Emo-eat. It’s the word I’ve used to describe those moments when my emotions are done and I want to stuff them away with food.
Greasy foods. Sweet foods.
Never vegetables or baked fish.
It’s always something that weighs heavy on calories and low on nutritional benefits.
It’s not something new. It’s not that I’ve only struggled with this for a little while. Or even since adulthood.
It’s been a lifetime of struggle. It started with the best intentions of others as a child, then was fueled by the thoughtlessness of others.
I’ve known for a long time its a problem. I came to the realization last year food easily becomes an idol for me.
This week the bold conviction that over-indulgence is a sin has further hit home my struggle with food. It’s more than just an outward appearance.
It’s a heart matter.
This week, the Lord laid a heavy message on my heart. Through Made To Crave along with The Power of a Praying Woman, He revealed to me a hurting heart still clinging to past offenses and pain instead of letting go to embrace trust and forgiveness. Specifically, trusting Him to be the God He says He is, the good and righteous God of justice, and trusting His word that I am called to forgive others because He has forgiven me.
There are painful memories I have held onto with tight fists. Memories that on many occasion have flooded my mind at night, causing me to cry with a broken heart even after a wonderful day spent with my family or friends. The more I give into keeping these painful memories, replaying them over and over, the angrier I become at the person(s) who committed the offenses. It’s a broken process. It doesn’t change, yet just ingrains itself deeper, inflecting more hurt, more anger, and more pain.
This week I realized something. For a long time now, there have been one or two people whom I know I need to forgive. Forgiveness I’ve learned, isn’t an emotion. It doesn’t just happen because one day I’ll wake up and the sun will be shining and I’ll “feel” like today is the day I was meant to forgive. Forgiving someone is a choice. Choices involve taking action. It’s an active process, not a passive one. As I was sitting and thinking about a particular person, I closed my eyes and prayed to the Lord to show me how to start this path of forgiveness. What He showed me shocked me.
I have a much longer list than just one or two people.
I’ve been placing all of my hurt on one or two people, however, they are not the ones responsible for all of the hurt. There is a list. There is a list I’ve been denying to myself because “I’m a good person” and there is no way I would be that unforgiving to that many people. I don’t hold grudges. I know what Matthew 6:14-15, Luke 6:37, Colossians 3:13, and so many other versus say. I know that I am commanded to forgive others, not suggested, not implied, outright commanded to do it. Somewhere in my mere humanness I’ve thought, “If I’m only struggling to forgive one or two people, then I’m doing pretty good. So this isn’t a heart issue I REALLY need to focus on too much.”
Over-indulgence is a sin. Un-forgiveness is a sin. It is a heart issue, one that requires repentance.
As my prayer began to uncover all of this that morning, the Lord let His light break through to touch the list of people I have not forgiven. It revealed the bitterness and anger towards them I’ve held onto. It brought forth the link between that pain and my weak stance against the temptation to emo-eat. The number of ways I am triggered to emo-eat, caused ultimately by a cycle of hurt and un-forgiveness, followed by the raking emptiness un-forgiveness leaves inside my heart, and then the failed attempt to stuff that emptiness with food.
So. I cried.
I sat on my living room couch and cried big fat painful tears of dirty band-aids ripping off of still infected wounds. After the stinging pain of that process was over, I blew my nose, took a breath, and sat down and prayed over my plan. Forgiveness is a choice, and I choose to forgive. It’s probably not going to be easy. I’m sure the Lord will shine light on other dark places I’m not yet aware of, and when He does, He and I will go through the crying-band-aid-ripping process again. It’s only when I get these dirty rags off of my wounds, can He and I start the process of His true healing instead of my insufficient covering.
So I came up with a plan through the resources He has laid before me. Then I told one my best friends my plan, and asked her to keep me accountable this year to work through it. She has my full permission to randomly ask me if I am doing it, and if I say no, to ask me “Why not?”
Un-forgiveness is a place of emotional emptiness for me.
By the Lord’s strength and love I am no longer going to settle for trying to fill it with food.
In Love & Faith,
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