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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: http://www.state.sc.us/dmh/anorexia/statistics)
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?
Proverbs 17:19 NRSV
One who loves transgression loves strife;
one who builds a high threshold invites broken bones.
I have a terrible tendency to want, to need to be right. And if my opinions, my way is always right, then I am likely going to be in contention with those around me who see and perceive the world differently than I do. Psalm 94:4 equates arrogance (the need to be right): They pour out their arrogant words; all the evildoers boast. (NRSV) Demanding that only our way is right is the same as boasting. And arrogance isn't the way of the believer. The believer is called to be humble. In fact, when we are humble, we are obedient, but when we are not humble -- when we are arrogant and self-seeking -- we are living in strife with those around us and are in sin. In fact, it is impossible to please God unless we are humble: Before I was humbled I went astray, but now I keep your word. Psalm 119:67 NRSV
Proverbs 17:17 NRSV
A friend loves at all times,
and kinsfolk are born to share adversity.
Prior to the giving of the Holy Spirit (in the New Testament), those who followed the Lord (predominantly Israelites) had only the capacity for earthly love, not for heavenly or agape love since they loved out of their own ability and not through the spiritual ability of the Spirit. However, there were still higher standards of behavior given. In the Law, the Lord required:
"You shall not hate in your heart anyone of your kin; you shall reprove your neighbor, or you will incur guilt yourself. 18 You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against any of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord." Leviticus 19:17-18 NRSV
You shall love your neighbor as yourself. It was this law that was discussed by the lawyer and the Lord Jesus in Luke 10:
This was written by an unknown Confederate soldier
I asked God for strength that I might achieve.
I was made weak, that I might learn humbly to obey.
I asked for help, that I might do greater things.
I was given infirmity, that I might do better things.
I asked for riches, that I might be happy.
I was given poverty, that I might be wise.
I asked for power, that I might have the praise of men.
I was given weakness, that I might feel the need of God.
I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life.
I was given life, that I might enjoy all things.
I got nothing that I asked for but everything I hoped for.
Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered.
This prayer is often called "St. Patrick's Breastplate" because of those parts of it which seek God's protection. It is also referred to as "The Deer's Cry" or "The Lorica".
I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through the belief in the threeness,
Through confession of the oneness
Of the Creator of Creation.
I arise today
Through the strength of Christ's birth with his baptism,
Through the strength of his crucifixion with his burial,
Through the strength of his resurrection with his ascension,
Through the strength of his descent for the judgment of Doom.
I arise today
Through the strength of the love of Cherubim,
In obedience of angels,
In the service of archangels,
In hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
In prayers of patriarchs,
In predictions of prophets,
In preaching of apostles,
In faith of confessors,
In innocence of holy virgins,
In deeds of righteous men.
bless those who seek
solace in substances;
helplessly hurting their bodies,
trying to feed their souls.
Father, let them see
You are the food they crave.
Envelop them in the warm blanket
of Your eternal love.
God, please keep them safe
from the perils of their actions.
Protect those around them as well.
Give them the strength, O Lord,
to see that it is You they've been searching for.
For there is no void You cannot fill.
And You are always with them.
With You there is no fear, no pain, no judgment -
And all their sins will be forgiven.
They need only look
to Your hopeful light within them all,
Instead of the demons that beckon.
We pray they know
Healthy attitudes toward our ministries and us are essential elements for success and survival in the work of RESCUE. Ways to avoid "burn-out" and find more joy and fulfillment in the work of the Lord.
- 1. Detach- Remember God does the work (we are vessels)
Fixers vs. guides (not "changing them, but pointing the way) - practicing "professional distance"
Co-dependency, enablers, messiah-complex
2. Faithfulness not fruitfulness (focus) Performance orientation? Avoid shame and guilt-driven efforts, which are from self not the Spirit
The Gabriel is CIR's Magazine. You are encouraged to download this, print it out or put on a diskette and share it with your loved ones or group. It is jam packed with inspiration, tips, resources and information for all Christians as well as those in recovery. Please be patient, these take several moments to download. For best viewing set Adobe Reader Page Display to "Two Page View."
CIR Members can download all Past Issues.
1 Corinthians 5:12-13 RSV
I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with immoral men; not at all meaning the immoral of this world, or the greedy and robbers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But rather I wrote to you not to associate with any one who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or robber—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. "Drive out the wicked person from among you.
Scripture talks a lot about not judging others. And then, Paul comes along and commands us to judge others. It seems to contradict itself. This isn't the kind of judgment that brings condemnation or punishment, but rather is the kind of judgment that calls into question. It is, in fact, the judgment that is done in love and demands that another believer turn away from their sin.
Matthew Henry says:
When I was a little girl, I once went into one of those carnival funhouses with the mirrors. It was the one and only time I did so. I remember I didn't get very far. I took one look at my distorted series of reflected images and high-tailed it out of there so fast, you could probably see my streak marks hang in the air.
Cut to about fourteen years later: I was nineteen or twenty years old when I was, once again, standing in front of multiple mirror images. Only this time, there was no carnival- and certainly, no fun. It was, instead, just me, choosing to stand and scrutinize myself in front of my three-way mirror, picking myself apart, via my disordered eating and body image behaviors.