Tuesday, January 29, 2013
What’s addiction all about? If it causes such pain and negative consequences, why do we continue to engage in it? As someone who’s struggled with eating disorders and worked through years of recovery, I see over and over again, how I kept looking to food, diets, rituals and all manner of behaviors to be my answer to my problems. In short, I put my trust in anything and everything except God. Scripture talks a lot about idolatry. It’s generally viewed as a big no-no. After all, God gets right to the point with the first commandment: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” Exodus 20:3; Deuteronomy 5:7 But I saw repeatedly how my own eating disorder behavior directly flew in the face of that very commandment. I was trying, as an impossibly imperfect human being, to do things my way. Great. I had visions of Frank Sinatra singing the empowering song of individual freedom and independence. What I got, however, were stifling eating disorders. So much for my bright ideas, huh? Indeed, my desperate nature wanted to be soothed and comforted for a multitude of reasons: abuse, rejection, loneliness and fear, to name a few. And none of those reasons were sinful; they were what they were. But my choice to look outside of God was, dare I say, sinful. Yikes. Sinful. That’s a harsh word. Did I choose to have eating disorders? No, I don’t believe I did. But did I choose my choices which eventually led me down that road? Oh yes, I did. The word “sin” is often described as “missing the mark.” It’s a lighter touch than a descriptive definition of willful and evil disobedience to God. “sin” never is a feel good word; that’s for sure. I’ve gone several rounds with God praying for forgiveness of my sins, asking for help, trying not to look at and deal with them. But, for a moment, let’s just examine the “sin” word through that “missing the mark” definition. After all, God doesn’t want to pulverize anyone. Scripture tells us… “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9 So, that’s a breather right there. God’s opposition to sin is not because He wants to ruin all of our fun. It’s because that sin gets us astray from the best, most blessed and beneficial mark for our lives; we downright miss that mark by following sin. And that idea to miss the mark starts with a decision. And that decision starts with a thought. One tiny, seemingly innocent little thought. “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he...” Proverbs 23:7 “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” Proverbs 4:23 Again, yikes. For me, that one little thought was that food would be my answer: to comfort, to companionship, to control, to entertainment and to love. And with that thought as a baseline, it set the stage for all of my other disordered eating issues and behaviors. Later on, starvation, binge overeating, excessive exercise, deceit and control tactics were additional layers which were added, convincing me “this” was the answer I could trust. However, of course, none of them were. Instead, each one of them only pulled me deeper into prison, unhealthy choices, fear and shame. Not what I chose, but, by virtue of that thought, leading to wrong choice after wrong choice, it was exactly what I got. A lot of us like Chinese food. And, what comes as a dessert treat with the meal is the fortune cookie. We crack it open to reveal a tiny paper fortune. It’s usually way above my head, spouting something about wisdom or strength. But how many of us don’t even focus past the actual cookie itself for some answer? “It” may not be an actual cookie which is your Achilles heel, but it’s something isn’t it? Something you, yourself, through a thought, a decision, have ordained to be your answer. It could be a pint of ice cream, a shot of Bourbon, a line of cocaine, a hit of speed, another bet on the horses or a rendezvous with that person who is “bad”: for you. But whatever “it” is, it is not your answer. God is. Scripture reminds us… “….Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.” Psalm 2:12 So, what’s unsaid is, perhaps, “cursed are all they that put their trust in (Fill in the blank with your ‘it?’)” Again, it’s not comforting, like thinking on the word “sin.” But each of us really needs to get real with who- and what- we place our trust in. Nothing else will save or work for us. The fortune cookie will not work.
Monday, January 28, 2013
Ever go to a petting zoo? Most of us, as children, can probably say yes to that question. We go with our families or our teachers. The goal is to entertain, educate and enrich our lives as the little hooligan we are; we so desperately need it. I remember when I was in kindergarten, I went to one of these petting zoos, “Deer Park.” Like the name says, there were deer to observe, as well as raccoons and goats. Oh yes, and there were llamas as well. Llamas… an interesting creature. Well, by virtue of Deer Park being a petting zoo, next to the various animal pens were feed dispensers. You got it, you could feed those suckers and add squealing joy, excitement and education to your little ones lives. So, I fed the raccoons, the deer and the goats. However, when we got the llamas’ area, there was sign: “Do not feed the llamas. They spit.” Should be self-explanatory, right? Can you guess what I did next? Uh-huh. Can you guess what happened? Uh-huh.
Thursday, January 24, 2013
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
When I was a little girl, I once went into one of those carnival funhouses with the mirrors.
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Since I was a child, the Biblical account of Jairus’ daughter has been a big influence in my life. “While he yet spake, there came from the ruler of the synagogue's house certain which said, Thy daughter is dead: why troublest thou the Master any further? As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, he saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, Be not afraid, only believe. And he suffered no man to follow him, save Peter, and James, and John the brother of James. And he cometh to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and seeth the tumult, and them that wept and wailed greatly. And when he was come in, he saith unto them, Why make ye this ado, and weep? the damsel is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn. But when he had put them all out, he taketh the father and the mother of the damsel, and them that were with him, and entereth in where the damsel was lying. And he took the damsel by the hand, and said unto her, Talitha cumi; which is, being interpreted, Damsel, I say unto thee, arise. And straightway the damsel arose, and walked; for she was of the age of twelve years. And they were astonished with a great astonishment. And he charged them straitly that no man should know it; and commanded that something should be given her to eat.” Mark 5:35-43 And, once my 1995 rededication experience happened in 1995, it has taken on greater personal meaning for me. It did, after all, result in both my eating disorder recovery and book, “Thin Enough,” not mention, my spiritual relationship with God. Not too shabby, a story about a supposedly dead little girl, eh? And, since then, I’ve loved different artistic interpretations of the scripture. I find it interesting how different artists tell the story. We see one telling of Jesus in the doorway… One of Jesus reaching for her hand, while still in her “deathbed…” And there have been some expressions of Jairus’ daughter actually sitting up in her bed, “resurrected…” …Including, yes, even my own take on it… The point is, no matter where you are in proximity to Jesus, no matter where Jesus is in proximity to you, it’s relevant. It’s alive. It’s alive because it’s God’s Word which cannot fail… “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:8-11 Wherever you are in your life, your recovery, your issues, “the arise message” is still right there. Personally apply it for yourself! Copyright © 2013 by Sheryle Cruse
Monday, January 21, 2013
Saturday, January 19, 2013
Alright, I’m irked. I know in today’s celebrity and image consumed culture, we focus on a lot of ridiculous things. So, it should not have surprised me when I came across a headline this morning on MSN’s home page, “Lopez Looks Old?” Yeah, here we go, happy weekend, everyone. Everyone out from under the proverbial rock knows who Jennifer Lopez or “J-Lo” is. She’s frequently gossiped about in fashion, music and celebrity discussions. She did a lot of great stuff for the derriere acceptance. Remember “Bennifer?” And she’s mentioned frequently for her Puerto Rican beauty. She’s been on numerous magazine covers. So, of course, as a curious onlooker, I was intrigued by the headline and started reading the online article by Kat Giantis. And this was what I discovered which I believe goes under the “Gimme a reality check break” file: "’Her camp feels she looks old and haggard,’ a Lopez source tells the New York Post. Word is, her people contacted the mag to kvetch about the photo…” This People magazine cover here.
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Indeed, by my Senior year of college, in all of my theatrical misadventures, I was informed that I possessed such power, as belonging to that Shakespearean character. In a directing class, a fellow theatre student was told that he miscast his choice for Lady Macbeth in the scene he was directing for a class exercise. Then the theatre instructor referred to me. In fact, he said that I should play this famous character; I could “play mean.” I loved hearing that! It’s as if any of my weaknesses were immediately canceled out. And, late in my senior year of college, I was cast as “Lady M” herself. Because of the complicated staging of the play, the production eventually fell through. But after immediately learning my lines (yes, I’m that kinda person), I felt empowered reciting them during those few rehearsals. I saw the character’s sinister nature present itself as strength and yes, a force to be reckoned with. So, go with it, right? Yes, I equated “mean” or angry to that of great power. When I asked my theatre professor for audition piece suggestions, again, Lady Macbeth came up. Now, please keep in mind that, at the time, I was already doing dramatic pieces, “crazy women,” like the homeless bag lady from Jane Wagner’s “The Search For Signs of Intelligent Life In the Universe.” Therefore, I questioned his suggestion, informing him that I’d already done some strange and wacky pieces. His response? “You know you’ve already set yourself up. You’re strong; you have a strong presence.” He told me I am a great character actress. So much for the ingénue roles, huh? So, from that point on, I changed my view of the non-ingénue roles, like Queen Gertrude and Lady Macbeth. Roles. Do we box ourselves in, believing only certain female roles are worthy? How do we feel about beauty, wifedom and motherhood, for instance? Do we get into a catfight- emotionally, mentally and even-yikes-physically, simply because we’re insecure about the role we’re currently playing? Is this really how God wants us to live and relate to one another? It’s been years, and now, with cliché hindsight, I’ve discovered that way of being is not God’s best. Nope. Being competitive, covetous, sinister, plotting and frankly, “hell on wheels,” even if, like Queen Gertrude or Lady Macbeth we’re interesting characters, is not exactly what God had in mind for us when it comes to living with ourselves, other women- and all people, for that matter.
Wednesday, January 9, 2013
In college, I was a theatre major. If you remotely know me at all, this is the point in which you say, “That explains it.” Drama queen, overly dramatic, emotionally driven- these are all description of the sort. Perhaps, these words even describe you. In today’s popular culture, the phrase, “no drama” is prevalent. It is, in fact, many times the preference for how we would like to live. Yet, if this is the goal, why do we have so much drama, often self-inflicted, going on in our lives? I’ll be the first one to admit I am a drama queen. And I’ll be the first to admit that, for the most part, my theatre degree has been as relevant to my daily current life as underwater basket weaving. As I’ve focused more on writing and a supposed direction in which I believe God is taking it, alas, my thespian days seem to be in the past. But, there have been some relevant lessons I have learned from my study as an actress. And yes, they can often translate to explain, and hopefully illuminate and aid, the ailment known as “drama.” Won’t you bear with me while I try to explain myself? Audition: First, you have to audition for the drama. That usually means you prepare a monologue of some sort. You fixate on a particular piece to hopefully, win the audition- and the people you’re reciting it for. Back as a desperate theatre student, this occupied me immensely, already suffering from my perfectionistic mentality. I wondered which approach would be strongest: the funny goofball, just rife with a yuck-yuck response from my “audience,” a sad tear-jerker of a piece, designed to promote sniffling and weeping or something of the mentally unstable, psychotic variety, creating uncomfortable squirms from those watching me. I’ve done all three, but, mostly, I gravitated toward a combination of the tear-jerking psychopath. Some audition examples include a suicide bomber, a bag lady and a jilted lover. Yeah. Long story short: I wanted people to cry and squirm. Ain’t I a sweet one? The purpose? To get attention, I suppose. I could overanalyze the choice and factor in family dynamics and latent this or that, but attention-getting is really at the core of it. And isn’t attention a great magnet for drama? “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” Proverbs 4:23 Think about your own life and circumstances for a minute. You may have never been in any kind of stage play, but haven’t you done something, turned on some kind of tears or theatrics, all because you wanted some form of attention? Maybe you were the class clown, the love struck teenager or the needy child, desperate to gain some favor from a disinterested parent. Why did you and I do whatever dramatic, destructive and/or illegal activity each of us chose? It was to get attention.
Thursday, January 3, 2013
Wednesday, January 2, 2013
Tuesday, January 1, 2013
Worth repeating and living, this January 1st- be blessed!!! “Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23 Ugh! Does that word describe you today? Or is it more like post- New Year's regret? A hangover? Self-loathing? Are you feeling great today or bleh instead? This holiday season has the overindulgence factor attached to it. Regardless of how you did last night- or last year, there is always a new start. Never feel condemned and hopeless. God is in the “day by day business,” not the “or else smiting business” when it comes to His love for you. “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.” 2 Corinthians 4:16 And that reality never hinges upon our imperfect and overindulging natures. He just loves us, constantly and lavishly. Whatever you feel today, please remember renewal is God’s speciality in His love for you! Be made new today! Copyright © 2013 by Sheryle Cruse