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Posts tagged ‘eating disorder’

Seeing Me As God Sees Me

SOURCE:  Living Free/Martha Homme, MA, LPC

“Your life is safe in the care of the LORD your God, secure in his treasure pouch!” 1 Samuel 25:29 NLT

What makes you feel good about yourself?

We too often seek self-worth in the wrong places.

Thinness, performance and control do not equal significance and wholeness. We are important because God designed and created us. …Because he loved us so much that he sent his only Son, Jesus, to die on the cross so that our sins could be forgiven and we could live with him forever. We are his treasure and he wants to protect us, to keep us “secure in his treasure pouch.” When we don’t recognize that God loves us unconditionally, we set ourselves up for rejection, shame, guilt, hopelessness and powerlessness.

An eating disorder like anorexia or bulimia can be brought about by a person’s attempt to feel better about herself. This problem affects as many as eleven million women and men in the United States alone. Although sufferers are mostly girls and women, an increasing number of boys and men are affected as well.

If you are struggling with an eating disorder, it is vital that you seek medical help, as well as counseling from a professional. And remember that you are special because God created you and loves you unconditionally. In his eyes you are significant; you are his treasure. Through Jesus you can find safety, security and a sense of belonging.

The Bible promises that nothing can separate you from God’s love (Romans 8:38-39). Turn to him today. Thank him for loving you. Thank him for making you a special person. And ask him to help you overcome your eating disorder. You can do all things with his help.

Father, it is so difficult for me to see myself as an attractive, cared for, valuable person. Help me begin to understand how special I am to you. Help me to see myself through your eyes. In Jesus’ name …. . .

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These thoughts were drawn from …

Seeing Yourself in God’s Image: Overcoming Anorexia and Bulimia by Martha Homme, MA, LPC

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Family Dysfunction: The “Rigid” Family

SOURCE:  Adapted from an article by Living Free

“So he got up and went to his father. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.Luke 15:20 NIV (Prodigal son returning)

“Then his father Isaac said to him, ‘Come here, my son, and kiss me.’ So he went to him and kissed him.” Genesis 27:26-27 NIV (Isaac and Jacob)

“So Moses went out to meet his father-in-law and bowed down and kissed him.” Exodus 18:7 NIV

“Jacob was half blind because of his age and could hardly see. So Joseph brought the boys close to him, and Jacob kissed and embraced them.” Genesis 48:10 NLT (a grandfather’s kiss)

[There are] five types of dysfunctional families (described in The Thin Disguise by Pam Vredevelt) that can lead to the development of eating disorders. Perhaps you or someone you know has a loved one struggling with an eating disorder. Or perhaps you will identify some potentially harmful characteristic that needs to be addressed in your family.

Healthy families are warm and affectionate. Rules, as well as people, are flexible. In dysfunctional “Rigid Families” flexibility is a nonexistent concept, and affection is seldom expressed. The father especially tends to be obsessive about the standards in the family. There is no warmth, no emotion. Each family member should be able to take care of himself or herself. This emotional neglect leads the child to believe that emotions and longings are wrong.

We serve a loving God who demonstrates his love for us in so many tangible ways. And so he wants us to show love through our words and actions. This is especially important in our family relationships. Our children need physical demonstrations and verbal expressions of our love. Nurturing—hugging, kissing or saying “I love you”—is so important.

[The above] Scriptures are examples of family members showing their love for one another with embraces and kisses. Appropriate, healthy demonstrations of our love for each other can mean so much in our relationships and in the emotional and spiritual development of our children.

Father, I thank you so much for my children. Thank you for demonstrating your fatherly love to me in so many ways. Help me to be warm and affectionate with my children. Help them to develop emotionally and spiritually in a way that is pleasing to you. In Jesus’ name …

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These thoughts were drawn from …

Seeing Yourself in God’s Image: Overcoming Anorexia and Bulimia by Martha Homme, MA, LPC. 

Family Dysfunction: The “Upside Down” Family

SOURCE: Adapted from an article by Living Free

“After all, children don’t provide for their parents. Rather, parents provide for their children.” 2 Corinthians 12:14 NLT

Millions of people in the United States, and an increasing number in non-Western countries, struggle with eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia. The majority of these people are girls in the teens or twenties, but children as young as six and individuals as old as 76 have been reported with eating disorders. Also, although this is often looked at as a female problem, researchers at Harvard University Medical School have new data that suggests that up to 25% of adults with eating disorders are male.  www.anred.com/stats.html 4/9/2008

Certain dysfunctional behavioral patterns often characterize the families of young people with eating disorders. [There are] five types of dysfunctional families (described in The Thin Disguise by Pam Vredevelt) that tend to foster these disorders. Perhaps you or someone you know has a loved one struggling with an eating disorder. Or perhaps you will identify some area of family relationships that you need to address in your family.

The first family [type] is “The Upside Down Family.”

In this family, the child meets the emotional needs of the parents—primarily the mother—rather than the other way around. (Physical and financial needs may be adequately met in these families, but both parents often severely neglect emotional needs.) Often the father’s love must be earned by the child’s behavior. This situation teaches children that their own needs are not nearly as important as those of their parents. As these children learn to suppress and deny their needs, they eventually become so out of touch with their own needs that by the time they reach adolescence, they are no longer aware of what their needs are. At this point, their unmet needs are so tremendous that they begin to fall apart and demand that someone give them attention. The onset of an eating disorder often takes place at this time.

[The above] scripture is specifically addressing financial needs, but biblical teaching makes it clear that God has given parents the responsibility to provide for their children physically, financially, emotionally and spiritually. Our Heavenly Father is our ultimate example of a caring and nurturing parent.

Father, please show me if I am failing to meet my child’s needs in any way. Help me to be the kind of parent you want me to be. Help me to walk in obedience to your Word and to be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ name …


These thoughts were drawn from …

Seeing Yourself in God’s Image: Overcoming Anorexia and Bulimia by Martha Homme, MA, LPC. 

Bulimia: The New Normal

SOURCE: Ed Welch/CCEF

Bulimia is the new normal.

The thin and wealthy specialize in it, but you can be sure that it is a cornerstone of any culture in which the preferred body type is thinner than is actually possible on a normal diet.  You’ll find it in any culture that is obsessed with looking younger or where everyone is looking for that elusive weight-loss secret.

True story: parents protested when a youth group leader began talking about eating disorders. Why? They were concerned that their daughters would gain weight.

It begins with a desire to be thinner. Once purging is discovered, young women talk about it as if it were their best friend, or their narcotic addiction. “The feeling I got afterward was amazing!” Then they discover other benefits, most notably a sense that they can, finally, be in control of something. And don’t you dare stand between them and the object of their affection!

Two questions to those who practice it.

First, if you have any interest in God, does the secretive essence of this behavior concern you? Secrets separate relationships. They separate friends and spouses, and become a private place in which you hide from God.

Second, has it improved your life? The answer to that is easy: no. But you say: “So what? It works for me.” Perhaps you feel as though nothing will improve your life so you might as well be thin while you go through the drudgery and misery.

Consider this from another angle.

If you are a near-daily practitioner of purging, you are saying much more than “I want to be thin.” The word control is almost always a part of bulimic vocabulary. You have been controlled or dependent on the whims of people who treated you poorly, and you are sick of it. You live with incessant self-loathing and suicidal hopelessness and bulimia gives you some sense of control over this darkness. Its benefits, however, are ephemeral and fleeting.

Human beings were intended to turn to their Maker and Father when life is hard. Left to our own devices, life just gets more out-of-control. Think of yourself as a child. It is right and good for a child to run to a parent when life is overwhelming. God knows your secrets. He knows what you need.

If this sounds too familiar and you don’t know how to even begin leaving it behind, go to the psalms and borrow some of those words. God will surprise you. He is not like those who have hurt, criticized or rejected you. To the contrary, you are the one who has shunned him, yet he keeps knocking on the door and pursuing you (Rev. 3:20).

Designed by God

Source:  Living Free (12/2/06)

In the United States, an estimated six to eleven million people struggle with eating disorders. Distorted body image and denial of actual body size can trigger eating disordered behavior. Most people falling into the trap of eating disorders like bulimia and anorexia are preoccupied with food and with their body image.

People with this preoccupation usually let their body define who they are. They exaggerate the importance of slimness and are terrified of gaining weight. They are dissatisfied with their body to the point that their day-to-day state of well-being is affected.

Does this describe you or someone you love? I encourage you to ask God to help you see yourself through His eyes. He loves you unconditionally. He created you in His image. In fact, the Bible tells us that God formed our inmost being in our mother’s womb with His plan already in place for our lives. He made you special and unique, equipped with the gifts you need to accomplish His purpose for your journey.

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:27  (NIV)

When you look in the mirror, remember that you are viewing someone very special, designed by God. Your self-worth does not depend on how much you weigh or even on what you accomplish. You are special because God created you and because He loves you. I encourage you to open your heart up to His love today.

All Shapes and Sizes

People struggling with eating disorders become preoccupied with food and their body image. They become overly concerned about how others see and react to their body size. They tend to feel extremely guilty after eating and think a lot about dieting. Sometimes they even have fears about never being able to stop eating.

If you or someone you care about is experiencing this kind of fear and guilt, here are a few thoughts. Try to accept the fact that bodies come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Remember that we can be our own worst critics and that others really find us attractive. Cut yourself some slack! Allow for normal variations in your weight and shape.

Let yourself enjoy the functions of your body parts, not just how they look. Be thankful that you can use your legs to walk and run, and your arms and hands to do thousands of wonderful things.

Be willing to recognize your strengths in terms of your appearance–the parts of your body that you like–and your personal qualities like caring, enthusiasm, and honesty.

God created you … He loves you … And that makes you very special indeed.

But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. Romans 5:8  (NLT)

Choose Your Focus

People with eating disorders tend to get so preoccupied with their body image that they develop a distorted view of themselves. Their concerns about food, diet, body and weight can even begin to affect their relationships and their ability to function in day-to-day life.

If you are in this situation, I encourage you not to let your obsession with your body keep you from closeness with God and with others. Decide how you wish to spend your energy–pursuing the “perfect” image? … Or focusing on your spiritual growth and your personal and interpersonal needs.

Society changes its view of what is beautiful–styles come and go. But God’s view of beauty never changes. Identifying and challenging your negative thoughts and feelings about your body and keeping God’s view in mind are essential to accepting yourself and your body.

Dear friends, God is good. So I beg you to offer your bodies to him as a living sacrifice, pure and pleasing. That’s the most sensible way to serve God. Don’t be like the people of this world, but let God change the way you think. Then you will know how to do everything that is good and pleasing to him. Romans 12:1-2 (CEV)

Always remember … your value as a person is not based on how you look or what you accomplish. Your value is based on the unchangeable fact that God loves you so much that He gave His son Jesus to die on the cross for you. Reach out to Him today. Receive His love and forgiveness. And thank Him for making you just the way you are.

Focus on the Internal, Not the External

People with eating disorders tend to become very self-focused and overly concerned with being acceptable to other people.

Acceptance of your body is a daily process of perspective. One day you may feel fat and unattractive, and the next day you may feel slim and pretty–even though your body has not essentially changed. Ask God to help you see your body from His perspective and to accept yourself as His special creation.

It is important to take your focus off your external body and begin to explore your internal self–emotionally, spiritually and as a growing human being. Remember that attractiveness comes from within. Feeling positive about yourself will affect how others view you.

Spend time reading the Bible. Ask God to help you begin to comprehend just how much He loves you and how special you are to Him. Remember that He knew you even when your body was being formed within your mother’s womb. He has a special plan for your life and it is a good plan. Thank Him for loving you. Thank Him for making you just the way you are. And open your heart to his unconditional love.

You are the one who put me together inside my mother’s body, and I praise you because of the wonderful way you created me. Everything you do is marvelous! Of this I have no doubt. Psalm 139:13-14  (CEV)

Seeing Through God’s Eyes

Preoccupation with our body image is counter to God’s will for our lives. If you find yourself in this struggle, I urge you to ask God for help. Ask Him to help you see yourself as He does–as His treasure. His precious child. He loves you unconditionally. He love you so much that He gave His Son Jesus to provide a way for you to be forgiven and live with Him in heaven forever.

Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price.  So you must honor God with your body.  1 Corinthians 6:19-20

God loves you just the way you are. No matter what you have or haven’t done, no matter how you look. He wants you to know how special you are to Him. He has a good plan for your life.

Take time right now to talk to Him. Tell Him how you feel. Ask Him to help you. Accept His forgiveness for all past sin and commit to follow Him, to do things His way. He won’t turn you away. Actually, He’s waiting for you with open arms.

Your problems probably won’t instantly disappear. But Jesus will be holding your hand and guiding you to health and healing, to right choices, and to becoming all He has designed you to be.

Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track.  Don’t assume that you know it all. Run to God!  Run from evil! Your body will glow with health, your very bones will vibrate with life!  Proverbs 3:5-8  (MSG)

WHAT’S YOUR BODY IMAGE?

Source:  Adapted from Lighthouse Network

Transformational Thought

We need God. We won’t enjoy life, be fulfilled in life, or attain our God-given potential without closeness to Him. God desires it as well. Unfortunately, so many factors and forces keep us from this closeness to God. Eating disorders are one of those forces. 30-35% of our society struggle with significant eating issues that disrupt their lives.

“Eating Disorder” basically means unhealthy habits of restricting nutritional intake, overeating (yes, this is a large part of our American society), or being obsessed with or spending too much time focusing on or actually worshipping elements, rituals, or the results of eating.  It really becomes an addiction. People tend to get so preoccupied with body image, and what others think, that they develop a distorted view of themselves. Their concerns, or lack of concerns, about food, diet, body, and weight even begin to affect their health, relationships, and their ability to function in day-to-day life.

Like almost everything in life, God gave us food to use in moderation. Too much isn’t good, but not enough isn’t good either. Our body is a temple for the Holy Spirit to reside in and God wants us to be good stewards of our body and health. But more importantly, we need to look at the psychological and spiritual aspects of our eating habits.  If you are in this situation, determine not to let your focus on your body or food keep you from closeness with God and with others.  Decide how you wish to spend your energy: pursuing the “perfect” image, or focusing on your spiritual growth and your personal and interpersonal needs.

The outside, what man sees, or the inside, what God sees.  Society changes its view of what is beautiful…styles come and go.  But God’s view of beauty never changes. Identifying and challenging your distorted thoughts and feelings about your body and food, and keeping God’s view in mind are essential to accepting yourself and your body. We all have feelings of inadequacy and insecurity. Don’t let food or your body image be your soothing mechanism. Let God and His grace and love bring you the peace you really are hungry for and crave. He is one buffet where you may eat all you can without consequences!

Today, as you approach food and eat meals, examine the importance you put on these elements. What do you get out of it?  Are food and your eating habits a coping mechanism for you?  Are you getting healthier, or are you harming your health?  Remember, your value as a person is not based on how you look or what you do.  Your value is based on the unchangeable fact that God loves you so much that He gave His son, Jesus, to die on the cross for you.  Eating issues are about believing lies.  Seek the truth.  Your decision, choose well.

Prayer

Dear Father God, I’ve been pretty confused lately.  I’ve been so concerned about food or used it to comfort me that I’ve ignored You…and relationships with others I care about have suffered.  Please help me begin thinking more clearly…to see things from Your point of view.  Thank You for loving me just the way I am.  I pray this in the name of the One who loves me as I am, Jesus Christ – AMEN!

The Truth

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God-this is your spiritual act of worship.  Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is-his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Romans 12:1-2

But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him.  For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.”

1 Samuel 16:7

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