Category Archives: emotional eating

God Will Give You More Than You Can Handle

Reblogging this amazing post from Kayla Lemmon on All Our Lemony Things

There’s a certain phrase I’ve come to really dislike.

All my life, I’ve heard this phrase whenever I go through a rough patch. *And by rough patch, I mean a prickly, gnarly patch that leaves me bleeding to near death*. You’re probably familiar with those kinds of “patches”.

“God will never give you more than you can handle” is the phrase I’m referring to.

more than to bear

And it’s a sweet sentiment, really. The people who say it are speaking from caring and concerned hearts.

BUT–it isn’t true.

I know that sounds harsh, but I promise I haven’t suddenly lost my mind or have become an angry-with-God bitter woman who hates the world. Actually, when I realized the simple fact that God can–and will–give us more than we can possibly bear, it got easier.

And it all started to make more sense.

I’ve often trudged through trials that overwhelm me. Ever since my childhood there have been trials that have made me “grow up” pretty fast. But granted, I know for a fact you’ve had your own fair share too, because that’s the reality of life. But this last trial is the one that shook me to my core and had me searching like a mad woman for answers as to why it was happening–and how I could possibly even survive it.

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I lost my Dad to cancer last month–if you’re a follower of mine, this is old news. But–it was absolutely horrific.

Every day leading up to his death was like walking through every level of hell–slowly– for lack of a better term. There’s no other way to describe it. The images…the sounds…the sleepless nights…the cries for God while we look on, helpless…the torment of rubbing morphine in his cheeks, praying it’ll absorb–but to no avail. The horrible, wrenching pain that came with lifting him up, laying him back down, lifting him up, laying him back down…because he became so restless and cried out for “home” every few minutes. And all along, in the back of my mind, I reminded myself that millions of people go through this, and have already gone through this, very thing. And it is simply unbearable. If you disagree–it’s because you haven’t been there.

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This trial was so consuming that I hate to even put it in the past tense–sometimes it still consumes me. Yesterday, at my Dad’s memorial service, it consumed me all over again.

I’ve suffered from nightmares where I relived the memory over and over mercilessly–I sometimes see his face on strangers that pass and worry that I’m going crazy. I cry over sad songs in the car and torture myself with stacks of pictures and yellowed photo albums. It’s beyond just missing him. And even with a firm testimony of the gospel and with peace that he is exactly where the Lord prepared him for, it is still too much for me to handle at times. It steals my breath–and it can steal my joy.

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So, the other day, I turned to the scriptures. I needed help.

I wanted to know where that phrase was that people kept repeating to me in church and at work and over the phone. Why did the Lord “trust me so much”?! Why did He think I could handle these kinds of trials?

And then I realized: I couldn’t find that quote because it isn’t there.

It never mentions anywhere in the scriptures that the Lord won’t give you more than you can handle. Yes, in 1 Corinthians 10:13 it speaks of Him giving us an escape from temptations so that it’s not too much to bear. But when it comes to pain, trials, heartache, and burdens– not once does it say it won’t be more than we can bear. Instead, it beautifully says this instead:

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me…for my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matt. 11: 28-30)

carrying man

The words struck my heart, as you can imagine. Christ is speaking to those of us who are carrying burdens much too heavy for our own shoulders. And in that one verse he simply states the reason why we are given more than we can handle: It’s so we can come to him. It’s so we can trust him enough to hand over our heavy, crippling burdens and let him carry the load.

You might be heavy laden right now like I was before reading and re-reading and re-reading once again this scripture that has never stuck out to me as much as it has lately.

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You might be shrunken with sadness or drowning in debt. You might be overwhelmingly angry at someone at church or aching under the pressures of raising children or maybe the inability to have them. You might be dealing with a terminal disease and you still have young children. And chances are–you might need your Redeemer to find you on the path and take up that heavy cross you’re dragging. Besides, even he tells us that he’s more equipped to carry it, so why not hand it over?

I’ve come to learn–slowly but surely–why I need Him.

I suppose it’s because of pride that I always thought I could just do things on my own. I’m strong, I’d say. I’m a tough cookie. I can help others through their tribulations while carrying mine all by myself. Well…wasn’t I wrong.

at jesus feet

I didn’t really know what needing him meant until I had no other choice. I didn’t know what it meant until I wrapped my arms around my middle so I wouldn’t fall apart–or the time I choked on tears and yelled toward Heaven. Or the times when I was utterly alone, and the silence was too much to bear. Those are the times that taught me he’s not just a want or a convenient symbol of love or a reason to do good deeds.

No, he’s the very air we breathe.

And he’s the only one who can make it bearable when life is simply anything but.

~Written by Kayla Lemmon

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Gift Upon Gift

Gift upon Gift.1 musical-notes-symbols-pc57zyxcB

Joy upon Joy.

After I posted last Wednesday something beautiful happened. I got an email offering me a JOB singing WORSHIP music. There are few things I enjoy more than singing, and no singing I love more than music that focuses me on God.

You know, Jesus tells those He cares about not to worry. But that post on Wednesday was related to worry. Maybe someday I’ll tell you the story, but this is not the right time. Anyway, here I am stuffing my emotions and eating my emotions, and not ready to talk to God about my emotions. I mean I know I need to pray, but it was just one of those times I didn’t feel like talking.

So in the middle of all this angst the call comes for this job I applied for. The worship pastor hires me to sing in the church choir. He needs a section leader type who can help carry the sound. I’m thrilled. I mean, really? I’ve been asking God for a little extra income knowing I am not supposed to take a full-time job because He’s asked me to enter more fully into the writing and speaking He asked me to do. For years I’ve also told Him I miss singing. So there He is, LOVE in ACTION, giving me a job that feels like play.

The worship pastor says he knows it is late notice, but I’d be welcome to come early for the church dinner and a lenten service. Now because of this big thing in my life I was trying not to worry about I’d decided about 3 pm to put on my jammies and lose myself in one of my favorite BBC mini-series. Instead I’m putting on makeup and rushing out the door. The soup and salad is wonderful, the people precious and welcoming.

Then the service begins.

I’m not overly familiar with liturgical worship or church calendar, but have sung a lot of high church music over the years in choirs and as a music minor in college. The service was only 30 minutes and a gentle, simple time of reflection. Peace washed over me in the words sung in the liturgy.

God is in control.

He sees.

The pastor encourages us to write out a prayer and place it at one of the crosses at the front of the room. I lay my burden down.

No emotional processing, crying,  or hours of journal writing (which is often my MO). Instead a simple laying down. Trusting.

“Sorry I’ve blown you off all day, Lord,” I whisper.

I feel His gentle answer. He understands a momma’s heart. He knows sometimes it’s just too deep for words. He’s not offended. He knows I couldn’t talk about it yet.

He removes all guilt. He doesn’t comment on my emotional eating or how I should know better. He doesn’t chastise me in any way. That’s simply not His character.

His character is to love even when I don’t open myself up to that love.

Even though I couldn’t seem to formulate a prayer, He answered the wordless prayer of my heart. He set it all up, my Sweet, Sweet, God. Pouring peace and joy in unexpected ways.

He soothed the deep waters of this little momma and made it all okay.

How I love Him.

Until next time,

Paula another test (401x192) (2)

Movin’ Like Skinny (Weighin’ in on Wednesday)

It’s the old mindset, pure and simple.

The other day hubby told me I “moved skinny.” Then said, “You must feel skinny.”

And you know what? That day I did. My mood was light. I had music on. I felt healthy and energetic.

His words have me pondering.

Why, at my new weight, do I have days I DON’T move skinny?

Or feel skinny.

It’s been 2 years since I lost weight. But sometimes I still see myself as much heavier than I am.

Honestly, sometimes in my head I’m fifty or more pounds over weight. I feel sluggish. I feel the discouragement of weight gain. In the mirror of my mind sometimes I see this:

1 heavy

 

When I’m more like this:

1 thin

 

In reality, I’ve gained a little from my lowest point, but I still move skinny. I still live better and stronger. I still fit into my new clothes.

I think my husband hit on something important that day.

What happens to me when I start thinking heavy again? I am sluggish. I eat more. I move less and with greater effort.

When I remember I’ve changed and am changing, I have more self-control. I want to be active. I am more energetic.

I think that was as true as I was losing weight as now when I seek to maintain the weight loss. So much is in the MIND. What do I see THERE? What self-talk am I allowing?

Do I see an overcomer? Do I tell myself I CAN?

Or do I allow my past struggles to define me?

I’m shocked to be dealing with this issue again two years later. It’s easy to forget the hard-earned mindset of one who believes in who she is becoming instead of who she’s been.

But whether we’re losing weight or maintaining the loss, it’s imperative.

Thinking skinny helps me feel skinny which helps me move skinny which helps me BE skinny!

Until Next Time,

Paula another test (401x192) (2)

Do I Have to Snack When I Work? (Weighing in on Wednesday)

He keeps warning me. My sweet husband.candy (2)

Reminding me that it got me into trouble in the first place.

It’s not just the hours of being sedentary.

It’s the mindless snacking when I get frustrated with writing.

For years my fingers sought out popcorn or chocolate or trail mix each time my brain hit a wall.

It’s like I thought eating would unlock creativity.

But in 2013 I typed a whole novel without (much) reverting to mindless munching. When I snacked I limited my options. Sliced an apple. Worked without needing something in my mouth.

But now.

NOW!

“It’s happening again, honey.” My faithful husband. I don’t like it that he notices. Even though I’ve asked to help me make good choices and maintain the weight loss. Even though I don’t want to return to bad habits.

I still hate it when points out what I’m doing.

Even though I need it I don’t want to hear it.

What happened between 2013 and 2015 that has me panicking, thinking I can’t think without food in my mouth?

Why do the habits of the past haunt me instead of the habits I fought so hard to establish the last two years?

At least today I returned the trail mix to the kitchen. Put the M & Ms back in their bag and closed it.

But not soon enough.

It’s not soon enough when I don’t even know how long I gave in to mindless munching.

If I’m going to be a write AND be healthy this has to stop.

Could use some prayer, my friends. I need a mindset change.

Paula another test (401x192) (2)

 

PS My thoughts led me to research a bit about food that actually do support creativity.

And just for fun:

cartoon about eggs

 

One more note–I wrote this post last week on a particularly bad day. There is something about public admission of the struggle that helps a gal be more intentional. A few tips that have helped me since writing this post:

  • Take time to make a real meal and take a break to eat so you don’t get hungry and graze all day
  • Take incremental breaks and make a cup of no calorie tea to sip on while you work. (Peppermint and licorice help curb sugar cravings)
  • If you choose to indulge, count out your snack and don’t bring the rest to the computer with you. (Today I counted out five M & Ms and only five.)
  • When you are tempted to combat your work frustrations with food, pray for help instead.
  • If you need a snack walk away from the computer, have something healthy and small.
  • A great pick-me-up is a small orange or tangerine. Today I peeled and ate a cutie. The citrus fragrance lifted my mood, and the bright flavor, low calories, and nutrition of the treat contributed to my craving AND my health.

Weigh-in Wednesday – What???

Sitting trumps fat in killing us off.

Americans buy MORE calories the first three months after the holidays than they bought during!

What?

booksandsuchlogoRather than rewrite two powerful posts by Janet Kobobel Grant, I hope to whet your appetite (pun intended!) to learn more and send you rushing on over to the Books and Such blog.

Did you know long-term sitting increases our chance of cardiovascular disease by 80 percent? According to Janet’s post even one hour of sitting can impair blood flow by as much as 50 percent! Scary stuff not only for writers but for the all of us who work on the computer. While adding a more consistent exercise routine into my day has great benefits, this article showed me that it is not the complete answer to keeping my heart safe. Check out what Janet has to say about SIMPLE ways to reverse the deadly effects of SITTING.

Then pop over to her second post, How to Combat the Negative Effects of a Sedentary Overeating Lifestyle. Remember a few posts back I admitted I found it easier to return to more consistent exercise than I did to fewer calories? Janet’s post said most Americans buy a stunning 890 MORE calories per serving from January to March! This information certainly validates my struggle to eat well, but Janet’s post doesn’t stop there. She offers sounds advice for overcoming as well as more fascinating research about how sitting affects our health.

Enjoy these great resources, and have a beautiful Wednesday, my friend. Let’s do this getting healthy thing together!

Until Next Time,

Paula another test (401x192) (2)

PS . . . As an author I am represented by Books and Such. I’m grateful my agent, Rachelle Gardner, as well as all the folks at Books and Such, care about their clients–mind, body, emotions, and spirit. It’s a dream come true to be a part of this powerful and encouraging community.

Wednesday Weigh-in ~ Eating, Exercise, Excuses, and a Plan

There’s always stuff to do. Person-weighing-themselve-007

There’s always stuff that hurts.

There’s always excuses.

I wanted to start this blog whining about how hard it’s been to focus on my body while remodeling a house, grieving deaths, and adjusting to the kids leaving home. All of those reasons for my struggle are real. Emotional eating is an easy trap to fall back into when sadness or loneliness hits. It’s hard to prioritize exercise when my home feels chaotic, and I can’t stand the mess one more day.

But the truth is life happens. I’m pretty sure I will never live an entire day without more pulling at me than I can conquer in that day, and I’m also sure that however many joyful moments a day holds, there will be something that happens that wants to pull me down, stress me out, or at least irritate me.

The truth is I am no longer at the age I can live and eat without intentionality. There are consequences. Not just on the scale, but in my body, health, and energy levels. As hard as it was to lose all that weight, if I’m not intentional I will find it again. All of it.

For the first time since 2012 I didn’t pay attention to how I ate or exercised over the holidays. And it shows. I feel myself getting into old patterns–being discouraged about the weight gain and allowing that discouragement to shut me down. Emotional eating comes really easy when I’m in that state. Getting out and walking does not. I’m also lonely more often now, and those solitary walks don’t sound quite as inviting as they did when the house was constantly noisy.

Here’s the honest truth. I need to get serious about my health again. I need prayer ’cause I know I can’t do this alone.

This week I’m taking a good first step. I’m doing a BENew cleanse. When I was losing weight and doing these consistently I noticed they helped reduce my cravings for the bad foods. (That first cleanse was a rough one for me emotionally. This one isn’t quite as bad, but I’m struggling a little.)

We’re in another car transition, which has made my schedule difficult. So step 2 for me was arranging with my kids for a schedule that allows me a car two mornings a week. My plan is to visit my chiropractor then meet with a friend who lives nearby so we can walk together.

Step 3 is I’ve also returned to doing a few light exercises every morning at home–some crunches, leg lifts, push-ups, and stretching. Nothing too intense. If I start with too much at first I know I won’t continue, so I’m beginning small and seeking to be consistent.

Where I feel the greatest resistance inside is food. I’ve continued much of the healthier eating that I learned in 2012–more fresh fruits and vegetables, making the largest portion my salad instead of the carbs. But unhealthy stuff has crept back in, too, like sometimes having a snack before bed, being mindless about portions, and being less careful with sweets.

When I lost weight I talked a lot about making changes I felt I could live with long-term. I believe I did that. The problem is I grew weary of mindfulness when it came to healthy choices and wise portions. Combined with less activity and less muscle mass, the weight began slipping back on.

And so I continue the journey. Instead of maintenance, I am seeking the courage to stand up and admit I need to lose a few pounds before it gets out of hand. Honestly, it makes me sad to own that, but pretending it isn’t there doesn’t make me any happier. And as much as I would prefer to keep this a private battle, I know accountability makes a difference. I need to lose eight to ten pounds. I need to do this now before things get out-of-control again, and it’s fifty I need to drop.

There. I said it.

If you’re on this journey with me, maybe a summary of my plan can help you, too.

  • Honesty with self – choosing to admit I must deal with this problem
  • Intentionality – Making choices with intent to stay on the road of health
  • Mindfulness – Paying attention to what (and how much!) I eat and how much I move
  • Spiritual support – Asking God to help me and others to pray for me
  • Admission – Admitting I need to lose and owning exactly how many pounds
  • Accountability – Telling someone that I need to change and have chosen to do so.
  • A plan – for me it is 1) cleanse 2) exercise 3) Portion control 4) healthier foods

Anybody with me?

Until next time,

Paula another test (401x192) (2)

Barnacles or Full Steam Ahead?

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Image taken from Wiki

Barnacles.

A crazy image for God to bring to mind.

But poignant.

Since He popped into my head, let’s go with it. Life is like a sailing ship. We have somewhere to go. We have a plan and a mission. It requires fuel and forward momentum.

The problem is sometimes crud attaches, and like a ship with barnacles we waste energy, get slowed down.

“It’s a problem as old as sailing itself. Ever since man set out sea, barnacles have been clinging like, well, barnacles to ships, growing into bumpy masses that slows down vessels and wastes fuel,” says Sarah Zhang. “Turns out these tiny creatures can make a ship burn up to 40 percent more fuel. Their collective mass is small compared to the overall ship, but their little bodies have an outsized effect creating drag around the ship’s otherwise smooth hull.”

Sounds like the crud in my life. Is this familiar to anyone else?

I’ve worked hard to change some thought and behavior patterns that are really no longer a part of me. Thanks to a good God I’ve had some inside-out healing. I’ve fought through to the truth, and it has set me free.

In freedom it is full steam ahead.

And I’ll be sailing along just fine, then I seem to slow down. It takes more emotional/physical/mental/spiritual energy to move forward.

Usually when I think to ask why, I discover stuff has attached itself to me that drags me down. A few that seem to cling too quickly to me are: worry, fear, perfectionism, self-doubt, frustration. I blogged about some of that last week.

And sometimes there’s just a general darkness making me feel sad or discouraged or inadequate.

Do you have anything that seems to easily attach to the ship of your life?

A friend and I prayed together about this stuff last week. She urged me to hold onto my joy. To take time out to say thank you. To praise my God.

As I typed I just got a picture of a barnacle slipping because I turned my thoughts toward good things and speak out positive, holy, joyful, stuff instead of letting my mind dwell on the bad.

The picture of the barnacle letting go sent me back to Goggle. According to The Economist The best way to deal with barnacles is to prevent them from attaching in the first place. The recommend a couple of chemicals, confusing the barnacles, and making the surface so smooth they find it difficult to attach.

I think praise and thanksgiving are like those chemicals that repel the barnacles of my life.

 

The method of confusing barnacles includes checker-boarding molecules that attract water with molecules that repel water. My analogy is this–what if I seek to confusing negativity by admitting its existence rather than living in denial of the stuff that hurts me. But instead of giving into it, what if I thank God anyway, saying, “I trust you, Jesus,” in good times and bad.

A lifestyle of joy is like that paint that makes a smooth service where it is hard for the barnacles to attach. What’s interesting about this analogy is that it works better for ships that are swift and active than for boats that spent a lot of time at harbor. That tells me that I need to keep moving forward, following my destiny in joy.

Here’s what I think. You and I are moving forward because God has called us forward, and He never loses. But there’s crud in this world that wants to slow us down, steal our energy, and make us work harder than necessary to cover the same space. So we need to be proactive, focusing on the good, praising and thanking the God of the Universe, admitting difficulties rather than living in denial, but choosing to believe in GOOD anyway. As we do this we seek to learn a lifestyle of living in forward momentum and joy, not grinding to a standstill when crud hits, but choosing to keep moving focused on positives.

I’m liking this.

I’m sure I don’t have it all figured out, and what I do have figured out I haven’t lived fully. This post is processing, me and God together, in an attempt to sail full steam ahead instead of giving into the barnacles of life that what to attach to the ship of my destiny and slow me down.

How do you reduce the drag of barnacles in your life? Wanna join me in full-steam ahead living?

Moving forward until next time,

Paula another test (401x192) (2)

PS I know not everyone who reads this blog sees God the same way I do. I hope you’ll still hang around and here at A Benew Journey and glean whatever makes sense to you. We can learn from each other even if we don’t always see things exactly the same way!