My Fitness

Sunday, October 8, 2017

case study - story of jen and me ETC

(ETC- Equipped to Counsel)

This week for homework in my ETC class we were supposed to read the case study for Jim. I renamed him Jen so that I'd be counseling a woman.

Jen has some sexual addictions she needs to be free of. A couple of times she had sex with a coworker as a means of escape and excitement during a stressful and lonely season. She knew God and His Word would be enough but physical pleasure sounded better. ...She has no accountability.

While I was reading Jen's story (which was much longer than that), I found my own sin staring back at me. I don't struggle with sexual sins, but the heart of the issues ring true for me. So when one of the homework questions asked what connection do I see between Jen and myself I had my answer ready.

My struggle is with food. Having dealt with anorexia and bulimia in my youth I've carried an unhealthy relationship with food ever since. I don't struggle with either of those sins now. But I don't know how to eat to the glory of God. I had been eating fine for quite some time. But now, I eat because I deserve it after having such a hard labor and delivery. I had a traumatic experience back in May that took awhile to get over but the food habits stuck. I had a bad day, or a stressful moment, or something good happened. I don't punish myself the way Jen does. But the same self idolization and pleasure-idolization are there in both of us.

When asked how I would help her, I summarized my paragraph with, "I want to help her articulate her reasoning so she will better understand her sin." Once she and I are able to see why we are sinning, we will be able to identify the tools we need to stop sinning.

I want Jen to get into accountability with community. So I confessed my struggle with my small group. I told them that I understand that something is amiss with my eating and that I don't know what to do. I said to them that I'd appreciate prayer and any insight that they could offer - and that's key to say that you want input. If someone doesn't want input, don't give it to them. If you're in community with people, you should want their input.

Someone suggested I read Made to Crave by Lisa TerKeurst. I'm about three quarters through it and here's what's been insightful:
Start identifying when cravings are associated with hunger and not. When craving food while not hungry realize that you are crazing satisfaction that can only come from God. Use those cravings as signals to pray.
Eve fell victim to the same schemes of Satan that we still do. First John 2:16 says, "For all that is in the world- the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and the pride of life- is not from the Father but from the world." See how that compares to Eve's encounter in Genesis 3:6 "the tree was good for food [desires of the flesh] delight to the eye [desires of the eyes] make one wise [pride of life]"
The book explained the desires of the flesh as "Cravings: meeting physical needs outside the will of God", the desires of the eyes as "lust: meeting material desires outside the will of God", and pride of life as "boasting: meeting needs for significance outside the will of God."
These are the same tactics that Satan used on Jesus in the desert. Matthew 4 says Satan temped Jesus with bread [desires of the flesh], with testing of God [boasting significance], and with ruling over nations [lust of the eyes].

In my ETC class two Sundays ago, we discussed how the enemy is not so creative and will aways rely on putting God's truth into question. Starting with Eve, he questioned the Truthfulness of God's Word (Genesis 3:1, Matthew 4:3), he lightened the Severity and Consequences of Sin (Gn 3:4-5, Mt 4:3-4), he challenged God's Holiness (Gn 3:5, Mt 4:5-6), and promised Glory Apart from God (Gn 3:5, Mt 4:7-10).

These two deception analyzers have been very helpful for me.

Another friend from my small group shared an article that stated in our society we do everything we can to not feel bad. If we start to feel bad we want it to end and often escape into food. But then we feel bad about eating, so we eat more so we won't feel bad, which makes us feel worse, and so the cycle goes. I do not like feeling bad. But I didn't realize I was trying to escape my feelings. Now that it's been pointed out, I've been able to rest and embrace whatever awkward feeling I have. Now that I'm able to articulate my behavior I'm able to deal with my sin.

And one final thought, "what if this battle with food isn't the curse we've always thought it to be? What is it's actually the very thing, if brought under control, that can lead us to a better understanding of God? What is we could actually get to the place where we thanked God for letting us face this battle because of the rich treasures we discovered on the battlefield?"(p105) Then I would be able to count it all joy. James 1:2

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