Day 20: The curse of the skinny jeans

Thought for the Day: Tying our happiness to food, skinny jeans, relationships, or anything else sets us up for failure. But tying our security, joy, and identity to God’s love is an anchor that we can cling to no matter what the circumstances.

Once I reached my goal weight, I thought I’d never have a bad day again. I mean really, what could possibly trouble me if I could fit into my skinny jeans? Boy was I wrong.

A hurtful email showed up … a disrespectful attitude from one of my kids … a missed appointment … a messy house … a stressful situation at work … an unexpected bill. Here I was just hours after feeling thrilled at finally being able to wear my skinny jeans, falling prey to the same topsy-turvy stuff I used to think wouldn’t bother me if only I were smaller. This is the curse of the skinny jeans. The truth I’ve had to realize is that my body size is not tied to my happy. If I was unhappy when I was larger, I’ll still be unhappy when I get smaller.

For years, I tied happiness to my circumstances and hopes for the future. I thought, “I’ll be happy when my father comes back, when I get married, when I have kids, when the economy improves, when I lose those extra pounds…” But even when some of those things came true, I was still dissatisfied. Surely there was more to me than defining myself by my circumstances.

One day I read a list of Bible verses that describe who God says I am, no matter the circumstances in my life, both good and bad. I took that list of Scriptures and started to redefine my identity. It was a stark contrast to the way I defined myself by circumstances or others’ opinions of me. I finally realized that these issues don’t define me. Instead, I could tie my happiness to the reality of who my heavenly Father says I am:

  • Lysa, the forgiven child of God. (Romans 3:24)
  • Lysa, the set-free child of God. (Romans 8:1–2)
  • Lysa, the accepted child of God. (1 Corinthians 1:2)
  • Lysa, the holy child of God. (1 Corinthians 1:30)
  • Lysa, the made-new child of God. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
  • Lysa, the loved child of God. (Ephesians 1:4)
  • Lysa, the close child of God. (Ephesians 2:13)
  • Lysa, the confident child of God. (Ephesians 3:12)
  • Lysa, the victorious child of God. (Romans 8:37)

We were made to be set free, holy, new, loved, and confident. Because of this truth, we can’t allow our minds to partake in anything that negates our real identity. Tying our happiness to food, skinny jeans, relationships, or anything else will only set us up for failure. But tying our security, joy, and identity to God’s love is an anchor that we can cling to no matter what the circumstances.


  1. Oh How I want to believe this!!! I know that God is my everything…………but at this moment I think feeling skinny would just be so wonderful. I really dont think I will ever feel this………….but God does move mountains. Lord help my unbelief!

    • Good Morning Tamara,
      I just want to encourage you. Take the time to allow God to show you why your eating choices are not healthy. Being skinny is not all it’s cracked up to be if your heart isn’t healed. I had lost 110 pounds and yes finally fit into some skinny jeans, but I am still learning who I am in Christ. That I am good enough, period. That I am good enough not because i have lost weight but because God chose me and loves me and has a great purpose in mind for me. My head knows these things but my heart is still learning them and no amount of skinny is good enough if you don’t know these facts in your heart first. I have gained 18 pounds back because I hadn’t learned these truths. However today is a new day. Praise God his mercies are new every morning and I am stepping out to learn (to let my heart learn) who I a really am and How HE sees me.

    • Beth Williams says

      Praying for you sister. Know that no matter what the evil says …. You are “Someone worth dying for” (Mikeschair). God loved you and you alone to go to the cross just for little ol’ you!

      Listen to the song I mentioned and remember the truths Lysa stated.

      Love ya

    • Yes, Our God does move mountains Tamara! I am proof of that still 40 pounds lighter than I was on June 4th 2001! I was actually lower and have sort of teetered back and forth with the last 15 or so pounds and would still love to lose it once and for all but like Lysa here says we need to tie our happy to God not to anything or anyone else. I am still learning and growing closer in my walk with Him daily. Happiness is not an illusion it can be found in Christ alone and I need to remind myself of this truth with every temptation that comes my way. I’m looking for an accountability partner in 2012. If anyone wants to join with me my email is [email protected]
      God Bless you and your’s this coming new year!

    • Woman of God always know that our God will always be with you and as you seek to please Him in every area He strenghtens, heals and delivers us from all the things that hold us back. I pray with you for the victory that is yours. Stand fast in the liberty that Christ has given us. It’s yours. Bless you!

    • I know it’s been 1.5 years since this comment was made, but I have to hop on and say that as a lady who peaked out at 232 lbs I found the love and acceptance through Jesus before ever losing weight. I’m 60 lbs lighter now, and still working on my weight issues, and I’m still secure in knowing my worth doesn’t come from the size cloths I wear or the number on the scale…it comes from God.

      Please know this change of heart was a miracle , and you can have it too. Simply ask and Jesus will answer.

    • sandie webb says

      i UNDERSTAND. I do feel a certain gettiness when I fit into something. But this is not lasting joy. In fact it is not joy at all. I bet when you fit in something you just can’t wait for the first person you see to tell you how good you look–and you probably do. But it is the confidence in the Lord that enables us to be confident useful people in this world. There is nothing wrong in taking care of the “temple” that we are given. But we must be healthy in Spirit as well as the flesh and then we can relish in it all


  2. Shagufta says

    @ Tamara: In the name of Jesus I break the power of any lies that Tamara believes about herself or about God. I cast down all lofty thoughts and imaginations that say that something else can give Tamara greater joy and happiness than God. I pray God’s Kingdom would come and His will would be done in Tamara’s thoughts and in every area of her life.
    Tamara, pray God’s truths out loud. The devil will fight you but you need to put on your spiritual armor (Eph 6:10-18) in order to withstand the devil’s attack, Fight back with God’s truth!

  3. How is everyone doing? Diet- and exercise-wise? Spiritually? I must say this has been a great adventure for me so far. It is really helpful to know that all of you, my dear Sisters, are on the same journey and that we can learn from Lysa’s posts and book, that we can offer support and prayer for each other. I am feeling victorious because I can see some important spiritual truths being absorbed and producing fruit in my life. I know it’s only been a short time and the victory is perhaps not complete yet (one battle vs. war) but I’m on the right track and I’m so thankful to God for this. So, ho has it been for you, Ladies?

    • Sally in TX says

      I’ve worked in several walks since starting this. I even took a walk while my girls were at choir practice. I’ve increased my veggie in take and worked to decrease the sugar. Struggle often, but pray often too. I know I’m right with God when he passes on a compliment from a friend or co-worker. When they do comment, I make sure I give all Glory to God who provided!… and a plug for Made to Crave. 🙂

  4. I really needed this truth today. After five weeks of eating better and moving more the scale finally moved down; then I began to think, “I need to be careful to not gain back what I lost.” How quickly my focus shifted from God and being satisfied in Him to the number on the scale. I began this journey in order to be free from the tyranny of food and to be completely satisfied in God. He has been so gracious when I cry out to Him to fill me. Lord, don’t let me cheapen Your grace.

  5. This is so true because its sad to say but once you overcome one obsticle there is 10 more that come your way. So how you choose to deal with each obsticle depends on your walk in and with the Lord. LA LU all and praying for you.

  6. Cynthia May says

    I don’t know gals. It feels pretty good to get into my skinny jeans. Don’t discount it all together. I have a fave skirt my son gave me last year. It was so tight and uncomfortable in the summer heat. This year it will sit nicely on my hip area. Aaahh!!! Loose and comfortable. There is reward and joy in losing weight and fitting into clothes that make you feel beautiful. That too is a gift from the Lord. Does it mean that is where my happiness klies? No but I can rejoice and be glad in it too!!

  7. I am learning that it is best to find my joy in God! Other people’s perceptions and rumblings do not define me! I’ll choose to add Psalm 139 to the list of scriptures and know that God knows all about me and knows the truth! Here’s praying others will see that truth in me as I continue to journey on this path!

    • Here’s praying that even if other’s don’t see that truth in you because they are unable, thatyou will continue on with your eyes focused on Jesus!

  8. Oh, how I struggle with this!!! I love this message — but if I could only believe it!!! My mornings start with me thinking of how I failed the day before. Negative thoughts haunt me day and night. I wake up at 2:00 a.m. and think of what a failure I am. I have such a hard time making friends and keeping them because of my low self worth. My childhood was filled with criticism, alcohol and dissension. In fact, I spent an a day with my mother a few weeks ago taking my son to college and she reminded me what a ‘bad’ child I had been. My alcoholic father remembers my birthday only because he celebrated my brother’s birthday with him two months after mine. I mean, I am 50 years old!!! When will God’s truth — that I am a child of His, forgiven, loved and a daughter of a king over power these horrible, negative thoughts!!! Food has been the constant. I’m getting better filling my life with God and His words of truth … but will the past ever stop haunting me? By the way .. I’ve been in counseling and it helped tremendously. However, nothing is going to help until I BELIEVE I am worth it!

    • May God richly bless you, Carolyn. Your post touched my heart as I also awake at night at times and feel criticized in my head. I had a great childhood, but a person I deeply loved said a lot of negative things to me. I now believe he was criticized as a child. Perhaps that happened in a parent’s life. We tend to raise children the way we were raised because we don’t know any better. But the good news is God loves you and made you just the way you are to please him. He wants to fellowship with you in the morning so that your day will go well all day. Actually, I just learned this today when I strongly felt God wanting me to get up and meet Him at a place I had chosen to be my place to read the Bible. The sun came in the window and lifted my spirit as I read in Mark about Jesus’ miracles including raising a 12 year old girl from the dead! I really didn’t want to get up, but I’m so glad I did. So besides reading the Bible in the morning, I found it helpful to me to break bread to feel Jesus’ presence and I also drink fruit juice mixed with water and thank Jesus for coming to die for my sins. I really have gained a sense of God’s presence when I do this. Also if I can’t go to sleep I say the Lord’s Prayer and the 23rd Psalm and usually I can fall back to sleep. I also have been talking with someone at church for grief. Perhaps your church has someone who could minister to you. If you don’t have a church, pick one that is close to you and see if it helps to worship with others. When I walk in my neighborhood, I ask God to bless the neighbors I know and the ones I don’t know. I also find if I can be pleasant at the store to people, they are pleasant back. I even fill out forms of appreciation to people at the store, and that encourages me as well that all people are valuable and loved. Try to stay positive, and if you feel those negative feelings ask God to help you to forgive. Then if they come again, you can say to yourself, “I already forgave that.” Then distract yourself by exercise or music or dance or sing and the negative feelings should pass. It may take time, but God sent Jesus so that we may have life and have it more abundantly. Again, God bless you always.

    • You are worth it, I relate to your past thoughts of am I worth it? why did I get this life and parents? God choose your parents and mine too for a reason, we may never know until we meet Jesus but it is all part of his plan for our lives. Love them and realize that the people who hurt you are hurting too. Think about how they were raised and taught, if we really knew where and why they behave the way they do it would explain many things. They are broken that is the bottom line. God is the only one who can fix, heal and yes restore the brokeness in our hearts. My prayers are with you.

    • WOW! @ Carolyn. I feel like I am reading my story. I have lost 84 pounds and have the last 25 to go to reach my goal (and the doctor’s recommendation) weight. I continue to sabatage myself now with the yo-yo syndrome and then the negative thoughts creep in. I have trouble sleeping and feel like I have to wind yself up in the morning to get through the day. I have always been the strong one in the family and right now feel like I am falling apart. No matter what positve reinforcement I get (from work, my fiance or friends) nothing is helping (not even medication) until I believe that I am worth it. Knowing that I am not alone, is a blessing.

    • Carolyn,
      I can SO relate to your story and was JUST this morning reading a book called Trapped in the Mirror, which sheds so much light on the plight of adults who were raised by narcissistic (alcoholic, abusive, self-absorbed, etc) parents. I highly recommend it for your own understanding of the psychology behind why we feel like WE are crazy or defective.
      (Hope, I would recommend it to you also.)
      Eating issues are usually a result of believing in some way that we are not worthy of happiness or love, or God’s peace. The Word assures us otherwise but, at least for me, it helps tremendously to understand HOW we came to believe those untruths so deeply and why it seems SO counter-intuitive to believe that our God created us perfectly and loves us unconditionally. When you look a little deeper into the relationship dynamics that formed your self-perception, I promise you it will be SO much easier to truly believe God when He speaks to you.

      I pray that you will find peace. The scale only shows the outward result of our efforts and can be misleading. Understanding the inside struggle is what is most beneficial, and is why this program is so wonderful.

      Much love to you!!!

    • Caroyn, my name is carol so i am assuming we are spirit sisters by name….i pray for every blessing for you and i know God loves you just the way you are at this moment…you do not have to be perfect for Him…do you have children or a significant other?Do they have to be perfect for you to love them? God is so much more loving than we are so please accept yourself because God does. This works for me. Wear a bracelet or rubberband as a reminder. Everytime you look at it…repeat…i am loveable and capable…when you find yourself thinking negatively..say stop…picture a red stop sign in your brain and then repeat rhe mantra..when we replace negative thoughts with positive thoughts then grace and abundance takes over our lives.dont just wish or want…make it happen..i will pray for you…please pray for me…your sister in christ and name carol

  9. Happiness is an elusive and fickle thing. If we are hoping that the achievement of whatever goal, weight loss or not, will give us happiness, we’ll be disappointed every time. Happiness is not one of the fruits of the Spirit. I wonder if that is because life happens: quarrels with people, being late, the refrigerator breaking down, 10 rainy days straight and you could add to the list. It is within all those things that we choose to live joyfully, resting in our Father’s peace, giving grace to everyone, and trusting in His faithfulness to fill us with His victory. Perhaps in doing that we will be happy. But the sad clouds WILL come. That is when we lean on Jesus. I want to pursue His face and not happiness in and of itself.

    On another note, it has been a few years now that I’ve been wearing the “skinny” jeans. Only now they’re normal and I don’t always “feel” skinny! I still fight the temptation to compare myself to others and get dissatisfied with who the Lord made me, now and then. But the Lord’s voice reassures me: “You are mine. And I couldn’t have made YOU any better. I did my best with you and I love you the way you are. I even sent my son to save YOU!” And I remember all the size 0s and 4s that came in to the clothes store I worked in and picked apart their bodies. Contentement is a daily decision to accept God’s pronouncement that I am made in His image and I am GOOD! He has the last word!

  10. This is really a great website. It is really helping me. I have been try to lose those 25 lbs I have accumulated since I got married 26 years ago. I kept thinking that if I could be back down to 125 my husband would love me like he used to, that instead of facing the rest of my life alone I would have love in my golden years. I know the Lord loves me for who I am, but sometimes it just doesn’t seem to be enough. I hope that I can make it real for me

  11. I’m really glad to see that this is a place of honesty. That people can come here and say what’s REALLY on their minds, and be open about what they’re REALLY feeling and dealing with, despite knowing what the Word says, and not be criticized for not ‘having enough faith’ or not being… i don’t know…’spiritual enough’. It’s beautiful to see that where one sister is struggling, another will come in and pray the Word of God for her situation and encourage her. I’ve got tears in my eyes right now. This place is swesome!!!

    May God’s richest and most abundant blessings overtake you all.

  12. I love the truth in Ephesians Chapter 1 which tells me I am who God says I am. In Christ, I am blessed with every spiritual blessing, chosen before the foundation of the earth, accepted in the Beloved Son of God, adopted as a child of the King, redeemed by the blood of Christ, forgiven by His grace and mercy, and loved with an everlasting love and underneath are the everlasting arms.

    • Jan Rutledge says

      Awesome! I just finished memorizing Ephesians 1 with my accountability partner and was reminded again of the wonderful promises of our Heavenly Father. It’s really incredible how much He loves us.

      I’m leading a group of ladies in my church through the MTC study (my second time through) and we were on the “Skinny Jean” lesson tonight. We all agreed that we’ve had those “if only” thoughts about our weight as well as other things in our lives and acknowledged that we didn’t find “our happy” in those things. We still had that void that only God could fill!

    • Zephaniah 3: 17 “The LORD your God is with you, He is Mighty to Save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”
      When I first heard this verse it was in praise song at church…Couldn’t believe this was in The Word! How I love to sing to the Lord, but to hear and read that the GOD of the UNIVERSE SINGS OVER me? and rejoices? I can hardly conceive it and yet, the more I dig into His promises,. the more He speaks His love to me… These devotionals and your posts have led me to scriptures that have made Him come alive to me like never before. There is strength in us sharing our struggles, but the POWER to change us comes from God and the awesomeness of His unending love. Breathe it is, Sisters. Feast on HIS WORD and He will make you feel satisfied in a way that cupcakes and size 4 clothes never will. He is WITH US in this very moment, when we Call on Him…thank you Jesus that you… (Psalm 143: 7) ” Answer me quickly, O LORD; my spirit fails. Do not hide your face from me or I will be like those who go down to the pit. 8 Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul. 9 Rescue me from my enemies, O LORD, for I hide myself in you. “

      • Wow, Lynette! I had to copy and paste those scriptures to my FB! They really touched my heart this morning where I needed it! Thank you my sister for those wonderful words of edification, I was refreshed in your sharing of them!

      • Thank you, Lynette and all the other responders to this post. Such truth and uplifting words! I have tears in my eyes. God is so very good to share His heart through you precious siblings in Christ. 🙂 God bless you all richly!

  13. I can relate to both Carolyn and Hope , i feel like Carolyns story is my own – i dont know how i stumbled onto this website but i know that what i read feels as if it was meant just for me – i cry as i read all these comments as so many of them reach home – learn a little every day and thank God for all these little lesson to help me om a daily basis – all the posts today are relevant in some way but i think carolyns and Mers are more so – we need to focus on God in order to be able to focus on lives and what God has in plan for each of us – God Bless all

  14. Beth Williams says

    Thank you Lysa for the wonderful truths God has given you to tell us. Once again you put some simple truths down for women to remember.

    I praise God for you andthis study!

  15. Mary Colleen says

    Seeing my identity in the everlasting love of my heavenly Father as His child makes me want to serve and please Him at any cost….victory is sure because we are who He says we are….Thanks Lysa for anchoring us to this truth TODAY. God Bless!

  16. all these posts are so inspiring. Thank you

  17. To help me remember these daily words of wisdom that have helped me so much since I started receiving them I’ve been writing out each one – I guess at my age the memory isn’t so good. But in this email when I got to “Lysa, the forgiven child of God” I experienced such a wonderful tearful moment and instead of Lysa’s name I put my name down and on every subsequent one – Lysa, it was wonderful to write my name on each verse, it felt so personal and God directed to me. Thank you so much. for these emails, you truly are God’s messenger to me, bless you.

  18. Thank you for the reminder that our identity rests in our newness found on Christ and Jesus’ sacrifice rather than our struggles.

  19. My identity and my happiness and joy are in Christ alone!

  20. This is a fresh look on a truth that I have heard over and over again, but haven’t taken to heart. I am so glad to have these scriptures to quote when these lies plague me. This is my biggest struggle.

  21. I thank God for your message today. The scripture took me just where I needed to be. Praise God in all things.

  22. I’m saving this post so I can read it again. The idea of tying my happy to the wrong things is revolutionary to me. I think in theory I believed that my happy had to be tied to Jesus, but in reality, I let so many other things interfere. Obviously, I am an emotional eater., and that is most of why I have struggled with my weight. But that is changing slowly now, as I learn to lean on God for my happy! Thank you Lysa, for helping God reveal this new truth to me!

  23. Patti is on my heart. I know a lady who was told by her husband after 50 years of marriage, “I don’t think I love you anymore.”
    Yes , it was said at a time when he was extremely frustrated . The lady had thought through all the years they had a good loving working marriage and both were born-again Christians. That statement by her husband was like a sledge hammer that broke her heart to pieces. She cried out to Gid and .Jesus answered. In the midst of her crying and tears the Holy Spirit spoke to her and said, I will renew your mind, I will give you a new heart, I will heal your body, and Jesus said I LOVE YOU , LET ME BE YOUR ALL IN ALL.

    God may orchestrate in our lives tragic circumstances to show us His best marital love. The lady reads 1 Cor. 13: 4-8 in a new light. The coup,e is still together because the husband is committed to the marriages and God’s Word and the lady received instructions from the Loed to stay put and make the same commitment even though the human words of ,I love you can’t be said .
    Ecc. 3:2-8 sums it up.

    For 45 out of the now 52 years the lady listened to angry, frustrated remarks of how imperfect she was. The world says , sticks and stones may break your bones but words will never hurt you. That is a lie. God desires that the words of our mouths be acceptable in His sight. Words can destroy other people an create anger, hopelessness, paralization, despondency, hatred.ect. It can be seen why these two people stopped loving each other.

    But God is their hope, His ways are not our ways and He can destroy a love that is not to His best and as Creator of the universe, He can create a new love for this couple even though now darkness surrounds them.

    Patti, there is hope. Hope in Christ and keep doing what He tells you. Sisters, please pray for all marriages that need Godly restoration that He would , “fashion the hearts of them all” . ps. 33:15

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