I pressed the buzzer of the locked unit. The head nurse let me in.
I found the way to Mary’s room. She went inpatient because of the complications caused by her eating disorder (anorexia nervosa). Despite all our efforts Mary’s condition had now become life threatening – malnutrition. Mary was going to die if she didn’t begin to eat. Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness.
To be diagnosed with anorexia, a person must exhibit a variety of symptoms. The symptoms most intriguing to me have always been :
Have a body image that is very distorted–Typically they view themselves as fat when they are in reality significantly underweight!
Another symptom of interest-
Refusal to admit the seriousness of being underweight–Regardless what the doctor or anyone else says!
Despite counseling Mary continued to view herself as too fat -even though she was around 80 pounds at about 5’6″. IF Mary keeps her starvation habits – she was going to die – regardless of what she believed. I’m still amazed at the power of the mind – why she couldn’t see her starving body the way everyone else saw it? (Needless to say I gave up my career working with eating disorders and began to refer.)
Our weight conscious society, knows exactly how many calories the body needs to remain healthy. We are all familiar with the old food pyramid guiding us on what to eat.
Just like our physical body requires calories to burn so does our spirit! Dealing with difficult life challenges on limited “spiritual calories” is like trying to run a marathon on limited “nutritional calories.” (I’ve noticed the good athletes always “carb up” before a big race.)
Mormon Lite Diet Plan
Like the person with anorexia distorts the body image, I believe many of us distort the strength and health of our spirit. In reality we are spiritually underweight and anorexic but when we look in the mirror we think we see that we’re spitirually “fat” and “all is well.” (See 2 Nephi 28: 21,24) For some, we think if we go to church on Sunday for the 3 “required” hours and say a couple of prayers during the week – we’re good and ready to run the race.
It’s been my experience in the helping profession many collapse from spiritual fatigue as they face life challenges and temptations. The spiritual demands can exceed available “spiritual calories.”
To meet the difficulties that are coming, it will be necessary for you to have a knowledge of the truth of this work for yourselves. The difficulties will be of such a character that the man or woman who does not possess this personal knowledge or witness (sufficient Spiritual Calories) will fall. If you have not got the testimony, live right and call upon the Lord and cease not till you obtain it. If you do not you will not stand. …The time will come when no man nor woman will be able to endure on borrowed light (Spiritual Calories of another). Each will have to be guided by the light within himself. …If you don’t have it you will not stand; therefore seek for the testimony of Jesus and cleave to it, that when the trying time comes you may not stumble and fall. (Valiant In The Testimony of Jesus Ezra Taft Benson)
You’re Going To Die!
If you’re taking in only 500 “spiritual calories” and require 20,000 to successfully deal with your upcoming week’s stress and temptations, by Tuesday you’ll be spiritually hungry and weak!
Your spirit is dying.
If one fails to eat and drink, his body becomes emaciated and dies. Likewise if he fails to nourish his spirit and mind, his spirit shrivels and his mind darkens. (President Spencer W. Kimball, Miracle of Forgiveness, pg 93)
Burger King Whopper, 628 each; French fries, 1 serving 227; & Vanilla milkshake, regular 321. Attending all Sunday Meetings, 516; Reading the scriptures, 321; & Helping my neighbor 198. You get the idea.
No way would you expect you or your children to go a day or two without physical “calories” for the bodies.
How long have you went without consuming “Each of the Spiritual Food Groups” shown at the right –> ?
You want to remain spiritually healthy? Consume as many calories from as many spiritual food groups as you can every day.
“… If you would have a strong spirit which has dominance over the body, YOU MUST see to it that your spirit receives SPIRITUAL FOOD and spiritual exercise. …” (The Fulness of the Gospel: Putting Off the Natural Man, Ensign, July 2006)
There is no substitute for taking time to immerse one’s self into God’s word and feeling the reassurance of the Holy Ghost. Culture has changed, but how to maintain a healthy spirit has not!
The arithmetic of the ten virgins (Matthew 25) is chilling. The ten virgins obviously represent members of Christ’s Church, for all were invited to the wedding feast and all knew what was required to be admitted when the bridegroom came. But only half were ready when he came. (Preparation for the Second Coming, Dallin H. Oaks)
Gain “spiritual weight” by consuming more “spiritual calories.”
Do the little things… like say the prayer on the food (231), help your children say personal prayers after you finished family prayers (412), etc. etc.
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