Tag Archive: youth


Unleashed

I went on a retreat with the youth from my church this past weekend. The theme for the retreat was “Unleashed.” Going into the retreat I had no idea what that meant and I was wondering to myself why they were calling it Unleashed. I soon found out what that really meant.

You see we have things in our lives that keep us in bondage, things we place before our relationship with Christ. These can be anything– internet, phone, television, video games, boys, texting, cell phones, self harm, obsessive focus on weight, eating, and exercise, beauty, money, caring to much about what people might think, you name it. There are so many things in this world that we get hooked on and tied down to. We tend to put these things first in our lives when what really needs to be first is our relationship with God. We were reminded this weekend that we need to be unleashed of these things that are holding us back from being our best in Christ. One of the youth leaders on the trip unleashed from the notion that she had to wear makeup so she didn’t wear any make-up during the retreat. We all have things that we need to let go of and give to Christ, things we need to be unleashed from. It’s when we are truly become unleashed from those things that we find lasting freedom in Christ.

“Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey-whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves of righteousness. I put this in human terms because you are weak in your natural selves. Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness. (Romans 6:15-19)

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1)

So I ask you this….what do you need to be unleashed from? What is holding you back from your relationship with God? What is keeping you enslaved?

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Spiritual Eating Disorders

 I know many of you struggle with physical eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia but is your spiritual life also disordered? There is a book that I have recommended on the Speak Don’t Bleed website called “Graffiti: Learning to See the Art in Ourselves” by Erin Davis. As I was reading through this book, something stuck out to me. In the book Erin talks about our beauty and how it’s affected by media. Erin talks about her struggle with a distorted self image. One of the chapters in the book is about Eating Disorders. One thing stuck out in this chapter of the book…in the chapter Erin parallels physical eating disorders with spiritual ones! So I wanted to devote this devotional to talking about how we can have a spiritual eating disorder and what we can do to be spiritually well nourished.

Spiritual Bulimia

In the book, Erin asks these questions that I think we all need to consider…“Do you binge on Jesus? Do you get filled up at camp or weekend retreats or on Sunday morning and then purge so that you can live the life you want to live? Instead of getting a steady dose of Christ through His Word, do you count on filling feasts of God every once in a while?”

We need to be constantly fed through God’s word, prayer, worship, and fellowship with other believers. This will give us the proper Spiritual nourishment that our mind, bodies and hearts need!

So consider this, are you a spiritual bulimic? What steps do you need to take to make sure you are getting spiritual nourishment?

Spiritual Anorexia (Col. 1:9-11)

Consider these questions, “Do you starve yourself of Jesus altogether? Do you go weeks and months without seeking Him in prayer, fellowshipping with other Christians, or digging into the Word? ”

I don’t know about you but I have had this experience. I have just gotten away from God. Let me tell you, missing one day of spending quiet time with God can throw you off and that one day can turn into a few days and then weeks. We need to be consistently, daily in the Word of God so that we can come to know Him more. He is our Father! What would happen if you didn’t spend time with your earthly father? You feel like you don’t really know him and you aren’t developing that relationship with him, well that’s the same way it is with God!

Are you a spiritual anorexic? How will you take action and get your spiritual nourishment?

Spiritual Stress Eating

Are you a crisis pray-er who runs to Jesus only when the going gets tough? Do you neglect Him when life is smooth but seek Him with urgency when the road gets rocky?

So many of us struggle with this one, don’t we? We just go to God when things get tough or when we need His help. But is this really growing a relationship with your Heavenly Father? How would you feel if your friend just came to you when they needed help and didn’t talk to you any other time?

So are you a spiritual stress eater? What action will you take to grow in your relationship with God?

Just like physical eating disorders can destroy your body, spiritual eating disorders can keep you from having the kind of relationship with God that God desires for us to have.


Interview with Erin Davis about her life experiences and her book “Graffiti: Learning to See the Art in Ourselves”.

1. What was your purpose in writing the book “Graffiti”?

“Graffiti” was originally written as a Bible study for a small group of girls I mentored. One of the girls in the group said that she would really like to learn how to feel better about her body. I started doing some research and couldn’t find a resource that approached the issue with the depth and Biblical insight that I knew was necessary. So, I wrote my own study. That six-week study changed my life. It changed the lives of the girls in that small group, and God has been so faithful to multiply that message. Ultimately, my desire is to see young women understand their value from God’s perspective. They can do that by really digging into His Word to see what He has to say about their value. It isn’t as simple as “God loves you just the way you are.” But He does love you, He did create you purposefully, and He does dedicate a lot of time in His Word to assuring you of your value. My purpose is to use those assurances found in Scripture to help girls develop a sense of value that isn’t shaken by the world’s standards or the opinions of others.

2. What has been the biggest struggle in your life and how have you overcome?

“Graffiti” is really the depths of my heart written down for all of the world to read. By far, my biggest struggle has been to see that I have value that isn’t dependent on what I weigh, what I accomplish, or what others think of me. That struggle has manifested in many different ways in my life including destructive relationship patterns, self-hatred, and disordered eating. Even though I accepted Christ at the age of 15, I still spent years battling anxiety and frustration because I didn’t understand my value. It wasn’t until I really began to study the Word of God that I found freedom in this area. It really didn’t matter what others told me about how God saw me, I needed to read it myself. God’s Word truly is living and active. Once I started reading that living Word and discovered all that God says about me, those chains really started falling off.

3. What advice would you give to girls who are struggling with their relationship with God and understanding their worth to Him?

Read His Word, read His Word, read His Word! That seems like a simple solution for me just to say “read your Bible more,” but I truly believe that His Word has the power to free us like nothing else does. Start reading it with the specific intention of learning what it says about you. It is no overstatement to say that from Genesis to Revelation, God declares your value to Him. I would also encourage you to be very careful what alternate messages your allow into your heart. Everyone knows that the World is pushing for a standard of beauty that isn’t real. But that doesn’t keep us from striving for it does it? Obviously we can’t hide in a hole and never see another airbrushed model again. But you can take some steps to guard your heart. Did you know that 70 percent of the women who look at fashion magazines reported feeling depressed, guilty, and ashamed of their bodies after less than five minutes of flipping through the pages of those magazines? Additional research has linked exposure to the unrealistically thin, young, and often airbrushed female bodies consistently portrayed in the media to depression, loss of self-esteem, and the development of eating disorders in women of all ages. That doesn’t seem like harmless entertainment! Make a conscience effort to get rid of as much of the World’s beauty messages as you can. That may mean that some magazines, television shows, or movies need to go, but I promise it is worth it! Finally, I would encourage girls to find a mentor who loves the Lord and can be a truth speaker when they are wresting with something. I have had mentors in my life ever since I came to know Christ and they have had a huge impact in my development of a women seeking to know and please the Lord. Believe it or not, your mom might be a great mentor (she wasn’t always your momma, she has been where you are!) If not, a friend’s mom might be great. Or your pastor or youth pastor’s wife might be a good fit. Just find a woman who is faithfully serving Christ, is committed to the Truth found in His Word and who you wouldn’t mind sharing a few cups of coffee with. And then…get talking!

The bible says “His ways are not our ways, and His thoughts aren’t our thoughts.” Yet He is wiser than any of our foolishness. God loves us so much that yes, He does hurt when we hurt  and understands our pain, but He loves us enough to allow us to go through some really tough stuff because He has a purpose in it. He knows that many times we don’t see the fullness of that purpose unless we struggle. Unless we go through the uncomfortable.

He doesn’t like to see us suffer but sometimes we need a little suffering to see the big picture and help us to grow in Him. He provides a way of escape for us though, He provides the comfort we need to make it through the tough places. I encourage you to read Psalm 18. It is an awesome chapter in the bible. It starts out with this “The cords of death entangled me; the torrents of destruction overwelmed me. The cords of the grave coiled aroun d me; the snares of death confronted me.” Have you ever felt that way? That your life was being taken from you. That the problems you faced were so horrible and huge that you just were in complete despair. And when we are in despair we ask God alot of “Why?” questions. Well continuing on in Psalm 18, verse 6, it says “In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help. From His temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into His ears.” The question shouldn’t be “Why is all this trouble happening to me? Why do you let bad things happen?” but rather “What do you want me to learn through this circumstance in my life? And how can I come through this with a different outlook on my life?”

The whole chapter of Psalm 18 comes from the experience of David in the bible and how Saul (the king) was chasing Him and out to kill David. David could have asked the “Why?” question but He used His bad experience to turn around and get the big picture on the situation. Yes, I’m sure he was scared, I’m sure He was desperate, I’m sure He was confused at why God allowed Him to be in this place at this time….but He went back to what He knew to be true of God and says in verse 32…”It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect….He enables me to stand on the heights…..You give me your shield of victory, and your right hand sustains me; you stoop down to make me great. You broaden the path beneath me so that my ankles do not turn.” God pushes us through trials and hard times to make us grow. To make us depend on Him. That’s “Why?” as we would say He allows bad things to happen. He isn’t a malicious God who is out to get us at every turn but He is a God of tremendous love and He knows what we need at any given time, even if it hurts! So next time you are struggling with something big in your life instead of asking God “Why is this happening?”, ask Him…”What are you trying to teach me?” It’s a hard thing to ask but the answer might just knock your socks off.

I wanted to say hello to all of our current Speak Don’t Bleed girls and welcome those who have found our blog through the website or from a search engine! I’m glad you found us! If you have any concerns or questions please email us at speakdontbleed@yahoo.com. I will be posting old devo blog entries so that you have the to reference back to!

Steph Lampman
Founder of Speak Don’t Bleed
http://www.speakdontbleed.com