Ester Marsh: Temptations

Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 24, 2022

We have many temptations nowadays, especially with the world as close as a click with the mouse or phone.

Temptations come in all forms, such as how your body should look, more foods than we can imagine, the craziest computer games, gambling, sex, drugs and extremes in many directions. We have a saying in Dutch: “alles waar “te” voor staat is niet goed, behalve tevreden,” which translates roughly to “anything where too is in front is not good except too satisfied.” Too much exercise is not healthy, too much food is not good and too much TV, computer or phone is not healthy. We look around and see the news and follow events, and at times it’s all too much isn’t it? How about our individual struggles? Have you experienced any? I bet you have — life is too challenging to go through it unscaled. And with our challenges we grow and improve, and/or are better prepared.

One of my earlier challenges is that in my late teens and early 20s I struggled with bulimia. Bulimia is an eating disorder where the person is getting rid of the calories consumed. Most people think purging is only by vomiting, however, that’s a myth. Purging can take the form of laxatives, diuretics, exercising or fasting. It was one of my darkest times. Most people had no clue when I was going through it, and I was very good at hiding it. Each day I promised myself I would do better. But then again, I would use the scale if I could eat or not, or how many calories I needed to burn with exercise or purge. With time, hard work and dedication and the grace of God, I fully recovered from bulimia. I believe it made me a better health and fitness professional. When I see someone who struggles with weight, I don’t look at them and think “they eat too much”…I look at them and my heart hurts because most people don’t want to overeat. They feel true hunger, due to their stomach being stretched; overeat due to depression, boredom and so much more.

We all know the challenges we have seen (or experienced) with drug overdoses. Pain medications were overprescribed just a few years ago. How about the addiction to video games — due to the position most people sit while playing, there is strain on the neck which can cause neck and back problems. Even growing some “horns” on the back of the skull (internally) from the stress on those tendons so the body grows a bone spur.

When people can’t balance life between their health, life, work/school or hobbies and something becomes too much, challenges and problems can arise. How about gambling? Most people don’t go and want to blow their paycheck or savings on gambling. They think the next time they can win it all back and more. Especially here in Rowan County, we have acknowledged that there are some big problems. From addiction, to mental health and violence, just to name a few. There is help out there. You might have to look hard and jump through all kinds of hoops, but it is there. The most important part is when you or a loved one are struggling with an addiction, eating disorder, alcoholism, drugs, sex or gambling (to name a few) the first step is to acknowledge it. Then you need to accept it and find help. It took me a while to acknowledge that I was a bulimic. Hopefully your family and friends are a support system for you. So many people think that when you have an addiction, people do it to get attention, or to hurt other people or themselves. True, there are instances where that might be true, but I truly believe those instances are few and far in between. For immediate family and friends, an addiction affects everyone. I struggled with bulimia almost 40 years ago. It made me who I am today and when I am wondering “why,” I try to put myself in their shoes. I know how I tried and tried to do better each day and failed many times before it got better from bulimia.

Temptations are real and the devil is hard at work to steer us on the wrong path. So before you look at an obese person and “can’t believe they are that size and all they do is sit around and eat,” or a person who is addicted to drugs, sex or gambling, and think, “I can’t believe they are doing this, that or the other,” Matthew 7:1-2 says, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” And for the ones who follow other teachings, karma is a word that means the result of a person’s actions as well as the action themselves. So in essence, karma refers to both the actions and the consequences of the actions. I believe in both! Do not judge and what goes around comes around!

The definition of temptation is the desire to do something, especially something wrong or unwise.

We all have been tempted, so support through kindness, caring and respect. The world is crazy enough as it is, we must spread love.

Ester H. Marsh is health and fitness director of the J.F. Hurley Family YMCA.