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Many of us don’t know what to do with our emotions so we just try to ignore them. My cure for not feeling my emotions was to overeat foods made with sugar flour. I didn’t want to feel my emotions.
I was running from my emotions because I was sure I would be crazy if I started to really acknowledge and feel them. God, though, loves to connect with us through our emotions.
David is a great example of this as he regularly pours out his heart to God. In Psalms 63:1 TPT he said, “O God of my life, I’m lovesick for You in this weary wilderness. I thirst with the deepest longings to love You more, with cravings in my heart that can’t be described.”
David’s Passion for God
Then in verse 8, he said, “With passion, I pursue and cling to You. Because I feel Your grip on my life, I keep my soul close to Your heart” (Psalms 63:8 TPT).
What I love about this is that David is out in the wilderness, tired and hungry but he doesn’t crave food and drink. He longs for what he knows will refresh him even more than the physical things. He wants more of God.
When I was trying to eat my emotions away, God would bring me back to the Psalms time and time again. He was inviting me to begin to express my feelings like David did. He was showing me it was more than OK to feel my emotions. It’s actually what a man or woman after God’s own heart does. We express how we feel to Him and He holds on to us through every season of our lives and never lets us go.
Feel Your Emotions
Emotions are meant to be felt. God will use our emotions to show us things about ourselves that we don’t know exist. When we mask or try to bury our negative emotions, they will rise again with even more velocity.
For years I was afraid of my emotions, which was another reason I wanted to keep busy and bury anything I didn’t want to feel. I buried them under piles and piles of sugary foods. However, nothing we do can will make our emotions disappear. They will still be there until we examine them and embrace them.
To examine our emotions we have to stop pushing them aside and ignoring them. Ignoring them will only create bigger and bigger problems. That definitely was why I ballooned up to 430 pounds. I didn’t want to feel any emotion. I didn’t want to ask myself why I was feeling what I was feeling. I didn’t even want to acknowledge I had feelings. That’s why my desk drawer, closet shelf and pantry were always filled with candy, my drug of choice to make the emotions go away.
Acknowledge Your Emotions
We must acknowledge we have certain feelings we don’t want to have and not immediately shove them down to the cellar of our hearts. Then, we need to explore that crazy place we call our mind. We need to define what emotion we are actually having. What am I feeling? Why am I feeling this way? What is this emotion showing me or teaching me? What does God want me to do with this emotion?
When we think we are putting a pillow over our emotions, it just makes them fight all the more to be noticed. The real truth is emotions want to be acknowledged. It’s very much like a three-year-old who wants something. He won’t give up until his parent let him do what he wants.
Our emotions are the same way. They present a need to us and if we don’t recognize that need they will come back with more energy. Ignoring them means they may begin to affect our physical health. We can’t carry negative emotions forever. They will overwhelm us to the point we can’t do anything.
Step Out of Stress
I know I am a deadline-oriented person. I began my career as a journalist and we always had deadlines that had to be met. I was constantly stressed and constantly eating to assuage that stress. If I didn’t meet a deadline, I felt like a failure. I didn’t want to fail so I ate to bolster my energy and keep me from missing a deadline.
All that changed when I started my transformation journey. God gave me a big dose of truth. He showed me that I took on too much in order to be seen as productive by bosses and co-workers. The stress I felt that fueled my over-eating was actually instigated by me.
Then that brought up more realities. I was overworking to get God’s attention and let Him know I was doing this for Him. At the time I was writing, editing, laying out and publishing a regional Christian newspaper. God said to me, “I didn’t ask you to work so hard that you stressed yourself out. Many times you set the deadlines yourself.”
I immediately knew I was carrying a self-imposed burden that wasn’t just heavy, it was monstrous. Just when I’d get one thing done, I’d commit to doing even more. But God doesn’t want us overwhelmed and working ourselves to the bone. He wants us to join our lives with Him. When we do that, what He requires of us will be pleasant and easy to bear.
When God gives us an emotion, it could be a wake-up call. When we ignore it, the difficulties don’t go away. They become bigger. For me, that culminated in 430 pounds and being given a death sentence of five years if I didn’t lose at least 100 pounds and keep it off.
Don’t let something else equally as disturbing happen to you. Embrace your emotions. Understand that they are there to help you, not harm you.
For more on this topic, listen to episode 157, Emotions and Truth, by going here: https://TeresaShieldsParker.com/podcast/.
Teresa Shields Parker is the author of six books and two study guides, including her No. 1 bestseller, Sweet Grace: How I Lost 250 Pounds. Her sixth book, Sweet Surrender: Breaking Strongholds, is live on Amazon. She blogs at teresashieldsparker.com. She is also a Christian weight loss coach (check out her coaching group at Overcomers Academy) and speaker. Don’t miss her podcast, Sweet Grace for Your Journey, available on CPN. This article first appeared on teresashieldsparker.com.