It is so amazing how God is at work. His timing for this chapter couldn’t have been more perfect.
How can we know that we have forgiveness work to do even if we think “I am good. All is up to date”?
This was the state I was in this past weekend, feeling like I was finally progressing along with some sense of normalcy.
Yet if I were to look at my eating, I would have had to conclude, something still wasn’t right. I see now that I was numbing myself to something and ignoring that…I didn’t want to feel what was there and it was working pretty well. I am not talking about binges of any kind…just that “I will eat what I want (within reason, which sort of justifies the sense that it isn’t so bad…:-/) when I want”…well, when that behavior is going on in my life, I know enough about myself that it is a red flag flying high! PAY ATTENTION!
God had to use other means to get my attention and so I share out of this so maybe you may discover the same.
If you continue to turn to food even though your best intentions are to do otherwise, then you can be pretty sure that you are anesthetizing yourself to something. There is usually a reason. You are NOT a rotten, no good sinner who just doesn’t love God enough (like some of us have believed…oh! THIS IS A LIE FROM SATAN!!!).
If you have an EXTREME reaction to something someone says or does…something that, when you take a step back, sure doesn’t seem as bad as all of that, but there is a truckload of intensity behind how you feel…well, that is another good indicator that there is a root issue that God wants to take His scalpel to via an approach like that in the Thin Within book, chapter 20.
He used a couple of two by fours to point this out to me.
A very close friend said some things to me in an email on Monday and I had a HUGE reaction. I have learned that when I have an almost instinctive sense that I want to run, that I have to stop instead, wait on the Lord and look at what is going on. I need to pick apart what is really going on and ask Him “What is THIS about?” I have to look at if my extreme reaction is really about THIS situation or if it is about another, unresolved situation that this is just building on.
I began to do that.
I felt like my dear friend was trying to control me, like she was throwing mistakes I had made back into my face, like I am not “good enough” (a constant failure), and like she took things I have said as proclaiming judgments about her as a person…something I never intended, but when someone responds to me like that, I feel like I can’t say anything else. It makes it impossible for positive interaction to take place and conflict resolution, it seems. I feel like I am immobilized, so why bother trying? (It is another way I feel controlled and I get quite angry feeling that way. OUCH!)
Then I realized that I have felt this intensely with only a few other people ever in my life…but at the top of that list is my mother.
Interesting, given I saw my mom on Saturday for the first time in a long while and spent a lot of time afterwards on the phone with my older sister processing so many things about our mom and her character or treatment of us. All of the things I listed previously, I feel toward my mother. Honestly, as a result of feeling that way with my mom, I don’t even want to see her these days, justifying my distance in a number of “rational” and “unemotional” ways that keep me from seeing that, at the heart of it is a lack of forgiveness and my desire to “punish” her or something. I have called it, instead, a godly boundary…and certainly, there is a place where a godly boundary should exist, but the lines, for me, had been crossed into something else…
But when I look at it closely, it is clearly unresolved stuff…stuff that I need to forgive my mother for.
Last night it was obvious that, even though I am working through all of this as I go through the material in this chapter on forgiveness, that it is still fresh and triggers are still right there out in the open. My poor daughter asked me the same thing a couple of times yesterday and I just exploded! I felt controlled by her, like she feels that I am not good enough for her as a mom, I felt…well, as you can see, she triggered all of these similar feelings…and it wasn’t her fault!
I have triggers laying around everywhere and I hadn’t realized it. God has used all of this to show me that I have a GREAT deal of SERIOUS unresolved issues in my life–especially relative to my mom. Yesterday, I spent a great deal of time working through a lot of the things I feel about my mom and others in my life in these ways…and I know it will be ongoing work. In fact, I think I have to even look deeper and ask God to show me why I have this reaction to being controlled so much…is it a pride issue? Or is it something else? Perhaps he will show me something else that will enable me to break free from that. It is odd, the very thing that I chafe about–being controlled–is what happens when I react this way. I am being controlled by my hatred of being controlled! YIKES!
If you feel like you explode over the slightest things or are reduced to a pool of tears over the slightest infraction you may want to evaluate what your trigger is and why it is there. I believe that God has used these situations to show me clearly that I need to deal with these things with my Mom.
Another indicator that there is something to deal with is if you know you avoid certain things, topics, or people. That is usually a sure sign that you have a forgiveness issue that God wants you to process. In doing so, you will experience freedom!
Obviously, my friend and I and my daughter and I have had to talk…I over-reacted to the things they said and I needed to ask their forgiveness, certainly. Both of them have admitted their own struggle to grow in releasing control to God…they are people in process, as am I.
If you have a feeling you want to run for the hills when something minor happens…or even something major…that, too, can be an indicator that there is something beneath the surface that you have to take to God for His scrutiny, His cleansing…and to choose to forgive.
All of this can affect my eating. It can be really subtle. Just nibbling on things here and there throughout the day or a bit more than I need at a meal or eating when I am not at a 0…or drinking more diet soda on a day than usual (“I deserve this special treat” mentality is a dead giveaway…).
Forgiveness can really take care of this SO effectively. And the other thing that can make a HUGE difference is choosing to practice gratitude. Gratitude makes a huge difference as well.
When I truly have nothing left unresolved, when I have done all the forgiveness work that God has called me to, when I have been intentional about praising Him for his attributes and the way He interacts with me, when I have practiced gratitude, I can honestly say that I don’t find sin as appealing…or even things that I may not call blatant sin, but that I know are not best.
When all is dealt with, I can live authentically in this present moment, alive to God and what HE wants. It is painful, but so worth it.