Being Confident of This

Grace for the work-in-progress woman

The 5th Cookie ~ a Lesson in Boundaries

on February 15, 2015

As my friend tells it, the whole ruckus started over the fifth cookie. We were at Mom’s Group, a small gathering of moms with young children, when her daughter begged for just one more cookie.  But you see, she’d already eaten four others, and my friend was afraid that the preschooler might become physically ill if she ate any more. So, my friend said no like a good mom who is always looking out for her child’s well-being.

However, her daughter saw the “no” as coming from a mean mommy who wanted to limit her fun and pleasure. She wanted that fifth cookie, and she wanted it bad!  How could her mommy deny her such a good thing? A loud power struggle ensued as my embarrassed friend removed her daughter from the room for some discipline.

When my friend recounted the incident later that day during our parenting class, I realized something important – sometimes I’m like the preschooler who wants the fifth cookie!  the fifth cookie lesson in boundaries, when-God-says-no, why-God-says-no, obeying-God-in-what-we-eat, healthy-living, obedience, watching-your-weight, making-healthy-choices, persevering-in-weight-loss We’ve talked before here in this space about how God creates boundaries for us because He loves us, not to keep us from experiencing pleasure or to deny all our wants.  He creates boundaries simply for our own protection, much like my friend, the loving mother.  She said no in order to protect her child, to keep her child from pain of a belly-ache, the harm of the consequence of over-indulging.

In the same way, our Heavenly Father lays out boundaries in His word in order to protect us, to keep us from harmful consequences. I’d like to pretend that those boundaries are for really “serious” sins like murder, stealing, sexual immorality, idolatry, blasphemy, and so forth. But the truth is that the boundaries are for so-called “little” sins, too.

Even sins like over-eating.

Yes, sometimes I’m the preschooler who wants the fifth cookie, but the Holy Spirit tells me no. Then it’s my choice whether or not to heed that boundary that the Father has put into place for my own protection. You see, He knows the ultimate consequences of the fifth cookie – not just the extra weight, but the potential health risks that go along with it.  Even more, He knows what that lack of self-control says about the condition of my heart!

When I’m just dying for the fifth cookie, or the slice of pizza, or the brownie, or the glass of cherry coke, I’m allowing myself to be ruled by food, by pleasure. Our Father isn’t content that I should be a slave to food, nor to any other earthly thing (or person). He sent His one and only Son just for this – to set us free!

I know one area that I’ve not allowed Him into in the past is my fat girl insecurities, but He wants to set me free from that, too.

I long for this freedom, don’t you, my sisters in Christ?

I shared earlier this year about my one word – persevere. When I chose this word (or when it was chosen for me), I knew that one area in which I needed to persevere most was in this area of healthy eating and healthy living. I’ve bought into the lie that I cannot change these habits for too long now.

1 Cor. 10:13  No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful;he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

The Father is setting new boundaries for me, and sometimes I don’t like it. Like the preschooler, I fight it. I fight Him. I justify that one more bite won’t hurt. One more cookie will be okay. Surely my Father wouldn’t deny me this simple pleasure, right?  After all, I have freedom in Christ for all things, yes? Don’t fall for those lies, sister. Don’t be Eve in the garden, taking just one bite of juicy, forbidden fruit! the fifth cookie lessons in boundaries, God's-boundaries-for-our-good, why-God's-boundaries-are-for-our-benefit, over-weight, healthy-living, healthy choices, obedience

If I’m crossing the boundary in having that fifth cookie (or third, or maybe even the very first one!), then I’m opening myself up to all of those consequences that He so desperately wants to keep me from. 

Maybe you don’t struggle with food, my sisters in Christ, but I’m sure you struggle with His boundaries in another area – loving others? obedience? abiding in Him? keeping your thoughts pure? respecting your husband? being patient with your children?  honoring Christ every day (not just on Sundays)?

That fifth cookie, that movie you’re dying to see, that strong word bursting forth from your mouth, that stray thought, that questionable relationship, that extra sleep – whatever it is that keeps us from the abundant good He has planned for our lives becomes evil, quickly becomes slavery. His plan is better, sisters.

1 Cor. 10:23  “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial.“I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive.

Whatever your struggle might be, recognize that our Father lays out your boundaries because He loves you, because He wishes to protect you from harm!  Remember that you have the power of Christ in you – the ability to overcome! the fifth cookie lesson in boundaries, why-God-gives-us-boundaries, boundaries-for-our-own-protection, weight-issues, healthy-eating, trying-to-lose-weight, obey I’m learning that this food battle is going to be just that – a real war. I need His strength to persevere. I need His will-power to say no to the fifth cookie, even if My Fitness Pal says I have still have calories left in the day. 😉

I must be sensitive to the Holy Spirit and rely on His leading moment by moment. One day at a time. That’s how I’ll persevere in this area of healthy living.

By His strength and grace alone!

Jen 🙂

Related articles:

Fat Girl Insecurities

Fighting Weight-loss Failure

Sharing with: Grace and Truth, Tell His Story, The Mommy Club, Wedded Wednesday, Fellowship Friday


13 responses to “The 5th Cookie ~ a Lesson in Boundaries

  1. Jen, such practical truth you have shared. Whenever God sets boundaries, Satan will always try to move the boundary marker. Always. I’m reminded of Psalm 16:6 ~ The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.

    When we stay within our boundaries, God has a delightful inheritance for us. When we seek, or when we allow Satan to move the boundaries, we lose or miss out on the inheritance that God intends to bless us.

  2. Kelli Moore says:

    Well, God certainly knew that I needed to “stumble” upon this post today. Thank you for your honesty and for bringing it straight to the heart of the matter. Either God comes first – or our desires. I so needed that reminder. I love your quote – He is protecting us from evil. He doesn’t want me to overeat because it isn’t good for my body. Not because He just likes to watch me suffer. And He is more than enough to fill us – if I let Him. Thanks so much. Visiting from Women of Wisdom.

    • It might surprise you to know that each time someone comments on this post, it brings a much needed reminder to my heart, too, haha. God certainly knew what He was doing when He prompted these words here. 😉 I love how succinctly you worded it – either God or self. It’s one or the other – no middle ground. Thanks for stopping by!
      Jen 🙂

  3. Your words are good “food for thought” – and I fight that 5th cookie – especially with food, too. Self discipline is often the hardest discipline! Standing with you to set healthy physical and spiritual boundaries!!!

    • Hi, Maryleigh! 🙂 So glad to hear you are standing with me! I agree, self-discipline is difficult. I know our Father will be faithful in continuing that work-in-progress within us!
      Jen 🙂

  4. Rebekah says:

    I love this, Jen – so much good truth in your words here! I long for boundaries in life, but find myself always wanting to challenge the boundaries. Why?! Why can’t I just figure out how to stay within the confines that the Lord lovinginly sets for me? This definitely keeps me trusting Jesus! Thanks, friend!

    • Haha, why? Because it’s human nature, more specifically, sin nature to want to push those boundaries. We don’t like being bossed around! 😉 It really does come back to trusting Him – that if He sets a boundary, it is only for our our benefit. Love you, friend!
      Jen 🙂

  5. Great analogy, Jen. I admit, I am very much like that toddler…I not only want it, but I don’t even ask. I just take it, and take my punishment later when I can’t fit into my clothes. Then that becomes another issue…sigh.

    • Mary, what an excellent point – we often don’t even ask. Ughhh, I’m definitely guilty of that at times. I love what you said, too, about taking the punishment. We have a child who had the same mindset as a todler. Disobedience was worth the punishment to him because he got his own way. Hmm, I’m going to be thinking on that one! Thanks for the great insight.
      Jen 🙂

  6. […] The 5th Cookie ~ a Lesson in Boundaries Feb […]

  7. pkstew2 says:

    Persevere is a great word. One I definitely need to work on in my food struggles too. Thanks for a great #equippingwomen post. Have a great weekend, Kim Stewart

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