Saturday, April 30, 2016

A Sound Mind


Recently, one of my friends mentioned 2 Timothy 1:7:

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

She discussed our ability to cast certain thoughts down. Indeed, according to God’s Word, we do possess that power:

“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

In fact, we have the Mind of Christ:

“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

So, the sound mind is a God thing, gifted to us. But we choose how we utilize that gift. It’s not, necessarily, about feelings; it’s about decision. And the power, following Jesus’ example, is determined by three words: “It is written.” This is best laid out in Matthew 4:1-11.

“Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:

“‘He will command his angels concerning you,
    and they will lift you up in their hands,
    so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”

Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”

Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”

10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’”

11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

Repeatedly, Jesus shoots down the devil’s arguments (verses four, seven and ten).

 So, what’s stopping us from doing the same? Ignorance, pride, doubt? Indeed, our thoughts, whatever they may be, are powerful:

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

Proverbs 23:7

Therefore, why not think God’s thoughts, which are Truth? We have the power of choice. Let’s choose to be in our sound minds today!!!

Copyright © 2016 by Sheryle Cruse


Ah, forget it!

Friday, April 29, 2016

Venus: Armed With What?


Featured in the May 2016 issue of Serene Scene Magazine, Cruse discusses the importance of female body image, via the classic artistic piece, Venus de Milo.

If God Be For You...

A Daily Choice...

Your Spirit can see...

Grasshopper Sight


It is all about how you look at things. Ever hear that expression? We’re often advised to think positively, to believe in ourselves and to have faith in God. All of these things speak to our perspective on any life issue. All of these pieces of advice can feel like they’re easier to say than be lived, right?

When I was a little girl, living on the farm, come late summer and early autumn, our farmstead was besieged with grasshoppers. I tell you, it was a tiny snapshot of what any locust plague must have looked like. It was hard to walk anywhere without there being a grasshopper right there, almost crunched by my foot.

And my little girl curiosity had me bending down to get a closer look at these critters. I’d focus on their bug eyes, wondering, just what they thought of us people, you know, those giants who often tried not to step on them.

How did the grasshopper look at things?

I was reminded of this grasshopper memory as I studied Numbers Thirteen. The scriptural passage speaks to the power of our perspective on things, whatever that perspective may be.

According to the scripture passage, there was some land. And there was the dilemma about what to do with that land. There were a couple of different viewpoints:

“Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.”

Numbers 13:30

There’s one…

“But the men who had gone up with him said, ‘We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.’”

Numbers 13:31

And there’s the other. But that last point of view solicited further feedback. And, as it that wasn’t enough, they went a little tabloid with the news. Oh, goody!

 “And they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored. They said, ‘The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size. We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.’”

Numbers 13:32-33

Ah, yes, we see, in vivid detail, the power of positive thinking in action! Scripture cautions us about our often fickle and insecure hearts…

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

Proverbs 4:23

“For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.”

Proverbs 23:7


Why is a bad report so much easier to believe than a good one? We seem to automatically defer to that negative thought, don’t we? We think of ourselves as insects often much quicker and easier than we think of ourselves as conquerors.

What if the thoughts we’ve been thinking have been wrong? About our issues? Our addictions, disorders and compulsions? About our own value and worth? What if you and I are just one teeny tiny thought away from a breakthrough? Do we say, “I can” or “I cannot?”

God is thinking higher of us right now. He believes in us and has given us Scripture to support those beliefs:

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

Philippians 4:13

“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

Do we believe that? Live that? Allow that to govern our lives? Or do we run ourselves down with the untrue grasshopper identity? We choose.

I know, I know, I know. It is not easy to take on the positive approach to life. It can feel even more impossible to view ourselves positively. This isn’t about some perfect result. Everything starts with a decision. What will we decide now? Right now?

We will not be perfect and problem free. But we will be in agreement with God. And that has nothing to do with a grasshopper!

Copyright © 2016 by Sheryle Cruse







Thursday, April 28, 2016

And that's when I became...

Because No

Ego Versus Soul


I recently came across a little gem about the ego and the soul.

It’s quite profound. It states things like…

“Ego looks outward. Soul looks inward.”

“Ego sees lack. Soul sees abundance.”

 According to one definition of the word, soul is comprised of the mind, the will and the emotions. So, it stands to reason soul would be quite vulnerable to disease. Indeed, there is a battle going on.

And, let’s get real- a large part of that battle involves the toxic pride factor.

“Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.”

Proverbs 16:18

“For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.”

1 John 2:16

And that pride rubs shoulders with rebellious foolishness.

“The fool hath said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.”

Psalms 14:1

And yes, that goes for even us Christians.

 It’s not about being a good little boy or girl in the pews on Sunday. Instead, it has everything to do with the very real, very rebellious, prideful and diseased thoughts which have ensnared us in affliction. Saying “no” when we should say “yes.”

As is echoed in the “Ego Versus Soul” post…

“Ego rejects God. Soul embraces God.”

Again, profound.

And, while we may nod our heads in agreement with that statement, do we really examine any rebelliousness lurking in our tricky hearts?

After all, we’re not above being deceived…

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

Jeremiah 17:9

For, once upon a time, there was a certain rebel who let some audacious, prideful attitudes rip.

“And he said unto them, ‘I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.’”

Luke 10:18

"But you said in your heart, 'I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, And I will sit on the mount of assembly In the recesses of the north. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.'

Isaiah 14:13-14

And here were the consequences:

"…you will be thrust down to Sheol, To the recesses of the pit.”

Isaiah 14:15

“How you have fallen from heaven, morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations!”

Isaiah 14:12

“‘Thy terribleness hath deceived thee, and the pride of thine heart, O thou that dwellest in the clefts of the rock, that holdest the height of the hill: though thou shouldest make thy nest as high as the eagle, I will bring thee down from thence,’ saith the LORD.”

Jeremiah 49:16

So, one can argue if we do not embrace God and His perspective, we’re, therefore, embracing this guy’s attitude instead.

 “For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there.”

James 3:16

Are you squirming yet?

You may think I’m being over the top here. But is it really such an astounding leap?

After all, Jesus, Himself, said, “You are either for or against me.” (Matthew 12:30; Luke 11:23).

Addiction, like it or not, has some rather unflattering roots in pride, envy and self- interest, hence the ego. And, many of us have the wreckage to prove it: hurt loved ones, lost careers, jeopardized health, financial and legal issues. The list goes on.

But the soul…

“In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind.”

Job 12:10

 “Truly my soul waiteth upon God: from him cometh my salvation.”

Psalms 62:1

 “For thou hast delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling.”

Psalms 116:8

 “Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.”

1 Peter 4:19

But there IS, indeed, some good news concerning our souls; God is not 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

So, because of those different perspectives, our thoughts not necessarily being those of God’s, we need to intentionally approach Him with a different response that the rebellious choices which have landed us where we are.

Enter the favorite recovery word, surrender…and its corresponding steps, such as…

1.      We admitted we were powerless over a substance or behavior - that our lives had become unmanageable.

  1. We came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  2. We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
  3. We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  4. We admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  5. We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  6. We humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

All of that flies in the face of rebellious ego. But man, does it ever harmonize with soul!

One of my favorite quotes is from C. S. Lewis:

“You don't have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body.”

Again, returning to our definition of soul, that of our mind, will and emotions, we are, therefore, challenged to utilize those three components toward, not away from, God. No easy feat. Often, it’s not fun. Let’s just get real about it.

Yet, there is a more fulfilling, healthier path is choosing that direction.

“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

There is a question being asked of us. Our response is needed.

Which one do we choose to pursue, especially concerning our recovery?

 Is it the ego? Or is it the soul?

Copyright © 2016 by Sheryle Cruse











Do Not Fear Who You Are, Butterfly!!!! You Join the Beautiful Women Galore!!!

Don't Make Me...

Both are uncomfortable...

Not Okay...

Oh, if only this could happen...

Compliments that aren't about physical appearance...

Body Programming: The Disturbing Onesie


Featured in April 28th’s Christians In Recovery, Cruse discusses the disturbing negative image attitudes toward the female body in our culture, as expressed and marketed through an article of clothing: a baby’s onesie.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

A Way That Seems Right?


Recently, a young girl reached out to me concerning her struggles with disordered eating; she informed me she just took up the habit of smoking.

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

The Apostle Paul in Romans 7:15

She’s currently in a facility, being treated for bulimia, a mood disorder and self-injury behavior. I asked her what her treatment center thought about this habit. She told me she thought it was a better action than engaging in the eating disorder and self-injury behaviors.

But, to me, it smacks of cross- addiction. Indeed, someone afflicted with an addiction, obsession or disorder can often become convinced if they just switch it for another passion or behavior, he or she will be fine.

I did this myself.

Back in college, when I experienced my infamous intervention with my roommates and the college’s social services department, I was called out on my own dysfunctional behavior: calling psychic hotlines.

I am not joking.

Desperate as I was for hope, answers and relief, I racked up an enormous phone bill, spending hours each weekend, dialing these hotlines. I tried to distract myself from my eating disorders, chaotic emotions and despair.

But nothing worked. The psychic hotlines could not heal my behaviors, my feelings or my issues. Only complications, more resentment, anger and frustration resulted from me calling these spend-y phone numbers.

Substitutes could not change things; facing and dealing with my truth, via God’s help, however, did.

There is a way that seems right to a man. But its end is the way of death.”

Proverbs 14:12

Dealing with this smoking issue is tricky, particularly for those of us who are in recovery. How many meetings are filled with people chain smoking and drinking endless cups of coffee? Sometimes, from a recovery vantage point, the smoking vice appears to be the lesser of two evils. I’ve personally witnessed how my own family members obsessively cling to cigarettes and coffee, for fear of drinking again. Every opportunity for a smoke or coffee break, sometimes, every fifteen minutes, is a must do for them.

It’s hard. I don’t want to be judge-y here.

But, again, substituting one addiction for another is not the answer and furthermore, may even be more of a complication to long term health. I have had family and friends die of cancer because of their “substitutes.”

There may be a way which seems right, but we need to pay attention to what comes after that “but…”

…its end is the way of death.”

Proverbs 14:12

Let’s make every attempt to choose life, instead.

Copyright © 2016 by Sheryle Cruse


A Cat's Perspective on Body Image...

It's Not Linear...

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Paisley Park Pilgrimage...


This morning, my husband and I made our way to Paisley Park Studios in Chanhassen, Minnesota. This is the memorial site for mourners to pay their respects to Prince, who passed away last Thursday.

The weather, I suppose, was fitting: rain. Yes, cold April showers, along with wind, set a somber tone, one which was only spruced up by the presence of Prince’s signature color, purple.

Because of the weather, we searched for our umbrellas before we headed out, but, alas, could not find them. So, we decided to “white knuckle” our way through the experience. What’s a little wind and rain, right?

In the car, on the way there, the radio stations played the artist’s hits: “Little Red Corvette,” “Let’s Go Crazy,” as well as songs written for other artists, like, “Manic Monday” and “Nothing Compares 2 U.”

We stopped at another store. Already turning up unsuccessful in our search to find purple balloons in the metro area over these past few days, we finally had to buy a white star. It had its own beauty- dove white. Okay, we’ll go with it.

Once we arrived, April showers provided a dramatic wake up call, indeed. Wearing our raincoats was still no match for the wind-driven rain which seemed to be pointed against us, no matter where the path wound to the Paisley Park fence.

And here is where we encountered our first embodiment of love and community. Two ladies, returning from the fence met us and gave us an umbrella. It was freely given to them once they were at the site. “You’ll really need it, once you’re there. Trust us.” We thanked them profusely, opened the umbrella gift and kept hiking.

We went along the way of Riley Creek, underneath the bridge and embarked upon the fence. Early one, there were stragglers of flowers and the occasional purple balloon.

And then we saw a sea of the vivid color.

Purple balloons, purple flowers, purple stuffed animals, purple portraits, signs, love notes and artistic renderings of all kinds were everywhere, stuck in fence holes.

We looked for a spot for our white star and found one nestled next to a sign reading, “Prince will reign forever.” Some Good Samaritan graciously offered to take our picture as we struggled against the wind and rain.

(Thank you, Sir).

With the elements being as they were, there was no question about it; this was not my best hair day.

Walking the stretch of fence, we saw families, young children in strollers and even a few dogs with their owners.

One of the most powerful things which struck me was the quiet: eerie, peaceful, loving. No one was disagreeable. No one was rude. People quietly milled around with their phones and cameras. I also saw one news crew; trucks were lined up, one after the other in front of the studio’s entrance.

But again, it was peaceful...peaceful...

I saw a few tears, but mostly, I saw smiles. I saw hugs.


The chilly rain and wind eventually dictated our trek back. In doing so, Russell and I made it our mission to scout for an umbrella-less person. The spirit of the umbrella mitzvah had us desiring to pass it on. We found a young couple, gave them the umbrella and got in our car.

On the way home, there was more Prince on the radio, more talk of his passing, his funeral yesterday, his impact.

I’m still not quite sure how I feel about everything.

Logically, as an adult, I know he was not a close family member or friend. I know we never met.

But, to that, there is a beautiful post which has been posting throughout social media:

There, I guess that explains it. Discovery, creativity and self-expression- they are all there.

And that is the spirit of the man.


If anything can be gleaned from this most surreal life experience, it is spirit.

And, at least from our personal experience today, that spirit has been beautiful.

Copyright © 2016 by Sheryle Cruse