Me, a glutton?

Being Naked is nothing if not humbling. As God would have it, the brilliant theologian, C.S. Lewis has struck me where it hurts the most.

In so many ways, I have healed from anorexia. In so many ways, I am walking free of the chains of food fears, starvation and compulsive exercise. And even in the throws of my disorder, no one, least of all myself would have considered me a glutton. So as Screwtape began to instruct his evil nephew in the art of deception by means of gluttony, I thought, This is so utterly new to me, it should be interesting!

Interesting it was, but not because I’ve never experienced such temptations. It was interesting particularly because it could have been written about me, so convicting was it.

[Our goals] have largely been [accomplished]by the concentrating all our efforts on glutton of Delicacy, not gluttony of Excess.

Anorexia is chiefly defined by not eating much. For me, that included a desire not to need much. But I glutted on all my own selfish desires. Quite literally, I binged on exercise. I pushed my personal desires upon all who entertained me. My gluttony was on being accommodated by all who should understand the nature of my disorder. I fully expected my family to provide the foods I would eat, understand when my love affair with myself interrupted their lives. Hosts should cater to my specific food requirements. My husband should go out of his way to stop at hotels with gyms whenever we traveled.

Because what she wants is smaller and less costly than what has been set before her, she never recognizes as gluttony her determination to get what she wants, however troublesome it may be to others.

Oh, and Lewis would not feign to ignore my affection for myself in the realm of exercise.

…feed him the grand lie which we have made the English humans believe, that physical exercise in excess and consequent fatigue are specially favorable to this virtue.

Ouch.

So, the naked truth, confession at the deepest level, even my recovery is incomplete. And I brought that to my Father this morning.

God, how can I pretend to write a book on how you have walked me through the Valley of the Shadow of anorexia and how I have grown in you and been strengthened by the journey, when my journey isn’t over yet?

And He, Sweet Father, always answers.

Beloved, you ask why the journey is not complete. Your journey with anorexia is long over. Your walk with me is only beginning. Precious one, can you define a single step that you have already taken? You will not have a mark to define your successful recovery. It is a part of OUR journey. 

Reputable Fame

“Quantitative analysis revealed that fame was the number one value, selected as the most important value for participants’ future goals,” according to a study done by psychology professors at the University of California at Los Angeles.

In C.S. Lewis’ book, The Screwtape Letters, it becomes obvious on a practical level that Satan’s most fatal weapon is subtlety. Literally, all that God created is good. ALL. Evil does not manufacture itself and is only observable relative to its opposite: Good. So it makes sense then, that to trip up a generally good person, someone mostly moral, someone rightly motivated, someone who would see right through blatant evil, Satan’s tack must be almost good.

In the Garden of Eden, Satan walked Eve up to a tree that probably looked just like the others. It looked good. It was almost OK.

Last month, in my town, three teenage boys were arrested for making sex tapes with six, unsuspecting teenage girls. Their goal? Fame.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to be recognized. Proverbs, the Book of Wisdom, tells us that a good reputation is desirable over  great riches (Prov. 22:1). And in Prov. 31:23, a man is honored to be known among the leadership of his city. It is a God given desire to be loved by others, to have something to offer society and to leave our heel print in the clay of time. So Satan takes this righteous quality and pushes it just a little too far, just slightly over the edge. As we over indulge in our good reputation, it becomes self admiration and suddenly our hearts are warped. Warped just enough to mar the beauty of God’s reflection in us.

Left to ourselves in a broken world, we cannot help but pervert the complete goodness of all God’s gifts. Sex into promiscuity. Beauty into idolatry. Reputation into fame. Honor into pride. Hope into fantasy. Food into gluttony. Drink into drunkenness. Hobby into addiction.

Besides the redemption of our souls, maybe that’s another reason that Jesus had to come. More than to die and rise again, perhaps this is why He came and lived 30+ years on earth. To show us how to use all God’s good gifts for His glory.

Naked in 2013

Welcome to 2013!

I have been bumbling this morning, trying to encapsulate everything I want to share with you. A chronic problem of mine, (I’ve had it since college) is that I don’t know how to procrastinate or to manage time. My only mode is NOW! If I have an agenda of things to share, I am hard pressed to place them on a timeline of 365 days.

I want to talk to you about nakedness. Nakedness in all its forms: Spiritually, “Who told you that you were naked?” That time-warping moment in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve were first embarrassed at their unclothed image – that same image that they inherited from their Creator.
Nakedness now: How and why we still cringe and cover ourselves and our sins with anything we can find to avoid the shame of exposing our essences, the good and evil.
The nakedness that is uncensored in the month of January. With New Year’s resolutions on everyone’s minds, we are suddenly exposed to the “perfect” nakedness that we are encouraged to aspire to. Even as I sat down to write to you, I passed seven magazines with prominent displays of nearly naked beauties. All of them declare in bold, 46 pt. font, “Your Best Body Now!” Ironically, stacked on top of several of these magazines was an issue of Life magazine simply titled, “Jesus,” the Creator of our nakedness. And another lay nearby, “The Self-Esteem Companion.”

This topic will inevitably lead to discussion about the lies we believe concerning our bodies. You know my personal story, a vicious battle with anorexia for 18 years. I almost consider myself an expert on body image lies. With the helpful resource Finding Balance, I will continue to help you find the truth about your intrinsic, and yes, Naked worth.

Our primary focus at Predatory Lies is to expose the lies that destroy women’s lives and  replace those lives with life-giving truth. Recently, I was lucky to see a play rendition of The Screwtape Letters. This is C.S. Lewis’ imaginative dialogue between a head demon and his protege. The entire conversation is a pack of lies, through which the truth becomes glaringly, even sarcastically obvious. This is the perfect tool to exploit here at Predatory Lies! So I expect to do a slow, personal and applicable review of this book in the coming months.

It’s a start. I will continue to share with you the things I am learning about and sharing with Haven Journal, She Loves Magazine, Finding Balance and Start Marriage Right. 

May I pray for you?

Jesus. It’s strange to pray for people I feel as if I know personally and yet whose faces I have never seen. It’s strange for a feeble mind to understand that each person I hear, see or touch is a SOUL. There is nothing impersonal about them to you. I ask you Jesus to give me a clearer understanding of the value, eternal quality, Christ-image of each person – those I know and love and those I don’t. Father, I seek your slowness, your peace, your patience, your passion, you compassion, your HEART.

Jesus, more than anything, I want each of those who read this blog to hear YOU. I want your voice, the voice of truth to be louder, more gently compelling than anything I have to say.

Jesus, you are beautiful. May these key strokes inscribe your matchless worth on the pages of lives connected only by digital conversation. May no one who reads this blog escape the truth that they are reconciled to God by Jesus. Their only small step into immediate eternal life to believe in Jesus, your Son.

In Jesus Name, your daughter

Book Review: Brave Girl Eating

This book wrung my heart, because I was Kitty. I drug my family along in the wake of my anorexia. Until I read this book, I had no real perspective of how my family felt. I didn’t understand the bruises and burdens on my mother’s heart anymore than she understood why I refused to eat. Harriet Brown does an outstanding job of conveying the family’s hurt without demonizing the anorexic teen. So many times, I wondered why my parents and sisters did not give up and abandon me, this book gives that explanation.

I also find Brown’s ability to express her daughter’s emotions amazing. When in the midst of my eating disorder, I was sure that no one understood me. Perhaps they cannot put on the anorexic’s shoes and walk a mile, but this book proves that empathy and compassion are possible. While I did go inpatient, unlike Kitty, I spent many years of my struggle at home, and my own family played much the same roles that this book describes. Finding even a glimmer of understanding in a parent’s eyes is life to the struggling teen.

Harriet Brown has authored another book, Feed Me. I highly recommend that book to any woman living in this race-paced, media saturated, perfectionistic culture.

Reviewed for: Amazon

My other Amazon book reviews

Body

Swirling around Body, are passions.

Tangled, unrelated, cruel, indulgent.

I swing at her with fury intent

To finally destroy, she who causes so much angst.

But failing that to destroy and remove her

I work to decorate what insists on remaining.

Add color, trim hair, paint nails, whittle her curves, diminish her shape.

Manipulate and stuff this awkward piece into a somewhat acceptable mold.

Passion, anger, hostility, frustration, discouraged.

On a warpath to find what will force her submission.

What has she done to me? What pain has she caused? What is her crime?

Like an abused child, she shies from the deviance and plots of my mind.

I see her crawl to a corner and hide.

Jesus, save me from myself!

I wrote this poem recently, drawing from old emotions and new. I wonder, other women, do you feel at odds with your own body sometimes? What do you do?

Thank you to Promising Poets for this award!

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

July

I bet you didn’t know that July is National Blueberry Month. I didn’t either. However, I think it’s an excellent reason to share some blueberry recipes with you this month. It’s really a stretch to relate blueberries to the lies that hungrily prey on our lives, or the life-giving truth of Jesus Christ, but, I can do it!

For years, at this point, nearly half of my life, food was my enemy. If you’ve read this blog with an regularity, you’ve heard bits and pieces of my story. This blog began there, with a heart to share the truth about God’s good gifts of food, freedom, healthy bodies and a mind singularly devoted to Christ. So now it is my pleasure to share with you the joy I am finding in deliciousness. So, this is a celebration of my truth!

True? I mentioned Privileged Pain once last week. Do you believe in such a thing? Individuals who have everything they could possibly want, every privilege, are often mired deeply in pain. They look “fine.” I’ve certainly been there. I’ve lived a picture-perfect life, but pain hasn’t spared me. Is there a privilege to suffering pain? Biblically there is. We’ll take a look at this on Wednesdays in July.

And Friday. I’ve been a little slow in getting through a book that I am reviewing for Moody Publishers. I began reading Christ’s Prophetic Plans  because I wanted to read the dissenting opinion. Oddly enough, it was my opinion for most of my life and it is still the opinion of the majority of the body of Christ. We are talking about dispensationalism. I won’t provide a definition here, because that’s what the book is about, providing a definition and defense of the tenets of this eschatological belief system. I’m dying to hear your opinions.

So, I’ll see you in the sunny, summer month of July! Looking forward to it!

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.