Thursday, July 31, 2014

In Spite Of Them


Or Else


Whether it’s been through abuse or disorder, I learned to fear.

Child development experts state that newborns have only two fears: loud noises and falling. Babies' brains and nerves grow rapidly in the first two years of life, but they are born with very immature nervous systems. This means that they cannot interpret or handle certain sensory input -- like loud noises or the feeling of falling.
So, that means, all other fears are learned.
That’s certainly been my experience. Growing up with an abusive dad, there was always this “or else” undercurrent of dread. My life experiences with conditional love further sealed the deal to the performance-based nature to both love and life:

“I desperately wanted my dad to notice me. I learned very quickly that one surefire way to do that was by winning awards. When I won something, I wasn’t completely worthless or useless. I was productive; I was ‘earning my keep.’ I set impossible standards for myself. Try as I might with award after award, I’d eventually disappoint everyone, including myself, proving that I wasn’t worth anything after all.
            My perfect attendance record in school is an excellent example. For three years in a row, I did not missed one day of school, knowing that I would win a perfect attendance certificate, tangible proof on paper that I was worthwhile. It became a standard I had to maintain because my dad seemed pleased in my performance. Of course, he never said that he was proud of me, but he did lay off the criticisms briefly. So for the next few years, I went to school with colds, sore throats and influenza. I remember going to school once with a temperature of over 101, sitting at my desk, on the verge of throwing up, yet only thinking of that certificate.
            When I reached junior high, I became so sick once I had to stay home. I felt defeated and anxious. My dad, who had never really been sick with so much as a cold, was unsympathetic to my condition. With each passing day I stayed home from school, the tension mounted. Three days at home, according to my dad, was enough. He became upset at my mom for being ‘such a terrible mother.’ After three days home, he had enough. He decided he would take me into school to make sure I got there.
            On the way to school, he was fuming and I was scared to death, but my fourteen-year-old mind wanted to know something. We’d never had any father/daughter talks about anything, much less about the existence of a loving relationship, but I got up the nerve to ask him, ‘Do you still love me?’ His answer? ‘If you do this again, I won’t.’
            His answer proved it. It was my fault. I had to prove myself in order to be loved. I wasn’t the cute, good little daughter he should have had. If I could just look right and act right, he’d love me. All I have to do, I decided, is be perfect. That’s all.”
(Excerpt taken from “Thin Enough: My Spiritual Journey Through the Living Death Of An eating Disorder”)

In the years since my abusive childhood, it’s been an ongoing relearning process concerning love, God and self-acceptance. A big part of that process involves the revelation that my dad’s response is not God’s.

“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

Furthermore, life’s response- from anyone at all- likewise, is not necessarily representing God’s perspective.

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

“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

God loves unconditionally and His love has no conditional, fear-based tones to it.

“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

“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

So, that means I need to challenge those fear-driven thoughts and look at where they are coming from.
Bottom line: God is neither abusive nor disordered; He is love. Period.

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

“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

And that’s now what my focus needs to be, overriding my past experience with Who He is. And that ongoing process makes all the difference.
Copyright © 2014 by Sheryle Cruse

                                                                       




























Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Carefully Taught


I am astounded by the number of young people who approach me with such intense self-loathing. I frequently hear them say things like…

“I hate myself; I’m so ugly, disgusting and stupid.”
“I hate myself. There’s nothing good about me.”
When I ask them, however, why they feel that way, I usually get this response:
“I don’t know.”

 “For what I am doing, I do not understand...”
Romans 7:15
Statistics show…

“One in every 200 girls between 13 and 19 years old, or one-half of one percent, cut themselves regularly.”
 “The three leading causes of death for 15 to 24-year-olds are automobile crashes,        homicides and suicides – alcohol is a leading factor in all three.”
 “About 20 percent of teens will experience depression before they reach adulthood.”
“Suicide is the third- leading cause of death for 15 to 24 year olds in America.”
www.dosomething.org. (Used with permission).

It reminds me, of a South Pacific musical number, “You’ve Got To Be Carefully Taught.” Its theme was learning racism. However, the song’s lyrics are too eerily close to teaching self-hatred:

“You’ve got to be taught to hate and fear. You’ve got to be taught from year to year. It has to be drummed in your dear little ear. You’ve got to be carefully taught…”

It seems to be reflected in so many young people’s minds now. Self-hatred is never far from the conversation. Threats of suicide and self-injury often pop up.

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

Unrealistic body images, consumerism, and conditional love statements are just a few examples of things which are “carefully taught.”
And we usually don’t see the damage until years later when, for instance, “all of a sudden,” someone has an eating disorder or is a cutter. And then we ask what happened?
The reality is, often times, eating disorder sufferers and self-injurers, these kids with tremendous self-hatred, are the “good kids.” They’re the pleasers, the overachievers and the ones we tell ourselves we’ll “never have to worry about.”
Perhaps, we didn’t teach these kids as carefully as we should have about their inherent, everlasting value. The kids learned all too much, all too often, toxic, manipulative and distorted lessons. And they didn’t learn God’s lessons about their worth, beauty and identity.

“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
Things like…
“Since you were precious in my sight… I have loved you…”
Isaiah 43:4  
    
Whenever I speak with a young person, a large challenge I have is convincing them of this scripture’s relevant truth for them, individually and personally. They are not excluded.

“…‘God is no respecter of persons.’”
Acts 10:34

But that Truth has such toxic competition with this world’s harmful messages.
And today’s youth, unfortunately, are repeatedly “carefully taught” its destructive “exclusive” lesson. Whether it’s the preferential treatment of high school popularity, bullying or the emphasis of celebrity status, the message conveyed is often the beautiful/worthy people are included, while the worthless, ugly and defective people are to be shut out.
And another toxic message, the “conditional love” message, is also constantly bombarding us- and of course, today’s youth. Indeed, this “conditional love” can come from such avenues as popular culture, school or even from the family unit itself. Whether it’s conscious or not, intentional or not, the message is this: results are prized, warranting love, affection and positive affirmation. If, however, the individual does not obtain these desired results, then he/she is worthless.
I have personally experienced this kind of “conditional love message” myself.

“I desperately wanted my dad to notice me…My perfect attendance record in school is an excellent example. For three years in a row, I did not missed one day…knowing that I would win a perfect attendance certificate, proof I was worthwhile…So for the next few years, I went to school with colds, sore throats and influenza…
            When I reached junior high, I became so sick I had to stay home…After three days home, my dad…decided he would take me into school...he was fuming…I got up the nerve to ask him, “Do you still love me?” His answer? “If you do this again, I won’t.” …I had to prove myself in order to be loved...”
(Excerpt taken from Cruse’s book, “Thin Enough: My Spiritual Journey Through the Living Death of an Eating Disorder”)

Just like I did, years ago, vulnerable youth are often left to personalize this conditional love message. Besides eating disorders, body image and self-esteem issues, addictions, self-injury, and suicidal thoughts/actions can also occur.
These toxic messages exalt a temporary or nonexistent estimation, like image, fame, achievement or money to make someone loveable and valuable. When we, therefore, subscribe such god-like importance to them, the cries for help from our youth often occur.
Any message which promotes hatred/rejection of self is not from God.

“Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins.”
Proverbs 10:12

That’s, perhaps, the most dangerous message a young person can receive: God hates him/her. “God is love” (1 John 4:16), sadly, is not their experience. Again, we have allowed ourselves to be carefully taught, seemingly everything else except God’s Love and Word. Repeatedly, God tells us He loves each one of us- unconditionally, faithfully.

“…‘Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.”
                                                             Jeremiah 31:3

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Romans 5:8
He commands us also love each other…

 “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.”
John 15:12

But that love must begin with self. We may nod our heads and roll our eyes at that statement, but we still have so much difficulty living it. We hate ourselves in the name of achieving acceptance, popularity, success and unrealistic beauty and image standards. I’ve seen it; I’ve done it.
How many addictions, disorders and suicides does it take? Who’s expendable enough to be the sacrificial lamb? When does the insane self-hatred lesson stop being taught?
God is not the enemy; we are, often times! In every harmful and wrong message, when will we accept and teach this one, when it comes to a person’s value?

 “For God so loved the world, he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
John 3:16
Copyright © 2014 by Sheryle Cruse









           


Never ever call her that!


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

He Will!


Royal Wedding/Princess Anniversary

Today, in 1981, marks the anniversary of the Royal Wedding of Princess Diana and Prince Charles.


When I was a little girl, I watched the royal wedding of Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana. I bought into the excitement and the promise of the fairytale. And yes, I wanted to be a princess. So, I woke up at four in the morning to catch the internationally televised coverage of the epic event and live vicariously through it. There I was, with a bowl of cereal in hand, watching that gilded carriage pull up, carrying the young Lady Diana Spencer and her father. 

And when she stepped out of that carriage? That incredible extravaganza of a wedding dress! Over the years, I heard people discussing that moment, likening it to an exquisite creature emerging from a large chrysalis. 

Yep, that’s about right.

As I watched the 1981 wedding and years later, the 2011 royal wedding between Prince William and Princess Catherine, I noted how the power of the fairytale continues to hit us hard. We still want to buy into the belief that if something appears beautiful, it’s perfect, pain free and “happily ever after.” I know I certainly bought that concept. It spilled over into my food, weight and body image issues until, years later, I found myself in the grips of disordered eating. I believed, wrongly so, beauty, a/k/a being thin, would make my life perfect and fairytale “happily ever after.” Unfortunately, I discovered that wasn’t the case. In that promise’s place, instead, were harmful, miserable compulsions, thoughts, self-hated and spiritual disconnection with God. Certainly, there was no reassuring feeling I was a beautiful, valuable princess.

And it’s not entirely lost on me the profound nature of the word “princess” in the “thinspiration” or “thinspo” movement. This destructive force has taken off now, largely due to the internet. With a proliferation of websites, blogs and social network sites, devoted to the encouragement and instruction of developing and maintaining eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia, “thinspo” has seeped into our consciousness. And, of course, it targets young girls and women, promising them a perfect, controlled, beautiful life, if only they could be as thin as possible. Therefore, disturbingly, often the term “princess” is used to describe those females who victoriously keep their eating disorders going and their weight numbers down.

Since writing the book, “Thin Enough: My Spiritual Journey Through the Living Death of an Eating Disorder,” I encounter many young girls and women, at various stages in their disorders and recovery. And yes, some of them claim to be “princesses.” I often get asked if I am one as well. I tell them I’m pro-recovery, not pro-eating disorders, but I don’t know how much of that registers. They still seem to have “princess”- a thin princess, anyway- on the brain. Some things don’t change, do they? Fixating on that perfect princess often follows us in life.

Princess. Yes, most little girls want to be princesses. Think about it: fairytales, dress up, costumes, wedding days. All princess stuff. We’re groomed to desire the pink girly dreams, seemingly, right from the start.
What is a princess then? Is she beautiful? Sweet? Lovable? Let’s be honest, do you and I feel like those traits every single day? I didn’t think so. And is this princess the reflection staring back at us? Most of us would probably answer “no.” Whether it’s seeking that ideal through beauty and size, even to the extremes of eating disorders or looking at a tangible female role model to embody that image, “princess” is never far from our thoughts. And still, we have difficulty accepting our inherent value in God’s eyes.

So, let’s look at the late Princess Diana. She was, after all, more than that breathtaking bride in the fairytale wedding. Years after her death, we continue to see her impact. In the 1980’s, she educated the world by touching and hugging people with HIV, something unheard of from a royal family member at the time. She sent the message that loving human touch is safe and vital to anyone who is suffering. And that included the mystifying disease of AIDS. Sounds like a princess to me.

And just before her death, she also brought attention the anti-landmine cause worldwide by walking through Angola, dressed in protective gear. Is that act becoming of a princess?

And, of course she raised two sons, Princes William and Prince Harry, both who continue her legacy of charity and service. Attributes of a princess?

Look at her life; look at who she was, apart from her title. Yes, she was beautiful, glamorous and, by royal title, indeed, a princess. But she was also a daughter, a friend, a girl, a woman, a wife, a mother.

And she was also imperfect. That imperfection surfaced as she dealt with her own eating disorder of bulimia. Yes, a princess had an eating disorder. That wasn’t in the perfect fairytale, was it? Did that reality turn us against her, make her any less appealing? No. In fact, we connected with her vulnerability and her humanity. Those of us dealing with eating disorders and recovery also empathized with her struggles. Being a princess didn’t prevent her from experiencing those painful challenges.

When she passed away in 1997, she was named “the people’s princess.” But that title had more to do with her compassion and her kindness expressed to others. It didn’t hinge on physical appearance or weight. It was about her heart.

So, are we, like her, princesses in our worlds? What does that mean to us? Is there the association of “thinspo” attached to it? Is there unrealistic beauty pressures attached to the definition? Are we only princesses, only valuable if we reach and maintain a certain physical criteria? What about our hearts? Where does that factor into the princess designation? Look around at your loved ones, your family and your friends. We just don’t get how much we’re loved and valued by others, do we? We just don’t get how much we’re loved and valued by God!

Others were given in exchange for you. I traded their lives for yours because you are precious to me. You are honored, and I love you.
Isaiah 43:4

I have loved you…With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself.
                                                             Jeremiah 31:3           
  
It doesn’t matter who you are and what you’ve been or done in your life. God has a soft spot for you, in which He sees you as His Princess. He sees ALL of you, every facet; you are this wonderful jewel!

So, the challenge, I suppose, is for each of us to view ourselves as a “princess,” recognizing that the word speaks to our uniqueness, not a crown on our heads, not ever changing beauty trends, not “thinspo” pro-eating disorder mindsets.

I have a different definition of the word. Yes, then. I’m a Princess. You are too! Walk with your head held high; you are that important child of the Most High God!
Copyright © 2014 by Sheryle Cruse



Monday, July 28, 2014

Re-blog


I recently came across a Tumblr blog post reading, “re-blog if you’ve ever experienced...have been abused, self- harmed, been bullied, made yourself throw up...” These options were just a sampling.
Unfortunately, pain in life is inevitable.
And, as much as each one of us may believe we’re “the only one,” in truth, we are not.
“I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all. “

Ecclesiastes 9:11

God does not cause pain; our fallen world does that. However, God has firmly decided, even in spite of our circumstances, what He wants us to experience...

“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

Wherever we are in life, let’s try to re-blog THAT!

Copyright © 2014 by Sheryle Cruse



Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Amusement Factor


Featured in Serene Scene’s July 2014 issue, Cruse examines the role our pursuit of amusement can play in addictive and disordered behaviors.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

“It takes one to know one.”


Years ago, actress, Tracey Gold, best known for her role in the 1980’s sitcom, “Growing Pains,” came out about her eating disorder struggles; she was featured as the cover story on at least two issues of “People Magazine” concerning her story.




And, when these magazines came out, although I didn’t want to admit it, I was drawn to her like a kindred spirit. I had been struggling with disordered eating, manifesting as anorexic low weights, which later morphed into bulimic weight gain. I was out of control and miserable. And I didn’t want to face reality; it was too ugly.
Nevertheless, I secretly read the articles, relating to her experience. I was curious and desperate for connection, for shared experience. I wanted to know there was some hope out there.
Still, much to my dismay, I had my own uncomfortable reality checks along the way; I wasn’t to this issue, even though I felt I was completely alone. Around this time, I had a few encounters with an acquaintance, a fellow anorexic. It seemed I kept running into her. And, each time we met, she read my mail, gently confronting me.

“It takes one to know one.”

Of course, I was not ready for that!

And years later, at my first book signing in Oregon, I had another encounter.
A young anorexic woman was eyeing me, keeping her distance, for the entire four hours of the signing event. She was gaunt and she kept pacing in front of the bookstore. Finally, she rushed the book table, spurting, “I had gone through it, but not the six hour exercise stuff you did.” And then she took off.
Perhaps she wanted help, but was still spooked by the discomfort of her reality. It showed me, however, the very real truth that, when we are in any kind of dysfunction or disorder, there’s still a part of us which wants help and connection.

“...It is not good that the man should be alone...”
Genesis 2:18

Indeed, if from the start, God firmly believes isolation is not good for us, why do we insist of attempting to be alone with our issues?
These two situations, spread out across many years, highlight just how powerful connection is. Yes, it’s scary; yes, there’s risk of rejection, pain and discomfort. Nevertheless, we need it.

“The LORD is near to all who call upon Him,
to all who CALL upon Him in TRUTH.”
Psalm 145:18

“The truth shall set you free.”
John 8:32

Right now, is there someone out there who is experiencing the exact same thing as we are? It’s worth reaching out. Perhaps, if we approached the adage of, “It takes one to know one” with an outlook of help and healing, instead of as a threat, we’d experience who we truly are supposed to be.

And yes, freedom is a part of that.

When You Want to Help Someone You Care About
What to do if…
If your child is younger than 18
Get professional help immediately. You have a legal and moral responsibility to get your child the care s/he needs. Don’t let tears, tantrums, or promises to do better stop you. Begin with a physical exam and psychological evaluation.
If the physician recommends hospitalization, do it. People die from these disorders, and sometimes they need a structured time out to break entrenched patterns.
If the counselor asks you to participate in family sessions, do so. Children spend only a few hours a week with their counselors. The rest of the time they live with their families. You need as many tools as you can get to help your child learn new ways of coping with life.
If your friend is younger than 18
Tell a trusted adult—parent, teacher, coach, pastor, school nurse, school counselor, etc.—about your concern. If you don’t, you may unwittingly help your friend avoid the treatment s/he needs to get better.
Even though it would be hard, consider telling your friend’s parents why you are concerned. S/he may be hiding unhealthy behaviors from them, and they deserve to know so they can arrange help and treatment. If you cannot bear to do this yourself, ask your parents or perhaps the school nurse for help.
If the person is older than 18
Legally the person is now an adult and can refuse treatment if s/he is not ready to change. Nevertheless, reach out. Tell her/him that you are concerned. Be gentle. Suggest that there has to be a better way to deal with life than starving and stuffing. Encourage professional help, but expect resistance and denial. You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink—even when he is thirsty—if he is determined to follow his own path.

Some Things to Do…
•• Talk to the person when you are calm, not frustrated or emotional. Be kind. The person is probably ashamed and fears criticism and rejection.
•• Mention evidence you have heard or seen that suggests disordered eating. Don’t dwell on appearance or weight. Instead talk about health, relationships (withdrawal?), and mood.
•• Realize that the person will not change until s/he wants to.
•• Provide information. http://www.anred.com
•• Be supportive and caring. Be a good listener and don’t give advice unless you are asked to do so. Even then, be prepared to have it ignored.
•• Continue to suggest professional help. Don’t pester. Don’t give up either.
•• Ask: “Is what you are doing really working to get you what you want?”
•• Talk about the advantages of recovery and a normal life.
•• Agree that recovery is hard, but emphasize that many people have done it.
•• If s/he is frightened to see a counselor, offer to go with her the first time.
•• Realize that recovery is the person’s responsibility, not yours.
•• Resist guilt. Do the best you can and then be gentle with yourself.

Some Things Not to Do…
•• Never nag, plead, beg, bribe, threaten, or manipulate. These things don’t work.
•• Avoid power struggles. You will lose.
•• Never criticize or shame. These tactics are cruel, and the person will withdraw.
•• Don’t pry. Respect privacy.
•• Don’t be a food monitor. You will create resentment and distance in the relationship.
•• Don’t try to control. The person will withdraw and ultimately outwit you.
•• Don’t waste time trying to reassure your friend that s/he is not fat. S/he will not be convinced.
•• Don’t get involved in endless conversations about weight, food, and calories. They make matters worse.
•• Don’t give advice unless asked.
•• Don’t expect the person to follow your advice even if s/he asked for it.
•• Don’t say, “You are too thin.” S/he will secretly celebrate.
•• Don’t say, “It’s good you have gained weight.” S/he will lose it.
•• Don’t let the person always decide when, what, and where you will eat. She should not control everything, every time.
•• Don’t ignore stolen food and evidence of purging. Insist on responsibility.
•• Don’t overestimate what you can accomplish.

ANRED: When You Want to Help Someone You Care About. <http://www.anred.com/hlp.html>. Used with permission.

When You Decide to Tell Someone
(from my personal experience):

•• Tell someone you trust and feel comfortable talking with, like a pastor, counselor, family member or friend.
•• Don’t dwell on their anticipated reaction. They may or may not receive the disclosure well. It can be a difficult thing for someone to handle. Remember that.
•• Keep the disclosure honest, simple and to the point: “I have an eating disorder and I need your help.”
•• Be honest and open with where you are now and what you are doing.
•• If it helps make things easier, give the person a book on the eating disorder or write a letter to explain your situation and answer any questions they may have.
•• Don’t take their reactions personally. You are not to blame if they don’t take the news well.
•• Choose professional help whenever possible to be a part of your support system. A pastor or counselor familiar with the treatment of eating disorders can help in your treatment.
•• Surround yourself with a positive group of supporters who desire to love and encourage you.
•• Be patient with yourself and with others during this process. It takes time.
•• Be proud of yourself for this step! It shows tremendous courage on your part.

(From Cruse’s book, “Thin Enough: My Spiritual Journey Through the Living death Of An Eating Disorder”)
Copyright © 2014 by Sheryle Cruse


Friday, July 18, 2014

We don’t have to kill flies to have our names


Just yesterday, we lost a Broadway great, Elaine Stritch. 



She’s had a theatre career spanning decades.
In remembrance of her, I turned to good old Netflix and caught a documentary about her, “Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me.” And in the film, she recounted a time in which she, as a child, was restless, bothering her mother. In an aggravated response, her mother told her to amuse herself and leave her alone. So, Elaine did. She proceeded to kill a number of flies, spelling out her name. A foreshadowing of Marquee letters to come?
Anyway, what gripped me about that story was the power of name and identity. We often go to such vast lengths and even destructive extremes to be seen, to be known, to be significant.
But we already are those things.
Cue God.

“Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.”
Luke 10:20

“And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the LORD, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel.”
Isaiah 45:3

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

"Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; Your walls are continually before Me.”
Isaiah 49:16

“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine!”
  Isaiah 43:1

We’d do well, therefore, to remember and apply these scriptures and spiritual truths. We’re loved and valuable, as is.

No fly killing required.

Copyright © 2014 by Sheryle Cruse


This needs to be shouted from the hills!


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Miss Piggy Could Teach Us Something


I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made…”
Psalm 139:14

I love this image.



We often have negative associations concerning the word “pig,” don’t we? Most of the time, we use the word to describe someone who is disgusting, dirty and overweight. And self-destruction usually comes with it. We feel worthless, ugly, stupid and rejected.

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

Miss Piggy, the character from the Muppets, however, has always operated from a positive self-image. She’s viewed herself as beautiful, glamorous, smart, sexy and relevant. Whether or not creator, Jim Henson intentionally planned for that, we don’t know for certain.

Nevertheless, we can all take a page from Miss Piggy’s playbook when it comes to our self-image. 
Furthermore, we can go to God’s playbook and see ourselves as we truly are and were created to be.

 “O my dove…let me see your form…for your form is lovely.”
Song of Solomon 2:14

“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

“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

We are marvelous, wonderful creations; we’re made in God’s Image, after all...

“And God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.’ So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”
Genesis 1:26-27

When God sees and thinks about us, He celebrates and revels in our special unique beauty and value! 

Who knows? He could be applauding you and me right now. 

So, let’s take and bow and agree with Him!
Copyright © 2014 by Sheryle Cruse


The Collision...


Sunday, July 13, 2014

To Healthy Boundaries!



"But let your statement be, 'Yes, yes ' or 'No, no'; anything beyond these is of evil."
Matthew 5:37 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

“This Excruciating Business Of Loving Someone With An Eating Disorder, Tips From a Spouse”

Cruse’s article, “This Excruciating Business Of Loving Someone With An Eating Disorder, Tips From a Spouse” is featured in the Summer 2014 issue of NEDA’s “Making Connections” Magazine. Cruse interviewed her husband, who shares his personal insights. 


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Hummingbird (encore)


I love hummingbirds. So, when I saw a beautiful photo of one recently, I zoomed in on it. 

And, upon closer examination, I read this little factoid right here:

“Hummingbirds are continuously hours away from starving to death, and are able to store just enough energy to survive overnight.”

I immediately thought of my anorexic experiences.

I didn’t know it at the time, but I had my own obsessive hummingbird thing going on. It was driven by fear- and it didn’t have to be that way.

Fear had convinced me the absolute worst things in the world that could happen to me were eating and gaining weight. So, the torture game became “don’t eat- go as long, as far as you can without eating- just keep going.”

But, what I didn’t know was that this was not what God wanted for me. He didn’t want to punish me; that was not His Will towards me. This, rather, was, instead:

“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

God never created me to be like the every frenetic hummingbird. He wanted me to have a life- and one which wasn’t running on fumes.

“…I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”’
John 10:10

The fear I was experiencing, driving me to emaciation, exhaustion and misery was not of God.

 “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”
2 Timothy 1:7

 I didn’t know that at the time.

I didn’t know that fear is a spirit, distorting the truth of things; fear lies to us. It tries to convince us God doesn’t love us, God will fail us and life is a horrible, hopeless thing.

All lies.

God repeatedly tells us NOT to fear, in fact…

“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

“Fear not: for I am with thee…”
Isaiah 43:5

“Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”
Luke 12:32

“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

“And he saith unto them, ‘Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith?’ Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.”
Matthew 8:26

This last scripture struck me especially hard as I looked at the wordsthere was a great calm.”

Ever see a hummingbird? Not a lot of calm going on there.

And that’s the reality check. For those of us struggling with eating disorders and obsessive/compulsive thoughts and behaviors, are we acting more like a frantic hummingbird or a peaceful child of God? Where are we falling within that spectrum? We are somewhere.

So, wherever we are, how imperfectly we are, let’s first start with Psalm 46:10:

“Be still, and know that I am God…”
From there, let’s live as His Child. Let’s cease from our hummingbird ways.
Copyright © 2014 by Sheryle Cruse