Calling Out the Counterfeit Comforts

Robia saw the movie Flashdance when she was 12 and knew exactly what she wanted to do with her life.  She permed her hair, cut her sweatshirts and took jazz, ballet and tap classes after school.  After a few years, Robia was offered a dance scholarship at Dupree Dance Academy in Hollywood.  By the time she was 16, she landed her first professional job as a dancer in Debbie Gibson’s music video “Shake Your Love.”  Later Robia was signed by Prince to star as “Pearl” in all of his music videos for his album, Diamond and Pearls.  After the tour ended, Robia, then 22, felt she had peaked out as a dancer so she transitioned into acting.  A year later, Robia began appearing in popular TV shows including Beverly Hills, 90210 and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  “I was a girl who seemed to have it all,” says Robia.  Though she was confident on the outside, inside she was controlled by food, cigarettes and emotions.  “My deepest desire was to find freedom,” she says. “To be at rest on the inside and feel at ease with myself and my life.”  Robia turned to the New Age movement which is prevalent in Southern California.  “I had always believed in God, but knew there must be more to Him that I was currently experiencing.”  

One day at a casting office, Robia ran into a girl with “I Am” tattooed on the back of her neck.  Robia asked her if that was New Age.  She said, “No, I Am is the God of the Bible.”  When Robia asked His name, she said, “I Am.”  The girl with the tattoo pulled out a Bible and share the good news about Jesus.  Robia joined her at church that Sunday.  “What I was hearing about God started to make sense,” she says.  After a few weeks, Robia, then 27, gave her heart to the Lord.  “My life started changing right away!”

Robia says when she was 7 years old, she knew the exact number of calories in a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  Becoming a teen only made the situation worse.  Once, she and her best friend ate salads for lunch between ballet classes and ended up eating brownies.  Afterward, they decided to throw up.  From that point on, Robia says she used bulimia to control her weight.  Her struggle with food continued into her adult life.  Two years after she gave her heart to the Lord, Robia says some of her darkest days occurred after she became a Christian.  One day she cried out to God, “What is the problem? You need to show me what is going on here; I need answers! How do I get free?”  All of a sudden, she felt the Lord say, “You have too many counterfeit comforters.”  Robie says she had never heard that phrase before but realized that the Holy Spirit is called The Comforter.  “Food wasn’t my issue,” says Robia.  “Food was my counterfeit comforter.”  She was using food to comfort herself.  Just like physical pain is an indicator of a problem, Robia reminds us that emotional pain signals that something is going on inside of us.  “Our goal should not be to eradicate the pain, but to locate the root of the problem,” she says.  Many people don’t realize what they are dealing with emotionally so they turn to their counterfeit comforters to get a sense of relief.  

“God wants us to be free,” Robia says.  She reminds us that it’s important to connect with God and experience Him to hear His voice.  “There is a difference between head knowledge of God and experiential knowledge of God,” she says.  Robia says she uses “on-the-floor” time to connect with God.  “A great time to hit the floor is when you are in the middle of strong feelings,” she says.  When she felt “stuff” coming up, Robia would actually lay on her back on the floor and talk to God.  “It’s so safe to let Him in those places.  You will learn to connect with Him to receive His love.  It changes everything.”

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