The Emotional Emptiness of Un-forgiveness

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.

Chapter 14 MTC

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.

chapter 14 MTC b

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?”

P31 OBS Blog Hop

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,
RaZella

As part of the OBS I have made various images and scripture screen savers. I will be uploading these to the Blog’s Facebook page. I ask that if you choose to use the images to do so without editing/changing/cropping them in anyway. 

Blog Versus-0032

Wellness Wednesday: Houston, We Have a Problem, Where is the Meal Plan?

During the month of February (and the first few days of March), we completed the Whole30. It was fabulous.
It made a difference in our energy, our sleep, and our taste buds.

April had some rough spots.
Spots covered in Cheetos and fried foods and coffee after noon.

WHAT ARE WE DOING?!?!?!?

Habits don’t develop overnight.
They don’t magically fall out of the sky, onto our plates,
smiling at us forevermore.

I believe habits develop through self-control.

The beautiful thing is  we can’t develop self-control on our own.
Our flesh won’t have it. Why exhibit self-control in the face of all you can eat buffets and chemically altered, processed foods that taste amazing in comparison to their bland, natural counterparts? I mean really? Where are you going to find the tasty pizzazz of a Cheeto in nature?

So where is the beauty?
It reminds me of what I need to stay reminded of.
I can’t have self-control without God.

In my own strength, I succumb to the temptations of a first world country.
Consumption. Consumption. Consumption.
In His strength, I humble myself to be honest about what
I need to change and why.

I went back to using the Meal Planner.

A meal planner is a beautiful thing. It helps my self-control because I have planned, prepared for, and purchased specifically for, the meal plan.

When I’m painfully honest, if we don’t have a meal plan it’s because
I was too lazy to make one.

Meal planning once was difficult for me. There were inaccurate assumptions that caused stress and unrealistic budget expectations. For this Wellness Wednesday, I want to share some of what I have learned in how to create a good, realistic, weekly meal plan.

Meal Planning

Get a notebook.

      • Something  you can remove and add pages too easily. A three ring binder would be perfect. (I personally love the Staples Arc system)
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My Meal Planner – Staples Arc System
    • Have Two Tabs. Tab one for the weekly meal plans, Tab two for recipes. Recipes that are delicious, easy, and fit our budget stay. Recipes that do not, get tossed.
    • Keeping several weeks of meal planning in a notebook allows you to go back and USE the old meal plans. I can look back over a past month, taking something from each week, and have a new meal plan and shopping list created in ten minutes. On a hectic day, I can grab an old plan and shopping list, knowing we will stay on track with our nutrition that week.

There is no rule we need to eat something new and different Every. Single. Day.

    • Leftovers are our friends. When you are planning your week’s meals, you have the opportunity to know which days may be hectic for you. Avoid sabotage by planning to cook double batches on the days before.
    • I may try one new recipe a week, however, the expectation to cook all gourmet foods with a list of 75 ingredients (half of which you’ve never heard of before) is an expectation that will keep you chained to poor eating habits because it is UNREALISTIC.
    • Pray for wisdom the Lord will show you what is realistic for YOU and YOUR FAMILY. If a spouse or older child helps prepare the meals, pray WITH THEM about this.
    • I know in other countries people are starving, dying, from lack of food. While it seems silly to pray about something as trivial as a realistic meal plan in our country, if you are struggling in this area and constantly over-indulging (which I personally believe is a sin, one I still fall victim to and must cover in prayer and repentance), or you’re intentionally harming your body by eating things you KNOW are not good for you, then yes, PRAY OVER IT. Cover it in prayer and submit this area of your life to Him.
  • Commit to Grocery Shopping Once a Week, ONLY BUYING WHAT IS ON THE MEAL PLAN
    • You should be bringing home fresh produce. In my experience, trying to stock up on fresh produce to last longer than a week usually ends up with some of it going into the garbage. I’m not a fan of wastefulness.
    • If going into a store and only buying what is on your list is a struggle, PRAY FOR SELF-CONTROL. Ask a friend whom you know and trust to go with you to help keep you accountable. This was another area I struggled in. It is extremely freeing and less stressful to go shopping as you develop the self-control to go into a store and stick to your plan and your budget. (PRAISE!)
    • Don’t You Dare Not Use Your Meal Plan After All That
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I keep a copy of our meal plan on the fridge so the whole family knows what to expect and can help with sticking to it.
    • Seriously. If you have taken the time to get your notebook, create your meal plan, shop according to your meal plan, why would you now decide to NOT USE YOUR PLAN?
    • Do not grab anything off the dollar menu. Do not go through the pantry to make something completely different.
    • Be honest with yourself about WHY you are tempted to not use your meal plan. Is it poor planning? Make a note so when you sit down to make next week’s plan you don’t repeat the same mistake. Is it laziness? Be honest. This is one I suffer from. I don’t feel like cooking. The truth is, IT IS PURE LAZINESS 9 times out of 10 when that’s my excuse.  Is it bad time management? Take a honest hard look at your day and see what you need to change to not run into this situation again. Ask the Lord for strength to persevere through your commitment.

You cannot exercise without properly fueling your body.
You can’t properly fuel your body without self-control.

I believe a meal plan covered with prayer helps cultivate self-control. If you have never honestly stuck to a meal plan for more than a week, and you struggle in one or more of these areas, may I encourage you to commit to meal planning for one month? Test the theory and see how it will work for you and your family.

(If you’re asking why I didn’t go into nutritional details, the reality is, most of KNOW what is nutritious for our bodies and what is not. I recommend checking out the Whole30 shopping list found here on their website. Also, Intoxicated on Life has some great nutritional information as well. For me, making drastic changes for 30 days was what I needed, as I shared in my Whole30 journey. For others, smaller changes may be what will work best for you. If you honestly don’t have a clue how to make better nutritional choices, start with these two resources and go from there. :))

In Love & Faith,
RaZella

Grab button for Wellness Wednesday

This post is linked up for Wellness Wednesday. For the month of May our challenge was to eliminate unhealthy beverages. My commitment was not buying anymore soda and we have been without any soda in our house for a few weeks now! Come join the link up and check out the great health information you can find here. 🙂

Wellness Wednesday – Life After Whole30

Today I’m sharing our Whole30 experience and Life After Whole30. Last week I was overcome by a passionate moment. I encourage anyone looking to make changes towards better health to check that post out first.

Life After Whole30

finishedwhole30

For a brief recap, here are the “no” foods list:

    • No added sugar of any kind (real or artificial)
    • No alcohol
    • No grains
    • No legumes 
    • No dairy
    • No MSG, sulfites, or carrageenon
    • No white potatoes

Resources I found helpful and will continue to use:

  • The printable shopping list offered online. It makes grocery shopping easier and helps with meal planning.
  • Meal planning Template. This really helped to understand portions, servings sizes, and the “how muches”. 🙂
  • Meal planning. I make a meal plan for the week. I know what to buy, what to prep and when, and keeps us on track so we don’t go creeping onto the “Fast Food” train or the “processed food” train too often.
  • It Starts With Food“. There is additional information in the book that will help you understand how to succeed with this 30 day program.

What did Whole30 look like in my life, and how does life look after Whole30?

First – I learned to drink coffee black. I would always say “I’d like a little coffee in my creamer“. The thought of drinking my coffee black was repulsive. Then I read this:

Don’t you dare tell us this is hard. Quitting heroin is hard. Beating cancer is hard. Drinking your coffee black. Is. Not. Hard. ~whole9life.com

Ouch. After reading that, I sucked up my whining and drank my coffee black.
I learned to enjoy drinking my coffee black. I can now taste the differences in different coffees. I still drink my coffee black, sometimes using leftover coconut milk from cooking as a creamer. After Whole30 I have bought one specialty coffee at Starbucks. I got the smallest size and enjoyed it immensely.For my everyday use, I’ve decided to keep it black. Why add back unnecessary sugar and calories?

I added back in Oatmeal. I alternate breakfasts between Oatmeal and Eggs, favoring egg casserole. It’s one day of cooking for three days of meals. I have fallen in LOVE with egg casserole, experimenting with different varieties of veggies for different flavor creations. I try to serve Oatmeal on cardio days and eggs on weight lifting days. We have not yet added back in pancakes or cereal. We are thinking pancakes will make a nice monthly treat instead of a weekly treat. Cereal doesn’t compare to the deliciousness of eggs or oatmeal, so I’m doubting we will add that back in.

We added back in wine and cheese nights. This was something we would do when we were dating and is special to us. We enjoy a variety of cheeses and have fun pairing it with the perfect wine. We now skip the wine in favor of tea the rest of the time. We found some we really enjoy. We also skip cheese the rest of the time as well. While we love it, we didn’t feel the need to add it back in large quantities.

Most of our meals are still planned using the meal planning template. Occasionally I enjoy a slice of bread with almond butter on it. I no longer feel overwhelming desires to eat bread. I don’t “crave” foods like I used to. I enjoy eating in a much different way now, without a “fixation” on eating. Last night, I did give into my first real craving. All day I was thinking about hot chocolate. It may have been the foot of snow falling outside. Either way, the hubs lovingly fulfilled my request, making me a cup of hot chocolate I enjoyed before bed. Yum.

There are some foods we discovered we no longer want to add back in. Diet soda for example. It’s amazingly gross and almost painful to drink now. Once our “stash” runs out, we won’t be buying anymore. We do still like the taste of Crystal Light, however, will no longer be drinking it as often. We can’t stand store bought mayonnaise anymore. We taste the sugar in it and it taste “chemically” to us. We’ve decided to keep making our own. We eat it less often because we only make small batches, and when we do, we love it’s flavor and texture. My husband is in charge of making it. Every batch he makes comes out better and better. He’s gotten really good at it.

We are amazed how our taste buds have changed. I don’t think we were quite expecting that. The change is certainly for the better.

We didn’t make our son eat “whole30” with us. We didn’t feel the need to restrict his diet or refuse him bread. He also still gets cereal once a week (a rule I put in place long before Whole30 after reviewing some nutritional facts on his favorite cereals). He does eat our dinners with us and even he has grown to love different foods. It feels good to know he is eating far more REAL foods than before.

Our overall way of eating has changed. We still enjoy all sorts of foods when we are invited somewhere or having gatherings at our house. We just don’t make foods like bread or fried things our “norm” anymore. We also try to bring or contribute something “healthy” in gatherings as well.

What about physical changes? I lost another inch around my hips, and 1/2 inch everywhere else. I lost about 7 to 8 lbs. My husband lost weight too hitting his target weight goal. I have more energy, less aches, and usually sleep better. It has made a difference in my exercise performance as well.

Committing to this for 30 days gave me motivation to keep committing to things that will help me grow in the my “health” journey. I’ve committed to a 90 day exercise challenge with a group on Facebook. I love it. Everyday we check in with each other to hold ourselves accountable to doing our exercise program. I feel these short term commitments help me grow in self-discipline.

This week I’m going to go back to tracking my food on SparkPeople so I can have a record of what we did nutritionally. I’d like to be able to share some of the nutritional successes we have each week and nutritional challenges. Honestly, I have so much going on if I don’t keep track of stuff somewhere by the time I sit down to update my Wellness Wednesday I’ve forgotten half of what I wanted to share. 🙂

In the end, I recommend Whole30. It takes commitment. It takes a desire to want to make changes. It is absolutely worth it in my opinion.

Grab button for Wellness WednesdayI’m still linking up with IntoxicatedonLife. While Kim has stepped away from the social media world and is no longer hosting a blog link up for WIW (and our hope for her is the Lord uses this time in her life to accomplish much and draw her closer to Him), I’m still joined up with the wonderful ladies in our Facebook group from WIW.

My challenge to you: Make a goal this week. Make a goal, and take the steps to make it happen. Let your journey to better health begin today.

In Love & Faith,
RaZella