Feeling blue? Eat comfort food. Want to celebrate? Eat chocolate. Sexually frustrated? Eat ice cream. Stressed out? Eat anything in sight. As one woman recently asked, “What do you do when you have all these feelings if you can’t eat?”
For many women, turning to food is what they consider their “default setting” in the face of almost any emotion. But is it really – or might this be a belief that they’ve formed based on past experience and not on God’s truth (Prov. 14:12)?
There is a biblical pattern for how God’s people through the ages have addressed their painful – and even ecstatic – emotions. In fact, you were created, as a new creation in Christ, to have this “default setting” when you experience emotional pain. You may have lived so long with food as your knee-jerk reaction to emotions that your mind needs to be renewed in this area to see what is true about how you are designed – that your default is to turn to God with whatever you’re feeling.
Women often believe they will offend God if they tell him how they really feel. But look at what many of the psalmists said to God:
Give ear to my words, O Lord, consider my sighing. Listen to my cry for help, my King and my God, for to you I pray. Ps. 5:1-2*
Be merciful to me, Lord, for I am faint; O Lord, heal me, for my bones are in agony. My soul is in anguish. How long, O Lord, how long: … I am worn out from groaning; all night long I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears. Ps. 6:2-3, 6*
How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart? Ps. 13:1-2*
And my personal favorite:
When my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered, I was senseless and ignorant; I was a brute beast before you. Ps. 73:21-22*
God created us to experience all of life with and through him. He created us with him as our default setting whenever we encounter anything that upsets – or delights – us. And he can take it. He’s not only not offended by your expressions of doubt, fear, anxiety, and depression, he actually welcomes them and has put numerous examples of such prayers in his Word as a reassurance and pattern for how openly and freely we may come to him.
The more you practice going to God with whatever you’re feeling, the less and less you’ll find yourself going to food. This is because freely telling God about all of your emotions is actually what is most natural for you.
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Heb. 4:15-16*
*All quoted passages of Scripture are from NIV.