Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Power of One...

You're worth another chapter


As a man thinks…


Recently, a young girl, struggling with eating disorders, posted a sentiment on Facebook, entitled, “Welcome to my head.” Here were some of the things comprising it:







Never good enough

It’s sad and frustrating to see this yet again and still. It can be so naturally built into us, can’t it?

And it seems almost impossible to override those negative and destructive words.

But God DOES have a real antidote to them- HIS Word! Will we, however apply it?

Concerning the “ugly” statement?

“O my dove…let me see your form…for your form is lovely.”

Song of Solomon 2:14

Concerning the “weak” statement?

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Philippians 4:13

Concerning the “stupid” statement?

“For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.”

1 Corinthians 2:16

Concerning the “failure” statement?

“…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

Concerning the “Never good enough” statement?

“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

It is about a change in our thinking. Proverbs nails it on the head:

“For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he...”

Proverbs 23:7

How are we thinking? And is it creating a self-fulfilling prophecy? Is it the one we want?

Let’s challenge our thoughts; not all are Godly. But we can apply God’s Words to ourselves. Let’s start now!

Copyright © 2015 by Sheryle Cruse








So, Live With Failing...

The Only Drama...

The Authenticity of Spirituality...

Monday, September 28, 2015

The Gigantic Fridge Isn't So Big Afterall


Featured in September 28th’s Christians In Recovery, Cruse discusses the volatile role a refrigerator can often play for those in recovery from food and body image issues.


Sunday, September 27, 2015

Chag Sameach!!!

The Wandering of Distractions


“He wandereth abroad for bread, saying, ‘Where is it?’…”

Job 15:23

Within recovery, there is often the need to commemorate the struggle, the courage and the life-affirming process, via tattoos and piercings.

Indeed, I’ve encountered many young people who have significant dates and meaningful logos marked on their skin. Likewise, eyebrows, nostrils and lips are also pierced, in the declaration of some kind of personal freedom from pain.

John Lennon once stated in his lyrics, “Whatever gets you through the night, it’s all right, it’s all right.” I certainly can understand that viewpoint. My darkest moments had me looking for any point of light. When one is desperate to overcome seemingly hopeless circumstances, any avenue will do.

“For what I am doing, I do not understand...”

The Apostle Paul in Romans 7:15

In my communications with young people, pursuing the tattoo and piercing avenues, the argument is often made about how getting a certain body modification will reinvent, empower, and heal them from whatever they have faced in the past. This includes abuse, disorder, addiction, loss and pain. Indeed, many have, therefore gotten NEDA heart logo tattoos, a date of his/ her last drink or a pierced septum to symbolized freedom from self-defined slavery. The list goes on and on, unique, specific and personal.

And, while they may know exactly what they want and what they think it represents, all too often, they are clueless about the why question and the state of their hearts.

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”

Jeremiah 17:9

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

Proverbs 4:23

“Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:”

Ephesians 4:18

So, these commemorations becomes distractions- and can produce that disappointed result of feeling continually lost.


“He wandereth abroad for bread, saying, ‘Where is it?’…”

Job 15:23

The tattoo or the piercing is not the problem; rather, its significance is. When that body modification becomes the answer, there’s where the idolatry and unrealistic answers can come in.

“For all the gods of the nations are idols: but the LORD made the heavens.”

Psalms 96:5

The word’s definition reads as follows:

1) image of a deity, etc., as an object of worship. 2) the object of excessive or supreme adulation, a graven image icon, effigy, symbol, fetish, totem, god, hero or heroine, star, celebrity.

Yes, if we’re looking for any kind of mark on our physical bodies to be our answer and our salvation, we are setting ourselves up for great disappointment. God is the only way the lost can be found.

 “That the saying might be fulfilled, which he spake, ‘Of them which thou gavest me have I lost none.’”

John 18:9

“For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.”

Matthew 18:11

Accept no substitutes. Body modification stops at the body. It does not transcend the soul and spirit.

Copyright © 2015 by Sheryle Cruse




When you start doubting yourself...

Friday, September 25, 2015

The Ultimate Therapist


Featured in September 25th’s Christians In Recovery, Cruse discusses the role God plays as therapist within the recovery setting.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Not Yet...

Some Help...

But I Don’t Worry About You


A scene from an episode of the final season of “Mad Men” captures a self-doubt moment beautifully. The exchange is between the protagonist, Don Draper and that of his protege, Peggy Olsen. She recently turned thirty years old and, like most of us, life had not turned out how she expected it would. Peggy has a moment of self-doubt, one to which Draper responded…

“I worry about a lot of things. But I don’t worry about you.”

Worry. We have a lot of it in life. We worry about our jobs, our families, our place in this world and our recovery if we struggle with addictions, disorders and compulsions. We worry, even though “fear not” is mentioned by God numerous times in scripture. We cannot seem to help it.

So, where does all of this worry stem from? How about from a thought? Check yourself and see if you have ever thought some of these things about yourself.

“I’m nobody special…”

This is a biggie, hitting our core identity and our value. Most of us have encountered lying thoughts about ourselves here. Bullying, abuse and peer pressure often lead us to believe we’re worthless and unwanted.

But God states the contrary…

“I have chosen you and have not cast you away.”

Isaiah 41:9

 “Since you were precious in my sight… I have loved you…”

Isaiah 43:4

All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made.”

John 1:3

And because He is His Word (Genesis 1:1; John 1:1), He’s not fretting about us the way we are. He knows what He’s doing and how to handle us. And He is, indeed, handling us.

But we human beings still have trouble believing it. And so, more worry…

“But what if…”

This thought is dedicated for those of us control freaks (you know who you are). And yes, worry warts are also always welcome too.

We can “awful-ize” any particular situation, playing “what if” games with ourselves, but never playing the game to its end. So, there’s a lot of up in the air anxious uncertainty plaguing us.

It’s Chicken Little’s “the sky is falling” on steroids!

But here’s the good news; God’s thoughts are different from ours!

 “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

Before you and I ever thought one catastrophic, despair-filled thought, God knew about it and purposely thought differently. He thought according to love, prosperity, health and blessing. He’s thinking it right now!

And that’s why, regardless of what is or is not happening, God’s in control; He’s leading and guiding this thing called our lives…

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”

Proverbs 3:5-6

“But I’ve made too many mistakes…”

Still, we tend to worry, spiting that Truth of that scripture, don’t we? We obsess about our imperfections, our sins, our faults. We can even freak out about how much God is freaking out about our less than perfect selves. We think He’s appalled and fed up with us. He’s not. He knew what He was getting into when He took us on…

“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;”

Romans 3:23

And He’s committed to helping us, even when we screw up.

“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

For all of our shortcomings, none of us is too difficult for Him.

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

Jeremiah 32:27

He’s not intimated by us and whatever mess may exist in our lives. He has it under control.

But it’s hopeless…

Yes, most of us have our despair thoughts running amuck. We come up with all kinds of reasons why it’s hopeless for us. We don’t see a blessed future.

But again, God thinks and executes His Plan for us differently

 “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

“…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

To use Mad Men terminology? God is saying, “I don’t worry about you.”

The challenge for us is to take Him at His Word.

Copyright © 2015 by Sheryle Cruse
















Sunday, September 20, 2015

Attention, Limping Puppy!!


“In your patience possess ye your souls.”

Luke 21:19

“Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.”

James 1:3


I saw this little guy the other day.


The “awwh” factor was off the charts.

And it made me think about our struggles in life. How many of us are spiritually, emotionally and mentally limping along?

Yeah, exactly.

The persistence accompanies the patience we need. I know- neither sound fun. But there is a payoff to hanging in there:

“For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.”

Hebrews 10:36

You’ve heard about the importance of attitude. And that enters into the struggle issue big time. What if, instead of despair, we had hopeful glory about our circumstances?

I know. Tall order. Nevertheless, there is good news, even as we may limp along…

“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us. Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Hebrews 12:1-2

Never, never, never give up! You ARE getting there!

Copyright © 2015 by Sheryle Cruse


But, But, But… (Imagination- Fear Or Faith)


 Fear and faith are two universal issues in life. To one degree or another, we all encounter them. Yet, for most of us, it’s probably a safe bet to say we feel fear is the more acutely experienced situation. It’s often easier, it seems, to “feel” fear rather than to “feel” faith, isn’t it?

Yet, each of us, according to scripture, has the capacity for faith:

"For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you."

However, we, all too often, experience our capacity for feelings. And those pesky feelings can often go in the wrong direction for us. Those feelings have us pursuing negative faith stuff, not necessarily faith in God stuff.

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

Hebrews 11:1

“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

Indeed, God has some differing thoughts…

“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

The problem is not God’s thoughts; it’s ours (what a shock). That’s where the fear comes in, the negative faith which tries to convince us doom and destruction are the only things headed our way. The often used acronym for fear goes as follows: False Evidence Appearing Real. Ever hear that?

Yes, indeed, Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s our own creative imagination that runs amok with worst case scenarios and fuels our fears and phobias. But again, God has a different perspective…

"Don't be afraid; just believe."

Mark 5:36

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

Jeremiah 32:27

Do we really believe God can handle our lives? Do we really believe He’s bigger than any fear or threat? The ideal response is “yes,” but what’s our actual response, more often than not?

No, our wonderful imaginations are bigger.

Yet, once again, God offers us a solution…

 “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.”

2 Corinthians 10:5

It’s about the final, bottom line. Is it God? Or is it an imagination, disguised as a lie, a fear or a worst case scenario? We all need work in this department. Faith is an ongoing, work in progress kind of thing. It isn’t about a one-time perfect result. It’s daily, like breathing.

It’s our response to God and His Word. Is it “amen” or is it an argumentative, “But, but, but?”

The choice is up to us. However, regardless of that choice, God is still an amazing, powerful and loving God.

Imagine that!!!

Copyright © 2015 by Sheryle Cruse



Friday, September 18, 2015

“Am I pretty?”


I love the 1940 adaptation of “Our Town” by Thornton Wilder. It follows the lives of its Grover’s Corner citizens.

And that includes a young girl, Emily. There was a particular conversation between Emily and her mother which caught my attention; it’s one, to a certain degree, which is echoed between many mothers and daughters now. It’s about being pretty.

Emily asks her mother, “Am I pretty enough to get people interested in me?”

My ears perked right up, along with many mixed emotions about the question. Having experienced struggles with body and self-image, as well as eating disorders, the “pretty” question is far from pretty.

Years later, I’m still befuddled by the importance of it. Is it a real human desire for females or is it learned?

Scripture tells us appearance’s importance is a part of life here:

 “ …‘Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature… for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.’”

1 Samuel 16:7

So, God desires us to be “pretty on the inside?”

Somehow, however, that doesn’t quite jive by the time we reach adolescence. High school often teaches us numerous lessons on who is pretty… and who is not.

Indeed, as a little girl, my mother and I often had discussions or “rating systems” on which of my female peers were “cute,” “pretty” or “beautiful.” It wasn’t just about judging or picking apart facial features. It had to do with being worthwhile.

Because, “being pretty,” largely involves acceptance, being chosen. And isn’t that what we long for? We spend our lives chasing that chosen feeling/reality.

I’m not against beauty; I understand its importance. Who doesn’t enjoy looking at something or someone who is aesthetically pleasing?

But I cringe at the extreme importance placed upon “being pretty,” often to the exclusion or negation of other valuable attributes: kindness, personality, spirituality, talent and intellect, for instance. We’ve heard about the pretty girl who dumbed down and downplayed her own intellect/scholastic achievement, just to be approved of and accepted by a good looking boy or a pressuring peer group. She wanted people to be interested in her. And, instead of letting those non-physical qualities stand out, she believed the lie that all she had to offer was her looks. That’s where her worth resided.

As I watched “Our Town,” I encountered a lot of antiquated mindsets, especially concerning male and female roles. It’d be great to think about how far we’ve come since then.  It’d be great if we could see advancement and equality, enlightenment for all individuals where intrinsic worth wasn’t judged by outward appearance.

Sadly, we’re not there. As sweet and endearing as that mother/daughter “pretty” discussion was, it still rings uncomfortably true to this day as the emphasized factor for a girl’s worth. “Pretty” is still so important. There is an absence of the “smart,” “witty” or “kind” questions when it comes to a female’s value.

And that is a shame. We are spiritual beings. We are who our spirit is, not what our faces and bodies look like.

“Pretty,” by itself, is an adjective, not an end-all, be all of individual worth. You and I can be pretty, but that should not be where we end. There’s too much more to us. We need to tap into that. God created incredible beings. He wants us to discover ALL of who we are, not just stop at appearance.

As inherently valuable creations of the Most High God, you and I are enough, AS IS, to be interesting to others and to be worthwhile, regardless of another’s acceptance or rejection.  Valuable… and wonderful, AS IS!!!

I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made…”

Psalm 139:14

This is who we are! Fully own and enjoy that Truth today!!!

Copyright © 2015 by Sheryle Cruse







Shine That Light!!!


People That Do Things...

Thursday, September 17, 2015

At the Pleasure of the Savior (A Big Recovery Key)


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 honour.”

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.

Years ago, as documented in my book, a large shift in my recovery and spiritual life involved serving. Had it not been for that tremendously blessed opportunity, my book and my relationship with God would not be what they are today. Indeed, however imperfectly the process may be, I first learned the powerful principle of “serving at the pleasure of the Savior.”

“…I had allowed my world to become so small, so isolated... That left little room for anyone to get into my life. But…I had to get used to knowing people and being known by them.

…I’d move step by step, it seemed, finding myself stepping into more foreign territory, more questions. Nowhere was this more evident than with one of the best gifts God has given me: an internship program within the church. Within the program, a small group of people focused on both developing their walk with God and serving the Lord through its volunteer service component…

…With this group of fellow God-seekers, everything was amplified, including that whole ‘God’s family’ thing. And I was in need of learning how to become a part of God’s family.

…And during this time, I had now become busier with other things other than weight and body issues. Disordered eating and image habits often consume and take over every part of life….

But now, my life was being taken up more by God and the things of God. I didn’t have the luxury any longer of obsessing about my looks—or for that matter, any other little thing about myself. I had stuff to do. It seemed to be ringing true, the whole thing about losing your life to save it (Luke 9:23-24). Yes, I was so much happier, so much freer, when it wasn’t solely about me, me, and me…

…Over and over again, I need to remind my performance-based self that it’s not about me…God is showing me that He’s patient—and that there’s still more…”

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

As we deal with our struggles, issues, disorders and addictions, let’s take the time to stop and check out our service to others- and to God, Himself. 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 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? After all, 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

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

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

Psalms 119:125

Copyright © 2015 by Sheryle Cruse