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


Monday, May 11, 2009

Working on the Emotions

According to a 7/19/06 ABC news report, about 140,000 people have weight-loss surgery each year, and it's estimated that somewhere between 5 and 30 percent of them pick up new addictive behaviors afterward.

That was three years ago. I can only guess that the numbers have gone up.

This underscores for me the importance of not just working on the lies that make us eat, but also working on the lies that are causing our negative emotions in the first place. If we don’t go to God with those negative emotions, we’ll have to do something else with them—and that something else could very well lead to another addiction.

Let’s look at this issue from the standpoint of just one emotion. Take the emotion of anger—do you ever feel annoyed with your friends or family members? Is there anyone at church or work that really gets on your nerves? How do you respond in these situations?

Here are some possible responses:

1) Eat.
2) Truth journal so you don’t eat.
3) Withdraw—ignore them or get out of the relationship.
4) Try to be nice even though you’re silently resenting them.
5) Get your feelings out by talking to a friend or writing in a journal.
6) Try to change them. Maybe if you say the right thing, they’ll see the light and change.
7) Feel sorry for yourself.
8) Yell at them.
9) Learn to see them through God’s eyes, then accept, forgive, and love.

Of course, we all know the right response—but it’s certainly not the natural response, is it? We would really have to spend some time bringing our thoughts captive to the truth if we wanted to respond with that last option. That option, though, is the only option that will bring peace (unless of course the other person is willing and able to change, which doesn’t usually happen).

Now you might think that the second option is a good option also. I agree—it’s a good option—but if that’s all you do, it can be a dangerous option. Why? Because those negative emotions still need to be released. If you only work on not eating and don’t work on getting rid of the anger, you’ll be in danger of turning to another escape to get rid of those negative emotions.

Women often tell me that Freedom from Emotional Eating is just as much about regular life as it is about eating. That’s because it’s regular life that makes us eat. If we don’t learn how to deal with our problems the way God wants us to, those emotions will still be there in need of an outlet. If we don’t eat, what will we do?

So much of the Christian walk is about dying to our “rights” and being willing to do anything for God. Because we’re so entrenched in the world’s way of thinking, it’s hard for us to do that without first taking the time to carry our thoughts captive to the truth.

I find that when I take the time to line my thoughts up with God’s thoughts, it helps me submit to Him—and submitting to Him always brings peace.

And peace is one of those emotions that doesn’t make me feel like eating.

4 comments:

Kathy said...

Amen to that! I wasn't having negative emotions today,but I had anxiety from not wanting to go to work. Then, I dreaded going in due to my fear of being bored. I did eat a snack before I went to work when I was not sure I was hungry. Maybe anxiety is a negative emotion but I don't put it in the category with anger,etc.

Anonymous said...

OUCH!
This reminds me of where I'm at right now. Day 3 of week 2.
I should be further along. But this lesson is killing me. My 33 wedding anniversary was Sat, May 8th. My husband left me emotionally and physicaly 4 years ago when our newborn was 1 yr old. He still lives here, just not with me. He hasn't held a job in over 10 years. And I have eaten my emotions over this for decades. In 33 years he's only worked 11 years.
I started taking this to God. But I have a feeling that I will be going over this lesson until I get through it. It could take me a long long time. (cry) I feel really stuck here. But I'm afraid I need do do this before I can move on in the lessons.

Barb said...

Kathy - good point. How do you define a negative emotion? For me anxiety would be a negative emotion because it's not an enjoyable one and it's usually based on lies in my case. (too high of expectations for my behavior and life, etc.)

Anon - I am so sad for you! I can just imagine how emotionally wrenching anniversaries must be at this stage of your marriage. I think what you'd have to do to work through those feelings is to truth journal every time you feel resentful toward your husband (at least I'm guessing you must feel resentful toward him - I think it would be hard not to).

It will be an incredibly painful journey, but God can redeem the situation and give you joy through your willingness to live life for Him in a difficult situation.

I'll pray for you.

Barb said...

Hi anon, It's me again. I just checked out the week 2 day 3 lesson, and I can see why you're struggling with it - it's a hard lesson. I want to encourage you to at least move on to Day 4 as it's a continuation of Day 3 and might help a little. I'll be praying for you. Barb