Roots

Sometimes, all I can do is sit back and marvel at how things in my life literally come full circle.  Over the summer, I had the possible eating disorder clinic job come up, which would incorporate teaching and and music therapy…what I’ve wanted to do for a long time.  Full circle.  Today, it’s the burger issue.  My very first blog post ever, (which is actually on a different blog) was about a burger, and in a way, this blog post is about a burger too.  Or at least, it all started with a burger.

My sweet roomie and I went out for a fun, Red Robin dinner last night.  We split a burger and a wrap, and man-oh-man, it was tasty!  Well, at least the half-burger, fries and salad were.  I was too full for the wrap.  But with that sense of fullness came a sense of guilt.  And the sense of guilt created what felt like an all-out tailspin of anxiety, fear, nervousness, and a desire to restrict my eating and/or exercise a lot.  Sigh.

As you might imagine, I greatly looked forward to going to church today – looked forward to the uplifting, the encouragement, the deeper knowing of God.  But sometimes I forget about one factor.  That factor is Satan…and I specifically forget that he can have an affect, even in church.

The sermon dealt with Sin (big S) being the root, and sins (little s, plural) being the external evidence of the root, Sin.  It led me to wonder what or where the root of this Eating Disorder is.  I began to wonder how I could get at the root, rather than just trim the branches that everyone can see.

Home.  Lunch.  Difficult.  Cranky.  Tears spilling over, even just in a text conversation.

I talked to my mom and dad.  I told them that I was trying to figure out the root sin of my eating disorder – was it vanity?  Perfectionism?  I didn’t know.  And I felt so anxious, nervous, afraid etc.

And like parents always do, they had a weapon to use against this enemy, Satan.  They reminded me that eating disorders are medical conditions, not based in sin.  And if there IS sin at the root of it, guess what?  It’s forgiven.

“as far as the east is from the west, so far he removes our transgressions from us.”

Psalm 103:12

I talked to Ron next.  And you know what he did?  He prayed for me.  Of course, he talked to me – encouraged me and such, but he did battle by praying.

I keep coming back to John 10:10

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.  I Came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”

Burgers are meant for enjoyment, not to blind the eater with guilt.  Food is meant for nourishment and life, not as a tool of torture anguish.  And life.  Life was not meant to be lived in fear of food, or fear of anything, really.  Life was not meant to be lived void and empty, but full of joy and peace.

Friends, we all have Sin and sins.  But while we were sinners, Jesus died for us so that we could be forgiven – and have a full and abundant life.

What is keeping you from that?

Blessings,

Beth

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The Murky Middle

Hello Friends!  It’s been too long since I’ve written.  I suppose you could call it a dry spell – I just didn’t feel inspired to write.

It’s interesting – my fiance (yes, that happened since my last post) just mentioned my “blog silence” the other day.  And here I am, writing.

First, let me say that I fully intend to blog all about Ron’s proposal and the lovely day that ensued – but sometimes, God just lays another thing on your heart – and you gotta just write.

Today I needed to go to church, desperately.  I needed that refreshment, that time to worship and focus on the Lord.  That time to forget about all the stressful things that take up mental time and space, and just breathe.

After a great time of worship through singing, Pastor Jonathan (check out his blog!) brought the message.  The theme he consistently came back to was this:

We have a picture of the before and a vision of the after.  But between the before and the after is the “murky middle”.  That place where everything seems confusing and weird, out of control.  That place where we notice that we’ve started to slide back towards the before – a place we don’t want to revisit.  When we get “stalled out” in the murky middle, Satan wants us to feel disconnected, detached, discouraged – ultimately, to forget the goal.  To forget the after.

Bam.  Stalled out.  Murky middle. Discouraged, disconnected, tired.  Sounds familiar!  I won’t lie – I’m tired.  I want to be back home in Montana.  But I have a hunch this is part of the process.  God hasn’t just forgotten about me!

Here’s the thing.  When God begins something in us, when He begins to pull us out of our before, towards that glorious after, He won’t just leave us out there in the murky middle.  Oh, it may feel like it sometimes.  But Philippians 1:6 clears up any confusion:

“I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ.”

No, this doesn’t promise that it will be an easy ride.  It doesn’t give us a concise time frame.  But it says that this good work will be finished.

And how do we get through the murky middle?  It’s the most complicated, simple answer in the world: Faith.

Faith.

I find myself in the murky middle right now.  Student teaching – a mere 6 weeks remain until graduation.  The after is getting closer, but there’s still mud to wade through.
Anorexia – stress makes this one harder to manage.  But eating disorders are not outside of God’s promise to see His good work through to completion.

Faith.  Faith in God’s plan, His timing, His love.  Faith in His guidance and strong arms.

I leave you with a quote from Pastor Jonathan:

“God won’t give up on you, so don’t give up on God.”

So simple.  But so, so important.

Take care, friends! 🙂

Long Distance

Hello friends!
Things are hoppin’ here at school – and I expect posts to be quite sporadic for the next couple of months.  But when inspiration strikes…there’s no ignoring it!  It’s funny where that inspiration comes from sometimes, though.

I adore metaphors.  I really believe that I actually comprehend a concept much better when I can translate it into a metaphor – and I’m sure I’m not the only one.  Just like inspiration, sometimes it’s pretty interesting what causes a metaphor to construct itself in my mind.

So today.  Boyfriend and are I texting, and I ask him if he’s been to the store yet to get some meds for his icky cold.  I’ve given him a couple of ideas of things he could pick up to hopefully ease the symptoms and get him back to feeling better soon.  But the thing is, he’s been working overtime for the last couple of weeks, and when he gets off work, he just wants to go home.  I don’t blame him one bit!

But part of me gets frustrated.  I’ve told him what I think will help him feel better, and all he has to do is go to the store.  He knows these things would probably help him, but he’s just exhausted…the couch is is friend right now.  I would go get medicine for him, except for that whole distance thing…Seattle and Northwest Montana aren’t exactly close.

I mulled this around in my mind for a bit, feeling almost helpless, wondering if I should ask my mom to intervene (*Super mom*!) or what.

And please note: This is not a “boyfriend rant”.  It’s part of the metaphor – just keep reading!

And then the metaphor (thus inspiration) struck.

At the times when I’ve struggled the most with this Eating Disorder (ED), boyfriend (and family, friends, and so forth) has been far away, watching and listening to my battles, giving me ideas, tips, advice, guidance etc.  When someone deals with ED, it’s like working overtime, and they just get tired…and don’t always want to do things to help them become healthier, even though they know it’s for the best.  They just get tired.  Trust me, I know this.

With all of this in mind, I think I finally understand what my loved ones back home have felt for the past couple years that I’ve been dealing with ED.  Just like my supports back home, I felt somewhat helpless and frustrated that I could only offer words and prayers, no “tangible” actions.

And to take this one step further…

God gave us the perfect medicine for all of the struggles we face in life.  No, accepting Him doesn’t remove our struggles, but it does allow us to spend eternity with him – and having a relationship with him is probably the greatest comfort through anything we face.

But here’s the thing.  He watches us, knowing exactly what we need, giving us all the tools to get it, but we have to actually do something about it – accept what He has to give.  We work hard, we get stressed, we get tired, and sometimes, we know that we just need to go and get – or accept – the remedy He freely offers.  We just have to do it.  That’s it.

And after we accept Him, He continues to be our remedy if we only let Him.  How awesome is that?!

You know that stress I talked about in my last post?  I need to accept God’s continuous remedy daily.  The stress probably won’t vanish, and I’ll still have to work, but that work won’t be under my own strength (Philippians 4:13)  It’s like honey to the sore throat 🙂
God is the remedy – the healer – if we’d just let him.

If you have any questions about what I’ve written here, just drop me a note 🙂
Have a blessed week!

Beth

Not Missing Out

ED is like what I would imagine an abusive boyfriend to be like.  He sweet talks me into believing that he’s good and trustworthy, then tells lie after lie about how I’m not good enough, not pretty enough, not thin enough ad nauseum.  And when I’m not good enough, pretty enough, thin enough etc, I’m probably not worth going to that party, or going to that restaurant.  There’s no way I’d consider roasting hot dogs and marshmallows with the family, attending a church pot-luck or going on vacation.  Too complicated.  Not worth it.  Not happenin’.

Except, that’s what ED wants me to believe.  ED, and ED alone.

In a recent meeting with my dear mentor, we talked about this very thing; how ED wants us to just stay home instead of living life.  It’s a load of garbage.  Lies.  Deceit.  You know what my mentor’s motto is?

“I’m not missing out”

For my mentor, this could mean taking a chicken sausage along to roast while her family has brats.  It could mean packing dinner to the farmer’s market to make sure she gets good nutrition in a place that can feel overwhelming.  Telling ED to “shut up and leave me alone, I want to do _________ with my family!”

Not missing out.

Not missing out on a vacation.  Not missing out on a Scentsy party with my mom,  sister and dear ladies from my church.  Not missing out on a double date.  Not missing out on that church pot luck.  Not.Missing.Out.

I’m tired and frustrated.  Tired of dealing with ED and all his deceptions and belittlement.  Tired of skipping a get-together because I have a tummy ache.  Frustrated with this Eating Disorder taking up so much thought and planning time.

Tired of missing out.

John 10:10

Our lives were not meant to be lived sitting on the couch in fear or despair.  God intends for us to live a full and abundant life.

Are you done missing out?

Blessings,

Beth

ED, that Nasty Fellow

We all know that ED is a jerk.  I mean, there’s no question.  But sometimes, he’s not just a jerk, he’s downright mean.  Nasty.  Firing his darts where they’ll hurt the most.  Oh, and if you’re already feeling upset or nervous about something, you know what ED does?  He zeros in on that spot and sends a barrage of his meanest, nastiest darts.

See, I told you he’s mean.

Gaining weight isn’t easy.  Aside from just physically eating more, there’s all kinds of emotions that go along with it.  Anxiety is a significant one that I deal with.

When anxiety was great within me,
 your consolation brought me joy.

Psalm 94:19

Worry piles atop worry, and sometimes, the weight is just enormous (no pun intended).  For me, it usually ends up with a tummy ache and me feeling just…blah. I think and think and think about whatever the flavor-of-the-day is, and then ED fires a new dart, adding some other worry to my already worried mind.  It’s like a snowball.  Or a ripple.  Basically, picture anything that builds upon itself and you’ll get the drift.

Today, I’m worried about clothes.  Specifically, how they fit and how they will fit in the weeks to come.  Since returning from San Diego, if I’m not wearing my lovely KOA work shirt, I’m most likely wearing a sweatshirt.  They’re loose and comfy – and warm.  And they’re all I’ve wanted to wear because I don’t really have to worry when I wear them.

And I’m afraid to try much else.

You know what ED said to me yesterday?  He said “So, what are you gonna do if you wear a nice outfit on Sunday, and then you try to wear the same one the next week and it doesn’t fit?”  My stomach clenched and I got scared.  And I haven’t been able to shake the worry.

But I know it’s ED – my mom reminded me – and I know he’s a liar.  His aim is to discourage me as best as possible.

Guess what.  I don’t have to fight ED alone.  Not only do I have a wonderful support system who prays for me and encourages me, I have a Heavenly Father who comes to rescue me when I call out (Psalm 18:8-15).  And he sympathizes and understands whatever I’m dealing with (Hebrews 4:15-16).  I can feel the anxiety melting a bit already.

Let me leave you with this:

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

1 Peter 5:7

All of your anxiety.  All of my anxiety.

Blessings,

Beth

Head or Heart

Guess what?  It’s Wednesday!  Do you know what that means?  It’s closer to Saturday!  And do you know what THAT means?  The semester is almost over!!!!!!  Not that I’m excited or anything….

Buckle your seat belts…I’m about to get philosophical 😉

There’s a big difference between knowing something in your head and believing it in your heart.  Belief and faith in Jesus may be the first thing that comes to mind as you think about head vs. heart.  Romans 10:9 says “That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (NIV)  Sounds easy.  But sometimes there’s a roadblock between our heads and our hearts.  And just to complicate things, this disconnect between head and heart doesn’t occur only in our relationships with Jesus, but in other aspects of life.  However, I have a hunch most of these issues are deeply rooted in our relationship with the Lord.

See, when it comes to Eating Disorders, people can tell me that I’m not fat.  People can tell me I look good, am beautiful, fill-in-the-blank ad nauseum.  And in my mind, I know this to be true.  Someone at my height and my weight can’t be fat.  But my heart doesn’t believe it.  My head knows that eating ___________ won’t make me puff up like a balloon overnight, but my heart is scared that the morning after eating that burger or piece of cake, my jeans won’t fit.

And then, I think through the nitty-gritty facts: how it takes a LOT of calories on top of what I already consume in order to gain one pound.  How that burger or piece of cake physically canNOT cause my jeans to not fit in the morning.  My head knows these things – I can spout off the figures like it’s nobody’s business.  But my heart…my heart just can’t quite grasp it.

So when our hearts can’t see things the way our head does…why does that happen?  Like I said a moment ago, I think there are roots in our relationship with Jesus.  Perhaps it’s not that there’s been a big catastrophe or crisis of faith, but maybe just a subtle lack of belief that the enemy has slid under the door.  Perhaps when our heart and our head don’t agree, what our heart really struggles with is believing that Jesus loves us as much as he says he does.

After all, why would he love me so much?  ED says I’m not good enough, attractive enough, smart enough, thin enough.  And if I’m not good enough, then why would Jesus love me?  But that’s where ED is wrong.  To be blunt, I’m not good enough…on my own.  I’m a sinner, an imperfect human, but Jesus came, and died for us because we’re NOT good enough by our own power.

Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  When we were still sinners – when we were not good enough…Christ died for us.  And even though we’re still human and still sinful, Christ has redeemed us and taken the punishment we should have received – because He loves us anyways.

Believing ED’s lies basically throws Jesus’ love for me right back in his face.

Ouch.

How apt and timely that my devotional this morning focused on this scripture:

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39

In the Bible, Jesus tells us of his love for us over and over.  May this reality be like a mighty river, washing away any roadblock between our heads and our hearts.  May it be enough for our hearts to believe.

Blessings,

 

Beth

 

Perfect Timing…

Well good evening!  Do you like the slight change to the design of the blog?  It was time for a little shake-up 🙂

Speaking of shake-ups…have you ever noticed that after you’ve dealt with something challenging and are starting to come out of it, something happens which tempts you to go back to the habits etc of the initial challenge?  It catches you off guard – you thought you were past this.  You were moving forward, right?  Things were going so well!  And you felt pretty great.

Oh what timing.

So what on earth am I talking about?  If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, you know that I’ve had some eating disorder struggles recently.  They’re often made worse by stress, and consequently, struggling to eat enough makes stress harder to manage.  It’s really a vicious cycle.

There are less than three weeks left in this semester.  This is SO exciting, yet quite scary – there’s much to be done in the next little chunk of time.  Homework and deadlines tend to hit all at once.  And then, other responsibilities arise.  And then I get tired.  And I want to write blog posts instead of doing homework (oops…) and I want to relax and go to bed and read books for fun.  But homework and responsibilities stare me in the face.

And the stress level begins to rise.

And my tummy doesn’t feel as hungry, and the food I eat doesn’t sit as well.  I feel nauseous or dizzy for a moment.  My shoulders tense up, and I know it’s time to go for a walk…and call my mom 🙂

Oh, and there’s the issue of “Hmmm, I ate very differently this weekend, and I feel kind of chunky right now.”  Or “My tummy is churning, and I just need to eat something gentle.”  Basically, ED tries to barge back in when my stress is high and my defenses are weak.

So I have to double my efforts.  And lean on my support system a little more.  But I also have to listen to my body.  My tummy says “Please be gentle, I’m still getting over my shock” and ED says “Yeah, eat something light…sheesh!”  So I choose to be gentle while still nourishing my body adequately.

And I put my foot down on Satan’s attempts to make everything more difficult.  He certainly knows that by the grace of God, I’ve been more successful with tuning out ED’s nasty voice.  So Satan grabs the megaphone and starts yelling.  When I’m most vulnerable in my stresses, Satan “…tempts me to despair, and tells me of the guilt within.”

BUT.  “Upward I look and see Him there, who made an end of all my sin.”

As soon as I call out to my Heavenly Father, he parts the heavens to come rescue me from my enemy (Psalm 18).  As Revelation 12:10 says, “…the accuser of our comrades has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God.”

Satan is powerful, but God is more powerful.

And here’s what I say to ED – to the enemy:

“Even though you intended to do harm to me, God intended it for good, in order to preserve a numerous people, as he is doing today.”

Genesis 50:20

I don’t know what God is doing, but this I know: He certainly does.

Thanks be to God.

Blessings,

Beth

P.S. More weekend shenanigans coming soon!