Case Study: When Thin Is In

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Mable has been a Christian for 25 years. She just turned 42 and is a member of a solid church. Mable’s husband divorced her nine years ago and she has not remarried. Her current dress size is zero.

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It evident that she is thin, and rarely can you have a conversation with her in which she does not mention her weight or clothing size. And when Mable is not at a church function she is in the gym.

Along with church and working out Mable’s other “obsession” is food. She will go on fasts where she gives up entire food groups for a year! Her reasoning is that she believes she will draw closer to God by giving up certain foods. Frequently, you will hear her comparing herself to other women her age and how she “looks better” than them. On other days, she talks about how fat or bloated she feels.

Her life seems to move in these contradictions. Though she comes across as an intensely private person, you get daily debriefs on her weight, thoughts about individuals, food, and other related issues.

Case Study Questions

  1. What is Mable’s biggest problem? Why did you answer that way?
  2. What is it about the gospel that she is not grasping?
  3. What questions would you like to ask her?
  4. How would you prioritize the idols in her “idol factory.” Here’s the list: self-righteousness, control, comfort, guilt, and fear. Why did you put them in the order that you did?

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