The Alternative to Dealing with Emotions by Eating

Q: What if you I don’t have time to deal with my emotions any other way except by eating?

A: This question indicates an unhealthy—even unbibilical—belief about emotions. If you see emotions as needing to be dealt with—in other words, making yourself stop feeling them as quickly as possible—then masking or stuffing your negative emotions with food (or alcohol or watching TV or pills) seems to be the efficient way to “deal.”

When you ignore or suppress your emotions so you can power through with your day’s agenda, the issues that led to the emotions are not addressed and eventually lead to even more emotional turmoil. When you suppress your emotions for the sake of time saving (or saving face), you completely bypass the opportunity to interact with your loving Lord and, therefore, you miss out on his comfort and input.

Doing what is right, healthy, and Spirit-led is frequently not efficient. Sometimes you have to excuse yourself and go to the bathroom to cry out to God and plead for grace and perspective. You may have to take a few moments to silently tell God how upset you are and count that time as part of your lunch break. You may actually cry in public and be looked down upon for doing so.

When you look at the outpouring of emotions in Scripture (such as in Psalms 51, 55, and 73), you can see that God’s people receive God’s perspective—and the associated comfort and resolution to their emotional pain—when they are willing to cry out to God honestly while staying willing to hear truth from God. I’ve found this can sometimes take only a few moments, but it may also be an ongoing process.

Do you want to temporarily distract yourself from your emotions and get things done, or do you want to more fully enter into a relationship with God, who wants you to know the truth that will set you free from whatever is troubling you?

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