Monday, April 28, 2014

Easy On the Sugar?

Viewing this ad  from the 1950’s makes my blood boil.

It typifies the hostile, non-supportive sentiments unfortunately shared by the very people who are supposed to love us unconditionally. Ideally, that should be our spouses.

Unfortunately, often that is not the case. Comments and frustration can all too often be expressed by spouses who don’t know what to do with a wife who has disordered eating of any kind.

My dad was one such individual. As a child, I remember him making hostile and humiliating remarks to my mother. She battled her weight for most of her life. And, during her marriage to my dad, she was overweight.
So, in addition to learning the importance of being thin and how to diet, I also learned how marriage was a hostile state of affairs. There was no unconditional love; there were rigid standards. There was no sensitivity; there were attacking barbs. There were no terms of endearment; there were only offensive names made at my mother’s expense.

This reality was part of what drove me to attempt to keep my eating disorder reality a secret from my husband. I didn’t want to set myself up as a target for ridicule and rejection.

Somewhere, even in spite of Russell showing me otherwise, I still harbored that fear as a certain reality.

“...I met Russell when I transferred schools. We were both theatre students and met in the college drama department when I was a junior. We stayed on friendly, acquaintance-level terms through my graduation. He was sweet to me, and possessed a dry sense of humor. It made for supportive, interesting and funny conversations. Still, I looked at him the way I looked at other guys: a nice friend, but still someone who must never know all of my ugly weaknesses.
            ...For example, on Valentine’s Day, he stopped by my dorm room. Of course, I had been on my stair stepper for hours and wouldn’t come to the door. I kept yelling over the music, ‘I’m not done yet!’ He waited as long as he could, but eventually he had to leave for work. When I finally finished my routine, I got my stuff together and headed for the dorm showers. When I opened my door, there was an overwhelmingly huge bouquet of balloons and a card. He had waited for at least a half-hour for me, just to give me this sweet gift. All I said to him was ‘I’m not done yet.’ I felt like the biggest jerk in the world.
            When we did fall in love and start to date, I added new fears to my already long list. The prospect of someone being close enough to truly know me was scary. I knew that, sooner or later, I would have to tell him the ugly truth about myself.
            Moving from dating to engagement was difficult for me. I had yet to tell him any of what I’d experienced, and I felt more and more guilty about lying to him. Every time we went out to eat, I’d pretend not to have issues with food and weight. I hated feeling like a liar, but I was scared that he’d reject me if he knew the truth. What man, in his right mind, looks for all of this mess in a mate? I knew when I told him that he wouldn’t want me anymore. It bothered me constantly. He sensed something was wrong, of course, asked me about it. What do I tell him?
            As we prepared for our wedding, I finally mentioned to him that I had a secret I wasn’t ready to share with him yet. Of course, he was curious and wanted to know right then and there, but he displayed patient understanding. He told me that he loved me and that it didn’t matter what it was. He didn’t pressure me to tell him. He knew there was a secret and left it at that. Even though his response helped me feel freer and safer, I still felt guilt pulling at me. I began wanting to tell him. After all, he’d been so incredible with everything else I’d told him. He knew about my family secrets. He knew all about my weaknesses aside from the eating disorders. He knew about all that yet still chose to love me. But I kept thinking, ‘don’t press your luck.’
 ...I don’t endorse my secrecy from my husband. I believe it is vital any young woman suffering from eating disorders be honest and forthcoming with her future husband. Marriage is a holy covenant and a serious commitment, and I believe you need to share all of the truth. Even now, I now look back and often wonder how many tears, how many problems, and how much pain I could have avoided if I just simply told him. The truth really does set you free. And in telling him, once again, I discovered, the worst did not happen.
            The time for truth came a couple of weeks after we were married. It was our first Thanksgiving together, and we had been married for only twelve days. I was still feeling relieved that I made it through the nuptials. Russ and I did the cutesy newlywed couple ‘this is the first mashed potatoes we’ve made together’ and ‘this is our first stuffing and cranberry sauce’ thing. We both ate our holiday feast, and I had tried not to think about all of the calories.
            True to form, however, I proceeded to exercise after the meal, trying to burn off ‘the damage.’ Russell thought this was strange and unnecessary; it was a holiday, after all. He told me to just relax and enjoy the day. I, of course, repeatedly told him that I couldn’t until I’d exercised. The conversation continued while I was on the stair stepper for two hours. But I saw a new look on his face: hurt. I was forfeiting my time with him, my brand new husband, to climb steps that weren’t going anywhere? I was so tired of keeping this secret, and I wanted to explain myself so badly to him. The only way I could explain it was to tell him the whole story from the beginning. First, I played an alternative rock song, an anthem, a coping mechanism for me to deal with the eating disorders. It was an angry loud song of rage, and I thought that it would tell him clearly what I’d been through. It didn’t. He didn’t understand it. I took a deep breath, realizing, ‘No, Sheryle, the song isn’t going to tell him. You are.’

(Excerpt taken from Cruse’s book, “Thin Enough: My Spiritual Journey Through the Living Death Of An Eating Disorder”)

And so I did.

And the worst didn’t happen. He didn’t leave me, throw me out in the street, call me worthless and tell me how much he hated me. No. He looked at me, asked me, “This is the big secret?” He hugged me, told me he loved me, and told me I was beautiful. I didn’t have to lie, hide, and pretend anymore in front of the man I loved. I felt a little freer.

His response is the comforting ideal; I wish everyone could experience that loving reaction. And, years later, he’s been with me as I’ve gone through therapy, issues and all manner of ugly, painful truth. It’s been empowering.

Because of that, I’ve asked Russell to offer his perspective, as my husband, dealing with the eating disorder from the outside. The dilemma, of course, is that it’s never truly outside when you love the person who is affected by the disorder(s).

Nevertheless, Russell has some words of encouragement and help for those of you husbands, boyfriends, fathers, brothers, friends and sons out there.

Sheryle: What did you know about eating disorders before you and I got involved?

Russell: I knew about them peripherally, but had no real knowledge about them. I’d heard of anorexia and bulimia but knew little about what they were.

S: What are the “do’s” in dealing with a girlfriend, wife, loved one who has eating disorders of any kind?

R: Be supportive; be understanding and open to listening to them if they talk to you about it. Do seek help for both yourself and your loved one. Educate yourself on what is going on because having an idea what you are dealing with is a good thing.

S: What are the “don’t’s” in dealing with a girlfriend, wife, loved one who has eating disorders of any kind?

R: Don’t assign blame, don’t bargain or try to coerce the person into eating: it doesn’t work. Don’t allow the person’s illness to become the overwhelming force in your life because that helps no one. Don’t be judgmental because that is a component of the “control” issue and reinforces their wrong thinking.

S: What’s the most frustrating thing about living with/loving someone who struggles with disordered eating?

R: Knowing there is nothing you can do but try to be supportive and understanding in the face of their continued practices. Not being able to enjoy certain things without fear of triggering their disordered patterns.

S: What would you tell boyfriends, husbands and male loved ones right now, about eating disorders?

R: One: It has nothing to do with you. This is something the sufferer did to themselves and your only requirements are to help and be supportive of attempts to get help.
Second: There is no way you can “fix” this. Only when the sufferer chooses to get help for their problem can any progress be made.

S: Any other advice?

R: Always let the person know you love them, no matter what. I think it’s important they know they are loved but there is a line you shouldn’t cross.

Concerning my parents and their relationship, the unfortunate thing was that, on some level, my dad thought his actions were helpful. He thought by focusing on my mother’s weight issue, making fun of her and emphasizing how she shouldn’t eat “this or that,” he was doing her a favor.

 It was the exact opposite. I saw how obsessed she became about her weight and dieting; I saw a woman who never accepted herself. I witnessed the hell which came from that self-rejection, first with her, then as I struggled with my own disordered eating and images issues.

My relationship with Russell has shown me it doesn’t have to be that way. He never flinched at my ugly truth revelations. He loves me. He supports me.

That’s what should be in any image, not “easy on the sugar.”

Copyright © 2014 by Sheryle Cruse

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Falling for the "Bad Guy" (CIR)

Appearing in April 22nd’s Christians In Recovery, this article explores temptation’s role when it comes to our addictions, compulsions, disorders and vices.

Monday, April 21, 2014

A Good and Perfect Girl...

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.
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 © 2014 by Sheryle Cruse

Friday, April 18, 2014

Gethsemane: Code For...

“I don’t want to do this.”

 We’ve uttered that statement frequently in our lives.

This time of year, there’s a great deal of emphasis on Jesus. As we prepare for Resurrection Sunday, we read and remind ourselves just how this whole thing came to be: hope, salvation and reunion with God. It didn’t just happen.

And a large part of it depends on Gethsemane.

Yes, Jesus is amazing and loving. But He still had a night of decision. Hours away from being crucified, there was a real moment; He didn’t want to do it.

 “They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Sit here while I pray.’ He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. ‘My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” he said to them. “Stay here and keep watch.’
 Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. ‘Abba Father,’ he said, ‘everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.’”
Mark 14:32-36

Still, He obeyed. He placed God’s Will over His own. This was a life and death matter.

And this would have been a wonderful time to see He was rewarded for it. But things got worse...

“Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. ‘Simon,’ he said to Peter, ‘are you asleep? Couldn’t you keep watch for one hour? Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.’
Once more he went away and prayed the same thing. When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. They did not know what to say to him.
Returning the third time, he said to them, ‘Are you still sleeping and resting? Enough! The hour has come. Look, the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!’”
Mark 14:37- 42

And yes, it gets still worse from there. We know what happens. And that is extremely important.

But we often bypass the Gethsemane moment. And we need to view that instance with equal importance. After all, Jesus could have said “no.”

What is it in your life and in my life which makes us respond with, “I don’t want to do this?”

There is something.

As we reflect on Resurrection Sunday and what Jesus did, let’s also examine our lives, what we do- and do not want - to do.

Gethsemane- what is that to each one of us?

Copyright © 2014 by Sheryle Cruse

Monday, April 14, 2014

God: Better Than a Hershey's Bar (CIR)

Appearing in the April 14th’s Christians In Recovery, Cruse explores the love and affections associations we make concerning the “comfort foods” of our childhoods.

God Bless Us This Passover!!!

As we enter into Passover, what does the word mean to us?
Is it a negative connotation to us, representing “missed opportunities?”
Or is it a word meaning mercy and “second chances?”
Think of it; you and I probably should be dead a number of different times, except, by God’s Grace, He saved, blessed and protected our figurative (and literal) hides!
It’s all on how you look at it. Passover isn’t just an old Bible story, a movie with Charleton Heston , portraying Moses or another holiday. It’s God relevantly reminding us of the real Truth that He loves us, wants to invade our lives, get us to our next “Promised Land” and give us a new beginning.
We‘re not forgotten; we’re smack dab in the miracle of Passover. Let’s not limit how God wants to teach us all what it means!!!

John 2:23

Happy Passover, Everyone!!! God bless!!!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

In Need of a Donkey

“...‘The Lord needs it.’”
Luke 19:34
Palm Sunday brings to mind Passover, Easter, Jesus and waving palm leaves. We can get so caught up in the Majesty of God, we bypass the lowly, ordinary elements incorporated in the glory, in example, the donkey.

Whether you, indeed, refer to it as a donkey, burro or a colt, it still does not change the reality; God uses anything of His choosing.

Check this passage out:

28 “After Jesus had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. 29 As he approached Bethphage and Bethany at the hill called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, 30 ‘Go to the village ahead of you, and as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 31 If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it.’”
32 Those who were sent ahead went and found it just as he had told them. 33 As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, ‘Why are you untying the colt?’
34 They replied, ‘The Lord needs it.’
35 They brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it. 36 As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road.
37 When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen:
38 ‘Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!’
‘Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!’
39 Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, ‘Teacher, rebuke your disciples!’
40 ‘I tell you,’ he replied, ‘if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.’
41 As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it 42 and said, ‘If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes.’”
Luke 19:28- 42

This, however, wasn’t the first time donkeys were of use for God’s purposes: some examples include...

Genesis 22:3...

“Early the next morning Abraham got up and saddled his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about.
Genesis 42:26...

“...they loaded their grain on their donkeys and left.”
Genesis 44:3...

“As morning dawned, the men were sent on their way with their donkeys.”
Exodus 4:20...

“So Moses took his wife and sons, put them on a donkey and started back to Egypt. And he took the staff of God in his hand.”

And let’s not forget Balaam’s donkey. You gotta check this puppy out!

“21 Balaam got up in the morning, saddled his donkey and went with the Moabite officials. 22 But God was very angry when he went, and the angel of the Lord stood in the road to oppose him. Balaam was riding on his donkey, and his two servants were with him. 23 When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord standing in the road with a drawn sword in his hand, it turned off the road into a field. Balaam beat it to get it back on the road.
24 Then the angel of the Lord stood in a narrow path through the vineyards, with walls on both sides. 25 When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord, it pressed close to the wall, crushing Balaam’s foot against it. So he beat the donkey again.
26 Then the angel of the Lord moved on ahead and stood in a narrow place where there was no room to turn, either to the right or to the left. 27 When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord, it lay down under Balaam, and he was angry and beat it with his staff. 28 Then the Lord opened the donkey’s mouth, and it said to Balaam, ‘What have I done to you to make you beat me these three times?’
29 Balaam answered the donkey, ‘You have made a fool of me! If only I had a sword in my hand, I would kill you right now.’
30 The donkey said to Balaam, ‘Am I not your own donkey, which you have always ridden, to this day? Have I been in the habit of doing this to you?’
‘No,’ he said.
31 Then the Lord opened Balaam’s eyes, and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the road with his sword drawn. So he bowed low and fell facedown.
32 The angel of the Lord asked him, ‘Why have you beaten your donkey these three times? I have come here to oppose you because your path is a reckless one before me.33 The donkey saw me and turned away from me these three times. If it had not turned away, I would certainly have killed you by now, but I would have spared it.’”

Okay, okay, there’s a theme here, donkeys and what they can do...kinda

A lot of times, we make God and faith so complicated. But the willingness factor gets downplayed repeatedly. And willingness is no small thing.

First, God chooses...

“I have chosen you and have not cast you away.”
Isaiah 41:9

Again, it’s not a small thing. Next, however, the ball is in our court. What do we choose?

“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

There’s a blessing in it, if we choose God...

“If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land.”
Isaiah 1:19

And it might be all too easy, except for one thing we have in common with the donkey: stubbornness. The old saying goes “stubborn as a mule,” right?

He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.”’

Proverbs 29:1

“And the LORD said unto Moses, ‘I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people.’”

Exodus 32:9

“Ye stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.”

Acts 7:51


But it’s not hopeless. Again, there’s choice. Choice from God’s decision to create, call and use us and our choice to willingly respond with a yes to that decision.

It’s a process of untangling from lies we’ve spent a lifetime believing....

We’re hopeless...

We’re useless...

We’re stupid...

We’re unwanted...

We’re unloved...

God refutes those lies with the Truth of Who He is...

“Since you were precious in my sight… I have loved you…”
Isaiah 43:4

“I have chosen you and have not cast you away.”
Isaiah 41:9

“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

“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 will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go: I will guide you with My eye.”
Psalm 32:8

“…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

“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

“For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Romans 8:38-39

“Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me?”
Jeremiah 32:27

“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

“We love him, because he first loved us.”
1 John 4:19

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
John 3:16

“For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Romans 8:38-39

If God can choose a donkey for such great Glory as to propel Jesus to fulfill His purpose, how can He choose you and me?

And how WILL we respond to that call?

God needed a donkey then.

And God needs us now to be who He created us to be!

Copyright © 2014 by Sheryle Cruse



Good Morning!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Valuable!!! Love yourself!

At the Pleasure of the Savior...

One of my favorite series I catch on Netflix is “The West Wing.” While watching it, I became aware of a standard response regarding the president’s staff: “I serve at the pleasure of the President.” I don’t know if this response really exists or if it was just for dramatic purposes. But I started thinking about the service issue.

When I was thirteen, I served as a waitress for my cousin’s wedding. Thank you. Yes, I’m still recovering. Let’s just say I was not skilled. I tried not to spill food, break plates and grumble. It was not an easy feat. So, I had a negative view of serving.

But, alas, it’s all over the place in Christianity, isn’t it?

“Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God, and serve him, and shalt swear by his name.”
Deuteronomy 6:13

“…what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul,”
Deuteronomy 10:12

“If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honor.”
John 12:26

 “For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.”
Galatians 5:13

Whew! Yeah. Got it.
Anyway, how do we feel about the serving issue?

“For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he...”
Proverbs 23:7

A lot of us probably have negative associations with the word. We may think of mistreated waitresses, humiliation and irritation. Not exactly the stuff which has people lining up around the block.

Do we, then, challenge our views of the issue? Or do you and I opt out? If we do that, however, do we miss out? Perhaps, that is the better question to ask.

But are we asking it? Or do we ask the question, instead, “what’s in it for me?”

Did Jesus ask that question?

Yeah. Exactly. Feeling sheepish yet?

Scripture tells us we are to follow His lead:

“…‘If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.”
Matthew 16:24

 “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."
Mark 10:45

And concerning the serving issue? Yeah. That’s quite inclusive.

As we deal with our struggles, issues, disorders and addictions, let’s take the time to stop and check out our service to others. Is it there at all? Are we helping anyone else?

Service is the antidote to the myopic self-focus, which, sooner or later causes us problems. God has blessings for us which only come by way of serving. Are we, then, missing out on some of those blessings?

“Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.”
John 15:15

Do we, indeed, serve at the pleasure of the Savior? It’s worth asking and perhaps, adjusting, isn’t it? We want to be the addressee of this scripture:

“His lord said unto him, ‘Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.’”
Matthew 25:21

Let’s start with the servant then; let’s be one, in a new and different way in our lives. Let’s start today.

“I am thy servant; give me understanding, that I may know thy testimonies.”
Psalms 119:125

Copyright © 2014 by Sheryle Cruse

You deserve better...

No Hole Too Deep...

It's Not the End

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Narcissus (Falling Into The Image)

“...Keep yourselves from idols. Amen.”
1 John 5:21

In Greek mythology, Narcissus was a hunter, renowned for his beauty. According to the legend, he was walking in the woods when Echo, a mountain nymph, saw him, fell deeply in love, and followed him. Narcissus sensed he was being followed and shouted "Who's there?" Echo repeated "Who's there?" She eventually revealed her identity and attempted to embrace him. He, however, immediately rejected her. Talk about an old tune. Therefore, heartbroken, she spent the rest of her life in lonely glens until nothing but an echo sound remained of her.
Meanwhile, Nemesis, the goddess of revenge, learned about this situation and decided to punish Narcissus. (Ah, yes, vengeance). She lured him to a pool where he saw his own reflection; not understanding it was only an image, he fell in love with it. (Typical, huh?)
However, he eventually realized his love could not be addressed and died.

“As water reflects a face, so a man's heart reflects the man.”
Proverbs 27:19

And you thought you had issues.

I’ve given much thought to Narcissism over the years. And nothing puts it more into focus than recovery from my disordered eating and body image issues.
Since childhood, I’ve had an intense love/hate relationship with the mirror and my own refection staring back at me. I’ve rejected that image, critiqued it, admired it and observed things about it which weren’t even there in the first place. When I was at my lowest weight from anorexia, all I could see was a distorted pot belly stomach, even though my ribs protruded and my waistline was twenty inches.
My body and my mind’s eye were two different things. I couldn’t see past my idol; Narcissism and its culprit, rampant inferiority, were clouding every kind of vision and perception. Distortion was, therefore, the only result.
I relate to Narcissus, so caught up in the reflection, in the vision of self-defined beauty; it’s an obsession. And, to one degree or another, we’re all caught up in it. How many of us look in a mirror, experiencing a range of emotions at our reflections? We have an acceptable image standard in our minds and we strive to create it as our reality. We preen. We comb, brush, yank, tweeze, apply, conceal, line, highlight, tease and style ourselves into that version of aesthetically pleasing appearance.

“ is the land of graven images, and they are mad upon their idols.”
Jeremiah 50:38

And that’s just the bathroom mirror; forget about a full length one!

And yes, we’re usually left disappointed with the finished product. Why? It’s because it’s an idol. We give our strength to it and/or gather our strength from it: idolatry. And we’re warned not to mess with it…

“But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols...”
Acts 15:20

Somehow, somewhere within our psyches, however, is this drive to be God, to have things fashioned according to our preferences and whims. We want to control. We want to be our own God.
Spiritually, however, there’s this one tiny little detail; we can’t be God…

“...we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one.”
1 Corinthians 8:4

That, however, need not squash our value and estimation of our individual worth. Just because we’re not God doesn’t mean we aren’t like God…

“And God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness...’”
Genesis 1:26

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”
Genesis 1:27

Genesis, indeed, guides us into an accurate self-assessment.

We don’t call the shots, but we resemble the One Who does!

That means we need to focus on Him. We already take after Him. But living in in fallen world has taught us lies, and, in that batch, there have been a slew of them about ourselves:

We’re unlovable.
We’re ugly.
We’re worthless.
We’re hopeless.
We’re not good enough.
We’re defective.
We’re the only ones like this; everyone else, however, meets that acceptable standard.


So, the school of life has many lessons, if we’re willing to learn them, on revelation of our true selves.

“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
Romans 12:2

No smoke and mirrors, just accurate reflection of God’s glory. Just like the countless hours we’ve spent staring at the mirror, admiring, tweaking and obsessing about our reflections, we, likewise, need to study our true reflection, God’s determination about who we are.

“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

“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

This takes work. Don’t get me wrong; we don’t need to work to become valuable, lovable or worthwhile. 

We are that already. But we need massive lessons in learning how to receive it as unshakable, reassuring Truth.

And that takes some studying in the Mirror, God’s Word, also known as God Himself.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
John 1:1

It’s an ongoing process, but it’s one which tells us we will not find hope in our inferior Narcissism, but instead in God alone.

“Truly my soul finds rest in God;
    my salvation comes from him.
 Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
    he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.”
Psalm 62:1-2

Let’s reflect on that then!

Copyright © 2014 by Sheryle Cruse