I knew in my heart of hearts I had to find time to honor my hunger.
There I was (again), standing in front of my open refrigerator, desperately looking for something I wasn’t convinced I was going to find. Staring into a fridge that seemed so empty.
I had finished my dinner about an hour prior. My husband was out in the garage working on any one of his latest projects. My son was off playing his video games. And I was bored and hungry.
I had plenty to do…
Boredom is a funny thing. It tricks your mind into thinking there’s nothing to do. Or maybe nothing worthy of your time and energy anyway. In reality, there is plenty to do. There always is.
And that was the case this time too. I just didn’t want to do any of it. I had laundry I could do. The floors needed vacuuming. And I’m not even sure how long it had been since I dusted. I had several unread books on my bookshelf. There were ample programs on television. And the treadmill was always an option too. But none of that appealed to me and I thought I felt hunger. So there I was, searching for something to eat to fill the void I was feeling.
The struggle bus is real…
And I was struggling. You see, I’m still on this trust journey between my thoughts and my body and I honestly didn’t know if I could trust that what I was feeling was true hunger or if it was me going back to my previous usual ways of eating to numb emotions…in this case boredom.
I had choices…
And I have to correct something I said earlier. There actually was plenty of food. Insert my middle class privilege of ample food security. And not only was there plenty of food, there were choices like berries I knew would offer me fiber and carbohydrates to sustain me, as well as a load of antioxidants my immune system could use these long winter days.
But there was also my all time favorite dill dip and potato chips ready for the grabbing. This was a dip my mom had made since I was a little girl. Every party or picnic we went to, everyone was always scouring the food table for Jackie’s dill dip. So many happy memories of this stuff.
Both choices technically would have given me calories to satisfy my hunger if indeed it was hunger I was feeling.
In the end I decided to eat the berries. And I enjoyed them. And I moved on.
Did you catch that? I said I moved on.
I found myself wanting to pat myself on the back for that moving on part. Not because I chose the berries, but because of the process I took to get there. Because what I knew was that in the past, the simple act of seeing this dip and knowing it was available would have led me to not being able to stop thinking about it. Which would have led to a binge, followed by guilt and shame.
Hunger has emotional layers…
Truth be told, this is a complex multilayered situation. Like it or not, virtually everything we eat has an emotion tied to it. Eating is emotional because we are human and God gave us these layers. And I’ve worked through so many of those layers to get to a place where I am able to walk away from the dip if it’s not going to serve me well at that moment. I’m also able to confidently choose the dip and not spiral into a binge.
Confidence takes time…
Let me say that again. I’m able to confidently choose the dip and not spiral into a binge.
Because I have done the work and put in the time to:
- make peace with food
- evict the food police living in my head
- learn how to step out of my emotions
- quickly weigh out consequences of my options
- learn how to be okay with sometimes choosing the dip because I simply wasn’t capable in the moment of giving myself the self care I needed by any other means
Stop making finding time to honor hunger so hard…
I told you it was a complex and multilayered journey to find time to honor your hunger. And unfortunately we make these choices harder on ourselves than they need to be. Diet culture has taught us this is supposed to be hard. Thankfully we have Jesus.
Because I couldn’t have done any of this without Jesus by my side.
God wants to be involved and help you find time to honor your hunger…
Let me be clear about this. God wants to be a part of every aspect of our lives. Yes He does care when you’re standing in front of a fridge struggling with a food choice. God knows it’s not just a food choice. He knows it’s layered and complex. He knows it’s a busy chaotic place in your head.
I know the peace and calm I eventually found for this process was because I had finally invited Jesus into my struggles. I know because I spent a long time trying to do this on my own. And it was hard. And it was lonely. The doubts never went away and always seemed to win out. Prayer brought me the brain space to make the right choices for me. It allowed me to pause long enough to see more clearly into situations and stop making rash decisions.
No more overwhelm…
I was able to honor what would be best for me, weighing it all in. And it no longer felt overwhelming or frustrating. I felt empowered that everything was going to be okay…no matter what I chose.
It’s important for me to stop here and acknowledge that not every food choice or emotional eating situation is going to look like this. I know you will find yourself, have found yourself perhaps, faced with emotional eating situations and habits that are much more grandiose and emotionally fired up than this.
But the thing is, if you are not turning to Christ for guidance, you are missing the most important piece to the solution for your troubles. Turning to Him requires truly surrendering your worry and need for resolution. It doesn’t mean complaining to Him and crying out for help and then continuing to worry and stress over all of it.
Are you actively seeking His help for finding time to honor your hunger?
Step into that prayer and allow Him to cover you in peace and calm.
Please know though that neither choice would be inherently wrong. Let go of labeling these choices as moralistically good or bad. I think that’s too often forgotten. We have this clear cut way of thinking that we learn from our culture that says there is a right choice and a wrong choice. But the thing is, when it comes to food, we’re not dealing with a moral choice. Food is food. Food is nourishment. It is not inherently good or bad.
You are right where you’re supposed to be.
God knows…He knew before you were born…that you’d be born into this society and this life. He chose you for this time, right now.
God’s got this.
And God has you covered. He didn’t just place you here and walk away. Instead, He gave you instructions (the Bible), He gave you a body that sends hunger signals when it needs energy, makes you feel full when you’ve consumed enough energy. He gave you prayer. And He sent Jesus.
God’s there for you. He’s given you His word. He’s not going anywhere. It’s taken me time and effort, but I’ve gotten to the point where I can have these situations pop up and I’m able to settle on a decision I feel good about. One that I know aligns with God’s plan for me.
Now it’s your turn. What emotional eating situations are you faced with that feel like a struggle? Write a prayer to God for help with your story in the comments.