'm deprived- poor me.' Instead, I saw the wisdom of not having a treat. The bottom line was that the Bible study was still going to be there to write after I finished my granola. I only delayed it by five minutes. Did the granola make it easier to write? No, not at all. It just made it easier to break my boundaries the next time I didn't feel like writing.

Note: It took me more than two years to write this Bible study, so you'll notice that my boundaries change from time to time throughout the book. Shortly after I wrote this, I changed my boundaries to three meals and two snacks, and currently my boundaries are three meals and no snacks unless I'm hungry.

Journaling Method #2: Journaling about Emotions

To illustrate this method of journaling, I'll use the same situation but approach it from a different angle. Instead of looking at the beliefs that were making me want to eat, we'll look at the beliefs that were causing the emotions that were making me want to eat. Let me explain. Before I had the granola, I was dreading writing the Bible study. I've been feeling overwhelmed by it lately since I'm teaching my first class next week and I've

had to completely rewrite this chapter, in addition to editing all of the other chapters.

These feelings were the reasons I wanted to have a treat in the first place. If I'd gotten up in the middle of the night to read a novel, I wouldn't have felt like eating. Let me try journaling this for you. I am tired of writing this study. I have no idea how to write this chapter. It's too hard. I can't do it. Again, the first thing I would do is number the sentences. It would look like this:

1. I am tired of writing this study.

2. I have no idea how to write this chapter.

3. It's too hard.

4. I can't do it.

Next, I would look at each sentence, one at a time, and write the truth for it.

This is how the entry would look in my journal:

1. True Note: This is actually a feeling, not a belief, so you can't really say much

about it.)

2. True

3. It is hard, but not too hard. I can do hard things. (How many times

have I said that to my kids?) Also, I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

4. I can't do it easily. But I can do it. I can't do it perfectly. But I can do it. If God really wants me to write this study, then He will show me how to do it. All I have to do is put in the time.

If I had journaled like this before I ate the granola, I wouldn't have felt like eating

the granola anymore honestly. You will be amazed at how this works. The truth

really does set you free. My dread of writing would also have disappeared. You see, my real problem was perfectionism, but I didn't know that until I journaled. Subconsciously, I was feeling like my Bible study had to be perfect. That's why I dreaded writing it. When I realized I didn't have to make it perfect and only needed to obey God, I began to feel better right away. A person who doesn't struggle with perfectionism and doesn't expect life to be

easy would write a whole different journal entry than I would write. That's what's so

great about truth journaling. We each have our own set of lies to deal with, and truth

journaling helps us discover those lies.


For the next two weeks, I'd like you to try truth journaling once a day. Remember, this is different than regular journaling. You're not just writing your thoughts and feelings to get them out of your system. You're writing them down so you can bring them captive to the truth. If you eat outside your boundaries, try to journal that situation. If you need help

discovering the lies that make you eat, look for ideas in Appendix A. If you're experiencing a negative emotion, try journaling that. Don't get discouraged if you don't come to peace right away after journaling. It's difficult to learn how to journal emotions well. It will become easier as we study each individual emotion. I'll provide a space for you to truth journal at the end of each lesson. Why don't you try your first entry now?

Truth Journal

Situation —————-






How did you do? Easier than you thought? Harder than you thought? Keep trying it

at least once a day, and you'll soon become proficient at it. After a few weeks of

journaling, you may begin to notice patterns. For instance, when I first started journaling for emotional eating, I noticed that I felt like I deserved a treat after doing something really stressful or unpleasant. If I was expecting a stressful event, I learned to save my snack so that I could have it after the event was over. This practice kept me from breaking my boundaries. Eventually the truth set me free from that belief and I no longer felt the urge to eat in that situation. Once my beliefs changed, I went back to having my snack whenever I felt like having it. As you noticed in today's journaling examples, I still have the urge to eat to avoid certain situations. However, Pm losing my desire to eat when the situation is

over. I'm beginning to see that I don't deserve a treat whenever I do something

Unpleasant. God is using the truth -not self-control-to change my behavior. I came to

believe the truth through many journaling opportunities created by a lack of self-

control. As we get into the chapters on the emotions, your journal entries will become

more personal so you may want to have a separate journal. If you're worried about

others seeing what you wrote, write your entry on a piece of paper that you can

throw away after you're through writing. Truth journaling takes time, but it's well worth the effort.


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