Wednesday, June 29, 2016

(The Distraction Dragon) Confronting Your Log Ride


Featured in the July 2016 issue of Serene Scene Magazine, Cruse discusses the counterproductive effect “none of our business” distractions and avoidance of doing our personal inventory can play concerning our recovery processes.


Sunday, June 26, 2016


Perfect Or Effective?


As a recovering eating disorder sufferer, I’m keenly aware of the perfectionistic component to the creation, maintenance and challenging treatment of the disease. It’s often an uphill battle. Perfectionism, fueled by deep anxiety and pressure, can kill. According to statistics...

·       Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness

·       A study by the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders reported that 5 – 10% of anorexics die within 10 years after contracting the disease; 18-20% of anorexics will be dead after 20 years and only 30 – 40% ever fully recover

·       The mortality rate associated with anorexia nervosa is 12 times higher than the death rate of ALL causes of death for females 15 – 24 years old.

·       20% of people suffering from anorexia will prematurely die from complications related to their eating disorder, including suicide and heart problems

(From South Carolina Department of Mental Health:

So, the word “perfect” is not just a word; it can be a threat.

The perfectionistic person, in recovery or not, is therefore, left to grapple with its meaning for his/her life. How important is it?

According to the dictionary definition, it reads as follows:

“Being entirely without fault or defect: flawless; satisfying all requirements; corresponding to an ideal standard”

So, of course, with that definition, it’s all too easy for a perfectionistic eating disorder sufferer to take it to its extreme limits. I did.

What are we to do then, if the definition of the word and its presence both seem to be so epidemic, harmful and hopeless?

What if we changed the view of the word?

Being a Christian, doing my “faith walk,” I’ve had to examine not just what I believe about the word, “perfect.” I’ve also needed to look at what God believes about it as well.

And the word IS in the Bible.

After all, God is described as perfect.

 “As for God, his way is perfect...”

2 Samuel 22:31; Psalms 18:31

And most of us can acknowledge that fact. A perfect God isn’t so much of a problem to us as an imperfect humanity. That’s us. And that’s where things go awry.

I’ve often prayed about and pondered the “perfect” word in the Christian context. I’ve wondered what, exactly, is required of us. Perfect is there, applying to us.

“That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.”

2 Timothy 3:17

“Thou shalt be perfect with the LORD thy God.”

Deuteronomy 18:13

“I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.”

John 17:23

Looking at the mention of the word, it can appear bleak. It looks downright impossible. But are we viewing the word correctly?

And, perhaps, here’s where a shift in thinking- or, rather, defining the word “perfect” comes in. And that word is “effective.” Does that work? Now, let’s take a gander at the scriptures.

“That the man of God may be effective, throughly furnished unto all good works.”

2 Timothy 3:17

“Thou shalt be effective with the LORD thy God.”

Deuteronomy 18:13

“I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made effective in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.”

John 17:23

Indeed, God knows we fall short of His perfect glory (Romans 3:23). But, nevertheless, He has desired for us to use what He’s given us: “power, love and a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7). Wouldn’t that mean we’d need to be effective? Again, let’s check out the dictionary definition of the word:

“Producing a strong impression or response; Prepared for use or action; Operative”

So, are we effective in our recovery, our life and our faith?

It is not a onetime event; it’s ongoing. It is a process, an imperfect one, requiring patience.

 “But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”

James 1:4

 And that’s often discouraging. But I think we need to be more imperfect process minded than perfection minded. And none of us have arrived. As long as we’re in this life thing, there will be pressing and reaching; there will be some form of recovery process.

“Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 3:12

And perfection only will occur when we’re completely reconciled, spirit, mind and body, back to God.

“Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ:”

Ephesians 4:13

So, in the meantime, there’s grace.

“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

Grace exists in spite of our inherent imperfection. Grace empowers us with effectiveness. It is not oppressive; it’s freeing.

The same, however, cannot be said of perfectionism.

There’s a lot to recover from; there’s a lot to change, heal and correct. Those of us, grappling with addictions, disorders and compulsions will not be helped by rigid and unrealistic standards.

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

Proverbs 23:7

We will, however, be helped by God…

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

Psalm 32:8

So, as we go through life, let’s think in terms of being effective, not perfect. God is both; He has it covered!

That’s worth thinking and living!

Copyright © 2016 by Sheryle Cruse






When our senses become muffled...

A Closed Mouth...(Wisdom)

Forgiveness Is...

Only One Thing Remains...

Saturday, June 25, 2016

For Every Comment, For Every Like


I recently came across an image post on the internet. It was a female’s body, in workout gear. And it was accompanied by this statement:

“For Every Comment, I’ll do 10 sit ups, For Every Like, I’ll do 5 squats. Go, go, go!”

Furthermore, this post was also followed by a series of emoticons to emphasize its message: three arm curled biceps and one gold trophy.

(Sigh... Here we go again...)

Exercise, goals, striving for improvement/perfection...This is where I squirm, faced with posts as these.

Indeed, there is much emphasis on fitness in today’s culture. There are countless gyms, trainers, exercise 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 and in such health issues as childhood obesity and Type 2 Diabetes. How do we explain that?

I believe it has a lot to do with focus and priority, the personal, daily decision to put exercise and health in a healthy balance for our lives.

For God, in fact, 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. That was not God’s Will. That was not profitable.

“For God is not a God of disorder but of peace…”

1 Corinthians 14:33

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

So, this importance of “every like and comment,” where did it start?

I believe its genesis is the heart, usually that of a wounded heart...

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

Proverbs 4:23

 “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

Matthew 6:21; Luke 12:34

Long story short: we believe the solution to our pain is found in the external, including the external appearance.

“‘…man looks on the outward appearance...’”

1 Samuel 16:7

We shortchange ourselves, not taking into account the entirety of the outward appearance situation, especially from a spiritual perspective...

“‘…For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.’”

1 Samuel 16:7

Yet, we value other people’s validation over God’s, more often than not. I suppose, one can argue, it’s because with man, there is the 3-D evidence. God, is nebulous; we view Him via the if-y faith tactic.

So, in our hearts somewhere, perhaps God is not “as real” as other people... and their opinions of us.

And that can set us up for a snare...

“The fear of man bringeth a snare...”

Proverbs 29:25

We fear other people’s disapproval, along with our own fragile sense of self. We want to belong; we want to be accepted, liked and included...

“Do not be conformed to this world...”

Yet God tells us there is health and blessing if we prioritize Him, above anything of this world, appearance issues included.

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

3 John 1:2

“...whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.”

Proverbs 29:25

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

Doing so is more important and beneficial than any like, comment or opinion. Do we want something which is fleeting or something which lasts? It’s up to us to decide.

Therefore, let’s view ourselves, most importantly, through God’s eyes and comments, not anyone else’s.

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

Isaiah 43:4

“The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, ‘Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.’”

Jeremiah 31:3

And let that influence how we take care of ourselves, including outward appearance and exercise matters.

 “Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you?”

1 Corinthians 3:16

Let’s believe that and accept that in everything we do!

Copyright © 2016 by Sheryle Cruse


Thursday, June 23, 2016

Your Temple Body


Once upon a time, as children, summer represented freedom, didn’t it? We looked forward to being sprung from school for those glorious three months of fun, sun and play. Once upon a time, I wore my navy blue swimsuit with white footprints on it, never once preoccupied that I was too fat to wear it.

But then something changed. We started to change. Growing up, in various ways, was not for the faint of heart. As we entered adolescence, all of a sudden, summer started to take on a different tone. As responsibility increased and adulthood loomed large on the horizon, we started to focus more on less fun things: summer jobs, preparation for college and, especially if you were female, conforming a rapidly changing female physique into a thin and acceptable enough one, at least, according to swimsuit criteria, anyway. Now, the navy swimsuit attired little girl changed into an overweight teenager who’d never be caught dead in a swimsuit. Now I believed I was too fat for anything of the sort. Now I spent each summer devising a different, revolutionary and transforming diet which would help me lose that unwanted weight and fix me, once and for all. And I wasn’t the only one in similar pursuits, was I?

Indeed, as adolescents and as young adults, a lot of us started looking for escape and comfort from the pressure of our increasingly complicated, high stress lives. Enter addictions, compulsions and disorders. Suddenly, coping becomes the answer, via drugs, alcohol, food, diets, eating disorders and all types of external promises of hope and happiness. You may have never dieted or developed and eating disorder, but you probably have sought out some release valve to endure the pressures, pain and stress of your life, right?

The summer season focuses a lot on the body. Starting as early as January and February, fashion and health magazines seem to contain all kind of articles promising “makeovers,” “new bikini bodies” and “the perfect diet plan” to ensure losing that dreaded winter weight. And summer is all about skimpy swimsuits, revealing clothes, prom/pageant dresses and, brides and bridesmaids to be, let’s not forget that end all, be all event, known as the summer wedding!

I know I sure couldn’t forget that event myself; an excerpt from my book, “Thin Enough: My Spiritual Journey Through the Living Death of an Eating Disorder” illustrates my own descent into madness, only to discover the answer was not found in my thin bridesmaid frame.

“... One of my 'goals' was fitting into a bridesmaid dress for my cousin’s wedding. She asked me in March to be a bridesmaid in her summer wedding... I really started obsessing the two weeks prior to the wedding. Looking back on my diary entries, I wrote a repetitive string of comments like, 'I’m not going to eat today or tomorrow,' and 'I can’t blow it now. I’m so close...'
... The August wedding eventually came and proved to be both anti-climactic and tense. The build up, the hype, the 'end-all, be-all' quality I had attached to it was replaced with a disappointing reality... I tried on the dress and discovered that’s all it was—just a dress.
Yes, it was hanging on me, but it didn’t really mean anything anymore. I was too exhausted for it to mean anything to me...
 ...All day, I got double-takes and felt constant stares. Family and guests at the wedding, one by one, stared just a little too long, making me uncomfortable. Here I was, my whole life craving attention, but not this! People stammered things like, 'Sheryle, you look, pretty' and 'My, you’re thin. I didn’t recognize you...'

... It was a long day. I focused most of my concentration on just staying vertical and not fainting. I had accomplished my goal; I was skinny for this wedding. I was just too exhausted and hollow to enjoy it.”

A frequently used phrase, both in and outside of Christian circles, has been that of “the body is a temple.” Most recently, in the diet and fitness arena, it’s taken on even greater prominence, as emphasis on maintenance and lifestyle, including the upkeep of physical attractiveness, seems to be of the utmost importance. So, temple it is! We concentrate on the outward structure.

But we miss the point of the temple, the sacred point. A temple is not simply a building. It is a place in which God’s Spirit resides.

“Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you?”

1 Corinthians 3:16

So, we would do well to take care of that structure, not simply because we want it to look pretty, but because each one of us is entrusted with such a great and honorable responsibility and opportunity. God has chosen you; God has chosen me. How will we respond?

It’s shortsighted and harmful to only look to the quick fix, whether that be the crash diet or the addictive substance we designate to be our “solution.” Only God is meant to be that.

This summer, as we lighten up in our summer wear and become more body conscious, let’s remember that our bodies and not merely “things.” They are precious vessels; let’s treat them as such. That may mean eating healthier, exercising and seeking and maintaining professional treatment and programs. But is also means viewing ourselves as the incredible spiritual beings God has called each of us to be.

“What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.”

1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Let’s think of that as we view summer!





Compiled by Margo Maine, Ph. D.

  1. Think of your body as the vehicle to your dreams. Honor it. Respect it. Fuel it.
  2. Create a list of all the things your body lets you do. Read it and add to it often.
  3. Become aware of what your body can do each day. Remember it is the instrument of your life, not just an ornament.
  4. Create a list of people you admire: people who have contributed to your life, your community, or the world. Consider whether their appearance was important to their success and accomplishments.
  5. Walk with your head held high, supported by pride and confidence in yourself as a person.
  6. Don't let your weight or shape keep you from activities that you enjoy.
  7. Wear comfortable clothes that you like and that feel good to your body.
  8. Count your blessings, not your blemishes.
  9. Think about all the things you could accomplish with the time and energy you currently spend worrying about your body and appearance. Try one!
  10. Be your body's friend and supporter, not its enemy.
  11. Consider this: your skin replaces itself once a month, your stomach lining every five days, your liver every six weeks, and your skeleton every three months. Your body is extraordinary--begin to respect and appreciate it.
  12. Every morning when you wake up, thank your body for resting and rejuvenating itself so you can enjoy the day.
  13. Every evening when you go to bed, tell your body how much you appreciate what it has allowed you to do throughout the day.
  14. Find a method of exercise that you enjoy and do it regularly. Don't exercise to lose weight or to fight your body. Do it to make your body healthy and strong and because it makes you feel good.
  15. Think back to a time in your life when you felt good about your body. Tell yourself you can feel like that again, even in this body at this age.
  16. Keep a list of 10 positive things about yourself--without mentioning your appearance. Add to it!
  17. Put a sign on each of your mirrors saying, "I'm beautiful inside and out."
  18. Choose to find the beauty in the world and in yourself.
  19. Start saying to yourself, "Life is too short to waste my time hating my body this way."
  20. Eat when you are hungry. Rest when you are tired. Surround yourself with people that remind you of your inner strength and beauty.

Reprinted with permission from the National Eating Disorders Association. For more information:






What if...

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Candy Month

I recently found out June is candy month. Huh? I know. It started me thinking. Typically, the “candy holidays” are geared more toward autumn and winter: Christmas, Valentine’s Day and, of course, Halloween. So, no one really thinks candy when they think the summer season, right?

I remember my college days when, of the many wacky disordered eating patterns and crash diets, I went on a “candy diet.” Nothing but candy, day in, day out, for a period of time. I’m surprised every tooth in my head did not rot and fall out. Grace of God.

And then I hit a point in my life/recovery in which sugar was taboo. Keep that demonic white stuff away from me! To say I was paranoid was an understatement! I felt it would “do me in” if I had the tiniest trace of it.

Years later, I’m more at peace with the candy situation. It’s not been an easy road, but scripture has helped me tremendously. It’s the cliché moderation stuff. You know…

“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

I know candy is not “health food.” Vitamins and minerals aren’t found in the stuff. But I also know that one gram of sugar is not going to kill me either. And I know God wants to bless me; He wants me to be healthy.

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

John 10:10

That does not require perfection. So, even if/when I believe I’ve “blown it,” there is no condemnation:

“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”

Romans 8:1

There is grace, no matter what. I think of that now whenever I see candy.

“For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.”

Romans 6:14

So, happy June, happy candy month!

Copyright © 2016 by Sheryle Cruse



Deal With It...

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Is It Time To Let the Cat Out of the Bag?


Featured in June 14th’s Christians In Recovery, Cruse discusses the importance of disclosure with in our recovery process.


No Obligation


“I’m under no obligation to make sense to you.”

Obligation and the word “no” go hand in hand. That may not seem to be the natural association. But let’s truly look at what obligation means.

Its definition...

something that you must do because of a law, rule, promise, etc.

something that you must do because it is morally right

And that’s where it can often get murky for us, especially if we struggle with people pleasing.

Furthermore, factoring in our challenges with addiction and recovery, things seem to slant away from what is best for us, all in the name of sacrificing for someone else’s wants or needs.

“Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things...”

Isaiah 30:10

Ah, yes, smooth things. That is at the crux of the request for a people pleaser response. People want smooth things for themselves, sometimes, at our expense

Yet, even the Messiah, Who could do all kinds of miracles and blessings, said no; He was not interested in being a people pleaser.

 “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten...”

Revelations 3:19

And we could all benefit by taking a page from His instruction. For there is a vital principle of stewardship at hand here.

“Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you?”

1 Corinthians 3:16

 “Let all things be done decently and in order.”

1 Corinthians 14:40

It is central to good health and wellbeing.

And it is critical to our recovery processes.

“...there are often many things we feel we should do that, in fact, we don't really have to do. Getting to the point where we can tell the difference is a major milestone in the simplification process.”
Elaine St. James, Living the Simple Life: A Guide to Scaling Down and Enjoying More

Indeed, not everything is good for us...

“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

“We must say ‘no’ to what, in our heart, we don't want. We must say ‘no’ to doing things out of obligation, thereby cheating those important to us of the purest expression of our love. We must say ‘no’ to treating ourselves, our health, our needs as not as important as someone else's. We must say ‘no.’”
Suzette Hinton

Therefore, we need to employ the power of the “no” word whenever needed...

“Simply let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No'; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.”

Matthew 5:37

We need to honestly answer for ourselves, concerning any request or need...

Is a “yes” good for me?

Is a “yes” good for the person asking for it?

There’s no shame in discovery “no” would be the best answer and choice.

Sometimes, our “yes” would be too costly and destructive for both ourselves and for the person (s) involved.

We need to be honest about that possibility.

But it is both a healthy- and a holy- act of realizing our value and purpose.

That transcends any obligation’s importance.

Copyright © 2016 by Sheryle Cruse