Self-Esteem

Am I Loved? Will I Be Loved? Can I Really Love?Premium Content

Without question, my greatest struggle and crisis of faith is, "AM I LOVED?" This question releases its evil first cousin; "WILL I BE LOVED?" Is being loved and loving contingent upon if I do some proverbial duty, service, behavior, performance enough and well enough? Close on their heels is "can I really love" without impure motive or impunity?

The only correct answer to these questions is simply God is Love.

What marvelous love the Father has extended to us! Just look at it - we're called children of God! That's who we really are.(1 John 3:1a, Msg)

Look deeply into the glory of love! Having begun in Father's unmerited, unconditional, unending love; it elicits the following response!

My beloved friends let us continue to love each other since love comes from God. Everyone who loves is born of God and experiences a relationship with God. 8 The person who refuses to love doesn't know the first thing about God, because God is love - so you can't know him if you don't love. 9 This is how God showed his love for us: God sent his only Son into the world so we might live through him. 10 This is the kind of love we are talking about - not that we once upon a time loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to clear away our sins and the damage they've done to our relationship with God. 11 My dear, dear friends, if God loved us like this, we certainly ought to love each other. 12 No one has seen God, ever. But if we love one another, God dwells deeply within us, and his love becomes complete in us - perfect love! (1 John 4:7-12, Msg)

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Freedom from BondagePremium Content

We celebrate our nation's freedom yet there are so many people who are still in bondage. They are in bondage to schedules, deadlines, television, sports, alcohol, drugs, sex, profanity, and all the other things that come before Jesus and keep them from serving Him and spending time with Him as He has commanded us to do. He has told us that we should have no other gods before Him. However all too often we allow things that will one day mean nothing come before Him and our service to Him.

No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. Matthew 6:24-26, 33-34 King James Version

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Our Incredible Temples (The Challenge of Taking Care of Our Bodies)Premium Content

Scripture tells us we are the Temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:16).

With that said, therefore, taking care of our Temple, known as our physical bodies, seems to be one of the greatest challenges. I know it has been for me.

In my book, "Thin Enough: My Spiritual Journey Through the Living Death of an Eating Disorder," I chronicle my struggles through all kinds of dysfunction, disordered eating and harmful mindsets. Eventually I descended into anorexia, bulimia and binge eating, often displaying extreme food restriction and over-exercise behaviors. I saw food and exercise through unhealthy, punishing and dangerous filters and extremes. I either ate nothing or everything; I either did no exercise whatsoever or I punished myself with six grueling hours of it every day. There was no moderation, no healthy approach, just torment, fear, guilt, desperation and hopelessness.

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True Friendship or Playing at Friendship?Premium Content

Proverbs 18:24 NRSV
Some friends play at friendship
but a true friend sticks closer than one's nearest kin.


I think that, on the whole, we don't really know how to be friends these days. In fact, our idea of friendship is often quite skewed because we either liken it to some kind of party (albeit an informal gathering down at the local pub over a brew) or we see it as something that makes us feel better. I think, all in all, we are more likely the first—someone who plays at friendship—than the latter—someone who sticks closer than a brother.

Understand that, when Proverbs was written, families lived together in one compound. Thus, there was a bond—heightened by financial intertwining—that existed between brothers. Sons (and daughters) didn't grow up to maturity and move away, but rather grew up to become part of the family's industry (whatever that was). Brothers were interconnected to such an extent that it was difficult to exist apart. So not only were they related physically (by blood), but there was a geographic and financial relationship that never ended.

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Facepalm MomentsPremium Content

When I first saw the image of Jesus doing a "Face palm," I laughed. The exasperated look of our Savior, indeed, conveys the message of "why did you say/do THAT?" And you and I know what that is. It usually has something to do with sin. Sometimes, we look downright foolish. I mean, c'mon, how many times in life have we, ourselves, done a similar face palm?

Remember, lying is a sin.

In any case, some lesser face palm moments often involve us- and our big mouths. Yes, we really blow it here. It's not just about "taking the Lord's Name in vain" either. It's not even about other expletives (you know the words). It, instead, has to do with the negative and untrue statement we utter.

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Our Perceptions Govern Our LivesPremium Content

"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.

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What is Powerlessness?Premium Content

I have been reminded recently that the Christian faith is as offensive and outrageous as it has always been. It is still, as the Apostle Paul put it, a kind of foolishness. That the weakness of the infant Jesus could contain the power at the heart of all of creation is sheer foolishness. That the weakness of the cross could possibly constitute the decisive victory over the forces which oppose God's rule seems preposterous. Indeed, it is rare today to find anyone, either within the Christian community or elsewhere, who speaks in praise of weakness. Our understanding of power has become decidedly unparadoxical. We want our power untainted with anything as undesirable as weakness. We prefer peace through strength and salvation through self-reliance.

A growing critique of the recovery movement makes precisely this point. Stan Katz and Aimee Liu put it this way in their book The Codependency Conspiracy: "relationships that are based on mutual weakness cannot serve as sources of strength or enrichment". This is a remarkable conviction - and one that is quite contrary to my personal experience. But it is a very popular conviction. Recovery through strength is much more appealing than recovery which begins with the appalling weakness of 'admitting powerlessness'.

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"I Think You are Wonderful!" (self-esteem)Premium Content

I recently came across this child's drawing once sent to the legendary Marilyn Monroe. Children often get right to the truthful point.

"I think you are wonderful."

What an astounding thought. Yet, how many of us experience that sentiment?

Yeah.

Most of us struggle with this positive self-image thing. We may have had negative people and experiences in which we were told- and believed- the exact opposite. Coping with that pain, therefore, it's no surprise some of us have turned to our addictions, disorders and any number of "comforting" vices. We want to feel we are wonderful. And the drug, the drink, the food or any other object of our desire supposedly tells us precisely that.
Meanwhile, however, we completely lose sight of a Truth, if we ever knew about it in the first place. God already thinks we're wonderful.

He thinks that…about us… right now. And God isn't short on these kinds of thoughts…

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Have You Forgiven Yourself?Premium Content

I remember the first time I forgave myself. It was about four years ago.

I had sinned greatly. Repented deeply. Did everything God called me to here. But I couldn't escape the torment. The weight of the sin was crushing me. I didn't know if I would survive. I didn't understand why.

I went to a dear Christian girlfriend to confess. She listened carefully, prayerfully, and said, "You haven't forgiven yourself."

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The Dress We Obsess About (Eating Disorders)Premium Content

Two words can strike fear and unrealistic expectations for many of us ladies out there.

The dress.

It's probably a safe bet to say there has been at least one which has plagued us. It may be that prom dress, eradicating high school awkwardness. It may be the fairytale torture known as the perfect wedding dress, transforming us into the bride to end all brides. It may also be any variety of special occasion dresses: the high school reunion show stopper, the special event evening gown, created to dazzle or the pageant dress, guaranteeing us a tiara.

The dress. The notorious, nail biting, nerve-wrecking, insanity creating dress. Been there? If not, be patient, you probably will be.

There have been a lot of desperate diets and exercise regimes plotted, all in the name of the big dress. We push, pull, cinch, torture, starve and manipulate ourselves into all kinds of predicaments. Like when I was a bridesmaid at my cousin's wedding.

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