The Weight of Grace book

Feel and Express Instead of Suppress

by | Jun 8, 2013 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

It’s been a tough couple of weeks. Last Friday I was too stressed and depressed to write my usual weekly blog post. But I did reflect on the fact that I once turned instantly to food – a lot of it – whenever I was even the slightest bit stressed or down. And there I was sitting on the floor for about an hour feeling too overwhelmed to stand up, but the last thing I wanted to do was eat anything. What changed and when did that change happen?

I wish I could say it was an overnight miraculous revelation because that would be far easier to explain than what really happened. Gradually, as I prayerfully considered what the real factors were that contributed to my overeating (as opposed to the reason I’d always believed but turned out to be a red herring; i.e., lack of discipline), it became more and more apparent that a big issue was my discomfort with my emotions, even good ones. I’d gotten so adept at avoiding feeling my feelings, that instead of feeling anything, I just felt like eating.

I started realizing that other people weren’t like this (although many are). My roommate, for instance, was always getting angry about someone or some circumstance. And, oddly, I realized that as unreal as soap opera characters were, all that emoting had to be written by people who had experienced emotions somewhat like those their characters enacted.

Then the biggy was reading the Psalms with a new eye. These guys were way out there emotionally—soaking their pillows with tears, blaming God for neglect, wanted their enemies’ children to be thrown against walls (!). And Ecclesiastes was actually very reassuring to me. Solomon was DEPRESSED and there it all was in the Bible! No denial, no suppression of true emotions, and all those people telling it all to God, right to His face. This led to me feeling better about maybe having an emotion or two. The more I actually felt my emotions and even expressed them to God (not usually to others, except people I knew wouldn’t be hurt by my rants and raves), the need to eat when I was stressed, anxious, depressed, etc., etc., gradually diminished and eventually went away completely.

It reminds me of throwing up. You hate to do it. It doesn’t feel so great while you’re doing it, but when it’s over, you’re glad you did. Try more feeling and more expressing to God. You’ll “stuff” less and less.