Tuesday, May 12, 2009

sin du jour...

I've been on a diet since the age of eleven. Yes, eleven. I can vividly remember the day I realized I was obese. I was 4'11'' with long, unkempt hair, freckles, and faux tortoiseshell glasses (be nice, it was the 80s). I was eating ice cream with my sister in the local convenient store and we thought it would be fun to step on the free electronic scale. I stepped on the large metal square and three red numbers popped onto the screen: 1-7-2. One hundred and seventy-two pounds, I said to myself. Then I finished my ice cream.

Obesity was the furthest thing from my adolescent mind. Gluttony was not even a word in my vocabulary. I was a very thin child and never had a penchant for indulgence as noticed in my picture showing off my ever-svelte toothpick legs (Side note: Mom, WHY did you sew my name onto my clothing and cut my hair with a bowl?!). It wasn’t until a few years later that I began to realize the effects over-eating were having on my life. Mockery, ridicule, marginalization, and depression began to consume me. I became fixated with my weight and obsessive with my life. It was my goal to never be made fun of again, to be chosen first for kickball games, and to find clothing that was not in the full-figured woman’s section of department stores. Because, really, how cool of a twelve year-old could you be in a forest green jumpsuit with elastic waistband and faux gold buttons?

Now I'm a grown adult and can't even begin to recall how many diets I've been on. Seriously, it's disgusting. The Orange Peel Diet (boil 30 orange rinds for 5 hours in two gallons of water and drink the tea for the next 48 hours); The Soup Diet (boil every green vegetable in a cauldron of water and eat it for eight days straight); The Meat Diet (the diabolic travesty of my life); The Vegan Diet (I gained weight); The Liquid Diet (I ran to the restroom every 30 seconds); The Pills-from-Mexico Diet (I not only lost weight, I lost sleep, hair, and control over my sweat glands). Sadly, the list goes on. The more I share about my personal struggles with my addiction to food, the more I learn that I am not the only one who struggles with this sin. Yes, I said sin.

If you think you can identify gluttony simply by looking at someone, think again. It’s important to recognize that not all gluttons are obese. So what is gluttony? Holman’s Bible Dictionary describes a glutton as, “one habitually given to greedy and voracious eating.” But for some reason, gluttony seems to be a sin that Christians like to ignore even though the American Obese Association reports that 30.5% of teens and 55% of adults are obese. Let’s talk about drunkenness, let’s talk about homosexuality, but leave our buffet lines and super-sized meals alone.

As easy as it seems for me to recognize his faults of their faults, I need to take heed and remove the plank in my eye, before trying to remove the speck in my brother’s eye (Matthew 7:3); I falter in this area as well. In fact, it is my sin du jour and the biggest battle I face on a daily basis. I’m not eleven, I don’t wear glasses, and I don’t have to shop in the “big girl” section anymore, but as a woman living in a metropolis that places a heavy emphasis on appearance, there are times when I still feel like the unkempt girl standing on the electronic scale with ice cream in her hand.

The reason I bring this up is because I'm going to be teaching a six-week series addressing issues facing women in the 21st century. Your help and candor and honestly and vunerability will help me better address the needs of our generation and prepare us to deal with this thing called Life. You totally can be anonymous or you could be brave and admit to the world wide web what your sins are. Either way, could you let me know what you would want a greater understanding on? 

33 comments:

Diandra Ann said...

I totally struggle with this too. I have no self control when it comes to food. If you give me a bag of cookies... I'll eat the WHOLE BAG!

I think one that would be a great one for women that is commonly NOT talked about (except to guys) is lust. Girls totally struggle with that too and yet no one ever seems to speak of it.

When are you doing this series? Can I come???

Melinda said...

I would have to say jealousy is right up there for me. I find it creeps up on my when I don't expect it. I get jealous of everything from the outfit so-and-so has, their singing voice, the attention they got, and the list goes on!!

Ana Mejia said...

Thanks for sharing. . . I think many of us have a similar story when it comes to our weight, our appearance and how we feel about our self. Those lies & thoughts that the enemy feeds us and we buy into and believe. Allowing ourselves to fall into depression, discontentment, just not a good place to be in. Pray that the Lord bless you & your new series what ever it may be, I'm sure it will be great!

Anonymous said...

Envy & Jealousy :(

-j

Anonymous said...

PRIDE!!!

Julie Arellanes said...

Wow B, I had no clue 172, huh? I'm complete shocked because you are so tiny and muscular! I want to hear more, you gave the diets that probably failed, but what worked for you and how did you do it.

As for the sin for me Gluttony and Pride =(. I wouldn't say I could eat the whole bag of anything or a whole cake or even a bag of cookies, but I finish my plate even when I'm full because it's so good. If I have a lot left over, I'll the rest to go, but eating beyond fullness is still gluttony. =(

I also want to go to the study as well, please let us know!!

Shannon said...

Thank-you for sharing... when you came to my church a few weeks ago, your message really ministered to me. I struggle with insecurity and jealousy.

Anonymous said...

lust, lust, lust......purity & envy.

Johanna ("God's gracious gift" - Hebrew) said...

This is awesome B! I am so blessed to know you're sharing on these issues! They are so pertinent and really need to be addressed. I pray the Lord give you discernment, wisdom and His words to bless the women he brings, with Truth that will set many free from the horrible lies we women tend to believe and that keep us in bondage. Love you and proud of you for being so bold! :) I can relate, by the grace of God, He's been giving me grace and I've been able to overcome some major hurdles while here in Okinawa. It seems sometimes we need to be plucked out of our "familiar" environments. Anyway, I will be lifting this up and can't wait to read about updates! *Zephania 3:17 (The Lord's been blessing me with this word lately). May it encourage you!

Anonymous said...

Pride

Melinda said...

Okay, I actually got another one after thinking about it some more... my husband calls me the queen waster. Not the title I was striving for, that's for sure! I find I can be such a bad steward of food (I rarely finish my meals - b/c I'm too lazy to finish eating!! *shame*), time (!!!!), resources, attention, etc and etc.

Chris Gonzales said...

Hey I did the liquid diet and it worked for me...So far so good. I lost 18 pounds and thank God I'm still keeping them off. Lol

Amber said...
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Anonymous said...

I struggle daily with low self esteem and the search for validation.

It is to easy to view what is accepted in the world through magazines, movies, and media. It's easy to seek the acceptance of others. The opinion and value of other people has such a large presence and persuasion in today's society that it makes it hard to find your own heart.

Society uses magazines, media, and advertising to persuade us to wear this, apply that, do this, be, say, and worst off BELIEVE whatever concept it is that they are trying to sell! This PROPAGANDA and PERSUASION can be detrimental.

My eyes well with tears when I see a teenage girl wearing make up, carrying a designer this or that, saving her allowance for an item she can use to be "better" or at least "as good as" her friends. There are girls that shop lift to obtain an item so that they can simply "fit in." There are so many lost girls...that will eventually become lost women.

WE AS WOMAN HAVE A RESPONSIBILITY TO THESE GIRLS...to teach them and guide them in the ways of Christ...but how? How can we guide, shape, change, and LOVE the future when we find it so difficult to LOVE OURSELVES???

I was always a girl that tried with great fervor to follow her own heart, march to the beat of her own drum but being "myself" made everything a challange. I cannot remember a time where I felt fully accepted in my life. I would spend high school and even college days and nights crying to myself, hiding, writing, reading any activity to stay away from the world. I was the nerdy fat and SHY girl that never fit in.

I immersed my self in academics in high school, to try to escape the talons of the public world. In college when accused of being uninvolved and shy, I competed in public speaking and debate to validate myself. When the validation and recognition grew dim and the trophies dusty, I wanted more. I obtained a Bachelor's degree, a Master's degree and went on to law school. I lost weight, joined the "popular crowd" and actually became the "it girl" for a while. Two marriage proposals, financially independent and successful but still with an empty and burdened heart, I was introduced to substances and addictions. I suffered with sex and substance addiction both.

This path of depression, withdrawal and eventually addiction and suffering that I wandered down is actually a familar road to MANY MANY women. Some women are able to hide this suffering better than others, or to justify it. The problem is...they are not hiding it from God or themselves and their hearts still hurt.

It was not until the day that changed my life, the day I renewed myself in Christ and turned to him as my best friend that I realized that I no longer needed to struggle with these worldly hurts.

Today I'm happy, crazy in love married, in a career (nursing) that I love with all of my heart. I work with women on a daily basis, I work in labor and delivery. Labor can be a LONG process giving me the time to bond with women. I have found in this bonding that low self esteem issues transcend age, culture, race, and religion.

TODAY i know that God placed me along the path he did allowed me to walk along and feel rejected, alone, mis understood and saddened because he wanted me to know in my heart HE WAS THE ONE. He wanted me to be able to extend my heart, hands and hugs to these women. I'm a very very blessed woman. What about those that are not so blessed, or afforded oppurtunities like mine?

I firmly believe HE was with me in family and friends and my not yet husband to speak to me. He was waiting to be there to pick me up, to grab my hands, wipe my tears, and lift me. All he wanted me to do was to turn to him, to ask, to choose.
He waited for me so that I may some day serve to live his purpose for me!!! What about women who haven't been shown his face?

I'm so richly blessed that my life had been what it has, even the heart ache had a purpose.

Sadly not every woman has the same amazing friends and family that I have. There is an unfathomable amount of girls and teenagers who demean other women only because they themselves feel unfufilled. It is a brutal brutal abuse cycle that women have inflicted upon their gender.

There are women who seek sex to validate, who seek money to feel worthy, who drink and consume substances to dull the heart aches. Who eat to fill the void. I know...I was one of them.

It all starts with self esteem. RE BUILDING self esteem and positive self concept can take years, and is a constant struggle. Some women; in fact are never able to build self esteem.

The thing of it is, all of this can be prevented if from a very young age we "rescue" these girls. If we are positive role models that place value on God, teach, help, inspire, reach and grow with women...we can make a difference. To do these things however we first must love. We must love ourselves.

We must be honest, step off of our pedestals and announce to the world..."Here I'm, raw, humble, flawed, broken but with a heart bigger than LIFE. I'm loved by God my creator...he MADE ME THIS WAY. To reject him is to reject myself. I LOVE MY GOD AND HE LOVES ME...THAT IS WHAT BEING BEAUTIFUL, ACCEPTED AND LOVED FEELS LIKE!"

I think as women we NEED to address the issue of self esteem and the suffering of women in society inflicted by other women.

No more ridicule, competition, put downs, dirty looks, lack of acceptance, rejection, or pain.

No more tears.

I pray for a cycle where women are filled by other fulfilled women who do God's work and thus are satisfied, and filled so that they can do more.

Maribel Kusen said...

whewww! ok well I think you are just asking for something we might like a better understanding of in LiFe.

Body image not so much cause I kind of care but then I kind of don't. God does say "Wash yo-self!" However I have struggled with being a working CHRISTIAN MoM. I mean rent needs to be paid, but Shouldn't I be at home keenly thinking of ways to make ends meet? Do you go to school to one day drop it all cause God gives you the gift of a child? Nothing wrong with being a stay-at-home mom with a degree, but is that just what you're supposed to do? I suppose it depends on what God has for each individual. But as I sit here at work and type away I cannot help but realize that I couldn't be typing this comment at home. "Mom I'm finished with my PooPoo", "Mom, I'm hungry", "Babe, I'm out of socks", "Hunny, what's for dinner?" "whhaa, whhhaaa"

but then,

"Thank you Jesus for mama" -Zoey

It's bittersweet, but I just realized I need to quit...

Keep it up B, and may God Bless you tremendously for your dedication and honesty.

Amber said...
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Anonymous said...

Jealousy, Pride, Self Image.

Nikki said...

For a long time I've struggled w/
gluttony & envy. Currently, lust.
**sigh**

Anonymous said...

FOOD -I'm fat. It's a vicious cycle, over eat , get upset with myself, feel terrible, poor health -high cholesterol, high blood pressure. I pray to make better choices and always fail to do so. -Kelli

Anonymous said...

Great post! I can definitely relate, and I agree that overeating is joked about instead of taken seriously as a sin (and heart issue) that needs to be dealt with.

Another issue that I think is common among women is manipulation, especially via guilt trips. I have become more aware of my own failings in this area recently, especially with the men I've been involved with. I see that I use guilt as a tool to try to get what I want, even though I don't actually want his motivation to be guilt. I don't really understand why I do it! I have felt such anger and resentment toward other people for guilting me (or those I love), and now I see that I do the same thing. I can't seem to let my disappointment go without a fight.

I found your blog through your sisters blog and now I will add you to my Google reader too. :) You two are really fascinating and inspiring!

Anonymous said...

I hate my body because when i look myself in the mirrow i saw a FAT lady that is looking really ugly, i starved myself for days and don't loose a pound. i can see my husband going crazy beacuse i just can be happy with myself.

Amy Cameron said...

Hi,

I am so thrilled to see this post. I too have been struggling with gluttony. I recently found a Biblical study called "Setting Captives Free" that has a 60 day study on overeating. It has been a huge battle for me but I plan to overcome this sin in my life. I have turned to food for fulfillment for too long. I am learning to turn to Christ. You may want to look at it (for reference at least) for your own series.

Other struggles I have:
1. Huge guilt over being a working Mom even though I believe with all my heart that the Lord led me to my business
2. Not wanting to attend church lately. I come up with every excuse in the world not to go. I am not pround of this, but it's true.
3. Laziness (kind of works with the gluttony from above). I am unmotivated to work out, clean my house, go grocery shopping, etc. I am a very busy person. I don't sit around idle (but I spend a ton of time at the computer for my job), and I haven't been exercising or moving much at all. (Again, nothing I am proud of...but I'd love to see this addressed.)

jmgb said...

i am a body image therapist that works at a faith based treatment center. if it's something you choose to study/teach on, feel free to email me if you want to dialogue about it~
mel

Jessica said...

Hi Bianca! LOVE your new blog ;) I'm a regular blog stalker of your sister, and she *might* have posted something on her blog about your new site! I too struggle with my weight, but also self-confidence. I'm a smart girl, I have a Master's degree, but none of that seems to matter... I'm constantly finding fault with myself, and feeling "not good enough"

On a side note, both you and Jasmine mentioned you struggled with weight (it just seems SO hard to believe looking at you both now!) Can I ask how you guys conquered that battle?

Krista said...

Gluttony for sure. I'm not obese and I wouldn't be considered "slightly" overweight if I could lose the 5-10 lbs my doctor mentions every annual check-up, but I love food. Worse, I love all the food that's bad for me. Ice cream, candy, Starbucks, fast food, pasta...you name, I probably like it.

I dislike exercise (does that fall under the sin of sloth?) I'd much rather sit on my behind and read a good book, watch tv, or play video games than sweat a little.

Amanda McNeely said...

Hi Bianca, I found your blog because I faithfully stalk your sisters...ha! With that said, I find it as no mistake that I stumbled upon your blog on this very day! I have never read anything you have ever wrote besides this, and the Lord wanted me to read this. I have struggled with my weight for the past 8-9 years, and I continue to fail. This past week, I decided to give up trying and just be fat. Even know I cannot be content this way, it is easier than failing again. I cannot follow through with anything I try, so why try?

As I read you blog today tears streamed down my face as I felt the Lord showing me He cares, because so often I really believe he doesn't. I feel that the battle with food, is something I have to do on my own, because it is not a "spiritual" topic that He is concerend with.

Thank you for your post, it was a divine appoint for me, so thank you!

please let me know more about what it is you have planned, I am from a small town in Texas!

Andra said...

In a way it is comforting to know I am not the only gal out there struggling with food, but I also know those of us who do long to be free from it's grip! I serve a God who died to set me free, yet I still struggle! He loves us enough to give us free choice! Most people probably wouldn't guess that I have a war going on with food because I am relatively thin (I have a 5 month old baby!!), but it is a sin I opened myself up to in college by undereating, and thus the sogga began. Thank you for your candid remarks concerning gluttony. I can't wait to hear your insight and approach to dealing with this issue. I had someone tell me once that this area of my life could be my ministry, and yet I couldn't see how because I didn't know that it was such a battle for so many people! Thank you for letting God use you to minister to those of us trapped by food!

Anonymous said...

I'm addicted to Celebrity news. I watch way too much TV on them and LOVE us magazine and ok magainze just to name a few. I have to watch all the entertainment shows on them. I wish i had no interest in their lives but I do....

ar said...

contentedness. i guess i struggle with just being content. content with what God has given me. there is ALWAYS somthing i want. (and can't have, might i add!) clothes, cars, books, camera lens, a FAB body, TIME!

i would consider myself to be a well-educated, christian, stay at home mom. i love my amazing husband. adore my beautiful kids. and i'm sure i share many of the struggles listed here in the other comments. but they can all be summed up by contentment.

perhaps i too, have been led to your blog today (another JStar follower) so that God can convict me of this.

"You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing." Psalm 16:2

The cheerful heart has a continual feast. Proverbs 15:15

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." Hebrews 13:5

thanks for opportunity to share!

Anonymous said...

Lust.

It's always been that thing that GUYS struggle with, so women who struggle with it feel like they're even more in the wrong. Not only are we struggling with a sin, we're struggling with a sin that a girl shouldn't even have in the first place. It's a GUY thing... or so the world and often even the church have taught us.

Holly & Helen's Hassack said...

i agree with so many posted before: jealousy, envy, laziness, & lust.

however my big one: happiness, or better yet being un happy. it's an everyday battle to be happy with my current situation (not that it's bad, but don't we always wish for more?) & to thrive to be better today & not better tomorrow.

great blog, can't wait to read more.

Anonymous said...

I am new to your blog and this is the first post I have read. I struggle continually with two things.... gluttony and anger. I often think if I could get the victory over these two things then I might as well be glorified! (kidding!) But they are two strongholds that I deal with on a daily basis (the food issue much more then the anger which rears its ugly head up every so often. It seems like I CANNOT get the victory with these two things and I know the Lord is dealing with me about them.

Anonymous said...

With society being our mentors and God being pushed out of every aspect of our lives, we, even as christian women begin to adopt the world's perspective. We envy one another for the cute person or boy on HER arm, or that body, or how easy SHE has it in life. We look at men, and say we're allowed to look....but are we just looking? We allow these things to eat up a [art of us and we turn to food, comfort food. We lose sight of what matters and stop moving forward; we stay at home wasting time. Our ill moods are a refelction of our relationships with family and friends and thus puch the ones who love us fuurther and further away. As women, even women of God, we struggle with all of the 7 sins because we have taken our eyes off of our Savior.

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