Eating Disorders

Eating disorders, which can be identified by either an insufficient or an excessive food intake, are experienced by nearly 5 percent of people worldwide. Research shows that more than 90 percent of those who have eating disorders are between the ages of 15-25. Anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating are the three common eating disorders.

Anorexia is characterized by a fear of becoming overweight. An anorexic person, who is at an average body weight for her height, feels compelled to become thinner in order to feel good about herself. She is intensely driven towards her weight goal, which is manifested in food refusal. To her it is not only about the body image but also about control. Statistics show anorexia often plagues people who have had a history of circumstances being out of control. Interestingly, this condition reveals wonderful strengths when it is properly directed. To be able to set a goal and stay on task to achieve that goal shows great leadership quality. But until these leadership qualities are rewired in spiritually and emotionally healthy directions, these positive character traits will cause negative mental and physical breakdown. 

Bulimia can be characterized by an exaggerated fear of becoming overweight. It differs from Anorexia in that the sufferer lacks self control. The Anorexic takes total control, while the Bulimic loses control and then tries to regain it by vomiting–this is the binging and purging cycle. Statistics show that people who struggle with bulimia have a history of stress and addictive behavioral patterns. Another issue is the double-life it takes on. The bulimic displays themself as healthy to the watching world–yet secretly resorts to an unhealthy habit. Bulimics need help in bringing about a life of balance.

The anorexic and the bulimic typically come from similar backgrounds. They differentiate in that one takes extreme control (which is unhealthy) and the other finds themself out of control. 

Anorexia and Bulimia, although seemingly about appearance, are cries for deeper transformation of the mind and emotions. Join us in exploring difficult emotions that propel eating disorders Faith-Based-Emotional-Sobriety

Anger

Anger is defined as emotional excitement induced by intense displeasure. It is an inflammation in the spirit of a person, and if not curtailed, it can become destructive.

People who struggle with anger finds themselves snapping at slight infractions. When they evaluate the infraction after their temper has settled, they will note that their response was much greater than the infraction necessitated. And although it causes regret, the anger continues to rise when an offense presents itself. 

A person who struggles with anger will notice that the people who are closest to them walk on egg shells. No one knows when they’ll blow or what might be the catalyst–so they are constantly handled with kid gloves.

Unfortunately, anger’s effects are far reaching. If children are the objects of anger, they often suffer silently. Their inward brewing eventually manifests itself in harmful ways as they become adults. If a husband is the object of anger, his manhood is whittled down, and he sometimes escapes through means of secrecy and separation in order to assert his masculinity. Yet around the angry wife, he will continue to exhibit a sense of failure and inability to lead. If a wife is the object of anger she will wither and take on unnecessary blame.

Much of anger’s hold is a matter of pattern. A history of handling offenses in a rash or harsh manner has become an ongoing habit. Therefore, to manage anger will mean making changes in pattern, but this will not be enough to taper its detrimental effects. 

A change of temperament is necessary to combat this damaging emotion that seems to take on a life of its own. However, this can only be done through transformation in the mind. 

God specializes in transforming the mind. A person is not bound by old habits or even old natures. Join us in understanding anger and discovering how we can become even-tempered and gracious people. Faith-Based-Emotional-Sobriety

Mid-Life-Crisis

For women over the age of fifty, sometimes catching the vision for meaning in life does not come easily because we feel drained from transition. All of a sudden we have found ourselves face to face with things like empty nest, divorce, midlife, change or loss of career, aging beauty, death of friends. etc. Projecting possibilities of hope during this time can be difficult if these things catch us by surprise. To top it all off, many times we are not even sure who we are at this stage of life, and an identity crisis sets in. We become discouraged instead of delighted. In fact, we can even feel immobilized by it. So there it sits—the exceptional blooming season of our life—unopened like a large gift package in the corner, and we are perplexed at what to do with it.

We need to know that this time of life does not catch God by surprise. He has foreseen this season and already has it in mind. Psalms 139:13-16 reminds us of this.

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

Notice the scripture says that all of our days were written long ago—before even one of them came to be—and God already has seen them. We might have thought the prime of our lives was a time now past, like our youth. But God sees our prime as something entirely different. He is interested in the whole picture—the all of our lives. The second half of our lives yields new opportunities that were not available in the first half. In other words, we see our days in terms of what we perceive as our prime, but God sees our days as being unlimited; he sees that we are free to venture beyond our perceived limitations. Read more

“One of the best books I’ve read to date that focuses on the unique challenges of older women in the body of Christ. Her clear understanding of God’s role for us and her beautiful writing voice make this a book I’ll read many times.” -Kate F Eatom

Suicidal Thoughts

Suicide is the act of taking one’s own life voluntarily and intentionally. Suicidal thoughts are intense feelings that affect the emotions and produce thoughts of inability to continue on in life. Suicidal contemplations are the practical considerations of method to carry out the actual act taking one’s life. 

Statistics show that suicide is the eleventh leading cause of death in the United States. Suicide attempts that end in hospitalization are three times higher. Such a large number is proof that “thoughts and contemplations” are of epic proportions. 

Most commonly, those who are thinking about suicide exhibit telling signs. It has been debated whether these signs are a cry for attention or an actual warning. Regardless of the motive it can be agreed that all cries are cries to be rescued. 

Those who feign signs of suicidal tendencies for attention are certainly in need of help. These people do entertain thoughts of suicide, but not to a serious level. Their need to be rescued originates in a compulsive inner craving for attention. It is a different kind of struggle, and its roots can be traced back to deep feelings of inadequacy. The following description does not apply to this type of struggle. 

If you are a person who is genuinely struggling with suicidal thoughts, please know the simple fact that you are reading this is a positive sign. It shows a desire to be rescued from this desperate place in the heart that no one wants to be. 

The person in this position is overwhelmed with a sense that nothing matters any more. They are certain their family would be better off without them. They feels like an emotional burden. Often, they are weighed down even further by feelings of guilt for not being able to pull themself out of this mire. These guilt feelings can make them even more determined to end it all. For this person, everything has lost its value, so there is no motivation or effective tool of recovery except for one thing, and that is the possibility of being rescued. 

Here is the great delivering hope! God can rescue the suicidal person out of this debilitating condition. He alone can give ability where there is no ability. In Psalm 18 we see a glimpse of this heart of inability that is rescued by God’s divine ability. 

“The sorrows of death compassed me…” says the Psalmist in verse 4. But then he tells of his rescue: ” He brought me forth also into a large place; he delivered me, because he delighted in me.” 

Look at the power in which this rescue was accomplished: “In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried unto my God: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears. Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations also of the hills moved …”(Psalms 18:4-19).

If you are feeling suicidal, you are not alone.

*If you or someone you love is struggling with suicidal thoughts right now, please call this hotline to let someone know about your pain: 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433). 

Stuck In Brokenheartedness

Struggling with a broken heart over a failed relationship is one of the hardest challenges a person can face. The wound may feel like physical pain, as though your heart physically aches–no wonder it’s described as being “heartsick.” 

One of the primary fears that plagues a brokenhearted person is that they will never find this kind of love again. This pain often motivates propels them to desperately hold on.

Also there is denial. In this scenario the brokenhearted person cannot bear to accept the relationship is over, even if little to no interest is shown on the other side. 

A heartsick person will keep a dead or dying relationship alive by re-living the sweet moments and repeating proclamations of “initial” mutual feelings over and over in their mind. If there was intimacy involved there is an even deeper attachment.

The thought of their ex-partner sharing similar experiences with another increases efforts to win back affections. It can cause the brokenhearted person to compromise standards, even acting obsessively. “It’s because I love them,” they exclaim, justifying the behavior as an act of true love. They feel desperately stuck, holding out hope of reconciliation.

If you are reading this while currently in a season of heartbreak, you probably can relate to some of the anguish described. You must know that you are not alone. This is a very real heartache, and it requires strength and wisdom from the Lord to get through. 

Please remember that you are the same person your ex-partner was initially enamored with. Just because they have moved on does not make you less valuable. A break-up naturally causes havoc to the human psyche. It makes us feel a myriad of negative and discouraging feelings about ourselves. These feelings and emotions may feel very strong, but are temporary and do not define who we are. Join us in navigating this difficult season of emotional upheaval. Faith-Based-Emotinal-Sobriety

Stuck In A Toxic Relationship

Understanding Addiction

Addiction is defined as the quality of being addicted. It is the compulsive need for and use of a habit-forming substance. Not all dependence is hard addiction; some areas are considered habituation, which also takes into account stimulants such as nicotine, caffeine, and some psychological issues. However, in hard addiction the effects are physically recognizable in the body. 

Hard addiction exhibits itself by producing tolerance and physical dependence on a habit-forming substance. When the body is challenged by the substance, it will make the corresponding adjustments (biochemical, physiological, and psychological) to meet this challenge. At this point, the body responds by requiring the continued presence of the foreign substance to maintain normal function. Even though the body continues to depend on the substance, the tolerance and duration of the effects shrink, requiring the individual to take the drug either more often or in greater amounts to achieve the effect desired. Ultimately, the individual has a very high level of drug use with a correspondingly high level of tolerance. 

This is why addicts find themselves in deteriorating conditions. The addict is driven both by compulsion of the mind and desperation of the body. 

Is there hope? Absolutely! Since the mind and the body are intricately related, we must consider both in light of God’s Word when dealing with addiction. 

Scripture explains that there is a hunger and thirst in the human heart that cannot be quenched except by the Spirit of God. Scripture also says that the heart mistakenly seeks to quench this hunger and thirst by the means of this world. Since hunger and thirst affect both mind and body, we can see how the dynamics of addiction takes shape. When the spirit of a person is anxious, hurting, oppressed, or in any form of want, it is compelled to relieve or stimulate itself through the senses of the body. 

The physical senses are a powerful influence that instinctively demand attention when the mental, emotional, or psychological systems are craving it. The drive for relief or happiness is seen in every human heart to varying degrees. For the Christian, the secret to true and lasting happiness is accomplished through the filling of the Spirit. For those who are not walking in the Spirit, the pursuit of happiness is found in the filling of the spirit (the “spirit” with a lower case “s”). A spirit filling rather than a Spirit filling results in false happiness and continued craving. In every human heart, one of these (the Spirit or the spirit) will be deprived and the other attended to. The outcome of that choice will be evident, especially in the addict.

Obsession In Relationship

Obsession, according to the dictionary is a compulsive fixation with an idea causing excessive preoccupation. A person can tell if they struggle with obsession in the area of relationship simply by taking inventory of their thought life. If they observe that their mind continues to be fixed on a desired person, then obsession might be the problem. They may mistake this feeling for love, but it is not. 

Desperation is the word that may best describe this feeling of being preoccupied with someone who either is not as interested, or is not a healthy person to be in a relationship with. It is gripping and overwhelming to say the very least. It can pervade almost every hour of a person’s day. It can hold them prisoner and convince them that life without this person would be miserable. They feel almost certain they will never feel this way again.

Does this sound uncomfortably familiar? You might be surprised to know that millions of people struggle with this condition of the heart. If you are a Christian you might wonder how this can happen.

Interestingly, there are many reasons that this condition of the heart can develop and even flourish in the heart of a Christian. One may be the imposition of “faith” to be with the person we so strongly desire. We believe that if we pray hard enough or exercise enough faith it will happen. Our minds are often drawn to verses or signs we attribute to this desire, which fuels it even further. We want the relationship so desperately that we erroneously see our efforts as faith driven, rather than the obsessive nature it really is.

If you are a person who identifies with this struggle we invite you to join us in understanding what true and healthy love looks like. 

It’s easy to forget this amidst bouts of insecurity and feelings of unworthiness. Many people simply cannot believe that they are valuable, even to God, especially if they think they have let God down in the area of relationship. So, they resign themselves to pursue the wrong person regardless of rejection, giving in to the misery that accompanies this state of mind. 

God may have even brought this to your attention for this very purpose. Perhaps, it’s time to do the hard, but beneficial work of mental and emotional re-wiring in this area. Faith-Based-Emotional Sobriety

Stuck In A Toxic Relationship

Overcoming Depression

As its name implies, depression, is the state of being depressed. When something is “de-pressed” it is literally “pressed down” to a low point. To illustrate this principle, consider an object that is pressed down in the center. A low point is created which is considered a “depression” in the object. 

When contemplating a human being, a healthy functioning human spirit is balanced and even. But when it is pressed down, a lower point in the spirit is created, producing a “depression” in the spirit–sometimes referred to as being low in spirits. 

A person who is depressed has lowered vitality or functioning activity. Feelings of sadness and hopelessness accompany this condition to varying degrees. The causes of depression are widespread, often making a specific trigger difficult to pinpoint.

Globally over 300 million people suffer from clinical depression. Typical symptoms of depression are sleep issues (either insomnia or excessive sleep), loss of appetite or overeating, and difficulties in thinking and concentration. It is not uncommon for a depressed person to struggle with suicidal thoughts. They may feel like they just can’t go on.

Many people who are depressed isolate themselves and do not want to interact socially. Friends and family of depressed persons may plead for them to get out among people–but to little avail, resulting in feelings of exasperation and frustration.

Is there hope for the seemingly hopeless state of depression? Absolutely!

In Matthew 5, Jesus talks about the “poor in spirit” being in a privileged position. When we are emptied of our spirit, or completely depleted and poor in spirit, we have the unique opportunity for the wealth of Christ’s Spirit to encompass our hearts. Matthew 5:3 says, “Blessed are the poor in spirit.” 

In the original language of the Bible, “blessed” means a person whom God makes fully satisfied, not because of favorable circumstances, but because He indwells the believer through Christ. 

However, poverty of spirit does not automatically mean Christ’s filling in this manner. In our poverty, we must beg Him to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves. “Poverty” in the original language, means just that–to be so poor that one must beg in order to find relief or help, help that is beyond ones own ability. What great hope for a person who is experiencing depression and feels at complete loss. 

Many think they must become balanced in their spirit before they can have a healthy relationship with God; this is not accurate. The song “Come Just As You Are” rings truer than ever in the case of depression. There is more hope for the depressed than those who are so filled with their own spirits that they do not call out for the Spirit of the Lord at all. 

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, 
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
(Matthew 5:3) 

Join us in further exploring depression’s hold and how we can overcome. Faith-Based-Emotional-Sobriety

*If you or someone you love is struggling with suicidal thoughts right now, please call this hotline to let someone know about your pain: 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433). 

Book Reviews:

“A must read for the Christian walk in this world.  I went back many times to read it again not wanting to miss a word.” 
-Helen Bigg

“I wanted to ingest every word. I am giving this book 5 stars, and would give it six if I could.” 
-B Koehn

Hopelessness

Hopelessness is defined as having no expectation of good, hope for success, or any anticipation of solution to life’s problems. Those who find themselves in a hopeless frame of mind feel immobilized. They often do not pursue help because they have no confidence hope exists for their situation. Feeling like giving up is common for those who battle with hopelessness. They yield to what they feel is their inevitable condition, often with a sad and bitter calm. 

However, any show of desperation while in a state of hopelessness is a sign that the person is still fighting for hope. These attempts do not necessarily feel good or hopeful, but they do indicate the inward desire of the heart to be rescued. 

For instance in the Bible, Naomi, who was Ruth’s mother-in-law, cried out a plea of desperation on Ruth’s and Orpah’s behalf…while feeling hopeless. She said to her daughters-in-laws, “Return, my daughters! Why should you go with me … the Lord has gone forth against me” (Ruth 1:12,13). In fact, Naomi even went so far as to ask to be called by a new name that meant bitter, labeling her inner hopeless state. She said, “Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me” (Ruth 1:20). Yet, God helped Naomi in a way that she could not help herself.

Job exhibited these desperate glimmers of hope in the midst of what seemed like a hopeless situation as well. Even though everything he loved had been taken from him he proclaimed,”Though He slay me, yet I will trust Him.” God rescued Job in glorious ways that no man could accomplish on his own.

The pages of the Bible are filled with folks whom God delivered from hopeless situations of the heart. Yes, hopelessness is God’s specialty. He gives hope to the hopeless. The very message of Salvation for the lost is hope for the hopeless. The resurrection of the dead is hope for the hopeless. A new and eternal life, free from pain and disappointment, is hope for the hopeless. 

This world is passing quickly and all the pleasures with it. The wisest man on earth understood the dynamics of this reality. In the book of Ecclesiastes, Solomon writes of empty and vain pursuits–and spending years doing whatever his heart desired. Money was unlimited for Solomon, and he went from one project to the next. The things he accomplished were what most people only dream of, things deemed fulfillments of life’s ultimate “hopes.” Yet, Solomon saw the hopelessness in it all. 

Solomon addresses the hopelessness in this way: “I said to myself, ‘Come now, I will test you with pleasure. So enjoy yourself. And behold it too was futility. I said of laughter, ‘It is madness,’ and of pleasure, ‘What does it accomplish?”(Ecclesiastes 2:1, 2)

He ended his observations by writing, “Here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God…” (Ecclesiastes 12:13). Fearing God is the beginning of Hope found! 

To fear God is to place our trust in something bigger than all doubts, a greater plan beyond our state of hopelessness. He can move the clouds of hopelessness as no one else can. If you are a struggling with hopelessness, let your heart be stirred at the reading of these miraculous and glorious stories of hope! Join us in understanding how the emotion of hopelessness operates and why it makes its home in our hearts. Faith-Based-Emotional-Sobriety

Discover Help For Your Emotions

Understanding Insecurity

Insecurity has the meaning of being unsure, unstable, shaky, apprehensive, or lacking in self-confidence. There are many environments that can cultivate these types of feelings. It can come from a difficult upbringing, unsettling circumstance, mistreatments, to individual fears. Sometimes these feelings are steady and other times they wash over us in waves of emotion. They often cause exaggerated fears and misunderstandings. Sometimes they propel us to act in a self-protective manner shutting others out: rejecting before being rejected. Other times they have the opposite effect, causing a person to work overtime for acceptance.

People who struggle with insecurity find themselves vulnerable to all types of unhealthy situations. This makes it all the more important to quickly identify the characteristics of insecurity and take great strides to seek change.

Those of us who struggle with this emotion can generally look back on our lives and see the path of destruction (both mild and severe). The journey will often include making poor choices in friendships, as well as, making poor decisions within those friendships. Those who battle with insecurity often create flimsy boundaries, and have trouble communicating with those closest to them.

When a person who struggles with insecurity feels threatened, that threat can often turninsecure-woman-600x399 into a wrongly perceived reality. Though it may not be true reality in the actual sense, to them it is reality–only wrongly perceived. For instance, if something happens where a person feels threatened or is suspicious of a possible threat, they may perceive the matter erroneously. This will subsequently set in motion a natural defense mechanism in the heart that is hardly even recognized by the person themself. Poor choices automatically flow forth because they are birthed out of insecurity and the wrongly perceived reality that accompanies it.

Insecurity can manifest itself in many ways. Consider this example: Sally feels threatened because another woman is talking with her boyfriend. Sally becomes suspicious and jump to a wrong conclusion based on her insecurities. Then Sally makes the choice to voice the suspicion without knowing the motivation of the other woman–her boyfriend–or the circumstances involved. This, of course, sets into motion a flurry of negative repercussions. The other woman’s reputation is called into question. Also, Sally’s boyfriend cools his relationship with Sally, seeing this as a red flag. Sally has caused turmoil due to her incorrect perception of reality, which is based on her insecurities. She may even ask, “How did this all happen?”

Using the same scenario an insecure person may be compelled to take an opposite course of action. Here is how that might look. Although Sally sees a woman talking frequently with her boyfriend she does not ask him who the woman is, but chooses instead to ignore the situation. She believes that the fault is hers–that she simply needs to try harder to win her boyfriend’s affections regardless of how awful if feels because this may be the best relationship she can ever hope for. He, however, continues to be in relationship with this other women and even receives phone calls from her while out with Sally. Two years after Sally has married this man, he tells Sally he’s leaving her. Can you guess why? That’s right–for the other woman. In this scenario, Sally’s wrongly perceive reality (based on insecurity) caused her to put the blinders on, ignore red flags, and remain in an unhealthy relationship.

In the same way insecurity affects the way a person sees others, it also affects the way they see themselves. They may feel as though they are worthless, even to extreme degrees. In their mind nothing about themselves is appealing. Oftentimes, this will manifest itself in choices such as lack of personal hygiene, wearing ill-fitted or unclean clothing, not taking care of home environment, or engaging in unhealthy activities.

On the other hand, it can go to the other extreme causing a person to over-focus on themself, their appearance, their home, and their social life. This person builds a facade of success, masking a deep fear of being found deficient.

Is there a way out of this vicious cycle? By the grace of God, a person cannot only be freed from insecurity’s destructive influences but can emerge as a person of great spiritual strength and grace. Join us on discovering God’s powerful life-giving narrative that overcomes insecurity. Faith-Based- Emotional Sobriety

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Joy and peace come from learning to walk in the design God has for our thinking. Every day we battle with old thought patterns and emotions that hold us captive. Blue Skies: Beyond The Dark Clouds Of Broken Thinking leads us step by step; taking us deep into truths that set us free to live into a new narrative, one of confidence and purpose—the story we were meant to live.