Saturday, June 29, 2013
Friday, June 28, 2013
Thursday, June 27, 2013
Startling statistics... • 50% of girls between the ages of 11 and 13 see themselves as overweight. • According to Time magazine, 80% of all children have been on a diet by the time they've reached fourth grade. • 86% of people with eating disorders report onset of an eating disorder by age 20. • 10% report onset at ten years or younger. But what if we changed that? Eating disorder, unfortunately, are happening younger and younger. What if, however, self-acceptance, support and recovery happened at those tender ages?
Growing up, I went from playing with dolls to full-on doll collecting. It became a passion. Alright, it was an obsession. My room was lined with dolls which resembled this image here. Yeah. It really was a scary, valley of the dolls situation, downright creepy in dim light. Nevertheless, there they were. And, in the years since, I still love dolls. But I’ve shifted in their importance in my life. Life has created other, more pressing, priorities. In essence, I’ve done some growing up (no snickering, now). To some degree, we’ve all grown up; to some degree, we’re all childish/immature. And here’s where this scripture comes into play: “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” 1 Corinthians 13:11 Part of this life process involves balancing the childlike elements of our lives versus the childish elements. And yes (sigh), it is endless and ongoing. Nevertheless, we need to look at what is staring back at us. We may not have an actual, even creepy doll collection, resembling this image here, but there’s some childish attitude, belief or behavior which needs some adjustment, right? What do you and I do with our childish things? What does God want us to do with them? Are we asking that question and responding accordingly? Copyright © 2013 by Sheryle Cruse
Wednesday, June 26, 2013
Tuesday, June 25, 2013
It bears repeating and believing; there's hope! “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
Monday, June 24, 2013
Most of us are familiar with the scripture: “And said unto them, ‘It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.’” Matthew 21:13 You know, it’s the scripture where Jesus gets angry with the “moneychangers.” Anyway, I started thinking about the term “house of prayer.” And I immediately thought of the song, Brick House” by the Commodores. I know the song’s subject matter is entirely different to the house of prayer issue. After all, the Commodores’ song sings the well-built praises of a physically attractive woman. Contrast that to God’s house of prayer... “…for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations." Isaiah 56:7 But shouldn’t you and I be as strongly built, as formidable in our prayers as an actual brick building?
Sunday, June 23, 2013
Friday, June 21, 2013
Gotta love the fairytale theme, huh? I ran across this little strip the other day. I don’t know what it’s from originally, but the same annoying fairytale theme of princess beauty, once again, makes me want to climb a tree and scream. Let’s break it down, shall we? First panel: the “prince’s” revelation:
Thursday, June 20, 2013
Please check out this amazing documentary!!! Miss Representation!!! We need to be pro-female, not anti-female!!! All of us!!! We need to change how females are viewed and treated in this world. Caution: it is disturbing; you will get angry. May that anger change things for the better! God never stated the female gender was inferior. We need to change the harmful representation against women, known for too long as "status quo."
Looking at this image, it’s hard not to let out a frustrated sigh. Here we go again- or STILL. Looking at this sweet little girl, it’s a painful reminder of the hostile reality she faces. According to statistics… 50% of girls between the ages of 11 and 13 see themselves as overweight. According to Time magazine, 80% of all children have been on a diet by the time they've reached fourth grade. 86% of people with eating disorders report onset of an eating disorder by age 20. 10% report onset at ten years or younger. (Mirasol: www.mirasol.net) Eating disorders are not just affecting young adults and teenagers. Now, it’s children. Children! They’re learning it somewhere, from someone, right? All the more reason we need to remember and be vigilant about the following scripture: “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6 Are we placing such dire importance upon perfection, thinness and image? How do we address and discuss it with our children? They won’t be able to avoid the image issues. And, with girls, especially, there seems to be an emphasis on pleasing, connected to personal appearance. We may not directly teach the lesson, “you’re a good girl if you’re thin/pretty,” but they learn it, nevertheless. We can impact the voices, however. We can arm our children with the Truth of God’s Word: you’re already good, wonderful and valuable AS IS! “Since you were precious in my sight… I have loved you…” Isaiah 43:4 “I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made…” Psalm 139:14 “All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made.” John 1:3 Let’s tell our children, like this little girl here, they are worthwhile already! Copyright © 2013 by Sheryle Cruse
Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Cruse’s article, “Should We Strive for Perfection or Effectiveness,” featured in June 2013’s Christians In Recovery Magazine, challenging the perfection issue, driving our lives and impacting recovery processes.
“The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion.” Proverbs 28:1 Are we roaring in life? According to scripture, we’re to have lion-like boldness. Yeah. I know. We fall very short many times. We view ourselves not as the lion, but as a tiny kitten. But check out its response…
Tuesday, June 18, 2013
I recently saw this post about women’s sizes.
Monday, June 17, 2013
Saturday, June 15, 2013
Friday, June 14, 2013
Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Most of us have grown up with Cookie Monster on Sesame Street. We know the cute, blue fuzz ball who just gets frantic at the sight and thought of cookies. Anyone out there in that club? For those of us with food and body image issues, the preoccupation can be toward any food. Perhaps cookies are not the thing which compels us. Maybe it’s ice cream, pasta, candy bars, crackers or Jell-o. Whatever our “thing” is, it seems to render us obsessed and, before we know it, we’re acting just like our blue friend. “C is for cookie- and that’s good enough for me.” Indeed. Scripture tells us we’re missing a huge point in our monster obsession with cookies or anything else which is tasty: “Is not life more than food?” Jesus, in Matthew 6:25 God tells us He’ll fill our hunger and thirst: “And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.” John 6:35 “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” Matthew 5:6 But that’s the point: God. Not cookies, not any other thing. I know, easier said than done. But that’s part of the recovery work, isn’t it? Recognizing things for what they are and for what they represent to us. Does our chosen food mean safety, excitement, happiness, freedom or comfort? It’s not just a cookie. What’s behind the cookie? Choosing not to face that symbolic cookie will eventually create an environment for a monster to become unrestrained. I’ve done it; you’ve done it. Where is God in our food issues, eating disorders and choices? Whatever, wherever and however God is, rest assured, He wants to be more. Will we let Him be that? Copyright © 2013 by Sheryle Cruse
Sunday, June 9, 2013
Friday, June 7, 2013
“‘You need to lose more weight. The look this year is anorexia. We don’t want you to be anorexic, but that’s what we want you to look like.’” Advice from the fashion industry people to a young female model, (Associated Press, 2008) This disturbing quote sums it up, doesn’t it? Indeed, that very quote, found in the book by model, Crystal Renn “Hungry” about the fashion industry is troubling, but it’s not surprising. Although it’s been out for a few years, the issues discussed in “Hungry” are still around today: body image, emphasis on thin appearance and the impact eating disorders have in its pursuit. To look at her book cover, Renn is gorgeous. What she reveals, however, has been a rockier path, riddled with ugly self-loathing and self-esteem tortures. She is a model, who, first upon the scene, was the typical, “desirable” thin model, size 0, weighing under one hundred pounds. However, once she started gaining weight, all fashion hell broke loose as her agency, fellow models, photographers and, of course, she, herself, started panicking, obsessing, criticizing and uttering all too familiar, harmful and cliché “anti-fat” statements. Renn discusses her journey, eventually becoming a “plus size” model, which, to this day, still carries a negative connotation. We have heard the reality check statistics of real women versus thin models. “Real women” are a size 14-16, possessing more weight on a shorter frame. Yadah, yadah, yadaah. She offers tremendous insights, the brutal reality of such young, fragile girls, under such pressure to conform, perform and be perfect. Through anorexia, exercise bulimia and various other harmful methods of control, Renn tried to fit into that oppressive standard until her body naturally rebelled. She is vocal about size/body acceptance and diversity. And, although she has experienced great success as a plus size model, including the beautiful photograph she did for breast cancer awareness, she still encounters the challenges of living in a thin obsessed world. We still struggle to move beyond that mindset. Renn offers empowering, real life examples of her own process, giving us all much needed reality checks about this thing called image. It’s a fascinating, eye-opening and encouraging read!
Thursday, June 6, 2013
I have mixed feelings when I look at this image. I thought perfectionistic tendencies were limited to eating disorder behavior. Wrong. I’ve had to confront my own demanding rules concerning my own recovery; it’s a process. And, within the last few years, I’ve repeatedly encountered other sufferers who come to me, asking how to reach their own “perfect” recovery. There is no such animal. I love a quote from Dr. Phil McGraw; I refer to it often: “Life is managed, it’s not cured.” Amen to that! Pressure OFF! At least, it should be off. All through college, I was riddled with keeping my eating disorder behaviors secret. As things got more out of control, shame further drove my need for secrecy. And it also drove a deep need within me NOT to be “that eating disorder girl.” I didn’t want the stigma of that negative label. And now, I find a lot of young girls and women are driven by a similar motivation; they don’t want to be “that girl.” A lot of them think, if they recover just “perfectly” enough, they’ll be cured and no longer that negatively labeled person. But again, life is a process, not a onetime event. Dr. Phil, if you would, please? “Life is managed, it’s not cured.” And here’s where scripture comes in handy: “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 3:18 I repeat it often, because it bears repeating. I’m not anti-recovery; I’m all for it. But, in recovery, remove the oppressive “perfect” standard. There is no perfect recovery; there is no perfect life. But that should not disqualify any of us from the process of our lives. And process truly is the stuff of our lives. It’s where we find ourselves and find ourselves to be more interesting than a perfect cookie cutter standard. God does not require perfection in your recovery. He wants you to be in relationship with Him. He’ll help you, while you’re in process. Don’t dismiss that imperfect process. There are incredible things found there! God bless you, in process! Copyright © 2013 by Sheryle Cruse
Wednesday, June 5, 2013
I recently found out June is national candy month. Huh? I know. It started me thinking. Typically, the “candy holidays” are geared more toward autumn and winter: Christmas, Valentine’s Day and, of course, Halloween. So, no one really thinks candy when they think the summer season, right? I remember my college days when, of the many wacky disordered eating patterns and crash diets, I went on a “candy diet.” Nothing but candy, day in, day out, for a period of time. I’m surprised every tooth in my head did not rot and fall out. Grace of God. And then I hit a point in my life/recovery in which sugar was taboo. Keep that demonic white stuff away from me! To say I was paranoid was an understatement! I felt it would “do me in” if I had the tiniest trace of it. Years later, I’m more at peace with the candy situation. It’s not been an easy road, but scripture has helped me tremendously. It’s the cliché moderation stuff. You know… “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.” 1 Corinthians 10:23 “All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.” 1 Corinthians 6:12 I know candy is not “health food.” Vitamins and minerals aren’t found in the stuff. But I also know that one gram of sugar is not going to kill me either. And I know God wants to bless me; He wants me to be healthy. “…I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”’ John 10:10 That does not require perfection. So, even if/when I believe I’ve “blown it,” there is no condemnation: “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” Romans 8:1 There is grace, no matter what. I think of that now whenever I see candy. “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.” Romans 6:14 So, happy June, happy candy month!
Sunday, June 2, 2013
I found out Jean Stapleton passed away yesterday. She was best known for her portrayal of the famous character, Edith Bunker on the groundbreaking television series, “All In the Family.” It hit me hard. As a child, I grew up with that show. I remember it was a favorite of my parents; it was one of the few unifying things for us. Every week, we would watch the latest episode. Unfortunately, my day resembled the Archie Bunker character in many ways. He even had his chair, like Archie’s. No one else except him could sit in it. But Edith was the heart of so much of the show. Controversial as it was, taboo issues were discussed, including rape, race, the Vietnam War, breast cancer, menopause and sex. And it was through the filter of Edith, we often viewed these things with humor and understanding. Did her character’s responses ever upset and anger me, especially in the context of her relationship to Archie’s character? Yes, because, yet again, I saw similarities within my own family dynamic. During the series, Archie often called Edith “Dingbat.” Now, we’d say he verbally and emotionally abused her. He mistreated her and often disrespected her. That certainly irritated me; it still affects me, years later, as I watch the episodes. But Edith was not stupid. Sweet as her character was, Edith represented, perhaps, the childlike faith we are called to have in life. “And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:2-4 That’s how I see the Edith character, in spite of all of the controversies, issues and disagreements on those things. So, thank you and rest in peace, Ms. Stapleton. Your artistic portrayal has touched us all!