Saturday, December 31, 2016

Best Wishes...

Whatever Happened...

The Resolution...



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

Proverbs 23:7

Mirror, Mirror.

We’re now at that reflective time of year, aren’t we? The holiday season makes us more introspective about the state of our lives. And New Year’s is the ultimate in that introspection. As one year comes to a close and another one begins, we can find ourselves wondering, “Am I any different/better now than I was a year ago? Will I be any different/better in the new year?”

 Thus, the New Year’s resolutions. Feel free to groan right here.

Ah, yes, the ever hopeful promise/solution of the resolution. We look at ourselves with discontent, determining we have to change who we are because it isn’t good enough in some way. We see ourselves through the looking glass of subpar and believe that if/when we change, life will feel better for us in some way. And that’s not to discount making healthy choices and living in nondestructive ways. But let’s not confuse those actions with idolizing and banking on the resolution as a better, more relevant answer than Elohim is in our lives. It isn’t and will never be.

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

Proverbs 4:23

New Year’s Eve, with all of its tricky resolution traps, can leave us feeling like we’re walking through a minefield of funhouse mirrors. Only the reflection is never fun and can cut us with its jagged shards.

But our Creator wants different things for us. He wants us to feel hope, not dread, encouragement, not despair. I know; it’s a tall order, isn’t it?

But, perhaps, we just need a small shift in our thinking. What if we spent some time viewing His resolution for us as more powerful, hopeful and lasting than our own? What if we spent time focusing on the victory of the Jeremiah 29:11 resolution, for example, instead of looking at the failure of our own imperfect and puny resolutions?

“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.”

What if we entertained the reality that The Most High is helping us, no matter what time of year it is?

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

Psalm 32:8

“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

What if we resolved to begin to focus, however imperfectly, on the Promise of God’s Word and desire to love and bless us, even in spite of ourselves and any broken resolutions?

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

Isaiah 43:4

“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

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Romans 5:8

“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             

What if we changed the focus of our reflection from reflecting on ourselves to reflecting on The Most High in us, “the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27)?

What would THAT be like?

Let’s endeavor, as imperfectly as it may be, to approach not only the new year that way, but also the Divine and our very selves that way as well!!!

Happy New Year; happy 2017 and beyond!!!

Copyright © 2016 by Sheryle Cruse













This New Year's Eve...

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Still Processing the Reunion...

Yesterday, legend Debbie Reynolds passed away just one day after her daughter, Carrie Fisher. Reports have stated she just couldn't go on without Carrie.

This mother-daughter loss is particularly hard. We have lost celebrities before and an overwhelming number of them THIS year, but not like this.

Mother and daughter are together now. We miss you and will pray for Todd, Billie and Gary, those loved ones are still here to miss you too.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

The New Year: With the Hope?


Featured in December 28th’s Christians In Recovery, Cruse discusses our relationship with new starts and resolutions, especially within the context of addiction and recovery/improvement.


Good Meal Or Bad Meal?


I have mixed feelings about an image making the rounds on social networking sites. It’s a split screen of a hamburger and fries on one side and a salad on the other. It reads as follows:

“One ‘bad’ meal won’t make you fat...Just like one ‘good’ meal won’t make you skinny.”

As a person in eating disorder recovery, my antenna goes up whenever I come across images/messages which portray a kind of “half- truth.” I believe this image is, indeed, one such message. Yes, logically, we know one serving of junk food will not make us weigh 1,000 pounds. Likewise, eating a salad will not transform us into some mythical perfect being. Both are not realistic. But, this statement, while possessing this “half-truth,” still, however, contains its bottom line message: the certain desired image is a thin body.

To me, it smacks of a backhanded compliment. I remember once, when I was twenty-two years old, my younger roommate (age nineteen) once told me, “you’re not that old.”

 (Those of you older than twenty-two, please feel free to chuckle here).

But I feel this good meal/bad meal sentiment is like that. It TRIES  to make us feel better, to soothe fears, to help. However, the main message still contains a judgment in it, saying, “even if you eat, the worst possible thing in the world (being fat) won’t happen to you.”

It’s the judge-y food equivalent to “The Wizard of Oz” Glinda-to-Dorothy question mark, “Are you a good witch or a bad witch?” But the value placed on thinness and the fear of fat are still there.

It’s complicated, isn’t it? I mean, c’mon, let’s face it, since the beginning, there have been food issues going on. Ever hear of Adam and Eve?

“And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.”

Genesis 3:6

Yeah. It’s about desire; it’s about fulfilled need. It’s about something which “looks good.” But is it? And is it supposed to be that estimation to us?

That’s where much of the issue lies right? We subscribe more value to food than it warrants.

“Is not life more than food?”

Jesus, in Matthew 6:25

In its basic purpose, it keeps us alive. It doesn’t love us, comfort us, punish us or rescue us. It keeps us living.

And, ideally, from the wide variety of choices out there, food is designed to keep us healthy. Vitamins, mineral, nutrients, protein, carbohydrates and fats are a part of that process.

But where do we usually place our focus? On the calories, right? Enter the “good food/bad food” principle. And each one of us has a definition that falls under those headings, right?

Salads and vegetables usually fall under the “good” heading; ice cream and cookies usually comprise the “bad.”

But, while, yes, there are healthy and not so healthy choices out there, food does not have the power we believe it has. It’s a resource, a tool, a vehicle, something to be used for its INTENDED purpose. When it isn’t, however, that’s when eating disorders and unhealthy views/expectations come in, creating chaos and harm.

And we often don’t see it, gradually believing food/diet lies we’ve been exposed to over many years.

“For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice: but what I hate, that I do.”

The Apostle Paul in Romans 7:15

And then, “all of a sudden,” we are astonished because we have issues and/or eating disorders? We don’t understand, exactly, just how we arrived to this place of pain and confusion. But, nevertheless, here we are.

But we miss some major points. First, The Most High created food, for us:

“Who giveth food to all flesh...”

Psalms 136:25

More specifically, He takes care of our needs:

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?  Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.

Matthew 6:25-32

Elohim isn’t anti-food; He knows we need it. Food is not a sin to Him. Wrong attitudes, however, are. It’s not because He wants to punish us; He doesn’t want us hurt by lies. And isn’t that what diets, “good and bad foods” are: lies?

So, what’s a more “Godly” view of food? How about the following scriptures?

“All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.”

1 Corinthians 10:23

“All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.”

1 Corinthians 6:12

“And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.”

1 Timothy 6:8

The Most High’s not hung up on whether or not we eat a candy bar or a salad. He wants us healthy and happy. And He wants us focused on HIM, more than the food of the moment. Yes, that can be a challenge, especially if the food issue has been an all-consuming one in our lives.

But here’s where Psalms 136:25, once again, gives us hope:

“Who giveth food to all flesh: for his mercy endureth forever.”

Did you catch that second part?

“…for his mercy endureth forever.”

We’re not in control; Elohim is. And He is not intimidated with our bodies, our functions and our responses to food. He knows how to handle us. He knows our needs, including our needs for His love, wisdom and mercy in our lives.

 Let’s trust that, then, instead of our “good/bad food” thoughts!

Copyright © 2016 by Sheryle Cruse




About Your Resolutions...

The 4 Agreements

All the Best People...


Tuesday, December 27, 2016

A New Alacrity?


“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

Philippians 4:8

I once read a book on Harry Houdini. He was described as possessing a spirit of alacrity. What a great word. Its definition is that of “briskness, a cheerful readiness.”

Who’s tired?

Indeed, this is the time of year when many of us are exhausted. Year’s ends, overstimulated holidays, stress and whatever personal inventory of failures have all left us too tired to do much of anything, much less, anything requiring a brisk, cheerful readiness.

And now, of course, we have a new year to think about.


At the risk of trotting out clichés, it is possible to start anew. Whatever the past year represents, it is history. The Most High’s very much present, here and now, as well as in the future. And He still makes things new…

“…Behold, I make all things new...”

Revelation 21:5

“Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.”

Isaiah 43:19

Still, for those of us, weary from life and ourselves at large, this “new” talk seems far from our grasp. We may not feel up to the task of “new.” We may feel we’re too weak or inadequate.

And, to that, Elohim has a very direct response…

“And he said unto me, ‘My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

2 Corinthians 12:9

Fortunately, The Most High does not depend on our perfection or strength. Nothing would get accomplished if that was the standard.


So, the wakeup call we need to bear in mind is the difference between our thoughts (feelings) and that of the Divine’s, especially those thoughts concerning us.

 “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

“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

And that includes the “new,” new year included.

It may be too much for you to entertain right now. That’s okay. That’s where an act of faith comes in.

"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of
what we do not see."
Hebrew 11:1

The mere fact that you’re struggling indicates there’s faith in you. You’re still here, there’s a reason for that reality. Your life is not solely up to you, anyway. Take that to your weary heart…

“Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.”

John 14:1

“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

John 14:27

And so, dare, this next year, this new year, to believe He has amazing things for you.

“Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.”

Ephesians 3:20

Dare to meet this year, your life and The Most High, armed with your very own sense of alacrity.

Be cheerful; be ready for all He has for you!

“But as it is written, ‘Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.’”

1 Corinthians 2:9

Copyright © 2016 by Sheryle Cruse





Rest in peace, Carrie

It Twirled Up

Shift Happens

Be It...


Monday, December 26, 2016

Are You a Slave of Fear?


Featured in December 26th’s Christians In Recovery, Cruse explores the issue of fear, drawing from the popular science fiction thriller, “Bladerunner.”

Saturday, December 24, 2016

This Time Of the Rolling Year


“Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it. Say not unto thy neighbor, Go, and come again, and tomorrow I will give; when thou hast it by thee.”

Proverbs 3:27-28

One of my favorite Christmas stories is, of course, “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens. I think I’ve seen most film versions of the piece. This time of year, the cautionary tale is shown often on televisions, hopefully, giving us all a refresher course in decency and concern for our fellow man.

 And it all gets started with Ebenezer Scrooge’s dead friend, Jacob Marley. He gets the reality check off to an unsettling start, when, as a ghost, he warns Scrooge of his own selfish mistakes which have cost him dearly for eternity…


 “‘At this time of the rolling year,' the spectre said ‘I suffer most. Why did I walk through crowds of fellow-beings with my eyes turned down, and never
raise them to that blessed Star which led the Wise
Men to a poor abode! Were there no poor homes to
which its light would have conducted me!'

Scrooge was very much dismayed to hear the
spectre going on at this rate, and began to quake

`Hear me!' cried the Ghost. `My time is nearly

“‘At this time of the rolling year…'”

I love that phrase. It reminds us all about the certainty of time passing. Most of us need that reminder, as, so often, we get caught up in the busyness of our lives, neglecting to stop and take note of present opportunities to do good deeds.

We may have 1001 excuses for not getting/staying connected, helping others or working on our relationship with The Most High Himself. Nevertheless, each of us are equipped with the ability to do those things.

“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


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

Psalm 32:8

It’s not about trotting out or imperfection as an excuse; Elohim already knows that reality, anyway.

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

Romans 3:23

It is, rather, about making the decision to love and commit to what we CAN do, not what we can’t do. And yes, we all can do something.

“Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it. Say not unto thy neighbor, Go, and come again, and tomorrow I will give; when thou hast it by thee.”

Proverbs 3:27-28

So, while we’re each doing our own individual self-reflection, let’s also examine what we can do for others, how we can connect and reflect His loving inclusion, not exclusion. As this year now rolls by, what will we do to show all of humanity is, indeed, going from glory to glory?

“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


Copyright © 2016 by Sheryle Cruse



Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Maybe Christmas...

Never Mind...

The Only Time of the Year...

The Face Says It All...

Less Is More: Experiencing Holiday Meaningfulness


This time of year is all about the “too much.” There’s too much food, too much temptation, too much decoration, too much noise, too much spending and too much stress. Anything which is already an existing reality, this time of year, is seemingly placed on steroids.

Ho. Ho. Ho. Jolly times.

A few years ago, an interior designer appeared on a morning talk show. She was there to offer helpful holiday décor tips for our homes. So, I was anticipating glitter, pipe cleaners, tinsel and every kitschy decoration known to man. I awaited pointers on how to transform each home into the Las Vegas strip.

So, it surprised me when she had some atypical advice...

“You don’t have to display all of your Christmas decorations every year. Sometimes, less is more.”

If we drive around in our city streets, it appears many people have not gotten that memo. There are assaulting twinkling, epic strobe lights, red and green everything and front lawn Nativity sets which also have Frosty, Santa, and Disney characters in attendance of our Savior’s birth.

Everything screams, “More is more! Here, let’s add some more tinsel and sugar to it all!”

Where does this more attitude come from?

A possible explanation may be from a spirit- and a deficit- of fear. The anxiety pops up, asserting things will go horribly wrong unless we pull out all the stops.

For those of us with food issues, this is a reality. There’s the “I-may-never-get-another-shot-at-this-buffet-again-because-after-the-holidays-I’ll-be-doing-my- New- Year’s- Resolution-Diet-so- I better-binge-while-I can!”

The celebration spirit goes from “merry” to hedonistic, hinging upon the lie, “I will never get another shot at happiness again. So, I’m going to go for it until I physically can’t.”

The hidden message can often lie in one festive word: “should.”

“Should” is even more prevalent than Christmas cookies and Santa hats. It drives the holiday bus...right into the ditch.

Jingle, jingle, is that holiday stress I hear, see and feel?

And so, over the years, in response to that stress, I find comfort and freedom in scripture. There is, indeed, the permission to choose to say “yes” or “no” to anything, holiday fare included. That means it is permitted and encouraged to not be bound by oppressive, rigid constraints.

“All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.”

1 Corinthians 10:23

All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.”

Matthew 5:37

There is no one “perfect” way to deal with the holidays. Unfortunately, the seasonal pressure, somehow, dictates we must attend every party, sign up for every bit of volunteering, buy gifts for everyone, eat and drink everything and never put the brakes on any request or situation. Full tilt experience: to quote the satirical film, “This is Spinal Tap...”

“These go to eleven.”

But this is not only unrealistic, it is also unhealthy. For, there are many personality types out there- and not all of them are of the social, “party-party-party” variety.

And then, add to that baseline, complex, real life circumstances: addiction struggles, grief of a loved one, any sort of personal, legal or financial trouble and it creates further cruelty to pressure anyone to perform to the rigid holiday standard.

Self-care needs to be at the center of this holiday season. We can tend to forget or forsake that this time of year. It is usually viewed as selfish and self-centered. And, again, according to holiday specifications, we all “should” be generous to a larger than life degree.

But to that, I offer a bit of inflight advice...

“Put on your own oxygen mask first.”
- Airline companies
It is impossible to help, love, be generous or festive with anyone else if we cannot first do that with ourselves.

Still not convinced, you “Should Monster,” you? Okay, well how’s this?

 Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in your midst?”

1 Corinthians 3:16

If we wouldn’t dream of hosting an all-out cocaine, sex and debauchery-fueled kegger within our churches, why would it be okay, then, to trash our own temples in body, mind or spirit?

Sometimes, it is all just too much.

The party, the expectation, the expense- it is just not good for us. The healthier option is to withdraw, not to isolate like a hermit, but to replenish ourselves.

Even our Savior needed to get some alone time- away from “us,” while communing with the Father (Luke 6:12).

The “less is more” holiday approach goes beyond how much decoration and activity we engage in. It has more to do with finding the personal, meaningful significance and connecting with that spiritual intimacy.

“Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.”

3 John 1:2

Sometimes, that prospering occurs when we go against the “holiday should” expectations. Sometimes...

... it’s the quiet, rather than the Christmas carols...’s the subdued room, instead of the lit Christmas trees...’s in saying “no” instead of “yes...”

Predict high stress times and places; decide which events you will and won't attend, and plan to have some time to yourself to restore yourself and take care of your own needs.

Predict which people might make you most uncomfortable and plan appropriate ways of excusing yourself from their company.

Predict negative thoughts that you might have during the holidays, and practice thinking differently.

Carry with you a list of phone numbers of friends and crisis lines, and a list of self-soothing activities.

It may be helpful to realize that the "picture-book" holiday sense is not a reality for many people. Some cannot afford it, there are many single people who are not close to their families or do not have a family, and there are many families that do not fit into the dominant cultural model of "family." Do not blame yourself for family or friendship conflicts. People are not different during the holidays than any other time of the year. Remember that you are responsible only for your own actions and for taking care of yourself.

For more info:top
NEDIC Bulletin: Vol. 7, Coping With the Holidays
Used with permission.

Take the time, the care, the priority and the gentleness you need to make it through this season however you need to. Go easy on yourself. Liberally apply the Most High’s grace to your circumstances.

You and I are not perfect and we will not do life, including holiday life, perfectly either.

Give yourself permission to do “less is more.” And perhaps, you will find an unlikely holiday happiness in doing so.

Blessings, rich meaning and joy to you; may we all experience what this season is about!

Copyright © 2016 by Sheryle Cruse