And you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free. John 8:32

Monday, February 16, 2009

Journaling the food vs. Journaling the emotions

Have you ever had one of those days when you feel like eating absolutely everything in the house? It doesn’t matter how good it is—you just want to eat. On those days, truth journaling about the food probably won’t be enough to keep you from breaking your boundaries.

Why? Because there’s something more powerful going on—some emotion, some situation, some person—something that has you so upset that you just want to eat and eat and eat.

On days like that it's usually much more effective to journal your beliefs about the situation itself rather than about the food you feel like eating. Let me tell you what I do on those days in case it will help you with your own struggles.

1. Find out what’s bugging you.

This may seem obvious, but in reality, you may not know what’s bugging you. Think back over the last day or two. Have you had any relationship problems, any looming deadlines, any big worries? Has anyone said anything to you that made you feel bad? Are you experiencing any negative emotions?

2. Truth journal the emotion.

Once you’ve figured out what the problem is—or at least what you think the problem is—you’ll need to carry your thoughts captive to God in that area. Write your thoughts down and number them, then replace the lies with the truth. If you don’t have peace after truth journaling, you’ve probably either missed a lie or you haven’t fully submitted to God.

Sometimes what you’ll find in truth journaling is that the truth isn’t pretty, and there’s nothing you can do about it. In those situations you’re going to have an “opportunity” to die to yourself and live to God—no, it’s not fun, but it’s necessary if you want to experience peace, and there really is joy in submitting to God.

3. Study the emotion.

This will sound crazy, but what I sometimes do when I’m experiencing a real onslaught of negative emotions is to go back to the chapter of Freedom from Emotional Eating on that emotion and rework it.

Even though I wrote the Bible study, it’s an entirely different experience to do the study, because then I’m forced to answer my own questions, and God uses those questions to convict me all over again.

If you have the study, it might be helpful to jump to the chapter on the emotion you’re struggling with. You may want to check out other books on the topic, too, if it’s an emotion or situation you struggle with on a regular basis.

I probably have ten books on my shelf on organization and time management, and I was telling myself today as I truth journaled procrastination for about the millionth time that I really need to get some of those books out again so I can get my life organized!

4. Spend time with God

If you’re going through a hard time, you need to spend even more time with the Lord than usual. Sometimes you really have to wrestle through a negative emotion to find peace, but it’s worth it. Seek God in prayer—pour through His Word—spend the time you need with Him to finally see your situation from His point of view.

When you’re finally able to see a situation or person through God’s eyes, the negative emotions will drain away from you, and His peace will fill your soul. And when His peace fills your soul, you won’t need to truth journal about the food - because you’ll no longer be interested in it. Honest.

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