Thursday, August 28, 2014

Back to School (An Eating Disorder Awareness Education)

This back to school season always strikes me with concern. Eating disorders are often triggered by the college experience. Statistics show some startling realities:
“As many as 10% of college women suffer from a clinical or nearly clinical eating disorder, including 5.1% who suffer from bulimia nervosa
Studies indicate that by their first year of college, 4.5 to 18% of women and 0.4% of men have a history of bulimia…”
(The National Institute of Mental Health, National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders)
 Indeed, it was my reality. As a child and a teenager who always struggled with her weight, I determined college to be my “reinvention.” If I could just be thin, I could be a new, better person. And so, oh, so slowly, I descended into eating disorders. I discuss it in my book, “Thin Enough: My Spiritual Journey Through the Living Death of an Eating Disorder.”
It started as a diet. However, it didn’t stop there. Eventually I was engulfed in anorexia, culminating in an unhealthy low weight of eighty pounds, not to mention, weakness and dizziness just to name a couple of health issues I encountered. Furthermore, that anorexic condition eventually morphed into another dangerous disorder, bulimia; I gained one hundred plus pounds within a number of months. And, with that rapid weight gain, I experienced heart fluttering, shortness of breath and suicidal thoughts. Simply stated-I was miserable, unhealthy and out of control.
Eating disorders don’t happen overnight. Often, these behaviors have been developing for many young people for years prior. However, college, with the major lifestyle changes, stressors and pressuring expectations of young adulthood can lay the groundwork for disordered eating to thrive. Whether it’s the need to be perfect, compete in athletics, measure up to parental or peers’ expectations or cope with anxiety and major changes, many young men and women wrongly believe their chosen eating disorder is the desirable “answer” to their problems. And so, they learn the techniques, sometimes even teaching them to fellow roommates, practice the behavior and, before long, they have gone further in chaotic choices than they ever dreamed. Personal health, goals and life plans are all threatened, seemingly, “out of the blue.”
And, most damaging of all is the spiritual impact. The eating disorders’ lies often do an insidious and thorough job of convincing the young person of the ultimate lie: God hates you and will not/cannot save you; therefore, it’s hopeless. That’s where I found myself.
And, it’s taken me years to spiritually relearn God’s Truth.
“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
“I have chosen you and have not cast you away.”
Isaiah 41:9
“Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me?”
Jeremiah 32:27
“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go: I will guide you with My eye.”
Psalm 32:8
“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 how much pain could have been avoided if I had been aware of that reassuring powerful Truth when I was in college? How much pain could I have avoided if I went in to college, fully knowing the dangers of the eating disorder path?
“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge…”
Hosea 4:6
This time of year, back to school emphasizes knowledge and learning. And, it’s at this time of year I encounter many frantic young people, with all manner of food, weight, body image and self-esteem issues, going off to college, fearful of what they’re facing.
 So, along with God’s Word, which never comes back without its intended purpose accomplished (Isaiah 55:11), I’ve provided some questions and things to look out for if you believe someone is struggling, or if you, yourself are suffering from eating disorder tendencies.
Eating Disorder Signs To Look Out For:
Perfectionistic about appearance and achievement
Obsessed with food, dieting, counting calories, etc.
Excessive exercising (hours at a time)
Isolation from family and friends and secretive behavior (in example: exercising in the middle of the night, binge and purge sessions when alone, constant weighing of oneself)
Drastic weight loss, weight gain, fluctuations, (may also have a puffy face, scraped knuckles and hair loss)
Possession of laxatives, diet pills, diuretics and “thinspo” material
Stealing roommates’ food and money
Self-critical, depressed and/or displaying erratic mood swings
Displaying cross addictive behavior: in example, alcohol/drug consumption, shopping, sexual activity, self-injury (like cutting oneself)
Wearing excessively baggy clothes
Frequent trips to the bathroom, especially after eating
Frequent absences from classes, work or other activities
Questions To Ask… Do I having an eating disorder?
Do I expect to be perfect?
God’s answer to that question…
“The Lord will perfect that which concerns me…”
Psalm 138:8
What’s my definition of beauty/performance?
God’s answer to that question…
I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made…”
Psalm 139:14
How do I view food?
God’s answer to that question…
“Is not life more than food?”
Jesus, in Matthew 6:25
How do I view exercise?
God’s answer to that question…
“For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.”
1 Timothy 4:8
How do I see myself right now?
God’s answer to that question…
“Since you were precious in my sight… I have loved you…”
Isaiah 43:4
If your answer to the eating disorder question is “yes,” it’s not hopeless. But it does require action, professional help and support from others.
If You Have Anorexia Nervosa…
Don’t diet. Never ever. Instead design a meal plan that gives your body all the nutrition it needs for health and growth. Also get 30 to 60 minutes of exercise or physical activity three to five days a week. More than that is too much.
Ask someone you trust for an honest, objective opinion of your weight. If they say you are normal weight or thin, believe them.
If You Have Bulimia Nervosa or Binge Eating Disorder…
Don’t let yourself get too hungry, too angry, too lonely, too tired, or too bored. All these states are powerful binge triggers. Watch for them, and when they first appear, deal with them in a healthy manner instead of letting the tension build until bingeing and purging become the release of choice.
Make sure that every day you touch base with friends and loved ones. Enjoy being with them. It sounds corny, but hugs really are healing.
Keep tabs on your feelings. Several times a day ask yourself how you feel. If you get off track, do whatever the situation requires to get back to your comfort zone.
ANRED: Self Help Tips.
And it requires looking at the real truth of the situation. After all, scripture tells us…
“The truth shall set you free.”
John 8:32
So, as the seasons and transitions change, learn the freedom God wants you to experience. It’s yours to claim! Educate yourself with true freedom, health, life and relationship with the True God behind it all! He’s waiting for you!
“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
“Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.”
3 John 1:2
“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
Copyright © 2014 by Sheryle Cruse

Monday, August 25, 2014

The Search For Rejection?

“Actors search for rejection. If they don’t get it, they reject themselves.”
Charlie Chaplin
As someone with a theatre background, I’ve often encountered rejection.
I’ve endured many auditions and have heard my fair share of no. I didn’t look the part, sound the part, I couldn’t get a handle on a certain accent or I simply was not “good enough.”
Ah, yes, “good enough.” For many of us perfectionists and/or recovering addicts, this little phrase cuts right to the core.
In one way or another, we are recovering from something in life. And yes, it’s often fueled by rejection.
Years ago, when I played the crazy housewife character, Bananas in John Guare’s, “The House of Blue Leaves,” I behaved like a dog, begging for attention.

It wasn’t my first stint at begging, however. Like many of us, my rejection issues stemmed from unmet needs involving my parents. I discuss it in my book, “Thin Enough: My Spiritual Journey Through the Living Death of an Eating Disorder.”

 “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... I was “earning my keep.” I set impossible standards for myself.
...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... 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... 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... 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... 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...”

However, there was an ugly little reality I didn’t want to admit; I was getting a payoff from the rejection.
Whether it was an excuse to wallow, a free pass from accountability or just me being a true drama queen, my rejection perception was giving me something. I say perception because, let’s get real, nine times out of ten there was no actual rejection going on at all. It was simply my feelings run amuck.
Furthermore, I missed one critical Truth that, as an adult, I’m now acknowledging: my dad’s behavior- or anyone else’s- was not necessarily God’s response.
He feels and acts differently when it comes to the love issue:

“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  
Furthermore, He doesn’t reject.

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

"...‘I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.’"
Hebrews 13:5

So, where does all this reveling in rejection come from?
Again, there could be a payoff that, perhaps, we get addicted to. Yes, we can get addicted to feelings, unhealthy drama and chaos.
Pity parties can feel wonderful. Being intense and moody can give us the illusion of being powerful. Rejecting ourselves before anyone else gets a crack at us can appear to de-victimize us.
Scripture calls us out on the rejection reality concerning each of us:

"We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed."
2 Corinthians 4:9
Life may deal some crushing blows, rejection being one of them. However, we need to determine the true source and the meaning, exactly, of our trials.
No one gets through life unscathed. Pain is a human experience, not a selective attack.

“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 favor to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all. “

Ecclesiastes 9:11

So, if we’re feeling rejected, could it be really, our own doing? And, if so, are we getting some payoff from the self-inflicted pain? It’s worth searching.

“Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
Psalms 139:23-24

And, in the meantime, we can remember a spiritual truth; God never rejects:

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

"...‘I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.’"
Hebrews 13:5

Let’s bask, therefore, in His acceptance. Period.
Copyright © 2014 by Sheryle Cruse

About Your Voice...

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Real Reason

I admit it. Whenever I hear anyone touting fitness and health, my uneasy radar goes up. As someone in recovery from eating disorders, it’s a sensitive thing. And, for as many people, who, indeed, strive to get healthier for health’s sake, how many others are only looking to lose weight?

And, how many develop disordered eating behaviors and mindsets during that pursuit?

I may come across as overly critical here, but it’s because the issue has hit so close to home. Not only have I personally battled disordered thoughts and behaviors, including anorexia and bulimia, I’ve also seen how it has spread within my family as well.

And, mostly, within that family context, the decision to diet or exercise is born out of a desire to be thin and to lose weight.

As a little girl, that was, indeed, my desire. I wanted to be good, lovable and pretty. And, I believed I wasn’t because of my overweight physique.

I speak about it in my book, “Thin Enough: My Spiritual Journey Through the Living Death of an Eating Disorder.”

 “...My first diet ended almost when it started, beginning an endless dieting rollercoaster. Diet after diet would start with this angelic-choir Hallelujah moment, followed by this new revelation that ‘This is the diet. Diet ye in it.’
Oftentimes, Mom and I would treat dieting as a buddy project. Mom and I would always start on what day? Monday! Yes, Monday was always the day of the fresh start, the answer. Whenever Mom and I were inspired to go on a diet, we’d have one last Sunday blowout, eating all of the “bad food” to get it out of our systems. We were ready to begin our new lives!
On Monday, there would be commitment and enthusiasm! We’d throw out all the junk food and swear it off forever. We’d institute an exercise program, complete with graph paper and gold stars. Together, we would begin arm circle exercises, bicycle kicks and sit-ups. Looking back, I find it fitting that these exercises were all movement and no destination. We were moving alright, we just weren’t going anywhere. There would also be the measurement, weighing, and counting of ingredients and calories. Mom and I even had our own little notepads, recording our daily menus.
We could usually keep it up for two or three days. Monday was a great start, but every day after it led to our downfall. With each passing day, the Hallelujah choir, singing the praises of our new diet, was replaced by the songs of our siren stomachs, luring us with praises of forbidden food. Gradually, our written record of ‘baked potato with pad of butter and carrot sticks’ for lunch simply became ‘potato’ (as in chips). Mom and I couldn’t bring ourselves to write down the truth, the whole-bag-of-potato-chips truth and nothing-but-potato-chip truth. I couldn’t understand why it didn’t work. Mom and I did everything right. (Everything except pray and trust in God). We had measured everything, except why we were really doing this.
All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes; But the Lord weighs the spirits.
Proverbs 16:2
Our buzz phrase was, ‘When we get down to our right weight…’ Of course, that must mean we were at our wrong weight...I was becoming so very aware of exactly how unacceptable I was…”

Indeed, I had a heart condition.

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

As an adult, it’s taken me years to reach some conclusions about the goal-driven perspective to anything in life, thin bodies included.

“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
Matthew 6:21; Luke 12:34

It IS a heart issue. And even eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia, with their emphasis on emaciated appearances, control and punishment, still are driven by heart desires and needs, or, more specifically, the perception of unmet needs.

“Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.”
Proverbs 4:23

Nevertheless, whatever my wounds, issues, preferences and goal-driven tactics were, I still could not escape the reality there was a harsh taskmaster behind them all: my heart. And I was responsible for my choices made by that heart. I needed to take ownership; I needed to ask God for His help. 

“Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
Psalms 139:23-24

Notice, I said ownership, not damnation for the chosen way I kept my heart. There’s a tremendous difference between the two.

Ownership is a tool for empowerment; feeling hopelessly damned and condemned, however, promotes a powerlessness we, as human beings, are not meant to suffer.  Like most things in life, heart issues included, it has to do with attitude.

What is our attitude? Is it pro- God or anti-God? Are we bent on destroying ourselves or on fulfilling His plan?

“And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ.”
2 Thessalonians 3:5

And, are we willing to treat ourselves with the care God desires for us?

That question brings the stewardship principle into view.

 “Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you?”
1 Corinthians 3:16

It’s about a commitment to healthy excellence. God doesn’t expect us to do everything with an unrealistic perfection. He does, however, long for us to treat His Creation with respect. And, let’s never forget, we’re His Creation.

“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.
Luke 16:10

Just like money or possessions, our bodies and our very being are entrusted to us. Our attitude concerning that truth is vital.

And it hinges on, not our personal performance, but rather, our personal relationship with God.
It’s not a new concept. It goes back to Genesis with Adam and Eve. There was a relationship going on, even when they messed it up.

 “And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.”
Genesis 3:8

God wants to be connected with us. He wants a relationship, an ongoing, living, two-way communication reality. Jesus carries that exact sentiment, awaiting our open invitation into our lives and our decisions.

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.”

Therefore, that includes not only personal relationship with God, but also an open mind to His thoughts, His Will and, ultimately, then, our own lifestyle choices.
“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

We can tap into God’s desire for us, which is to bless, not oppress, us, to help, not hurt us. When we take these educated steps, we can experience healthier lives.

 “Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it, whenever you turn to the right hand, and whenever turn to the left.’”
Isaiah 30:21

And yes, that includes good nutrition and exercise.

“For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: because we are members of His body.”
Ephesians 5:29-30

“For bodily exercise profits little: but godliness is profitable to all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.”
1 Timothy 4:8

That, however, does not always mean diet and weight loss according to our instant gratification definitions. It is about an ongoing imperfect process, aiming for health and improvement. It’s not about getting into those skinny jeans or that bikini. It’s not a Machiavellian approach either, doing whatever extreme, harmful things, including eating disorder behaviors, to achieve said result.

Part of the challenge of my own recovery process has been to come to terms with the imperfect process rather than the presto result. As much as I may love the concept of being completely, instantaneously perfected, I need to understand how the lessons of my recovery and my very relationship with God, Himself, have not sprung from one singular moment, but rather, from a lifetime of moments. Instrumental to that unfolding journey has been that of 2 Corinthians 3:18:

“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.”

Each of us is going through a unique glory process, changing from phase to phase. It’s as individual to us as our fingerprints. God know what needs to be healed and discovered within every single person.

And God desires that we know His intentions for us:

“Beloved, I wish above all things that you may prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers.”
3 John 1:2

“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

Yes, some of us may need to make adjustments in our diet and exercise habits. Some may even need to lose weight for health reasons.

And, if we truly hold up our desires and reasons to God, we can, hopefully see the true intentions and issues for what they are. John 8:32 states the truth shall set us free.

When it comes to your body, right now, what is your truth? Is it being healthier or being skinny? Be honest, no matter what the real answer is.

And, with that truth, have faith and cooperative action that God will help you through whatever is going on in your life.

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

Copyright © 2014 by Sheryle Cruse

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Caution: Media

Eating Disorders By the Numbers...

If you don’t have nothing nice to say

In the Disney classic film, “Bambi,” the adorable rabbit, Thumper repeatedly speaks before he thinks.

 Case in point, when Thumper offers his commentary on Bambi’s awkwardness as a new fawn, making some unkind remarks, we next see Thumper’s mother chastising him:
 “Thumper, what did your father tell you?”
Thumper responds, looking down at the ground sheepishly, “if ya don’t got nothing nice to say, don’t say nothing at all.”
Out of the mouths of bunnies.
And how many of us, growing up, have heard that similar advice from a parent, a friend or a teacher?
Sounds simple enough: be nice, say nice things to others. But do our ears convey the sentiment to our brains, effectively, on a regular basis?
Eh, not so much.
And for those of us in the Christian community, we are, likewise, constantly reminded of Proverbs 18:21:
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.”
So, it should be old hat by now. It should be. But often, we seem to be short on our understanding and application of the concept, while being long-bunny ear long- on our hasty mouths and two cent opinions. Each one of us is guilty of being Thumper.
Words. We often choose to speak before we think, if we even think at all! However, we often lose sight of a spiritual consequence:
“Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles.”
Proverbs 21:23
To break it down into some slang:
“Don’t start nothing, won’t be nothing!”
We underestimate the power of our words, only to learn the lesson of just what they carry. Each one of us has said things we want to take back. We have lost our temper, cussed, said things out of sarcasm and anger. And usually, we’re sorry and we want to take them back.
But the impact from those words leaves a mark, a wound and a scar. Indeed, how many of us spend our entire lives recovering such marks, wounds and scars?
“Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!”
James 3:5
Yep, our tongues can set our lives ablaze with a hurtful, rash word.
But it’s not hopeless. Again, going back to Proverbs, each one of us needs to remember our words have power for not just death and destruction, but for life and healing as well. Words hurt. Words heal. We choose which direction to apply them.
And each one of us have had instances in which someone said something, gave us a compliment or a soothing bit of comfort- and it made ALL the difference!
“A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth: and a word spoken in due season, how good is it!”
Proverbs 15:23
We can do this in our lives on a regular basis, but it requires some work. It requires thought. It requires stopping to think about what we’re going to say.
 I love this sentiment below. I saw it passed around on Facebook and I just had to like and share it. Check it out:
Does what we’re going to say next improve or worsen things? No, we cannot control everything in life, including another person’s response to our words. Misunderstandings will occur. But we can make can effort, like the Hippocratic oath, to “do no harm” with what we say. That may mean you and I have to sacrifice giving someone a piece of our minds. It may mean not using a colorful four letter word. It may mean swallowing some pride and walking away.
And, when we’ve have blown it royally with our words- and we will blow it- it may mean saying “I’m sorry,” humbling ourselves for our wrong choices. None of these options are easy. And honestly, none of these options feels so great. But there’s a longer term result to keep in mind which goes beyond the short term, few seconds to blurt a wrong thing out. What damage can we avoid in the first place?
We can make a choice to not cause the harm. Or we can face the ramifications of what we’ve said.
Words are powerful and, once said, reverberate in our lives for years, even decades, to come. Which words do you want to be identified with? Yes, it requires soul searching, going to God.
“Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.”
Psalm 19:14
But taking this time, if for nothing else, to stop, breathe, and even count to ten, will leave us with less regrets than anything said in the heat of the moment.
Remember Thumper? Remember what his mother said to him?
“What did your father tell you?”
What is our Father, God, speaking to you right now about your words? What changes can you make regarding them today?
You are created in God’s Image. So live and speak that way!
Speak with love
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails.”
1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Allow your words to be the love of God- and watch success blossom in your life!
Thumper, what do you say?
Copyright © 2014 by Sheryle Cruse

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Always Making Progress

Exercise Reality Check

There’s a lot of emphasis on exercise in today’s culture, isn’t there? There are countless gyms, trainers, types of equipment, programs, workout clothes and shoes, as well as a variety of athletic activities from which to choose. It’s overwhelming. Yet there’s still a rise in eating disorders, in childhood obesity and Type 2 Diabetes?
It seems that these two opposing categories of choice are battling each other, further confusing and stressing us out.
Why is this so? It’s too complicated for me to give a two-word explanation, obviously. Yes, it is complicated.
But perhaps, it has something to do with focus and priority, putting exercise and health in a healthy balance for our lives. God tells us that, yes, there is some benefit to exercise.

“For bodily exercise profits little: but godliness is profitable to all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.”
1 Timothy 4:8

It lowers blood pressure, combats heart disease; it also improves circulation and mood, just to name a few positive results.
But, like anything used to excess, it can harm, even kill. That’s what it could have done for me, back in the day, when I exercised for six or more hours a day, while starving myself at the same time. Believe me; that was not God’s Will!
“For God is not a God of disorder but of peace…”
1 Corinthians 14:33
That was not profitable!

So what is profitable? Moderate exercise that is a part of your life, but not your ENTIRE life!!!! If exercise is preventing you from other people and things in your life, to the point of disruption, that is not profitable.
Signs of Compulsive Exercise

If you are concerned about your own exercise habits or a friend's, ask yourself the following questions. Do you:
*         force yourself to exercise, even if you don't feel well?
*         prefer to exercise rather than being with friends?
*         become very upset if you miss a workout?
*         base the amount you exercise on how much you eat?
*         have trouble sitting still because you think you're not burning calories?
*         worry that you'll gain weight if you skip exercising for a day?
If the answer to any of these questions is yes, you or your friend may have a problem. What should you do?
How to Get Help
The first thing you should do if you suspect that you are a compulsive exerciser is get help. Talk to your parents, doctor, a teacher or counselor, a coach, or another trusted adult. Compulsive exercise, especially when it is combined with an eating disorder, can cause serious and permanent health problems, and in extreme cases, death.
Because compulsive exercise is closely related to eating disorders, help can be found at community agencies specifically set up to deal with anorexia, bulimia, and other eating problems. Your school's health or physical education department may also have support programs and nutrition advice available. Ask your teacher, coach, or counselor to recommend local organizations that may be able to help.
You should also schedule a checkup with a doctor. Because our bodies go through so many important developments during the teen years, guys and girls who have compulsive exercise problems need to see a doctor to make sure they are developing normally. This is especially true if the person also has an eating disorder. Female athlete triad, a condition that affects girls who overexercise and restrict their eating because of their sports, can cause a girl to stop having her period. Medical help is necessary to resolve the physical problems associated with overexercising before they cause long-term damage to the body.

God tells us:

“Beloved, I wish above all things that you may prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers.”
3 John 1:2

Let’s believe it and accept it for our lives, not just in the area of exercise, but in everything we do!
Copyright © 2014 by Sheryle Cruse

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Spark...

I’m still reeling from yesterday’s sad news. The hilarious comedian/actor Robin Williams passed away, from what is reported to be a suicide.

Details are still unfolding, but what remains for certain is how this prolific funny man entertained us. What wasn’t as obvious, however, was the clown’s own struggles.

As news of his death broke, social media exploded with photos and film clips, including this one...


We’ll never know for sure just how Robin felt he couldn’t hang onto his.
And, it’s precisely at this disturbing moment, the issue of God’s Grace and Mercy has come to my mind.

“And of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace.”
John 1:16

 “And he said, ‘I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy.’”
Exodus 33:19

It’s beyond our mortal comprehension. But still, God is amazing.

And, it is my hope that Mr. Williams, before his last breath, realized that Grace and Mercy reality.
Indeed, may he truly, eternally, rest in peace and possess his unique spark forever.
Copyright © 2014 by Sheryle Cruse