Helped by the Homeless

One aspect of the One Word, Naked, that I want to address is the concept of feeding the hungry, clothing the naked. (Matt. 25)

Read more about my thoughts on this subject at Finding Balance, here:

Helped by the Homeless

We Just Need to Understand…

Last week was the weirdest week. One moment I was flying high on the revelation of Jesus Christ himself. Wednesday, my quiet time was explosive! Throughout the day, I had the opportunity to relish Jesus with my mom and with a dear friend. It’s amazing how His joy can seem to grow exponentially within my own heart as if multiplied by the joy in their own hearts.

Then on Thursday and Friday, I could barely finish my quiet time, frustrated that Jesus didn’t seem to show up. For the remainder of those days, every thing seemed to back up, twist around, flop, fail and irritate me. How can I go from such heights to such depths in a matter of 48 hours? 

As I was commiserating with myself, I flipped a couple pages back in my journal, searching for some clue as to the magic of Wednesday and the gloom of Thursday. I love to record the responses of Jesus to my heart. Therein I found that on Wednesday, He had prepared me for the pitch and roll of the rest of the week.

Now, I have been through years and years of counseling. Counseling for an eating disorder, counseling for anxiety, counseling for marriage, family counseling, and on and on. I have gleaned a lot of truth from those sessions. However, everyone knows the phraseology that personifies counseling: You have to get to know yourself. You need to understand how you got here, make sense of your history and come to terms with you. You need to learn to accept yourself.

And then of course there’s the related mantra: We need to understand our neighbors. We need to tolerantly understand each other.

Surely, when we all understand and live out our true selves and understand our neighbors, then, we will experience peace. And isn’t that what we’re all looking for? Whether it be peace to rescue me from anxiety and depressing days, or whether it be peace among nations or neighbors or spouses. If we can just understand ourselves – get to know ourselves.

Hmmmmm…..Here’s what I clearly heard Jesus say to me:

Beloved, do you hear the world calling you to understand yourself? Even selflessly – to understand your neighbor? I do not call you to understand yourself or your neighbor, but to love him as you love yourself. And I do not call you to understand yourself. 

My first commandment informs the second: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. Or, to love me with all your heart, soul, UNDERSTANDING and strength. (Luke 10:27)

Therein is agape love: only outward focused as it reflects from me. You can only love with agape as you become like me and are able to choose my desires over your own. Love them, if only because you love me. Love yourself, only because you love me and I have chosen to love you. (1 John 4:18) And this will come as you study, come to know and understand me.

Do not struggle to understand yourself – for if you know me you will come to know, understand and even to love yourself as I love you. Do you see?

If you wanted to learn to appreciate and find value in a new possession, would you merely stare at it and manipulate it? No, in frustration you would eventually through it away. But if you went to the maker and watched him make and use the possession, and let him teach you to use it, then you could love and value it immensely. 

I once heard John Piper say that, faith has no mirror. I cannot see myself in the midst of healing, soul-saving, love-teaching faith. “These remain faith, hope and love. The greatest of these is love.” 1 Cor. 13:13

Trial of Trusting

God has used numerous people and resources to teach me. Those have been as diverse as a Christian mentor, an atheist friend, a book about finding my own appetite, a biography of an exercise addict, my little sister, a website, an inpatient hospital, a horse, a dog, a gym, a journal, a cup of coffee.  Go figure. He is the creator of all things and everything (whether it wishes to be or not) is at His disposal. (Ps. 50:10-11)

Tuesday morning was my first morning back in my house, in my prayer chair with an unlimited amount of time to seek God’s face. (Only Brave’s bladder would signal the end of my revelry!)

I have shared some with you this week about how God has used Finding Balance and Constance Rhodes to teach me. Did I mention that many of the experts on the website were professionals working at Remuda Ranch when I was there?

One of the biggest hurdles for me in my recovery was wondering if I could trust those who were instructing me. How did that nutritionist know what would or wouldn’t make me fat? How did that counselor know that I shouldn’t be exercising? How did I believe that any professional had my best interest in mind? And then, when I was absolutely exhausted by the anxiety that was devouring my mind, I wanted someone to teach me the ONE thing I needed to do to be well. I wanted someone to just tell me what to do!

Guess what? As I wondered who actually knew what they were talking about and who I could trust, God revealed something to me. As I sought His deliverance from my eating disorder HE WAS TRUSTWORTHY to give the right words to my advisors. I could trust the people and resources that He was choosing to lead me away from my path of destruction.

Are you anxious about a change in your own life? Are you worried about seeking advice and who you can trust? I can promise you this, if you are humble enough to listen to Godly counselors, you CAN, YOU MUST trust their advice. Finding Balance is one such Godly resource. Listen to God’s promises to teach you:

Behold you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart. Ps. 51:6

Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed. Proverbs 15:22

So teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Ps. 90:12

Teach me to do your will, for you are my God! Let your good Spirit guide me on level ground. Ps. 143:10

Please, don’t flounder in fear. I promise you that whether your hurdle be an eating disorder, an addiction to pornography, self-harm, depression, anxiety, marital stress or a simple need for wisdom – God can be trusted to teach you wisdom in the inward being and you can trust the counsel of those who love Him.

Test Yourself

I apologize from the start that this post is shorter and less personal than most of my articles here at Predatory Lies. I’m preparing to leave my parents’ home after my baby sister’s wedding last Saturday. Angela Kleinsasser was a spectacular photographer – so you can vicariously enjoy the wedding (:

Fortunately for me, I am sharing some wonderful, truthful, Christian resources with you this month. This week we are looking at Finding Balance, their primary purpose is to offer hope and healing to those struggling with eating disorders. The timing is perfect, because this weekend Finding Balance is hosting their annual conference called Hungry For Hope.  But you don’t have to attend the conference to enjoy the nearly boundless resources offered by Finding Balance. You only need a humble heart and a willingness to admit you have a problem and seek help.

Finding Balance offers self-tests to evaluate your relationship with food, your body image and your fears surrounding both.

Eating Issues Self Test Part 1

By the time I discovered Finding Balance, I had already been inpatient twice and was searching desperately for accountability and encouragement for my continued recovery. Finding Balance filled that gap for me. If you are battling food and body image issues, be bold enough to seek help. Start with Finding Balance.

Finding Balance a Whole New Review

Hosted by FINDINGbalance, a nonprofit health and wellness organization, Hungry for Hope is the premiere Christian conference for eating disorders and body image issues. Now in its fifth year, the conference is a key equipping event for professionals, lay leaders and those seeking freedom and healing in areas of eating and body image.

If you’ve read much of Predatory Lies, you know my story. A woman once mired in addiction, fighting for the love of God to dig herself out of the muck, the madness.

For me, truth began to dawn on me at Remuda Ranch, one of the founding organizations of the Hungry for Hope Conference. Remuda brought Jesus to bear on my issues of compulsive exercise and restriction. I didn’t leave “cured” but I began to walk the life-long, narrow road of weakened self and strength in Jesus. Remuda encourages every woman who arrives to set up a solid after-care plan, so that they can continue receiving Godly counsel and accountability when they leave the treatment center. I found that at Finding Balance.

You’ve heard me talk about Finding Balance before.  They have taken the mantel of the Hungry for Hope conference and have added it to their powerful, continuous outreach from their website. I haven’t been able to attend a Hungry for Hope conference, but as I mentioned, the curriculum has my name all over it! But here’s the good part:

Finding Balance has recently revamped their entire site. On the very front page, they offer countless resources – video clips of professionals answering real questions about eating issues asked by others in your same shoes. Topics include: Ask the Doctor, Nutrition, The Road to Wellness, Freedom in Christ and more. Questions are poignant, undisguised and often painful. Answers are biblically-based, credible, concise and gentle.

There is also a paid portion of the website, $5.99/month, that provides many deeper resources, an interactive community, and access to lessons from Constance Rhodes’ curriculum called Finding Balance With Food. This portion of the site, called The Gathering. even includes printable worksheets, making the study more involved and impacting. Participants are encouraged, though not required to build a small group of people who are excited to grow together.

After last year’s Hungry for Hope conference, some of the lectures were recorded and added to the paid portion of the website. Hopefully, they’ll do that again this year, so I don’t miss anything!

I’m  excited to share Finding Balance and Hungry for Hope with you. Recovery from anorexia has been one of God’s sharpest tools in training me in righteousness and drawing me to Himself. He has used Finding Balance over and over to reinforce the truth.

Sick in Modern Idolatry

Setting Captives Free, is an almost overwhelming resource – or better said – collection of resources. I was introduced to it by another woman struggling through her husband’s addiction to pornography. Little did I know that God intended to use it to address my lingering love of my eating disorder.

Setting Captives Free offers online courses that address sexual purity, eating disorders, substance abuse, gambling, Bible study, self-injury and more. Listing Bible study as a category seems a little deceiving because the entirety of each program is laced with Scripture and the conviction that Jesus Christ is the only source of freedom from these behaviors – more accurately – sins.

Within each category, there is a listing of 3-6 individual courses focused on that issue. Currently, I am studying In His Image.

The goal of this 60-lesson course is your complete and final freedom from anorexia and bulimia.

The course is written by Setting Captives Free founder, Michael Cleveland and Kim Schmidt, who writes from personal experience. Here is a link to Kim’s brief bio, but she shares many more details of her story throughout the course.

Personally, for years through many treatment programs and professionals I was taught that my eating disorder and battles with food and exercise addiction were a “disease,” implying that it was something that happened to me without my choice. Not really. Yes, Satan is our diabolical enemy who prowls about like a lion seeking to destroy God’s creation, especially those in His Image (humans.)

However, especially as one who knew Jesus long before I ever began to idolize food and exercise, my descent into this hell was nothing short of sin. Like ancient Israel, I walked away from a loving, all-powerful God, into the arms of a tangible “king.” I wanted a god I could control. In deeper self-evaluation, I discovered that the driving force behind my eating disorder was a desire to prove myself independent, needless – that I was not weak like others – I didn’t even need food. In essence I wanted to believe that I was my own god and self-sustaining.

What an ugly picture. God is using this study, In His Image, to burn away my dross. Praise Him that in the midst of my sin, I was no less saved by the blood and grace of His son, Jesus Christ in whom I believed. But I also praise Him that He would not allow me to spend the rest of my earthly life wallowing in pathetic worship of a false and powerless god.

June – Here We Come!

Confessions first: the first two weeks of this month are going to be hard for me to be present. MY BABY SISTER IS GETTING MARRIED!! I already told you that – and I am spending the first 2 weeks of June between Texas and Kansas with all three of my sisters, my parents and close friends. My gracious hubby is releasing me from my wifely duties to play big-sister again for a little while. Honestly, he’s probably glad he’s not coming along until the wedding day because I will be a giddy, girly, sobby mess the whole time.

To hold myself accountable, I’m submitting to you a rough draft of our June plans here at Predatory Lies.

Your’s truly has been the victim of many lies.

John 8:31-32 … So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

BUT

But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

I could write this whole post in Bible verses, but that’s cheating (: I promise you that I have submitted these hands and this keyboard to the work and glory of Jesus- who is the truth.

This month I will share several sources of truth that God has used to save my life, encourage my growth in righteousness and keep me in the truth. Lucky for you, each of these resources has an online presence, so I will provide links and details about what aspects of each resource ministered to me the most. I will spend one week on each source. To be fair, I am constantly learning more from these ever-growing resources. I will do my best to highlight all they have to offer, how you can take advantage of them and how you can give back.

For the first week of June, we will take a close look at an online, Christ-centered, freedom ministry called: Setting Captives Free.

Week two, we will look at Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage, and the Flag Page, ministries by Pastor Mark Gungor.

June 21-24 boasts the annual Hungry For Hope conference, hosted by Finding Balance. I’ve spoken much about this ministry before, but I’ve barely scratched the surface.

And for the final week of June, I will try to select only three days worth of valuable, truth-filled resources available at Lifechurch.tv.  Wish me luck. There is a fairly recent book and online experience called Chazown, by Craig Groschel. Maybe if I focus on that resource I can limit myself (:

I’m so excited, Friends. As I re-explore some of these ministries, I know I will be blessed as much as you. I do plan to offer some of the books and CDs that these ministries produce as giveaways throughout the month. So make sure you’re chattering here in the “comments” section!

And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified youd to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption,e the forgiveness of sins. Col. 1:10-14

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.