Book Review: Made to Crave Action Plan Participant’s Guide

A few weeks ago I went through Made to Crave (linked to my review) by Lisa TerKeurst during an online study with the Proverbs 31 Ministries. After completing that book, they MadetoCraveActionPlanPGdecided to go through the Made to Crave Action Plan video series and workbook, so I signed up for that as well. The videos were only online for a week at a time (the rest of their posts on the series are here). This is a different series from one made to go along with the original book: this one was co-authored by a Dr. Ski Chilton.

Each video had an introduction by Lysa, a clip of her speaking about a couple of spiritual principles, a brief time of discussion with Dr. Chilton, closing remarks by Lysa, and then a testimony from someone who had benefited from the Made to Crave book.

The first Made to Crave book was primarily about “want to,” motivation to control impulses and get healthy, primarily spiritual motivation: this book purported to discuss more of the “how to.” They did not discuss a specific diet plan, but rather principles like drinking water, eating more fiber, exercising, taking Omega 3 and polyphenols, increasing fish, fruit, and vegetable consumption.

To me the biggest value in this book is the section of action plans in each chapter: readers were encouraged to look through various activities, choose one or two, and then work through them by the following week. Some focused on the spiritual principles, some on the physical. there are also a number of valuable charts and worksheets.

I didn’t know, until this book, that not all fish is good for you or what Omega 3s and polyphenols were all about.

Some of the quotes or principles I found especially helpful are:

“Temptation is Satan’s invitation to get our needs met his way rather than God’s way” (p. 63).

“Hidden behind a temptation is often a legitimate human need. The challenge comes in how we choose to meet that need…How do you imagine God might want to meet the legitimate need behind the temptation?” (p. 67).

Commenting on James 1:2-4 (Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing): “We have to consider it because we won’t always feel it. When we consider something, we take time to think about it carefully. We concentrate on the issue and weigh the possibilities before taking any course of action” (p. 129).

““Between any trial and the blessing that comes from that trial, there is a pathway we must walk — that pathway is perseverance. Perseverance means having an urgency, firmness, resolve, and consistency.”

There were a few places, however, where I disagreed. One is where Dr. Chilton speaks about how the food industry and lifestyles have changed over the years and how that makes it harder to make wise nutritional choices: he then says, “It’s not your fault. You are not bad, horrible, and lazy.” Actually, making wrong food choices is our fault, and we have to take the responsibility to make better choices even though it might be harder.

In another, Lysa told her pastor she was afraid of of “letting God down” by failing in her journey toward better health. her pastor replied, “You can’t let God down. You weren’t holding Him up in the first place.” She thought that was great, but I thought it was flippant and unhelpful. I wrote more about this here, but in the same place I think I would have appreciated reassurances that God knows we’re going to fail, but He wants us to seek His grace for forgiveness and getting up again, etc.

In another, Lysa read a letter from someone talking about having trouble exercising regularly because she was lazy. Lysa spoke a great deal about lazy being a label the devil puts on us to discourage us and tells the writer that we’re not lazy, we’re courageous. I thought this missed the mark as well: the writer was probably speaking from past experience, and, again, if I were in her place and said that, I probably would have been looking for help to overcome that inertia to get moving and then to stay with it. Maybe thinking of laziness as a label helps other people. To me it doesn’t help to discuss it as a label when I know it is a reality (for myself.)

To me these were more a matter of being a bit off base rather than major doctrinal flaws. Overall I thought the book and videos were very helpful. I probably would not have bought the series, but since the videos were available for a while for this study, I’m glad I had the opportunity to go through them.

(This will also be linked to Semicolon‘s Saturday Review of Books.)

Book Review: Made to Crave

Made to CraveMade to Crave by Lysa TerKeurst caught my eye a couple of years ago when a numbers of bloggers spoke highly of it. I was interested, but I thought from the title that it probably focused more on the emotional side of eating, like another book I read. I knew that was one factor in my problem with weight, but it wasn’t the only factor. I forgot about it until the e-reader version showed up either free or just a couple of dollars for the Kindle app last year. I got it then, but still didn’t crack it open. Then I saw on one of my friend Kim‘s posts that the Proverbs 31 Ministries, was hosting a six-week Bible study using Made to Crave, so I thought this would be an ideal time to read the book. The study just concluded last week. I’ve been jotting chapter notes here.

The book chronicles Lysa’s journey from being almost 200 lbs. down to a healthier weight. She discovered along the way that losing weight is not just a physical issue, but also a spiritual and mental one. The subtitle of the book is Satisfying Your Deepest Desire with God, Not Food. She explains that the Greek word translated “seek” in Matthew 6:33 is the word for “crave.” She says of the rich young ruler, who wanted to follow Jesus until Jesus asked him to sell his possessions and give to the poor. “Jesus didn’t mean this as a sweeping command for everyone who has a lot of money. Jesus meant this for any of us who wallow in whatever abundance we have. I imagine Jesus looked straight into this young man’s soul and said, ‘I want you to give up the one thing you crave more than me. Then come, follow me.'”

“When Jesus says, ‘Follow me,’ it’s not an invitation to drag our divided heart alongside us as we attempt to follow hard after God. When Jesus wants us to follow Him – really follow Him – it’s serious business. Here’s how Jesus describes it: ‘If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me’ (Mark 8:34).”

“God never intended us to want anything more than we want Him. Just the slightest glimpse into His Word proves that, Look at what the Bible says about God’s chosen people, the Israelites, when they wanted food more than they wanted God: ‘They willfully put God to the test by demanding the food they craved’ (Psalm 78:18). Yikes” (p. 28K). Those who did so never made it to the Promised Land, but wandered in the wilderness the rest of their lives.

There are multitudes of spiritual principles discussed throughout the book, but there are physical ones as well, such as the fact (proven through research) that junk foods are addicting and do make one feel less full. Some people seem to be able to eat them with no problems – some people seem to be able to eat an abundance of foods with no problem – and we struggle with that feeling unfair, but we can’t compare ourselves to others and think, “If they can eat it, I should be able to as well.” If “they” don’t have issues with food, they have issues with something.

She gives mental tips, too (which overlap somewhat with the spiritual), such as have go-to scripts for certain situations to change the mental processes we’re used to and concentrating on what we’re gaining while going through this process rather than what we’re giving up.

Something that really stood out to me from the first chapter was the observation that Eve fell while surrounded by plenty: Jesus stood strong while in a deprived state of having fasted 40 days and nights. When I feel “deprived,” that’s no excuse to give way to temptation. “He quoted God’s Word. And so can we. When we feel deprived and frustrated and consumed with wanting unhealthy choices, we too can rely on God’s Word to help us.”

Another standout (among many) was the application of I Corinthians 10:12-13: “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” The “way out” the Lord provided for Lysa, she says, was deciding in advance what she will and won’t have that day. I have to admit, when I think of the “way out,” I think more of God coming to my rescue with supernatural strength and reminders of His truth rather than this kind of thing, but He does also say “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (I Corinthians 10:5), and planning is part of doing that. In Israel’s battles, sometimes God supernaturally intervened, and sometimes they had to take up their swords and fight in reliance on Him. When God gives me that “sword” with His promise of help and grace, I’m to use it while relying on His grace and strength, not wait for Him to do the battle for me.

I didn’t quite agree with every little application or illustration (the most serious disagreement was when she was asked how to grow close to God and she replied, “By making the choice to deny ourselves something that is permissible but not beneficial. And making this intentional sacrifice for the sole purpose of growing closer to God. After all, Jesus Himself said, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me’ (Luke 9:23).” I don’t think that’s what I would answer if someone asked me how to draw close to God. I think I would have encouraged being in the Word and praying as well as dealing with any sin in the life and yielding our wills to His. I can see people taking this premise of denying something permissible and running with it beyond anything God intended). But overall I benefited greatly from the book and would highly recommend it to anyone.

This will also be linked to Semicolon‘s Saturday Review of Books.)

Made to Crave Bible Study

Made to CraveSome months ago I saw that Made to Crave: Satisfying Your Deepest Desire With God, Not Food by Lisa TerKeurst was free or only a couple of dollars for Kindle apps at the time. I had seen many around the Internet say good things about it, so I bought it, and it lay languishing with all my other Kindle purchases. 🙂 But I saw a note on my friend Kim’s blog that the Proverbs 31 Ministries was hosting a Bible study using Made to Crave beginning this week, so I signed up for it as a way to motivate myself to get into the book.

Several years ago I started a different blog, I Corinthians 10:31, to deal with weight loss issues because I didn’t want that subject to take over here. I decided to post my thoughts or things that stood out to me in each chapter of Made To Crave over there, again, so it doesn’t take up so much space here (we’re doing three chapters this first week; I don’t know if we’ll keep that pace throughout). I will probably post a general review of the book here when I finish it, but if you’re interested in following along with the individual chapters, they’re there under the label Made to Crave study.

I don’t think it’s too late to join in the online Made to Crave study at Proverbs 31 Ministries if anyone is interested – we’re only on the second chapter today. I’m not sure if I will stay with the study there, as there is a little more hoopla than I like, but I know some people go for that. The “extras” – Twitter parties and such – are not required to participate in the study: they’re just there for people who want those extras. But whether I continue with that particular venue or not, I will continue with the book and jotting notes on each chapter at I Corinthians 10:31.