For myself, and a lot of women I work with, we have got into the awful habit of trying to fix ourselves with food. What I mean by that is that we use food to take the edge off our situation or provide just enough comfort that we can keep going. Now, I want to take a moment and say that this is especially true for women with small children and also those who are caregivers. Some reasons I see for this is that there are many urgent demands for our attention and our time. Reaching our hands into a bag and filling our mouths with something that is crunchy, salty, sweet, or fulfilling only takes a few seconds. The problem is that the relief is so temporary that we keep going back for more and more.
So, I’m going to walk you through an exercise today that will truly help you make some headway in this area.
Now, in the scenario that I gave you at the beginning I was eating trail mix as a way to relieve stress. When you are trying to overcome cravings for things that don't serve you, there are three basic levels to approach this. Level one is to simply white-knuckle your way through the craving, distract yourself, or avoid the sight and smell of whatever is enticing you. Level two is to do things that relieve stress such as go for a walk or listen to some music. But the expert level, and the best level is to dig into your head and figure out what thoughts and beliefs are creating your stressful reality.
Lies are just like having an unsealed and unprotected part of your heart. Before you know it, your life is infested with words, emotions, and actions that keep leaking from a lie that we have not taken care of.
I truly believe that for every situation that you feel like food is the answer, there is a lie that the enemy is egging on us to believe. We have to find that lie. It so often lies hidden in the busyness that is life around us.
To find the lie you need to:
Those three simple steps not only ease my cravings, but they strengthen me and give me peace. This is so simple. Let me walk you through this super simple process by being very honest with you about a situation that comes up often for me.
There is this moment, late Sunday evenings, that I start to crave all kinds of things. Anything really. This has gone on for a really long time and I just recently began to do some work on it.
Let me describe the scenario to you. It’s Sunday evening and my weekly day of rest is coming to a close, yet I’m exhausted. My soul is refilled by church and fellowship, but my mind has begun to circle over what Monday will bring and my body is tired from all the things that come with taking care of our little girl and the chores of keeping up a home and helping with the farm.
So, I want something to make it better. Maybe some candy from the cabinet or a bowl of popcorn. If I ask why, the answer is: I want something that will help me suck the last ounces of a quiet Sabbath so that I actually feel like I had I weekend. I want something to make life fun. To make life joyful because I don’t have enough joy or fun in my life.
What situation created this? Life is busy and I have a lot of responsibilities. If I’m really honest, I have to confess that I try to cram too much into one day and I’m almost always drowning even on a Sunday. So, here is the lie: I need something fun to eat to make my life better so that I can get through it. Let me repeat this lie because I know a few of you have heard it bump around in your head too: I need something fun to eat to make my life better so that I can get through it.
The last step is, could God fill this need. Could God make my life better, more peaceful? Joyful? Restful? Oh. Goodness. YES. He already has. He is the God of hope offering to fill me with joy and peace (Romans 15:13) He is my strength and my song and my salvation every single day (Psalm 118:13) and I can definitely let go of my fear that I might not do something or do something right and rest in His easy yoke (Matthew 11:28-31). If I really look at all those truths then to go ahead and pack my mouth full of M & Ms it is a defiant unwillingness to trust or rely on God. I can see then that I can hold on to the lie that life is too much and unfair and continue to hurt my body with food, or I can put that down and crawl into God’s lap, letting Him be the one to guide my life and fill me with love.
I recently went through a Bible Study created by Lisa Terkurst where she encourages you to write the lie that lead you to food on one side of a 3 x 5 index card. On the other side you are to write what God says that negates that lie. I love this. You can then put that card in your purse or clip it to your refrigerator.
My dear, at the end of the day, my prayer for you is that you stop trying to white-knuckle your way through every diet or eating plan. It is not okay that each time you fall on your face that you blame and shame yourself, expecting to somehow be stronger or better. Target that lie, the lie that keeps telling you that you need food to fix your life or fix your moment long after your physical need for nutrients has been met.
Let me go over the steps again to identify and target the lie:
Don’t forget to download that freebie from my website at loraarmendariz.com/freeresources. The 4-Step Guide to conquering cravings is easy, free, and comes with some phone backgrounds to remind you what to do whenever you feel yourself under attack.
I hope the month of May is treating you well! By this time next week I should be on my summer schedule and making all those changes to how I approach life during my non-teaching time. This is always a bit of a transition for me, going from spending most of our time at school to spending almost all of our time at home. I’ll let you know how it is going! Until then, all my love to you!
by Lora Armendariz
You Can Do It!
Do you want to fall out of love with a destructive habit? The first 42 episodes of this podcast are a resource for anyone who wants encouragement and information as they take a six week break from a habit in order to fall out of love with it.