I’d like to tell you about a friend I met over the internet. I’ll call her Amanda. Amanda ordered my Bible study and wrote me after the first chapter, telling me how much she liked it. She felt sure God would use it in her life.
Then she got to the second chapter—the one on trials. Amanda is very familiar with trials. She has some serious health issues and a husband who is not only emotionally distant, but has also chosen not to work for much of their married life. You can imagine how that would make you feel toward your husband, and it was no different for Amanda. She’d been angry with him for more than thirty years.
It was the third lesson of the second chapter that really stumped Amanda—the one where Bill is being a deadbeat and Mary has to choose whether or not she’s going to forgive him. Amanda e-mailed me and told me she was having a difficult time getting past that lesson. I encouraged her to move on—that the fourth lesson in the chapter might help.
Well, Amanda did move on, and God began to do a great work in her heart. Let me let Amanda tell you:
My truth journaling started out angry and defensive, I was trying to justify to God why I should be allowed to hold this grudge and anger. And then I was angry that your Bible study should even suggest that I deal with this!! I cried hot angry tears. I thought there was no way you could understand just how hard my marriage was. After all I was trying to stop emotional eating, what did my emotions have to do with my husband!!
Boy did I find out!! Yes, then the lies started to pour out. And I realized I was not wanting to forgive myself for marrying my husband. You know like - how could I have been so stupid. So I truth journal ALL of those emotions and am starting to see the lies that I had no idea were there!! Then I started feeling lighter, freer. But if I stop truth journaling about this when I think I'm too busy I can feel the heaviness returning. I'm looking so forward to God helping me resolve this. I now believe He will, no matter how my husband treats me, I can cling to Him!
This was only the beginning. God has continued to work in Amanda’s life. She realized she needed to work on the anger before she could really break free from the emotional eating, and so that’s where she focused her efforts. God blessed her work. This is what she wrote to me later:
I realize now that as God allows my husband to follow his own will, God is telling me to come even closer to Him. Maybe it sounds silly, but sometimes those angry lies become security blankets! So letting go of them for me was frightening. The biggest lie I believed was that I deserved to be angry with my husband if he sinned. It is freeing to finally let go!
I can see now that my husband's behavior comes from the lies that he is caught up in. I can feel empathy and sadness for him, instead of anger. And I no longer expect God to fix him for me! :o)
Have you ever been in a situation like Amanda, where you feel like you have a right to hold on to your anger? I know I have, and I’m guessing most of us have. For me, anger was a stumbling block. It got in the way of my relationship with God. When I was finally willing to forgive, that’s when I really started growing close to Him.
It was the truth that made me willing to forgive. As I carried my thoughts captive to Jesus Christ through truth journaling and option charts, God gave me the strength to forgive and submit to Him. I found it to be an incredibly painful experience, but the joy that followed made it worth the pain.
Sometimes I wonder if anyone else is having a difficult time with the second chapter of Freedom from Emotional Eating. I realize the lesson in the third day of that chapter is a hard one—especially being raised in a culture that tells us we have a right to certain things. Let me encourage you today that God is always worth the sacrifices we make for Him.
Sometimes it helps to have someone to talk through your problems with. In another week or two I’ll be telling you about a yahoo group being formed where women who are doing Freedom from Emotional Eating can get together and discuss the things you’re working on. I hope it will be a blessing.