The Silent Voice of Temptation

Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. Proverbs 4:23

Artist, Gerald Moira, creator of the 1898 piece, "The Silent Voice," is a haunting image. In it, we see a young woman with an ethereal creature whispering in her ear.

To me, it calls to mind recovery from addiction as it relates to silence and the voice. Personally speaking, my restrictive abusive childhood discouraged any use of my voice which was considered displeasing. "Children are to be seen and not heard." That's how the saying goes.

And that sentiment had its oppressive hand in my eating disorder development and thought processes. Things "innocently" started out as a desire to lose weight and be thin. But it wasn't long before the disorders, in all of their different forms, became about control and exerting my declaration of independence. In short, disordered eating/image became my voice screaming against the silenced abuse, inequity and toxic environment I endured.

But, just because I've been removed from that confining time and space, does not mean my need to deal with those triggering voices is over. Quite the contrary, in fact. For whispers still come from unexpected corners.

Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof. Proverbs 18:21

And these whispers are certainly not affirming. In the context of disorder and self-destructive tendencies, the whispers go more like this instead…

Remember when things used to be so great...

Remember how in control you were...

Remember how much better you looked being thinner...

Remember how much you miss me...

And the serpent said unto the woman, "Ye shall not surely die." Genesis 3:4

Indeed. It's amazing how loud the silent whispers can get, coaxing, cajoling and tempting us into believing our addiction experiences were "the good old days."

Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, "Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?" And the woman said unto the serpent, "We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die." And the serpent said unto the woman, "Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil." Genesis 3:1-5

Nostalgia, via our vices, can often lie to us, convincing us we were happy, fulfilled and peaceful only when we engaged in our chosen vice.

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… Genesis 3:6

And so, if we're not careful, we entertain and even indulge in the whisperings. And that can lead to relapse.

Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. 1 Corinthians 10:12

None of us will escape this life without hearing voices; they range from the most subtle, seductive whisper to the most ear-splitting scream. The voices are one thing; our response, however, to them, is quite another.

That's why it's important to do a regular assessment of what we're hearing and how we're responding.

Search me, O God, and know my heart:
try me, and know my thoughts:
And see if there be any wicked way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
Psalm 139:23-24

Is there something in our lives which is capturing our ears and our emotions? Our desires? Our need to be loved? Our need to be happy? What IS screaming our names?

But fortunately, it is not hopeless. For God has us His Voice and His Word to counteract any others.

The voice of the LORD is upon the waters:
the God of glory thundereth:
the LORD is upon many waters.
The voice of the LORD is powerful;
the voice of the LORD is full of majesty.
The voice of the LORD breaketh the cedars;
yea, the LORD breaketh the cedars of Lebanon.
Psalm 29:3-5

...It is written, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." Matthew 4:4

"...the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life." John 6:63

And that is what we need to remember and apply when the whispers come. They WILL come. Indeed, we do not have to be passive and helpless. We have God on our side.

God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Psalm 46:1

What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? Romans 8:31

And that includes any voice which tries to lure us away from any healing or progress. God, in His love for us, is FAR from silent!

"...Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee." Jeremiah 31:3

Copyright by Sheryle Cruse.
All rights reserved. Used by permission.
Sheryle is the author of
Thin Enough: My Spiritual Journey Through the Living Death of an Eating Disorder.
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