Can You Help?

Dear lovely blog readers

Have you got a minute for me to pick your brains?  I’ve been asked to do something and am not sure about whether to accept or refuse. Last night I was leaning towards ‘yes’, today I’m thinking ‘probably not’.

So here’s the query. There’s a two minute TV slot after the channel four news, called 4Thought.  Each week they ask a different question, and people comment on what their beliefs mean in this area. The interviewees are chosen to represent a broad range of faiths and perspectives – so there might be an atheist, a Sikh, an agnostic, a Christian and a Mormon.

Past questions include:

– is it a sin to be single?

-should euthanasia be legalised in Britain?

– can faith cure cancer?

– is suicide selfish?

– is mental illness ever a gift?

I’ve been asked to do one on the issue of food and faith. The way it works is that you go and are interviewed over an hour.  They then edit it down to about 90 secs of usable TV.

It’d mean talking about my history with anorexia and what food means to me today.  I’m guessing my bit would be the Christian perspective for the week.

Here’s my thoughts:

– on a personal level it’d be hard talking so openly about my struggles – especially since it’s not to a sympathetic Christian audience.  (I don’t mean that non-Christians aren’t sympathetic, but many viewers will disagree with what I’m saying (and then tell me so). That’d be hard, (as would having two secs of fame as ‘the anorexia girl’ – not quite what I’d choose).

– what if I’m misquoted or the editing represents something that a.) I don’t believe personally or b.) I believe but many Christians don’t.  For example, if asked what I think about the interplay between sin and sickness in eating disorders, a four-sec quote isn’t going to express that. And in any case, it’s my view, not The Christian Stance.

– I really, really want to honour Jesus and I think someone else could do this a lot better. As I write and speak it’s as a Christian who still struggles in a million areas; including sometimes food.  The only way I could speak is by being honest about this – and is that what a Christian looks like?  I know we won’t be completely sorted in this life – but there are degrees and I can’t help thinking it’d be better for someone with a better life and theology and recovery than me to do this.

– getting a recovering anorexic to talk about the Christian view of food.  Is that bonkers?  Misleading? Or helpful?

– will that 90 secs actually make a difference to anyone about anything? Is it an opportunity to share my faith – or just a bit of media fluff?  (I know the results are up to God, but frankly I’m quite scared and would like to Know It’s Worth It).


Sorry about this download.  I know in the grand scheme it doesn’t matter, but I don’t want to let Jesus down or speak for other people who know the issues better.

I don’t want to pretend to be something I’m not. But what I am is weak and proud and frightened and ashamed.

On this basis, have I any right to speak?  Will this bring shame upon the gospel and upon myself?

..What do you think?


37 thoughts on “Can You Help?

  1. I can only help on some of this – I know a good number of people through work who’ve been on 4thought. I’ve never heard anyone say that they were edited unfairly (more than one person finding it a good experience). So if you find something you really want to say on the topic with that audience I think you can expect it to end up as a fair representation of yourself.

  2. Oooh, hard choice I think.
    I do suspect that they may pare away any real choice things you will have to say- what can you do in 90 seconds?
    Yet God is God of big and TEENY and think about the mustard seed.
    You have every right to have your say.
    How could you bring shame?
    You have VERY personal experience of food issues and whatever you say will be true.

  3. Maybe you could ask people who have been on it about their experience?

    Do you know John Richardson, Ro Moody, Pod (is it?) the comms guy from UCCF?

    Personally, I reckon you’d be great! :) – [insert some kind of sound pious caveat about the grace of God etc.]

  4. Well the last paragraph more than qualifies you to speak on the subject… The gospel is exactly for the weak, proud, ashamed and frightened. I know you know that but it can’t hurt to say it again, loudly! A Christian can’t look any different, we have to be honest about our struggles, we’ve not been for too long now and the world needs to know we’re broken recipients of boundless love rather than pious sorted people.

    I’d say someone who looked really sorted would do more damage to the gospel as it’s then more about how great they are rather than how brilliant the gospel is.

    If that’s the only reason stopping you then you should do it…!

    As for the other concerns- they sound like good ones… here are some random thoughts that may or may not help!

    I guess you can only proffer your opinion and state clearly that this is how you’ve worked it out, and that other Christians might think differently…

    I don’t know how helpful the 90seconds really is but I know I’d rather you did it than someone else who I’d trust less to be honest and real about Jesus….

    My mate Sarah did one for the euthanasia topic and said they edited it fairly well and sympathetically..

    It’s always good to say no to stuff that might increase the pride…

    so there you go, you did ask :)

  5. A good friend of mine from our previous church spoke on 4thoguht about euthanasia, her husband died of cancer when he was 29. She was represented fairly in her 90 seconds and it sparked a lot of internet debate. Not sure how productive that debate was, but that’s the nature of internet debate!

    I’d be very happy to put you in contact with her to talk about her experience.

    Finally, I’d echo Marc in that I think you’d be great!

  6. I agree with others – 4thought is generally pretty good at letting people say what they want to, rather than editing to an agenda. I also think that you are brilliantly qualified to do this and you ought not to let fear and feelings of inadequacy stop you. As to what difference it can make – maybe none, maybe a lot. That’s not up to you. So mostly, I think that yes you should do it, but only you can make the decision knowing your own present situation and the stress that something like this would put on you.

  7. I think your honesty about all that you are makes you the perfect candidate quite honestly. The road to freedom with an eating disorder is a long one and has many ups and downs (I’m speaking as one who has recently been freed from compulsive over eating).

    God will use whatever you say for His glory so I wouldn’t worry about that. Your concern shows your heart and a heart for God to use what you say is all that God needs from you to use whatever you say for His glory anyway.

    I would say you have to be sure about whether or not you want to be known as ‘the anorexic girl from 4thought’ or not and how that might affect you in the long run.

    I also know that whatever you decide – God is with you and loves you more than you could possibly know. Your decision won’t affect that!

  8. Tricky… Do you get to see the 90 second edit and veto it if you don’t think it represents you/God/Christians/the point fairly? Personally speaking I think it sounds terrifying, but then again, I could never speak at publically at the London Women’s Convention, and you did and it was SO helpful, so maybe terror shouldn’t be the influencing factor. I don’t think any 90 second interview is ever going to encapsulate “The Christian Stance” but I’d rather you, who is good at getting to the nub of the issue and still pointing back to Christ, than, say, someone who was all wishy-washy and had never had a problem with food in their lives. Sorry, that’s not terribly helpful!

  9. Yes.
    You already speak to conferences and wrote a book. 90 seconds on tv should be no problem. You could always ask them if they’d let you see the final edit before running it if you’re that worried about being wrongly represented.

    You never know what will help people or make people think. Seeds fall in many places and although not all will grow, some will…. even if it’s just 1.

    Why turn down an opportunity like this when you agree to go and speak publicly in front of hundreds of people at conferences?

  10. “Do you get any say over the final 90-second edit, and if so how much?” would be the key question for me I think.

  11. Think of Moses. He thought he was the wrong person to go and tell the Pharaoh to let the Hebrews free from slavery. However God used him and he ended up leading a whole nation free! Through God you can do anything :)

  12. I could potentially be doing something very similar, so I understand your trepidation. However, as soon as I saw the point about you feeling you weren’t good enough, I felt completely inspired to tell you to do it, and felt confirmed to go ahead with my own similar situation.
    I agree with Lydia – Moses definitely didn’t think he was the right man for the job, but look what he did!!
    I believe if you were really uncomfortable about it, you would have said no immediately. The fact that you’re not sure shows that maybe you think it would be better to do it than to not and your fears about it, though entirely valid, are holding you back from potentially inspiring and blessing thousands of people. Step back and look at the wider picture – how much could this potentially benefit all the people that watch it? The things we do and say affect others in ways we can’t even imagine :)
    I’m also concerned about selective editing and other media tricks, but as you say, God knows what will happen and it will all be used for His glory in the end.
    Be strong and courageous!

  13. “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”

  14. Well, I too know someone who did 4Thought and felt they were fairly edited, so that should be OK. I know I only know you through your blog and your book, but I honestly cannot imagine many people LESS likely to bring shame to the gospel by what you say – much more likely that God in his grace will take what you say in your weakness and use it to adorn the gospel. 90 seconds may seem short, but may well trigger all sorts of discussions/thoughts in people watching. And who knows what God could in the lives of those present for the full hour of interviewing, who hear your story and hear you say that all your strength is in the Lord. So I say, do it, and let us all know when the interview will be so we can be holding you up in prayer.

  15. I actually think you’d be more than amazing, and would have the chance of planting some real seeds. i think you’re already such a walking talking example of someone who allows God to make their scars beautiful, tbat you can do this and you’d ace it. Please tell us when it’s on if you do!

  16. I will not comment on the religious aspects but knowing you as a person and the issues you have conquered the answer is YES – Go for it!

  17. THANK-YOU.


    …for taking the time to comment and for being so kind: I’d got myself in knots but am feeling a lot calmer now – and thanking God for putting me in a community of people with sensible heads. (Can I have you on standby for all my decisions??)

    You Rock.


  18. Ditto to most of the above – you’ll be great at it and whatever you say or do, however the tv people decide to edit it, God will use it to fulful his plan. My only caveat would be dependent on how you are and the stress it could put on you and G – having said that, God will help you handle that too!

  19. Well, another point to raise is that there will be a group of people talking to and filming you that will get the whole hour so they will hear your story in some depth and who knows what God may do with that?

    Having read some internet debate following newspaper blogs / 4thought tv stuff etc I think I’d advise that you NOT read any debate that may follow. It often seems quite ill considered and vitriolic and like they weren’t really listening to the author / speaker but such debate probably doesn’t represent the real thoughts and feelings of the majority of people who heard the broadcast so there’s not much point in exposing yourself to it.

    Please let us know when you do it if you do so people can be praying for you and for those who will hear it (or not, however you choose to jump!)

  20. Dear Emma

    I think you would show an honest, imperfect and humble view of being a Christian who struggles.

    What an encouragement to others who feel they are ‘not good enough’ to be a Christian?

    Jesus doesn’t care if you are not perfect – in fact he died because you are not.

    Do what you feel is the right thing – not the most comfortable thing…you probably already know it?

    Will pray for you :) I know it must be agonising – but you are better than you think you are – and all because you are willing to be honest about who you are and why you are made better in Christ.

    Sorry – I hope this helps

  21. Hi Emma,
    Yes I’d ask if you had any say over the final editing.
    But, either way, they can’t edit out your attitude towards these things. And in 90 seconds it’s how you speak as well as what you say that will touch people. I think you could do that brilliantly.
    Being honest about struggling with things will only show the gospel’s true heart. x

  22. Hey Emma. You don’t know me but I have been praying for you guys through Glen.
    I reckon God takes even the most awful situations and makes good out of it. So even if you do get hammered, taken out of context or just muck it up, He will use it. If He has led you to this point and your brave enough to jump (and it sounds like the right reasons) then go for it.

  23. Hi Emma, I think you know the answer to this! and it is yes! You cannot control what others do with your words. If they misrepresent them then you nor God would feel you made the wrong judgement. On the other side of the coin (the one I think is worth it) is that it may help a lot of other persons who have issues. God be with you in your decision. x

  24. Hi, last month I was asked to appear on a breakfast TV show to talk about my struggles( and ongoing recovery) with anorexia. I was terrified at the prospect and wanted to say no immediately. However my bible reading from Joyce Meyer’s book Love Out Loud talked of how when God gives us an assignment to do He also gives us the grace and strength needed to accomplish it. It said ” when we focus on ourselves , we will never develop confidence to fulfil God’s will, but when we focus on His strength, wisdom and power-then we realise we can do whatever He asks”. God opens doors but He can also close them. After much prayer I agreed to appear ( I was still terrified) but the piece was pulled at the last moment. To be honest it was a relief but I still had been willing to go for it.
    God can use you, as He has already has. Trust Him to speak through you and leave it in His hands.

  25. This sounds like a really cool thing :) i think all your concerns are valid ones, but also show why I think you’re well suited to it. I think a lot of people think Christianity is only for good people or hypocrites. Someone who can be honest about their weakness is what we need. As someone who personally struggles with it yet knows where the answer you’re better qualified than most. A personal experience often has more impact than a well-expounded theory. As others have said your sense of inadequacy is a good think – you can’t do anything without God anyway so it’s better that you go in realising that! Lastly, considering how much the way you communicate the gospel has affected me,I wouldn’t be surprised if it helps someone! Let us know what you decide and if you go for it, let us know when they’re recording so we can pray. :)

  26. It’s a tough call for sure.

    What do they really want, Emma? Do they want you – your story, or do they want a Christian view on food?

    How would people in your church family feel? That’s important too.

    It might be also helpful to ask how you might have felt in your lowest moments, watching a recovering anorexic speaking about a Christian view on food.

    Praying for you as you make this decision.


  27. Great points made by people… I think the thing to ask yourself is, do I think 90 seconds or however long it is, is enough to get my point across? Can i do it in that time and do it justice? If yes, then go for it – but DON’t DON’T read any of the comments on it when it’s posted online – that way lies madness. If no – then don’t go for it. Just because it’s a cool famousy famous opportunity doesn’t mean we necessarily need to do it. It’s about choosing the platforms that will allow you to get out your message – this may be a good platform, but it may not. There is a freedom that comes in feeling free to say no, as well as yes.
    much love! x

  28. Only just picked this up as visiting family – A friend did it on being DID and was treated very fairly – even in her Christian perspective. For what it is worth I would go for it and pray that just someone, even one person, sees it and is helped. It is an opportunity to have a voice and be an advocate….Much love.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *