Why “Do What Makes You Happy” is a Lie

We live in a society today that throws around man-written, fluffy, Hallmark-y quotes as if they are truth. I grew up thinking that something was true and meaningful and the basis of it “sounding” right.
But oh, how this simply does not make sense.

One of the most basic examples: Do what makes you happy. You do “you.” Whatever makes you happy! It’s all about you! Live life for you, who cares what anyone says?

If we all decided to live a life off “doing what makes us happy,” there would be a lot of people doing nothing but eating good food, watching television, and having sex. If it’s about ME, then the things I do are self-serving.

I’m not saying you’re not meant to be happy in this life. I absolutely believe the best and “truthful” life is a marvellously “happy” one. But I challenge you, if you haven’t before, to ask yourself: Upon whose words are you basing the foundation of your life?

The Word of God says that my STRENGTH comes from the JOY of the LORD. Not from “doing what makes me happy.”
Learning about the heart of God, then, and what He joys in, will draw us closer to His living, breathing Spirit that promises to live within us when we accept Him, becoming Himself 

our very lifeblood and strength. In myself, I am so utterly weak. The things that bring my “flesh” happiness are so fleeting and temporary. There is no joy in them. But the ROCK– the things that joy Him, bring us eternal, powerful, MOVING joy that pleases the only One who will sustain.

From where does your “happiness” come? From where does your “truth” come, and is it actually true?

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NEDA Week Link-Up

If you are unaware, this week is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week.

As my contribution, I wanted to link to some of my past posts, as well as some other blog posts, that I think bring important awareness to eating disorders for those who are unfamiliar with them.


Beauty Beyond Bones wrote a great article about NEDA’s “Come As YouAre” campaign.

Honestly, I really liked the campaign when I first saw it, because it depicts the truth: eating disorders are mental illnesses as much as they are physical ones. But this author makes some very important points that I completely agree with and think are incredibly relevant.

Another author writes about why she’s frustrated with NEDA Week, yet another article that my heart echoes, but also that challenged the calling I have personally felt to share my recovery.

That said, here is the link to my own updated post about my physical eating disorder recovery.

Almost four years ago, when I was blogging mostly about eating disorder recovery.

And, for anyone who may in the thick of recovery, here is one of the most tangibly helpful posts, by Julia Grigorian.

And finally, for anyone looking for what to say or not to say to a loved one struggling, here is a wonderful post for Elite Daily,

Hypothalamic Amenorrhea: My Top Five Resources

Happy Hump Day my friends!

I get questions from time to time about the advice I most often consult in terms of my hypothalamic amenorrhea. While I am not healed from it yet, I am doing better than I have been in years and years. I truly believe that full healing is coming.

Here is the advice that has helped me the most:

Kate Noel



Beauty Beyond Bones. Read THIS.

No Period Now What?

Since this has been one of the most asked about and read topics on my blog, I know that more of my readers are struggling with this than I may even know. The more actively I seek answers and remission, the more I feel called to share the journey, in hopes someone else will come to see the answers fruitfully.

I am praying for fellow women battling this, and trusting that this journey is producing a deep faith, ultimately making us better stewards of God’s faithfulness.




The Biggest Lie of Our Generation: The Worthy Image

I saw something today, on social media, ironically, that resonated with me deeply:

The biggest lie of our generation is that, if it’s not post-worthy, it’s not important.

I definitely agree that this is one of the most fundamental lies of our generation.

I think it’s okay to desire excellence in what we do. As someone who posts Instagram photos for the cafe I work for, I care about the quality of the photos and their edits. But nowadays, paying big bucks for presets for photos on personal Instagram accounts is the norm. There are “rules” around how often to post, and how to structure captions. And I am saddened by how many women have told me that they use apps to shrink the body parts they want to appear smaller and enhance the ones they would like bigger, and I know this isn’t just limited to women.

If it’s not “beautiful” in the eyes of man, in the eyes of human-decided norms, it’s not “good enough.” But this could not be further from the truth.

The post went on to say that most of the things that God cares about are not even seen by man, or recognized by anyone but Him. If we do things for the purpose of being SEEN by others, in general, we are not living for His glory.

“Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” LUKE 12:7

How unfathomable is it that God knows every inch of our hearts, minds, and souls… even our physical bodies… and says He could not possibly love us more than He already does, let alone less? Only Jesus… only Jesus.

Rather than putting any of my energy or attention into people seeing me, noticing me, or lifting my own name or persona, I pray that this would be a year in which God would show me how to simply bring glory to HIS Name, the only perfect lover. The only worthy image.

PHYSICAL EATING DISORDER RECOVERY PART 2: Slow Progress is Still Progress

Hi Friends!

Because I get more questions about this topic than anything else on the blog, I figure it’s something people are either interested in, experiencing, or want light shed on. I also think it’s important to talk about, remembering that I am not a doctor, physician, nor do I have any nutrition credentials. I can merely speak from my own experience.

To read what I wrote earlier about physical AN recovery, head here.

Now, since that post, written about 8 months ago, I am up another five pounds, 18 lbs above my lowest scale weight. I do not weigh myself besides for doctor’s appointments, but I do think it’s interesting to note, especially in light of the fact that I see it as progress. I used to be petrified of gaining weight. But I feel healthier, stronger, and more confident than ever knowing that this weight remission has been achieved.

I also have grown an entire inch in the last year or so, confirmed by my doctor. This figures into some studies that have shown that anorexia, especially among teenagers between 12-16, which is a fundamental age range for growth and development, can stunt growth for a long period of time. Studies have also shown that proper restoration of nutrition can allow for the time span of growth of bones and height to lengthen, or be “made up for” later in life. For me, that was this past year, at 20-21 years old, I guess.

Because, when my height was taken accurately at my doctor’s a few weeks ago, I came in at 180 cm, or 5’10.86″, when a few years ago I was just UNDER 5’10”.

My body has clearly used the extra food and extra rest I have focused on allowing it to repair itself. It was after a month of little to no exercise, and lots of holiday food, that I got my period on New Year’s Eve.

I haven’t seen one since then, but I am hopeful that my physical body is *finally* coming into its own. And I really do have only Jesus to thank.

In my last post about physical recovery, I decided that I would only provide advice when I had had 3 consecutive periods. This has not happened. I have, however, only been seeing good progress (slow weight gain and one period, yay!), and am somewhere in the middle of that kind of victory. On my way, believing for it.

And so, I thought I would share some insights from the middle of this journey.

The importance of food for health cannot be mistaken. 

I was only severely under-eating to the classification of anorexia for about 8 months of my life. Many people are in that boat for YEARS. While the damage is not irreversible, it can be long-lasting. I still deal with lost hair, bone loss, appetite struggles, digestion problems, hormonal imbalances, and amenorrhea. Adequate nutrition is crucial to our daily activities, for our brains, not to mention our social functioning.

It is okay for me to believe in, promote, and be passionate about healthy eating.

It took a long time for me to say this without feeling “guilty,” but I am genuinely passionate about healthy, clean eating. I believe in a mostly whole-foods based way of eating. I cringe at some of the fillers and additives in our “food” sources today. AND, I know that “hyper-clean-eating” is just as toxic, if not, in many cases, MORE toxic, than those unhealthy foods. I’ve found “balance”– called Jesus. I genuinely prefer the taste and preparation and fuel whole, “healthy” food provides, but I have no fear of treats. Food just “is” now, and, for me, it’s an exciting part of life that brings me MOST joy when it’s shared with others, communed over, and fellowshipped over.

Slow physical progress is still progress. 

There is surely no “one size fits all” in eating disorder recovery, but mine has been quite slow. Or, at least, it has felt quite slow. I have been actively trying to gain weight for over two years, and it has taken that much time to put on 18 lbs– but, heck, my body’s been doing what it needs to. It’s been sorting it out and learning to trust me after what I’m sure was a very confusing few years.

Weight does redistribute.

Multiple times throughout recovery, I have felt frustrated that weight gain wasn’t going to the places I wanted it to. In reality… it was sitting in my stomach. I was constantly bloated, and I do still struggle with this, as we all do. But the weight has slowly dispersed its way to other parts of my body– only as I’ve kept up my regular eating habits. For an excellent article on weight redistribution in recovery, head here.

Food knowledge genuinely CAN fade into the background.

There is one aspect of ED that I consistently thought would never “go away,” and that was simply the vast knowledge I have about nutrition.

Spending so much time consuming the over 60-billion-dollar weight loss industry, I also consumed so much food/exercise stats in a very self-focused way (can we talk about how self-centred anorexia itself is? That is not to say a person suffering from the disorder intends to be– but, rationally, the disorder very much promotes self-focus).

I still do know so much about food and nutrition, and would be lying if I said I don’t still sometimes see food as numbers. By the grace of God, I know I’m not meant to base eating on numbers, but I still know them, if that makes sense.

But, TRULY, with time, such unimportant facts have become less and less apparent in my brain.

The most prominent example in my brain: I have the most vivid memory of being 14, at the height of my bulimia, and I had cognitively chosen to restrict my food intake that day.

I remember actually saying to my mom, “I have sixty calories left, but I can’t decide if I should have a tablespoon of honey in my tea, or a few grapes.” She didn’t say much, and I knew she was worried.

Now I happily add as much unmeasured honey to my drinks as I desire, and would pluck grapes off any snack tray, thank-you very much.

Any specific questions about eating disorder recovery/mentality/physicality I am always happy to answer, remembering everyone’s experience is different!

As always, thank-you for tuning in. xx

ISAIAH 43:2:

When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.

Canada’s 2019 Food Guide: A New Lens

Since the ringing in of a new year, perhaps you have come across this image:



And you’re probably familiar with this now dated one too:

Many people are loving the new “food guide,” so perhaps my opinion will be unpopular one. But I have been itching to write about it, if only to provide a new lens about this whole “guide” thing any way.

First of all, I prefer the second image to the first… but not by much.

I prefer the second image, the old food guide, because of words such as “recommended” and “variety.” The general impression from this food guide is a lot more open. The servings it lists seem to be suggestive, not imperative.

The new food guide, however, includes much more imperative wording, which, for some people, can be triggering, or dangerous. Allow me to elaborate.

Having been diagnosed with four different eating disorders from the time I was 12-16, I have a firsthand understanding of the way this mental illness manipulates information about food to destruct. If my old “orthorexia brain” saw that first food guide and decided the guide was going to be its bible, as is what literally happened to me with other guides,  it would have read the following:

Choose whole grain foods? This clearly means that every grain that passes your lips has to be WHOLE grain. No additives or preservatives. Only grains that contain the germ. Only organic.

Make water your drink of choice? You can most certainly only drink water, then. No other beverages under any circumstances!

Eat protein foods. Ooh, this clearly only refers to complete proteins, like 100% lean chicken breast with no skin and egg whites.

Have plenty of fruits of vegetables? Perfect, so I’ll eat ONLY organic fruits and vegetables, with maybe one whole grain and one lean protein a day and tons of water. It’s a good thing I’m allergic to dairy, because apparently that’s no longer allowed for Canadians!

If the mental illness I struggled with would have deemed that guide the be all/end all, it would have been quite strictly just so.

Now, I completely understand that the majority of people see food guides like this and completely take them with a grain of salt. Utilize them as information to guide their understanding of some proper nutrition, and forget about it.

But I felt this needed to be written, because I know that, knowing the nature of eating disorders, someone out there at this very moment is actively engaged in a legalistic eating disorder that somehow involves this new food guide.

This is one of the reasons I have a passion for effective and clear communication. If this guide’s intended purpose is to provide general information for nutritional considerations, it should clearly say so, rather than trying to achieve a trendy, plain-language aesthetic. I’m just sayin’.

And I’m not hating at all on attempts to provide nutritional information, but rather providing a new lens on the way this is put out there (Is this suggesting that people should never eat chips, candy, their friend’s homemade cookies, drink hot chocolate, etc.? If it is not, it should say so).

I am passionate about LIFE outside of FOOD RULES. I know what it’s like for life TO BE food rules.

What was your reaction to the new food guide? Let me know in the comments!

 

I Believe Bible Study Registration

Study Title: “I Believe” Bible Study in Partial Fulfillment for Christian Studies and Global Citizenship Undergraduate Degree

Principal Investigator: Cassandra Wolfe

I am a student at Wilfrid Laurier University, in Department of Christian Studies and Global Citizenship & English Literature. I am planning to conduct a Bible study, which I invite you to take part in. This form has important information about the reason for doing this study, what I will ask you to do if you decide to be in this study, and the way I would like to use information about you if you choose to be in the study.  

Why are you doing this Bible study?

You are being invited to participate in a Bible study about the results of abstaining from, “fasting,” a particular activity that has been prayed about for a period of time, and spending intentional time in prayer and with God instead. I, the creator and researcher, believe that more time with God and in prayer, and intentional sacrifice, results in a less selfish attitude, and a more others-oriented lifestyle.

What will you do if you choose to be in this Bible study?

You will be asked to follow along with the content posted on a private blog page for which you will be given the password for seven weeks, participating in the comments section as you are comfortable and feel called. New posts will occur every Wednesday evening at 8pm EST, beginning Wednesday, March 6th, and ending Wednesday, April 17th, and will include discussion questions and prompts for the week. Week 1’s content will include how to go about choosing an activity to fast, and we will share what we are fasting in the comments section by the following week. The discussion board will be available for comments throughout the week. Only those who have signed up for the study will be able to see your comments. You will be encouraged to share your experiences and participate in discussion about relevant Scripture, but never forced.

I may quote your remarks in presentations or articles resulting from this work.  A pseudonym will be used to protect your identity, unless you specifically request that you be identified by your true name. You are also welcome to use a pseudonym as your blog name for participation. It is up to you what you want to get out of this study and learn from it, and that does not need to involve others knowing your identity if you feel you would be more willing to participate anonymously.

You will be asked to refrain from overly personal or potentially triggering information using best judgement.

What are the possible risks or discomforts?

To the best of my knowledge, the things you will be doing have no more risk of harm than you would experience in everyday life.

However, depending on the nature of your fast, you may experience various emotions in participating in discussions. You ALWAYS have the right to refrain from participating in conversations, and requesting that a discussion be halted.

As with all research, there is a chance that confidentiality of the information we collect from you could be breached – we will take steps to minimize this risk, as discussed in more detail below in this form.

What are the possible benefits for you/others?

The possible/expected benefits to you from this study include…

-A deeper relationship with God

-A broader understanding of Scripture related to fasting and prayer

-A renewed prayer life

-Higher productivity

-Reduced selfishness and greater compassion

How will I protect the information I collect about you, and how will that information be shared?

Results of this study may be used in publications and presentations.  Your study data will be handled as confidentially as possible. If results of this study are published or presented, individual names and other personally identifiable information will not be used. Any information I have your permission to keep will be kept on my private Google Drive account, not accessible to others, and will be used only for the purposes of my final presentation and paper. While confidentiality between participants will be requested, it, of course, cannot be assured of.

Financial Information

Participation in this study will involve no cost to you.

What are your rights as a Bible study participant?

Participation in this study is voluntary.  You do not have to answer any question you do not want to answer.  If at any time and for any reason, you would prefer not to participate in this study, please feel free not to. If at any time you would like to stop participating, please tell me. We can take a break, stop and continue at a later date, or stop altogether. You may withdraw from this study at any time, and you will not be penalized in any way for deciding to stop participation.  

If you decide to withdraw from this study, I will ask you if I am still able to quote any of what I have learned from your time in the study.

Who can you contact if you have questions or concerns about this research study?

If you have questions, you are free to ask them now. If you have questions later, you may contact me at any time:

Cassie Wolfe

519-570-8939

wolf3740@mylaurier.ca

Consent

I have read this form and the Bible study has been explained to me. I have been given the opportunity to ask questions and my questions have been answered. If I have additional questions, I have been told whom to contact. I agree to participate in the Bible study described above.

By registering for the online Bible study, you are agreeing to the information presented above and agreeing that all of your questions have been answered. To register for the online Bible study, simply fill out the form found here. You will be notified of the password for all the content by Wednesday, March 6th, 2019.

Again, for all the information about the Bible Study, the vision for it, and the research that has gone into it, head here, and peruse all the posts!