Friday, June 30, 2017



I have a friend who insists on never saying “goodbye.” Instead, she utters, “Later” at the end of our conversations.

This word started me thinking. And the first thing which popped up was another word, procrastination. Its definition being...

“... the avoidance of doing a task which needs to be accomplished. It is the practice of doing more pleasurable things in place of less pleasurable ones, or carrying out less urgent tasks instead of more urgent ones, thus putting off impending tasks to a later time. Sometimes, procrastination takes place until the "last minute" before a deadline.”

Let’s get real; procrastination is never far removed from addiction. By its very nature, our addictive tendencies whisper such constant lies as “I’ll quit tomorrow,” “I’ll stop when I’m ready,” and “I’ll make things right LATER.”

“Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it.”

Proverbs 3:27

You’ve said it; I’ve said it. Perhaps, we delude ourselves with Little Orphan Annie’s musical perspective, “The sun will come out tomorrow.” There is such promise and hope then and there.

But what about now? What about today?

“Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can.”

Arthur Ashe

Those of us who struggle with addiction, compulsion and disorder often have an unrealistic perfectionism which thrives on procrastination. When things are “just right,” when this or that circumstance changes, THEN we’ll get sober.

The hidden message in those theories is this: “But for now, I’m going for my addiction. I’m going to binge, get drunk, overdo it and live it up like there’s no tomorrow.”

And so, not surprisingly, nothing changes. There’s no sobriety, no different or healthier choice. There is only more of the same.

Still, this doesn’t absolve us from reality:

 “For he saith, ‘...behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.’”

2 Corinthians 6:2

Scripture covers not just our eternal soul destination, but also a blueprint for how to live in the here and now. The Most High is not a Deity Who operates in procrastination (1 Corinthians 14:33).

And we are made in His Image (Genesis 1:27).

Therefore, we are not let off the hook concerning our innate spirituality.

“... ‘Far be it from us that we should forsake the LORD to serve other gods.’”

Joshua 24:16

To attempt to wriggle free of responsibility is to come from a place of excuse, negligence and even agreement with the Adversary to us all.

“How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!”
Isaiah 14:12 -

Sound too extreme and far-fetched?

Well, if we are refusing to deal with our faith, our health and our issues, aren’t we, in essence, asserting how we know BETTER than The Almighty?

“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 be like the most High.’”

Isaiah 14:13-14

Wherever we are on this spiritual spectrum, we cannot avoid or forfeit choice.

“... choose you this day whom ye will serve...”

Joshua 24:15

We possess free will. However, what we do not possess is the opting out of the free will choice’s consequences.

“‘Nevertheless you will be thrust down to Sheol, To the recesses of the pit.’”

Isaiah 14:15

Now, at first glance, Isaiah 14 may appear to be too strong of a consequence. Surely, we wouldn’t be punished the same as the devil, right?

Well, if we’re lining up in agreement with Satan, who is to say we wouldn’t be responsible for a harmful downfall?

“Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.”
John 8:44

Is not addiction, with its procrastination, a murderer?

Is not addiction, with its procrastination, rife with deceit?

Is not addiction, with its procrastination, choosing its way instead of Elohim’s as “the final say?”

Again, no one escapes choice. No one is excused from facing procrastination.

But it’s not hopeless. For we underestimate the power of today. We underestimate the power of NOW.

The Most High will work with whatever we commit TO Him:

“Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.”

Psalms 37:5

 “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

Don’t you think that would also include the procrastination issue, even in the middle of our addictions?

There is power is STARTING.

What baby step can be taken right now? What decision? What can be accomplished NOW?

“‘ is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.’”

2 Corinthians 6:2

Speaking of the word, “Now,” one more thing.

Years ago, The Most High spoke to me, telling me to observe the word... BACKWARDS. When I saw what “NOW” spelled, it lit faith and assurance regarding my momentary reality.

“NOW” spelled backwards is “WON.”

“O sing unto the LORD a new song; for he hath done marvelous things: his right hand, and his holy arm, hath gotten him the victory.”

Psalms 98:1

What is on the other side of our addictions, our beliefs and our responses concerning them?

What is on the other side of our procrastination?

Will we experience those blessings now... or later?

Copyright © 2017 by Sheryle Cruse


Beauty's Element

Still so profound...

The Dissolving Cotton Candy


I am a sucker for all things cute; therefore, I frequently find myself checking out various animal gifs online.

A recent one which captivated my attention was of a raccoon and some cotton candy. Has anyone else seen it?

A raccoon grabs a significant hunk of cotton candy and, like raccoons are prone to do, quickly rushes to a water source to “wash it” before eating it.

And then hard, cruel reality presents itself: the cotton candy dissolves in the water, instantly slipping through the little guy’s tiny hands, distressing and confusing our friend. You can almost hear him cry, “No! No! Come back!”

This gif made me think about addiction. We are, in essence, this little raccoon, aren’t we? We decide on and chase our cotton candy addiction, convinced it will satisfy us. And then, somehow, right before our eyes, its solution promise dissolves. It didn’t deliver; it didn’t last.

“Go and cry unto the gods which ye have chosen; let them deliver you in the time of your tribulation.”

Judges 10:14

And, here we are, left confused and lost. Now what do we do?

Well, cue God, right?

“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

But, do we?

That seems to be the dilemma.

Here’s where Eve, a raccoon and each of us all share something in common...

“And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes...”

Genesis 3:6

One can argue the phrase “eye candy” started here.

 (I know, bad pun, bad pun).

Still, we seem to be captivated with the beautiful, alluring object of our affection. It somehow sells us on the answer of eternal satisfaction, love, happiness and freedom from pain and fear.

And so, going with that hard sell, we soon find it in our hands, attempting to hold it forever, allowing it to make everything right in our lives.

But, no matter how hard we try to hang on, it dissolves in the midst of our beings. We try to grasp and chase, but it is gone. We torture ourselves by asking questions like “What could I have done to make it last?”

Answer: nothing.

That’s a difficult answer to hear, let alone, accept.

Yet, accept we must. It’s the bedrock of the Twelve Steps:

Step number one...

We admitted we were powerless over our addiction/compulsion - that our lives had become unmanageable.

Step number two...

We came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

Step number three...

We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

Step number eleven...

We sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

Step number twelve...

Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

So, yes, Psalm 118:8-9 is in full effect...

"It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.
It is better to trust in the LORD  than to put confidence in princes."

No, God is not cotton candy. Or, more specifically...

God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? Or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good.”

Numbers 23:19

We are not to trust anything manmade. And, let’s face it, our addictions are manmade: they are faulty, imperfect human interpretations of what God should be to us. We craft them for ourselves because we operate under the delusion that they work.

They don’t.

Again, what happened as the raccoon tried to wash his cotton candy?

“What profiteth the graven image that the maker thereof hath graven it; the molten image, and a teacher of lies, that the maker of his work trusteth therein, to make dumb idols? Woe unto him that saith to the wood, Awake; to the dumb stone, Arise, it shall teach! Behold, it is laid over with gold and silver, and there is no breath at all in the midst of it.”

Habakkuk 2:18-19

Repeatedly, through failure after failure, we see how our trusted answers did not come through. There were never meant to do so.

Only God...

"For the LORD will be your confidence,
And will keep your foot from being caught."
Proverbs 3:26

He is not a man that He should lie...

And He is not cotton candy, that He should disappear.

Let’s, therefore, learn from the raccoon- and face the reality of our own cotton candy, whatever it may be.


Copyright © 2017 by Sheryle Cruse


Do We Sit With Our Hearts?


I admit it. I have a difficult time being still.

I like background noise, action and movement. This probably explains why I am pathetic at relaxation exercises, Tai Chi and yoga. I just can’t seem to settle down. The room may be completely quiet, yet my thoughts, “to do” lists and anxieties are often at record-setting decibel levels.

And this noise is often a part of the addiction package. Why? Because it’s distracting. And anything that promises to provide escape from reality is tantalizing.

So, bring on the vices, the noise, the social media, the cell phone apps, the adrenaline rush and the frenetic pace of distraction. We don’t want to face unpleasant situations.

“Social networking already accounts for 28 percent of all media time spent online... on average using platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

18 percent of social media users can’t go a few hours without checking Facebook, and 28 percent of iPhone users check their Twitter feed before getting up in the morning.”

“Social Media Addiction: Statistics & Trends,” Shea Bennett,

Yet, often, instead of finding relief, let alone, solutions, to our less than ideal realities, we find ourselves even more anxious.

And so, like any true junkie, we need our “fix” faster, more furious and in larger quantities than when we started our great escape plan.

But we are no closer to health and blessing. And that result often points to the fact we do not want to get searched.

"The unexamined life is not worth living.”


Let’s go back to the junkie for a moment. Imagine there he is, caught red-handed, with paraphernalia and substances right in his pockets. Now, did that junkie voluntarily desire to get caught and searched? Of course not. He does not want all of the truth, hidden from view, brought into the unflinching light. He doesn’t want quiet, stillness and self-reflection. He wants to be distracted by using.

But the benefits which can arise from getting quiet and honest, from voluntarily granting spiritual search warrants, are profound.

  • Heart rate, respiration, blood pressure and oxygen consumption are all decreased.
  • Meditators are less anxious and nervous.
  • Meditators were more independent and self-confident
  • People who deliberated daily were less fearful of death.
  • 75% of insomniacs who started a daily meditation program were able to fall asleep within 20 minutes of going to bed.
  • Production of the stress hormone Cortisol is greatly decreased, thus making it possible for those people to deal with stress better when it occurs.
  • Women with PMS showed symptom improvements after 5 months of steady daily rumination and reflection.
  • Thickness of the artery walls decreased which effectively lowers the risk of heart attack or stroke by 8% to 15%.
  • Relaxation therapy was helpful in chronic pain patients.
  • 60% of anxiety prone people showed marked improvements in anxiety levels after 6-9 months.

“Statistics on People who Meditate,” Joel Sparks,

This comes from allowing the Divine complete access to our hearts.

“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.

See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

Psalms 139:23-24

 “Yeah, yeah, yeah. But that’s meditation.” I hear that response murmured from some of you.

What about those of us who pray instead of meditate?

What about those findings?

Again, there are astounding benefits.

“For the past 30 years, Harvard scientist Herbert Benson, MD, has conducted his own studies on prayer... ‘All forms of prayer,’ he says, ‘evoke a relaxation response that quells stress, quiets the body, and promotes healing. Prayer involves repetition -- of sounds, words -- and therein lies its healing effects.’ ...”

“Can Prayer Heal?” By Jeanie Lerche Davis

Whether it is prayer or meditation, it goes beyond mere semantics. Spiritual power is found in the real, raw, honest assessment and heart connection with a Force greater than ourselves.

“ ...‘Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.’”

Psalm 46:10

That often cannot happen in noise and distraction. It originates from silence, stillness and a spirit of true yearning. It exists in the moments of probing questions...

What am I wanting right now?

Why am I wanting it?

Where’s my heart?

Often, it’s not in the spectacle of a morning church service. It’s not in the right speech repeated in a many a religious context.

“‘...This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.’”

Mark 7:6

Instead, many times, it occurs when everyone has gone home, when all activities and business are finished. It happens when everything is quiet and it is just the individual and the Most High, intermingling. It is a sacred, intimate experience, should we dare to tap into it.

We cannot escape this reality; life issues are heart issues. And, applying God’s Word to them is the ongoing work we need to engage in. It speaks to the power and meaning of relationship over religion.

Therefore, addiction, often, is a substitute for our Divine connection with the Most High. Addiction wants to circumvent intimacy with a failed, temporary substitute which short circuits our spiritual selves; it interferes with our physical, mental and emotional recovery processes.

Indeed, at any given moment, we are in a position to ask ourselves...

Am I facing my truth or am I running away from it?

How close is my heart to the Most High God?

Am I dealing with who I am?

Are we truly sitting down with our honest answers to those questions?

Copyright © 2017 by Sheryle Cruse


My Precious


The character, Gollum, in J. R. R. Tolkien's “The Lord of the Rings,” is a study in addiction and its pitfalls.

This creature was obsessed with the powerful properties of a much- desired ring. Transfixed, he often referred to it as “my precious.” This preoccupation, over time, led to his changed, grotesque form; it also contributed to both his torment and his tragedy.

The story portrays Gollum as a struggling being who had “come to love and hate the Ring, just as he loved and hated himself.” His unfortunate fate inevitably followed. Upon finally seizing the ring, he fell into a volcano’s fires. Both he and his “precious” were destroyed.

Now, how’s that for a cautionary tale?

“The eyes are the window of the soul.”

 English Proverb

Gollum’s prominent physical feature, indeed, was that of his gigantic eyes. His peepers show us the allure of the shiny idol.

In my own eating disorder recovery, there is the concept of how our eyes are often larger than our stomachs. What that means, really, in any addiction context, is that our obsessive lust is larger than our human capacity.

“Hell and destruction are never full; so the eyes of man are never satisfied.”

Proverbs 27:20

Ah, yes. The lust of the eyes... It’s been there, right from the start.

“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

What we see and give power to determines our vision. It is, therefore, addiction’s promise, which assures us there will be pleasure, fulfillment and freedom from pain and fear. It’s a hefty promise. And, for a time, it may even look like it delivers.

It certainly had me convinced. When I was a bridesmaid at my cousin’s wedding, I believed my two-digit weight was my answer and cure to everything. If I could just meet this appearance goal, all would be well and perfect. I was at my lowest weight, an emaciated point, so much so, comments made included not only how thin I looked, but also how large my eyes appeared. The wedding photographer had a startled reaction when I showed up for the photographs.

 “My, what big eyes you have!”

(There’s nothing like a nod to “Little Red Riding Hood,” huh?)

Now, who knows exactly why he said what he said.

Was he trying to say something flattering in the presence of this disturbing skeleton?

Was he trying to make me feel better, so I wouldn’t kill myself after the wedding?

Was he just so flummoxed, he fumbled for any words he could find?

I believe it was a mix of all three. At the time, I certainly felt a combination of fear, pity and shock from him.

But my physical frame could not be denied. I did have an exaggerated appearance. I was a skeletal being in a girly pink bridesmaid dress, with matching hat. I looked like a mushroom on the verge of tipping over.

And, because everything else on me had shrunken, my eyes did look all the more prominent. Some would even say “bug-eyed.” I was, indeed, skin over bones- and that included my face. My eyes, therefore, were a large, disordered and distorted window to my soul. And my soul was in agony.

Whatever our addictions, compulsions, disorders and vices may be, that is the cold hard reality; we are in agony. We grapple for something which has occupied our field of vision, only to discover, just like Gollum, our “precious,” leads us to destruction.

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

Proverbs 14:12

But, fortunately, it is not all doom and gloom here. For, if we return to the entire “precious” factor, we can see there is a scriptural, spiritual, life-affirming Truth at hand. It asks us for a shift in our thinking, but it is there, nonetheless.

The challenge concerns what each “precious” represents to us as individuals.

But it doesn’t just stop at the hard work on confronting our painful and ugly realities.

For, the Divine’s perspective provides good news: our precious status, to Him, is already in effect.

"Since thou is precious in my sight... I have loved thee..."
Isaiah 43:4

“How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.”

Psalm 139:17-18

Love, acceptance, pleasure, freedom from pain and fear and the choice of what is considered “precious” to us- these are all heart issues. And heart issues are life issues.

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

Proverbs 23:7

Therefore, the distorted representations of our “precious” idols steal us away from our one and first, true Love...

“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             

“We love him, because he first loved us.”

1 John 4:19

And this separation causes us tremendous pain, whether we know it or not. It is the estrangement, the perceived severing of an intimate, loving relationship in which there is a mutual “precious exchange” going on.

“This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.”

John 15:12

On some level, what we seek, what we crave, is that experience of actively loving and being beloved in return. Our primal need, therefore, can have us searching for this experience in our addictions. We desperately hope, that loved/beloved reality is waiting, with open arms, in the alcohol, the drugs, the food, the sex, the relationships, the shopping and/or in any other thing we deem to be our medication.

But it isn’t. And, the more we obsess, pursue and follow our designated “precious,” inevitably, the more likely we are to meet destruction.

Perhaps, then, it adds another layer to an oft-quoted scriptural passage...

“For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?”

Matthew 16:25-26

There is a prioritization to the “precious.” There is a weight to the lust of our eyes. What we think about most, looms largest in our lives.

So, the disturbing question comes.

Is “my precious” giving me the life I want?

More often than not, honestly, the answer is no.

At any given point in our lives, we are crying out for some representation of Divine love.

"Will he take delight in the Almighty? Will he call on God at all times?”

Job 27:10

We are calling for our beloved precious. But are we choosing the Most High to be that One and Only Source?

“... I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.”

Deuteronomy 30:19 further challenges the issue. Just for a moment, let’s insert “the choice of precious” into the scripture, so that it reads...

“... I have set before you “the choice of precious” life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose “the choice of precious” life, so that you and your children may live.”

Our decision comes into view. We choose. We have free will. And we also have the benefits package, laid out for us, if our decision chooses the Most High as our beloved...

“You have given him his heart's desire, And You have not withheld the request of his lips. Selah.”

Psalm 21:2

“Delight yourself also in the LORD; and he shall give you the desires of your heart.”

Psalm 37:4

Nothing and no one else is able to deliver that.

So, each one of us has Gollum lurking within. Something has captivated us, captured us. What is it?

What’s your “Precious?” And what is at stake concerning it?

“For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?”

Matthew 16:25-26

Copyright © 2017 by Sheryle Cruse


Today is the Tomorrow