Written by guest blogger Shirley Lawrence
“If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.” James 1:5 NLT
We all have stress. There are those major life stressors like death, cancer, financial, fire, and weather related loss. For me, my Dad dying at age 50 and my husband’s motorcycle accident that nearly decapitated him were major stress events. A most devastating one was when my neighbor’s son, daughter-in-law and two grandchildren were killed by a drunk driver drag racing on a main highway. God lead me to go next door just as the coroner came to tell them the devastating news. These stressors cut deep into our hearts and take a long time to get over. During a major stress event, I drop to my knees and cry out to God and completely surrender to Him. Life drained out of me, He picks me up and carries me. He walks and talks with me and eventually I heal.
Big stress events don’t make me want to drown my sorrow in food. In my numbness, I don’t think of food. God’s natural plan for eating kicks in. I don’t feel hungry but when I am truly hungry, I eat and after a small amount, I feel satisfied, I stop. Just as we learn in TW, eat when truly hungry, stop when satisfied. I’ve read that God has wired us to deal with major acute life and death situations but it is the constant accumulation of daily hassles that has more adverse effect on us.
In the big storms of life people gather for support and prayer. But we aren’t wired to deal with the daily grind of one conflict or crisis after another such is the norm in our society today. I am not making light of these horrendous gut wrenching events, I am just saying we are equipped differently to cope with them. The stress that breaks me is the daily hassles like bills, appliance breakdown, technology going berserk, illness or pain, irritating incompetent people, traffic, or a grumpy husband. These things send me to the kitchen or if I am out and about, I buy some comfort food. Many days these interruptions accumulate.
I just start to recover from one problem and another pops its head. Worse yet, is having several happening at the same time. My 4 children are grown with families of their own but it took a lot of comfort food to make it through babies not sleeping or fretfulness, more toddler messes than I had energy or time for let alone emotional stamina. Oh, the school age years of homework and chauffeuring. I won’t even discuss the teen years. Like the bumper sticker that says, “Grandchildren are the reward you get for having not killed your teenagers.”
I try to go through my day with all the demands, struggles, and messy situations in my own strength instead of turning to God and be open to the leading of Holy Spirit who will advise and guide me through my messes. I take control while eating a comfort food. It’s not that I need to be in control. It’s just that I always thought it was my responsibility. You know the saying, “the Lord helps those who help themselves.” I have always left God out of the equation for the small stuff. After all, he has bigger things to deal with like wars, poverty, floods, earthquakes etc. I have been a Christian all my life and a Bible studying prayer girl for years. I don’t know why but I never turned to God for the daily small stress. The big stuff, yes. But not the everyday insanity stuff. And I never turned to Him for help with my issue of turning to food when I was stressed and frustrated. But that is changing as I am being transformed. Last year I read the Thin Within book. I read of how I was on the path of my own provision, my way, my strength, and my power instead of the path of God’s provision, His plan, and His power. I am learning to walk in dependence on God in each present moment and know that Holy Spirit in me is there to guide and direct me in all situations, big and small, serious and silly. Now when an issue pops its ugly head, I stop and say “food isn’t going to solve this problem” but God can and will. I cover my eyes to tune the world out and pray.
“Lord, I am so stressed right now. I am trying to solve this in my own strength and frustration is ruling my thoughts. Comfort food will not solve this problem but you can. Help me be still and trust in You. Show me your way of dealing with this mess instead of turning to food.”
In my morning prayer I pray that He will give me patience, peace and self-control in any and every situation that might occur and that I let go and let Him provide the answer and solution.
At the end of the day, I thank Him for His presence in me and around me through the day and tell Him how grateful I am that He provided His peace, strength and power in each trying situation. I give Him the glory for overcoming the obstacles instead of eating a snack because I deserve it for having made it through.
It will take time till I remember when facing a mess to focus first on Christ in my inner being and let Him provide direction, power, and strength but I am ready and willing to follow this path of God’s provision not mine. So what about you? Could you see yourself in Shirley’s stories? Can you relate to stressors, big and small, and how it often effects our eating? Will you stop and pray for wisdom to handle it His way and not your own? What do you need to do to hand it all over to His control? Shirley Lawrence lives in Butler, PA with her husband of 52 years. They have 4 children, 7 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren and they delight in every one. She is a retired elementary teacher, loves reading, taking family photos, and digital scrapbooking. She loves reading His Word, especially about women of the Bible and leading women’s bible studies.