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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Chapter 1: Healthy Body Image

"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."
Psalm 139:13-16

According to Newman, having a healthy body image requires 3 components...

1. Respect
What a wonder of creation we are. I am overwhelmed when I think of how God crafted us together in our mother's womb. From the moment of conception he was creating us, uniquely and wonderfully. The way our body was created and functions is not an accident. We are such complex organisms, capable of so many things.
  • Do you recognize that God made you the way you are for a reason?
  • Have you ever been in "awe" of the way your body was created?

2. Care
God created us with a natural desire to care for our bodies. This desire, under control, is essential for survival. But, out of control, can lead to destruction. Satan provides many temptations for us to harm our bodies. Even he knows that our body is a gift to be cared for.
  • Are you taking care of the body God gave you?
  • Are there times that you feel the temptation to harm, overwork, or not take care of your body? Why?

3. Perspective
God has created each of us differently. We are each on this earth to fulfill a different purpose. Some are teachers, artists, nurses, or homemakers. Others are short, tall, thin, or heavy. Regardless of what we do or what we look like, we have a purpose in this world. Our title and outward appearance have nothing to do with the mission that God created us to accomplish.
  • How do you measure your self worth? Do you compare yourself to others? Do you look at God's truth about who you are as his creation?
  • Does your occupation or appearance affect the work God has for you to do?

Do you have a healthy body image?
Are you showing respect, care,
and perspective for your body?


DO IT...

Think of one physical characteristic that you like about yourself -
THANK GOD for it!

He made you that way!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Chapter 1: Poor Body Image

"The reason we can't look at ourselves and appreciate objective realities isn't because our mirror is distorted. Our body image has little to do with how we look on the outside and everything to do with what we think and feel on the inside." (Newman p.15)
Body image issues are not simply a result of what we see in the mirror. Instead, it's a matter of what's going on in our minds. What are the influencing factors in your mind that lead to poor body image?

Check out some statistics about body image...
  • 42% of 1st-3rd grade girls want to be thinner (Collins)
  • 81% of 10 year olds are afraid of being fat (Mellin et al)
  • The average American woman is 5’4” tall and weighs 140 pounds. The average American model is 5’11” tall and weighs 117 pounds.
  • Most fashion models are thinner than 98% of American women (Smolak)
  • 46% of 9-11 year-olds are “sometimes” or “very often” on diets, and 82% of their families are “sometimes” or “very often” on diets (Gustafson-Larson & Terry)
  • 91% of women recently surveyed on a college campus had attempted to control their weight through dieting, 22% dieted “often” or “always” (Kurth et al)
  • 35% of “normal dieters” progress to pathological dieting. Of those, 20-25% progress to partial or full-syndrome eating disorders (Shisslak & Crago).
  • 25% of American men and 45% of American women are on a diet on any given day (Smolak)
  • Americans spend over $40 billion on dieting and diet-related products each year (Smolak)

Is our culture to blame for poor body image issues?
Would you struggle with your body image if you didn't see thin models on TV? Would you struggle if you didn't hear dieting commercials on the radio? Would you struggle if you didn't see exercise tips in magazines?

If you were the only one on this planet would you have a poor body image? Have you ever thought of the influence that other people, magazines, TV, and the radio have on your body image? How can you eliminate these influences on your mind?

Our Savior Lives...

Each of us have been created with a longing in our hearts. As Pastor Ric stated in a sermon recently, we all fill that hole with something. If we don't fill it with God, we will fill it with something else. Things of this world will never bring happiness or contentment. What our hearts truly long for is Jesus Christ as our Savior. We were created this way by Our Creator, God.

Jesus came to this earth, while we were yet sinners, and made the ultimate sacrifice. He paid a debt for each of us that we can never repay. He gave his life. Because of His great love for us, we can have confidence in the promise that he is always with us. Our great Savior is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. In the darkness, the light, the past, the present, and the future; He is our God. He has always been and will always be our God. His promises never change. His love never changes. His sacrifice never changes. Jesus Christ lives. Our Savior is ALIVE today!

Let that place in your heart be filled with Christ's love for you this Easter. Find peace in knowing that He has always been your God and always will be your God. He is always with you and will always love you.

Have a joyous Easter holiday!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Week 6 - Finding Your Identity in Christ...

Each class thus far has led to this; finding our identity in Christ. After all, that's really what it's all about. Recovery from an eating disorder must be based on finding your true identity in Christ. An eating disorder can so easily become your identity, so much that you don't know who you are without it. When you learn to put on Christ and take off your old self, you no longer need an eating disorder to be your identity, best friend, hobby, coping mechanism or escape. When your identity is in Christ, your meaning and purpose in life is based on your birthright as a child of God and what Christ did on the cross.

We watched a Nooma video, entitled Name. This video addresses the issue of finding our true identity. Here are some tidbits from the video...
"We each have this unique path, a calling, a life that God has given us; and Jesus invites us to be our true selves and yet we get sidetracked, we get distracted, we get hung up on how we're different from her or we aren't like him and we end up asking the wrong questions."
Do you have a sense of a unique path in your life?
If so, what is it?
Are there ways in which you get distracted by what others
do, say or think?
"You and I have pasts, families we come from, things we've done, mistakes we've made. Where we've been and what we've done have shaped us into who we are today. So we have to embrace our story, our history. You don't have to be proud of it, but you must claim it because it's yours."
Have you claimed your past?
"We need to be saved from all of the times we haven't been our true selves. All the times we've tried to be someone else. All of the lies we've believed about who God made when God made us. All the times we've asked the wrong questions: What about him? What about her? What about them? We've missed the voice of Jesus saying, 'You, follow me.'"
What would it look like for you to completely trust Jesus when he says,
"You, follow me?"

We believe lies from the world about who we are. We often believe that our identity is found in having the right appearance, status, recognition, or achievements. But our true identity does not come from things of this world. Our true identity comes from being a child of God. Our sense of worth comes not from self, but from being created in the image of God. We have been chosen by Him..."we are God's possession, chosen and secure in Him" 2 Co. 1:21-22, "we are chosen in Christ to be holy" Eph 1:4, "we are chosen by God to be adopted as his child" Eph 1:5.

Through our adoption in Christ we can...
-Be healed of past hurts
-Accept God's truth and love for us
-Find comfort and peace in God's purposes
-Live empowered to share Christ with others

My prayer for everyone struggling with an eating disorder comes from Romans 12:1-2:
"Give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice - the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect."
You can make the choice today to exchange your heart, purposes and dreams for God's. When you give your whole self to Him as an act of worship; your mind, body and soul will be transformed. When you find your identity in Christ, you are no longer the person you used to be. Allow Christ to be your identity so that you can find His good and perfect will for your life.