Stress

The Three Graces: Powerful to Equip YouPremium Content

The Three Graces are known in both Greek and Roman mythology as the muses of poetry, music and of course, art.

Lately, I've gained an intense appreciation for their numerous depictions in sculpture and on canvas.

I've been working on an article concerning body image; therefore, I've researched how beauty definitions have changed over time. This, inevitably, brought me to “The Three Graces.".

Centuries ago, the Rubenesque body shape, defined as a voluptuous female figure, was desirable.

In the 1600's, artist Sir Peter Paul Rubens was inspired by this fuller figure in his 1635 work, The Three Graces.

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Honey Bear: Identifying the Idols in Our LivesPremium Content

Most of us wouldn't think twice about a honey bear.

And, likewise, most of us are familiar with the Biblical account of the golden calf the Israelites worshiped, just before Moses arrived with the Ten Commandments (Exodus 32:1-35). Impatient as they were, waiting for the blessings to hit their lives, they concluded if they created their own visible god, they'd be happier and finally have their dreams.

Eh… not so fast…

And that brings me to the innocuous honey bear. At first glance, I'd never view it as an idol. As a child, I remember it was there with the maple syrup and the strawberry jam, sitting on my family's kitchen table. That's all.

But, as I spiraled into my eating disorders, as I reached the paralyzing lows of anorexia and frantic desperation of bulimia, I turned to an off the wall strategy: the honey bear, or more specifically, arts and crafts with the honey bear.

Please bear (pun intended) with me.

As I was struggling with my eating disorders, painful issues and stressors on full blast, I had the idea to distract myself. Yes, that was my answer. If I could just keep myself occupied enough, I'd be okay.

So, after my college classes, I turned to a honey bear I emptied on one of my recent binges. I thought I'd do something creative with it and keep myself busy. I decided to spray paint the bear gold. That's right, gold.

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Taking it to the Briar PatchPremium Content

For those who don't know the Disney's story "Song of The South" a character named Brer Rabbit, who after being captured by old Brer Fox and bear, began to plead with them "...you can do anything to me, but please don't throw me in the Briar Patch!"

When these two old fools heard his pleads for mercy they threw him into the briar patch, it was then that old Brer Rabbit begin to chant, "BORN AND BRED IN THE BRIAR PATCH!"

The point was he used strategy to out think them. They thought they were hurting him, when in actuality they were hurling him into a safe and profitable place.

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Who Needs Recovery?Premium Content

Recovery involves the entire person: spiritual, physical, emotional and mental. You can recover from abuse, addiction, eating disorders, anxiety, shame, guilt, anger, alcoholism, codependency, suffering, grief, depression and more!

You probably need to consider seeking help if:

  • The last thing in the world you want to do is talk about your possible areas of "stuckness".
  • Your life is getting to be a repeat of one disaster after another.
  • You are finding you feel less and less in control over problems you once thought were under control.
  • You have noticed an increase in the frequency of the behaviors that you believe are a problem (lying, stealing, drinking, eating, gambling, etc.)
  • You have family members that have begun to show concern about problem areas in your life.
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    Asking for Support: Getting the Help You Need - Part 2Premium Content

    by Dale & Juanita Ryan | see: Part 1

    We resist getting help

    In spite of the abundance of God's love and grace and the many ways in which love and grace are available to us, we do not easily reach out for the help we need. Even when we have acknowledged our need for help, we may find ourselves hesitating, finding excuses, resisting. Resistance to getting help is often the result of a mixture of fear and despair and shame.

    Fear

    It can be frightening to get help. In the process we feel vulnerable and exposed. Jim's Dad had made cutting remarks about him all his life. Jim was so accustomed to hearing that he was lazy and stupid and irresponsible that every time he shared in his support group, he expected to hear these same hurtful comments in response. Even though people didn't respond this way, Jim imagined that everyone must be privately thinking these things about him. As a result, he would sometimes begin to share only to freeze with fear and find himself unable to talk.

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    Asking for Support: Getting the Help You Need - Part 1Premium Content

    by Dale & Juanita Ryan
    See: Part 2 | Part 3

    The God of the Bible is a God who saves and heals. The Bible is clear about this: He will deliver the needy who cry out, he will rescue them from oppression and violence. Psalm 72: 12,14) When we see our need, acknowledge our inability to save ourselves, and cry out, God delivers us. God rescues us from oppression and violence. Whether it is the oppression and violence of our compulsions and addictions or the oppression and violence of abuse and neglect, God delivers us and heals us. God is powerful enough and loving enough to deliver us from all of the oppression and violence we face.

    This is the good news proclaimed in Scripture. And it is the basis for our hope on the recovery journey. We cannot save ourselves. Or heal ourselves. But God can. And God will.

    Sound simple? It turns out to be anything but simple. There are several reasons for this. First, we find it hard to believe that God is

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    Is Fear "Normal?"Premium Content

    We take fear for granted.

    I think we live in a culture of fear. We're quite literally immersed in it. We're so accustomed to being afraid that we don't even realize how much this embedded fear drives our thinking, attitudes, and choices.

    For all of our talk about freedom we seem obsessed with power and control. We have this insatiable need to manipulate others and control our environment, and I believe it's mostly rooted in insecurity and fear.

    How much of your time and attention is devoted to avoiding every conceivable risk—or even the appearance of risk? How much do you worry about “threats” that aren't meaningful threats at all?

    How much energy do you expend controlling others? How much do you seek power through some form of coercion, as though it's just the way it's supposed to be?

    What's the cost of all that fear?

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    God Fights for His PeoplePremium Content

    There was no day like that before it or after it, when the LORD listened to the voice of a man; for the LORD fought for Israel. Joshua 10:14


    We don't have to attack and subdue physical cities - which in any care aren't walled today, military technology having changed since Joshua's day. Paul said that "the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses" 2 Cor. 10:4, and that "our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places." Eph. 6:12 We fight, we struggle, but not against physical enemies. Even when the church faces persecution from human beings, with very real guns, very real prisons, very real torturers, and very real executioners, the very real struggle isn't against those tools of Satan, but against the spiritual wickedness which impels men to act so barbarically.

    And we're not in the fight alone. There may be no armed and armored armies beside us, and there may be no massive forces to back us up, but we're not alone. On the contrary, the Lord fights for us.

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    Not Sure What to Do?

    Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
    and do not rely on your own understanding.
    In all your ways acknowledge Him
    and He shall direct your paths.
    Proverbs 3:5-6

    This implies that God is always present with us, is willing to be consulted by us, and will surely attend to us.

    This implies that our way is likely to be difficult, dark, and perplexing; a way in which we have never traveled before, and in which we are likely to be misled.

    This implies that only way to be safe, to walk securely--is to seek Divine direction; and this God is willing to give--but He will have us ask it of Him. We are dependents--and we must realize our dependence. We are but children--and we must feel it, and act as under the impression of it.

    "In all your ways acknowledge Him."

    You have His Word--consult it; make it your counselor, your directory and your guide.

    You have His promise--believe it; He says, "I will teach you and instruct you in the way which you shall go, I will guide you with My eye."

    Things I am Learning from Cancer

    When I was diagnosed with cancer it was as if God had slammed me over the head with a 2x4. I was stunned -- stopped dead in my tracks. I was emotionally and physically numb. It took months to come to terms with what it actually meant. How was this going to affect me? my relationships? my loved ones? What about the future? Do I even have a future? What will happen to my loved ones after I am gone? Questions whirled around inside my head.

    Chemo has not been successful There is not much anyone can do yet I can clearly see that God is in the process of teaching me some important things.

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