Quotable Quotes - Read 'em & Be Blessed

Dear Readers:

Yesterday, I passed the three-quarters mark on the written NANC exam and completed my second-to-last course with the Institute for Nouthetic Studies. Two weeks from today, I will be leaving for Albania and am trying to get as much done beforehand (on the preliminary stages of certification) as possible. Early next week, I will be doing a radio interview with "Iron Sharpens Iron" on my book....heard from the publisher and we are ready to start some early publicity....so watch this space!

All that to say, between work, study, writing, and helping my kids set up a lemonade stand this week I have not found time to write a proper blog post specific to eating disorders. However, I have come across several edifying and true quotations in the last 24 hours which I would like to share with you. Think upon these things as you continue to let God transform you by the power of His Word and the Holy Spirit.

On depression:
"Elijah was too hard a worker to become depressed, and those who attempt to excuse their depression on the basis that even a mighty man of God like him got depressed, are missing the point. It wasn’t depression, but disappointment that you see haunting this man. Things didn’t go as he had expected—as he had planned—and he didn’t like it.
That’s the problem with many of us as well. When God doesn’t do things our way, we quit, give up, or try to go our own way. To not be disappointed (when, for instance, the election of a candidate that we had not supported takes place) is the danger for many today. Let’s listen to the story of Elijah anew—and rejoice when God chooses to work in His own quiet manner, rather than in some spectacular way that we might have chosen. He’s still on the throne!"
- Jay Adams, quoted on his blog here

On shame:
"Any place in your life where you still feel shame is a place where you haven't connected the dots to your justification. If there is a place in your life where you still hide, don't want people to know you, are afraid of what others might think if they see you for what you are, what they would think if they really knew you...then that's a place where you have not yet rested in this truth: You are more sinful and flawed than you ever believed but more loved and welcomed then you dare hope."
-Elyse Fitzpatrick, on Facebook yesterday (Amen, sister!)

On the temptation to see our sin as "sickness":
"Unfortunately, when people believe that the nature of their problem is psychological, rather than spiritual, several things can happen: (1) in their attempt to resolve their difficulties, they bypass Christ and the Bible and look primarily (sometimes exclusively) to drugs or the ideas and concepts of secularistic psychology for solutions; (2) they begin to think of Christ as a cosmic psychologist whose primary purpose for coming was to fix their psychological problems, help build their self-esteem, deliver them from codependency, or meet their ego needs; (3) they lose hope and descend into despair because many of these psychological labels carry with them the idea of fixedness (this is what I am and it cannot be changed); or (4) they become discouraged because these unbiblical labels subtly or overtly encourage people to think that the primary solution to their difficulties is humanistic in nature. They must do it on their own (they can and must change themselves) or others, preferably experts, must do it for them.....On the other hand, hopefulness blossoms when people begin to realize that their problems are basically spiritual: they are somehow linked to sin. Indeed, acknowledging that personal and interpersonal problems are related to sin [one's own or another] is truly good news, because then there is plenty of hope. Why? Because the primary reason Christ came into the world was to deliver us from the penalty and ruling power of sin (and, eventually, from the presence and possibility of sin).

The clear Bible message is this: (1) Jesus is "the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29); (2) "[This] is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners" (1 Tim. 1:15); (3) "You shall call His name Jesus, for it is He who will save His people from their sins" (Matt. 1:21); and (4) He "gave Himself for us that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds" (Titus 2:14)."
- Wayne Mack, "Instilling Hope in the Counselee", Counseling: How to Counsel Biblically (with John Macarthur), p. 126-7. [] brackets mine.


Part II - Guest Post from Susan Lawrence's "Pure Emotion"

Thanks to those who participated in the give-away last week! I sent out three books yesterday, and have a couple more to give out, so it's not too late to enter. Just mention this blog on your own, link back, and send me your address (by e-mail). If you don't have a blogspot, Facebook is fine. :) As you work through the study, you might want to review it online or post about something in it which has inspired you (I'm sure Susan will appreciate the comments!)

Here is Part II of her excerpt:

The Emotional Experience

Part 2

When I was in high school, someone gave me a pin-on button that said “Moody, but cute.” I liked the cute part. But moody? I was a happy-go-lucky person. Or so I thought. When I started thinking about it, I had to admit…yep, I’m moody, too. In fact, I was more certain of my moodiness than my cuteness! I guess I didn’t notice my moodiness much because it was just the way I experienced life – different emotions for different moments. My emotions made sense to me. In fact, they helped me make sense of the world. Taking a step back, I decided I had a lot to learn because, to be quite honest, my emotions weren’t always appropriate. They often poked out all over the place, spearing the people around me.

I learned early that being emotional was “normal.” I don’t know if it was because I was raised in a family of girls (and I was the youngest), but emotions were expected and accepted. Well, perhaps not always accepted, but the variety of emotions didn’t seem to take anyone by surprise. If the emotion was negative, the offender was often ignored. I remember many pity parties the family refused to join in. Oh, not necessarily my own (although I had my fair share!).

And then there have been my aha emotional moments, particularly when my emotions haven’t matched someone else’s in a situation – whether the intensity or the emotion itself differed. One person was angry while I was joyful. I was frustrated when someone else was peaceful. The differences in and of themselves caused tension at times. Like when my family was on vacation in Florida…

I was around five years old and heard my parents talking about a toll bridge. Except I didn’t hear “toll bridge.” I heard “troll bridge” – and I was scared.

Being scared quickly escalated to petrified when my sisters – on either side of me in the backseat – began sharing troll stories. I was scared enough just thinking of the trolls in Three Billy Goats Gruff, and those were drawings. When my sisters started describing the menacing, vengeful trolls of their twisted imaginations, I couldn’t take it any longer. We had to cross the toll bridge, but I didn’t have to look. I crouched on the floorboard and tried to slide as far under the seat as possible.

The trolls didn’t get me, and my now apparent fear got my mom’s attention. She reprimanded my sisters, but it didn’t do much good. They’d seen the fear in my eyes, and they were going to carry this as far as they could.

Each night in the hotel, two of us would share a bed, Mom and Dad would get a bed, and the other girl slept on a rollaway bed. I loved the rollaway bed, so I looked forward to my nights. As we approached the hotel later in the toll bridge day, whichever sister had the rollaway assignment for the night asked if I wanted to trade nights. Of course, I did! At least something was going right in my day.

I should have known. My sister didn’t offer to exchange nights out of the goodness of her heart. It was a conspiracy to torment me. You see, the rollaway would be placed in the open space by the balcony overlooking the ocean. A beautiful view – until my sisters started sharing stories of how the trolls trudged out of the ocean every evening looking for little girls to eat and how trolls ate the first girl they saw, which would obviously be the one closest to the ocean. I think they also told me something twisted like the only way the troll wouldn’t get me is if I was really still and didn’t say anything about being scared. A slick way to get me not to tell Mom and Dad I was terrified!

I remember what that room looked like in the light and in the dark, what the crashing waves sounded like, and what my sisters’ occasional muffled giggles sounded like. I didn’t know if I would survive the night, but of course, I did. I don’t know if Mom or Dad put a stop to the torment or not, but I don’t remember any more nights of terror. The next day wasn’t as scary in the daylight, and I enjoyed beach time.

A half dozen years later, I opened a gift from my sisters. It was an ugly troll. Very funny. What did I learn about emotions? First, they can be stirred up even when imagination doesn’t match reality. Second, my emotions don’t always match someone else’s in the same situation. Third, our emotional responses can make us vulnerable.

What about you? What’s one experience you recall that taught you something about emotions?

I’m going to assume we have something in common. Do you, like me, want God to work through you? I so often cry out with that desire. But I have to constantly remind myself that in order for God to work through me, I have to be willing to allow him to work in me. He’s changing me from the inside out. And it’s not easy for me to allow him to change me.

Which do you typically choose – the hard or the easy? I want to assure you that right doesn’t always mean easy. I’m not suggesting you choose the hard way just to take the hard way. You need to seek and choose God’s way, but if you assume God’s way is going to be easy, you’re in for a surprise. I have good news for you, though. God can ordain the hard of life, too. I encourage you not to assume that you can discern based on your personal experiences of difficulty, struggle, peace or ease.

We often ask ourselves and others “What do I feel?”

I’ve asked this question many times, and while I don’t think the question in and of itself is bad – I’ve learned a lot about myself and others by answering it. We can get caught up in the emotion itself without moving beyond the emotion. The emotion becomes the end result instead of a hint of what’s going on or what should happen next. So, let’s go one step forward and regularly ask ourselves another question:

“Where am I and where am I headed? Is it where God wants me to go?”

Sometimes, you might feel paralyzed, as if you have no idea where you’re headed or if it’s where God wants you to go. Revisit the emotion and measure it against who you know God to be. Rest on the truth of his words and his character. Let that determine if the direction that emotion usually leads you (or perhaps the place it causes you to camp) is a direction or place God would want you to go.

As you consider “Where am I and where am I headed? Is it where God wants me to go?”, I encourage you to read Psalm 139. Here’s a sample of verses:

“You know when I sit down and when I get up. You know my thoughts before I think them. Where can I go to get away from your Spirit? Where can I run from you? If I rise with the sun in the east and settle in the west beyond the sea, even there you would guide me. With your right hand you would hold me. I could say, ‘The darkness will hide me. Let the light around me turn into night.’ But even the darkness is not dark to you. The night is as light as the day; darkness and light are the same to you.” (verses 2,7,9-12)

So…what will you put your whole heart into today for God?

Today’s blog is adapted from the Pure Emotion women’s Bible study.

Susan Lawrence is passionate about equipping and encouraging women through writing and speaking. She’s the author of two Bible studies, Pure Purpose and Pure Emotion. She loves dark chocolate and long walks, especially when her toes are in sand! Check out Susan’s words of encouragement and send her a note at http://www.purepurposebook.wordpress.com./. You can also connect on at www.facebook.com/PurePurpose or www.twitter/susanhlawrence.


Free Giveaway: "Pure Purpose" Bible Studies by Susan Lawrence

Author and speaker Susan H. Lawrence is a gifted writer of women's Bible studies, two of which are entitled "Pure Purpose" and "Pure Emotion". She has graciously sent me several copies of each, and I would like to make them available to YOU - free of charge - for your own spiritual growth and edification.

You're probably wondering, "Why would Marie do this, and what does this have to do with overcoming an eating disorder?"

Well, I'll tell you why. Are you serious about growing in your relationship with God? You need to dig into His Word - daily. Struggling with life-dominating sin is a symptom of lack of intimacy and joy in your Father. He helps you by re-igniting the flame, but you must do your part as well in seeking Him daily. As I have always said on this blog, in counseling, and in my own book, If you are serious about change, you must spend time with God. Scripture is the only way in which He speaks and reveals Himself directly to us. There are a number of good resources available which you could use to assist you in gleaning truth from God's Word (some of which I've reviewed on this blog), so when one comes around that speaks so specifically to women as Susan's does, I'm all too happy to recommend it.

This isn't about the food. In fact, addictions are hardly about the drug of choice. They are means of escaping pain - behaviors that have evolved from unbiblical responses to life's problems. Re-connecting with God through deliberately disciplining yourself to meet with Him daily (and be spiritually fed by Him) is the only way to experience true, lasting joy and contentment. How you approach your time in the Word is up to you. What matters is that you DO approach it!

"Pure Purpose" is a 10-week study Susan has written which covers aspects of our reason for existence (to love, serve, honor and glorify God). Having a high view of God and His exhortation to service, compassion, humility, obedience, and discipline helps the reader shift her focus from herself (inward) to God and others (outward). The study gives "feet" to one's faith: moving beyond theology, how do we "walk out" these virtues we are told to "put on" (Eph. 4:24)?

"Pure Emotion" is also a 10-week workbook which deals with the emotional pitfalls we women are particularly prone to, and how to re-direct our emotions biblically. Susan covers sinful emotions such as fear, jealousy, anger, anxiety and frustration; juxtaposing the unbiblical response to the obedient one. She also discusses peace, joy, and how to be emotionally "pure" - in other words, how to sanctify our emotions. The ultimate goal? Being transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2) so that we more closely resemble the character of Christ (2 Cor. 3:18).

Below is Part 1 of 2 excerpts from "Pure Emotion". To win a copy of either study (a $24.00 value!), here's what you do:

1.) Mention "Redeemed from the Pit" in a blog post.
2.) Link to my blog.
3.) Leave me a comment here telling me when you've done so (and which study you'd like).

That's it! The first four people to do so will receive a free, $24.00 Bible study to help their walk with the Lord. (For more information about Susan and a link to her ministry site, scroll down.)


The Emotional Experience

Part 1

In preparation for writing the Pure Emotion Bible study for women, I asked hundreds of women about factors that affect emotions. Women were asked if factors such as finances, uncertainty, weather, music and more had positive effects, negative effects or no effect at all. Not a single of the factors listed was identified by a single woman as having no effect.

We’re emotional beings. The people and situations surrounding us impact our emotional responses. We’re drawn to some situations because we experience them as positive, and we avoid negative experiences. It’s like cleaning your closet. Keep what you like and what feels good. Get rid of the things you’re tired of or don’t fit well.

What about those negative emotions do we want to toss away? Why do we see them as negative, and should we always avoid them?

First, the messages we’ve paired with some emotions are devastating to us. Consider the messages you’ve stored about fear. Jealousy. Anger. Anxiety. Guilt. Whether or not the messages we attach to emotional experiences are true, they wash over us as we experience similar emotional experiences. What voice interrupts you in the midst of your emotions?

• When you’re rejected by a close family member, do you feel worthless?
• When you’re anxious about a test result, do you feel incapable of proceeding?
• When you’re fearful, do you feel victimized?

Not all messages that accompany our emotions are inaccurate. God can speak to us in all times, and God is an emotional God. Emotions saturate Scripture. God is an emotional God but not in the same way we talk about an emotional woman or emotional person. However, he’s certainly aware of our runaway emotions. We can’t escape from God’s presence. And if we let him, God will replace the untruthful emotional messages with truthful messages reflecting his character, will, and commands.

Another reason we experience emotions negatively is we can feel victimized by our emotions. Emotions can make us feel as if we’re on a board game. Perhaps you know some of the rules.

1. Your move is dependent on others’ moves. (Your emotions are responses to others.)
2. Only one person can occupy a space at one time. (Your emotions prohibit you from some experiences.)
3. You’ll incur penalties for landing on certain spaces. (Some of your emotions will only end in trouble.)
4. Where you land is determined by the roll of a die. (You don’t have control over your emotions.)
5. You might need to go back several spaces. (Your emotions can get you stuck.)

We also use emotions to mask other emotions. And we try to replace negative with positive emotions, but the truth is – negative emotions can be energizing. We might not like them. We might complain about them. But we’d rather feel something than nothing. Negative emotions are often more intense than positive emotions. We’re energized and consumed by them…and less willing to give them up.

We want something to change, but we’re not willing to be changed.
Romans 12:2 says, “Do not be shaped by this world; instead be changed within by a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to decide what God wants for you; you will know what is good and pleasing to him and what is perfect.”

I want God to work through me, but I have to constantly remind myself that in order for God to work through me, I have to be willing to allow him to work in me. He’s changing me from the inside out. And it’s not easy for me to allow him to change me.

God didn’t mess up his design of you. He’s not capable of messing up. He created you in his image. He has a plan for your life. He even knew what mistakes you’d make throughout your life, and he still loves you and wants nothing more than to be in an ever-deepening relationship with you. He will pursue you, tapping you on the shoulder, whispering in your ear, and knocking on the door of your heart so that your daily life – including your decisions, attitudes, and yes, emotions – are impacted in the purity of who he created you to be and the everyday messiness of living on earth as you move ever closer to eternity – with God or without him.

If our emotions aren’t reflecting the character of God, we’re probably distorting something and need to get back on track. Our anger doesn’t reflect his anger. Our jealousy doesn’t reflect his jealousy. Our guilt doesn’t reflect his guilt. But we can grow closer to God, getting to know him better, and committing to reflecting him more and more on a daily basis. That’s what the journey of Pure Emotion – the emotional experience – is all about.

Susan Lawrence is passionate about equipping and encouraging women through writing and speaking. She’s the author of two Bible studies, Pure Purpose and Pure Emotion. She loves dark chocolate and long walks, especially when her toes are in sand! Check out Susan’s words of encouragement and send her a note at http://www.purepurposebook.wordpress.com./. You can also connect on at www.facebook.com/PurePurpose or www.twitter/susanhlawrence.


Testimony from a Soul Set Free by Christ

Dear readers: following is the story of a young woman who was granted repentance from her eating disorder. After putting her faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, she was able - in His strength - to walk away from the deadly snare of bulimia. She was just baptized this past Sunday. To God be the glory! Visit her blog at: http://sweetlybrokenblog.blogspot.com/

On November 15, 2007 I found myself alone in my room contemplating the unimaginable. After a 12-year battle with bulimia and anorexia, I was left defeated and hopeless. I was done living my life prisoner to an eating disorder and wanted to end it all. As I held a bottle of pills in my hand, I thought for sure this was the answer to my pain. I would just go into nothingness, I thought. I didn't believe in God at that time. After all, if there was a God why would He let me suffer so much?

Any time I denied God I would recall my "Divine Intervention." My eating disorder started when I was 16. At 24, I decided I needed help. Still living at home with my parents, they never knew about my problem and I knew I needed to tell them. I sat on the couch with my confession on the tip of my tongue, but the words wouldn't come. I tried several nights in a row. I had lost my voice.

Finally, after another failed attempt, I went down to my room, fell on my knees and cried out to God. "God, I need your help! I can't tell them on my own. You've seen my try. Please show them. I'll even leave a book out on eating disorders for them to find."

I never did get that book out of my closet, but God heard me.

The next day my mom confronted me. She asked me if I had an eating disorder. Shocked, I told her I did and asked how she knew.

My mom was doing laundry when she heard a crash in my room. She went in to see what it was and found that the rod in my closet had collapsed. She decided to fix it and started pulling clothes, shoes, and books out of my closet. She found the book, the very one I told God I'd leave out!

God answered my prayer with no help from me.

I did get into therapy, but it didn't help. Each year I grew sicker and farther away from God.

But, despite my resistance to God, I believe he had his hand on my all along. I see this in some of the dangerous things I did, like abusing my thyroid meds to lose weight. I did it for so long I ended up with an irregular heartbeat. Doctors told me I was a heart attack waiting to happen. This still didn't stop me.

I imagine God holding my heart in the palm of his hand during those difficult times. He wouldn't let me go.

So, on that day I held the bottle of pills and considered ending my life, those memories made me wonder about God.

I thought of my friend Michelle, who years earlier told me with confidence that if she died right then she'd go to heaven. I knew Jesus had changed her life. I saw it. I wondered how and why?

A spark of divine curiosity entered my soul. A wonder to know God and a desire to seek Him.

I put down the pills, told my husband, and ended up spending 4 months in different hospitals and programs. During that time I chased after God, in all the wrong places at first-like Buddhism and (the Oprah-endorsed) "The Secret." Although those things made me feel a little better, they didn't change me. I could never get a handle on the eating disorder.

So one day in March 2008, while watching a movie on Buddha, my thoughts kept going to Jesus. I remember thinking "OK God, I want to change completely. I'm done living my life like this. I'll give this Jesus guy a try." I was truly genuine when I said it and an indescribable, perfect peace washed over me. I was also filled with a huge desire to know Jesus and I read the Bible (and understood it for the first time!) and read anything Christian I could find.

God needed me to surrender 100% to Him. I believe that is why I needed to be so badly broken. I couldn't have been freed from my eating disorder without Christ. I know this because I tried everything-therapy, meds, groups, programs, hospitals. But the moment I accepted Christ my life did a 180. I had freedom.

What my life is like today.

It's hard for me to even recognize the person I just told you about. My life is so different today! I once abused food as a way to cope with the world, now I use God to help me cope! I love learning about Christ and being in God's word. I cherish being among a body believers at CCC. God has blessed me with this church! God has also blessed me with my wonderful husband and a happy 9 mo old baby boy!

I just want to thank God for saving me! There is no place too deep or too dark that God can't reach! Thank you to everyone at Tues night bible study for helping me to continue to grow. Thanks to my husband for sticking by me; my parents and family/friends for always listening. Thanks to my in-law for being godly examples. And thank you Michelle, for boldly sharing the gospel with me.

*read at my baptism on 7.10.2011