Sunday, December 10, 2017

Hug Me! Do We Fight Our Help?




I love this adorable cartoon post.


Dinosaur number one pleads, “Hug me!” to Dinosaur number two, who responds, “I’m trying.”

I immediately thought of the “fighting your help” principle, both on the recovery front and the much larger spiritual playing field.

Many of us struggling with addictions, disorders and vices often employ a lot of self-sabotage when it comes to interaction and, yes, actual help.

We reiterate such statements as...

“I’m worthless.”

“I’m unlovable.”

“I’ve made too many mistakes.”

With those statements, we push others away; we fight our help.

And, of course, we do this with God.

Why else, perhaps, does there exist this scripture, were it not for this resisting attitude?

“How often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing.”

Matthew 23:37

To paraphrase and play with Matthew 26:41, “God, the Spirit, is willing, but we, the flesh, are weak.”

Scripture, indeed, gives us ample evidence we are loved by a Creator Who desires to heal and help us...

“The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, ‘Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.’”

Jeremiah 31:3

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go: I will guide you with My eye.”

Psalm 32:8

“… I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears: behold, I will heal you…”

2 Kings 20:5

“‘If You will, Thou canst make me clean.’ And He (Jesus) stretched out His hand and touched him, saying, ‘I am willing; be clean.’”

Luke 5:12-13

And it’s that last one, in particular, which calls into question the equally precise question, “Do we want that help?”

 “…‘Do you want to get well?’"

John 5:6

Squirming yet?

This question, uttered by our Messiah, cuts through all of the physical, emotional, situational and spiritual red tape.

Do we want to be healed? Do we?

Often, let’s be honest, that answer is “no.”

And the best we can hope for is the double minded, wishy-washy perspective of “wanting our cake and eating it too.”

Yeah, I know. This is the wonderful perplexity of addict land.

(Please keeps your arms in the vehicle at all times during our tour).

Addiction pulls on us so much of the time because it, quite honestly, feels like love. It feels warm, safe, nurturing, rewarding, encouraging, euphoric and empowering. It feels like all of the things we wish love could actually be to us.

Yet, because addiction is only a counterfeit to actual love, let alone, God’s love, inevitably, we are left wanting and disappointed when our “true love” failed to deliver on its “solution” promise.

“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. We love him, because he first loved us.”

1 John 4:18-19

So, now we have trust issues. Now we are faced with another question, “Do we trust love?”

And again, all too often the answer is “no.”

So, tightly, we hold onto our addiction; forcefully, we push away any and all help, God included.

Again, just like our cute dinosaur friends...

“Hug me!”

“I’m trying.”

Here we are, at a crossroads. How do we truly view the “I’m trying” response from the Source of all help?

Do we believe He is willing and able to be our Alpha and Omega?

“And he said unto me, ‘It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.’”

Revelation 21:6

Upon studying our little dinosaur conversation, I zoomed in on the arms. We have to acknowledge the arms. Look at those suckers.

 Indeed, there has been much discussion and humor about how these fierce prehistoric creatures couldn’t even pick up their prey with those short little limbs.

And this discussion about short arms brings us back to the God element of things.

We are confronted with two seemingly, diametrically opposing sentiments.

 On the one “hand...”

 “Behold, the LORD'S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear.”

Isaiah 59:1

Yet, on the other “hand...”

“How often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing.”

Matthew 23:37

Huh? Well, which one is it?

Answer: both.

For this brings to light the joint venture of our recovery. It is part us, part God. One without the other cannot facilitate healing. We cannot cure ourselves independently. Likewise, we cannot opt out of participation and expect better health either.

And, while God can do anything/everything, He does not go against our free will, even when that free will “fights our help.”

So, we have the dilemma, the constant challenge of what we believe, why we believe it and the results of how those mindsets fight or help Divine intervention and recovery in our lives.

I know. It is maddening. It is...human...

But again, if we return to the “I’m trying” response in the dinosaur conversation, we see the willingness is there.

Remember willingness?

“‘If You will, Thou canst make me clean.’ And He (Jesus) stretched out His hand and touched him, saying, ‘I am willing; be clean.’”

Luke 5:12-13

1 John further backs this up...

 “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.”

1 John 5:14-15

God wants to love us. God wants to help us. God wants to heal us.

“Hug me!”

“I’m trying.”

“‘If You will, Thou canst make me clean.’

... ‘I am willing; be clean.’”

Do we fight the Truth or embrace it?

Are we the ones who need to “hug back?”

Copyright © 2017 by Sheryle Cruse


Addiction: The Dissolving Cotton Candy




I am a sucker for all things cute; therefore, I frequently find myself checking out various animal gifs online.

A recent one which captivated my attention was of a raccoon and some cotton candy. Has anyone else seen it?

A raccoon grabs a significant hunk of cotton candy and, like raccoons are prone to do, quickly rushes to a water source to “wash it” before eating it.

And then hard, cruel reality presents itself: the cotton candy dissolves in the water, instantly slipping through the little guy’s tiny hands, distressing and confusing our friend. You can almost hear him cry, “No! No! Come back!”

This gif made me think about addiction. We are, in essence, this little raccoon, aren’t we? We decide on and chase our cotton candy addiction, convinced it will satisfy us. And then, somehow, right before our eyes, its solution promise dissolves. It didn’t deliver; it didn’t last.

“Go and cry unto the gods which ye have chosen; let them deliver you in the time of your tribulation.”

Judges 10:14

And, here we are, left confused and lost. Now what do we do?

Well, cue God, right?

“Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”

Isaiah 41:10

But, do we?

That seems to be the dilemma.

Here’s where Eve, a raccoon and each of us all share something in common...

“And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes...”

Genesis 3:6

One can argue the phrase “eye candy” started here.

 (I know, bad pun, bad pun).

Still, we seem to be captivated with the beautiful, alluring object of our affection. It somehow sells us on the answer of eternal satisfaction, love, happiness and freedom from pain and fear.

And so, going with that hard sell, we soon find it in our hands, attempting to hold it forever, allowing it to make everything right in our lives.

But, no matter how hard we try to hang on, it dissolves in the midst of our beings. We try to grasp and chase, but it is gone. We torture ourselves by asking questions like “What could I have done to make it last?”

Answer: nothing.

That’s a difficult answer to hear, let alone, accept.

Yet, accept we must. It’s the bedrock of the Twelve Steps:

Step number one...

We admitted we were powerless over our addiction/compulsion - that our lives had become unmanageable.

Step number two...

We came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

Step number three...

We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

Step number eleven...

We sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

Step number twelve...

Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

So, yes, Psalm 118:8-9 is in full effect...

"It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.
It is better to trust in the LORD  than to put confidence in princes."


No, God is not cotton candy. Or, more specifically...

God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? Or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good.”

Numbers 23:19

We are not to trust anything manmade. And, let’s face it, our addictions are manmade: they are faulty, imperfect human interpretations of what God should be to us. We craft them for ourselves because we operate under the delusion that they work.

They don’t.

Again, what happened as the raccoon tried to wash his cotton candy?

“What profiteth the graven image that the maker thereof hath graven it; the molten image, and a teacher of lies, that the maker of his work trusteth therein, to make dumb idols? Woe unto him that saith to the wood, Awake; to the dumb stone, Arise, it shall teach! Behold, it is laid over with gold and silver, and there is no breath at all in the midst of it.”

Habakkuk 2:18-19

Repeatedly, through failure after failure, we see how our trusted answers did not come through. There were never meant to do so.

Only God...

"For the LORD will be your confidence,
And will keep your foot from being caught."
Proverbs 3:26

He is not a man that He should lie...

And He is not cotton candy, that He should disappear.

Let’s, therefore, learn from the raccoon- and face the reality of our own cotton candy, whatever it may be.



Copyright © 2017 by Sheryle Cruse


Hungry Hungry Hippos




When I was a kid, one of my favorite games was “hungry hungry hippos.”

Ever played it? The goal was to have your hippo, one of four, devour as many of the marbles, positioned in the center of the game, as possible. By the press of the handy dandy levers, each player could control his/her own hippo head and chomp away as the feeding frenzy started.

Fun and games, gluttony and appetite...

Playing that kid’s game started me thinking more and more about these hot button words. They drive disorders and addictions. I know that as someone who’s in recovery from eating disorders of all types, they certainly were giant hippo heads chomping at my life.

Gluttony’s definition lists itself as an “excess in eating or drinking, greedy or excessive indulgence.”

And let’s not forget about the fun word, “appetite,” describing itself as “an instinctive physical desire, especially one for food or drink, a strong wish or urge.”

So, with that, we’re off and running. Chomp away!

Yet we rarely recognize exactly what we’re doing until it’s too late.

“For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice: but what I hate, that I do.”

Romans 7:15

This would probably be a great time to mention I broke OFF one of my hippos’ heads while playing the game as a kid.

Ideally, the game wasn’t supposed to go like this. We children were supposed to play nicely, reasonably chomping for marbles. But inevitably, I got impatient and carried away. It was world domination time. And so, my chomping became faster and harder, snapping for every white marble, bashing heads with another hippo. The loud clatter made my mother come out of the kitchen, just to make sure we weren’t destroying the furniture.

So, the fury intensified until one head bash or marble chomp too many launched my hippo head through the living room. I was now headless and powerless, all because of my marble-hungry attitude.

But there’s nothing new under the sun, according to Ecclesiastes. Once upon a time, just like the kid’s game, there were some clear instructions provided on how to play:

 “And the LORD God commanded the man, saying,’ Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.’”

Genesis 2:16-17

But then temptation came in. It may or may not have even been triggered by trauma. Nevertheless, it was influenced by dissatisfaction, greed and a large dose of cluelessness...

 Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, ‘Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?’ And the woman said unto the serpent, ‘We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.’ And the serpent said unto the woman, ‘Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.’”

Genesis 3:1-5

“And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.”

Genesis 3:6

Eating the apple or obsessively playing a game? Same thing driving it- the “gimme more” demand.

So, now we have blurry guidelines, impulsive decision making and confusion...

 “For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice: but what I hate, that I do.”

Romans 7:15

Wonderful. We go after our cravings, compulsions and addictions and we lose our way.

“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way...”

Isaiah 53:6

We just keep chasing our appetites, no matter that doing so brings ruin...

“Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.”

James 1:15

And lookie here, we get still more confused...

“For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice: but what I hate, that I do.”

Romans 7:15

Just like Adam and Eve, we also eventually decide to blame God or someone/something else...



Genesis 3:12-13

Now we get it ALL wrong! If there’s any confusion going on, it is not coming from God.

 “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.”

1 Corinthians 14:33

We’re the ones who bring the disorder; we choose to recklessly play “Hungry Hungry Hippos” until our heads come off and our life game breaks.

We don’t fully get we are in a battle, especially if our chosen war toy is something notoriously irresistible, like drugs, alcohol or food. If something remotely looks like a fun or a soothing option, we tend to stick with it.

But, make no mistake about it, according to Romans 7, we are at war.

“But I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin.”

Romans 7:23-25

However, the answer is found within that war, even in spite OF the war: God.

Shocker!

He’s not intimidated or blindsided by our struggles. He knows what’s going on.

“Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall. No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.”

1 Corinthians 10:12-13

“For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.”

Psalms 103:14

And, just like how He responded to Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:14-19; Genesis 3:23-24), He still chooses NOT to pulverize us.

Does that stop us from encountering some consequences? No. Does that mean we’re hopeless? No. It means we need to turn our hunger, even our hungry hungry hippo hunger, in a different direction: to HIM.  

“For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.”

Psalms 107:9

There’s a temptation to do a serious eye roll here; it seems too Pollyanna to be true. I know. But let’s stick with the scripture for a second, even in the middle of our battle weary, out of control selves.

And one more thing about battle...the battle is God’s...

Proverbs 21:31 is an often quoted scripture, especially when it comes to trials: “the battle is the Lord’s.”

However, when I did some study on the scripture, what I came across was not the word “battle,” but “victory or “safety” instead. Check out some translations.

New International Version:
“The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but victory rests with the LORD.”

New American Standard Bible:
“The horse is prepared for the day of battle, But victory belongs to the LORD.”

American King James Version:
“The horse is prepared against the day of battle: but safety is of the LORD.”

Douay-Rheims Bible:
“The horse is prepared for the day of battle: but the Lord giveth safety.”

In all of our fury, desperation, appetites and drives, we still, however, often skip over God. And we could be chomping at the bit at Him!

 ...‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’

Matthew 22:37

Furthermore, there’s this little ditty from God to us...

“‘Since you were precious in my sight… I have loved you…’”

Isaiah 43:4

So, the next time we’re hungry, in battle, struggling or resembling a chomping hippo in any way, it might do us some good to remember the winning of the battle has less to do with our performance and more to do with our willingness to let God be God.

“Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.”

Romans 8:37

Recovery speak often calls it a moment of “surrender” or “clarity.”

What if we simply called it being hungry for God?

“For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.”

Psalms 107:9

No hippo heads required.

Copyright © 2017 by Sheryle Cruse


My Best Enemy






"Self-acceptance is my refusal to be in an adversarial relationship to myself."
 Nathaniel Brand



 “I’m my own worst enemy.”



Isn’t that how the saying goes?



Yet, for a lot of us, perhaps, there’s a more accurate phrase by which we live:



“I’m my own best enemy.”



We get a payoff for self-loathing, judging and berating ourselves.



“But mine enemies are lively, and they are strong: and they that hate me wrongfully are multiplied.”

Psalms 38:19



It can give us a license to continue our self-destructive ways. Yeah, yeah, yeah, we’re so awful, so unworthy, so ugly, so unlovable. Therefore no one, not others, not God and not ourselves should require anything more of us, right?



Wrong.



But we love to revel in being wrong.



And, come on, it takes far less hard work to hate than love, to reject than accept, to destroy rather than to build.



So, we often take this path of least resistance. We create and nurture our own best enemies, be they addictive behaviors, disorders or unhealthy choices.



However, it’s not hopeless.



After all, we have God- and His perspective on enemies:



 “Ye have heard that it hath been said, ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy.’ But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”

Matthew 5:43-48



“But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloak forbid not to take thy coat also. Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again. And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same. And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.”

Luke 6:27-36



I know, I know. It’s a tall order. I guess these scriptures fall under the heading of Isaiah 55

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.”

Isaiah 55:8-9



His thoughts, our thoughts. But here’s the things about God’s thoughts: there’s nothing enemy about ‘em…



“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

Jeremiah 29:11



So, nine times out of ten, if there is an enemy in our midst, it’s coming from us. We are our own worst/best enemy.



And again, that would be completely hopeless, were it not for one thing: God (Thank God)!



And His different perspective on the enemy issue. God doesn’t seemed to be intimidated by it at all.



He appears to have a plan, even while our enemies, outside ones or self-inflicted, are creating havoc in our lives.

“Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.”

Psalms 23:5



In fact, there’s even some built-in reconciliation going on there, in spite of us…



“For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.”

Romans 5:10



 With that being said, however, there’s still some work which needs to be done on our part; we’re responsible for our thoughts and their impact on us:



“For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he...”

Proverbs 23:7



“Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.”

Proverbs 18:21



It’s not entirely up to us; after all, there’s God. But we DO need to accept responsibility for our part in the behaviors.



We need to get honest with the unflattering reality.



 And then, it’s up to us to choose what we’ll do from then on…



“I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live.”



Deuteronomy 30:19



“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

Philippians 4:8



And so, once again, concerning our self-destructive thoughts and behaviors, be

they addictions, disorders or compulsions, we can purposely concentrate on viewing ourselves differently. We can choose NOT to be our own worst/best enemy.

As one recovered from disordered eating, these affirmations are just a sampling of positive affirmations.



Body Image Links


20 WAYS TO LOVE YOUR BODY!!
Compiled by Margo Maine, Ph. D.



  1. Think of your body as the vehicle to your dreams. Honor it. Respect it. Fuel it.
  2. Create a list of all the things your body lets you do. Read it and add to it often.
  3. Become aware of what your body can do each day. Remember it is the instrument of your life, not just an ornament.
  4. Create a list of people you admire: people who have contributed to your life, your community, or the world. Consider whether their appearance was important to their success and accomplishments.
  5. Walk with your head held high, supported by pride and confidence in yourself as a person.
  6. Don't let your weight or shape keep you from activities that you enjoy.
  7. Wear comfortable clothes that you like and that feel good to your body.
  8. Count your blessings, not your blemishes.
  9. Think about all the things you could accomplish with the time and energy you currently spend worrying about your body and appearance. Try one!
  10. Be your body's friend and supporter, not its enemy.
  11. Consider this: your skin replaces itself once a month, your stomach lining every five days, your liver every six weeks, and your skeleton every three months. Your body is extraordinary--begin to respect and appreciate it.
  12. Every morning when you wake up, thank your body for resting and rejuvenating itself so you can enjoy the day.
  13. Every evening when you go to bed, tell your body how much you appreciate what it has allowed you to do throughout the day.
  14. Find a method of exercise that you enjoy and do it regularly. Don't exercise to lose weight or to fight your body. Do it to make your body healthy and strong and because it makes you feel good.
  15. Think back to a time in your life when you felt good about your body. Tell yourself you can feel like that again, even in this body at this age.
  16. Keep a list of 10 positive things about yourself--without mentioning your appearance. Add to it!
  17. Put a sign on each of your mirrors saying, "I'm beautiful inside and out."
  18. Choose to find the beauty in the world and in yourself.
  19. Start saying to yourself, "Life is too short to waste my time hating my body this way."
  20. Eat when you are hungry. Rest when you are tired. Surround yourself with people that remind you of your inner strength and beauty.

Reprinted with permission from the National Eating Disorders Association. For more information: www.NationalEatingDisorders.org.

Scripture gets right to the point…



“What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?”



Romans 8:31



God’s not our enemy. But if WE are our own notorious adversary, what are WE going to do about that?



Copyright © 2017 by Sheryle Cruse










The Problem With Ethereal




“ …‘the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.’”

1 Samuel 16:7

This time of year assaults us with the obvious “too much” of the holiday season: red and green, Santas, nativity scenes, silver bells and sensory overload at every turn.

This time of year, we also see the abundance of angels. It’s almost as much of an association with Christmas as the Baby Jesus Himself.

“And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.’”

Luke 2:13-14

Indeed, angels are everywhere throughout Scripture:

“For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.”

Psalm 91:11

“The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity.”

Matthew 13:41

 “And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”

Matthew 24:31

 “And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.”

John 1:51

“Seraphim stood above Him, each having six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.”

Isaiah 6:2-4

Angels, angels, everywhere.


 And, in and of itself, that’s okay. However, things can go wonky when we come to the table with our own thoughts about anything, angels included.

Now we’re in my domain. Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve been obsessed with angels. It had nothing to do with them being messengers of God. C’mon, let’s be real. It did, however, have everything to do with their beauty. As a little girl, what wasn’t to love about them? The silky, (usually blonde) flowing hair, the beautiful glowing faces, the exquisite wings and gowns, often trimmed with gold. Angels are beautiful. We’re drawn in, transfixed. And some of us even create beauty templates based upon those images. I did.

At the height of my anorexia, I strove to weigh as little as possible, to embody a fragile image. Emaciated equaled fragile; fragile equaled ethereal. And ethereal equaled beautiful. There have been, after, no overweight angels (with the exception of cherubs), unless used for some kind of comic effect. Indeed, when it comes to reverential depiction of holiness and all things God, angels are beautiful; they are ethereal.

 Again, in and of itself, nothing wrong with that.

But all ethereal is not good ethereal. Or, as 2 Corinthians 11:14 puts it…

“And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.”

Yikes.

Yes, for some of us out there, a beautiful, delicate appearance may hide an ugly and dangerous reality. Especially when it concerns anorexia. For me, it did not take long for peoples’ comments of “Sheryle, you’re thin” or “Sheryle, you’ve lost weight” to go from a compliment to worried statement. And a delicate aesthetic soon turned into a life-threatening reality. If 100 pounds was ethereal, how much more would 90 pounds or lower be? You see the mind game in full effect, don’t you?

And I played that game, never realizing how I was already amazing, beautiful and destined for God’s purpose.

…I am fearfully and wonderfully made…”

Psalm 139:14

“Behold, thou art fair, my love; behold, thou art fair; thou hast doves' eyes.”

Song of Solomon 1:15

“O my dove…let me see your form…for your form is lovely.”

Song of Solomon 2:14

“Thou art all fair, my love; there is no spot in thee.”

Song of Solomon 4:7



“…being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.”

Philippians 1:6

No angelic resemblance required.

And speaking of angelic resemblance, look again at what Scripture has to say about that:

“For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honor.”

Psalm 8:5

“You made them a little lower than the angels; you crowned them with glory and honor.”

Hebrews 2:7

Not too shabby.

It’s no secret human beings are attracted to beauty. We take after God Who creates beauty.

And this time of year, with dramatic displays of such glorious beauty, spectacular angels included, we will come face to face with the luster of the ethereal. Some of us may, therefore, need to heed the caution of being triggered by these, our image issues. Let’s, the, leave the ethereal to the angels, while remembering and reveling in our own incredible value, worth and, yes, beauty.

We ARE fearfully and wonderfully made, as is, right now, period. God’s decided; it is so.

Let’s agree with Him then and enjoy not just the holiday season, but our entire lives, fully realizing and celebrating how beyond ethereal we truly are!

Copyright © 2017 by Sheryle Cruse