Teens

Fear of Disapproval

I recently came across an image post on the internet. It was a female's body, in workout gear. And it was accompanied by this statement:

"For Every 'Comment', I'll do 10 sit ups, For Every 'Like', I'll do 5 squats. Go, go, go!"

Furthermore, this post was also followed by a series of emoticons to emphasize its message: three arm curled biceps and one gold trophy.

(Sigh... Here we go again...)

Exercise, goals, striving for improvement/perfection...This is where I squirm, faced with posts as these.

Indeed, there is much emphasis on fitness in today's culture. There are countless gyms, trainers, exercise equipment, programs, workout clothes and shoes, as well as a variety of athletic activities from which to choose. It's overwhelming.

Yet there's still a rise in eating disorders and in such health issues as

Mother's Day, Not Measuring Day

What's your reaction to this image? Can you relate? Did you and your mother actually participate in this activity together, treating it as a bonding thing, a game, a competition or a means of "self-improvement?"

Mother's Day. It is devoted to the remembrance and celebration of our mothers, those people who first loved us. And, perhaps, even, in the name of that love, diet and weight measurement were a part of that.

With my mom, I believe it was. She battled with her weight her entire life, certainly as long as I've known her. I discuss it in my book. Years later, I see how it wasn't intentionally done to harm me.

But, nevertheless, that focus on body image, weight and thinness did. It's not just my experience, not perhaps, not just yours, either. Studies have, indeed, shown its impact: I can relate.

"…The study, published this week in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology, found that when a teen-age girl develops an eating disorder 'the mother-daughter relationship appears to contribute significantly.'

Kathleen M. Pike and Judith Rodin, who wrote the study, say they concluded this after comparing the test results of girls with eating disorders with those of girls who did not.

'It appears that some of the mother's own dieting and eating behavior and especially her

Love vs. Lust

There is a great contrast between love and lust. Lust is more of a sexual or greedy feeling, while love is more of a secure and content filled feeling we get from giving and receiving. Lust does not have to be something sexual, it can be a greedy desire for more money and power, etc. But for this article, I am using it in its sexual context.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 sums up the common traits and variances of love and lust.

    LOVE is kind = considerate, caring, giving, thoughtful, understanding
    Lust is envy = jealous, greed, spite, resentment,

    LOVE is not proud = humble, submissive, meek, modest

What's in a name?

But now thus says the LORD that created you..."Fear not: for I have redeemed you, I have called you by your name; you are mine." Isaiah 43:1

What's in a name?

We cannot get around that question. From the start, we are named. As life continues, we bestow more names to children, pets, toys, places, projects, et cetera.

This naming business is far from insignificant. Consequently, it can often subject to negative, extremely personal and abusive behavior. It can challenge the recovery from our individual hurts, histories and obstacles.

I've personally encountered this toxicity. I have had people call me derogatory names; profanity and misogyny have often been at the center of those names.

It's startling, infuriating and potentially harmful to my health and recovery. Often reeling from these encounters, my only recourse is to

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)

Internalizing the Wrong Messages?

I'm a huge fan of classic cartoons. The Roadrunner, in particular, always makes me smile.

Recently, I stumbled across an image, featuring Wile. E. Coyote's "calling card," which read "Genius." And it immediately reminded me of a famous Albert Einstein quote:

Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.

Affirmation via Tattoos and Piercings

"He wandereth abroad for bread, saying, 'Where is it?'..." Job 15:23

Within recovery, there is often the need to commemorate the struggle, the courage and the life-affirming process, via tattoos and piercings.

Indeed, I've encountered many young people who have significant dates and meaningful logos marked on their skin. Likewise, eyebrows, nostrils and lips are also pierced, in the declaration of some kind of personal freedom from pain.

Our Battle with the Mirror

The infamous mirror. We do battle with it every single day, don't we? How many of us pick ourselves apart, critiquing, judging and hating every feature? How many of us, upon seeing our reflection, are disgusted and disappointed with what we see?

There is a use for everything, mirrors included. They serve a purpose. Let's face it -- if it weren't for mirrors, there'd be more instances of lipstick on -- and spinach in --teeth. We'd look much messier than we do when we present ourselves to the world.

But mirrors are not the end all, be all to our eternal worth and value. They are far from it.

Overcoming Addiction: Addiction + Denial = Out of Control

My addiction used to control me. It overwhelmed the person inside of me, and I became a stranger to my family, and to myself. All I cared about was having another drink. All I thought about was where and when I was going to get my next drink. My mind was totally and completely absorbed within my addiction, and I didn't even know it. I was proud, haughty and selfish. I was an alcoholic.

Do you have an addiction? Some of us overeat, over drink, smoke, look at porn, gamble, do drugs, or become abusive. We can even be addicted to our feelings. When we let our negative thoughts control us to do wrong, we are under the power of our thoughts and feelings. Addiction controls several aspects of our character that keep us from coming to our full potential. I know these things first hand; I have been there and done that.

Mentally the addiction affects the way we

Talking about Healing: Why Am I Afraid to Tell You Who I Am?

Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.Ephesians 4:29


"Why Am I Afraid to Tell You Who I Am?" by John Powell (Niles, IL: Argus Communications, 1969) is one of my favorite books.

Powell suggests that people are afraid to tell you who they REALLY are because you may not like them, thus, we reveal ourselves in "levels" or stages: According to him.

The lowest level is cliché.

"Hi, how are you?" "Whazzup?" When you met that special someone, did you really care who he or she was or was it because you had a hidden agenda and maybe did not even know it? Did that first conversation sound something like this? Do you come here often? So you're a whiskey sour lady, let me buy you a drink. 'I thought you was somebody else'.

This level is safe. There is no sharing of the human experience. You do not know anything about me and I don't know anything about you. What you don't know is she might be going through a heated divorce. He could have just got out of prison for armed robbery.

The second level is

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