Entertaining Angels, God with Skin On

Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it. Hebrews 13:2

It is important to have friends you can be 100% yourself with. I have those. We try our best to be there for each other whenever we are needed. Life happens sometimes though and our friends are not always available. Those are the moments I take to God. Sometimes he sends me someone, and sometimes it’s just us. He must have known I needed an angel this week.

Well, not literally, I don’t think anyway. I can say one thing, they did not come in the neatly wrapped package I usually prefer (ie well known to me and female.) They are part of a group I am in and I believe they use a nom de plume. People I trust know them and therefore I talk to them on occasion. 

Don’t get me wrong, I know that blind trust is a sin and we don’t discuss anything deep or too revealing – safety rules and all – but we do talk sometimes, mostly about comedy, sometimes about faith. I like the whole no preconceived expectations aspect of that and I enjoy talking with them. They know more than I and I love surrounding myself with people further down the path. It’s how I grow.

I also set boundaries because they appear to be male. I’m not above temptation and will not replace things I should tell my husband with a stranger. There is no lure in that for me. I’m in ministry to serve God. Even so, I am fully aware of my own potential pitfalls and watch for those slopes.  The fact that He (meaning God) can even use me astounds me sometimes. I don’t want to mess that up.

I find it interesting how willing we are to let down our masks with strangers, more so than with friends. While I reveal a lot here for you, I do strive to keep the private out of the personal. I only share that which I think might benefit someone else because we are not alone in our daily struggles. Some things are universal. While it is true there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, not everything is everyone’s business nor do I wish to glamorize sin.

I’m a sinner saved by Grace, through faith. No more. No less.

Even so, I caught myself telling him things I don’t typically share with people in my comedy group. Like how I wasn’t raised in a church. I don’t talk about that. Must have needed to.

 I caught myself wanting to know who they really were and even tried to trick them at one point. The Holy Spirit tweaked me on that one and I apologized.  I finally gave up the ghost.  I believe that God puts people in our lives for a reason. This weekend I needed a prayer partner. I was genuinely upset about something and had requested prayer for a person. I failed to explain that I was on the ceiling myself over the situation but somehow talking with them calmed me down.

Ministry can do that. So many people are hurting in this world and I’ve yet to find a channel or way to listen to their hurt without drowning in it myself. I never want to become so cold-hearted that I feel nothing when someone shares pain. Even so, balance is good.

 I needed someone to talk to and this person was there and I appreciate that.

Truth is, knowing me, as much as I’d like to believe I’d be fully myself I’d probably try to impress them with my brilliance or baffle them with my BS and neither sounds satisfying. 

God gave me an ear to listen, and heart to hear and prayers when I needed them most.

Not knowing who he really is, keeps God’s face ever before me. — And for that, I am thankful.

“I will not wish thee riches nor the glow of greatness, but that wherever thou go, some weary heart shall gladden at thy smile, or shadowed life know sunshine for awhile. And so thy path shall be a track of light, like angels‘ footsteps passing through” — Words on a church wall in Upwaltham England

Why do you Want to Lose Weight?

Note: My stats are showing more and more people searching for bulimia — I don’t have the answers. That’s why I’m posting this tonight. I am receive a dozen or more hits every day now wanting to know about bulimic prayers, hope, healing, etc.  I’m just now coming face to face with the damages I caused my body when I was younger. While I no longer physically purge food — I was released from that captivity several years ago –  I do still at times over eat, over exercise,  and starve for the wrong reasons. — if any of this is an issue for you, please please PLEASE check out the page my friend gave me.  Setting Captives Free.  I’ve committed to it myself, starting today. It’s a wonderful sight. Thanks.

The first question I see in every weightloss program I’ve ever tried is “Why do you want to lose weight?”

That’s a loaded question, don’t you think? Why do any of us want to lose weight?

To:

  • Fit in that new dress / bathing suit.
  • Look good for vacation / wedding / class reunion.
  • Find a Mate. (Already have one)
  • Build my self-esteem
  • Be healthy and live longer.
  • Get my blood pressure and sugar back down to reasonable levels.
  • Be more successful as a worker / performer / speaker
  • Finally wear skinny jeans again.
  • Receive positive attention from others.

Lots of choices to that question, but something tells me (other than looking ahead) all of my answers are incorrect.

I ran into an old friend this weekend. Someone I hadn’t seen in ages. She looked great. What I noticed first though, was her eyes. They had this light that I feel like I’ve lost.  I wanted to know what she was doing differently. I mean I’m reading the Bible. I’m praying, I’m studying healthy eating habit and I’m exercising.

I’m.

I’m.

I’m.

I’m.

hmmmm

 

Then she said something really great – eating disorders cover false idols.

I had never until that very moment thought of the idol of being thin.

It was a total “aha” moment for me.

It was immediately obvious that I’m doing something very different from what she is doing. She’s living to honor God, I’m living to get thin again. No wonder my eyes look tired and her’s don’t.  If I’m is a contraction of I am. Maybe I’m focusing on the wrong I AM?

I wonder.

Think about it.

An idol is a false god — something that replaces the real God we have in Christ.

CONFESSION: Every single reason I have ever – in my life – had, for wanting to lose weight — is an idol. Approval, self-esteem, respect, personal health, success, control. None of my choices had anything to do with God. No wonder I continue to  fail. I’ve made it all about me.

What about you?

What is your reason for wanting to lose weight?  

  

This post written by Deana O’Hara for Redemption’s Heart: Confessions of a Spiritual Bulimic. All rights reserved. No goods or services were given in exchange for the endorsement of Setting Captives Free. I am only sharing a resource that I myself find to be very useful.

 

My name is Deana and I am bulimic

Eating Cake on my second birthday.

There is a sentence I never thought I’d say or write, but it’s true. Looking back at my MIL’s photo album from the last 22 years, I can’t help but see it. My 5’4” frame has varied in weight from 127 – 210 pounds and back again since I was 13. Today, I am somewhere in the high end of the middle. My joints hurt, I tire easily, and my eating disorder has stolen more than I can even count right now.

 I read Anne Lamott’s Traveling Mercies while I was recovering from my hysterectomy this summer and while I cannot relate to her stories of alcoholism, I can relate to her chapter on bulimia. In that chapter she writes about learning how to feed herself. I read that and realized that I too do not know how to feed myself, physically, emotionally, or mentally. I can relate to her resentment over having anyone control her drinking because I feel the same way about my eating. I have refused groups like Overeaters Anonymous because I don’t want anyone telling me what to eat and when or where to exercise and how.  I’m like a two year old with a “Me do it” mentality. I have gone so far as to ask a friend in OA which “control freak” groups to stay away from so that I could stay in control of myself. I didn’t like his answer and I simply resolved to try harder. I’m failing at it miserably by the way – go figure.

 Seems I live that way a lot. Try harder and it’ll all work out. I’ve been a member of the Al-Anon Family Groups since 1977, you’d think I’d know better but apparently I don’t always.  God and I are working on that.

 Redemption’s Heart is still the main name of my blog.

 Isaiah 43  1 But now, this is what the LORD says— he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you;  I have summoned you by name; you are mine.”

You may notice that I added the phrase “Confessions of a Spiritual Bulimic” to my title. I’ve done that because my bulimia has over time become a life mind set; it over flows into everything I do. I binge on whatever it is that feels good or fills me up at the moment only to find that it doesn’t sustain. Filled with shame and guilt, I purge my emotions, my calendar and sometimes my food and vow to do better next time. It simply fits my story.

 For those who’ve been with me since the beginning, you know that Redemption’s Heart does not follow a nice clean churchy path. It is one of starts and stops, highs and lows, mixed with moments of amazing clarity and foggy confusion. I have been rejected by more churches than accepted by; refused baptism by one priest and therefore baptized in a tradition I’ve never belonged to (Episcopal); I’ve met the Maharishi, offered unwitting prayers to Sova (transcendental meditation); met the King of Sweden; believed in the healing power of crystals; studied Wiccan; practiced Tai Chi; read tarot cards as if they were real; contemplated (and eventually rejected) the possibilities of reincarnation; prayed in tongues (yes, I have that gift and will write about it later); prayed with groans when nothing else sufficed; prayed scripture; prayed to saints, dead relatives, God and the Virgin Mary. I have even conversed with Mary in dreams and argued with the devil himself.

 Somewhere in there I married a Missouri Synod Lutheran.

My road has been well-traveled my friends, and I, like St Augustine, know that it is God who has called me by name. When I am tired of listening to my own voice, I remember to get still again and listen to his.

Most of my readers were Lutheran when I first started writing and as a result, mixed with a deep seeded desire to fit in and please, I try to keep my posts what I call “Lutheran Friendly.” Today my readership is mixed. Some of you are Catholic, Baptist, Buddhist, Charismatic, Muslim, Jewish, Wiccan, and even Agnostic. We are an eclectic community in this little slice of cyber space and I am thankful for each and every one of you. I simply ask that in our conversations we stay polite and kind with each other.

 There will be posts and thoughts about God and life that you can resonate with and there will be posts that will probably violate all sensibilities and make you think. I think that is a good thing.

 I’m not here to discuss politics – in or out of church – nor am I here to convince you that I’m correct in my assessments of life or of God. I don’t know all of the million dollar words that makes Christians sound so well-educated.  I’m a traveler in this world, just like you. I’m really here because, well – I’m growing my voice and this seems to be the best way to do that. I’m humbled by the reality that many of you have chosen to join me in this journey.

 I will still review books, offer resource recommendations and talk about my daily life – perhaps ad nauseam some times and in that mix I will share with you my steps, my stumbles, my neuroses, and my prayers.

 Thank you for joining me.

This post written by Deana O’Hara for Redemption’s Heart. All rights reserved. August 12, 2010