Discernment

Trick Images of Self

I recently came across a souvenir my mother received from her British pen pal in the 1950's. It's one of those trick images of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip; who you see depends on the angle of the portrait.

It brings to mind the following scripture:

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. 1 Corinthians 13:12

And it made me think of my distorted image issues:

"...I stood in my bedroom, in front of my three-way mirror. I’d seen so many versions of myself. I’d been fat and thin, feeling both unworthy and worthy. Yet I was never satisfied..."
(Excerpt taken from Cruse's book, "Thin Enough: My Spiritual Journey Through the Living Death of an Eating Disorder")

Images and mirrors don't delve into great detail about each trauma, milestone, issue and phase of our lives. They don't accurately depict things as they are. Smudges and warps can alter what reflects back at us. And these images and mirrors certainly don't predict the future or explain the Most High completely.

The Toxic Gender Role Dance

Okay, I'm attempting to simmer down. I just finished another viewing of the animated Disney classic, "Sleeping Beauty."

Like a lot females out there, I have a complicated love/hate view of this fairytale princess depiction.

Over the years, I have bought into, absorbed, aspired to be like and have been resentful of this ingénue archetype. I have run the gamut of emotions, largely because of the all-important beauty factor which is mandatory for our young princess heroine.

It was all I could do to get through this latest viewing of the film.

For, right off the bat, we have our staple Disney music, chiming in, emphasizing just how beautiful our "Sleeping Beauty" is...

Thoughtless or Thoughtful ?

Some people seem to have a genius for making others miserable! They are continually touching sensitive hearts, so as to cause pain. They are always saying things which sting and irritate. If you have any bodily defect, they never see you without in some crude way, making you conscious of it. If any relative or friend of yours has done some dishonorable thing, they seem to take a cruel delight in constantly referring to it when speaking with you. They lack all delicacy of feeling, having no eye for the sensitive things in others, which demand gentleness of treatment.

Thoughtfulness is the reverse of all this. It simply does not do the things which thoughtlessness does. It avoids the painful subject. It never alludes to a man's clubfoot or humpback, nor ever casts an eye at the defect, nor does anything to direct attention to it or to make the man conscious of it. It respects your sorrow--and refrains from harshly touching your wound. It has the utmost kindliness of feeling and expression. A truly thoughtful person, is one who never needlessly gives pain to another.

Patience: Are we there yet?

Visualize this scenario. There's a car ride going on, containing one or two parents/adults and at least one child in the backseat. The child's view consists of the following: the back of the driver's and passenger side seat, perhaps, some toys, games or word puzzle books, strewn throughout. Maybe, depending upon the vehicle, there's even a Disney film being played on a television screen, just above Mommy or Daddy's head. We should be hearing the voice of an animated character or the chirp of an irritating child's song. But, instead, what do we hear?

"Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?"

Does this sound familiar?

If you have children or remember being one yourself, you're probably familiar with this nagging, repetitive question:

Are we there yet?

We want to get there already, wherever "there" is.

"Unto a land flowing with milk and honey..." Exodus 3:8; 33:3

It's the Promised Land, filled with conscientious manners, harmonious relationships, well-behaved children, realized dreams and no bad hair days.

Another's Critique is Not the Final Say

I recently caught a viral video of a turtle repeatedly head butting a cat. The feline, annoyed, swishing its tail, eventually got up and moved. And the turtle was on its way. Is it a lesson in adversity? In persistence? In forging ahead, despite negative feedback?

Other people hold mirrors up to us. And a significant mirror came to me in the form of a critic to my beloved baby, my book, "Thin Enough."

They say we're supposed to embrace the criticism and the ugly truth. Well saying that, doing that and feeling great about it don't necessarily happen all at the same time. But criticism and unpleasant comments still occur, often while we're in the middle of something as challenging as recovery from a compulsion, addiction or disorder.

Clueless or Purposeful Recovery?Premium Content

As we bump along in life, we often misunderstand things, especially concerning our recovery. I recently caught a cartoon which captures that reality.

In it, we see Jesus and His disciples on a fishing boat. One disciple is in a festive mood, complete with some castanet shaking. This prompts another disciple's response...

"You idiot. He said cast the nets."

Does this spotlight, once again, our human cluelessness?

Perhaps, rather, it taps into the purposeful recovery-from-addiction meaning in our lives, should we choose to embrace it.

Let's take a gander at the fishy verses...

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When I am Ignored

It is so hard to share with someone seemingly endlessly with no fruit seeming to bear. I have been through this with various people -- some regarding faith and others regarding recovery. They do not want to hear about God, the Bible or church. Or they are not interested in getting sober, getting out of that codependent/abusive relationship ior changing their life in any way. I believe it is a problem with their eyes not seeing and their ears not hearing.

It is not a matter of my not saying the right thing. The issue may be that it is not the right time.

I am sowing seeds on dry hard ground. (see: Mark 4:3-9 and Mark 4:10-20)

Faulty Thinking?

For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he... Proverbs 23:7

We can really do a number on ourselves with our faulty thinking.

How many of us have said the following things to ourselves, about ourselves?

"I'm...
...worthless...
...ugly...
...fat...
...weak...
...stupid...
...a failure...
...never good enough..."

And then, if we're plagued with disordered eating and body image issues, it gets amplified even further.

Do You Need Wisdom and Understanding?

Give me understanding according to Your word. Psalm 119:169

When the psalmist prayed, "Give me understanding according to Your word," he obviously knew something that we too often forget: True wisdom and understanding are found ONLY through the eternal perspective of the holy Scriptures.

Trying to achieve true wisdom any other way is

The Silent Voice of TemptationPremium Content

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...

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