Self-Image

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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Self Deceit is Rarely ObviousPremium Content

Unlike the deceit of others, self-deceit is almost never deliberate and intentional.

The act of deceiving ourselves is rarely that obvious. Without realizing it, we mask our behaviors in ways that are more acceptable, rewarding, and socially beneficial. In fact, we try very hard to look good in front of others and the mirror. Sometimes we try so hard to look perfect that we nearly convince ourselves that it’s true. Then, when someone tells us, or when we see the light on our own, we remember who and what we really are – human.

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I Surrendered to VictoryPremium Content

I was born with a physical defect that made me learn to be a Fighter. Living in a hospital for the terminally ill for the first 9 years year of my life, I saw many friends die because of their diseases. No one explained that to me. I had to fight for my physical growth during and after dozens of surgeries. I had to fight in order to walk again.

I became an addict to speed (Meth) because it enabled me to fight. I would shoot and get shot playing in the Underworld. I thought I had to fight for everything. Then I found carny life for a decade. Meth was the only way for me to work 48 hr.+ days. I fought to move steel that weighed more than I did. I am 4 foot 6 inches tall (6 feet 4 inches after smoking a gram or so). I had to fight to keep my job.

Then the Judge sent me to a rehab. A Christian rehab.

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