Faith Journal

Emotional Eating vs. Spiritual Snacking

Emotional Eating vs. Spiritual Snacking www.herviewfromhome.com
Written by Shelby Spear

“You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.” Matthew 5:6 (MSG)

Alfredo on breadsticks
and chocolate on chocolate

Full copper mule mugs
and all creamy sauces
Savory, stuffed flank steaks all tied up with strings

These are a few of my favorite things
White cheddar on popcorn
and crisp bowls of Munchos

Chunky and Monkey
and Chili Cheese Fritos
Grey Goose mixed up with grape cran is a treat
These are a few of my favorite eats

 

When the weight gains

When the clothes shrink
When I’m feeling sad
I simply remember my favorite things,

and then I get really mad

 

Hmf.
According to Jesus’ proposed Sermon on the Mount, my hunger pangs and emotional thirst often seek relief from the wrong food group. Turns out a spiritual feast wins the best recipe for satisfying the soul.

“Hallelujah,” sings my metabolism.

“You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God, “carols the King.

My present grown and flown season of motherhood allows me to better digest Jesus’ wisdom. But getting the memo back in the all-consuming days of raising three kids? Not so much.

Motherhood tends to disrupt our eating patterns in countless ways. If we are talking about real food, we seldom have time to eat let alone worry about healthy consumption. Making sure our kids scarf down a balanced diet takes precedence. We settle for grabbing a handful of Cheetos while running off to soccer practice.

As busy moms screeching through hectic lives, the temptation to allow negativity to stockpile in our pantry also looms large. Many times my feeling feasts consisted of the angry birds special: crabby patties with a side of complaining, fretting, worrying, doubting, raging, and crying over spilled milk.

Emotional binging over the doom and gloom of feeling overwhelmed is an enticing quick fix. Unfortunately, these high calorie, spoonful of sugar recipes adhere to our arteries like Wonder bread. The doctors keep trying to tell us stress is a silent killer…

Finding God in the whirlwind takes mindfulness and effort. Jesus assures us the perseverance fills our bellies,

“He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.”

My world of having three kids right out of the marriage gate tested my Bambi faith early on.

Although I attended church sparingly throughout childhood, my understanding of God was obscure and muddled.

Meeting my husband, John, in college opened my heart and bent my ear to the mystery. Observing his faith swelled a hunger in me to seek the Lord with all my heart. Problem was the striving often dulled under the stress and strain of everyday living.

John worked late hours and traveled often. His hard work provided the blessing of me staying home with our children, but the shift in responsibility required a huge adjustment. Operating as a solopreneur managing the home and caring for the kiddos often wore me down.

Many nights I fell into bed bloated from exhaustion and gassy with self-pity. Looking back now, I realize the self-defeating consequences of my mental languishing.

As moms we tend to set ourselves up for emotional weight watcher fails when we forget to nourish our souls. Zooming through parenting wearing a cape on our back, looking to save the day at our own expense, wreaks havoc on our psyche.

The sooner we recognize the rewarding sustenance of God’s rich banquet, the healthier our life becomes. God’s love is the ultimate elixir. His Grace sweeter than chocolate. Mercy more healing than homemade soup. Compassion more comforting than warm Chamomile.

How do we remember these truths while we dine and dash from one place to the next?

God has taught me to breathe in His presence by being present. I close my eyes and listen for the Holy Spirit. He comes to us in a whisper; with a gentle reminder to remain in the flow of God’s love. Receive and give. Give and receive. Nourishment in, nourishment out.

To be fair, this practice of stepping back and centering myself happened almost never when all my kids were underfoot. But before you label me a hypocrite, please know I share the humble encouragement with you now because I wish someone had enlightened me back in the day.

Of course having an empty nest creates a quiet atmosphere, providing opportunity for such an experience. But I am convinced if we make a practice of stepping out of the madness of our days even if only for a few minutes, peace will find us.

After his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus continued to breathe his foodie wisdom into the air,
“Don’t waste your energy striving for perishable food…. Work for the food that sticks with you, food that nourishes your lasting life, food the Son of Man provides. He and what he does are guaranteed by God the Father to last.” Matthew 6:27 (MSG)

“I am the Bread of Life. The person who aligns with me hungers no more and thirsts no more.” Matthew 6:35 (MSG)
Nowadays I choose foods inclined to stick to my heart instead of my midsection. Snacking on God’s promises has become my new favorite thing.

(Oh, and chocolate. Okay, also white cheddar popcorn. And, if I’m being honest, Olive Garden breadsticks. Alright, alright – anger, frustration, pettiness, worry, fear, annoyance still rear their grumbelly heads. Whatever. I’m human!)

About the author

Shelby Spear

Shelby is a Christian mom to three beautiful knuckleheads who have left her with an empty nest in which to ponder what the mom thing has (done to her) meant over the past twenty-two years. She is working on her first book and you can read her open heart of revelations, screw-ups, gaffs, and joys at http://shelbyspear.com/

2 Comments

  • Shelby, Your spin on the song from the Sound of Music made me laugh out loud. lol.

    I am recently in the empty nest phase and yes, I do have more time to spend in quality time with the Lord, I am actually in a busier season now than I ever was between working part-time and babysitting my fun and very active two year old granddaughter on the days I don’t work leaves me like the busy moms you spoke about, tending to eat what I shouldn’t be. I never thought of myself as an emotional eater, but I seem to have become one.

    Thank you for reminding me of the importance of finding my comfort in God’s Word rather than in a snack that later leaves me feeling uncomfortable.