I’m an emotional eater. There, I said it.
There’s no taking it back. No more pretending. Here it is, printed in black and white for all the world to see.
And that scares me.
To declare this as truth is to admit I don’t have it all together. It’s to make myself vulnerable. To share my weakness with some who will, no doubt, fail to understand. Who am I kidding? I don’t fully understand myself.
This is what I do know …
When life is going well, I feel good. Happy. Energetic. Stress-free. In control of my eating. I’m even somewhat comfortable with my body image.
But when life is difficult, I don’t handle it so well. I experience bouts of depression, living in a near constant state of stress and fatigue. With little thought, I reach for foods I don’t typically eat. Suddenly, convenience matters more than it should. No more planning or prepping. No more caring. Once again, my eating is out of control. I shamefully watch the numbers on the scale climb. With each added pound, my body image plunges.
I’m not sure if the shame associated with emotional eating leads to depression, or if the depression leads to emotional eating, but there’s no doubt they go hand in hand. So much so I often don’t recognize the presence of one or the other until I’m drowning in consequences.
I picture myself at the top of a giant slope. I slide quickly and recklessly downhill, gaining speed until I’m completely out of control, unable to change course, unable to stop. All the while, my mind is fully aware of the impending crash. It’s almost as if I step out of myself and become a spectator, nervously watching as the worst of it unfolds. The inevitable wreckage… seeing myself tumbling down, down, down, arms and legs flailing, finally coming to rest on the hard, cold ground. Lying there all alone – wounded, embarrassed, ashamed, defeated.
It’s not an easy place to find yourself, especially when you know your own poor choices landed you there. But there you are, like it or not. You have but two options. You stick around, shame and defeat your constant companions. Or, you pick yourself up and make your way back up that hill.
Sometimes I linger there much too long, wandering around aimlessly, licking my wounds, angry with myself for visiting this place again. I long to get back to the good place, but I tell myself I’m not yet ready to make the hard trek up the hill.
I remain stuck. Eating whatever I want, whenever I want, with little regard to the trouble that’s coming. Numbing myself to the warnings playing on repeat in my head. Ignoring the bible verses I’ve committed to memory. Doing my own thing. Going my own way. All the while knowing this route will lead me farther from my desired destination. It always does.
So, head bowed. Heart heavy. Hands held high in surrender. I finally cry out to God over this issue – an issue I’ve mistakenly believed I could handle myself – an issue I was tricked into thinking was too trivial for God.
Oh, what a lie!
Lord, help me! I cannot do this alone. I cannot climb this steep slope. I cannot conquer this stronghold. Not on my own. Not without friends to encourage me. Not without You, Lord, to strengthen me.
The mountain still casts its looming shadow over me, but I refuse to focus on it. Instead, I look past it into the light. Into hope. I place my trembling hands into the hands of my Savior. And together, we begin to scale that mountain.
Oh, what victory!
I wonder how many of you are struggling with your own mountain? Please remember you are not alone. Please know that nothing is too big – or too small – for our God.
Together, leaning on our Savior, let’s take that first step. And then another. Hand in hand. Heart to heart.
Until we finally reach the top.
Scratched up? Possibly.
Wiped out? Most assuredly.
But certain of this one thing —
God is bigger than all our mountains.