Stephen A. Peterson
Roberta was an absolutely beautiful fourteen year old teenage girl of Filipino and Euro-American ancestries whose petite frame never carried more than ninety pounds. As a result, no one noticed that she was becoming thinner and thinner. It was not until she missed more and more school and her circle of friends began declining that her parents and closest friends began to worry and sought help for her. After learning Roberta’s patterns of behavior, it was determined she suffered from anorexia nervosa. Anorexia (the shortened description) is a psychosomatic malady manifested in a loss of appetite so severe that it may lead to death by starvation if not dealt with in time.
In Roberta’s case, it was determined that she feared the responsibilities that come with adulthood—that is, losing her childhood friends, having to leave home at some point in life. In essence, Roberta feared growing up and having to assume adult responsibilities. She thought by not eating she would remain a child, not have to face life and be loved by parents. Fortunately, the psychiatric and psychological teams were able to correctly and quickly diagnose Roberta’s problems. Therapy for Roberta was quickly started and progress has been observed with the hope that she will not experience serious relapses in the near future or permanent physical damage.
Roberta’s near tragedic behaviors have many parallels among members of the Christian family. Individuals suffer loss of appetite for the things of God. They fear the loss of friends, have hedonistic desires in mind that God does not approve or boredom with the activities and beliefs Christians have and share. These events and more seem to always occur when people of faith fail to understand the Lord’s commands and laws do not result in a tasteless, boring and overbearing existence with a God who is dead or non-existent, unloving or aloof. They lose sight of God’s unconditional love and, in many instances, immediately turn away from the responsibilities of the mature Christian. Spiritual malnutrition sets in. If such a person is not correctly and quickly diagnosed, he or she will die of spiritual malnutrition. However, the difference is if spiritual death occurs, a person may be revived although difficult in most instances.
Let us never as Christians fear growing up in the ways of God! Find nourishment and life in His Word and you WILL live forever! It’s His promise!
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