Last December, while searching for books to review, I stumbled upon Made to Crave by Lysa TerKeurst. I was unfamiliar with the author but found many books by her with raving reviews and as a seasoned Amazon shopper that means BUY =D
With obesity rates rising, it’s no secret that food is a big problem in our world today. Though this isn’t my specific area of weakness, sex and food addiction are closely related, so I decided it would be a great selection to review. Little did I know God had a different reason for me to read this book.
On a seemingly normal Saturday afternoon, I was reading along when all of a sudden God snuck up and healed a deep emotional wound from my childhood! Just like that. Out of the clear blue. Healing came through Chapter 14 ironically titled Emotional Emptiness.
To process her own childhood emotional wounds, Lysa used Philippians 4:8:
“Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.”
So as I read how Lysa processed her painful memories, I processed my own unmet nurturing needs. Here are excerpts from my journal:
What is true about my childhood? It is true that by father was emotionally unavailable, an alcoholic, sex addict and womanizer. It is true that my older brother was born handicapped and my mother wasn’t able to give me the nurturing I needed because she had to care for my siblings. It’s true momma did the best she could. She didn’t reject me on purpose, she was just running on her own strength and didn’t have enough to go around.
What is right about my childhood? It is right that my mother did all she could to care for my brother. God just whispered to me – if our roles had been reversed – if I had been in the wheel chair, my mother would have done the same for me!
What is pure, lovely, admirable and praiseworthy in my childhood? What if I change my perspective on this emptiness and feeling of lack? What if I look back at this memory and see it as a sacrifice of love for my brother so that he could have the care that he needed most? Jesus doesn’t see His wounds as a victim but as a sacrifice of love. I mustn’t see the empty places as lack for me but as a gift to my brother and sister. By doing this my perspective changes to purity of heart, loveliness for my brother, my sister, and my mother. Seeing the positive vs. the negative allows my pain to become something admirable and praiseworthy.
Needless to say, I wasn’t expecting a surprise healing that day. One thing I know, is that my burden is gone. I am free from that empty pain of lack!
Our cravings may come in different packages but the bottom line is still the same: we’re all trying to fill our spiritual emptiness, to moisten our dried up hearts with pleasures found in the world. It won’t work no matter how hard we try. It seems the harder we try the deeper the hole gets, and the less satisfaction comes until we are so numbed that we can’t feel our brains think any more.
Whatever your weakness: food, sex, gambling, shopping, media… You will find help in this book. Where the word food shows up just fill in your particular weakness. That’s what I did and it worked for me!
I highly recommend Made to Crave by Lysa TerKeurst. It’s an easy read, with touching personal stories sure to reach a spot in your heart. There are study guide questions at the end of each chapter that make it perfect for small groups to work together.
|Are you always trying to measure up to others?
Growing up, and even as an adult, I was always comparing myself to others. I don’t know about you, but I could never measure up. Clothes, hair, intelligence, abilities… it didn’t matter. I had myself under a microscope seeing every fault but never seeing the good. This kept me in a constant state of discouragement and feeling inferior to everyone.
When we grow up in an environment where individuality isn’t celebrated or encouraged, it’s very difficult to see ourselves as valuable. I don’t blame my parents, I know they did the best they could with what they had. Particularly because, they probably didn’t get the encouragement they needed as children either.
I am so thankful today for the gift of God’s Word that speaks truth into my life. That is the only way I can keep my head on straight. To see myself, the good, bad and the ugly; knowing that makes me who I am. God knows my weaknesses and my strengths. And if I turn them all over to Him, He can use them to do something wonderful.
Be intentional. Be committed. To walk according to God’s Truth. Finding His promises and declaring them over our life each and every day will keep us in the right frame of mind, appreciating ourselves in the big scheme of God’s plan. Our standards can only be His standards for our life and for what He designed us to be and do.
When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise. ~ 2 Corinthians 10:12
Do you struggle with feelings of inferiority? How are you working through that?
VIRTUE: a valued principle of good moral behavior; a holy habit.
forgiveness: the act of forgiving – to no longer feel resentment against an offender
VICE: a practice of wrongdoing, corruption of virtue, an unholy habit.
resentment: a sense of injury or insult regarding a person, an act or remark.
The process of forgiveness is neither simple nor painless. Before we can forgive others or ask others to forgive us, we must examine our relationship with God, accept the forgiveness He offers us and check if we have forgiven ourselves for wrongs we have committed.
Harboring unforgiveness, either against ourselves or others, blocks the Holy Spirit’s power in our lives. Sometimes it’s easier to forgive others than to forgive ourselves. I was told once when we refuse to forgive ourselves we are pridefully putting ourselves above God. Who are we not to forgive someone God has already forgiven? That puts forgiveness in a totally different perspective.
How do we forgive ourselves? Can we divide in two parts: one who bestows forgiveness and one who receives?
The essence of forgiveness concerns relationships not individuals. The process of forgiving ourselves takes place within our relationship with God. When we confess our wrongs to God and then receive the precious forgiveness He pours out on us we are cleansed of our wrongs and freed to no longer carry that burden.
Can we find freedom from the resentment we have for those who have hurt us?
It’s often said that “resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.” When we hang on to resentment, rehashing and recycling old hurts and anger, we are harming ourselves. The family member that hurt your feelings ten years ago probably doesn’t think twice about you. They have no clue you were hurt and are going on with their life. Yet you rehearse the anger and self-pity daily to the point of illness.
We have to let go. The price is too high to not forgive! People who forgive are happier and healthier than those who hold resentments. Studies show improved cardiovascular and nervous system function by those who forgive an offender. Forgiveness is not only powerful spiritually speaking but it is excellent for our health.
God forgave us so we too must forgive. God wants us to be healthy and happy and will give us the power to forgive if we put it in His hands. If we can see our offender as God does it makes it easier to let go of our pain. One of the best things we can do is start praying for our offender. As we do God can bring about healing in our wounded heart.
How can we know if we’ve truly forgiven someone?
Forgiveness requires hard work but it is possible. Forgiveness means that we aren’t going to let experiences from the past to control our future and keep us from the blessings God has for our lives. When we can honestly wish the best for the person who wronged us as God does for us, we are well on our way to true forgiveness.
Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. forgive as the Lord forgave you. ~ Colossians 3:13
Contemplate Forgiveness as you watch this beautiful music video by @Matthew_West. http://youtu.be/VquoupNiypI
Healing the Shame That Binds You
Health Communications, Inc.
1988 Revised 2005
John Bradshaw is a NY Times Best Selling Author, Educator, Philosopher, Theologian, Lecturer, Counselor, Emotional Health and Addiction Recovery Specialist. In 1999 he was selected by his fellow mental health professionals as one of the 100 Most Influential Writers on Emotional Health in the Twentieth Century. His insights on childhood and family relationships and the effects of issues like abuse, addiction, co-dependency and trauma have helped millions of people including myself.
I first read Healing the Shame That Binds You in 2006 when I was in the early stages of sobriety. I was terribly confused about my internal pain, why I had acted the way I did, why I destroyed my family and nearly myself. John Bradshaw’s book answered many of those questions, helped me better understand my family of origin and how it affected me as a child, adolescent and adult.
Quick disclaimer: this book isn’t written from a Christian worldview but that doesn’t preclude the information from being critical to healing. Poignantly, Mr. Bradshaw shares much of his own story… a recovering alcoholic, abandoned by his father at a young age and later sexually abused by a Catholic priest, this author personally understands the pain and torment toxic shame causes.
Healing the Shame That Binds You is extremely well written and easy to read with great charts and graphs that explain the challenging topics. But don’t mistake the ease of reading for fast processing. Those struggling with emotional wounds can expect this read to be slow and probably painful.
If you or someone you know is in the early stages of addiction recovery, have been abused or traumatized at any time in life, please consider this book. Healing the Shame That Binds You by John Bradshaw is one of the most important books for emotional healing.
Here is a sample of John Bradshaw’s teaching on YouTube. http://youtu.be/sr1vq5CfUYU