After recovering from a weeklong sickness and a setback in my fitness journey, I am working on better understanding my cravings. When I was sick, I needed more food than usual, but candidly, I was eating way more than I needed to. One thing I heavily ignored early on when I began tracking, is the behavioral side of training and nutrition. What are the habits I have, and why do I have them? I promise you this post is not just about my food issues. I encourage you to stay because I think you will relate.
I started removing electronics and distractions when I eat because I overeat when I am not present. I am typically distracted by texts, emails, or that movie I keep re-watching. Removing these common disturbances creates greater enjoyment in what I eat and produces longer-lasting satiety. It is the power of being present. Studying this further, most of the overeating begins with my cravings. No matter what I eat, how much I eat, or when I eat, I begin to crave more food the minute I finish a meal. In the past, I’ve looked into how to curb my cravings, but until I listened to a podcast episode, I realized there’s more to this. Curbing your cravings only works if you understand the behavioral side to it.
Cravings are not bad, but I’m learning to treat them as they are: impulses that I do not have to act on. I’m learning to create space between when I crave something and when I eat. I’m learning how to sit in my cravings. I’m learning how to embrace them for what they are, a response, and letting myself feel the discomfort of the underlying issue. The habit I have is I eat when I crave it, but why am I craving more food if I am not physically hungry? Is it because I’m bored? Is it because I’m upset? Why am I masking uncomfortable feelings with food?
As I’ve been sitting with my cravings and trying to understand them, I recognize that I crave food to avoid the hurt and pain that I’m going through. Can you relate to this? Some people numb their emotions with alcohol, social media, work, partying, exercising, shopping, or maybe you’re like me and temporarily numb it with food. But it gets worse for me.
Becoming more aware that I eat to suppress unwanted feelings has also opened my eyes to my other habits. It is not just food but busyness that I turn to when met with negative emotions. It’s constant noise and distraction I create. Whether it’s driving to and from work and needing to listen to an audiobook, working on multiple brands and side hustles on the weekends, or even going to bed earlier to make sure I am not left alone hurting. This is where Jesus meets us, in our brokenness.
I turned off my audiobook on the way to work and began praying, humbled by this distasteful tendency I have. Unlike before, I finally acknowledged the deep confusion, doubt, and pain I felt. I drove to work in silence, feeling every sort of emotion I ignored in the past month. I told you April has been rough. In this moment of vulnerability, I turn to Jesus. He embraces my brokenness with open arms. Ironically, I wrote a reflection on the book of Job a day before life grew tougher. Ironically, the morning I began writing this post, minutes later, I would hear the most difficult news I’d come to face. Ironically, I would listen to a sermon on doubt to find myself doubting the goodness of God soon after. It’s ironic but also perfect in a mysterious way.
The Church welcomes diversity, but sometimes varying mental states appear uninvited. Doubt is one of those states. It almost seems like we Christians are scared of doubt, and I now better understand why. Jesus offers certainty, so when I begin doubting Him, it’s uncomfortable. We know the truth, but sometimes we do not always experience it. Sometimes we can know it in our heads, but not in our hearts.
I know I’ve often mistakenly appeared insincere. Instead of embracing others in their doubt and wrestling, I impulsively shove Jesus in their faces. In my discomfort with their doubts, I try to either find an answer or force an answer. And in all honesty, that is not what we see in the Bible. We see people wrestling with their doubts, like Job and Thomas, and God embraces them. He welcomes their doubts and is not afraid of their doubts. We forget this. I forget that often we grow to better understand who Jesus is in our wrestling. Here’s how.
To experience God’s perfect timing when we agree that His timing is perfect is easy. To experience God’s perfect timing when it does not appear perfect puts who He is into perspective. Our understanding of perfect timing gets rocked. Suddenly, I better see the separation between who I think God is versus who He actually is. His love is everlasting, His grace overflows, His timing is without fault, and now the weight of that leaves me in awe. Because of my doubt, Jesus’ perfect plan appears better than I could ever imagine. Because of my questions, the hope of Jesus holds more significance. Because of my wrestling, Jesus’ death and resurrection are colossally more powerful.
In this season, my incomplete understanding of who God is humbles me. He is sovereign. He is mighty. He is the Creator of every good thing, and those definitions are different now. I see Jesus in a completely new way. It would seem inconsistent if I ended this by sharing the goodness of God and the unshakable trust I have in Him, especially to you, my friend who is also wrestling.
Candidly, my prayers contain more questions and less praise, but Jesus embraces me anyway. I do not have to rush to get over the pain, but Jesus sits in it with me, graciously and lovingly. He meets us where we are, and if you are in a season where you’re questioning who God is, that is entirely okay. Run to Him in your doubts. He will welcome you with open arms. As I write, I’m re-learning, or frankly, learning for the first time what the goodness of God is. As I am embracing my doubt, confusion, and brokenness, I’m learning for the first time what God’s perfect timing means.