The #1 Predatory Lie

The media’s most predatory lie to young girls is not about their intrinsic worth or imperfect bodies, but the relentless message that the world revolves around the individual. That the future depends upon their personal fulfillment, their abstract happiness, their popularity, beauty, fitness or success.

And does the lie change all that much as we age? Do we ever outgrow the tendency to be swayed by media’s appeal to our momentary self? No, the message need only change pitch to reach the frequency preferred by mature fancies. Suddenly it becomes: The value of my life is dependent upon financial success, perky breasts, expensive shiny toys, worthy ministries, slender thighs, flat abs, perfect marriages.

Whether condemning or condoning, challenging or consoling, the crux of media’s message remains a constant concave assault on the God-image of man. Practical propaganda seeks to turn our eyes and attention from our God-reflection to our self perception.

Consider the tagline of nearly ever advertisement: You deserve, You ought, You should, You need, You will, You’ll earn, You’ll save, You want, You’ll be, You’ll have, You are, You’re not, You can be…

Literally, almost every single banner ad, side-bar, full-page spread or 30-second sound bite appeals to numero uno. Even charities have learned it’s most effective to appeal to an individual’s pride concerning their “selflessness”.

To tie this into my central passion, the relief of women of all ages from the bondage of eating disorders, I believe our most effective strategy is not to focus on rebuilding her self-esteem, nor to focus on silencing the media’s lie that she isn’t “perfect” enough. 

Instead, freedom from eating disorders and all other means of bondage is found in understanding that we are not so important. That God is no respecter of persons.

Ps. 103:15 “Our days on earth are like grass; like wildflowers, we bloom and die.”

Doing so depressurizes the situation, the inflated fears of failure, the impending sense of doom if we do not achieve some nebulous goal or evasive success.

1 Peter 1:24-25 ““People are like grass; their beauty is like a flower in the field. The grass withers and the flower fades. But the word of the Lord remains forever.”

It is only here, in a humbled state, in a place where expectations fall away, that the broken find fulfillment in the truth that we were made for His gratification. It is only here, naked and weak, stripped of resources, that God’s word, that which remains forever, sweeps over and deposits truth in cracks and crevices, shores up our hearts and reinforces our understanding of our intrinsic worth. 

“I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.” Jer. 31:3

“So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.” Romans 8:6

Advertisements

“Surviving the Predatory Lies of Anorexia” is HERE

my book

It’s the holidays, brutal times for any family plagued by an eating disorder. This book will be an encouraging and enlightening read for anyone seeking understanding of this disorder and light at the end of the tunnel.

Click through to view it on Amazon. Below are a number of other ebook formats where you can purchase it.

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/389934

Body Image and the Traditional Family

Have you ever thought about how body image is directly related to the demise of the family in modern society?

The traditional family is not simply under attack, but at this point has been so viscously and repeatedly assaulted that she is no longer recognizable as the institution she was created by God to be. It is also indisputable, even by the most liberal among us, that women’s physical bodies are so manipulated and objectified that frequently they don’t operate as God intended either.

Considering the family, I give you the divorce rate in America, the number of children in single parent homes, domestic abuse, latchkey kids, grandparents raising their children’s children, the disappearance of discipline and the overthrow of family interaction by tiny, handheld computers.

Considering the female body, I give you airbrushed magazine covers, (interesting article here) innocent daughters on diets, (talk about that here) every conceivable product offering a plastic-enhanced, fat-free version, menus touting “guilt-free” so that women have social permission to eat, women who can never have children after putting their bodies through premature menopause due to eating disorders in their formative years (ask yours truly).

Well known, observed facts, all of the above. But what do they have in common?

…great masters [demon tempters] produce in every age a general misdirection of what may be called sexual ‘taste.’ This they do by working through the small circle of popular artists, dressmakers, actresses and advertisers who determine the fashionable type. The aim is to guide each sex away from those members of the other with whom spiritually helpful, happy, and fertile marriages are most likely.

Have you ever thought of that?
That our obsession with perfect bodies (at least what the momentary, finicky appetite of sexual desire deems salable) has distracted eligible men and women from proper interests in the other sex based on faith, commitment, intellect and prayer? That an attitude of entitlement lends to severed marriages as one partner selfishly believes they deserve to be happy at the expense of their vows?

We now teach men to like women whose bodies are scarcely distinguishable from those of boys. Since this is a kind f beauty even more transitory than most, we thus aggravate the female’s chronic horror of growing old (with many excellent results) and render her less willing and less able to bear children.

As a result we are more and more directing the desires of men to something that does not exist – making the role of the eye in sexuality more and more important and at the same time making its demands more and more impossible. What follows you can easily forecast.

What astonishes me, is that C.S. Lewis published The Screwtape Letters in 1942. Screwtape was right, what followed was easily forecast. Seventy-one years later, we are fulfilling his prophecy.

What came first, the chicken or the egg? What came first, the decline of the family as the foundation of society or the objectification of the female body? Regardless, if we intentionally address one, will we necessarily affect other?

Painful Possibilities

This week I got the chance to flip back the chapters of my life and re-read some painful pages. At the time, those pages hurt. Quite literally, the lines in my journal are smudged with tears. I don’t re-read them often.

A few days ago, a young girl approached me about personal training. I don’t have many clients yet, so I was thrilled. We sat down at Starbucks to discuss her goals and expectations. Halfway through the conversation, she admitted that she struggles with bulimia. My ears perked up and I listened even more intently to her from that point.

I heard sad things. Things like, “I just want to lose a ton of weight.” Her eyes dodged mine when I asked how often she purged. She couldn’t tell me what she normally ate – if she normally ate. I had hoped that my certification as personal trainer would enable me to foster a healthy body image in young clients. I want to instill a love of exercise in women and a sense of amazement at their body’s abilities.

This young girl doesn’t know Jesus, either. I want every relationship in my life to attract people to Jesus Christ. Perhaps God had brought her to me to be a witness and to lead her gently away from an eating disorder. When we parted, I continued to mull over our conversation – wondering where it would go, if I could help her, and feeling not a little nervous that I was getting in over my head.

I took my concerns to the Lord, and then asked my mom and best friend to pray with me. Nervous or not, it would be a blow to my ego to turn down a potential client since I’m not exactly a busy personal trainer. And if I told her no, how else could I help her? Would training her even be helping her?

At the final conclusion, I am surprised at how God chose to use my painful years of anorexia to minister to this young girl. He chose to use me by not using me. Does that make sense? Maybe it will after you read what I wrote to my potential client.

This is hard for me to write. I’d like to tell you in person, but I know you’re gone this weekend and Monday will be here before we get a chance to talk.
I’m sorry. I can’t in good conscience train you. Coming from a background with an eating disorder, I know exactly the thoughts that are racing through your mind. I know that if someone jumped on board with me, when I was sick, and agreed to help me lose weight, without addressing the cause of the bulimia, I would have spiraled downhill and out of control. I know you think that working out will help you to control the purging, but 15 years experience tells me it won’t. It makes sense that it would, but it won’t. It will simply reinforce in your mind the conviction and drive to lose weight any way possible.
Please understand that I say this out of love. Getting help for an eating disorder is the hardest thing I have ever done. I was a minor the first time I went inpatient and I HATED my parents and preferred to die. Then as an adult, it was just as hard, but because of Jesus, I have always had the strength to keep living. And I promise you, that even if it seems manageable now, to continue in bulimic habits will make your life a living hell.
If you want any suggestions on where to find help, I will gladly help you find the resources, counselor, whatever you need.
So that’s it. No new income. No monumental breakthrough in her life because I heroically shared my story and walked with her through the flames of her eating disorder. But I’m confident that I spoke the truth to her and was obedient to my heavenly Father.
Please keep her in your prayers.
“Only fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things he has done for you.” 1 Samuel 12:24

And the Conclusion IS…..

Drum roll please!

The conclusion of my review of Simple Steps, the UK website reaching out to those suffering with eating disorders.

Simply it is this:

A website, regardless of the validity of its information is insufficient to address the crux of an eating disorder. An eating disorder is never simply an eating disorder. The circumstances and issues that lead to its development are as individual as the people it slays.

This website offers tons of valuable information. Accurate descriptions of not only the symptoms but also how the sufferer feels, are hard to come by. I found that the descriptions of an eating disorder from the “inside-out” were spot on.

I am skeptical of a website that postures its own product line as the secret to recovery. An completely altruistic approach could suggest multivitamins, minerals and protein powders available inexpensively at Wal-Mart, GNC or other retailer. My review of the ingredients in their products suggests that they are not much different than any one of the wide variety of available supplements.

Lastly, I do understand the power of positive thinking. I am astounded by the effectiveness of memorizing the Bible. Simply inputing the ultimate truth, God’s Word, changes my emotions, my behaviors and my future. But, I would never release my consciousness into the hands of another fallen human, as in hypnosis.

So, visit Simple Steps. Develop your own conclusion. If you are interested in my suggestions of hospitals, therapists, nutritional experts or otherwise, please comment here or feel free to send me an email.

Readers, Meet Simple Steps…

Welcome to January! I don’t feel any different, do you?

As promised, this first week, Predatory Lies, will be reviewing a website called Simple Steps. Simple Steps is based in the UK. Self-described:

Simple Steps, is a range of products, from nutritional drinks, vitamin supplements for the mind and body, as well as emphasising the power of relaxation, hypnosis and sleep therapy and aids. An eating disorder is such a complex illness and therefore we have thought of every possible need for your recovery. In fact you can find it right here!

Before you swallow that hook, line and sinker, read Wednesday’s post. But today is an introduction. Simple Steps offers therapy, nutritional guidelines and resources targeted at three manifestations of an eating disorder: Compulsive eating, Bulimia and Anorexia.

 Compulsive eating.  Under this tab you will find a general description of the disorder, a description of the assistance that Simple Steps offers and a link to the products they prescribe to address this illness. The products include a stack of minerals, enzymes, amino acids and vitamins for appetite control and general health. There is also a special protein powder and a nifty shaker cup.

Anorexia:  The information here is quite similar to the information described above. There is an overview of the eating disorder, a list of indications for a quick self-diagnosis, a list of products and a downloadable meal plan. The main difference is the supplements suggested. These include vitamins and minerals and EFAs.

Bulimia: ditto the above. However, the stack of supplements is much smaller here, including only chromium and magnesium.

For each of the disorders, Simple Steps suggests hypnotherapy CDs to combat anxiety and to reprogram positive thinking.

Simple Steps is divided into 2 Simple Steps. Step 1 focuses on healthy weight gain for the underweight (typically the anorexic) and Step 2 focuses on achieving and maintaining a healthy weight. Whether you start at Step 1 or 2 depends on your current BMI.

At the bottom of the homepage there is a list of additional resources. An online nutritionist and a list of health topics.

So, welcome to January and welcome to Simple Steps. Don’t miss Wednesday’s post for my personal opinion about the potential effectiveness of this program.

P.S. If you are interested in a Biblical approach to eating disorder recovery I highly suggest you visit Finding Balance.